Awake!

Awake O sleeper, rise from death, and Christ shall give you light;  So learn His love, its length and breadth, its fullness, depth and height.

To us on earth He came to bring from sin and  fear release, to give the Spirit’s unity, the very bond of peace.

Then walk in love as Christ has loved, Who died that He might save;  with kind and gentle hearts forgive as God in Christ forgave.

For us Christ lived, for us He died, and conquered in the strife;  awake, arise, go forth in faith, and Christ shall give you life.  ~ hymn by F. B. Tucker

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

Lord God, as we anticipate celebrating Independence Day in America may we remember the greater freedom won for us through Jesus Christ on the Cross.  We are both citizens of heaven and earth so we thank you for the gift of freedoms allowed to us under the Constitution.  Bless all the lawmakers and lawkeepers of this land that we might live in peace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

There Is A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, a time for all that life may bring:  A time to plant, and time to reap, a time to laugh and time to weep, a time to heal, a time to slay, a time to build where rubble lay, a time to die, a time to mourn, a time for joy and to be born.

A time to hold, then be alone, a time to gather scattered stone, a time to break, a time to mend, a time to search and then to end, a time to keep, then throw away, a time to speak, then nothing say, a time for war till hatreds cease, a time for love, a time for peace.

Eternal Lord, Your wisdom sees and fathoms all life’s tragedies;  You know our grief, You hear our sighs–In mercy, dry our tear-stained eyes.  From evil times, You bring great good; Beneath the cross, we’ve safely stood.  Though dimly now life’s path we trace, one day we shall see face to face.

Before all time had yet begun, You, Father, planned to give Your Son; Lord Jesus Christ, with timeless grace, You have redeemed our time-bound race;  O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Your timely work in us complete;  Blest Trinity, Your praise we sing–There is a time for everything!   ~Stephen P. Starke

O Lord, whatever this day may bring, we confidently know that it is in Your time.  Help us to use the time you’ve given us wisely for Jesus’ sake, we pray, Amen.

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!

Ponder

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Jesus I will ponder now on Your holy passion;  with Your Spirit me endow for such meditation.  Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish of Your suff’ring, pain and death that I may not perish.

Make me see Your great distress, anguish and affliction, bonds and stripes and wretchedness and Your crucifixion;  Make me see how scourge and rod, spear and nails did wound You, how for them You died, O God, who with thorns had crowned You.

Yet, O Lord, not thus alone make me see Your passion, but its cause to me make known and its termination.  Ah!  I also and my sin wrought Your deep affliction;  this indeed the cause has been of Your crucifixion.

Grant that I Your passion view with repentant grieving.  Let me not bring shame to You by unholy living.  How could I refuse to shun every sinful pleasure since for me God’s only Son suffered without measure?

If my sins give me alarm and my conscience grieve me, let Your cross my fear disarm; peace of conscience give me.  Help me see forgiveness won by Your holy passion.  If for me He slays His Son, God must have compassion!

Graciously my faith renew;  Help me bear my crosses, learning humbleness from You, peace mid pain and losses.  May I give You love for love!  Hear me, O my Savior, that I may in heav’n above sing Your praise forever.

Hymn text by Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  Romans 8:31-32

Alas

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Photo by suzie gallagher

Alas! And did my Savior bleed, and did my sovereign die?  Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?  Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in when God, the mighty maker, died for His own creatures’ sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears, dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe; here, Lord, I give myself away: ‘Tis all that I can do.

Hymn Text by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20

 

Living Water

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Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain, sinners, ruined by the fall;  Here a pure and healing fountain flows for you, for me, for all, in a full, perpetual tide, opened when our Savior died.

Come in poverty and meanness, come defiled, without, within; from infection and uncleanness, from the leprosy of sin, wash your robes and make them white; you shall walk with God in light.

Come in sorrow and contrition, wounded, impotent, and blind; here the guilty, free remission, here the troubled, peace may find.  Health this fountain will restore; they that drink shall thirst no more.

They that drink shall live forever; ’tis a soul renewing flood.  God is faithful; God will never break His covenant of blood, signed when our Redeemer died, sealed when He was glorified.

Hymn text by James Montgomery, 1771-1854

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, 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