Hope and Comfort

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Entrust your days and burdens to God’s most loving hand;

He cares for you while ruling the sky, the sea, the land.

For He who guides the tempests along their thunderous ways

Will find for you a pathway and guide you all your days.

Our hands and feet, Lord, strengthen; with joy our spirits bless

Until we see the ending of all our life’s distress.

And so throughout our lifetime keep us within Your care

And at our end then bring us to heav’n to praise You there. Amen

~Paul Gerhardt, hymnist

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of this salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

1 Peter 1:3-7


We have comfort and hope in Christ Jesus!

God bless you and keep you in His care!

Joy

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You put me on the stretch, O God.

You do me the honor of putting me to the test

as You once tested our Father Abraham.

You bid me do the impossible:

not only to endure

the tempering heat of trial

but to rejoice in it–impossible!

 

But Your Son did not find it impossible

when You tried Him with failure.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit

and gave thanks to You

when You took from Him

the wise and understanding

and revealed Him only to babes,

to the inconsequential little ones

in whom Your love delights.

 

Your servant Paul found it possible.

Your servant James found it possible.

And You are my Father just as You are theirs.

I thank You for all proofs of Fatherhood.

I thank You for the trials I meet.

Give me the heart to meet them unafraid,

to joy in them as I rejoice in You.  Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Remembering on this day the trials that began in New York 15 years ago….

 

 

 

 

Steady

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Psalm 40:1-5

 I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him.

 Many blessings are given to those who trust the Lord and have no confidence in those who are proud or who trust in idols.

 O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord God, many are the cries for help that are rising to you this day.  Cries from Italy.  Cries from Louisiana.  Cries from hospitals.  Cries from the lonely in their homes.  Lord, have mercy.  Hear our prayers for Jesus’ sake and come to our aid that we might in turn tell of the wondrous ways that you have delivered us.  We give you praise for saving us from the deep pit of sin through your Son Jesus Christ who gave His life for us.  You have set our feet firm on the Rock of our salvation through faith.  Steady us as we go through this day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scaredy Cat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur deepest fear isn’t that we’re powerful, it’s that we’re inadequate. It’s our darkness, not our light, that frightens us. We scare ourselves when we feel unhealthy. We encounter smarter, better people. We discover there’s family who don’t cherish us. We learn the world doesn’t need us. Suddenly, we realize our talents, energy, and wisdom […]

via Bread From Beggar’s Hands ~ May 26, 2018 — The First Premise

Lots Of Groaning Going On

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits

of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for

our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

For in this is hope we were saved.

But hope that is seen is no hope at all.

Who hopes for what he already has?

But, if we hope for what we do not yet have,

we wait for it patiently.”

* * * * *

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us

in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for,

but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans

that words cannot express.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,

because the Spirit intercedes for the saints

in accordance to God’s will.”

Romans 8:22-27

Something isn’t right.  I sense something is out of balance and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Groan.

I know something is terribly wrong and I don’t know what to do.

Groan.

In either situation God knows and His Spirit groans with us to carry that burden to His throne of Grace.

Having trouble with finances?

Groan

Children?

Groan

Parents?

Groan

Health?

Groan

Work?

Groan

Studies?

Groan

Friends?

Groan

Temptations?

Groan

Persecution?

Groan

Ultimately, our dear Lord went through the same ups and downs of everyday living in this world. And he spent much time in prayer with the Father. He groaned in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemene.  He groaned on the Cross as His Father turned His back on His sin-ladened Son.  Deep anguished groans.

And now the Spirit groans deep utterances on our behalf seeking the will of our Father.

He hears the wordless pleadings, longings, sighs of His dear children–you and me.

He hears. And He knows our needs.

He brings His peace and love and mercy and soothes our aching souls for Jesus’ sake.

Thank You Father that You hear the groanings of our inward beings when we are at a loss for words.  Thank You for the intercession of the Spirit who intimately knows us as well as Your desires for us.  May we trust and hope in You alone to answer these deep well-spring prayers and to give you thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Grand Matter

Photo by Charl Christiani

Photo by Charl Christiani

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”

Acts 27:20

* * * * *

It’s been an unusual summer in St. Louis.  Instead of hot, sunny, steamy days relieved only by shaved ice or treats from Ted Drewes, we’ve had seemingly endless cloudy days, cool temperatures and lots of rain.

Life goes on, but there’s a damper on activities, a longing for the sunshine that brightens and cheers.

Cloudy days are nothing compared to the raging storm that St. Paul and his travel companions experienced en route to Rome. The storm was so bad that they had given up all hope of being saved.

There are some folks I know that are experiencing personal storms of their own right now–sickness and disease batter their mortal frames and yet…they confess victory in Jesus Christ their Lord.  They are trusting in His unfailing love to gird them up and help them through each day.

They know the storm cannot rob them of their most precious asset–their faith!

Martin Luther speaks of such faith–

“Is not faith, which can hold its own against such mighty enemies and attain the victory, an almighty, unspeakable grand matter?  Therefore, St. John well says 1 John 5:4 “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Lord God, when all seems hopeless; when days and nights are filled with pain; when the storms of life rage and beat against us, make our faith strong and be our strength for us.  May we remember the victory of Christ’s Cross over sin, death and the evil one–of His glorious Resurrection!  To Him who reigns in Heaven above, yet knows our daily battles be all glory, honor and praise!  In His dear name we pray, Amen.

Walking On Water

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Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“When Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me.”  Matthew 14:29,30

* * * * *

Peter had a little faith in the midst of his doubts, says Bunyan; and so with crying and coming he was brought to Christ.

But here you see that sight was a hindrance;  the waves were none of his business when once he had set out; all Peter had any concern with was the pathway of light that came gleaming across the darkness from where Christ stood.  If it was tenfold Egypt beyond that, Peter had no call to look and see.

When the Lord shall call to you over the waters, “Come,” step gladly forth.  Look not for a moment away from Him.

Not by measuring the waves can you prevail; not by gauging the wind will you grow strong; to scan the danger may be to fall before it; to pause at the difficulties is to have them break above your head.  Lift up your eyes unto the hills, and go forward–there is no other way.

Dost thou fear to launch away?

Faith lets go to swim!

Never will He let thee go;

‘Tis by trusting thou shalt know

Fellowship with Him.

Lord God, I hear your call to me to come and walk on the water; to follow You where I have not yet been; to trust in Your power to sustain, protect, and provide.  Gracious Lord, grant that I gladly hear your call and accept your invitation to work alongside You this day.  Help me to keep my eyes steadily focused on You and to disregard the “what ifs” that come my way.  Thank you, Lord, for your steadfast example of love and obedience–even as you walked to Calvary’s Cross, for it was a walk that led to my deliverance.  Praise you Lord Jesus!  In Your name I pray, Amen.

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 27 Unending Needs Met In Christ’s Unendless Riches

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Bring them hither to me.”

Matthew 14:18

Are you encompassed with needs at this very moment, and almost overwhelmed with difficulties, trials, and emergencies?  These are all divinely provided vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill, and if you but rightly understood their meaning, they would become opportunities for receiving new blessings and deliverances which you can get in no other way.

Bring these vessels to God.  Hold them steadily before Him in faith and prayer.  Keep still, and stop your own restless working until He begins to work, and He will surely do so;  and the very trials that threatened to overcome you with discouragement and disaster will become God’s opportunity for the revelation of His Grace and glory in your life, as you have known Him before.  “Bring them [all needs] to me.”  ~ A.B. Simpson

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19

What a source–“God!”  What a supply–“His riches in glory!”  What a channel–“Christ Jesus!”  It is your sweet privilege to place all your needs over against His riches, and lose sight of the former in the presence of the latter.  His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you, in all the love of His heart; go and draw upon it, in the artless simplicity of faith, and you will never have occasion to look to a creature-stream, or lean on a creature-prop. ~C.H.M.

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Lord God, today I pray for a dear friend whose life seems to be filled with undending needs, trials, and crises of health, of home and car woes, of the unknown.  Please shower upon her your peace that passes all understanding and bring her to a place of complete rest and trust in your promises.  Lord, you know all of her needs in mind, body and spirit and I give you thanks and praise that you will meet her needs in Christ Jesus.  Lord, I pray that you will give her eyes of faith to see you working in her life.   Strengthen her faith and keep her from falling.  Wrap your everlasting arms of love around her this day.  For Jesus’ sake, I pray, Amen.

May 8 Sweet Is The Road

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Photo by Laura Jostes

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“Walking in the midst of the fire.”

Daniel 3:25

The fire did not arrest their motion; they walked in the midst of it.  It was one of the streets through which they moved to their destiny.  The comfort of Christ’s revelation is not that it teaches emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow.

O my God, teach me, when the shadows have gathered, that I am only in a tunnel.  It is enough for me to know that it will be all right some day.

They tell me that I shall stand upon the peaks of Olivet, the heights of resurrection glory.  But I want more, O my Father; I want Calvary to lead up to it.  I want to know the shadows of this world are the shades to an avenue–the avenue to the house of my Father.  Tell me I am only forced to climb them because Thy house is on the hill!  I shall receive no hurt from sorrow if I shall walk  in the midst of the fire.  ~George Matheson

“The road is too rough,” I said;

“It is uphill all the way;

No flowers, but thorns instead;

And the skies over head are grey.”

But One took my hand at the entrance dim,

And sweet is the road that I walk with Him.

* * * *

“The cross is too great,” I cried–

“More than the back can bear,

So rough and heavy and wide,

And nobody by to care.”

And One stooped softly and touched my hand:

“I know. I care.  And I understand.”

* * * * *

Then why do we fret and sigh;

Cross-bearers all we go;

But the road ends by-and-by

In the dearest place we know,

And every step in the journey we

May take in the Lord’s own company.

Lord, hand in hand we walk with you through sunny days and dark.  You have promised to never leaves us nor forsake us.  Your compassion comforts us and gives us strength to carry on.  Thank Lord God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.