When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)

When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)
He lives, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Bliss. Glorious thought. Praise the Lord! It's not only about our sorrows or trials or helplessness or even Satan. It is about sin, our whole sinful condition, which was nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified and was raised from the dead.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Even with our hopes for the future, even so Jesus is with us now. It's not a matter only of a happy ending but of a journey with Jesus, where he taught us to say, "It is well, it is well with my soul."

Thank you, dear God. Amen.
Hub
When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)

1 When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

2 Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

3 He lives, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

4 And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)

When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Old words, old piety—but still powerful. Whether peace or sorrow is our lot, Jesus has taught us to place our trust in him. And it will be well with your soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Death, trials, storms, evils—no matter what—Jesus knows what assails each of us in our helplessness. And he has given his life for us, forever.

Thank you, dear God, for your Son, our Savior. Amen.
Hub
When Peace Like a River? (?It Is Well with My Soul?)
1 When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

2 Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

3 He lives, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

4 And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)

Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)

31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you."

32 He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.

33 "'Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.'

34 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

35 "See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Luke 13:31-35

Luke 13:31-35
Jesus is on his last journey to Jerusalem. He has been teaching and doing life-giving acts for those who follow him, but his enemies continue to oppose him. He is warned to keep out of Jerusalem because Herod intends to kill him there, but Jesus sends word that he must continue to Jerusalem, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus intends to bring good news to all people, a mission that goes back at least as far as Abraham. The insiders will have none of this, despite the fact that it is God who has willed both the content and the timing of why and where Jesus must go.

We also hear Jesus' sorrow over Jerusalem, when God wishes to gather the people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but the leaders reject God's will.

O God, may we cling to Jesus even in the confusion within and around us. Amen.
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Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)

31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you."

32 He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.

33 "'Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.'

34 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

35 "See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Philippians 3:17-4:1

The apostle Paul traveled constantly after his calling by Christ Jesus, making disciples from Jerusalem to Rome. Paul also wrote letters to the congregations he had begun. Philippians is one of his best, teaching new Christians to pray, preach, teach and live. Paul makes the risky claim that members of the congregation should imitate him, knowing that he is not perfect, but also that righteousness is solely from God.

Do you remember the old question, "What are you giving up for Lent?" We thought we were supposed to deprive ourselves and please God by suffering. Why not instead give up the bad things we say or think or do? Gordon Lathrop, professor emeritus at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, has suggested that we really should call Lent a "joyful fast." Isn't that what Paul is urging the Philippians to do in these verses?

Dear Lord, help us give up sadness, meanness, envy, hatred, cynicism, cowardice, false witness and the like, so that this Lent may be a joyful fast. Amen.
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Philippians 3:17-4:1 (NRSV)

17 Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.

18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears.

19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

4:1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

Psalm 27

Psalm 27
Psalm 27 is a psalm of trust in God. First, the psalmist speaks to all the people, "The Lord is my light ... God is my deliverance, my stronghold—of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) The psalmist and the hearers shout and sing for joy at God's graciousness.

Then the psalmist speaks to the Lord: "Do not hide your face; do not turn your servant away in anger; do not forsake me" (Psalm 27:9). From this we sense the urgency of prayer in relation to faith (trust). Trust isn't something we can manufacture; rather, trust is created in us by the trustworthiness of another. "Therefore, O God, teach me. Lead me on a level path. Don't give me up to my enemies" (Psalm 27:11).

O people: "Believe in the Lord, take courage" (Psalm 27:14). We are clothed in God's grace.

Lord God, make us urgent in prayer and keep us in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another. Amen.
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Psalm 27 (NRSV)

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh-- my adversaries and foes-- they shall stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.

6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" Your face, Lord, do I seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
First God, next God creating, culminating with human beings. But then sin inflicted all the people. God showed his dissatisfaction with the evil of sin. Think of the great flood and the destruction of the tower of Babel.

Then God chose Abram (Abraham) and his wife Sarai (Sarah). He began by giving them a son, who would be the first born of a chosen people whose number would be as many as all the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15). Then God made a covenant promising to go with Abram, Sarai and their descendants on a journey.

Lent also is a journey--a journey with Jesus from his temptation by Satan to his death on the cross. This journey lives from God's promises and is clothed in God's grace.

Lord Jesus, be with us and all who seek a gracious God. Amen.
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Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (NRSV)

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great."

2 But Abram said, "O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"

3 And Abram said, "You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir."

4 But the word of the Lord came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir."

5 He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be."

6 And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

7Then he said to him, "I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess."

8 But he said, "O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"

9 He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."

10 He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.

11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.

18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates ..."

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
In addition to the number 40, three is a repeated number in the Bible. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days. Jesus was in the tomb for the same amount of time. We confess our faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—the Triune God. In this hymn, Jesus speaks three times; and the singer responds three times to each summons. I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto me ... I offer living water ... I am this dark world's light." These are the kinds of things we hear Jesus say.

To which we sing in response, "I came to Jesus as I was ... I came to Jesus and I drank ... I came to Jesus and I found in him my star, my sun." In other words, we come to Jesus because he first called and came to us. He led the way and we followed. He spoke to us so that we may speak to others. He called disciples so that we may be disciples by caring for one another and for the creation. Beyond this hymn, what else does Jesus say and call us to be and do?

Lord, speak to us that we may speak to others. And may the words of our mouth, the mediations of our heart and the responses we make be acceptable to you, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

2. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk
Till traveling days are done.

Philippians 4:11

"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. "Ill weeds grow apace." Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, "I have learned ... to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave--a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul's infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

Luke 4:1-3

Luke 4:1-3
But there are two more devilish temptations in this story. Beyond bread, the devil offers Jesus authority over the kingdoms of the world and safety from free-fall. In these, as in the first temptation, Jesus responded with words from Scripture. In the matter of bread, the tempted tells the tempter: "One does not live by bread alone." In uttering this rebuke, Jesus recalls the passage in Deuteronomy 8:3, in which Israel's wilderness wandering is cited: "He (God) humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna ... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

Today, many people have little bread while some have more than enough. Sharing bread with the world is an appropriate form of stewardship for believers. So is hearing and sharing the word of God. The move is from temptation to stewardship, for one does not live on bread alone.

God of all compassion, give us generous hearts so that those in poverty may have adequate food. And give us voice to share your Word, so that the world may have not only bread but also the Word of life. Amen.
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Luke 4:1-3 (NRSV)

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,

2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread."