An Easter Prayer by Mark D. Roberts

April 21, 2015

An Easter Prayer by Presybterian pastor & blogger Mark D. Roberts:

PRAYER: Gracious God, how we praise you for your power made known in the resurrection. Death could not defeat you. Rather, the death of Jesus set the stage for an extraordinary display of your power. Christ is risen! You have won the battle. Alleluia!

Yet the power of the resurrection is not merely something we celebrate joyfully, but also something we can experience daily. Your power is for us, helping us, guiding us, setting us free. Your power is in us, healing us, renewing us, and gifting us for ministry, so that we might serve you in the church and in the world.

Even as we celebrate the power of your resurrection on this Easter Sunday, may we live by that power today and each day of our lives. And may your church be renewed by this power, so that we might live each day as a demonstration of your resurrection.

To you be all the glory. Alleluia!  Amen.

From here (where there is a longer, excellent Easter devotional)


Lifting High the Cross: How the Martyrs Exalted Christ by Their Deaths (part 1)

April 21, 2015

 

Last night I was reading a story online about the Ethiopian martyrs when the song Lift High the Cross came up in my playlist.  I was moved to tears at the juxtaposition.  Truly the Ethiopian martyrs, the Kenyan martyrs, the Egyptian martyrs – and the hundreds if not thousands of martyrs whose names we do not know and whose stories we never hear, have lifted high the Cross of Jesus in their lives and in their deaths.

They showed themselves to be true “servants of the crucified” – faithful unto death, willing to die rather than deny the name of Christ.

 

 

Here are the full lyrics coutesy of the Oremus hymnal

Refrain:
Lift high the cross,
the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore
his sacred Name.

Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod,
our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. Refrain

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Refrain

Each newborn soldier [servant] of the Crucified*  (many versions now replace soldier with servant)
bears on the brow the seal of him who died. Refrain

This is the sign which Satan’s legions fear
and angels veil their faces to revere. Refrain

Saved by this Cross whereon their Lord was slain,
the sons of Adam their lost home regain. Refrain

From north and south, from east and west they raise
in growing unison their songs of praise. Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. Refrain

Let every race and every language tell
of him who saves our souls from death and hell. Refrain

From farthest regions let their homage bring,
and on his Cross adore their Savior King. Refrain

Set up thy throne, that earth’s despair may cease
beneath the shadow of its healing peace. Refrain

For thy blest Cross which doth for all atone
creation’s praises rise before thy throne. Refrain

May many more followers of Christ be raised up through the testimony of those who were willing to die for Christ, imitating the way of His cross in their deaths.  May God work in the hearts of those ISIS members who were there on the beach or in the desert applauding these deaths.  May He raise up many Pauls among them to proclaim the faith they once attempted to annihilate and the Lord whom they scorned.

Please keep praying for the martyrs’ families and the church in Ethiopia. May those grieving be comforted and strengthened at knowing their loved ones did not shrink from death, and are now receiving honor in heaven.

And pray for ISIS members to encounter the Risen Christ, that they might become His faithful servants too.


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