TRANSFORMED
Date: 8/09/2014 09:06 - Subscribe


Scripture:

(Jesus said) "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for
I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29

Reflection:

When many of our relatives immigrated to this country, as their boat
passed into New York Harbor, they saw the statue designed by
Frederic Bartholdi. Originally called, "Liberty Enlightening the World,
" it has become better known as the "Statue of Liberty."

While the statue itself was a present from the people of France, the
folks of the U.S. had to come up with the funds for the base to the
giant piece of art. To help in that cause, a small book of collected
writings, including a poem by Emma Lazarus, was put on the market.

The book and Lazarus were soon forgotten.

After Lazarus' death, her poem was rediscovered and all 14 lines of
that poem were carved out and placed at the statue's entrance. In
case you have never heard all of them, they read,

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

May I tell you that those words changed the purpose of the Statue
of Liberty?

You see, Bartholdi had originally thought of the statue giving
encouragement to the people of the Old World who were fighting
oppression. But Lazarus' words changed that. Rather than providing
assistance to folks who were living in Europe, it gave hope to those
who were leaving that continent.

In short, the Statue of Liberty had been transfigured; that is, it had
been given a new and nobler purpose.

This weekend many churches are celebrating Transfiguration Sunday.
It is right that we remember how the Lord acknowledged His only
Son who was living His life to save the souls of lost sinners. Read the
Gospels and you will soon discover that when people thought of Jesus,
they generally thought of Him only in human terms. He was a Prophet,
a Teacher, a Samaritan, a Sinner.

But Jesus' transfiguration tells us that while Jesus is true Man, He is
also true God. For us He was doing that which only God could do. By
that I mean Jesus lived His life sinless and successfully resistant to
all temptation. But more than that, He actually shouldered the sins of
the entire world and carried those sins to the cross where He died in
our stead.

His glorious resurrection three days later says His work had been
completed, and all who believe on Him as Savior are forgiven of the
past and given an eternal home in heaven.

Paraphrasing the last lines of Lazarus' poem, the living Lord Jesus
says, "Give Me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning
for forgiveness free, the doomed refuse of your teeming shores. I call
these the once-lost sinners to Me, for My blood alone opens heavens
eternal door."

THE PRAYER:

Dear Lord Jesus, true Man and God, Your life was lived for my eternal
salvation. May the faith I have been given create a transfiguration in
my life. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.

Pastor KlausIn Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

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FAITH IN THE WAITING
Date: 8/06/2014 08:13 - Subscribe


Scripture:

Psalm 130:5-8New International Version (NIV)
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

Reflection:

The process of adopting our daughter, Selah, from Ethiopia
spanned three calendar years and taught me more about
waiting and counting on God than anything else I have ever
experienced. It was an exercise in complete dependency,
of putting my hope in God's word and then trusting God to
come through. At one point when the fatigue of endless
months of waiting threatened to level me, I taped Romans
8:26-28 to the door of her empty bedroom to remind me
where my help comes from.

May you cling to and count on these words today, too,
where ever and for however long-you wait: "The moment we
get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping
us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't
matter. He does are praying in and for us far better than we
know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps
us present before God"

Prayer:

God, my hope is in you as I move expectantly through this
day. May I be found faithful in the waiting-and certainly in the
hoping-as I count on you to finish what you began in my life Amen.

(Taken from The Covenant Home Altar, Kristin Lunsford author)
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A LOVE OF OUR OWN
Date: 7/27/2014 08:18 - Subscribe


Scripture:

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask,
‘How have you loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s
brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved
Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned
his hill country into a wasteland and left his
inheritance to the desert jackals.” —
Malachi 1:2–3

The Sages teach that we acknowledge God as
our own personal God before we mention that He
is the God of our forefathers in order to
emphasize that our relationship with God must
be personal.

Sure, we all benefit from being the spiritual heirs
of such holy and beloved men and women, but it’s
not enough. If we worship God only because our
parents did, that’s not enough. If we go to church
or synagogue only because it’s our family tradition,
it’s not enough. First we must discover our own
connection to the Lord, and only then can we enjoy
the benefits of our heritage.

God is not inherited. A relationship with the Lord
has to be earned and cultivated by every individual
who walks this earth. We must all go through our
own trials and develop our own faith. And then, we
will know He loves us for our own sake and not
based on our family ties.

With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

(excerpts taken from Holy Land Moments)

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WORTHY-NESS
Date: 7/20/2014 08:37 - Subscribe



But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

If it's difficult to set a value on human life, how much more
difficult is it to set a price on part of a human life? Well, not to
be put off by difficulty, American insurance companies have tried.

For example, one company figured the premiums for a young
woman who made a living judging perfumes. She was allowed to
insure her nose for $50,000. Jan Kubelik, the great violinist, had
the fingers of his left hand insured for $250,000, and Paderewski,
the great pianist, had his fingers underwritten for $10 million.

How much are you worth? I guess it depends on who gives the
answer. Ask the terrorist who is filled with hatred. He will gladly
tell you, "You are worth more to me dead than alive." He reasons,
if you die, all your friends and fellow citizens will quiver and quake
with fear. If you die, the media will focus on his cause and give it
free publicity. If you die, money from hidden sources will become
available for his organization. If you die, firebrands and ne'er-do-
wells will flock to his gang in search of glory. To the terrorist, you
are worth less than nothing.

How much are you worth? To the government, your value is a
series of formulas on a spreadsheet. To the politician, your value
is a vote to be tabulated. To your employer, your value is weighed
by what you give versus what you cost. To the advertiser, your
value is computed by your spending power. To the credit card
company, your value is how much debt you can incur without
disaster.

So, what are you worth? Hearing that question, most of us end
up saying, "not very much." That's because life has hurt us;
people have walked on us, and their words have injured us. It's
easy to feel neglected, unrecognized, under-appreciated and
un-applauded. Then, if we look in ourselves and see the sins
that are harbored in our hearts, we really can be depressed.

In contrast to all this negative input, we have the thoughts of
the Lord.

The Lord who formed and created us, who knows us better than
anyone else, assures us of His love which has been personified
in His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the physical proof
that our Lord doesn't love us only with words. No, He shows us
His love in the Person of His Son. Jesus was sent to bear our
sins and carry our sorrows. Because of the Savior's supreme
sacrifice, the Lord offers us the assurance we need not be afraid.
Indeed, we can be at peace for He has called us by name, and
through the Savior's work, we belong to Him.

So there, my friends, you should have your answer.

If you don't, take another look. On one side of the scale is
placed all the negatives and nastiness the world and Satan can
muster. On the other side of the scale is placed the rescue that
has been won for us by the Redeemer.

What are you worth?

Look to the Bethlehem manger, Calvary's cross, and the
Garden's empty tomb and you will see God's answer. It is an
answer which outweighs all others combined.

THE PRAYER:

Dear Lord, I give thanks You have the capacity to love the
unlovable and decided to rescue that which was worthless. Now
I ask that You will grant me the grace to live as the valuable,
blood-bought person You have made me through Jesus. It is in
His Name I pray. Amen.

(Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour)

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THE CHILDREN
Date: 7/16/2014 10:13 - Subscribe


Jesus: “Let the little children come to me.”

Pastor: “Children stuck at the border? Build a bigger fence.”

Yep, that’s right – Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress
recently told Fox News that the “Christian” way to respond
to immigrant children in distress is to build a stronger border
fence. You’ve heard the stories: tens of thousands of children
are currently stuck at the border after fleeing crime and
violence in their home countries. These children need our
compassion – not calls for a bigger fence.

This pastor has gone too far. Let’s make sure he knows that
Christians need to welcome immigrants and love our neighbors.

Pastor Jeffress has a history of making shameful statements
posing as religious truth. In January, he said that President
Obama was paving the way for the antichrist. He’s now on the
record saying that the “right thing to do” with children alone in
the desert is to lock them out.

We know better. Let’s make a strong statement against these
outrageous claims.

Tell Pastor Jeffress that it’s time for him to read Jesus’ words
in Matthew 25: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

In faith,
Janelle, Tim, and the rest of the Sojourners team
https://secure3.convio.net/sojo/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=8B1ACF61702D7B34929ABBF9B1A81AB3.app325b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=867&autologin=true&AddInterest=1223

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