My Solid Rock

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Photo by M. Jones

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, an the winds blew on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”  Matthew 7:24-25

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

No merit of my own I claim

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

–My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

(LSB 575:1)

“Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, instill in our hearts the love of Your name, impress on our minds the teachings of Your Word, and increase in our lives all that is holy and just; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives an reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen”

–Treasury of Daily Prayer

Who or what is your solid rock that supports you when the storms of life blow hard against you?

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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.

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.

March 9 God-Given Wings

image by stevematch81

image by stevematch81

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

“Look from the top” (Song of Solomon 4:8)

Crushing weights give the Christian wings.  It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is a blessed truth.  David out of some bitter experience cried, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  for then I would fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6).  But before he finished this meditation he seems to have realized that his wish for wings was a realizable one.  For he says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”

The word “burden” is translated in the Bible margin, “What he (Jehovah) hath given thee.”  The saints’ burdens are God-given; they lead him to “wait upon Jehovah,” and when that is done, in the magic of trust, the “burden” is metamorphosed into a pair of wings, and the weighted one “mounts up with wings as eagles.”  From Sunday School Times

Lord God, whatever “burdens” we are given today, may we acknowledge that You are with us, to help carry them, to make them light, to make them work a “work” in us.  Thank you, Lord, that you have carried the heaviest burden of all–that of the sins of the whole world.  During this Lenten season may we remember your sacrifice and not take it for granted.  May we always give you thanks and praise for this great gift–this “burden.”  For Jesus’ sake, we pray, 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.

February 2 The Desert Blues

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Exodus 15:19-17:7;  Matthew 22:1-33;  Psalm 27:1-6;  Proverbs 6:20-26

Physically free,

but spiritually not

the former slaves of Egypt

now walked the desert miles

hungering, thirsting–

and complaining.

* * * * *

God heard their cries–

their loud laments,

“if only were were back in Egypt

we’d have leeks with our meat!”

In His mercy and remembering

His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

His hand fed them food from heaven:

manna by day

meat by night.

God cleansed the bitter waters.

He promised them disease free days

IF

they “would carefully listen to his voice

and do what is right in his eyes,

IF

“they obeyed his commands

and kept all his decrees.

For I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Exodus 15:25-26

If only God’s people would put their trust

in Him.

If only God’s people would give thanks

for his goodness to them,

for providing for food and drink.

If only God’s people would just stop

looking at themselves

and their lack.

If only God’s people would listen

and believe

and look up.

Lord God, if I were one of the wandering Israelites I know I would have been no different (even though I’d like to think I would have had more faith).  My human flesh would have cried out and I would have complained.  I know this because I am guilty of doing the same–and I’m not even wandering in a desert!  But my heart often finds itself in the spiritual desert and I doubt you.  I fail to look to you as my Sole Savior.  Forgive me, Lord, for not trusting you with my whole heart;  for doubting the truth of your Salvation message–that because of Jesus’s death on the Cross, all of my sins are forgiven.  I’ve been set free.  Send your Holy Spirit to fill the desert places in my heart that I may praise you and give you thanks for all your gifts pertaining to life here and life forever with you in heaven.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek;

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon

the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

he will keep me safe in his dwelling.

He will hide me in the shelter

of his tabernacle

and set me high upon a rock.”

Psalm 27:4-5

November 29 Lion’s Eyes

Image by Carrie Grant

Image by Carrie Grant

Daniel 6:1-28;  2 Peter 3:1-18;  Psalm 119:129-152;  Proverbs 28:21-22

Remember Daniel

humble servant of God most High

exiled from his homeland,

away from God’s House,

but always in His presence

by faith.

~

Remember Daniel

braving the wrath of foreign kings:

Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar,

and Darius

stayed true to the One

True God

who opened his eyes

to understand what the seers,

astrologers, magicians and enchanters

could not.

~

Remember Daniel

who interpreted dreams

and read the handwriting

on the wall

because he humbled himself

before the Lord of Lords

and not the gods

of foreign kings.

~

Remember Daniel

on his knees in prayer

surrounded by lions with jaws

snapped shut

held tight in the grip of angels

through the night.

~

If you’re staring into

the eyes of lions

or the writing on the wall

remember Daniel

and pray

and trust God with

your life!

He is the same God of whom

Darius King of the Medes

declared:

“For he is the living God

and he endures forever;

his kingdom will not be destroyed,

his dominion will never end.

He rescues and he saves;

he performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel

from the power of the lions.”

Daniel 6:26-27

Lord God, thank you for rescuing us from our enemies–sin, death and Satan.  We know that we can come to you in times when lesser enemies threaten our walk with you–that may even threaten our very life.  We trust you to keep us ever near to you and to your love.  We give you all our thanks and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

September 6 When Troubles Fall

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Song of Songs 1:1-4:16;  2 Corinthians 8:16-24;  Psalm 50:1-23; Proverbs 22:22-23

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving

and perform you vows to the Most High,

and call upon me in the day of trouble,

I will deliver you,

and you shall glorify me.”

Psalm 50:14-15

~

“The one who offers thanksgiving

as his sacrifice glorifies me;

to one who orders his way rightly

I will show the salvation of God.”

Psalm 50:23

 

In this world troubles fall

come without warning

big and small

True test of faith

comes to all:

“Who you gonna call?”

 

Call the parents, friend or spouse?

Experts with PhD.s?

Call upon one’s inner strength?

“Who you gonna see?”

 

Our Lord bids me come to Him.

Do I?

Will I?

To recognize my weakness

and His Almighty power

is not my true nature.

I  chafe and strive

against His will,

His wisdom,

and His love.

 

Forgive me Lord,

and help me

“To you I’m gonna call.”

And for your gracious mercy,

for giving me your aid

I humbly bow before you

and say my prayers of thanks.

 

Oh give thanks unto the Lord,

for He is good

and His mercy endures forever!”

 

(And by the way…

I’m in trouble each and every day

because I sin

in thought, word and deed,

fall short of God’s perfection

each and every day.

 

But thanks be to God

forgiveness comes to me

through Jesus Christ, my Lord

whose blood sets me free

each and every day!)

 

August 4 Out Of The Blue

Image by Zach Fonville

Image by Zach Fonville


2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21

“The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling.” Psalm 27:1-3,5

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:7-9

Out of the blue
trouble comes,
stirs up the waters
of my life.
“Didn’t see that one coming!”
Life is like that–
this fallen, imperfect world
I live in.
Life isn’t fair,
but that’s OK
because my God is
faithful.
The good work that He
began in me,
that spark of faith life
remains steady because of
His promises to me,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Trouble will come
in many shapes and forms
but it need not define me.
I am not depression.
I am not joblessness.
I am not broken relationships.
I am not cancer.
I am not addiction.
I am not loneliness.
I am not…
I am faithful
because my God is faithful.
He will not let me be tempted
beyond my ability.
He provides my way of escape
from the enemy that surrounds me.
He hears my prayers.
He is my Light and my Salvation.
Praise His holy name!

Thank you Heavenly Father for defining my life for me–for calling me to be your own–for being with me in times of trouble, for helping me endure. Thank you for your faithfulness in sending the promised Messiah–Jesus Christ, my Lord, who broke the bonds of sin and death and now lives and reigns with you now and forever! Amen!

February 1 To Look Forward, Look Back

Image

Photo by Paul Bruger

Exodus 13:17-15:18;  Matthew 21:23-46;  Psalm 26:1-12;  Proverbs 6:16-19

“In your unfailing love you will lead

the people you have redeemed.

In your strength you will guide them

to your holy dwelling.”

Exodus 15:13

 

Ever wonder if the Lord hears your prayers?  Look back into His Word and read about the many miraculous things He has done for His people.  Moses and the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt, led through the desert, and given a new homeland.  Not by their own strength and power, but by the hand of God.  He had heard their prayers.

God’s unfailing love to them is the same unfailing love to us today!  He has redeemed us by the Blood of the Lamb and saved us from our sins.  His strength continues to guide us day by day.  We may have doubts, but they are for naught.  We may worry, but we needn’t.   Call upon His name in the day of trouble and He will answer.  He remembers His promises to us–and He keeps them for His name’s sake.

“You will bring them in and plant them

on the mountain of your

inheritance-

the place, O Lord, you made for your

dwelling,

the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands

established.

The Lord will reign

for ever and ever.”

Exodus 15:17-18

Lord God, your Word–the Holy Scriptures–show us your faithfulness throughout all generations.  Your mighty arm saved those whom you loved and called to be your own.  Thank you that we can count ourselves among them.  We need only look to the Cross and the empty tomb to see your power and glory and love.  Today we may have troubles, but you tell us to take heart–you have overcome the world!  Grant us faith to trust your faithfulness to see us through this day and the next and the next.  We look forward in Jesus’ name, Amen.