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Devotion for Wednesday, December 31, 2014

joyyouth

“Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth.  Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  (Isaiah 12:5, 6)

The Lord’s presence is in the midst of those assembled in His name.  Go with the Lord today and every day, knowing that in Him is life and life eternal.  He has and will do excellent things in the midst of this rebellious world.  The Holy One of Israel has come that all who join with Him will obtain life and life eternal.  The people of Zion have been gathered and await the time of His glorious reappearing.

Lord, You have come to save as many as would come to You and through Your grace to be forever united with You in the bonds of love.  Help me live my life with the right priorities, knowing that only in You is their hope and a future.  May I live as one who is a citizen of Zion, bearing witness of Your redeeming love to all those around me, reveling Your excellence with everything I do.

Thank You Lord for the excellence You have given, even to a people who are far from You.  In while yet we were all in full rebellion against You, You demonstrated Your love for us by paying the price we cannot pay, in order to be forever united with You in the bonds of love.  Guide me today to live in Your standard of love, knowing that only in You can I truly live this day in peace and with joy.  Amen.

 

Through your support, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan ministered to a quarter of a million refugees in Ethiopia

  • December 30, 2014 - 9:04 pm
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LCSSsupport

Friends in Christ;

As 2014 draws to a close, we want to thank you for your continued partnership with and support of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS). We give thanks to God for you and for your willingness to help sustain suffering brothers and sisters in Christ through your prayers and financial support. Thank you for strengthening a Church that proclaims hope in the midst of darkness and despair. Through your support, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan was able to minister to a quarter of a million refugees in the Ethiopia this year.

As you know, this has been a tremendously difficult year for the people of South Sudan. Exactly ten days before Christmas (December 15, 2013) violence erupted in South Sudan’s capital. Twenty thousand innocent and unarmed civilians were killed in a door-to-door targeted massacre. This unimaginably inhumane act took place in just three days. The violence that quickly engulfed the whole nation claimed so many lives that the local community and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan lost track of the dead. Towns and cities have been destroyed, millions of people have been displaced internally and left at risk of hunger and starvation, and hundreds of thousands more have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Most of the refugees are women and children. The LCSS—now temporarily headquartered in Gambela, Ethiopia, near the refugee camps—continues to pray for her congregations remaining in South Sudan and for the safety and well-being of those who have not been accounted for. Although the leadership of the LCSS operates from exile in Ethiopia, the church remains in touch with its member congregations inside the country.

The Lutheran Church of South Sudan gives thanks and praise to God for its five growing congregations in the refugee camps in Ethiopia. These congregations have blessedly outgrown the worship tents our supporters helped to purchase. Your support this year also enabled us to erect three tents for worship, to purchase and distribute four hundred hymnals and ten drums, and to establish a theological seminary that will prepare and train faithful pastors.

The establishment of Trinity Lutheran Seminary (TLS) in Gambela, Ethiopia this fall has been one of the most encouraging developments in our ministry during this difficult time. The aim of this theological institution is to prepare and equip faithful leaders to rise above the dividing walls of the conflict and to bring healing and reconciliation to the hurting nation through the proclamation of the Gospel.

We rejoice that twenty future pastors have now completed their first semester of theological preparation. Thanks and praise be to God! Two of these students are enrolled in the Bachelor of Theology (BTh) program at one of Mekane Yesus seminaries, Hosanna Theological Seminary, just outside Addis Ababa, and eighteen are enrolled in our seminary’s Diploma of Theology or our Certificate program. Out of the students studying at TLS, ten are LCSS students and eight come from other refugee denominations in the camps.

Despite the joy of establishing our new seminary, we are not without serious challenges. The Lutheran Church of South Sudan is in dire need of a center to operate its ministry. The initial arrangement made with a local high school in Gambela to host the Trinity Lutheran Seminary didn’t work out. The TLS has temporarily been operating in the presbytery compound that the LCSS uses for worship. Some classes are offered under a tree!

Current priorities for LCSS right now include:

  • Tuition for theological students
  • Funds to build a simple facility in Gambela, Ethiopia (close to refugee camp sites) which would house a church, classrooms, and a library
  • The printing of Bibles
  • Operating costs and travel expenses between the refugee camps

Thank you for all you have done thus far to support this important ministry during incredibly challenging times. As a new year begins, would you consider an additional offering to help sustain LCSS as we shine a light in the darkness?

Would you also consider either beginning or increasing a monthly donation personally or through your church community? Regular monthly support helps us to provide consistent support to those most in need of the Gospel’s light.

Thank you again for standing with the Lutheran Church of South Sudan. May God bless you.

In Christ’s Love,

Rev. Jordan M. Long, President

Lutheran Church of South Sudan

Donations can be sent to:
Zion Lutheran Church
4300 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50310

The Lutheran Church of South Sudan website is http://www.lutherancss.org/

Thank you!

 

Devotion for Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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“Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:3, 4)

The Lord has always called for His people to celebrate their life with Him. He calls those who will worship and praise Him and live in accordance with what is righteous. He has created all that exists and has shared His creation with His creatures. Exalt His name, for He is God, and live in harmony with His will, knowing that all things shall come to pass as He has purposed.

Lord, I am rebellious and seek to live according to my way, rather than by every word that proceeds forth from Your mouth. Help me have the necessary change of heart, that I would not live by my own power, but fully in the power of truth You have revealed for the ages. Guide me into Your wisdom that I may not seek what will never be, but live in the reality of eternity today.

Thank You Lord for extending the offer of Your grace to all who would receive it. Help me receive and live by Your grace today as I extend that grace to others, knowing that Your desire is that none would perish. May all I do this day show a reflection of Your presence in my life, that I may bear witness of Your never-failing love to others as You have shown me through the abundance of grace You have given me. Amen.

Devotion for Monday, December 29, 2014

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“Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.  “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.”  (Isaiah 12:1,2)

The Lord alone is the One who is there and always will be.  He alone will not fail those who turn to Him.  Salvation belongs to the Lord and He grants it to those who come to Him.  Be not afraid, but rest in the Lord and no matter what comes, know that He will lead you through every trial and tribulation and guide you in all of your ways.  The Lord alone is able to do this.

Lord, I chase after things in life and come up short.  Help me see that in You alone is there true life and meaning.  Keep me from wandering around seeking after things that will never satisfy, but instead, help me walk with You.  Guide me into the way of living You have always intended, knowing that only in You can I find what life is all about.  Be my strength and my comfort.

Lord, help me sing Your song this day with my life.  You have saved me in the power of the grace You have purchased that I might walk with You this day.  Guide me deeper into understanding Your glory and help me walk in it no matter what may come this day.  In every situation, help me see that You are always present and are there to guide me through all this day will bring.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, December 28, 2014

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“And the Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; and He will wave His hand over the River with His scorching wind; and He will strike it into seven streams and make men walk over dry-shod.  And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, just as there was for Israel in the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.”  (Isaiah 11:15, 16)

Things have changed from the days of Isaiah and in the lands surrounding Israel, everything has changed, except that Israel once again remains.  The remnant came back to Israel and were once again scattered.  Now, they are coming back again.  What this fully means is yet to be revealed.  Through it all, the will of the Lord remains and the call for faithfulness is before all who will hear.

Lord, help me hear Your Word that I would walk in Your ways of obedience.  Guide me to not trust in my own understanding, but see that Your Word comes to pass as You have spoken it.  Where Your Word has been fulfilled, help me see it clearly and where it has yet to be fulfilled, help me trust that it will come to pass just as You have spoken it.

Guide me today my Redeemer in Your ways.  Help me trust in Your provisions, no matter what may come.  Keep me far from the wiles of the wicked one, not taking in his lies, but instead, living deeply in the truth of Your Word.  In all that may come this day and every day after this, may I be found faithfully walking in the way You have set before me, knowing that only in You can I be in the right place.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, December 27, 2014

Isaiah1

“Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, and those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, and Judah will not harass Ephraim.  They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; together they will plunder the sons of the east; they will possess Edom and Moab, and the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.”  (Isaiah 11:13, 14)

It is true that among the Israelites, they no longer see themselves as a part of one tribe or another, but as one, but the days of having the whole land yet remain to be fulfilled.  In this world, this would seem impossible, but with the Lord, everything will come to pass as He has spoken it.  Trust the Lord who knows the future and not your own limited understanding.  It will be as He has said.

Lord, Help me see clearly that You are in control of what You have made.  Although I am unable to see ahead, all time is in Your hands.  Guide me through Your Word that I may hold fast to the truth You have already spoken.  Lord, it’s a matter of trust and too often I trust in what I see and know, rather than in You who has given me eyes to see and a brain to know.  Help me trust You.

Lord, You are the Creator of all things.  Guide me into truth that I may walk in the truth of Your will and way.  Help me understand where I am not walking in Your way and correct me that I may live into the life into which You are calling me.  Help me in all things understand that to obey is what You have desired all along from all whom You call out to, in order to live in harmony with You, my Lord and my God.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, December 26, 2014

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“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”  Isaiah 11:11, 12)

It was prophesied that in the right time, the Lord would gather together those who had been scattered to once again live in the land He promised Abraham.  For two thousand years, the Jews wandered without a homeland, but in these last days, He has gathered the remnant to once again occupy the land promised them.  The standard has not changed and it is the hand of the Lord which has accomplished this.

Lord, Your Word clearly wrote of events that even now are taking place before my eyes.  Help me understand the depth of the truth that You are the Lord of all ages and that all of human history is in Your hands.  Expand my mind to see clearly the many ways in which You direct our lives for the ultimate glory that awaits all those whose hope is in You.

Lord, Your Word will never come back void.  Help me live in the many promises You have given, expanding my understanding to include those things I do not yet know.  Make me diligent in studying Your Word, that I may understand even more of what You have said.  In all I do, may this empower me to move forward this day in Your truth as a worker in Your kingdom.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, December 25, 2014

Advent Tree_of_Jesse_from_St_Andrews_Castle,_RSM

“They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.”  (Isaiah 11:9, 10)

Those who have been given true faith in the stem of Jesse, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, are protected in their faith against the onslaught of the wicked one.  The protection is for what is to come, for in this world there will be trouble, especially for those who are in Christ.  It is the glorious kingdom which lies before for all who believe that will be the promised eternal rest.

Lord, help me understand that nothing can take away the freedom You have given me by grace, but that living in grace assures that I have become an enemy of the wicked one.  Guide me into the truth of Your Word revealed, that I would hold fast to what You have given me, knowing that only in You is there hope, protection and a true and glorious future.  Help us to lead others to You, the root of all hope.

Lord Jesus, You who have come in fulfillment of all prophecy and You who will come again, guide me this day in Your Word of truth that I would hold fast through whatever this world may bring my way, knowing that only in You is there hope and a future.  May I be found faithful this day as Your follower, doing all You would have me do, striving in all I do for the glory of the Father.  Amen.

 

Devotion for Wednesday, December 24, 2014

peaceable kingdom Edward_HicksBrooklyn 

“Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.”  (Isaiah 11:7, 8)

The day will come when all the rebellion of this world will cease.  It begins in the household of those who are truly the disciples of the Savior.  What has begun will increase until He returns to make all things new.  What He has begun is evident in the true disciples who are called to live according to His purpose and for His glory.  Live into the life the Lord gives, knowing that in Him it is forever and it is good.

Lord, there is constant war, whether in the family, or between nations.  You have come to bring peace and it needs to begin with me.  Help me see that I cannot proclaim Your kingdom in my life if there is still warfare between others and me.  Insofar as it is possible with me, guide me to be a peace maker, knowing that in You alone is there a future for all who will come through You into the eternal kingdom.

Lord, You hold all things in Your hands.  Help me live according to Your purpose today and every day, knowing that only in You will there be things done that need to be done that will last.  Keep me from living for myself, or according to my purpose, but instead, living for You and according to Your purpose.  May I be blessed by walking in Your way today, being fitted for the coming kingdom.  Amen.

Today is the last O antiphon: O Emmanuel

  • December 23, 2014 - 9:32 am
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Emmanuel

 

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

English:

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Isaiah had prophesied:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
(Emmanuel means God is with us).