Saturday, March 31, 2018

I joy to call Thee mine!

"O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"

O sacred Head, now wounded,

With grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded

With thorns, Thine only crown.

O sacred Head, what glory,

What bliss, till now was Thine!

Yet, though despised and gory,

I joy to call Thee mine.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee,

Thou noble countenance,

Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee

And flee before Thy glance.

How art thou pale with anguish,

With sore abuse and scorn!

How doth Thy visage languish

That once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished

Their color, once so fair;

From Thy red lips is banished

The splendor that was there.

Grim Death, with cruel rigor,
Hath robbed Thee of Thy life;

Thus Thou has lost Thy vigor,

Thy strength, in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion,
Thou hast borne for me,

For it was my transgression

Which brought this woe on thee.

I cast me down before Thee,

Wrath were my rightful lot;

Have mercy, I implore Thee;

Redeemer, spurn me not!

My Shepherd, now receive me;

My Guardian, own me Thine.

Great blessings Thou didst give me,

O Source of gifts divine!

Thy lips have often fed me

With words of truth and love,

Thy Spirit oft hath led me

To heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee,

From Thee I will not part;

O Savior, do not chide me!

When breaks Thy loving heart,

When soul and body languish

In death's cold, cruel grasp,

Then, in Thy deepest anguish,

Thee in mine arms I'll clasp.

The joy can ne'er be spoken,
Above all joys beside,

When in Thy body broken

I thus with safety hide.

O Lord of life, desiring

Thy glory now to see,

Beside Thy cross expiring,

I'd breathe my soul to Thee.

What language shall I borrow

To thank Thee, dearest Friend,

For this, Thy dying sorrow,

Thy pity without end?

Oh, make me thine forever!

And should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never,

Outlive my love for Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me

When death is at my door;

Then let Thy presence cheer me,

Forsake me nevermore!

When soul and body languish,

Oh, leave me not alone,

But take away mine anguish

By virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my Consolation,

My Shield when I must die;

Remind me of Thy Passion

When my last hour draws nigh.

Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,

Upon Thy cross shall dwell,

My heart by faith enfold Thee.

Who dieth thus dies well!

by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676

Monday, March 26, 2018

Here I raise my Ebenezer

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
By: Robert Robinson

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

While the hope of endless glory

Fills my heart with joy and love,

Teach me ever to adore Thee;

May I still Thy goodness prove.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, 

Hither by Thy help I’ve come;

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;

He, to rescue me from danger, 

Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be;

Let that grace now like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;

Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.

Oh, that day when freed from sinning, 

I shall see Thy lovely face;

Clothed then in the blood washed linen

How I’ll sing Thy wondrous grace!

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, 

Take my ransomed soul away;

Send Thine angels soon to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Good Educations

One Room Schools, also known as Country Schools, are where so many of my precious older friends acquired their educations.

Over these years I have heard them often comment, "Oh, I only had a Country School education".

These dear people say and even believe this lie because of the propaganda which was pushed on them so long ago. They were told that the bigger city schools had a better education compared to the "country schools". This is not true.

In reality, their education was one on one, character building, mixed with a variety of ages who all worked together learning so much in their school years, so much so, that very few of us would be able to pass their 8th grade graduation tests . Country Schools also brought the whole community together in a way that can not be matched by any consolidated schools.

Every one of these dear people I know have shared their stories of their schooling.  They lovingly tell story after story, and I would say they were blessed beyond words.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sing Praise to God

by Johann J. Schutz

Sing praise to God who reigns above, 
the God of all creation, 
the God of power, the God of love, 
the God of our salvation. 
With healing balm my soul is filled 
and every faithless murmur stilled: 
To God all praise and glory!

What God's almighty power hath made
His gracious mercy keepeth,
By morning glow or evening shade
His watchful eye never sleepeth.
Within the kingdom of His might,
Lo! all is just and all is right: 
To God all praise and glory!

The Lord is never far away, 
but through all grief distressing, 
an ever present help and stay, 
our peace and joy and blessing. 
As with a mother's tender hand, 
God gently leads the chosen band: 
To God all praise and glory!

Thus all my toilsome way along, 
I sing aloud thy praises, 
that earth may hear the grateful song 
my voice unwearied raises. 
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, 
both soul and body bear your part: 
To God all praise and glory!

Let all who name Christ's holy name 
give God all praise and glory; 
let all who own His power proclaim 
aloud the wondrous story! 
Cast each false idol from its throne, 
for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone: 
To God all praise and glory!

Fathers who love their children

Ephesians 6:1-3
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 
Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment 
with a promise, so that it may be well with you, 
and that you may live long on the earth."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What a friend we have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care
Precious Savior, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear;

May we ever, Lord, be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,

There will be no need for prayer—

Rapture, praise, and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there.

by Joseph Scriven

He Works in Mysterious Ways

by Joni

"His father and mother replied, 'Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?' But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me. She's the right one for me.' (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)"
Judges 14:3-4

Yesterday (Pearls of Great Price, March 13, Hard Hearts, Exodus 8:32, 10:20, James 1:13) we only began to scratch the surface of understanding the way God works out His purposes in an evil world filled with wicked people. Oh, how mysterious are His ways! Like the way He worked through Samson, the young, passionate Israelite who although famous for his strength, was a pushover when it came to pretty girls like Delilah.

In today's verse, we learn that Samson rejected his parents' pleas that he not marry an idol-worshipping Philistine. Samson and his mom and dad assumed it was merely a matter of matrimony. But in Judges 14:3-4 we learn that God had a higher plan and purpose -- a purpose which would ultimately result in a glorious victory over the Philistines. Samson and his parents never dreamed their little father-and-son talk about the birds and the bees played a role in foreign affairs! But God did. And God allowed Samson to have his own way, to "follow his heart" and tie the knot with a girl from a heathen nation.

God oversees people's wicked actions.

No sin happens that the Lord does not deliberately permit. 

Don't misunderstand -- 

He is not the source of people's evil deeds, for He despises sin. Yet He steers the sin already in their hearts so that sinners unwittingly fulfill His plans and not merely their own. 

Ponder this awesome aspect of God's sovereignty today.

Lord God, I can't pretend to understand the way You work in our world and through the hearts of both believers and pagans. But I do understand that You are good and gracious and that Your plans are always perfect!

Pearls of Great Price, 2006,  by Joni Eareckson Tada, March 13
(my own emphasis)

It was significant for me to read this devotion today. Oh... so, so many times, and so many ways, our lives are struck by evil in this fallen world.  We can study all of it over and over and never be able to understand "why" the LORD allowed such blatant pernicious evil to effect others or to effect us.

In the end of rehashing the horrible facts over and over, as a Believer of Jesus as my Savior, I must just once again give it over to the LORD. 

It is His job, His plan, His ways. 

He has a plan, I need to trust Him completely, I need to continue to walk in faith with Him even though I certainly do not see what His plans could possibly be.  

I need to just KNOW He is the God of the universe who is still on His throne and that He is working.  

My job is to walk in faith. 

Praise be to my gracious, compassionate LORD!