Never Alone

Have you ever felt discouraged, attacked, beaten down, driven away like chaff or defeated? Have you ever felt like running away, hiding or curling up into a ball to wait out what’s afflicting you? Have you ever felt alone, lost or hopeless? Have you ever wondered if God actually cares? Have you ever wondered if God really knows what is going on or is doing what He said He would do? Well, you are not alone – and in more ways than one. First of all, you are not the only one to feel this way and second, you are never alone. God, your Shepherd, is always watching His sheep – He is always watching over you. Satan may get his punches in, but Satan will never remove and devour the sheep of the Shepherd, our God through Jesus Christ. And so, raise your voice to the Shepherd, but know – you are never alone, and Satan will never win.


Satan is on the prowl,
Looking to devour,
And I feel so defenseless.
He bites and scratches,
Wounds are appearing,
Injuries sustained,
Energy is draining.
And there is nothing I can do to stop him.
Hopelessness is his goal.
Lostness is his desire.
Oh God, come and rescue me.
Smash out his teeth,
Destroy his goals,
Slay the lion,
Leave him defeated.
Oh my Shepherd,
Keep me close to You,
May Your rod and staff comfort me,
Lead me through this dark valley,
May I once again see green pastures and still waters,
As You lead me in Your path of righteousness;
Healing and restoring my soul.
Satan is on the prowl, but YOU, oh God, are my Shepherd.
And thus, I am yours,
In Your house dwelling,
Forever and ever to worship You.
Amen.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 88

It is okay to be honest with God. It is okay to open the flood gates and pour out your heart to God. God can handle it. God can handle your feelings. You are not going to hurt God’s feelings with your laments and crying out to Him. Yes, there will be dark times in your life and yes, it is okay to run to God with your fears and despair. Too many people have been taught to be careful what you say to God, but one of the things the Psalms teach us is to raise our voices to God, but to do so in faith; for God is faithful.

Notice at the beginning of the Psalm, the psalmist refers to God as my salvation. It is in that light that I offer this prayer for you…

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O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
[Psalms 88:1‭-‬2 ESV]

Oh Lord, my God, I am in utter despair.
I am lost.
I feel embattled on all sides.
My hope is waning, especially when I look to this world; seeing the hatred and violence, oppression and division, walls and weapons, loveless words and hate-filled rhetoric.
Oh God, I cry out to You but it appears a hopeless endeavor at times.
People close to me are hurting.
People that I love are in pain.
People dear to my heart are without hope and I am at a loss for words.
I don’t know what to say to You. I don’t know how to pray.
Turn Your ear to my prayer.
Look upon my sorrow.
Gaze upon me with Your love.
Though I feel You are distant, I know that You are not.
Though it feels like You are not listening, I know that You do.
Though is feels like I am abandoned, I know that I am not.

But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
[Psalms 88:13 ESV]

Enemies attack.
The Evil One is having a party in my midst.
Darkness surrounds me.
Oh Lord, my God, show me Your glory.
Touch me with Your mighty hand.
Speak to me with Your still, quiet voice.
Hold me in Your loving arms.
I cry out to You in hope, for You are ever present.
I cry out to You in hope, for thy will be done.
I cry out to You in hope, for I am Your beloved child.
Oh Lord, my God, You and You alone are my salvation.

Amen.

Bold Witnesses

Today is Ascension Sunday and thus I will be preaching on Luke 24:44-53. The following is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion with this context in mind. Stand firm for the Truth and never, ever shrink back in fear…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. You have shown us Your glory through Your son Jesus Christ.
You have opened our eyes to the Truth.
You have cradled us in Your arms.
You have given us hope.
Oh God, Creator and Redeemer, through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection we rest secure. My we live as bold witnesses of that Truth that others may come to know You as their Lord and God. May we not shrink back but stand firm; ready to die if called to do so. And so, since we have such a sure and certain hope we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Everlasting God

Oh Lord,
the everlasting God,
You created the ends of the earth and all therein.
You never grow faint or weary.
Your understanding is unsearchable.
As I reflect on this,
I am humbled and awed
that You give power to the faint
and increase their strength.
I mean, what is man that you are mindful of him, for…
I am weak.
I grow tired.
I become hopeless.
I get lost.
I sin.
But my way is not hidden from You.
You know me.
You hear me.
You love me.
Oh God, may I wait on You and be strengthened;
finding a peace that surpasses all understanding.
May I raise my song to you,
for it is indeed fitting to praise Your most holy name.
Oh Lord,
my everlasting God,
be pleased in my searching,
be pleased with my worship;
for You are my strength
and my hope
and my salvation.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Rejoicing in Victory

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What a powerful and reassuring couple verses. I wish more people would take this to heart and cling to this promise. There’s a lot of crap happening in our nation and our world today but our Lord and Savior and King reigns supreme. His victory did not happen through an election but rather through the cross. Seek JESUS and you will be found safe and secure. Seek JESUS and rest in him.

Holy Father,
words don’t and can’t adequately express my thankfulness,
as I gaze upon the cross and see
VICTORY.
I see my Lord suffering and dying there,
FOR ME.
I see my King reigning supreme,
OVER ALL.
I see my Savior with my life in 
HIS HANDS.
How can possibly express my thanks with mere words.
And so I worship
YOU.
I praise Your holy
NAME.
I rest in Your mighty
ARMS.
Holy Father,
may I not fear this world,
but rather,
rejoice the victory through
JESUS CHRIST.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Fear and Hope

Holy God,

there is much to fear in this world.
Satan is running around
trying to lead us astray through false worship.
He is trying to drag us down into hopelessness.
At times Satan succeeds
and thus paralyzes us with fear,
so much so,
that the Gospel is not proclaimed.

But we ask that You may send Your Holy Spirit
to teach us
and remind us
of the victory we have through faith in Jesus Christ.

Show us the cross.
Show us the empty tomb.
Show us Jesus.

May we see the life we have in You
and know that death has been defeated.
May we rejoice in You
and thus share this Joy with others.
And in the end,
may You and You alone be glorified.

Now may the words of my mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable to You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—