I Am Content

I am content!  My Jesus ever lives, in whom my heart is pleased.  He has fulfilled the Law of God for me, God’s wrath He has appeased.  Since He in death could perish never, I also shall not die forever.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  My Jesus is my head;  His member I shall be.  He bowed His head when on the cross He died with cries of agony.  Now death is brought into subjection for me by Jesus’ resurrection.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  My Jesus is my light, my radiant sun of grace.  His cheering rays beam blessings forth for all, sweet comfort, hope and peace.  This Easter sun has brought salvation and everlasting exultation.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  At length I shall be free, awakened from the dead, arising glorious evermore to be with You, my living head.  The chains that hold my body, sever;  Then shall my soul rejoice forever.  I am content!  I am content!

Hymn text by Johann J. Moller, 1600-1733

“And He [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”  Luke 24:46-47

A New Song

“O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.  The Lord has made known His salvation;  He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.  He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;  All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.  Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.  With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.  Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.”  Psalm 98

Yesterday we celebrated the joy of Easter’s truth, “He is risen, just as He said!”   When you meet challenges, experience conflict, suffer illness and disease remember, “He is risen, just as He said!”  Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to save, to redeem us from certain death because of our sins that separated us from Him.  Jesus did this by dying on the Cross and bearing the guilt of all our sins.  His Resurrection broke the power of sin, death and Satan over us.  “He is risen, just as He said!”  The Psalmist invites us to sing and shout “because He has done wonderful things!”  And so we do, today and everyday!

Spirit Search

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“I consider the days of old, the years long ago.  I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.”  Then my spirit made a diligent search:

“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love forever ceased?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

* * * * *

“Then I said, I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the arm of the Lord;

Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

You are the God who works wonders;

you have made known your might among the peoples.

You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.”

Psalm 77:5-11, 14-15

* * * * *

When trouble deep surrounds me,

When sleepless I lie in bed

Search, my soul, for Jesus

Listen to what He’s said:

“I will never leave nor forsake you,”

I’m here for you always

Though it might not seem

to be, you

 I’ll not deny

 my love and tender mercy

that will see you through the day

or my comfort and compassion

to guide you through the night.

Lean on me, my dear one,

I can bear the weight

of all your worries

and your fears

and get you to the Gate

that opens up to

Peace.

* * * * *

“I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

So weary, worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place,

And He has made me glad.”

~ Horatius Bonar

Thank you Lord Jesus, for the gift of your presence in my life in good times and in bad; for seeing me through those challenging times; for giving me your strength to carry on.  Help me to remember, to ponder, to consider all of the mighty deeds you have done and for the faithful day to day providences that sustain me.  Above all, help me to remember your game changing move–your death and resurrection that put an end to sin’s power over me, to Satan’s free reign, and to death’s curse.  Praise and thank you, Lord, you have made me glad!  In your name I pray, Amen.

May 20 Life Interrupted

Photo by Nathan Ward

Photo by Nathan Ward

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25;  John 11:1-53;  Psalm 117:1-2;  Proverbs 15:22-23

“Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already  been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.  So when Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

* * * * *

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

* * * * *

“She said, “Yes Lord.  I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:17-27

* * * * *

When tears flow

and grief hangs

about my shoulders,

when a dear one’s life

on earth is interrupted,

Lord, may your resurrection

truth fill my heart

and bear me up.

May your peace direct

my eyes to you,

to the Lord of  earth and heaven

and my heart rejoice

that this life will resume;

that I will be reunited

with those I love and we’ll join

the heavenly choir

praising you and singing,

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come.

Worthy are you,

our Lord and God

to receive glory and

honor and power!

(Revelation 4:8,11)

O Lord, Martha believed your words about resurrection; of God’s power to raise the dead.  Little did she know that you were going to raise her brother that very day; she didn’t know you meant for her to feel his warm embrace and hear his voice in greeting again.  In our hour of grief, Lord,  help us to remember that we will one day hear our loved one’s voice and stand side by side praising you together in Heaven. Grant this Lord, for your name’s sake, Amen.

April 14 Increase Our Faith!

Photo by Sandara Lee

Photo by Sandara Lee

Joshua 9:3-10:43;  Luke 16:19-17:10;  Psalm 83:1-18;  Proverbs 3:4

“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to  come, but woe to the one through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

Pay attention to yourselves!  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times, saying “I repent,” you must forgive him.

* * * * *

“The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Luke 17:1-6

Television shows, movies and songs glorify revenge; glorify inflicting harm in return for an injury received (sometimes even one that is just ‘perceived’).  ‘Someone hurt me, I’m going to hurt her in return even if she says that she’s sorry for what she did.’

Revenge makes for juicy, emotionally charged story plots that reinforce human nature’s view of justice, of fairness.

Where does Jesus’ teaching about repentance and forgiveness fit into those kinds of stories?

Where does Jesus’ teaching fit into my life or your life when a great wrong has been done and our human nature cries out for a chance to get even?

The Apostles’ cry in response to the Lord’s teaching about repentance and forgiveness is our cry, “Lord, increase our faith!”

They knew how impossible it was to do what Jesus was asking of them.

We know how hard it is to forgive.

Jesus knows it is impossible on our own strength.

But He gives us what we need to do what He asks of us.

He gives us more faith.  Faith capable of doing the impossible!

Lord God, your ways are not our ways.  Please help us to follow your ways!  Increase our faith today, so that we can forgive those who have sinned against us.  Help us to remember the great cost that Jesus paid on the Cross–instead of getting revenge on all those who mistreated Him, sinned against Him–He bore our sins and suffered death.  But Praise to you, O God, you raised Jesus from the dead.  His resurrection power bolsters our faith and enables us to do the impossible in Jesus’ name!  Grant, Lord, that we forgive even as you have forgiven us.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

February 14 A Story To Tell

Image by Joshua Lenon

Image by Joshua Lenon

Exodus 37:1-38:31;  Matthew 28:1-20;  Psalm 34:11-22;  Proverbs 9:9-10

“And behold there was a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came down and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightening and his clothing was white as snow.  And for fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men.

* * * * *

“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.  See, I have told you!”

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples.

* * * * *

“While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.  And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell the people, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while you were asleep…so they took the money and did as they were directed.  And this is the story that has been spread among the Jews to this age.”

Matthew 28:2-15

* * * * *

A story of truth

a story of lies

both are told

today

but one brings joy

and life

and peace,

the other leads back

to the father of lies.

Which story do you hear?

Which story do you trust?

Which story do you tell?

* * * * *

God continues to tell His story of the

Good News of Jesus Christ

spoken by those who believe

in Him.

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always,

to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

“Jesus lives!  The victory’s won;

Death no longer can apall me;

Jesus lives!  Death’s reign is done!

From the grave will Christ recall me.

Brighter scenes will then commence;

This shall be my confidence!”

~ Christian Gellert, 1715-1769

Lord God, thank you for being my confidence, for being the story of my life!  Grant that I freely share your story of life and salvation with those who need to hear.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

February 13 Sprung To Life

Image by Michael Hickman

Image by Michael Hickman

Exodus 35:10-36:38;  Matthew 27:32-66;  Psalm 34:1-10;  Proverbs 9:7-8

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two

from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people

who had died were raised to life.  They came

out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection

they went to the holy city and

appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him

who were guarding Jesus saw

the earthquake and all that had happened

they were terrified, and exclaimed,

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:50-54

* * * * *

The earth quaked

darkness reigned

but some near

Jesus

saw the light–

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Sometimes it takes

a shaking of our world

our aloneness

our being in the dark

before the Light comes to us

and we realize

Jesus IS who he says

He is,

the Son of God

who reigns

over the darkness

who draws near to us

with His love,

His assurance

that we are

not lost.

“I sought the Lord,

and He answered me;

he delivered me from

all my fears.

Those who look to him

are radiant.

Their faces are never

covered with shame.”

Psalm 34:4-5

He has sprung us

from our spiritual graves.

Lord God,  Blessed are you who comes to us in our darkness and spreads your glorious light.  Holy are you who stoops to touch us with your love and grace.  Gracious are you who rescues us from our spiritual prisons by the blood of the Lamb on the Cross.  Blessed are you, O Lord and most worthy of our praise!