Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas

"Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother;
And in his name all oppression shall cease."

Praise God for the many successful rescues of hostages throughout this year and please continue to pray for all those still held in captivity. Please check the updated prayer list for the details.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 7/23/10

Detail from The Last Judgment, Giotto, 1306

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:1-2

Just as surely as there could be no gospel without the law, there can be no salvation without judgment...

There is wickedness that surrounds us amidst this world, and evils that grip the heart and the soul, the spirits and the minds of men as arrogance and self righteousness separate by the iniquity that guides the spirit. Whereas, through Christ’s compassion and God’s mercy, the faithful have seen the grace of the transcending love of the Lord was them clean of those blemishes that so stain them, leaving them as white as snow, there are those who persist amidst their transgressions, abiding in darkness as they seek their own path and, in that, find that their way is always devoid of the truth and the wisdom of our Heavenly Father.

Though the arm of the Lord could reach out and save them, though His ear could hear their cries for salvation they have separated themselves from Him and hidden their faces, as if to say He was but a God with eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear the sins that lead their path.

Yet, amidst the miracle of God there is never a time when it is too late for the redemption of the unrighteous, nor does God abandon hope, even in their greatest of sins, that they shall be saved, opening themselves to the movement of the Spirit in them and through them. This is why we are taught by our blessed Saviour to pray for our enemies and to love our fellow man, all that we may be used as instruments of the divine to bring the sinner to a sincere repentance and to open the unrighteous to the blessings of above.

As we consider the lives of those who take hostages and prisoners, those who make slaves of men in their murderous intent as they rob the integrity from the lives of those they can grab a hold of, let us not be like they are, letting hate guide our spirits and our souls. Let us pray for them that they will no longer separate themselves from their Creator, striving that that they will no longer try to hide their face from the Almighty as they are brought to a place where they will repent and fall to their knees crying out for the mercy of the Lord for the pain that they have caused and the anguish they have brought.

Freedom has never come through hatred, nor has liberty ever come through letting ourselves slip into darkness, even amidst the most righteous of causes we may uplift to the Lord. Judgment belongs to the Lord just as surely as salvation comes through Him. Let us then indulge in the prayers of mercy that bring compassion to the lives of those who live in such darkness that they may turn themselves from their path of iniquity and sin. This that they may dwell in the Spirit of the Lord, setting their captives free as their regret pleads forgiveness for the hurt that they caused.

It is then that we know that the just nature of our cause is upheld and maintained in the integrity of God’s love as we push forward, preaching and teaching the hope He first taught unto us.

Lord, grant this unto us all.

Let us pray:

Stretch forth Your blessed hand O Eternal God and let Your eyes be cast upon the affairs of this temporal state, that Your ears may hear the cries of Your people amidst their meagre estate.

Stretch forth Your holy arm O Everlasting Lord and let Your cause be the redemption and the salvation of the lost and the fallen, that Your Spirit may forever contend with the cause of freedom...

Show unto the unrighteous that there is no escaping Your judgment, that there is no escaping Your wrath when they so abandon their lives to their own wickedness and iniquity. Bear witness to their spirits and their souls, writing Your word on their hearts, telling unto them that when they bring captivity to others captivity shall be brought to them, and when they so bind others they shall be so bound themselves amidst the sins and the anguish they bring.

Guide them by Your divine presence that they may see the love that is in Your will, that they may be guided by the hope that is in Your ways, that they may repent of their wickedness and contend with the spirit of Your freedom as they set to the cause of liberty and hope amidst this world. Cast them not away from Your presence but show unto them their error and their sin that they may come to know the path they have taken themselves is a path to eternal judgment that shall forever be separated from You amidst their persistent transgressions against their fellow man.

Then shall the cause of the prisoners and the hostages, the captives and the slaves be forever maintained by Your blessed hand as hope is restored to their lives and they are brought out of their dark places to the deeper places of love and compassion where they may rest beside Your streams of mercy flowing so freely in their lives as the unrighteous are set to flight and the iniquity of the spirit that once held them is destroyed by Your holy hand.

In the name of Your son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Evening Devotion 7/22/10

“And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?”
Numbers 32:6

Shall we, as Gad and Reuben, find ourselves unwilling rise up and meet the challenges as we enter the land of God’s promise and hope and find that there are challenges before us?

Shall we, as Gad and Reuben, find ourselves willing to watch as others battle amidst this world while we sit and watch, resolved to ease and comfort as struggles rear their head all around us?

Shall we, as Gad and Reuben, find ourselves unsure in God’s promises, taking upon ourselves the easiest possible course as our cause, believing it is the only possible way to secure our future while ignoring the needs of those around us?

Our faith, it comes with obligations, not to ourselves or to securing our future, but to one another, placing our trust in the hand of God as we look to Him as the faithful, vigilant defender of our lives and the source of our blessed inheritance. We cannot be willing to sit idly by, to sit idly back while others meet the challenges of our world while we rest ourselves in comfort, believing somehow that it is not our concern. We cannot be willing to take for ourselves solely our own inheritance and then say it is enough for us.

Ever willing and ever ready to rise up amidst the challenges of this world, it must be ours to battle against the captivity of the land. It must be ours to push forward for the freedom of our brothers and our sisters that they too may find that their inheritance is secured for them amidst the deeper blessings of God’s word and God’s transcending hope.

Idle hands and idle hearts, reluctant to do the tasks at hand according to the love of God show a distinct contempt for His promises. It shows a heart that refuses to understand the deeper meaning and the deeper purpose that He calls us to and, amidst that, we find that we just cannot be that which He calls us to be, that which He requires us to be in the courage and the strength that He so offers unto us and that we turn such a blind eye to.

Shall this then be our disinterest in Him and His people as we sit lazily ignoring the plight of those in bondage and chains, slavery and captivity, poverty and destitution throughout the world? Are we inclined then to be among the numbers of those who, with eyes that cannot see, and ears that cannot hear, turn from the calling of the Lord? Or shall we rise up amidst the greatest calling of His love to a divine purpose and be ready and willing to say here I am Lord, take me and lead me to the battles that need to be waged amidst the war for that which is right and righteous in this world?

Faith comes with duty and duty must be matched with deed as we stand steadfast in the armies of the Lord, side by side with our brother, ready to meet face to face, eye to eye with evil as we work for the ultimate triumph of that which is right, all that the children of our blessed Father may rest with us in their inheritance as peace and hope come to encompass their lives. How then shall you meet that sense of duty and obligation to your fellow man in the greatest spirit of love you can bring forth in your life?

Let us pray:

Gad and Reuben O Lord, they rested not in Your promises but amidst their own comfort and ease, turning their eyes away from the challenges and the struggles of their brothers...

Unto them did You promise a land that flows with Milk and Honey and they did forsake Your calling for their own purposes and devices as they sought only what was good for them, slipping into idleness amidst the adversity that others would face.

Create in us O Lord a heart of purity and a spirit of courage, a soul of compassion and a mind for others that we shall never find ourselves as Gad and Reuben, our hearts so blotted with our own purpose and our own design that we look no longer upon the plights of our brothers as our own and let ourselves grow weak amidst our apathy.

Let our souls be right with You O Lord that we may see the bondage that sweeps across a land and the chains that would bind Your children as our challenge and our struggle as we rise with Your armour about us to meet on the battlefield to wage a war against tyranny and oppression, slavery and captivity, poverty and destitution. Let our spirits be of that blessed nature, forever guided by love, that whatever cost it may be to us we shall never be willing to slip into idleness amidst our own ease and comfort while others cry out amidst their pain and anguish.

Lead us forward O Everlasting and Eternal Strength that, guided by Your grace and hope we shall forever and always contend for the cause of freedom as we seek the liberation of those in any need, raising them high before Your throne as their cries become our cries and their cause becomes our cause that Your will may forever be our will amidst the deeper calling toward justice in this world.

Then shall we be as strong as You have made us, with the courage and authority of faith moving through us and in us as we forever contend for Your love and righteousness in this world.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 7/22/10

Christ Seated in Glory, San Giovanni Baptistry Florence, 13th century

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

There is an abundant grace, and a transcending hope amidst this temporal existence that we shall forever be certain of. God, our Heavenly Father, according to His plentiful love, works all good things in the lives of those who praise him with adoration in their heart, and who look to Him with expectations towards His goodness and His mercy.

What is our firm foundation? What then stands as our refuge when we are lost? What is it that we look to as the sword of our righteousness and the shield of our protection amidst this temporal existence? Upon what rock do we stand? It is the promise of the Lord, that blessed assurance that He, in grace and in majesty, shall walk beside us through all the days of our lives with plan for our lives and the solemn pledge that He shall never fail us or forsake us, He shall never abandon us or leave us, even as all the world seems to rise against us.

Even amidst our worst challenges, and our greatest of struggles God moves within our lives. He does so with a power and a purpose that guides our days as He casts His face upon us, telling us we need not fear any evil for His rod and His staff shall always be raised for us. Here we find the perseverance that we need to know that we shall have the strength to meet calamity and adversity with strength and with courage s we look towards the good that our Lord has intended for us even when all we can see is evil all around us.

How then will you use this blessing for your life? How then shall this promise guide you and sustain you through your days?

Meditate on the blessed assurances of God, the Father Almighty, whose hand is raised for your protection and whose love is always there to sustain you and ask of yourself, what, in my life, shall I do to magnify that same grace, that same mercy that He shows? How shall I give of myself in a greater purpose, in a greater calling according to a greater love to my fellow man?

As we consider the bondage and the slavery that exists, dwelling amidst the temporal existence and our hearts meditate on the promises of God, let us, with renewed courage and transformed hearts, with a wondrous confidence in the assurances of the Almighty, work as He works for the greater good of those who find themselves in need of deliverance. Let our purpose be, as it was for Him, as it always shall be for His Son, our Savior, to lead captivity captive, perpetually pushing ourselves to do all good things according to a divine purpose as our hearts and our prayers raise up to the Lord and our hands are called to action amidst this world as we seek to do all we can for the freedom and the liberty of others.

In the affirmation of God’s promise that Paul looks to as he writes to the church in Rome he maintains that God assigns a worth and an integrity to each life, to every life, as he holds their is an intrinsic value to it. This too must be what we look to as we journey in this world and through this world, forever guided by the hand of God to uphold that value He gives regardless of the challenges before us.

Lord, grant this purpose unto us all....

Let us pray:

O Almighty and Eternal God, who upon us bestows all good gifts and from whom all goodness flows, unto Your holy name do we raise our voices...

O Everlasting and Ever Vigilant Lord, who calls according to Your purpose and who sets us apart for the work of Your hand, into Your blessed ear do we cry

Stand faithful and firm to Your promises for Your children, let not their lives be held amidst meagre estate and dark fortunes, let not their days be numbered by the unrighteous raising their hands for the cause of their own evil. Be unto Your people the fortress of their strength and the rock of their salvation, leading captivity captive as You ransom the lost and the fallen from the throws of despair.

The wicked rise O Lord, yet their authority, it is nothing compared to Your power when Your hand is raised and Your will is on the move amidst this world. Let then Your sword come with flames of hope that cuts through the darkness to lead Your people home as it shatters the chains of bondage and the abiding slavery of this world, all that Your Spirit may come upon them, showing forth the freedom and liberation that comes only from Your blessed hope.

Be the fount of our every blessing, flowing like a stream of love through our lives that oppression shall never grip the lives of the people and tyranny shall never rob from them the worth that You assign to their lives.

Then shall praise be raised up from the east to the west and from the north to the south as You break the chains that bind, Your mercy showing forth the blessed compassion of Your transcending grace.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 7/20/10

Today's devotion is taken from C.H. Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) – Morning, July 24

“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Exodus 14:13

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Precipitancy cries, “do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.” But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”

Let us pray:

We give thanks unto You O Lord, for Your goodness and Your love and compassion endures forever. You give manna in the desert to Your creation, sustaining them throughout all their journeys through this temporal existence. You quench their thirst with the steady stream of Your love, as they wander amidst the spiritual diaspora of this world. Amidst bondage and captivity, You break the chains that are before us. You liberate us amidst the deliverance that comes from Your hand, showing forth Your grace and Your mercy. In all that You do, Your power and Your authority are sustained through the ages. We give thanks to You O Lord, for Your love endures forever.

O Lord, we pray for all suffer in captivity and bondage, we pray for all who find themselves amidst the struggles of this world, who find that danger lurks around them, who find that the struggles of this life are so great as hope escapes from their lives. We pray Lord that You guide them, that You protect them, that You sustain them, that You provide them with the spiritual nourishment that they so need, until that time when Your blessed deliverance comes. Bid them stand still O Lord, and give them the peace of the heart that comes from Your Spirit, that they may see the salvation that rises from Your hand.

We give these to You O Lord for You are good, and Your mercy endures forever. Let not the wickedness of the unrighteous stand, O Lord, let not those who would make slaves out of the free and rob the lives of the innocent stand, as having the authority and the power. Show them that their might is nothing as compared to the might that rises from Your hand. Show them the wickedness and chaos that rises from them as they set the world ablaze, that they may come to a sincere repentance, working for Your way, for Your will, rather than their own foolish designs. We offer this prayer to You O Lord, for You are good and Your power endures forever. O Lord, rise with a mighty right hand and lead Your children, guide them, stir them, call them to action forever, that the nations may see that You are good, that Your righteousness endures amidst all the challenges, forever guiding the path of those who struggle through their journey amidst this life, that they shall give praise to Your holy and blessed name. In the name of Your Son, our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end. Amen.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Evening Devotion 7/19/10

“And you said, "The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him.”
Deuteronomy 5:24

How great are the works of God’s hand? How glorious is the manifestation of His grace in the lives of His people? By faith He moves within the lives of those who place their trust in Him and gives unto them life abundant as He moves through them and with them.

The Lord, our God, He transcends our own narrow ways and our own limited perspectives as He moves in this world and through this world according the grand nature of His blessed design. There is nothing that He is incapable of when He looks with favour upon those whom He loves. When He speaks He does so with a power and an authority that can make the blind man see and the deaf hear, from the mouth of the voiceless He can raise glorious songs of praise and hope that lift like an angels song to His throne on high.

What do we seek for our lives? What do we seek for the lives of others? When our intent is righteous and our supplications are humble God will raise a fire in the darkness to lead us from the pits of despair and grant unto us new life amidst a new hope for our days.

How often do we carry our burdens alone? How often do we look to the troubles and the hardship of this world and think to ourselves God cannot be there, for if He were and He truly was good there would be an end to the wickedness and the unrighteousness that holds the weak captive and robs the innocent of their lives? Yet, for as many plights and struggles as there are in this world they are nothing, their power is fleeting, their authority is dimming, for they shall soon be engulfed in the fires of the Lord.

Remember dear brothers and blessed sisters that even Israel, the chosen nation of the Almighty, endured the greatest of captivity at the hands of tyrants and slave masters that sought to whip the life out of them. Yet, with the promise of God’s deliverance on their lips they were led through the greatest of miracles to the blessings of that land of hope He swore unto their fathers. So too amidst the bondage of our present age does He hold fast to the same miracles and the same assurances of His transcending love.

Draw your hope then from the promise of the Lord, this is the blessed hope of your salvation. Uplift the cause of those held amidst captivity and bondage, slavery and subjugation, for the Lord, your God, He shall bring life as He speaks through the fire to claim the ultimate power through the love and the hope He offers unto His people. It is then that we shall see His glory amidst His grand design as His mercy comes to bear in our lives and the lives of those in the most need.

Praise be His name for that...

Let us pray:

In our distress shall we call upon Your name O Lord and we shall trust that Your answer shall come with the blessed sound of Your voice raised for the cause of Your children...

Save Your people O Lord...

From all captivity and bondage, from all tyranny and oppression, all subjugation and slavery be the stream of freedom that flows so freely in their lives, and pour down Your blessings upon the like a cleansing rain that washes from them all hurt and hardship. From all poverty and destitution, sickness and disease, tears and woes be the pastures of their blessed rest, feed them by Your hand the fruits of Your love that all tears shall be chased from their lives and they shall find your Sabbath joy with the Lamb our Lord.

Show forth the true face of Your mercy, and be the name that is forever on the lips of Your children that no longer shall they live amidst the ranks of those who hate peace and rob the dignity that You assign to the integrity of the life You have created. Show forth the true face of Your love and whisper your promises into the ears of those who find themselves caught amidst the chaos of this world that no longer shall they find themselves amidst the ranks of those who claim Your authority as they make slaves amidst their wickedness and their unrighteousness.

Save Your people O Lord...

Save Your people from the darkness that surrounds them. Let Your fire cut through murky estate that so engulfs them and lead them to the places where Your hope and Your compassion dwell that they may find the blessed hope of Your transcending grace as You, in Your glory, move to give unto them life even when those who now hold them seek to steal it from them. This that blessed deliverance shall come to the lives of Your people amidst the promises of Your wondrous assurances as You show that Your power is greater than anything of this temporal existence and that in this world is nothing equal to Your love and Your mercy.

Then shall we speak forth the name of our Lord, our hope and our deliverance as we testify of Your love, giving witness to Your great love through our songs of praise raised to You through the ages as You chase all fear and despair from our lives, failing all wickedness as You uplift Your blessed by the strength of Your might.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 7/19/10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Are you weary and tired from your travels amidst this life? Are you burdened and heavy laden? Do troubles follow you and you find that struggles are always near at hand?

Fear not this world, for the Lord, Your God speaks with a gentle heart turned towards your afflictions. The strength of the Lord shall be your strength as His hand is raises you up to the glory of His precious love and grace.

There is a sacred bond amidst the wondrous hope that comes from the promises of the Lord. It is the blessing of His Word, offered unto you as the power of your salvation. Whatever the captivity or the bondage, when you place your trust in the blessed assurances of our Heavenly Father He shall rise with compassion to make manifest blessed help in your life. All you have to do is just take it to Him, lay it at his feet and trust in the encompassing, transcending power of His majesty.

What troubles you? What causes you woe and heartache? What pains your life? What troubles of others can you uplift in your life as you pray for their deliverance? To come, in faith, before the throne of the Almighty, casting all of these things at His feet, trusting that He shall never fail you or forsake you is to claim power over the oppression and the subjugation of this temporal existence and the hardship it can offer. It is the authority to break all the chains that bind with a strength beyond anything of compare in this mortal world.

Be then not disheartened when dangers come, be not of feeble spirit or of weak souls, for the Spirit of the Lord is our constant companion, and, with Him comes the liberty that can only come from the hand of the Lord God of Israel. With Him on our side come what may, come what must, we have a guiding light that shall forever and always lead our way amidst the blessed hope that shall come to encompass our lives regardless of the dangers that surrounds us, for He is who sets the captives free and ransoms us from sin’s dark tyranny.

Fear not beloved children of the Almighty, made heirs to salvation through the cross of Christ, made our brother through the blood of the cross, for though powers and principalities may raise up, they have nothing won. We have been made more than conquerors through He who loves us, and His power remains ours through the generations by the power of His promises and the blessings of His love.

Praise be His blessed name for that.

Let us pray:

Above all else You reign, O merciful and blessed Father. Your power and authority over the nations stand above and proclaim Your glory and Your majesty as Your strength stands as a testament to Your might.

Upon this temporal existence then Lord, we pray You look down from Your throne on High to see the faces of Your children. Look upon the plight and the struggles, the hardship and the pain of the captivity and the bondage that this world does bring and let Your grace be made manifest in the lives of Your people. Bend Your ear to the cries of sorrow and the calls for mercy that Your light and Your love shall move through the lives of Your children as they find themselves now amidst the slavery and the subjugation of this world.

Be then the name upon the lips of those who suffer in meagre estate as You raise Your hand and offer unto them Your strength and Your endurance through all that they face, showing forth Your compassion in their lives as You give them the perseverance that they so need and the hope that they so long for as You break the chains that bind them to the darkness that can be bestowed upon them. Be then the light of their lives as they call out to You for help, leading them by the promises of Your blessed word to the places of safety where they may find rest amidst the deeper blessings of Your transcending word.

Grant unto them comfort and peace and then, in Your time, lead them to freedom, that blessed liberty that comes from Your hand as Your Spirit breathes new life into their lives even when it seems as if all the life and the hope has left them.

Then shall Your word be seen for what it is, the authority of Your throne as Your hand extends to give strength to the weak, hope to the hopeless, and mercy to the scorned as You move through their lives and in their lives in the most significant of ways.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Evening Devotion 7/7/10

Rock of Ages, Augustus M. Toplady, 1740–1778

“For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."
Proverbs 1:32-33

The blessed, wondrous grace of the Lord is made perfect in the love and the trust that we place in Him...

Consider today the wisdom of Solomon. The world is full of the simple and the foolish, those who place their trust in the temporal power and the earthly wealth that they can gain. They put their hope in the authority that they can claim over the lives of others and the delights of the flesh. They go wayward, wandering amidst this world, hoping only in what they can grab a hold of. They are complacent amidst the plight of others, letting their apathy guide them as people suffer amidst the greatest struggle.

It ventures far from the road and the path that God has intended for us. It moves in a way that forsakes the word of the Lord and the truth of His word.

Yet the blessed promise of God is that those who listen to Him, those who abide in Him, they shall live in safety and shall find the wondrous rest of His grace, far from harm.

This is an assurance to us, that if we dwell in the love that He has intended, if we show the mercy and the grace, the compassion and the hope in the lives of others that He commands of us then He shall bless our lives with rest and comfort. Our reward, it may not come in this life, it may only come to us in the next, yet it shall come as He moves in our lives and through our lives through the power of His Spirit to make good use of the faith that He has given us for the edification and the nourishment, the help and the comfort of others.

How then do you use the grace of the Lord? Are you complacent like the fool or wayward like the simple, wandering for your own ease and comfort, dwelling in your own delights? Or do you uplift the cause of others? Do you use the blessings and the gifts God has given unto you to proclaim the wondrous freedom of His love while you strive for the cause of liberty?

Throughout this world there are those who are in desperate need of our help. Captives are taken and slaves are made, people are left in poverty and destitution, bondage and oppression come to encompass their lives. Through God’s love and the blessings of His Word we are called to these people’s cause, seeking to help restore hope in their lives. How then will you hear the call of the Lord and how will you seek to strive for their greatest possible hope? How will you seek to bless them and sanctify them through the deeper love that God expects of us? Will this be the cause of your life or will you let it fall idly by the side while you seek your own personal good?

Search your heart, search your spirit, and let the mercy God has endowed upon your soul guide you. When you do, you shall find the hope He has called you too and it shall call you to bring it in the lives of others. To forsake that is to forsake the ease and the rest of the Heavenly Kingdom, those places of comfort that God calls us all to amidst the blessed reward for those who have marked their faith with deeds and their belief with action as they dwelt in the miracle of His love.

Lord, let us then be those who dwell in your ways as we strive to be agents of Your love, never forsaking Your path or Your righteousness.

Let us pray:

O Rock of My Hope, O Shield of my Life, guide me by Your promises, protect me by Your Word that I may show forth Your grace in my life by the blessings of Your transcending, encompassing love...

Let me never be wayward like the simple nor complacent like the foolish, but let me dwell in Your truth that I may rise up with the voice of authority to proclaim Your power through the nations. Lead me in Your commands and show forth Your love to my life in Your assurances that my faith shall be marked by my deeds and I shall show the courage and the endurance I so need to uplift the cause of the prisoners and the hostages, the captives and the slaves, the poor and the destitute through all the days of my life.

Show forth Your mercy O Lord that my compassion shall be marked with Your hope as I strive day by day to magnify Your blessings of freedom in the lives of those who are in need. This that I may find that my spirit is guided by Your Spirit and that my soul is guided by the commands of my Savior Christ Jesus, who commands me to reveal Your love in the lives of others in a sincere willingness to serve them in all that I am and all that I do.

Let me be a good steward of the blessings You have bestowed upon me that the plight of the oppressed and the weak, the hungry and the sick, the subjugated and the downtrodden shall be forever and always be on my lips as my hands are raised amidst their struggles and their plights. This that they may find they are restored to the blessings of liberty You have promised unto them by Your power and not my own hands as they are sanctified in Your wondrous freedom.

Then shall I know that I will come to the blessed rest and the miraculous comfort You have assured me, for I have been guided by Your ways and Your will has always been my guiding light.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 7/7/10

Christ and the Apostles, Domitilla Catacombs, Rome (4th cent.)

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
John 17:17

The blessing of God’s truth is freedom. As Christ Jesus himself reminded us, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)

As we meditate on the Word of the Lord, that purifying, sanctifying power in our lives that ransoms us from the dark captivity of sin, death and the Devil, let us then rightly and properly consider what the Word truly is. It is the promise of God for deliverance. It is a wondrous, glorious hope that He gives unto us for the power of our salvation.

Consider for a moment the assurances that we are given from above. By the love of God we are told that we shall never be failed or forsaken, that even amidst the greatest of trials and the most enduring of struggles God shall walk by our side and He shall be the rock on which we can always trust. We are told that even as all the world rises against us He shall abide with us, and through the power of His compassion and mercy there shall be none who will be able to stand against us.

In this world of sin and sorrow, where tyranny and oppression come so near at hand that is perhaps a bit hard for us to believe. We see the plight of the prisoners and the hostages, we see the struggles of those who are oppressed by the bitter hand of subjugation, we cry out for the slaves, for those who are traded like cattle amidst the greed and the corruption of the flesh. Freedom, at times, seems like a far distant concept, a far distant idea as we are left to wonder why some are forsaken to the most brutal of iniquity as the wickedness of men holds their lives in their hands.

Yet, when we abide in the truth of God’s word we are blessed with another promise, one that has carried generations of captives and prisoners to the blessings of freedom. When we cry out in anguish amidst our faith the Lord bends his ear to our calling as He hears our pleas as He raises His hand to contend with our cause. This is the sacred wonder of a loving God who stands with us.

Study then the Word and look to the promises of God’s deliverance, forget not the plight of those who find themselves in such meagre estate, but uplift them amidst the assurances of the Lord and know that, as you pray, as you hold God to His truth He shall stand with righteousness for the cause of those who find themselves dwelling in such hopeless of places. It is then that He shall raise their cause as He uplifts their spirits as He holds fast to His word, never letting His promises be broken as He weaves Himself through the course of human events in the most mystifying of ways.

Therefore let the promises of God be your guide and never let yourself be discouraged. God can no more break a promise that He has made than we can, by sheer force of our own will, dry the seas or cause the stars to fall from heaven, and we can no more comprehend the full blessings of the assurances of God than we could count the grains of sand on a beach. They are a force that are at work in this world as we raise up the cause of those in need and they show forth a magnificent grace beyond anything we could ever even begin to imagine.

Let then the word of God sanctify you, let those blessings move through you as you look to the power of His spirit and the liberty it brings and know that it shall forever and always be the truth that shall set people free as true and lasting deliverance comes into their lives and moves through their lives amidst the hope that He has for them in the grand design of His glorious grace.

Lord, grant this trust in Your word unto us all...

Let us pray:

Oh Blessed Hope of our Salvation, sanctify us in Your Word and guide us by Your presence that we may know Your truth and it shall set us free...

Oh Divine Creator who has endowed our spirits with liberty, bless us with Your grace that we may be lead by Your love to give of ourselves in the lives of others...

Show unto us the plight and the sorrow of the prisoners and the captives, reveal unto us the pain and the suffering of the hostages and the slaves, make known to us the destitution of the poor and the downtrodden and move us by the power of Your compassion to strive for their lives that we may give hope to those who struggle in adversity and trial, finding their days have been darkened by the misery that now overtakes them. This that we may make manifest Your truth within our hearts and souls, our spirits and our minds, uplifting and edifying those who find themselves in the greatest need.

Strive for the cause of those whom we plead for now O Lord. Bestow upon them Your divine grace and Your transcending mercy. Let their cause be Your cause as You show unto them that You are contending with their cause never failing them or forsaking them, never leaving them to the dark estate that so binds and chains their souls. Be beside them as we commend them unto You and, in Your time, in Your way, set them free amidst the blessings of liberty that come from the power of Your Spirit, all that they may rest in the comfort of Your love and the hope of Your assurances.

Then shall we raise our songs of praise to You for the sincere wonders and miracles You work in our lives and in the lives of those who are in any sort of need and trouble, for Your glory has been manifested in the needs of those who find themselves lost, finding them even as the grim and foggy clouds overtook them, leading them to the safety of Your blessed love.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Evening Devotion 7/6/10

The Harrowing of Hell, from the Barberini Exultet Roll, ca. AD 1087

“To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.”
Psalm 28:1

The sorrows of this world and in this world that rise amidst our lives as we find that pain comes so easily in this temporal existence. As they encompass us and overtake us we cannot help but look to the Lord, we cannot help but call out to Him and cry out to Him, knowing that the only answer to the struggles and the challenges of this age comes from His blessed hand, and His encompassing mercy.

Yet so often it seems as if God turns a deaf ear to our struggles and our plights, so often does it seem that God is not there when the darkness of this world rises to rear its ugly head. After all, as the Psalmist writes, if the Lord remains silent then we shall go down like those who have gone to the pits, finding that there is little hope left in this world. What hope is there for the prisoners and the hostages? What hope is there for the captives and the slaves? What hope do those who have been bought and sold, traded for their flesh know? What hope do the poor and the oppressed, the subjugated and the enslaved really know amidst this dark world? What rock do they have to grab a hold of when the drowning force of this world rises against them and they struggle, grasping for air and finding that they have no strength to fight the tides that have washed them so far from the safety of the shores they have always known?

There are times when the Lord’s answers, they seem far distant, far removed from our lives as we look to the world and see the pain and the suffering that this temporal existence can bring in the lives of the people. Yet even as we are left with this lingering silence that feels like it has encompassed us God is calling us, sometimes perhaps just with a whispering voice. He is telling unto us that He has never failed us nor forsaken us and He will not start now. He is telling us that He is our fortress and our rock, our ever present salvation.

It is here that we hear the Lord’s voice, it is calling us to action, it is calling us to do whatever we can for the cause of the freedom for His people. It is telling unto us to make good use of the fruits of His Spirit, and the blessings and gifts that He grants unto us to be an ever present force for righteousness in an unrighteous world that we may make manifest His love and His compassion as we show forth His grace in the lives of His people. It tells to us that God is present when we show the proper care to uplift and to edify those who find themselves in bitter estate and brutal captivity and that His will is done when we listen to His deeper message.

It is then that the voice of God is heard through the nations and through the struggles of the people.

Remember that even in the most ancient of days when God’s hand was more apparent through the transcending miracles that He performed that He still used His servants, His people to reveal His divine hope and His divine will in the world. His voice sounded through this world and in this world through the lives of His prophets and His saints, His faithful elect as they became they were sanctified by Him and brought forth for the deliverance of His people. It is here that even today we are to remember that in the love God has intended and the hope that Christ taught we are to let the Spirit move through us and in us to be the deafening voice of the Lord’s freedom against all tyranny and oppression that would inflict itself on the hearts and the souls, the spirits and the minds of the people that His liberty and justice shall reign supreme...

Lord, grant this understanding unto us all...

Let us pray:

Be not silent in our lives O Lord, be not quiet within our souls. Raise Your voice within us as Your Spirit moves through us and calls us according to Your Word and Your will...

Be not deaf to our cries O Lord, let not Your ear be impaired amidst our pleas. Guide us by the blessings and the hope of our Savior and give us the courage to show forth His love in this dark world.

As Your servants in ancient days heard Your voice and were guided to be this dark world’s light let us too be called according to Your world amidst the plights and the struggles of this present age. Let us be a force against oppression and subjugation, poverty and destitution, slavery and hurt. Let us be used in whatever ways You would have us to set to flight all captivity and bondage, serving Your will that we may break the chains that would so bind the body and the mind, the spirit and the soul.

Be with us O Lord, show us Your ways as we seek to live in deeper calling of Your word for the poor and the wounded, the hurt and the suffering. Magnify in us a courage to rise up and give unto us the endurance and the perseverance we need to be more than we are, all that we may reveal Your grace and be a force for Your freedom in the world that the blessings of liberty may encompass the lives of the people in the most significant of ways.

Let us never stop hearing Your voice O Lord until that time when freedom and justice, until Your blessings has set to flight all wickedness and oppression that would so inflict itself over the hearts and minds, the spirits and the souls of the people.

Then shall we know that we have heard Your voice and abided in Your calling as we have moved in humility according to Your righteousness to stand for those who have been so abandoned to hopelessness, all that hope may be restored in their lives and Your grace shall bring them to the safe shore of love.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 7/6/10

“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.”
Zechariah 14:8

Even in the parched heat of the summer as the sun bears down on it, even in the extreme cold of the winter as the ground freezes all around it nothing shall stop the stream of living water as it flows from the west to the east and from the east to the west, pouring forth through the world and in the world as it meets with the sea and moves throughout the world. Even as the summers blister and the winters bluster, it is the flood of goodness and mercy that forever moves as a washing current that lives amidst a perpetual spring, a perpetual rebirth of that quenches the thirst of our spirits and our souls.

Look then to the evil that seeks to set the world ablaze, to the captivity and the slavery, the bondage and the oppression, the poverty and the destitution that sets the world on fire. Look then to the iniquity of human trafficking and the political subjugation, to those who would take hostages and would trade in flesh as if it were to be bought and sold for their own wicked purposes as they seek to burn the spirit to cinders, leaving nothing but dust and ash and destruction in their wake. There power and authority is nothing, for though they rise up with scorching heat the living water of the Lord washes through, rising like a cleansing tide as it shows that there is no force, there is no evil that can withstand the might and the courage of that our God of deliverance moves with.

Pure and holy, this water is never corrupted by this world, and just as the summer cannot dry it up and the winter cannot freeze it no power of this world can dam it up. It is the Lord’s righteousness. Powers and principalities may rise against it, nations and armies may stand opposed to it, yet in the end it always shall claim the day as it offers hope to all of those who have found themselves muddied by this world, as it offers relief to all of those who have been burned by the unrighteousness of this age.

Let us then place our hope and our trust in this steady and faithful source of the Lord’s blessings as God gives so freely and richly unto us, let us never place our trust in the murky, muddied waters of this temporal existence, nor let us see the flames of this age and find that they blind us to the truth and the love that our God has for us. By His power and His authority let your hope be restored by the thirst quenching waters of our Heavenly Father as Christ Jesus, that blessed lamb, leads you to the streams of His love and the Holy Spirit flows in you with every taste you take of those wonders and miracles.

Be strong and of good courage, knowing that the power that this world uses to set this world ablaze with shall not stand, for nothing can stop the streams of God’s love and Christ’s mercy as the Spirit flows through and in this world for the blessed freedom and the encompassing liberty of true deliverance, that deliverance that can only come when we are washed in the blessed, consecrated waters of the Lord.

Then shall all captivity and bondage be set to flight as love, mercy and compassion arise, springing forth in the spirits of the prisoners and the hostages, the slaves and the persecuted, the poor and the oppressed as hope once more comes into their lives.

Blessed be the name of God for that.

Let us pray:

Our help O blessed Lord comes from You, by Your hand do all blessings flow as a stream through our souls, washing clean our spirits with a flood of love and hope that sanctifies us in the compassion of Your ways...

Our strength O blessed Lord comes from You, by Your mouth do we find the hope of our hearts as You offer unto us the streams of Your living water that they may guide us in Your righteousness that shall never freeze or go dry...

Unto You then do we give the honor and the glory as songs of praise and joy come forth from our lips, magnifying Your compassion as You make manifest Your mercy within our lives by the grace that is offered through the power of Your Spirit.

As the world comes O Lord then let Your washing flood flow as it has flowed through us, sweeping away all evil and wickedness, pushing away all darkness and chaos, putting out the fires of chaos that would set this world ablaze. Show forth the flowing waters of Your righteousness as You reveal Your love and Your hope in the lives of all prisoners and hostages, all captives and slaves throughout the world. Move through their lives for the cause of their freedom that they may be taken to the safe shores of Your blessed and encompassing rest. Sanctify them and purify them and give unto them the hope that has so eluded their lives.

Be the fount of their every blessing and let Your living waters move through them that they may know that while the world rises against them You shall always contend with them, surrounding them with the blessings of Your compassion. Then, in Your time, flow around them, carrying them with the tides of Your love to the blessings of Your freedom, all that they may know the hope and the love that You have for them.

Then shall we see the righteousness of Your ways and know the blessings of Your love as You show the miracles of Your encompassing, transcending hope.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Evening Devotion 6/30/10

“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?”
Psalm 27:1

Blessed be the name of our Lord, our light and our salvation. Praise be the name of our God, the stronghold and the fortress of our lives...

What fear might we have when the power of our God is on our side? What shall we be afraid of when the same mighty Lord who delivered the children of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh, who tore down the mighty walls of Jericho and handed the land of Promise to the sons and daughters of Abraham and Isaac, stand by our side? What terrors shall claim authority over us when we look to the hope of the God who, for us and our salvation, sent His only Son to lead captivity captive and ransom us from the greatest spiritual imprisonment and bondage that could have claimed our hearts and our souls?

Yes, we live in a world of hurt and sorrow, a world where pain and sorrow come so near at hand. We see the chains that bind the prisoners and the hostages as slavery and persecution, oppression and subjugation come so near at hand. We see the darkness that comes from poverty and destitution as it rips the dignity from the lives of the people. It just seems as if there is so much to fear, there is so much to be afraid of, so much that should keep us awake at night, terrified of closing our eyes for the nightmares that may come in this world of sin and iniquity.

Yet when we grab hold of the promises that have been given to God we realize that, come what may, come what must the will of the Lord shall be done on earth as it is in heaven, and that, whatever this world may bring, we shall see our vindication either in this world or the next. It is a liberating force for our spirits and our souls that gives us the strength and the power to do more, to do what needs to be done, great and small, for the cause of the freedom of God’s people, for the cause of freedom for those who have been made to suffer in the grimmest of estates.

Cling therefore to the blessed assurances of strength and hope that come from the love that the Lord has for you and make manifest the grace that is the compassion of His Spirit, let that mercy guide you knowing there is nothing to fear in this life. Use then that courage to be a blessing in the lives of the poor and the downtrodden, the destitute and the weak, use it to fight for the freedom of the slaves and the hostages, using whatever gifts and blessings God has given you in Your life for the greater calling of the blessed miracle of His love, knowing that He shall forever and always stand with You through all the days of your life.

It shall be then that you shall know that your faith has its firmest foundation, built on the love and the promises, the hope and the assurances of a loving God who forever and always contends with the cause of His people, never failing or forsaking them regardless of what this world may seek to do.

Lord, grant this blessed faith, this wondrous hope, this divine miracle unto us all...

Let us pray:

O Lord, let us dwell in Your ever present grace,
Smile upon us, show unto us Your blessed face,
That life and love shall forever mark our place
As amidst this world we shall run the race
With Your divine nature to set our pace
That bondage shall no longer our souls to trace.

O Lord, let us abide in Your abundant love
Lift unto us Your face from above
That we may sing our songs and praises of
Your miracles that lift us like a dove
To the cause of Your blessed peace above
That we may seek Your freedom’s love.

O Lord, let us rest in Your divine liberty,
Set to flight all this world’s captivity,
Let all see the strength of Your ability
To set to flight all this day’s iniquity
As faith abides in all the hearts activity
That slavery shall never be our proclivity.

O Lord, let us give You blessed praise,
Let Your name be ours to forever raise,
Let Your Spirit set our souls ablaze
With the love of Christ our precious rays
That we may worship You in all our ways
Knowing that You shall forever guard our days.


Mid-Day Devotion 6/30/10

“The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.”
Zechariah 14:9

We look and we see the temporal authority that asserts itself in the world. So often it just seems to baffle us, how the wicked rise to oppress the poor and the weak. Subjugation and slavery seem to come so near at hand as darkness strokes the faces of the innocent and life is held without worth or intrinsic value. The meaning that our Creator God assigns to it is wiped from the spirit as the heart is broken amidst the burdens that the back is made to carry.

We look to the promises of a merciful God, a loving God, one who promises His hand shall forever be raised for the deliverance of His people, one who has lifted His eyes to look upon the face of a slave race and who carried them from the most brutal captivity, we listen to the assurances of a blessed Savior, a wondrous Messiah, one who has assured us that He would lift the grim yoke of our burdens from us, one who ransomed us from sin, death and the Devil and we wonder to ourselves how could it be that they let this persist. Day by day we hear the names and we struggle to feel the plight of the hostages and the prisoners, the captives and the slaves knowing it is far beyond our meagre ability to understand. We feel the pain of the sick and the poor, the disenfranchised and the downtrodden and our hearts go out to them as we seek to uplift them even in these, their darkest days. Yet we cannot help but feel that nagging question in the back of our mind that asks why does God let this continue?

In a world of darkness and sin unrighteousness shall always rise up to rear its head. With its sting it shall forever bring death and destruction, hurt and hardship as it plagues the lives of the people in the most significant of ways that seeks to break the spirit and the soul. Yet, these days shall not stand forever. The promise of God is that there shall be a time when He shall rise up and lead all captivity captive, bringing an end to the sorrow and the pain that so destroys. Yes, these days may be long and the trials of it may be great, but even these things too shall come to pass amidst the hope offered to us by our God.

It then becomes ours, as those called to imitate God and the love that He has intended for us, to seek to create that same world that He so promises us in the Word of Scripture, knowing that though we may be imperfect in our sin, love covers a multitude of iniquities when given for the edification and the spiritual nourishment, the blessed freedom and the wondrous hope of our God.

Seek then the Kingdom of God, striving to uplift the poor and the downtrodden, the slaves and the captives amidst the love God has intended for us, knowing that it may still persist but that when we strive towards its destruction it shall never be given safe haven or sanctuary. It is then that we work towards a world that God has intended in the love and compassion, the grace and the mercy He has intended for us, one that only knows His blessed and Holy name.

Let us pray:

In mercy and grace guide Your children O Lord
Upon their lives no wickedness afford
Give unto them rest from death and the sword
That by Your light they shall find their chord
With songs of praise on their souls so poured
That by Your love they shall be forever adored.

In love and compassion guard Your brethren O Christ
Let not evil move through them that they may be enticed
By your grace let their strength be sufficed
That they may know that Your life was forever priced
As the atonement given through all that was sacrificed,
That bondage shall never the spirit shall heist.

In hope move Your People O Holy Ghost,
Let Yours be the strength on which they boast,
Uplift them, edify them O You Heavenly Host
That they may stand firm amidst this worldly post
And find the strength until they reach the heavenly coast,
The blessings of the Lord to lead them most.

We praise Your name blessed Three in One
We raise our songs to amidst Your blessed sun,
That even before our lives have begun
In divine purpose Your love has run
Through our souls and has forever spun
The grace that transcends our lives until the race is done.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Evening Devotion 6/29/10

“Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.’”
Exodus 8:28

Let us once more meditate on the abiding lessons of our deliverer God, who, in the most ancient of days, in the most abiding of struggles, lifted high the children of Israel to remove from them the strangle of Pharaoh.

There were few scenarios where the mighty king of Egypt would let the children of Israel have their freedom. Even as the first of the plagues befell him and his people he remained defiant. The hand of God stretched over his lands he would still refuse to let the slaves go. Even as he prepared to bargain it wasn’t much of one. He would keep them close. Close enough to raise his hand against, close enough that he could send his army against them once more, close enough that once the destruction that was now overtaking Egypt had passed he could once more bind the people with that brutal yoke of oppression.

Yet, when the face of wickedness rises and iniquity robs people of their freedom, of that liberty that the Lord endows all of His creation with their is no compromise, there are no deals to be bargained for, all that is left is to listen to the deep, abiding voice of the Lord and to obey.

This is the love that God has for His people, this is the hope that He offers unto them, that even as captivity and bondage come so near at hand the Lord is never content to just stop half way and call it enough. He is never willing to live with just half of a solution or to let His people dwell in a land or a place or a time when trouble will so quickly befall them as soon as their oppressors believe that God’s back is turned, no longer looking at what they are doing. He does not stop, He is not finished until finally He has moved in such a way as to bring them to the resting place of promise and hope that He has assured them of through His transcending, encompassing word.

Unto us it also offers a deeper understanding and a wondrous lesson. It tells to us that to live in the love and the compassion that God has intended for His people we need to push forward and run the race with endurance, we should be unwilling to compromise with the lives of the slaves and the hostages, struggling, pushing forward, whatever the cost, whatever the pain until the race is run and the struggle is finally behind us. We should be unwilling to stop until the cause of freedom and liberty is moved throughout this world and the scourge of slavery is finally set to flight in the most significant of ways as the lost and the hurt, the pained and the sorrow filled are given a lasting hope in the integrity God has assigned to their lives.

If we truly wish to be imitators of God, if we truly wish to be followers of our deliverer Jesus Christ this should be the transcending, encompassing love that forever guides our hearts throughout this life and in this life until we finally reach the blessed end of the challenges of this age and move towards the places God has intended for us to take His people.

Let us pray:

Unto you O Lord, unto you do we place all our trust, unto you do we give all of our hope and our faith is made manifest in our hearts and in our souls the encompassing, transcending blessings that you give unto us in your word. As we meditate on your promises, we will look to the deliverance that you have given in the past, we look to the deliverance you have given unto the saints and apostles, to the prophets and the kings, unto those slaves who are bound in the most brutal of iniquity, as the sting of the whip cut through their backs, and forced them to cry out in such bitter anguish. We look for the places of promise and rest you took those children to. We pray for the same miracle, we pray that you hold true to your promises O Lord to be besides those who need deliverance, to offer yourself to those who need mercy. Guide, protect, and love your children as you have told us you will. And there, in your time, in your way, bring them to the blessed air of freedom, to the encompassing mercy of your hope, as you guide them to those places, those pastures, those green fields of your love, where finally hope shall be restored to those who believe that only hopelessness has come into their lives. Dear Lord, set iniquity to flight, rise up and swallow it whole, let no compromise come but only the full blessings of your mercy. In the name of your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the Kingdom, one God, world without end. Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 6/29/10

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh, An Allegory of the Dinteville Family, Hans Holbein, 1537

“Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.”
Exodus 7:12

Let us, for a moment, meditate on the miracles of the Lord and consider rightly the nature of God’s deliverance as the hands of evil are raised against His people.

Nothing was left to the children of Israel but faith... Faith in God, faith in the promise of deliverance, faith that the time would come when they would rise up against the hands of their slave masters and throw off the grim bondage of oppression and slavery and find hope had once more been restored to their lives.

Yet, for how long? As one generation passed to another and hundreds of years had passed the longing, burning question of their souls had to be how long? How long would they be left, how long would they be made to feel the sting of the whip, their backs breaking under the forced labor of being pushed without mercy or even pity? How long could they endure all they had been forced to endure?

It is here, with those questions amidst our hearts, that we see the miracle of Aaron’s staff.

Before the might of all of this world Moses and Aaron stood in the court of Pharaoh. Two lowly slaves against the power and the authority of an empire that made the world tremble as their armies marched like an unstoppable swarm. Two lowly slaves against the wisdom and the enlightenment of an empire that stood at the pinnacle of science and technology, knowledge and mysticism, marvelled at with awe on the lips of all whom it encountered. Yet, for all that it was it could not but be swallowed whole by the power of the living God of Abraham and Isaac.

This world’s might and authority, its wisdom and enlightenment throws down its rods and its staffs and, as it does, it surrounds our own with what seems like such a triumphant force, with such victorious numbers that it seems almost impossible for us to be able to survive its attack. Yet, the Lord of deliverance and the God of freedom, our Heavenly Father moves in the most significant of ways to set to flight the strength of this world and show unto us that it is all in vain if it is not guided by faith, love, compassion and mercy. Through Christ Jesus the sin that it brings is swallowed whole until finally there is nothing left except the lowly staff of a slave lying there, a slave ready to lead his people to the blessed air of liberty in the hope that only the Lord our God can bring.

This is why, as we look to the captivity and bondage of this world we must look to the hand of God for deliverance. It perhaps starts with the smallest of miracles but it becomes the most consuming of loves that He shows for those who languish in the deepest of struggles and He magnifies His love and His light in the lives of His people.

Look then to the staff of the Lord, look to that which He throws down in the fight against sin and iniquity and know that it shall always and forever claim the authority and the might regardless of the power and the strength that this world may show. It is then that our trust has the firmest of foundations and the greatest of optimism as we know that our deliverance and the deliverance of the enslaved and the imprisoned is coming.

Let us pray:

The strength of our heart is the faith that we abide in as we look to O Lord...

The courage of our soul is the love that we dwell in as we hear You O Lord...

Unto You do we place all of our hope, unto You do we give all of our trust as we look to the abiding hope of Your transcending, encompassing promises, those blessed assurances of Your wondrous Word. Show unto us the mercy of Your hand and the compassion of Your heart as we seek and implore Your grace in the lives of Your people.

As You have freed the Asian Glory, bringing that crew once more to the hope of Your freedom after their five months of captivity, show that grace unto the 2 German aid workers taken in Darfur, the British aid worker in Chad, and the 19 crew members of the Golden Blessing, all now in the grim estate of dark bondage. Rise up Your head like in those ancient days and show forth Your love in the lives of Your people, swallowing whole the bitter bondage and the brutal slavery that so encompasses the lives of these people. Pour forth Your blessings in their lives and let not their days be marked with darkness, move through them and in them to bring them to the deeper assurances of Your encompassing word as You guide and protect them, raising Your rod and Your staff for them.

Let all that rise against them be set to flight and let Your hope move through them and in them as You give forth the richest blessings in their lives in even these brutal days of hurt and hardship that so threaten to devour them.

Then shall songs of praise be lifted to Your Holy name as You give Your people the courage to rise above and the hope to make it through in the encompassing mercy of Your blessed name.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Evening Devotion 6/7/10

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.”
John 10:28

When we stand in the promises of Christ, when we flee to the Lord for our blessed refuge and find our shelter in the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no safer place for us to be, nor is there a more secure hope in which we can rest amidst. In life it guides our way, in dead it is our wondrous peace and through all of our days it is the assurance of a transcending love that will deliver us from all that this temporal existence shall try to wage against us.

Where then do we place our confidence?

As we live in a world of bitter captivity and brutal bondage, where slavery and oppression, poverty and destitution come so near at hand amidst the lives of the people, where shall we find our optimism? As we live in a world where tyranny runs amuck, bringing chaos and darkness as it holds life to be cheap and without any intrinsic value, where shall we look to find our rescue and our release? Shall it be in the things of this world that so often fail us in our hour of need or shall it be in the promises of the divine which assure us of the wondrous blessings of a loving Heavenly Father who cares for us through all of our days and all of our struggles?

When we build our hope on Christ, when we lay our burdens at His feet we know the answer to that question. There is only one true deliverance, there is only one true hope and it is one that the child of God can never be snatched away from or pluck away amidst. It is the transcending, encompassing promise of our redemption and our vindication that comes from the hand of our God who shall forever contend with our cause.

Perhaps we may not always understand how it works or the way that it’s supposed to work out. There are times when our peace seems fleeting and the challenges lay before us. During these times we may look to the promises of God and wonder where they are. Yet, as we do, we can draw comfort and peace in the knowledge that they are still there, they are just there giving us the perseverance and the endurance we need to run the race amidst a world of sin and sorrow until we reach that glorious end unto our blessed life everlasting. It is then that we shall see the manifestation of all of God’s promises and all of Christ’s blessings as we are given to the glory of the Almighty and drawn close to Him for the complete healing of our spirit and our soul.

Trust not then in this world, but in God. Find Your hope in Him even in the deepest of struggles and the darkest of days, for through Christ we shall move steadfast in this world guided by that blessed light of our Lord as He moves in our lives and through our lives to carry us to the places we need to be that we may never be plucked from the promises of His blessed hope and His wondrous assurances.

Lord, grant this unto us all...

Let us pray:

In mercy manifested let Your face shine upon the lives of Your children O Lord, let the promises of Your Word and the miracles of Christ’s deliverance encompass them as it gives testimony to a loving God who shall always contend with the cause of His people.

In hopes divine revelation let Your hand be raised for the cause of Your people O Lord, let the assurances of Your Word and the works of Your Spirit move through them as it gives witness to a God who shall always stand steadfast that His people may be ransomed from the hand of wickedness...

In love’s miraculous stand let Your cause be the cause of Your redeemed O Lord, let the wonders of Your righteous move through the lives of those who find themselves in captivity and bondage, slavery and oppression that it shall show forth the compassion of a wondrous God who never lets evil triumph...

In glorious strength move through this world for Your creation O Lord, let the nations be amazed by the workings of Your hands as You uplift the cause of the persecuted and the imprisoned, the ransomed and the afflicted, that they shall behold Your workings and praise Your name forever...

In amazing grace show Yourself throughout the plights and the struggles that lay ahead O Lord, let us all marvel at the perseverance and the endurance that comes by You and through You as You move in the world for the sick and the afflicted, the poor and the destitute, and all whose life is full of woe and suffering...

In joyful psalm and glorious praise shall we then lift Your name on High O Lord, letting Your hope guide us, Your miracles strengthen us and Your wonders give us courage even amidst this lost and fallen world as we run the race to Your perfect end.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Mid-Day Devotion 6/7/10

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.”
Leviticus 26:12

What a divine wonder... What a miraculous blessing... Our God, the living God of deliverance and mercy, revealed unto us in the love that He makes manifest in our lives, lives amongst us and walks amidst us. It is His faithful promise and His glorious devotion to us that He shall never fail us or forsake us, that wherever we shall go He shall be there beside us, following us, yet leading us in even the greatest of battles that this life has in store for us.

As we look to the assurances of God’s encompassing Word, to the life of Christ, our Lord and Savior, and to the works of the Spirit we know this to be the transcending, encompassing phenomenon of our Heavenly Father.

Look about you, and marvel in amazement at His creation, of all that He has formed with His hand and all that He has sustained in this world. Look to the intricacies of life and the sensations of this temporal existence, behold the care that He gives to the smallest of that which He has made and then consider for yourself how more He loves us, those that He wove together in His image with an intent towards the divine. Look to all that is there to behold and consider the miracles He has worked throughout this world to know the love and the compassion of His hand. Look to your own life and how you were lost in sin, and consider the ransom that He paid for your deliverance through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.

How could we not find ourselves in awe of the blessings that come when we realize that we are His people and that He is always contending with our cause?

If this then is the mercy He makes manifest in our lives how much more confidence can we have that He is there amidst all captivity and bondage that occurs throughout this world? He has already shown Himself to be the God of freedom as He rescues His people from their every woe and struggle. How much more then does He do to rise up and show His face in the lives of those who are held in grim estate and bitter bondage throughout this world? How much more does He do when our cries go up for those who find themselves in such meagre places of darkness and woe as He holds steadfast to His promises to hear the cries of His people and answer the yearning of their spirits and their souls?

Look therefore to the promises of a loving God, of a wondrous Lord who has assured us of our ever step and draw your confidence and your courage from Him as He guides your way and makes straight your path. Lift your prayers to Him, intercede on behalf of those in any sort of need, and know that He shall answer those prayers in the deepest love and the transcending compassion of His encompassing mercy as He shows forth His grace in the lives of His people.

This is our God, the God who shall always walk beside us, declaring us to be His people as He moves through our lives and in our lives. Blessed be His Holy Name for that.

Let us pray:

Come thou O Lord and be our fount of every blessing, let Your light and Your love guide our way...

Come thou O Lord and be our freedom mounting as Your hope shall forever be our stay...

Whisper unto us Your promises, let us feel the Spirit move within our lives as we draw our comfort and our peace from Your steadfast devotion as we look to Your Word as our sacred trust and our blessed heritage, knowing You stand as the same God as You have always been through the course of the lives of Your people. Let then Your hope create in the lives of Your children a wondrous courage in even these the dark days of trial and tribulation that lay before them.

Throughout this temporal existence there is captivity and bondage that works such wickedness in the lives of Your people, there is slavery and oppression that dwells amidst an unrighteousness that runs so contrary to Your will. It moves and it weaves through the lives of the people in the most significant of ways as it causes them so much pain and suffering.

Move in the lives of all prisoners and hostages, all captives and slaves O Lord, work amidst their lives Your cure that they may find Your strength as they see Your blessed light and know that through it all and in it all You walk beside them. Shower them with the blessings of Your Holy Spirit that they may find courage and perseverance, endurance and strength even during these deepest of days of struggle that they face, all that they may be lead by Your hand to once more look upon the bright shining sun of Your freedom as liberty’s warmth encompasses their lives.

Then shall we rejoice in the wonders of Your workings as we see the blessings You bring forth in the lives of Your people as You answer every yearning, every cry with such a wondrous love that we could not have even imagined.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Evening Devotion 6/3/10

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”
Proverbs 4:18

What is the path that we look to for our lives? Is it the road of least resistance that marks our days with ease and comfort as we look to ourselves and our own needs? Or is it a path of righteousness that guides us on a trek of spirit and the soul that we may look to the needs of others and offer of ourselves that they may journey with us to the place of God’s great comfort and richest blessings dwell?

In faith we have to ask ourselves that question as we consider the cause and the course of the direction we embark upon in this life. After all we live in a world where there are so many trials, so many challenges that rise to rob the innocence and the peace from the lives of others around us. Captivity and bondage come so easily as oppression and persecution, poverty and destitution, hatred and tyranny leave a scar on the face of our humanity. During these times we need to know if we are willing to give ourselves over completely to the Lord our God that we may, as imitators of Christ, uplift and edify our fellow man in their hour of deepest need and darkest tribulation. We need to know that we are willing to do all that we can to dawn a new day in their lives that will shine brightly as it casts the veil from their eyes to show them the glorious dawning of God’s love in their lives.

So often though it just seems as if there is too much...

There is too much pain and sorrow, too much hurt and hardship, too much despair and suffering as unrighteousness rises up to stroke us with a cold hand of death. During these times its hard to remain on the path of the Lord’s love as we find that our courage is fleeting and our virtue moves far from us.

These are the moments when we need to grasp all the more tightly to the promises of the Lord and to the wonders of His love given amidst the blessed assurances of His Word. After all He has paved our path and He has set the road ahead of us and, amidst that, He never fails us or forsakes us, He never abandons us even when we see the stumbling blocks in front of us. Instead He gives so freely to us according to His love and His mercy as it moves through our souls strengthening our spirits for the tasks and the journeys that lay there before us.

Trust therefore in the Lord and seek His path, seek the road of righteousness and hope in love for others, uplifting them and edifying them in all of their struggles and all of their plights. Make manifest the light of compassion and show forth the dawning of charity in your heart as you give yourself over to God and strive to live in His ways in service to others that You shall always travel down the path that He has for you. It is then that you will know you have been all that He has intended for you to be and that you have been guided and protected in the life that He has intended for you to live in love for your fellow man.

Lord, grant this unto us all...

Let us pray:

Show us O Lord unto Your path
And remove from us all thy wrath
Guide us forever in Your way
And let Your love be our stay
That we may in mercy unending
Offer ourselves to one another tending.

Show us O Lord unto Your road
And take from us captivity’s load
Guide us in the hope of Your Son
That we may this race today run
In the truth that abides in Your Word
That bondage shall soon be cured

Show us O Lord Your blessed hope
And take from us all of that which grope
At our life and our love with such pain
That upon us unrighteousness does rain
That we may find the care of the free
As Your love uplifts us steadfastly

Show us O Lord unto Your path
That from You liberty shall last
And captivity shall never hold
And Your truth shall be told
Amidst the places You do dwell
Where bondage shall forever fail.

Show us O Lord and we shall praise
With songs and anthems we will raise
In truth that we shall find in Your Son
As our weight is removed in our run
And truth becomes our glad refrain
Darkness ne’er to us take us again...


Mid-Day Devotion 6/3/10

Queen Esther, Betsy Porter, 2002

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

There were few circumstances where Esther would have risen to the place and the esteem that she rose to. Had not the events around the royal court of Persia wove the way they had, had not they played out the way that they had, she would have faded into the background amidst the palpably obscure. Her name would have perhaps been soon forgotten with her passing from this world to the next. Yet, during a time of oppression when persecution came so near at hand, God needed a woman of strength and courage, of virtue and valour to carry out the protection of His people against a brutal captivity and a bitter slavery that would claim them as a race and as people.

If one were to ask Esther, she was not the person for the task. There had to be someone stronger, someone more courageous, more devoted in their faith than she was, someone who could take on the weight of the world and not feel it crush them underneath it. She was not the woman that He was looking for, she was not the woman who could deliver her people, and it seemed like a distant concept to her that she ever would be.

Yet, even when Esther didn’t have faith in herself, God had enough faith in her for the both of them. As He had with Moses and Joshua, as He had with David and Solomon, even with all of their flaws and faults, He would mold her into the leader that she needed to be, the leader that He needed for her to be.

And so it is with God...

When God calls on us to rise above situations and circumstances and to be the force for good, the force for His love in a lost and fallen world, He looks beyond who we think we are, the limitations and the restrictions we place on ourselves to the person that He knows we can be. He does so with a divine love that raises us above, uplifting us and making us the right people for the times and the state of affairs that He calls us to. He makes us better, stronger people than we ever hoped to be as His grace is made manifest in our lives and His love is made perfect in our hearts.

Looking to a world where there is captivity and bondage, slavery and genocide, oppression and persecution, poverty and destitution we must realize that though we are called in different ways, we are, as Esther was, still called to work towards an end of suffering and sorrow, to uplift and to edify others before the nations that the sacredness of that which God has created might be seen for the value and the worth that He assigned to it. We may not understand what God intends for us or what He wants us to do, but when we look to the throne of God and the plan that He has, we know that He shall reveal all to us and that He will make His love perfect in us.

Trust therefore in the Lord, never remain silent against injustice, work for the relief and the deliverance of those held in dark estate and know that God has placed you in this world at this time for a reason, for the betterment of others during these trying times of trial amidst this temporal existence. It is then that you will be given the courage and the faith, the hope and the virtue to be more than you ever thought possible as you strive for the cause of His love amidst the liberty that He has promised.

Lord, grant this unto us all....

Let us pray:

Work within us O Lord towards Your cure
That in Your love we may endure
Strengthen us in Your blessings pure
That we may reject the dark allure
And stand in You steadfast and sure.

Work within us O Lord to show Your way
Guard Your children amidst their stay
That in this world’s bitter array
As bondage throws them in the fray
We may see Your blessed dawning day.

Work within us O Lord to set us free
Protect Your people and let them be
The blessed creation to which we see
The manifestation of Your love ably
Moved against all captivity.

Work within us O Lord and we shall sing
Of the blessed Son of our mighty King
Who came in earthly form ransoming
Us that forever shall liberty ring
In the gentle love of Your tender moving.