The Voice of the Lord

REUTERS/Richard Carson

REUTERS/Richard Carson

“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;  worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:1-4, 10-11

Hurricane Harvey and the hiddenness of God.  We ask the question “why,” but God on His throne who is beyond our understanding doesn’t give us the answer.  His voice however booms “I am with you always.  I will never leave you nor forsake you!  I will give you strength!  I will give you peace!”

God the Father gave us His Son, Jesus, who stemmed the damning flood of sin in our lives by shedding His blood for us.  And by His almighty power He raised Jesus from the dead. His powerful voice now bids us to call upon Him in the day of trouble–In the midst of deep waters, call to Him, and He will answer!

Lord God, we see the rising flood waters and are afraid.  Please turn our eyes to Jesus who sits at Your right Hand in Heaven.  Help us to trust in Him during these difficult times.  We trust in Your faithfulness to hear our prayer for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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Changeless Love

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;

the Lord is your shade on

your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;

he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep your going out

and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.”

Psalm 121

* * * * *

If you but trust in God to guide you

And place your confidence in Him,

You’ll find him always there beside you

To give you hope and strength within.

For those who trust God’s changeless love

Build on the rock that will not move.

~Georg Neumark, 1621-81

Lord God, through Your Son Jesus Christ, we have confidence that You are always with us and hear our prayers.  Be with us today with all of its challenges, joys and struggles.  May we at the end of this day give you all thanks and praise for Your faithfulness.  In Your dear Son’s name we pray, Amen.

Always There

Photo by Jennifer Burr

Photo by Jennifer Burr

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;

from His dwelling place he watches all who live on earth–

he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they do.

 * * * * *

No king is saved by the size of his army;

no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;

despite all its great strength it cannot save.

* * * * *

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death,

and keep them alive in famine.

* * * * *

We wait in hope for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us,

O Lord, even as we put our trust in you.”

Psalm 22:12-22

Lord God, so often I misplace my trust when I run into trouble.   Instead of falling on my knees and bringing to you my concerns I try “this and that”, I consult experts, I go to my friends, to books, to talk radio, to the internet.  Lord, forgive me for not coming to you first!  Lord, you know my human frailty and in your mercy you don’t turn away from me when I finally come to you.  You generously give your wisdom, your strength, your patience and perseverance to me.  And I am helped.  Thank you Lord God for your faithfulness and grace.  Always.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We Are Limited, But He Is Not!

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments

and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been his counselor?

Or who has given a gift to him

that he might be repaid?

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Romans 11:33-36

* * * * *

In the hubbub of the day

the rush of activities

or in the still of the night

when thoughts and fears

rush in and continue

to clamour

and keep us awake

take heart

and remember the God who loves us

more than we could ever know;

whose grace and mercy gathers us to himself

and by faith keeps us ever near.

Listen.

He whispers: ‘Fear not,

I have overcome the world…

and all those things you are worried about.

Lean on me.

I will not buckle under

your load of care.

My strength will be yours.

I will not let you fall.’

Lord God, even though we cannot understand your ways we trust you to know what is best for us and our loved ones, and that your love surrounds us day and night.  Thank and praise you for such undeserved favor.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we commend ourselves and all things to you this day.  In His name we pray, Amen.

Facing A Vast Army?

Image by Adrienne Olguin

Image by Adrienne Olguin

“Then Jehosophat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in front of the new courtyard and said:

‘O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in Heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.  O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?  They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.

* * * * *

But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them.  See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us an inheritance.  O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

2 Chronicles 20:6-13

Lord God, you knew of the “vast army” facing us –you knew its tactics, its strength, its means, its plans to destroy us.  And you sent us your Son to do battle for us.  By Jesus’ death on the cross he defeated forever Satan, sin and death’s grip on our lives.  Ours sins are forgiven.  We can use the name of Jesus to ward off Satan’s attacks.  We can look death in the eye and not fear.  Lord, there are other battles that we face day to day because we still are in the world and so we look to you today asking for your strength, your help, your deliverance and we give to you all glory and praise!  We pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen!

“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength;

we will sing and praise your might.”

Psalm 21:13

April 15 Wherever I May Be

Photo by Alanna Rodgers

Photo by Alanna Rodgers

Joshua 11:1-24;  Luke 17:11-37;  Psalm 84:1-12;  Proverbs 13:5-6

“How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young–

a place near your altar,

O Lord Almighty, my King and

my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your

house;

they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is

in you,

who have set their heart on pilgrimage.”

Psalm 84:1-5

* * * * *

Peace and rest

Shelter from the storms

Safe and sound

Protected

Shielded

Guarded

and Girded

with God’s

Strength

just like

the sparrow

I have found

my Home

wherever I may be.

Thank you, Lord God, that you have nestled me in your dwelling place by faith. Times of wandering and wondering have been stilled by your presence in my heart and mind.  I am at peace knowing that you have surrounded me with purpose.  I am confident that you who began a good work in me, will see it to completion in your time and in your way.  Thank and praise your Holy Name.  Amen.

March 3 Storms Are Stilled

Photo by Mitch Dobrowner

Photo by Mitch Dobrowner

Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54;  Mark 11:1-25;  Psalm 46:1-11;  Proverbs 10:23″

“God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, though the

earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart

of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Psalm 46:1-11

* * * * *

Political waters  foam,

churn,

toss to and fro

the opinions of men

seeking power

wanting peace

wanting it all

without the shedding

of blood

but getting

dangerously close

to the point of no return.

O God,

direct your people

to pray

for the nations

who desire annihilation

of one over the other.

Help us to bear in mind

that you would have had

us all destroyed–all

who do not come to You

in holiness,

and that you destroyed Your Son

on the cross

so that

the power of the devil,

of sin,

of death

over us.

Through Christ,

the raging storm in our souls

are stilled.

We sit and wait

to see that

You will be exalted among the nations,

You will be exalted in the earth.

You, O Lord, are with us.

“You are our refuge and strength,

an ever present help in trouble.”

Lord God, calm our fears, still the raging waters, give us peace.  Thank you for being our ever-present help each and every day.  We need your help–each and every day.  We need your forgiveness.  We need the peace that only you can provide.  Thank you, dear Jesus, for coming down from Heaven to be with us and to become the solution for all our problems.  We give You thanks and praise.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

November 11 To The End

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Ezekiel 23:1-49;  Hebrews 10:18-39;  Psalm 109:1-31;  Proverbs 27:13

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:23-25

To the end

           Jesus taught,

                  encouraged,

                  forgave.

To the end

               He showed love

             and care

                          and concern.

To the end

                                            He sought His Father in prayer,

                                                 petitioned on behalf

                                                      of those He loved.

             And, He encourages

                  us to do the same

                to the end.

Lord God, when the days get rough and our spirits grow faint, give us strength to the end.  Preserve us in the one true Faith.  Spur us on to doing and saying and helping others in your name.   Thank you Father for being faithful even when we are not.  Thank you for brothers and sisters in Christ who help us, encourage us, and walk with us to the end.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

April 23 Rx For Waiting

Image

Photo by Justin Knight

Judges 1:1-2:9;  Luke 21:29-22:13;  Psalm 90:1-91:16;  Proverbs 13:24-25

Who likes to wait?

Who doesn’t get bored?  Fidgety?  Anxious?  Preoccupied?  Distracted?

Especially when what we’re waiting for has no distinct arrival time.

Like Jesus’ return…

We know He’s coming back…but just not the hour, the day, or the year.

Could be tomorrow…

Could be in 2028…

Jesus knew waiting would be hard.  Thankfully He’s given us Divine Directions–a prescription for curing the waiting “blues.”

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth.  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:34-36

In effect Jesus says, “Stay connected to Me through my Word.  Don’t worry about the things pertaining to this world.  Keep your eyes on Me.  I’ll give you the strength to stand firm in your faith until you stand before Me.  I will see you soon.  Keep praying.  Keep watching.  Don’t freak out when the world falls apart around you.  You will always be safe in Me.”

Lord God, thank you for your word that teaches us how to live out our days on this earth.  Help us remain faithful, to not lose hope, to stand strong until the end.  Thank you for your Resurrection Victory and the reality of life everlasting.  In Jesus’ name we give thanks and praise!  Amen.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  Psalm 91:11,14,16

February 26 Beside Myself

Image

Image by Samuel Kaylor

Leviticus 19:1-20:21;  Mark 8:11-38;  Psalm 42:1-11;  Proverbs 10:17

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:5

Recently, a rhino virus got the best of me and took me ‘out of commission’ for the better part of a week.  One day my ‘downcast soul’ started to get the better of me as well, so I grabbed a family hymnal and started reading and singing praise songs.

Confessing with my mouth the greatness and goodness of God pushed back the dark clouds. 

My head still feels ‘in a fog’ but my spirit is revived.

King David who wrote Psalm 42 was beside himself at times with fear and worry.  With enemy taunts and threats on all sides, he knew he couldn’t save himself from his enemies. But as he praised God and focused on the One who could save him, his soul was revived.  He remembered and praised the God who helped him slay a giant and protected him from a crazy king Saul.

Feeling beside yourself today?

Take heart!  Your Savior and your God is there with you!

He who has defeated sin, death and Satan on the Cross is here to lift you up.

Lord God, thank you for always being by my side–even when I am beside myself!  Your peace that passes understanding centers me and calms me and gives me hope. Thank and praise your Holy Name.  Knowing that you have already defeated our deadliest enemies through your suffering and death on the Cross, gives me strength to meet another day.  May Your Word dwell in me richly and produce good works to your glory.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.