July 24, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And now we look back on all this and thank God, an artesian well of thanks! When you received the Word of God, you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is, God Himself at work in you believers.
I Thessalonians 2: 13-14
N.I. V and
The Message Bible
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalm 119: 105
“Read the Word, and it will be much for your comfort. It will be for your nourishment, too. It is your food as well as your life. Search it, and you will grow strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee); and He showed Himself in this way.”
John 21: 1
“He Showed Himself – In This Way”
“God is not a deceiver, that He should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us.”
Augustine of Hippo
How have I seen God show up in the challenges of my life?
If I could sit down and have a personal, one-on-one, face-to-face talk with my Father in heaven, what would be the “way” I would want Him to show Himself to me – especially in my life today?
God is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone.”
“What a wonderful experience mine has been during these thirty-nine years! What inexhaustible supplies have been vouchsafed to the work in my hands. How amazing to mere unaided human reason have been the answers to prayer, even when faith has almost failed and our timidity has begotten distrust instead of love and hope! And God has not failed us once!”
Dr. Thomas Barnardo
The words above were spoken by Thomas John Barnardo – the founder of homes for poor children in Dublin, Ireland. At the time of his death in 1905, Dr. Barnardo, a trained physician, had rescued and educated over 60,000 children. Furthermore, the charity he founded was caring for 8500 children in 96 homes.
Having worked in fund raising myself for over 35 years, I deeply admire individuals like Dr. Barnardo who place their lives on the line, both physically, emotionally and financially, in order to care for the forgotten who would be left behind without the immense love and compassion of the Dr. Barnardo’s in this world. As I read about the work in the children’s homes one distinct point kept rising to the surface and it was the way God provided time and again when it looked as though there just wasn’t any money to pay the bills. In Dr. Barnardo’s words: “God has not failed us once!”
With the background of Jesus’ words, “Follow Me,” fresh in our minds from yesterday’s devotional, I want to call our attention to the Apostle John’s touching record of one of the final events in Jesus’ life on earth – a breakfast on the beach. This might seem like a strange place for Jesus to give all His followers down through time a lesson in heaven’s ability to supply for our needs at just the right time and in the right way, however, this is exactly the way John tells the story for he states that Jesus, “showed Himself in this way.”
Now in the past as I was speed-reading through the Bible, I completely skipped over John 21: 1 because I was in such a hurry to get to the “heart” of the story. But really the “heart” of the story begins with the very first verse in John 21.
John, the disciple that “Jesus loved,” gives us some of the details which are necessary in helping us understand how Jesus acts on behalf of all His followers. First of all, John begins chapter 21 with this phrase: “After this.” You might be asking as I did, “After what?” Well as we have found in our study of God’s Word, it is essential to read the Bible in context and so I returned to John 20:30 where John left us with this very important piece of information: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
You see, before the beach breakfast, Jesus gave His followers – those precious few who would be the lightbearers of His life and love and mercy – evidence that He was who He claimed to be – the Son of God. So when Jesus arrived on the beach early that morning, His disciple John says, “After all the miracles we witnessed, after all Jesus did for each of us personally, He showed Himself to us again in a specific way that He knew would meet our needs.”
Now you may wonder how Jesus coming to the disciples that John goes on to name, Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael of Cana of Galilee, James and John the sons of Zebedee and two others of His disciples, has any relationship or connection to you and me today. Well, let’s go back to one more verse in John 20: 29 where Jesus basically told His disciple Thomas, “You believed in Me because you have seen Me and know all I’ve done by watching with your own eyes.” But then Jesus spoke words which should resonate in all our hearts today: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” This passage is written especially for you and for me. Jesus knew there would be times in all our lives when we found confusion swirling around us and when what was in our hands was so limited we just knew we couldn’t make it. But then on the beach of our own lives, Jesus would arrive in “just this way.” It is not the way Dave needs Him. It’s not how Stephanie needs Him. It’s how (your name here) needs Him. Yes, He arrives the way you need Him – meeting the extreme needs in your life. And here’s even more good news. We are promised that those who believe without living long ago to personally witness all that Jesus did, in Jesus’ own words, He says we are “blessed.” Just to be clear, the particular Greek word used in John 20: 29, “makarios” doesn’t simply mean “blessed” – it means supremely blest and fortunate, well-off and happy. What it means to have this blessing on your life means is that Jesus comes into your world and as He did for His disciples, He comes “in this way” – the way that brings the most fulfillment and purpose into your life.
I hope in the coming days as we continue our study of John 21, that you will not forget that Jesus came to the early morning beach breakfast with one purpose – His intent was to personally “bless” the lives of each of His disciples – and not just on that day, but today as well.
I ask you to consider your own life. What is the way in which you need Jesus to show Himself in your world? Keep looking toward that beach in your life that appears so barren and unfruitful because soon you’ll find yourself saying as John did, “It is the Lord!”
“The main hinge on which faith turns is this: we must not imagine that the Lord’s promises are true objectively but not in our experience. We must make them ours by embracing them in our hearts.”
The Coming of His Feet
“In the crimson of the morning, in the whiteness of the noon,
In the amber glory of the day’s retreat,
In the midnight, robed in darkness, or the gleaming of the moon,
I listen to the coming of His feet.
I heard His weary footsteps on the sands of Galilee,
On the Temple’s marble pavement, on the street,
Worn with weight of sorrow, faltering up the slopes of Calvary,
The sorrow of the coming feet.
Down the minster aisles of splendor, from betwixt the Cherubim,
Through the wondering throng, with motion strong and fleet,
Sounds His victor tread approaching, with a music far and dim -
The music of His coming feet.
Sandaled not with sheen of silver, girded not with woven gold,
Weighted not with shimmering gems and odors sweet,
But white-winged and shod with glory in the Tabor light of old –
The glory of His coming feet.
He is coming, O my spirit, with His everlasting peace,
With His blessedness immortal and complete,
He is coming, O my spirit, and His coming brings release –
I listen for the coming of His feet”
Lyman W. Allen
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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