April 28, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I will cause the shower to come down in season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
Ezekiel 34: 26
“What is your season (today)? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and (dark) clouds? Then that is the season for showers. ‘As your days so shall your strength be.’ ‘I will give thee showers of blessing.’ The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send ‘showers of blessings.’ Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and who this is that is saying to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, instead, and He would have given you living water.”
John 4: 10
Behold The Man” – Part 8
“Recognizing God’s Gift”
“There is nothing in this world which is not a gift of God.”
What are just some of the gifts which I can identify that God has “showered” upon my life?
How have I shown gratitude to my heavenly Father for all He has given me?
“It is not enough that we acknowledge God’s infinite resources; we must believe also that He is infinitely generous to bestow them.”
“As the sun glorifies with his radiance the tamest landscape and transmutes the barren rock into a pyramid of gold; so are all earthly and material blessings glorified and beautified…by the beams of the Son of Righteousness. Christ gives a new and enhanced value to every subordinate gift.”
J. R. MacDuff
Several days ago, my husband came home from the local bookstore with a little surprise “gift” for me. Knowing how I’ve always! loved everything British, even the rainy weather, Jim found a magazine with a special insert entitled: “Britain’s Great Journeys.”
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to find a few minutes in my day to absorb the beauty from the pages of this “special treat.” Never having had the joy of traveling to Britain, my longing to visit was only enhanced by one of the day trips which featured the Ullswater Steamer cruise. If the crystal blue lake wasn’t enough to get me excited, the scenery surrounding the “serpintine form” of Ullswater Lake really did the trick. Here’s how the author, Angharad Moran described the photographic scene which nearly took my breath away: “Passing through this stunning landscape, it is not hard to see how it inspired William Wordsworth to create his famous work “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” as he strolled around Ullswater with the rolling landscape swathed in golden-green flowing down to meet the ranks of trees in the surrounding woodland that line the lake’s shores…there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen, with otters playing in the water, deer grazing along the lake’s circumference and red squirrels hiding in the nearby trees. From the brilliant yellow daffodils speckling the ground around the edge of the lake in warmer months, to the rusty copper hues of trees in the autumn.”
Now I’m not trying to provide you with a sight-seeing adventure on behalf of British tourism, what I am attempting to do is highlight the fact that everyday, no matter where you reside on planet earth, there is a treasure – a gift especially for you given by your Father in heaven. It may be a rosebud or a plate of food or the bright sun in the sky. Possibly the gift you may find yourself celebrating is one that struck my heart and opened up my eyes when after our car accident. I was able, after 3 months, to stand up and take my very first step. Having been told that it was quite likely I’d never walk again, I can’t even properly put into words what it was like to be able to stand and put one foot in front of the other.
If today, you were to make a list of the gifts which God has bestowed upon you, what would be at the top of your list? For each of us, our lists would vary, but as the Apostle Paul wrote to his Christian friends at the young church in Corinth, “Thanks be to God for His Gift, precious beyond telling, His unspeakable, His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift - Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 9: 15, A.M.P.; K.J.V.)
Just trying to comprehend how the Apostle Paul felt when these words were written is difficult for us to understand. Here was a man whose zeal, in killing “Christians,” those who chose to believe in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, was heralded as a triumph for the “super-religious, law-abiding” rulers of his day. In fact, here’s how “Saul” is described in Acts 8: “Saul was not only consenting to Stephen’s death, he was pleased and entirely approving…Saul shamefully treated and laid waste the church continuously with cruelty and violence; and entering house after house, he dragged out men and women and committed them to prison” (Acts 8: 1, 2 A.M.P.). Not a pretty picture. Not a kind picture.
And yet, in just a short time, we find that God’s Gift, met Saul on a road near Damascus. And the voice that entered Saul’s world was this, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9: 5, A.M.P.). I share this encounter for we find that once Saul, later referred to as the Apostle Paul met the Son of Righteousness, such a change occurred in his own life that the gratitude which poured forth from his lips only bore witness to indescribable gratitude for God’s Gift, Jesus Christ.
What I find remarkable in Scripture is that if we would compare the scene at Jacob’s well, when under a hot, noontide sun, there was an encounter between a Samaritan woman and Jesus, we find that the results is parallel to Saul’s encounter on a road outside Damascus. Here’s why! So we can clearly understand what took place at Jacob’s well, let’s take a look at this unusual conversation:
“The Samaritan woman said to Him (Jesus), ‘How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan and a woman for a drink?’…Jesus answered her, ‘If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, instead, and He would have given you living water” (John 4: 9, 10, Amplified Bible).
The Bible commentator Matthew Henry helps us better comprehend this passage when he explains that “Jesus Christ is the gift of God, the richest token of God’s love for us, and the richest treasure of all good for us…a free gift which is an unspeakable privilege.” This sounds like the Apostle Paul talking. But then Matthew Henry continues: “To have this gift offered to us and to have an opportunity of embracing it what a blessing.”
In his book, Noontide At Sychar, author J.R. MacDuff points out that the Samaritan woman, after conversing with Jesus, reached out with “faith, simple faith, to credit the divine testimony and accept the free invitation.” As MacDuff notes, “the woman of Samaria could, until her dying day, sing of the ‘living water’ and the ‘Gift of God.’”
As hymn writer William Cowper so touchingly penned:
“Ever since by faith I saw the stream,
Thy flowing wounds supply;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.”
The Smitten Rock
“From the rock there floweth,
Living water ever clear;
Weary pilgrim journeying onward,
Know you not the fount is near?
Without money, without merit,
Jesus calls, ‘Come unto Me,’
Thirsty traveler, be encouraged,
Know you not the fount is free.
Fainting in the desert, dreary,
Guilty sinner, hark! ‘Tis He!
‘Tis the Saviour, still entreating,
Know you not He calleth thee!
Jesus is the Rock of Ages -
Smitten, stricken, lo! He dies;
From His side a living fountain,
Know you not it satisfies?”
George c. Needham
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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