March 31, 2017


Duty has friend named Hope.
Sometimes hope shines from an empty tomb.  Sometimes it sings in the quiet following a violent storm.  Sometimes hope whispers inside while the storm still rages outside.

Always, hope hardens the will as each day we perform our duty.

The Song of the Sparrow
Duty is not a thing of sadness, nor is it a thing of parades and marching bands.  Duty is the quiet song of the sparrow in the morning, at noon, and in the late afternoon, as the worthless little brown birds fly joyfully from bush to bush, doing what God made them to do.  They don’t get the press that eagles get, high on their perches or soaring almost too high to see.  They don’t signal doom like circling buzzards or danger like the watching hawk.  They don’t form graceful lines as they fly like geese overland or like pelicans over the sea.  They do not make formations that we can discern.  They fly close to the ground in short hops, almost falling even as they fly.
Yet, the Lord told us to observe and learn from birds as examples of the Father’s excellent care. Sparrows are the least of these. We are certainly more valuable to God than sparrows!

What God Looks For
He does not look for graceful arcs or impressive appearance or stunning skills.  God looks for the one who will do his/her duty, day after day, night after night.  The Lord prizes the one of the humble and contrite spirit who hits the mark and performs the job dependably at each opportunity.

What is our duty?
As His ultimate creation, each person has a duty to honor God.  We honor God

  • Through consistent and faithful prayer,
  • Through constant consumption of the Word of God,
  • Through continuing compassion for others, andBy walking through the doors He opens for us and refusing to enter those He closes to us.

King Solomon’s Findings
King Solomon had the resources and the time to conduct a grand experiment to determine the meaning of life.  Like a good researcher, he reported his findings in a thesis called “Ecclesiastes.” When life is lived in vain Solomon’s observations are bitter and realistic —it is like trying to eat the wind.  His conclusion is the hope that strengthens the heart—love God and keep His commands; this is the whole duty of man.

King Jesus lived that life for us.
He did His duty, taking up the cross of God’s love and justice and bearing it to Calvary.  His command to us signals the start of every day and shines like a bright star through every night—take up your cross—your duty—and follow me. That duty may seem small and little noted by others, but it is the brief flight of a sparrow that holds the intense attention of heaven.

We should not underestimate the power of consistent living.  As we live faithfully each day, hope shines from an empty tomb, sings in the quiet following a violent storm, and whispers inside while the storm still rages outside.


Matthew 6:25-28; 33 RSV
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? …But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Matthew 16:24-27
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
Ecclessiates 1:12-14; 12:13 AMP
I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied myself by heart and mind to seek and search out by [human]  wisdom all human activity under heaven. It is a miserable business which God has given to the sons of man with which to busy themselves. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a striving after the wind and a feeding on wind. All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.
Acts 23:1-2
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”

The Sparrow Song
Words and Music: J.D. Phifer

1. When you are sad, downhearted and blue,
Think of how He cares for you.
When things look bad, your courage you lose,
Think of how He cares for you.

Think of the sparrow He feeds with such care,
The flower He waters with dew.
Dwell on the things He promised to do.
Think of how He cares for you.

2. When you are lost in realms of despair,
Think of how He cares for you.
When there’s a cross you know you must bear,
Think of how He cares for you.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 30, 2017


Losses must be grieved.
The greater the loss, the more devastating the grief.  In His grace, the Lord provides a healing context for our grief. We learn about this from the Gospel narrative.

The long Sabbath day between the crucifixion and the first day of the week was a day of grief like no other. The anonymous faces in the Jerusalem crowds who had only seen Jesus or heard His voice grieved the loss of a hope, mild though it may have been, that Messiah would come and deliver them from the iron grip of Rome. Those who were once were blind, deaf, dumb, sick, and lame who could now see, hear, speak, work, and walk in fullness of health had lost their healer.  They must have grieved their loss even in their new found health.

Mary of Magdala was one of these.
She had been possessed by seven demons and had served at the pleasure of countless cruel men, yet the life she knew before Jesus was stark and empty.  Her grief at the loss of Him threatened to return her to that desolate state.  Grief compounded by fear would have made her a fountain or tears if she had had any tears left to shed.

The disciples scattered, each grieving in his own way.
James and John, the “Sons of Thunder,” were silent, unable to think, or to imagine life without Jesus.  Peter, the third member of the inner circle of the disciples, could not stop thinking, remembering his sniveling denials, trembling leaf-like before strangers and a servant girl, pleading no knowledge of the man on trial.  He, the boaster, the leader, the confessor, was now the broken, the liar, and the coward.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
This family grieved the loss of a true friend and more than that, the loss of hope; His absence was more commanding than His presence had been.

  • Mary could still smell the aroma of the perfume on her hands from the alabaster jar she had broken.  Her premonition of His death did little to comfort her now that it had actually happened.
  • Martha thought of all the meals she had prepared for Him and the joyful way He had consumed her offerings.  He made a meal of life, living each day to its fullest.  The thought of never serving Him again, was almost more than she could bear.
  • Lazarus knew more than the others about where Jesus went when breath left His body.  He tried to imagine what Jesus’ entrance into Abraham’s bosom would be like—surely those dead and waiting there would live again—he had!

Mary and the Family of Jesus
Grief had touched the family of Jesus once before, when Joseph died.  When death claimed the man who helped Jesus grow to be a man, a craftsman, a businessman, a responsible and loving man who could shoulder a man’s responsibility, Jesus comforted the rest of the family.  Who would comfort them now?

Mary had lived most of her life treasuring things in her heart that most people never imagined.
She knew the awful prophecies of Isaiah about how Messiah must suffer and bear the sins of all.  She remembered the words of the old man Simeon at the Temple on the day that she and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord, “A sword shall pierce your heart.”  On this Sabbath she felt the sharp blade of the sword.  Unlike the others, Mary’s grief was tinged with hope.  She had learned to listen carefully to the words of her Son and to remember them.  He predicted His death, surely enough, but usually with another prediction—he would come back from death in three days.  Even in her weakened condition, exhausted from the horrid spectacle of the trials, scourging, and crucifixion, this hope restrained her grief.  Perhaps she was the only one of His follower who rested any at all on that Saturday.

That Saturday of grief slowly melted into night.  The mocking sun, with it empty promise of light, retreated in shame beneath the western horizon.  The darkness somehow did not feel the same.  Perhaps tomorrow…

Luke 2:34-35

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Mark 10:33-34
“We are going up to Jerusalem…and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Luke 23:54-56
It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Lord Jesus, Your redemption is so complete You even provide a context of hope in which we can grieve our losses. You give us hope as the antidote for our grief and as we focus on You the antidote takes effect and our grief is abated. Losses will come to us in this life, but You have walked this path before and even now You are our Companion-in-the-way. Many time in each our lives we feel like we occupy the days between the empty cross and the empty tomb, days of grief to be sure, but also days of hope. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

Words: Bernard of Clairvaux; Music: Passion Chorale (Hassler)

1. O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory, I claim you as my own.

2. My Lord, what you did suffer was all for sinner’s gain;
Mine was the transgression, but yours the deadly pain.
So here I kneel, my Savior, for I deserve your place;
Look on me with thy favor and save me by your grace.

3. What language shall I borrow to thank you, dearest Friend,
For this, your dying sorrow, your pity without end?
Lord, make me yours forever,a loyal servant true,
And let me never, never outlive my love to you.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 29, 2017


Costs must be paid.
Something of value can only be purchased by paying the cost demanded.  Before wrongs can be righted, mistakes corrected, impacts countered, losses restored, damage repaired, deep bruises and broken hearts healed, and records cleared, the cost of these iniquities must be paid.  Sins demand atonement.

It was so during the trial, scourging, and crucifixion of Jesus.

  • When the whip repeatedly cut Jesus’ back,
  • when the sharp thorns in his mocking crown pierced His sensitive scalp,
  • when the fists and open palms pelted his face,
  • when His beard was ripped from His skin,
  • when the hammers drove the nails into His hands and feet,
  • when the soldiers hoisted the cross against the raging sky,
  • when the crowd made sport and hurled abuse at Him,
  • when all these things happened Jesus was paying the cost.

He atoned with His innocent blood for all the guilt of mankind.
Because of His atonement, life can be made good again, in a blessed foretaste today and with a bright future someday.  Because of Calvary

  • Wrongs can be righted.
  • Mistakes can be corrected.
  • The power of sin can be countered.
  • Things the enemy has stolen can be restored.
  • The damages of sin can be repaired.
  • The deep bruises and broken hearts can be healed and
  • The records of each sinner can be cleansed, replaced by the spotless account of the obedience of Jesus.

Jesus paid the full price for the sins of us all at Calvary.

There is something we must do.
If so, then why is there still sin and pain and suffering and sickness and meanness and anger?
It is not so hard to understand.  Each of us still has a free will.  Jesus atoned for us all; He paid the full price.   But there is something we must do—we must believe and receive.  As people choose to continue in their sin, evil continues its relentless assault on mankind.

The crucifixion of Jesus was the most vivid expression of God’s justice and mercy.  The sins of mankind are not abstract; they are real:

  • real cruelty and suffering,
  • real violence,
  • real hate,
  • real destruction,
  • real selfishness and real lies.

The mercy of God is just as real as His justice.  We see it at the cross.   When we call upon Christ in repentance and faith our sins are forgiven and cast away as far as the east is from the west. We stand before God as if we had never sinned—justified by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus.

Breaking the Barrier
Just as the sins of mankind set up a barrier between people and their Creator, our personal sins separated us from our God.  At Calvary, Jesus broke the power of sin over people and He shattered the indictment against us by nailing it to His cross.  We now have access to God through a new and living way.

As forgiven and redeemed people, we must now walk in the mercy we have freely received.  We musts freely give of His grace, letting it flow through us in deeds of mercy and compassion, truth and justice.

The cost has been paid.  Let the redeemed life be lived!

Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Colossians 2:13-15
When you were dead in your sins and in … your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Psalm 103:11-12 11
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Romans 3:23-26 23;  5:9-10
….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice … so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. …Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Prayer and Confession
From the Book of Common Prayer (adapted SRP)
Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved You with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God has mercy on me. He forgives me all my sins through our Lord Jesus Christ. He strengthens me in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keeps me in eternal life. Amen.

Jesus Paid It All
Words and Music: Elvina M. Hall

1. I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2. Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots And melt the heart of stone.


3. For nothing good have I Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.


4. And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save, “My lips shall still repeat.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 28, 2017


Human nature is strong. 
The will to survive is perhaps the strongest force in the human heart. In the garden called Gethsemane the battle between the will to survive and the demands of absolute love raged in the quietness of the night.

Before the soldiers broke the silence of that night with the sounds of sandals rhythmically pounding the floor of the garden and swords rattling in their belts, drops of blood fell to the ground, the telling residue of the silent battle of will against love.  This blood was not drawn by the blade, but by the bitter anguish of a soul in torment.  Jesus’ sweat became as blood as He faced the cup of iniquity filled to overflowing by all the sins of mankind, past and future.

  • Roman cruelty and religious bigotry were in the cup,
  • as was the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart,
  • the idolatry of the nations, including Israel,
  • the genocide of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot,
  • the hedonism, racism, greed, and infanticide of America, and
  • the institutionalized hatred of radical Islam.
  • Our private little sins were there, too.

This bitter cup was abhorrent to Jesus. 
For more than thirty years He had lived a sinless life although beset by every temptation known to man. Now He must swallow all sin, taking into his human life the poison of the ages from Eden to the end of time.  He was God incarnate, the divine merged with the human.  In a mystery we cannot unravel in this life, Jesus had laid aside His divinity to live by the power of the Spirit in the flesh.  The Spirit of God had never failed Him:

  • Demons fled at the sound of His command.
  • Sickness, impairment, and disease vanished at His touch.
  • Lies and liars melted away at His reasoning.
  • Even the winds and waves obeyed Him.

On this night, in this garden, the will of the Father was not to deliver Him; it was the Father’s will that Jesus deliver us.

He asked His friends to watch and pray with Him.

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

They were unable to do as He asked.  Sleep overcame them. His prayer of agony echoed through the stillness of the olive trees:

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Returning to the sleeping disciples, Jesus revealed the nature of the battle within Him:

“The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

His spirit was powerful, calling for Him to lovingly submit to the agreed upon plan from ages past.  But now, having entered willingly into time, in this moment the human will to survive was strong.  It was the last temptation He must resist.  He prayed the prayer of submission a second time, and then a third and final time:

“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

This silent night was broken by the shouts of soldiers and followers, the greeting of one who betrayed and his kiss, the scrape of swords drawn from leather, the cry of a wounded temple guard and the amazement of all who saw the severed ear restored.  As soldiers dragged Jesus away and His friends scattered into the safety of darkness, the stillness beneath the olive trees returned as if nothing had happened there.

But something did happened there—the world was redeemed.

Matthew 26:36-56
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them… “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed… When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people …Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him… With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.  “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Lord Jesus, You did not submit because of weakness. You said Your spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. This I understand. I have felt the failure of my human soul to follow the will of my human spirit. You had something to do that no one else in the world who ever lived could do. You did it. You drained the bitter cup of the sins of the world, taking all of it into Your sinless self. “Thank you” seems all too beggarly a word to use but I must express my gratitude to You for this. You did this for me as much as You did it for anyone. I submit to You. I know that my salvation is a gift that I could never earn yet something in me wants to serve You the rest of my days—starting today! Amen.

What Wondrous Love Is This?
Composer Unknown

1. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

2. When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

3. To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM –
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
while millions join the theme, I will sing.

4. And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 27, 2017


The story of Jesus is unique among religious literature. 
Instead of mankind desperately seeking God, God came to earth as a man to break the in barrier between God and man.  Instead of poets dreaming up gods of their own imaginations, God revealed exactly who He is: the face, the voice, the touch of Jesus.  The glory of Jesus is not a glory to be achieved; it is a glory to simply behold in humility, repentance, and faith.

The Table of the Lord demonstrates our participation in the mystery of redemption.  One of the Greek words for participation is koinoneo which means

“to have a share of, to share with, take part in” is translated “to be partaker of”
(Vine’s Dictionary of NT Words)

Koinoneo emphasizes the fellowship resulting from shared experiences and beliefs.  Somehow, when we come to the table we do not just observe a memorial of the ministry of Jesus.  We actually participate in the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  What are these mysteries?  They are summed up by Paul in seven words:

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

This is the theme of everything said and done at the Last Supper.  This meal marked the passing of the Passover and the coming of “The Great Thanksgiving”—the Eucharist.  No longer a celebration of a deliverance from in the distant past, our Fellowship Meal (koinoneo) is a participation in a current deliverance from sin and destruction.

Jesus said we should participate in the bread and the cup as a remembrance of Him.  Our English word, “remembrance” comes from the Greek word, anamnesis which means:

“a remembrance” (“again”) …not “in memory of” but in an affectionate calling of the Person Himself to mind; (b) of the “remembrance” of sins… is not simply an external bringing to “remembrance,” but an awakening of mind. (Vine’s Dictionary)

At the Lord’s Table we do more than remember, we participate.
The Holy Spirit ministers to us as we believe in Jesus’ Body and Blood, His substance and His life.  He told us in John chapter six what it meant to eat and drink of His substance and life—it is to believe—this is the work of God.

John 6:28-29
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

At that Last Passover and First Communion, Jesus spoke of our participation in the New Covenant:

  • We would enjoy the complete forgiveness of sins.
  • We would engage in a life empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • We would be branches in Him, the True Vine, bearing much fruit.
  • We would be destined for eternal life in His Father’s house.
  • We would have the opportunity to be one with Him as He is one with the Father.

He prayed that we would seize the opportunity.

As we consider the events of the final week of Jesus’ ministry of this earth, we do more than remember, we participate.  We are there

  • at the table,
  • in the Garden,
  • at the arrest,
  • through the night of trials in the courts of men,
  • on the road to Calvary,
  • at the cross,
  • in the storm and darkness,
  • hearing His last words,
  • seeing Him lifeless and still, silent,
  • weeping at the tomb through the night, and
  • rejoicing in the dawn of a new day, a New Covenant and a new life!

The story of Jesus is unique among religious literature.

Mark 14:22-26

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”  When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
2 Peter 1:4
… he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
1 Corinthians 10:15-17
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
Colossians 1:24-27
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.  I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Lord Jesus, You are more than the leader of my religion, the philosopher whose words I try to follow, or my hero from history. You are my Deliverer, my Savior, my best Friend, my King, my Counselor, and my Companion in the way. Today I will listen to Your voice sounding in music of Your creation, in the words of friends, and in the silences in between. I believe in the power of your substance—Your Word, Your presence, Your strength. I believe in the power of Your life—the Holy Spirit, the force of divine creation and restoration of what has been lost. I will carefully place my feet in Your footprints clearly seen in the path of life before me. In Your Matchless Name, Amen.

Break Thou the Bread of Life
Words: Mary A. Lathbury; Music: William F. Sherwin

1. Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.

2. Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!

3. You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.

4. O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 26, 2017


Jesus and Violence: the Exception
When Jesus and violence meet in the Bible, He is usually on the receiving end.  There is an exception:  The cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem.

How strange to think of the gentle Jesus, whip in hand, driving out the money-changers, overturning their tables, and scattering their coins and goods to the mercy of the crowd.  Yet, that is what happened.  We must ask questions:

  1. Was this out of character for Jesus who is supposed to be meek and lowly?
  2. Why did the merchandising of “spirituality” upset Him so when the religious leaders stood by approving?

What was wrong with this corrupted system of “worship?”
When reading the gospel narratives we sometimes skip over the parts we don’t understand or find unpleasant.  Therefore, these parts of the story are forced from our memory as we ruminate on the gentle, compassionate, and friendly side of Jesus’ character.  Our reluctance to embrace the entire revelation of the person Jesus when He walked this earth does not morph Him into our image of Him.  He remains who He was and is.

Sometimes He got angry.

The full range of His character is so important for us to consider:

  • Note the times of discouragement when He was misunderstood.
  • There were times of grief when He wept openly.
  • Disappointment came when those closest to Him did not believe.
  • His biting anger against the religious leaders erupted from Him in the names he called them like, “snakes” and  “white-washed tombs.”
  • His unbridled joy is seen in the many parties and dinners He attended.
  • His delight in children is apparent as they must have squirmed into His lap for a hug.

But why this anger and violence at the Temple?

The Restoration of Worship
Sometimes one must destroy something once good but now corrupt to build something better. What Jesus was doing with the whip and the shouted quotation of prophecy was more than the purging of the Temple.  He was destroying the corrupted worship of men in order to restore the True Worship of God.

  • On the local scale, Old Covenant worship had been so thoroughly corrupted by wicked leadership that a totally new beginning was needed.
  • On the cosmic scale, the Old Covenant was about to be dismantled and the New Covenant erected in its place.  In 40 years or so, the Romans would do to the Temple  what Jesus did to the moneychangers.  Jesus predicted it that day.

The prophecy Jesus shouted as His violence against spun itself out was this:

“Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

A Covenant of Restoration
Indeed, true prayer for all nations is the essence of the New Covenant. Jesus’ ministry was and is to restore our relationship with God.   Jesus’ message while He walked this earth was the coming access to the Father each of us would have in prayer. Prayer is so much more than asking God for things.  Times of prayer are times of communion with God Almighty!  Without the atoning blood of Jesus, none of us could ever have communion with our Maker.  Our sins would consume us in a flash.

  • With the New Covenant there would be no need for the animal sacrifices—Jesus would be the final Lamb!
  • There would be no need for a building called the Temple—each believer in Jesus would be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • There would be no need of an exalted priesthood.  With the New Covenant each believer is a priest unto the Lord.
  • There would also be no single race serving as a doorway to God. The church would be the “chosen generation” and the “One Holy Nation” on earth making the New Covenant House of God a place of prayer for all nations.

The violence meted out by Jesus was not out of character.  True Spirituality must never be corrupted by profiteering.  To do so is to grieve the Spirit and risk the anger of Jesus. (See Acts 5:1-11!)

May all our houses of prayer be suitable for all nations.

Luke 19:41-48
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Mark 11:15-19
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

Lord Jesus, sometimes in the Bible we see Your anger. I see Your deep rage and sorrow at  scenes of injustice. The corruption of worship is a supreme injustice to mankind. Help me honor “Your Father’s House” as a house of prayer for all nations. Help me brook no prejudice there, no power-mongering leaders, and no profiteering of any kind. Instead, help me pray in Your Name and worship in Spirit and Truth. Your cross restored True Worship. Help the prophesy of the angel hosts be fulfilled in Your house—“peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” Amen.

Jesus Opened Up the Way
Words and Music: Eugene M. Bartlett

1. Jesus Christ the Lord opened up the way to glory
When He died to save us from our ruined state,
And He asks that we shall go tell the world the story,
How His blood will save them from their awful fate.

Jesus opened up the way to heaven’s gate
When He died on the cross,To redeem all the lost;
He prepared the roadThat leads to His abode,
’Tis a road marked by blood But it leads us home to God.

2. And the way is marked by the footprints of the Savior,
With His blood he made it, made it plain and straight;
If you walk that way, it will lead you into heaven,
Lead you safely into glory’s golden gate.


3. Sinner, will you come and join in this heav’nly journey,
Walk the bloody pathway that the Savior trod;
Then when life is over and all the sheaves are garnered,
You will meet the Savior and be not afraid.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 25, 2017


The dictionary defines energy as “available power.”
To have the energy life demands, one must have reliable sources of power. So we exercise and eat and prepare for the day in ways that seek to get us energized.

Sleep is a source of energy. Food obviously fits into this category as does water, oxygen, vitamins, minerals, sugar, caffeine, and Wonder Bread. (In the 1950’s, Wonder Bread promised to build strong bodies eight ways!)

Our natural energy comes in specific types:

  • Physical energy,
  • Mental energy, and
  • Emotional energy.

These three forms of energy have their own sources and each of us must provide the raw materials these sources need to produce the physical, mental, and emotional energy life requires.  If we do not, we risk losing the ability to function through:

  • Physical exhaustion,
  • Mental fatigue, and
  • Emotional burnout.

Spiritual Energy
There is also a spiritual dimension to the human life and a fourth type of energy—spiritual energy.  This energy also has its sources:

  • Prayer,
  • The Word of God,
  • Praise and Worship, (Which, of course, are forms of prayer.)
  • Fellowship with other believers, and
  • Christian service.

Deny or Embrace?
People who deny the existence of the spiritual side of life still need the things of the spirit.  They substitute physical, mental, and emotional activity for the spiritual activity for which their depleted spirits are starving.    No matter how high the art, how sublime the culture, how elated the aftermath of the workout, none of these things satisfy the human spirit.

People who embrace the spiritual side of life face a danger as well—we can also substitute human activity for the action of the Holy Spirit.

  • We can deplete our physical beings by working in the Kingdom of God solely in our own power.
  • We can drain our brains of all life trying to manipulate people and events toward a “spiritual” outcome.
  • We can approach an emotional breakdown by trying to save the world or even our little corner of it.

Ruach—The Breath of God
The truth is this: when we gave our hearts to Him, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit came to live in us!  We have the ruach, the Breath of Heaven in us!  Talk about an energy source!

How do we tap this source?  Two ways:

  1. Christian Disciplines, (Prayer/Word/Worship/Service) and
  2. Deeds of mercy.

The Christian discipline of daily prayer including worship and the Word is as essential to spiritual energy as diet, exercise, nutrition, hydration and breathing are to physical energy and study, fun, and concentration are to mental energy.

When we expend our energy to touch a hurting soul through witness or service, we are sharing Jesus’ favorite meal!  He told the disciples after he had ministered life to the Woman at the Well, “I have food that you know nothing about–my nourishment is to do the will of my Father and finish His work.”  Serving God does not cost us energy; it provides us energy.

With daily prayer and faithful service, we find an energy source that will never be depleted—and neither will we!

John 4:31-34
…his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
2 Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Ephesians 3:16-17; 20-21: 6:10
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen….Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…

Lord Jesus, You are my strength! I stand in dangerous places because You are my safety. Help me build the structure of my life on You, the Solid Rock. In the cycle of day and night, You are my energy throughout each day and my rest every night. As the Bible says, I want to be “strong in the Lord and the power of Your might.” Grant me a constant source of spiritual energy as Your Spirit dwells within. I need Your wisdom to regulate my life so that I rest when it is time to rest and work when it is time to work—all in Your amazing grace. In Your powerful name, Amen.

Old Time Power
Words and Music: Charles D. Tillman

1. They were in an upper chamber,
They were all with one accord,
When the Holy Ghost descended
As was promised by the Lord.

O Lord, send the pow’r just now,
O Lord, send the pow’r just now;
O Lord, send the pow’r just now
And baptize every one.

2. Yes, the pow’r from Heav’n descended
With the sound of rushing wind;
Tongues of fire came down upon them,
As the Lord said He would send.


3. Yes, this old-time pow’r was given
To our fathers who were true;
This is promised to believers,
And we all may have it too.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 24, 2017


The cross of Christ changed the world.
As a gruesome but efficient means of execution, the Roman cross was well known before the time of Jesus. His cross was no different than those of the two thieves beside Him on Golgotha. The wooden spars that formed His cross are lost to history, burned as someone’s trash fire, no doubt.

The meaning of that cross has changed nations, one citizen at a time. This was more than an execution; it was a transformation. This thing of imminent death became the symbol of life everlasting. This implement of destruction became a tool of restoration.

On His cross Jesus conquered death by dying for our sins. He banished sickness by the means of injury—the Roman whip that slashed His back. He rebuked pride with a Crown of Thorns. He routed hate with His perfect love. He disarmed violence with His innocence and He frightened fear away with perfect peace. He ruined sin with His willing obedience.

No wonder we sing about His cross to this day.
It is clear why the writers of the New Testament made His Cross their story. It should not surprise us that the world tries another transformation, seeking to rob the Cross of its true power and make it jewelry and ornament for our vanity.

But the truth is still told everywhere. The Cross of Christ changes everything.

Another Cross
Jesus spoke of another cross, not the Cross of the Redeemer, but the cross of the believer. Jesus carried His cross once and for all. The believer must take up his/her cross every day. Following Jesus we must deny ourselves, delay our demands for gratification, and prioritize the work God has for us to do.

We will see the transformation.
Work becomes worship. Play becomes praise. Repose becomes Sabbath Rest. Life brims with abundance. We are rich because He was made poor. We are healed because He was wounded. We are delivered because He has overcome. We are safe because He defeated our foes. This daily cross we carry is not a thing of death but it is an instrument of life.

The Cross of Christ changes everything.

Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. … All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. … From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him — may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations… Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn — for he has done it.
Luke 9:23-25 NIV
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
John 19:17-18
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Colossians 2:13-15 NIV
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Galatians 6:14-15
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

The General Thanksgiving
The Book of Common Prayer
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we Your unworthy servants give You humble thanks for all your goodness and loving‑kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless You for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for Your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of Your mercies, That with truly thankful hearts we may show forth Your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to Your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

The Old Rugged Cross
Words and Music: George Bennard

1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown

2. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.


3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.


4. To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 23, 2017


Covenants are binding.
Since ancient times, covenants have been sealed with blood. A covenant is more than a promise. It is a commitment to more than an intention. Covenants are binding. They are not made to be broken but to be kept by both parties who covenant together.

The Sin Problem
The problem comes with inequality; when one party can keep covenant and the other cannot. This is the classic sin problem. God has made a covenant with humankind. But these two partners are vastly unequal:

  1. God is holy.
  2. We are sinful.

In this season of Lent, we fully face both His righteousness and our sinfulness.

The Covenantal Names of God
In His covenant with Israel, God bound Himself to be all they would need. He revealed Himself to them by covenantal names to describe His intentions and abilities:

  • Jehovah Jireh –The Lord Our Provider
  • Jehovah Rapha—The Lord Our Healer
  • Jehovah Shammah—The Lord Who Is There
  • Jehovah Shalom—The Lord Our Peace
  • Jehovah Nissi—The Lord Our Banner
  • Jehovah McKeddesh—The Lord Who Sanctifies
  • Jehovah Roi –The Lord Our Shepherd
  • Jehovah TsidKenu—The Lord Our Righteousness
  • Jehovah Saboath –The Lord of Hosts

As The Great I Am, Jehovah bound Himself to meet their needs.

But the people could not keep covenant.
There was no power within it them to resist the urge to sin—that was their part—to obey the Lord’s Laws. When they broke the laws of God they broke the Covenant. To win back their fellowship with God, an innocent life had to be die in their place. An amazing, elaborate system of redemption was devised by Jehovah to provide this way back to humankind’s covenantal partner. For centuries perfect and innocent animals paid the price for the people’s sins.

The Final Lamb
It was all in anticipation of the Final Lamb, the Son of God Himself, to make the final and complete sacrifice for sins. In the season of Lent we prayerfully attempt to gain some small sense of what our redemption cost the Lord Jesus.

The One named Jesus is our Provider, our Healer, and One Who is “God with Us.” He is our Peace, our Banner of Victory, our Sanctifier, and our Shepherd. Jesus is our Righteousness and He is the Captain of the Hosts of Heaven. He has made covenant with us.

He did our part, too.
He obeyed our side of the Covenant by recording His obedience next to our names in the heavenly register. He did this by trading His innocence for our sin, by shedding His blood to save us from hell.

From ancient times, covenants have been sealed with blood

Jeremiah 31:31-34
“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Luke 22:20 NIV
… after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Hebrews 9:15
Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

From the Book of Common Prayer (adapted SRP)
Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; (as represented by this bread and this cup), and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Blood will Never Lose Its Power
Words and Music: Andrea Crouch

1. The blood that Jesus shed for me Way back on Calvary
The blood that gives me strength From day to day
It will never lose its power.

It reaches to the highest mountain
And it flows to the lowest valley
The blood that gives me strength From day to day
It will never lose its power.

2. It soothes my doubts and calms my fears
And it dries all my tears
The blood that gives me strength From day to day
It will never lose its power.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 22, 2017

March 22, 2017


It’s the answer no one wants to hear.
It’s the thing we don’t like very much to have to do. Yet, waiting is the line we must cross to move from immaturity to maturity, from childhood to adulthood. We give it a fancy name—delayed gratification—but it is still waiting. Patience, the thing we need so much, is the thing we do not want to learn, the skill we feel is some kind of punishment.

There was a time when waiting was an accepted part of growing up:

  • wait to drive a car, wait for boring private lessons and mind numbing practice to turn slowly into musicianship and the chance to play,
  • wait for the lead role and take the supporting role or the membership in the chorus or even the crew, before landing a lead,
  • wait in the middle level job for the advancement to an executive position, and
  • wait for love and marriage—both—before giving and receiving in the joys of Holy Matrimony.

In those days, gratification was surely delayed.

Gratification NOW at any Cost.
The order of this age is to plot and scheme to find shortcuts, inside tracks, and advantages either fair or unfair, to race to “the next level.” Immediacy is the thing we need. It is necessary to advance by any means for the ends will surely justify them.

This is not the story we tell as we approach the Passion Week.
There was no other place to pray than Gethsemane, no plea bargaining in Pilate’s court, and no shortcut to Calvary. Before the Passion, Jesus had already waited for more than three years of ministry, ministry full of

  • heartbreak and elation,
  • temptation and triumph,
  • miracles and unbelief,
  • huge crowds listening to every Word and then turning away to go about their lives as if nothing at all had been said, and
  • Disciples who loved Him and those who saw advantage in knowing Him.

Before those years of preaching He waited as a village craftsman doing good work with His hands while, after Joseph’s death, all in His family except His mother came to doubt Him.

Jesus knew how to wait; He learned the life lesson well, just as we have had to learn it.

Waiting is proactive not reactive; it is active not passive.
So, sometimes the answer to our prayers doesn’t come at once. Without explanation, we are delayed in our expected deliverance. The psalmists knew this and reported it faithfully. The word they used that becomes “wait” in English means to bind together as with cords in a sense of expectation.

wait-OT:6960 (kaw-vaw’); … to bind together (perhaps by twisting),… to expect…(Strong’s Dictionary)

Waiting is proactive not reactive; it is active not passive. We wait, bound to the Lord with Covenantal cords that cannot be broken.

That is why to wait upon the Lord is to renew our strength.

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

From James 1:2-5 and Isaiah 40:31 (SRP)
Lord Jesus, help me count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces patience. I will let patience have its perfect work, that I may wait in faith for Your answer, Your perfect, and complete answer. Lord, when I lack wisdom, instruct me. When I am weak and impatient, make me strong again. When it is time to fly, help me soar with eagle’s wings. When there is a race I must run, let there be no weariness at all in me. When a long road stretches before me, help me walk it without fainting. Amen.

Leave It There
Words and Music: Charles A. Tindley

1. If the world from you withhold of its silver and gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

2. If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


3. When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you, and will lead you safely through –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


4. When your youthful days are gone, and old age is stealing on.
And your body bends beneath the weight of care;
He will never leave you then, He’ll go with you to the end –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved