Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
A Prayer of David – When he was in a cave.
“I cry out loudly to God,
loudly I plead with God for mercy
I spill out all my complaints before Him’
and spell out my troubles in detail.
As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away,
You know how I’m feeling,
Know the danger I’m in,
the traps hidden in my path.
Look right, look left -
there’s not a soul who cares what happens!
I’m up against it, with no exit -
bereft, left alone.
I cry out, God, call out:
‘You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!’
Oh listen, please listen;
I’ve never been this low.
Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
I’m no match for them.
Get me out of this dungeon
so I can thank You in public.
Your people will form a circle around me
and You’ll bring me showers of blessing!”
Psalm 142: 1 -7
The Message Bible
Still, Still, With Thee
“Still, still with Thee, through all life’s passing changes!
Still, still with Thee, through all its fleeting years!
Still, still with Thee, though undesired exchanges
Have tried the heart, it may be – drawn the tears.
Still, still with Thee, in joy as well as sorrow;
Still, still with Thee, in weakness and in health;
Still, still with Thee, even with life’s veiled tomorrow;
Still, still with Thee in want as well as wealth.
Still, still with Thee, though one-time joys have perished;
and lights which cheered, alas have now grown pale.
Still, still with Thee, in quiet, safe abiding!
Still, still with Thee, and therefore knowing rest;
Still, still with Thee in calm and sweet confiding;
Still, still with Thee- and thus supremely blest.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“Jesus said to Martha, ‘Your brother shall rise again.’ Martha replied, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am (Myself) the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in and relies on Me, although he may die, yet he shall live. And whoever continues to live and believes in and cleaves to Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ (Martha) said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I have believed, I do believe, that You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God, even He Who was to come into the world, it is for Your coming that the world has waited.’”
John 11: 23-27
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 26
“You Are The Messiah”
“He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
Matthew 16: 15-16
What do I think happened in Martha’s life that made it possible for her to recognize that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the Anointed One?
“The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming,’ (Who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am He, the One who is speaking to you.’”
John 4: 25 – 26
“Christ is not only beloved by all believing souls, but is their well-beloved, their best-beloved, their only beloved.”
Throughout the Bible, there are passages of Scripture which inspire and encourage; exhort and command; comfort and plead. And then there are those passages which instruct us in ways we could never imagine. Such is our study text where Martha’s encounter with Jesus, as well as her subsequent conversation with Him, open up to each one of us the great Gospel story which encompasses the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the Messiah and our Savior and Lord.
In poetic words, J.R. Macduff pens the thoughts conveyed in John 11: 21-27:
“At last the gladsome tidings reach,
The Lord and Master draweth nigh!
He comes! He comes! their hearts to heal
The broken hearts of Bethany.
The stronger-minded sister first
Rushes outside its groves of palm
A suppliant at her Master’s feet,
For, better than all Gilead-balm.
She hears these glorious living words
That ring out like a silver chime;
Bright messages of joy and hope
That echo to the end of time
The ‘Resurrection and the Life’
‘He that believes shall never die!’
O vanquished death, where now thy sting?
And where, O grave, thy victory?’”
Ever since the toxin of sin contaminated Eden’s perfection and the words of eternal hope were spoken: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” (Genesis 3: 15) generation after generation down through the ages had waited and looked for the Messiah. The Old Testament Prophets gave out a clarion call, “The Messiah will appear.” The Redeemer who would save the world’s inhabitants from certain death, would come! As author S.D. Gordon so descriptively writes about Christ’s coming to earth to save “His people from their sins” – “Jesus is the music of God’s heart sounding in man’s ears anew, that he may be wooed back the old road to the Eden life. Jesus is the face of God, close up, looking tenderly, yearningly, into man’s face, that his eye may be caught and held, and his heart enchained…For when (we) turn around enough to get even a glimpse of that God-Face, and a whisper of the God-Voice, we can withstand no longer.”
In the words of Jesus, “and I, if I am lifted up from the earth on a cross, will draw all and attract all to Myself” (John 12: 32, Amplified Bible). It was this drawing love that had brought the family in Bethany closer and closer to the heart of Jesus, until the day came, when with clear eyes and open ears, they were able to bear witness to the fact that indeed, the Messiah is here and lives among us. What a joyful testimony to the faith of Martha that even when in the midst of sorry and grief, through eyes awashed in tears, she could affirm and proclaim, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God.”
May our prayer today be that of Bonaventure as we gaze into the face of our Messiah: “May my heart always hunger and feed upon You, so that my soul may be filled with the sweetness of Your presence…May I always seek and find You, think upon You, speak to You, and do all things for the honor and glory of Your holy name.”
The Name of Jesus
“How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes (her) sorrows, heals (her) wounds,
And drives away (her) fear!
It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.
Dear Name! the rock of which I build,
My shield and hiding place,
My never-failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace,
By Thee my prayer acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a Child.
Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But, when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
‘Til then, I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath;
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!”
These (words) 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.”
John 20: 31
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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