Our Daily Elder Devotional: All of Me

Our Daily Elder Devotional
We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Today’s devotional comes from Our Daily Bread.

All of Me

Young Isaac Watts found the music in his church sadly lacking, and his father challenged him to create something better.  Isaac did.  His hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” has been called the greatest in the English language and has been translated into many other languages.

 

Watt’s worshipful third verse ushers us into the presence of Christ at the crucifixion.

 

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down.

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

 

The crucifixion Watts describes so elegantly stands a s history’s most awful moment.  We do well to pause and stand with those around the cross.  The Son of God strains for breath, held by crude spikes driven through his flesh.  After tortured hours, a supernatural darkness descends.  Finally, mercifully, the Lord of the universe dismisses His anguished spirit.  An earthquake rattles the landscape.  Back in the city the thick temple curtain rips in half.  Graves open, and dead bodies resurrect, walking about the city (Matthew 27:51-53).  These events compelled the centurion who crucified Jesus to say, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (V.54).

 

“The cross reorders all values and cancels all vanities,” says the Poetry Foundation in commenting on Watt’s poem.  The song could only conclude:  “Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.”                  Tim Gustafson

 

It is our privilege to give everything we have to the One who gave us everything on the cross.

 

Matthew 27:45-54New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[alema sabachthani?”(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[c] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 27:46 Some manuscripts Eloi, Eloi
  2. Matthew 27:46 Psalm 22:1
  3. Matthew 27:53 Or tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they

 

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Our Daily Elder Devotional: Jesus Prayed For All Believers

Our Daily Elder Devotional
We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Today’s Maundy Thursday’s devotional comes from Max Lucado.

Jesus Prayed For All Believers

John 17:20-25New International Version (NIV)

20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.

As Jesus stepped into the garden, you were in His prayers.  As Jesus looked into heaven, you were in His vision…  His final prayer was about you.  His final passion was you. (Max Lucado)

Our Daily Elder Devotional: Jesus Teaches Us To Serve

Our Daily Elder Devotional
We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Today’s devotional comes from my heart.

Jesus Teaches Us To Serve

 

Matthew 20:27-28New King James Version (NKJV)

27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Lord Jesus, when You washed the disciples’ feet, You modeled for us what it means to serve others.  Not because You are in the position of “servant” but because that is the way we can show Your love to others.  You are the Lord and Creator of the universe, yet You showed us that it is not your position, but what is in your heart that counts.  Keep me from thinking that I’m ever above doing any task—no matter how lowly it is.

Our Daily Elder Devotional: Faith Grows by Expression

Our Daily Elder Devotional
We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Today’s devotional comes from “Hope for Each Day” by Billy Graham.

Faith Grows by Expression

Matthew 5:14New King James Version (NKJV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden”.

Tom Allan, Scotland’s famous preacher, was brought to Christ while a soldier was singing, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”  He said it was neither the song nor the voice, but the spirit in which that soldier sang—something about his manner, something about his sincerity of expression—that convicted Allan of his wicked life and turned him to the Savior.

 

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…let your light so shine before [others], that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

 

Our faith becomes stronger as we express it; a growing faith is a sharing faith. Pray now for those you know who need Christ, and ask God to help you be a witness to them—by the life you live and the words you speak.

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 11 April 15, 2019 Holy Week: Cleansing The Temple

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 11

April 15, 2019

Holy Week: Cleansing The Temple

 

Holy week began yesterday with our celebration of Palm Sunday. For many of us, there is a gap in reading the Holy Week story. Frequently we read the Palm Sunday portions of scripture and then skip over to the Maundy (Holy Thursday) scriptures. Other folks are familiar with the Palm Sunday Scriptures but then skip to the joyous Easter story, thereby avoiding the harshness of reading about Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and death.

For me, one of the harshest sections of the Holy Week story is the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus. Jesus, of course, is angry at the robbery that the temple authorities are perpetrating against the faithful. He is also angry that the “business” of the temple interferes with the ability of the gentiles to pray in peace in the Court of the Gentiles. The business of the temple had become so important, that the Temple rulers had forgotten that their job was to provide worship space for those seeking the God of Abraham.

I can’t help but wonder if we in local congregations are not the people that Jesus is talking to and trying to correct. Our buildings are locked at night for fear of theft and vandalism. Generations ago, our buildings were open twenty-four hours a day so that those who needed to pray had access. Has our building security taken priority over being houses of prayer?

It is easy for us to piously bash the temple leaders for putting their institutions ahead of being houses of prayer. Yet, are we similar people with similar priorities? Do our priorities come dangerously close to those of the temple leadership in Jesus’ day? Perhaps we need to spend this Holy Week, not critiquing the Temple Leaders, Judas, Herod, or Pilate. Maybe this year we need to look at our own selves. Have we become like the old Temple leaders? Is this something that we need to stop?

 

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                             #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#Palm Sunday                                                                      #HolyWeek

#CleansingTheTemple

 

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:

 

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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Lunes Ministerial Musings  por el Reverendo Mark William Ennis  blog número 11  abril 15, 2019  Semana Santa: limpiando el templo

Lunes Ministerial Musings
por el Reverendo Mark William Ennis
blog número 11
abril 15, 2019
Semana Santa: limpiando el templo

La semana Santa comenzó ayer con nuestra celebración del domingo de Ramos. Para muchos de nosotros, hay una brecha en la lectura de la historia de la semana Santa. Con frecuencia leemos las porciones del domingo de Ramos de las escrituras y luego nos saltamos a las escrituras de Maundy (Jueves Santo). Otras personas están familiarizadas con las escrituras del domingo de Ramos, pero luego saltan a la feliz historia de Pascua, evitando así la dureza de leer acerca de la traición, el arresto y la muerte de Jesús.

Para mí, una de las secciones más duras de la historia de la semana Santa es la purificación del templo por Jesús. Jesús, por supuesto, está enojado por el robo que las autoridades del templo están perpetrando contra los fieles. También está enojado porque el “negocio” del templo interfiere con la capacidad de los gentiles de orar en paz en el Tribunal de los gentiles.

El negocio del templo se había vuelto tan importante, que los gobernantes del templo habían olvidado que su trabajo era proporcionar espacio de adoración a aquellos que buscaban al Dios de Abraham.

No puedo evitar preguntarme si en las congregaciones locales no somos las personas con las que Jesús está hablando y tratando de corregir. Nuestros edificios están bloqueados por la noche por temor a robo y vandalismo. Hace generaciones, nuestros edificios estaban abiertos veinticuatro horas al día para que los que necesitaban orar tuvieran acceso. ¿Nuestra seguridad en el edificio tiene prioridad sobre ser casas de oración?

Es fácil para nosotros golpear con piedad a los líderes del templo por poner sus instituciones por delante de ser casas de oración. Sin embargo, ¿somos personas similares con prioridades similares? ¿Nuestras prioridades se acercan peligrosamente a las del liderazgo del templo en el día de Jesús? Tal vez necesitemos pasar esta semana Santa, no criticar a los líderes del templo, Judas, Herodes o Pilato. Tal vez este año tengamos que mirar a nosotros mismos. ¿Hemos llegado a ser como los antiguos líderes del templo? ¿Es esto algo que necesitamos parar?

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                             #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#Palm Sunday                                                                      #HolyWeek

#CleansingTheTemple

 

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor ordene una copia de su libro:

 

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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Our Daily Elder Devotional: When We Doubt God’s Capabilities

Our Daily Elder Devotional
We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Today’s devotional comes from my heart.

When We Doubt God’s Capabilities

Pastor Carl Boberg wrote the lyrics to How Great Thou Art.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

 

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

 

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

 

Our sinful nature sometimes (many times) causes us to doubt God’s capabilities.  He is not going to help me get well, He is not going to help me get a job, He is not going to save my marriage, He is not going to ….

 

We need only to come back to these words (and so many passages from the Bible) in order to put things in their proper perspective and realize that God is always there and He is always going to support and love us.  We also have a hand in what happens, because here on Earth much of what happens is in our hands (by His design).  If we listen to the words and truly take them into our hearts, how is it possible that our souls do not sing?  How is it that we do not understand that God is working to help us to live a life focused on Him?

 

When we look at this verse, what do we hear?

 

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

 

If we are really listening, we hear about the most special love and sacrifice:

 

Ephesians 3:17-19New International Version (NIV)

17 … And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 

The Friendly Church