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.