February 11, 2014
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 38, 39, N.R.S.V.
Today’s Study Text:
“Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway – buy and eat! Come…buy without money – everything’s free!”
Isaiah 55: 1, The Message Bible
“Your Thirst’s Been Quenched”
“O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire Thee with our whole heart; so that desiring, we may seek, and seeking, find Thee; and so finding Thee, may love Thee, and loving Thee may hate those sins from which Thou hast redeemed us.”
Anselm of Canterbury
Is there a place in my life where I need Jesus’ healing hands and love to mend what is broken?
What do I need in order to have Jesus repair the painful areas of my life?
“We taste Thee, O Thou living bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
“Many of us are not thirsty for God because we have quenched our thirst at other fountains!”
Erwin W. Lutzer
Living in the state of Arizona, those of us who are “natives” – born and raised here – find ourselves mildly amused by tourists who seem to think this is the “wild west.” It’s as though they expect to see cowboy shootouts on the streets of Phoenix – now the fifth largest city in the United States.
Having said this, there are still areas of land, well off the beaten path, where large family ranches exist. And on many of these “spreads” there are remnants of walls or fences built many years ago. Often, the wall itself was constructed of rocks and wooden timbers collected on the very land where the fence now stands.
Many of these enclosures were built to protect the land, animals, and people who inhabited the property. While constructed long ago, some of these barriers, even if broken down in places, are still visible. Toppled rocks and termite-infested wood found scattered around, remind an onlooker of what once was.
There’s a similarity between our lives and these fences. Building blocks – bricks and stones – that formed a firm foundation in our lives may now lie scattered amid the rubble of a life that one time contained great potential. Rotted timbers, that formed the gates and entrances to our lives, are strewn about, unable to function as they once did.
This brings me to a story in the book of Nehemiah. This man of God and his experience trying to rebuild a wall that was in disrepair, have two very simple but important lessons for you and me as we explore, today and tomorrow, how we nurture growth in the garden of our lives. In Nehemiah 1: 1-4, the sixteenth book in the Old Testament, we are told that the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in Shusah, Nehemiah, received a message from a friend that back in Jerusalem, his homeland, the walls of the city were “broken down and the gates thereof are burned with fire.”
This situation, as verse 4 relates, drove Nehemiah to tears: “When I heard these words, I sat down and wept, and mourned.” The place Nehemiah loved was in ruins. What was once a city with unlimited potential lay in rubble. The walls and gates that served to protect the people inside Jerusalem now reflected the ravaging effects of destructive years of war and neglect.
Sound familiar? Does your own life have areas that have been spoiled by indifference? Are there places in the wall of your life where negligence and disregard have allowed the bricks to fall out one by one leaving gaping holes in what was to be a circle of protection? Or have the timbers that were used to make the beautiful gates, those entrances to your life, been rotted by carelessness over time?
Then do what Nehemiah did. He came to the King and boldly asked for his help in repairing the walls. This was not to be a self-help project that Nehemiah could do on his own. He needed the help from Someone bigger than himself. Someone with more resources than he had. Someone with more power than he had.
However, Nehemiah had to do one thing. He had to come to the King. Nehemiah didn’t have money. He didn’t have authority. He didn’t have anything at all – but he came anyway.
And my dear friends, with our Heavenly King, that’s all you and I have to do. We just have to come. Even if the bricks of our lives appear useless – just Come.
If you feel you are used up – Come. If everybody’s given up on you – Come. If you have tried before and failed – Come. And, here’s a big one – if you are already a Christian and think things in your life are going quite well, thank you, then you really need to – Come! For just when I’ve thought I had it all together is usually the moment I’ve needed the King the most.
Several years ago, I was pianist for a children’s choir at a local school where I volunteered my time. Each year at the annual Christmas program, the youngest group, precious little kindergarten children, closed the program by singing Away In A Manger. At the end of the song the director had added the words and music to one other number which served to close the program: “O, come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.” It was so moving to hear these innocent voices singing these touching words of invitation.
Not long ago, when I found myself failing, again, in my daily walk with Jesus, finding myself too busy, too stressed, too self-sufficient, I decided that in my early morning devotions I would end my prayer with these words: “O, come to my heart Lord Jesus, today there’s room in my heart for You.” This reminds me daily that all I have to do is come. No matter how busy I am with my life…there’s always room for Jesus’ presence.
“Yesterday He helped me,
Today He did the same;
How long will this continue?
Forever, praise His name.”
“If any (woman) is thirsty, let (her) come to Me and drink! (She) who believes in Me and trusts and relies on me…from (her) innermost being shall flow continuously springs of living water.”
John 7: 37, 38
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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