Christian Reflection and Prayer

Meditations and Prayers

2014/4/21

PASSING THE TORCH

@ 08:28 AM (2 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Luke 24:36-49.

TEXT: They shall come and proclaim His righteousness to
a people yet unborn, that He has done it (Psalm 22:31).

When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His Twelve
and to many other disciples. Luke tells us, "He presented
Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs,
appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the
kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). These apostles boldly shared
the things they had heard and seen, and the church grew
tremendously under the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit.

By the Spirit's inspiration and guidance, the apostles
recorded Jesus' words and deeds in the four Gospels
(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and in various letters and
writings of the New Testament. Through that word they
continue to speak of all the Lord Jesus accomplished for us.
They wanted to be sure that generations yet to come would
know the truth about Jesus' great mission of salvation.

You and I were among that people yet unborn when these
great events were accomplished for us. Yet God's Word has
come down to us, proclaiming God's righteousness, and
assuring us that our Lord Jesus Christ has done everything
necessary for our salvation. Comforted, strengthened and at
peace with God through this Good News, we cannot help but
go and proclaim God's righteous plan throughout the whole earth.

Unless Jesus comes first, you and I will also lay in the dust of
death one day awaiting the resurrection of the dead won by
Jesus Christ our Lord. May God work in us to go throughout the
world and faithfully share the Gospel. May we do this so that
many generations yet unborn may put their trust in Jesus Christ
and pass on His great salvation until the day the Lord Jesus
returns with all His angels.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, to You belongs all praise and glory. Continue
to bless and guide us Your people, that we may spread Your
story to a people yet unborn. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/20

ALIVE IN CHRIST!

@ 09:13 AM (3 days, 14 hours ago)
Scripture:

The Resurrection

28 Early on Sunday morning,[a] as the new day was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the
Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat
on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as
white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw
him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he
said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said
would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And
now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from
the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see
him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very
frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give
the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus
met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his
feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be
afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see
me there.” (Matthew 28:1-10)
 
Reflection:

There are times in our lives when fear grips us and doubt clouds
are minds. We go through seasons where our present
circumstances and situations can make us forget Jesus's
promise to us.
 
In our text, Mary Magdalene and Mary came to the tomb looking
for Jesus body and, seen the empty tomb, they became afraid..
The women did not see the tomb as a fulfillment of Jesus promise
revealed to them.

But Jesus, through his angel, reassured them just as he reassures
us of what he promised-that "just as He said," He has risen. On
this Resurrection Day, Jesus invites us to come and experience
him through His death (v.6) and resurrection without fear (v.10)

Prayer:

Resurrected God, whatever the circumstances, help us to stay
faithful in the truth of your death and resurrection, knowing that
you are always with us  AMEN!

(The Covenant Home Alter, author, Darrick Tam)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that
whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that
the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17)

HE IS RISEN!  HALLELUJAH!
 

2014/4/19

WHETHER LIVING OR DEAD

@ 08:19 AM (4 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Psalm 23.

TEXT: All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before
Him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who
could not keep himself alive (Psalm 22:29).

This passage from Psalm 22 speaks of all who worship and
bow before Jesus our victorious King and Lord. All believers
prosper under His rich blessings, which include partaking of
His body and blood in Communion, as well as worshipping,
praising and glorifying Him who has done such great things
for us.

This day after Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, we
remember how His body rested in a borrowed tomb. Christ's
victory gives hope to us when we are going down into the dust,
soon to sleep in death for a short while just as He did, awaiting
the resurrection of our bodies. "Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).

But this is not just a day for the living or the dying. Even those
who were unable to keep themselves alive, those believers who
died and whose bodies now lie in the grave, their spirits also
bow before Him and worship in His presence. They too wait the
day of the resurrection of their bodies, but they dwell in the
presence of God our Father and the Lamb, Jesus Christ. "They
shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not
strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst
of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to
springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from
their eyes" (Revelation 7:16-17).

THE PRAYER:

 Lord Jesus Christ, we praise and worship You as we look
forward to seeing You face to face, bowing before You with all
the saints already worshipping before Your throne. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/18

OUR VICTORIOUS WARRIOR AND KING

@ 11:52 AM (5 days, 11 hours ago)
OUR VICTORIOUS WARRIOR AND KING

Read Psalm 2.

TEXT: For kingship belongs
to the Lord, and He rules over the nations
(Psalm 22:28).

On this day when we remember Jesus'
death on the cross, we often think of Him
as the Victim. We think of His pain and
agony, the enemies that taunted, mocked
and ridiculed Him, as well as His bitter
suffering and death for our sins.
 
But there is another side to Good Friday.
It focuses on Christ as the great Victor. He
is likened to young David, carrying only
a sling and a few smooth stones to engage
in a battle to the death against the giant
Goliath, coated in heavy armor,standing
behind his shield, arrogantly shaking his
spear and sword.

On this day Jesus our King goes up all
alone to battle to the death with the giant
Satan, rattling his weapons of sin, death
and hell. Jesus comes as the King and
Defender of all nations. He stumbles along
the road, beaten and battered. He carries
no weapons, no shield, only the rough cross
piece.

Our Hero looks weak, helpless, and easily
defeated as He falls to His knees again and
again, but in His suffering and death He
crushes the serpent's head. He frees us
from God's wrath, from dire punishments on
earth and in hell.

At the end of the battle He stands alone --
Satan, sin, death and hell have all fallen --
 vanquished, crushed, defeated. In three days
He will rise from the grave in majesty and power,
with complete and total victory. There can be no
doubt -- He truly is the King of Kings and Ruler
over all the nations.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for Your great
victory over all our enemies. Lead our celebration
of that great deliverance as we await the day we
will see You face to face -- our
victorious Warrior and King. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)
 

2014/4/17

DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME

@ 08:41 AM (6 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Psalm 77.

TEXT: All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to
the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship
before You (Psalm 22:27).

Tonight is an annual reminder of our Lord's Last Supper,
the beginning of His passion and suffering for our sins. And
right here at the start we begin with a special gift of Jesus,
as recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25:

"The Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took
bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said,
'This is My body which is for you. DO THIS IN
REMEMBRANCE OF ME.'
 
"In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying,
'This cup is the new testament in My blood. Do this, as often
as you drink it, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.'"

An important part of receiving Holy Communion is
remembering what God did for us through Jesus Christ -- how
this very body was given into death for our sins, and this
precious blood was poured out for us. We remember His bitter
suffering and death, and the great victory He won over all our
enemies.

Whenever we are in turmoil, in doubt, fearful, or even on the
brink of death, we can remember that Jesus Christ has carried
our sins and won our salvation. Then in gratitude and joy we
spread the story, so all the families of the nations may come
before the Lord in peace, praise and worship -- and always
remember Him -- recalling what He has done for us all.

THE PRAYER:

 Lord Jesus Christ, this night we remember Your great sacrifice
as we eat Your body in the bread, and drink Your blood in the
wine. Cleanse us from our sins, strengthen us in faith, and
deliver us from all our foes. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)
 

2014/4/16

COME AND EAT

@ 08:18 AM (7 days, 15 hours ago)
Read Exodus 24:1-11.

TEXT: The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who
seek Him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live
forever (Psalm 22:26).

Whenever God's people were in distress in Old Testament
times, they would pray for help. When the Lord delivered
them they brought a sacrifice called a "peace offering."
In every other offering the whole animal was burnt on the
altar. But this sacrifice was unique because the
worshipper was given a portion of the sacrifice to eat.
This food was God's pledge and promise He had forgiven
the sinner and was now in full fellowship.

Tomorrow night Christians gather to celebrate how God
delivered us from the affliction of sin, death, hell and Satan
by sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ, the great Passover
 Lamb. And like the peace offering of old, God gives us
some of that precious sacrifice for us to eat and drink in
His presence. He shares the very body and blood of Jesus
Christ given and shed for our salvation.

When we eat and drink this great Supper, we are forgiven
all our sins, delivered from death and hell, and united in
fellowship with God our Father and Jesus Christ our
victorious King. We are also united together with all God's
children in heaven and on earth: the great assembly in
which Jesus our Lord proclaims His Father's goodness and
love.

Even in the midst of our troubles in this life Christ invites us
to come into His presence and seek His help and
deliverance, and eat the very sacrifice that won God's
mercy and forgiveness.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what afflictions I face, You are
with me. Strengthen me in the company of my Christian
brothers and sisters that we may honor You for Your great
deliverance. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/15

THE SOURCE OF OUR PRAISE

@ 08:22 AM (8 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Psalm 111.

TEXT: From You comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear Him
(Psalm 22:25).

Jesus our victorious King accomplished so many great things
in this last week of His life. He cleansed the temple, healed
the sick, drove out demons, and taught the people. He rooted
out the false teaching of the priests and Sadducees, and
exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and experts in the
Law. He took our guilt and sin upon Himself and won our
complete and free forgiveness through His suffering, death
and resurrection.

Today He gathers us together in local congregations, uniting
us in His whole Christian church in heaven and on earth. We
declare His saving deeds and give Him our honor and praise.
Jesus turns those praises to His Father. The Father is the
Source of Jesus' praises. It was His mercy that led Him to
plan our salvation through Jesus. He was faithful to His
promises, good to undeserving sinners, and clearly showed
His love for His fallen human creatures.

In His great love for His Father, Jesus performs His vows-
first in offering Himself up for our sins, and now in distributing
the benefits of that sacrifice to us through His Word. Likewise,
He uses God-fearing pastors and Christians who faithfully
share what Christ has done for us. He uses Baptism in which
He washes away our sins, adopts us into His family, and
seals us with His Holy Spirit. And He uses Holy Communion
in which He gives us His own body and blood to assure us of
the full and complete forgiveness of all of our sins.

THE PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your loving-kindness
toward all of us Your creatures, and for giving Your Son Jesus
Christ to win our salvation. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/14

LOOKING AWAY?

@ 08:41 AM (9 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Psalm 9.

TEXT: For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction
of the afflicted, and He has not hidden His face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to Him (Psalm 22:24).

Jesus, our conquering King, goes on to give all glory and
credit to His Father for the great deliverance He won on
the cross. Jesus was the afflicted One, rejected by His
 people, His priests, the Roman governor and soldiers.
Yet despite the shame and humility, the blood and gore,
the pain and agony, the Father did not despise Him as the
Jewish leaders taunted Him. The Father did not abhor, or
utterly detest Jesus' terrible afflictions. The Father did not
forsake Jesus forever, but heard His bitter cry, "My God,
My God, why have You forsaken Me?" The Father accepted
His sacrifice, delivered Him from hell, and gently brought His
Son's soul to paradise, even as loving hands took His body
down from the cross, wrapped it for burial, and gently laid it
in the unused tomb.

We too are often afflicted in life. We wonder how God
responds to seeing us in pain, fear, doubt, agony. Does He
despise us as weak and insignificant? Does He abhor us,
wanting nothing to do with creatures so helpless and
unclean? Does He hide His face and stop His ears from our
pain and suffering?

No, our gracious Father is always with us to look upon us in
need, to hear our groans and pleas, and to deliver us from all
troubles, from all enemies, and from death and hell. It was
that great love which moved Him to send His only begotten
Son as our victorious Savior. That is why we fear Him, praise
Him, glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him.

THE PRAYER:

'Heavenly Father, through Your Son Jesus
Christ, You always watch us, hear our prayers, and deliver us
 from all trials. Receive our thanks and praise for Jesus' sake.
Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/13

PRAISE OUR CONQUERING KING

@ 08:20 AM (10 days, 14 hours ago)
Read Matthew 21:1-11.

TEXT: You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you offspring of
Jacob, glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, all you offspring
of Israel! (Psalm 22:23).

On this first day of Holy Week we recall the multitude of Jews
welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. This week it is fitting to
consider Jesus Christ the mighty Victor, coming to battle and
soundly defeat sin, Satan, death and hell through His horrific
suffering described so vividly in the first part of Psalm 22.
Today's verse describes four things we are to do as we gather
to receive our conquering King: "fear the Lord," "praise Him,"
"glorify Him," and "stand in awe of Him."

"Fear God." Through Jesus' sufferings on the cross, we learn
the severity of God's wrath at our sins. True fear of God includes
taking that wrath seriously and confessing that we rightly
deserve to fall under His wrath.

"Praise Him." We praise our Lord Jesus for His willingness to
go to the cross, to drink the full cup of God's wrath in our place,
and to win our salvation by His suffering and death.

"Glorify Him." We glorify Him by telling others what He has
done, and by letting Him transform our thinking, our attitudes,
and our goals for this life, so we walk in His holy ways.

"Stand in Awe of Him." Jesus deserves our awe and wonder
because He took on our enemies all by Himself, and won
complete forgiveness and salvation for each of us.

In the context of this part of Psalm 22, Jesus takes all our
praise and directs it to His Father, who delivered Him from the
power of Satan on the cross, and from the grip of the tomb on
Easter morning.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for coming as our great Victor to
conquer sin and death for us and to open wide our heavenly
home. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

2014/4/12

TIME TO PROCLAIM

@ 05:24 PM (11 days, 5 hours ago)
Read Psalm 40.

TEXT: I will tell of Your Name to my brothers; in the
midst of the congregation I will praise You
(Psalm 22:22).

In the moment before His death Jesus loudly
proclaimed "It is finished," showing He had
completed His Father's plan to save all people. We
return to the final section of Psalm 22 where Jesus
predicts His resurrection, and what will come after.

After being delivered from death and hell by His
faithful Father, Jesus appeared to His brothers the
apostles, and revealed God's gracious plan of
salvation. Through their words in the New Testament
He continues to declare the Lord's Name to all
believers. He gathers us together into a great
worshiping assembly. And there in the midst of that
congregation Jesus praises the Father who was the
Source of God's plan of salvation.

Three times each year the whole nation of Israel
gathered together in Jerusalem to worship God,
recall His promises, and call upon Him for help in the
future. The first was the great Feast of Passover, when
Israel recalled God's deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
This was the very feast in which God's Passover Lamb,
Jesus Christ, carried the sins of the world and delivered
His people from slavery to sin, death and hell.

The second great feast followed 50 days after Easter.
At Pentecost the nation gathered again to thank God for
the harvest. At this feast Christ declared His great
salvation through His apostles in Jerusalem and the
Christian church was born. Each time we gather to
worship in local congregations Jesus is there with us,
proclaiming His Father's great love in sending His Son.
On the Last Day He will gather His scattered believers
from around the world into His eternal kingdom.

THE PRAYER:

 Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for declaring the Father's
love to us. Give us faith to remain in that love forever. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)