Who is like you, Jesus – a wonderful prayer of praise

May 13, 2014

Thanks to Trevin Wax for posting this fantastic prayer this week. I needed this reminder of who Jesus is… (And hey, it even counts as an Easter devotional prayer since it reminds us that Jesus is the life of those who are spiritually dead. :-) )

Who is like You, Jesus, sweet Jesus?
You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt.
You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralyzed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood.
You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led.
You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

- Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, from Prayers for Today


on a personal note…

May 11, 2014

As will be evident to those of our readers who were following the Easter devotional blogging posts I’d begun, I’ve had to lay aside blogging for the past 2 weeks.  Between an illness that required I get quite a bit of extra sleep in order to recover, and a very difficult situation that has arisen in my work and ministry during the past week, all thoughts of blogging have been pushed aside.   I’m not likely to be able to resume anytime soon I’m afraid.   But may the Lord help us all to continue to remember and walk in the reality and wonderful truth of Jesus’ resurrection each day.   – Karen B.


Easter Quotes: Martin Luther, and commentary by Andrew Peterson

May 2, 2014

Apologies for not posting any Easter devotionals this week.  I’ve been unwell the last few days.  

***

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”

a quote attributed to Martin Luther (#41)

About this quote, Christian songwriter Andrew Peterson reflects:

I long to see him face-to-face. I long to put my hand in his side, and touch the scars. I want to thank him and to worship him without this confounded veil between us. Just fighting to believe can make you weary, and faith is hard to hold. But we are given moments of reprieve. Easter comes around and the pews are full of every-Sunday sinners and once-in-a-blue-moon saints. The ice melts. The daffodils glow like little suns. We remember the earth-shaking fact of the resurrection of Jesus, and hope comes galloping in from the east, trumpeting the tune of victory.

Today, when I walked the hill and saw the buds on the tulip poplar spreading out their little hands, I believed it. When I sat in the dark during the Good Friday service and sang “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” with a roomful of saints who, astonishingly, forsook whatever else they could have been doing to drive across town to mourn the murder of Christ–I believed it. And now, as I write this on Easter morning, when I think of the pain and death and sorrow that surrounds me and my community, I believe it, because I have seen a light the shadow cannot touch. I have seen healing, and unexplainable faith; I have seen quiet mercy stop evil in its tracks.

Demand proof if you want. Proof has its place, as it did for the early Christians. But blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. The stories are true.

Let wonder infect you.


Easter quotes – Easter turns the world upside down

April 29, 2014

From the Rev. Bryan Owens’ Easter sermon:

The Easter message that God raised Jesus to bodily life again after bodily death turns the world upside down. It flies in the face of experience and common sense. It mocks the pretensions of human wisdom. It undermines our faith in the all-sufficiency of reason. It boldly announces that a Power has been unleashed into this world against which tyrants and bullies, sickness and disease, loss and grief, fear and shame, sin and evil, and death and decay are powerless. And it proves a staggering truth: that God loves this world in all of its dazzling diversity, and that God loves each and every one of us, so very much that He will go to any lengths to guarantee our salvation, including suffering the ravages of death and hell so that we don’t have to.


ِArabic worship music for Easter

April 28, 2014

Adding to the praise report Jill posted about Muslims coming to Christ, here is an Arabic worship song for Easter:  Al Masih qam, bil haqiqatan qam.  The Messiah is risen – He is risen indeed!

The song is a traditional Arabic Christian song for Easter, performed by the Better Life team in Egypt who have produced a number of excellent Arabic worship CDs.

Here’s a translation provided by one of the commenters on the original YouTube post:

Jesus is risen…Truly He is risen He carried our sorrows… He forgave our iniquities In His stripes there is healing …He is the spring source of peace The thorn of death He broke…when He rose and triumphed He illuminated the way …And removed the darkness If the cross put an end to the story of Your love.. I would not have been alive and chanting, “Christ is risen! “.

Alleluia!

I’ll be back to posting more hymns and CCM classics, and contemporary worship music from my own Easter music playlist tomorrow.

 

 


Another great Easter prayer from Scotty Smith – Celebrating our Living Hope

April 28, 2014

Pastor Scotty Smith posted a wonderful Easter-themed prayer yesterday at Heavenward, rejoicing in the LIVING HOPE we have in Christ:

Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being shielded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

     Dear heavenly father, on this first Sunday after Easter, I praise you for the calling to ponder the magnificent and measureless implications of the resurrection of Jesus, best described, in Peter’s words, as hope—living hope. Not a “fond hope”—fragile and uncertain; not “hoping against hope”—a wistful yearning; and not “hoping in hope”—groundless optimism, but a living hope.

We dare live with hope because Jesus is alive—raised from the dead. He’s not our dead model to imitate; he’s present Savior, to know, love and trust. We can live with hope because we too are alive, a second time—having been given new birth, a new life, and a new creation story through the gospel. You cannot love us more and you’ll never love us less.

Father, thank you for your endless mercies, measureless grace and steadfast love, all lavished on us in Jesus. Thank you for a most certain inheritance, kept in heaven for us—the legacy, heirloom and new-birthright of the life in the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13). Everything broken will become unbroken. Every tear will be wiped away—no more death or mourning, only life and the perpetual new morning of a grace-full eternity.

And, Father, thank you that this inheritance is not only being kept for us, but that we are being kept for it—shielded by your power until the Day Jesus returns, and you finish your good work in us. Hallelujah, many times over! We can no more keep ourselves saved that we were ever able to earn a relationship with you.

Through the riches of this living hope, may we live and love to your glory; may we suffer and wait patiently by your grace; may we love and serve Jesus increasingly (1 Pet. 1:8), and fret and fear, less and less. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ bold and beautiful name.


Bishop Eric Menees’ reflection on the Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

April 27, 2014

From the Soundings blog

Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

What a joyous proclamation of our faith! So much is captured in this opening acclamation of the Easter Season. Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death, and opened the gates of heaven to all who believe in his name. But this is not only a future hope: his sacrifice has made possible true, lasting, and profound reconciliation between man and God, here and now.

This Sunday we are reminded that the Church is God’s instrument for that reconciliation:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room on that first Easter Day. He breathes on the disciples and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22b-23)

What an awesome responsibility, and what an awesome joy, Christ has given to his Church. As a priest of the Church, it has been my greatest honor to pronounce absolution upon men and women who come to the Lord with contrite hearts. That forgiveness is available to us because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

There is a bit more at Soundings


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