August 30 Gorilla Glue

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Job 34:1-36:33:  2 Corinthians 4:1-12;  Psalm 44:1-8;  Proverbs 22:10-12

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken;  struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Gorilla glue is great!  Tight bond.  Incredible strength.  It makes broken things like new, able to function.  To last.

In and of ourselves, our weak human bodies (yes, weak in spite of hours of weight training and exercise!) are vulnerable to the stresses of daily living.  Even more so when we are under pressure or physically attacked or abused.

We at times find ourselves at a “breaking point”–maybe due to circumstances of our own making. Maybe not.

As believers, though, God’s Spirit within us holds us together–like gorilla glue.  Our spirit remains intact and bears witness to God’s power and strength.

After a period of suffering one may be asked, “How did you do it?  Survive?” 

Answer:  God’s gorilla glue of the gospel–the life of Jesus in me through faith!

Lord God,  thank you for Christ’s broken body on the Cross and for your power which raised Him from the dead.  In times of despair, affliction, perplexity and persecution, we have the assurance that you are with us.  You hold us together.  You keep us from destruction.  May people come to know of Your surpassing love, mercy and grace through us.  May we share the source of our perseverance, purpose, and strength found only in You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
I’m seeking You like a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name

Taking my cross my sin my shame
Raising again I praise Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I run dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name.

(lyrics by Dennis Jernigan)

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August 29 Not About Us

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Photo by Lauren Rees

 

Job 34:1-36:33;  2 Corinthians 4:1-12;  Psalm 44:1-8;  Proverbs 22:10-12

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:5-6

Sometimes we think it’s only those with divinity degrees who can effectively proclaim the Good News of Salvation.  They’ve learned of the art of sermon writing and oratorial delivery. 

In St. Paul’s day, the people in the Corinthian church wanted to be “wowed” with powerful preaching.   Great speeches were highly coveted.

St. Paul, however, spoke the Truth, plainly, humbly–knowing the power of the Word came from the Source–God himself –and not from skillful presentation.

Paul needed no preaching props and neither do we when we have opportunity to share God’s Word with others.  Honest, transparent sharing of God’s Good News can pierce a darkened heart.

It’s not about us–it’s all about Him!  God grant that we be His light-bearers today!

God the Father, light creator,

To You laud and honor be.

To You, Light of Light begotten,

Praise be sung eternally.

Holy Spirit, light revealer,

Glory, glory be to thee.

Mortals, angels, now and ever

Praise the holy Trinity.  Amen

(text byMartin Franzmann)

“In God we make our boast all day long,

and we will praise your name forever.”  Psalm 44:8

August 29 Son Powered

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Image by Adam Howie

Job 31:1-33:33;  2 Corinthians 3: 1-18;  Psalm 43:1-5;  Proverbs 22:8-9

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18

Solar power.

As long as the sun shines these solar powered things will “do their thing”–

Furnaces will heat.  Lights will shine. 

Fans will blow.  Cookers will cook.

Calculators will compute.  Cars will run.

Radios will transmit.  Refrigerators will cool.

Rockets will soar.  Planes will fly.

And golf carts will cart.

Living a life pleasing and productive in God’s sight is possible for Christians.  Through faith we are all hooked up to the eternal source of spiritual energy–God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

The more we face the Son through Word and Sacrament, the more His light shines bright in our lives, energizes us, moves us to serve others.

We can love the unlovable,  forgive our enemies.

Turn the other cheek.  Say no to temptation.

Be joyful in all circumstances.  Be at peace in a world of conflict.

And when we fail, which happens often on this side of Heaven, we can look to God’s never ending supply of mercy and forgiveness and compassion.

Look to the Son today and be empowered to go and be His hands and feet and heart.

Lord Jesus, may we turn our face towards you this day.  Let the truth of your Word shine on us.  Let your love pour through us.  May others see in us the image of you–love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, mercy and self-control.  And when someone asks why we are the way we are, may we be eager to tell them of our Son-powered life.  For your sake we pray, Amen.

“Send forth your light and your truth,

let them guide me;

let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell.”    Psalm 43:3

August 6 If

Ezra 3:1-4:24;  1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4;  Psalm 28:1-9;  Proverbs 20:24-25

For the next week I am going to “take a break” because I’m having lots of company and need to be a gracious hostess!  I’ll continue to post the daily bible readings from the One Year Bible, but I will draw from a wonderful little book by Amy Carmichael called “If”.  I pray that her words will speak to your heart as they do to mine.   Blessings!

“IF I have not the patience of my 

Savior with souls who grow

slowly;

if I know little of travail (a sharp

and painful thing) till Christ be

fully formed in them,

then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

August 5 Cross Talk

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Art by Matt Dalrymple

Ezra 1:1-2:70;  1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5;  Psalm 27:7-14;  Proverbs 20:22-23

“For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18

PhD scholars,

Mensa members,

Valedictorians and Rhode Scholars,

Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Do I live by their words day by day?

Words from the wise of this world

won’t heal my sin broken heart.

More books, more classes,

more seminars and degrees,

more formulas for successful living

still left me hungry

and wanting more.

Until I heard the cross talk,

the language of love,

sacrifice,

forgiveness.

The cross spoke of a God who cared–

who became one of us

to die for us,

to bridge the gap between

Heaven and Earth.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”  1 Corinthians 1:30

Lord God Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing your wisdom into my life-for the cross talk that saved me.  Thank you for Jesus–the reason why the cross had something to say, not only to me but to all the world.  I pray, Lord, that more people will hear the cross talk and come to faith in you.  May we willingly appear “foolish” so that your Wisdom may heal the broken hearts in this world.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

August 1 Welcome

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2 Chronicles 30: 1-31:21;  Romans 15:1-22;  Psalm 25:1-15;  Proverbs 20:13-15

Christ the Holy one

welcomed unholy me;

 drew me under the waters of Baptism

and washed me clean.

He draped the welcoming banner of faith

around my shoulders and said,

“You are mine.  I will love you forever.”

Now He bids me to embrace

the unholy,

to extend the hand of fellowship,

to point to the saving water and the Word

and say, “Come, there is forgiveness

and healing in Christ’s fountain.

It’s OK to get wet,

don’t be afraid.”

Paul encouraged the Roman believers–Jews and Gentiles alike:  “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that you together with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”  Romans 15:5-7

Lord God Heavenly Father, you’ve welcomed me, given me faith, embraced me as your child.  Thank you for the indescribable gift through Jesus Christ, your Son.  You’ve blessed me with unity with fellow believers all around the world.  In all this I rejoice and give you thanks and praise.  May the hope you’ve given me spill over to those around me.  Open my eyes to opportunities to speak of You and to point to the Way everlasting.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”  Romans 15:13

July 11 Bound and Determined

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Art by Will Wallace

 

1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18;  Acts 28:1-31;  Psalm 9:1-12;  Proverbs 19:1-3

Paul was bound–“it is because of the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain”  (Acts 28:20) and determined –“Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught abut the Lord Jesus.”  Acts 28:31

Jesus was bound and determined–“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into this world–to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.”  John 18:37

Am I bound and determined like Paul and Christ to speak boldly and share with others the Law and the Gospel?

Am I bound and determined to search my heart, to confess my sins before God, and to seek his forgiveness?

Am I bound and determined to share the hope I have within me–that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ?

Am I bound and determined?

Our Father in heaven, hear our prayer for Jesus’ sake.  Bind us to you through the truth of your word; through the forgiveness of our sins and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Enable us to boldly bear witness to your saving Grace in Christ our Lord.  Help us when we waver.  Give us your determination.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all your wonders.  I will be glad and rejoice in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O most High.”

Psalm 9:1-2

June 29 Consider The Source

2 Kings 15:1-16:20;  Acts 19:13-41;  Psalm 147:1-20;  Proverbs 184-5

Been searching for answers?  Need a drink to quench a wanderer’s thirst?  There are options to consider.  Man’s wisdom or the Wisdom of God.  Consider the source.

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;

the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”  Proverbs 18:4

Imagepicture by Brian Switalski

 

OR

 

Imagephoto by George Hodan

 

“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water…”  Revelations 7:17

 

“Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  John 7:37-38

 

“Jesus said, ‘The water that I give him will become in him a spring of living water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:14

Lord God, thank you for quenching our thirst with the Living Water of Jesus Christ your Son.  Thank you for washing us clean through the waters of Baptism.  Grant that we offer those who are thirsty for truth, the life giving Word that you provide–that they might believe and drink from your fountain of wisdom, your bubbling brook that never runs dry.  In Jesus’ Name we pray,  Amen.

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June 27 Faith Boost

Coffee

2 Kings 10:32-12:21;  Acts 18:1-22;  Psalm 145:1-21;  Proverbs 18:1

Ever reached for an energy drink to give you a needed boost to get you through the day–or night?  Something to keep you focused and alert like a steaming cup of coffee?

What do you reach for when your spirit is lagging?  Your zeal for the Lord is fuzzy?

Try meditating on Psalm 145 and see if David’s Song of Praise doesn’t raise your spiritual energy level!

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,

and his greatness is unsearchable.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over

all his has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord

and all your saints shall bless you.

The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind

in all his works.

The Lord upholds all who are falling,

and raises up those who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them

food in due season.

You open your hand, you satisfy

the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways

and kind in all his works.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he also hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord preserves all who love him,

but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,

and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”

Lord God, we praise you and bless you along with all the saints who have gone before us and with all those who walk beside us now.  Thank you for David’s Psalm of praise which focuses our body, mind and spirit on you–the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Thank you for your Word which re-energizes us–may we eagerly tell others of the great things you have done for us through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  In His name we pray and praise, Amen

June 26 Witnessing 101

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2 Kings 9:14-10:31;  Acts 17:1-34:  Psalm 144:1-15;  Proverbs 17:  27-28

Jesus wants us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.  The apostle Paul provides us with some helpful ways to do just that.

1.  Meet people where they are.

“They came to Thessalonica where there was a synagogue of the Jews.  And Paul went it as was his custom..he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”  Acts 17:1-2

Where do people meet nowadays?  Coffee houses, neighborhood bars, golf courses, fitness centers, book clubs, to name just a few places.  Engage your area of interest to meet people–take up a new interest–meet people where they’re at.

2.  Observe those around you.  Really get to know them.

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way, you are very religious.”  Acts 17:22

Observe the fitness buff– “I see you’re very dedicated to a healthy lifestyle…tell me more about it.”

Listen to the comments at Book Club–“You sound very moved by the author’s premise…let’s talk about it more sometime over coffee.”

Alongside your fellow golfer…”Hey, tell me more about your game strategy.”

3.  Use their lingo. Paul referred to some pagan poets and tied it into conversation about God the Creator.

“In him we live and move and have our being.” and

For we are indeed his offspring.”  Acts 17: 28

For the fitness friend–Nike’s “Just Do It” can seque into a discussion of how we needed a Savior who could “Do” what we could not “do”

For the book club friend–Hemingway’s quote “There’s no friend as loyal as a book” could lead into a discussion about “The Book”–God’s Word–and how in it we find about One who is truly loyal.

For the golf friend–“The mind messes up more shots than the body” quote by Tommy Bolt may enable you to talk about what’s in the heart and how it can lead to a messed up life-game and that you know Someone who can offer a new game.

Witnessing 101.  Where you are.  With who your with.  Today.

Lord God, thank you for meeting us where we are, for knowing all about us, for speaking our language–all through the life of your Son.  Enable us through the power of the Holy Spirit and equipped with your Word to meet those around us, to get to know them, to speak their lingo, to share your message of salvation and hope and peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Oh Lord what is man that you care for him,

The son of man that you think of him?

Reach down your hand from on high;

deliver me and rescue me.”  Psalm 144:3, 7