July 23, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I came so (you) can have real and eternal life, more and better life than (you) ever dreamed of.”
John 10: 10
The Message Bible
“The gift of life is free –
No hidden cost required
But promised love, the vision to achieve!
In prayer, renew my question frame of mind;
With joy, engage my eye to see Your world;
Through faith, live Thou again in me.”
Today’s Study Texts:
Text #1: “Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, ‘Come with Me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.’ They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.”
Matthew 4: 19
The Message Bible
Text #2: “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow Me,’ He told Matthew, and Matthew got up and followed Him.”
Matthew 9: 9
The Message Bible
Text #3: “And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed…Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”
Luke 8: 1-3
“He’s Called You, Too!”
“I went to early service alone, and to the 11 o’clock with the children. The preacher was a stranger; he gave out his text, ‘Go work for me today in my vineyard.’ To me it was a trumpet call: I never heard any of the sermon. I could hardly keep from off my knees until it was finished; it was just as if God’s voice had called me; and the intense rest and joy were beyond all words.”
Have I felt and heard God’s call upon my life?
If I had been in the place of Matthew, Peter and Andrew, as well as the other disciples including the women who “ministered to Jesus with their means,” do I believe I would have been as quick to leave everything and follow Jesus?
“If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you…remember it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”
Missionary to China
“God calls to you, ‘Awake, awake! Thou that sittest in the dust, put on thy beautiful garments.’ You can be the friend and companion of Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost. Fractures well-healed make us more strong. Take of the very stones over which you have stumbled and fallen, and use them to pave your road to heaven.”
Ever since Transformation Garden began nearly ten years ago, on repeated occasions I’ve been overwhelmed with the reality that I am so blessed to be a part of our Garden family. This insight was opened up to me in a miraculous way over the past ten days. Let me explain why.
Here in the United States it is summer. I was reminded of the fact when our outdoor thermometer climbed to over 100degrees in the last couple of days. Usually during the summer months, our Garden friends are on vacation or simply are busy with children out of school or grandchildren visiting. So things get a little quiet in the Garden – but not this year. There will have been over 300 Prayer Requests in just 2 short weeks. And add to that the nearly 150 of you who took time from your busy lives to write a prayer or note to Jeannie N. whose son died unexpectedly. I read every one of those notes and they brought me to tears for the love and vulnerability you all shared was beyond words. After three days of constant work on the prayer requests and all the “love notes,” a consistent message kept coming through to me – we all have a purpose that God has called us to accept. Here in the Garden it is precious Dee, who after every prayer blast, writes to let me know she’s already praying. The unifying spirit of Jesus which permeates our prayer ministry and now the encouragement we can all pass on to those among us who are hurting is a fulfillment, I believe, of God’s calling upon our lives.
And this brings me to the passage of Scripture we are going to be studying for the next couple of week: John 21: 1-19. You may find it confusing since the story recorded in John 21 is about Jesus and His’ disciples on the beach of Galilee after He was resurrected. And yet, our study texts today have to do with Jesus’ initial calling of His disciples, both men and women, who I might add, had special tasks they undertook in Christ’s ministry.
In order to clarify why I began with the calling of Jesus to “Follow Me,” I want us to reflect a moment on the fact that when Jesus’ followers were called into action, we are informed they left what they were doing and without question, went along with Jesus. Even the wealthy publican Matthew, whose life we studied, got up from his tax table and walked with Jesus from that day on. I’ve often wondered what happened to his business. Who took over? The fact is Matthew didn’t seem to worry at all about what would happen to his earthly treasure after Jesus lifted his eyes to his heavenly home. When Jesus’ followers got a glimpse of what could happen as they put their energy into the lives of hurting people, something happened in their hearts. And for the next 3 ½ years, they followed their Master and Friend.
The dedicated missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, tells of walking down the street in London and feeling the call of God on his life to go to China. This would require a long, arduous journey by boat and train and on foot. But he went anyway. As he tells his story, “When my feet hit the land in China, I knew I was home – right where God wanted me.”
I’ll never forget one night very late when I should have been in bed sleeping but I was up reading emails on the computer and I had been corresponding for several weeks with a girl who was really aching. There in the darkness of the night, I read these words, “Dorothy, a soul has been saved tonight - mine. I was reading what you wrote and I accepted Jesus.” I will tell you, I needed a strong hankie that night because her words changed my heart, too. What I had considered important didn’t seem critical anymore, not when I considered the value we are worth to Jesus.
For those of you who have ever wondered about the purpose or plan God has for your life, I would like you to consider the words of author Douglas Rhymes from his book, Prayer in the Secular City. He explains:
“The meeting of Christ in us with the Christ in others will mean that we shall be willing to expose ourselves in openness to others…seeing each person we meet as having significance because both of us are accepted and loved by God. To have a prayerful approach to people is to have eyes to see, a mind intent upon seeing, a heart hopeful of seeing the image of God in each person I meet.”
It is this very thought I see in the lives of people like you who by your prayers give a practical application to thousands of those who you don’t even know and most likely may never meet but they become friends who are part of your Garden life from Tanzania to Germany; from Finland to Brazil; from the United States of America to Nigeria – and all the countries in between and scattered around this globe we call planet Earth.
Jesus’ call for helping hands to follow wasn’t a one-time only call limited to people long ago. Thankfully, we have been called, too. And our response to follow today can be just like those who “immediately” followed Jesus. In the words of Antony of Egypt, a Christian who lived in 251-356 A.D.”
“Whatever you find in your heart to do in following God, that do.”
“Then Jesus went to work on His disciples, ‘Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am…Follow Me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, My way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
Matthew 16: 24-26
The Message Bible
Jesus Call Us
“Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless sea,
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, ‘Christian, follow Me.’
Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,
Savior, may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thy obedience,
Serve and love Thee best of all.”
Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.