The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.–PS. cxxi. 8.Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations.–PS. xc. 1.
With grateful hearts the past we own; The future, all to us unknown, We to Thy guardian care commit, And peaceful leave before Thy feet. P. DODDRIDGE.
We are like to Him with whom there is no past or future, with whom a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, when we do our work in the great present, leaving both past and future to Him to whom they are ever present, and fearing nothing, because He is in our future as much as He is in our past, as much as, and far more than we can feel Him to be, in our present. Partakers thus of the divine nature, resting in that perfect All-in-all in whom our nature is eternal too, we walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in. G. MACDONALD.
And in the quietness, the stillness, the silence…listen, listen to all that is often passed by, unheard, in the rush of the busy life…listen…look…and wonder in awe at the softest sound, the smallest detail…and in reverence, give thanks to God, the Creator, for the marvels of His creation.
Be still, and know that I am God.
For He knows the need of my human mind and body to ‘Be still’ and to have time with Him, to be nourished, to be refreshed in the quietness, the stillness He created.”
Be still, and know that I am God.
Be still…and deeply in touch, be aware of your Living, Loving God…whose presence is ever near for you in your joys, in your heartaches, in your times of deepest need to rejoice with you…to comfort you…to encompass you in His love and give you peace.
Be still, and know that I am God.”
Aotearoa New Zealand
Today’s Study Texts:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’…Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”
“God will never adjust His agenda to fit ours. He will not speed up His pace to catch up with ours; we need to slow our pace in order to recover our walk with Him. God will not scream and shout over the noisy clamor; He expects us to seek quietness, where His still small voice can be heard again.”
Does my busy life allow me any moments of quiet communion with God?
When was the last time I stopped to listen for the still, small voice of God?
“We hunger for quiet times; we find in them a womb to renew our strength.”
Virginia Ann Froeile
“Quiet is a blessed gift. In this frantic world how we must cherish every moment of it, and carve it out for ourselves every chance we get.”
Not long ago I was reading an article about the changes which have taken place in the routines that we come to live within on a daily basis. One of the “constants” in our schedules is the fact that sometime during the day we try to carve out a few moments to get some food into our bodies. Here in the United States we call “feeding times” – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As behavior patterns have changed down through time, the first meal that got shoved out of what was considered to be a normal routine happened to be the first meal of the day – breakfast. With every person in a family either heading off to school or work, it is quite easy to see how the first meal of the day has way too frequently gotten squeezed out.
As I pondered our study text for today and thought about the context which provides the setting for this Biblical passage, I pictured in my mind what this scene may have looked like.
We are told that it was early morning. And after a hard night’s labor, the disciples came up on the beach where they found their food was all ready to eat. And at the invitation of Jesus, in the early morning hour, with the seawater splashing in the background, the disciples were able to relax and rest as they gathered to eat. For this moment in time life was quiet and peaceful. John even points out that they didn’t ask Jesus anything about Himself. Instead, they ate of the bounty generously set before them.
As I reflected on this breakfast gathering, I got to thinking about Jesus’ mealtime habits recorded throughout the New Testament. Gathering around a table to dine with family and friends was routine behavior for Him. But what makes this particular meal one that gives me pause is that this was one of the last times Jesus met with His disciples on earth before His return to heaven. So I asked myself, “Why in the world would an early morning feast around a fire on the beach be so important?” I’d think that Jesus might have been more intent on giving the disciples a few more tips on how they should take on the mantle of ministry when He was gone. Instead, in a relaxed and quiet environment, they gathered together to eat.
For those of us who have the misplaced idea that every minute of the day has to be crammed with some form of “productive” work – including “ministry,” I would redirect our attention to the breakfast at the beach where Jesus was alone with seven of His dearest friends, spending what precious time He had left on earth, eating breakfast at the seashore.
Now before you say to yourself, “Well, the traditions were different back then,” I want to share with you the beautiful words of Mother Teresa whose entire life was devoted to the care of orphan children and her mission work through the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, India. With all that pressed in around her, including all the unmet needs she witnessed, she still knew that rest and quiet were critical to her own spiritual life. As she observed, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness…See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in silence…The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.”
One of my favorite authors, Joy Cowley, underscores the wonder which can infuse our lives if we will take time to stop and in our busy round of activities seek to have a quiet time – be it a walk in the woods or breakfast on the beach.
The Time of Quiet
“Sometimes, on a still morning, it seems that all the earth is breathless with love for the God it conceals and reveals. The brown stones at the water’s edge are set like some ancient language pronouncing the truth of God where our words fail us, and the sea, the hills, the early mist, become like a water color painting on a fine gauze curtain drawn over a tabernacle. At such times we feel so close to the eternal light which lies behind everything, that we can almost reach out and touch. God wraps us in the quiet of Christ, and invades us…in a love too deep for naming in this world.”
Before we leave the Apostle John’s breakfast scene, I want to point out the fact that when the disciples were out at sea in their boat, feverishly trying to find the illusive fish that missed their net all night long, when confronted by the stranger on the beach, John makes it clear that none of them recognized Jesus at all. However, as we find out, after spending time having breakfast with Jesus, John reports “Not one of the disciples dared ask, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Master” (John 21: 12, The Message Bible). Indeed, if we will ‘Be still,’ we will know who He is too.
“From these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day.”
A Diary of Private Prayer
“Dates and time;
Appointments to be kept;
Meetings to attend;
Anniversaries to remember;
All tightly scheduled
To fill the day.
The diary tells it all.
It tells of how we use our time,
Of how we fill the hours
And wish we had some more.
Hardly a moment to ourselves;
Almost always under pressure;
Often we drive too fast.
We feel that we are caught –
In the little pages of our life’s day.
Set us free within the daily round;
Free to do our work
Without a sense of burden
Or of constant rush and pressure
To get done.
Set us free to live our life
With joy and gladness
In the knowledge of Your presence
Everywhere we go.”
Robert Mc N. Samson
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author When A Woman Meets Jesus
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“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease” (Job 14:7 nkjv).
In every good story there’s conflict, which makes it interesting. There’s the good guy and the adversary. There’s the conflict. Then the good guy overcomes the conflict and prevails in the end. We like stories with those elements.
During His earthly life, Jesus was in the middle of a story, and He knew how it would end. He knew the resurrection ultimately would come. Then the ascension would come followed by the salvation of all of those who put their faith in Him.
Despite how awful it was in the middle of His story, Jesus knew the greatest good would come from the worst thing imaginable.
The death and resurrection of Jesus brought eternal life to us. Jesus was cut down, and through His death we have life.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1–2 nkjv).
The process of pruning is cutting back so there will be new growth. It’s important.
In the same way, when we’re bearing spiritual fruit as followers of Jesus Christ, God might do some pruning in our lives so we’ll bear more fruit.
The Bible says, “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease” (Job 14:7 nkjv). That branch, so to speak, even though it’s cut down, even though it seems like it will never grow, will sprout again.
The Laurie surname has the family motto Repullulat, which means “it buds afresh.” But it’s not just my family motto. It can be your family motto too because it’s true of any follower of Jesus Christ.
We’re making available the cinematic crusade we broadcast this past summer: A Rush of Hope. It’s a great way to share the gospel with those you know. We will mail you a DVD copy when you make a donation of any amount to Harvest Ministries. A Rush of Hope on DVD is our thank-you gift of support for Harvest Ministries today!
Some people believe that true love can occur the moment a man and woman lay eyes on each other. But “love at first sight” is a physical and emotional impossibility because you cannot love someone you don’t even know. You have simply been drawn to the package in which they live.
A lifelong emotional attachment is much more than a romantic feeling. It is more than a sexual attraction or the thrill of the chase or a desire to get married. Such feelings usually indicate infatuation and tend to be temporary and rather selfish in nature. A person may say, “I can’t believe what is happening to me. This is the most fantastic thing I’ve ever experienced! I must be in love.” Notice that those who make these statements are not talking about the other person—they’re excited about their own gratification. Such individuals haven’t fallen in love with someone else; they’ve fallen in love with love.
Genuine love is not something one “falls” into, as though he or she was tumbling into a ditch. One cannot love an unknown object, regardless of how beautiful or handsome it is. Only when a person begins to develop a deep appreciation and admiration for another—an intense awareness of his or her needs, strength, and character—has one begun to experience true love. From there, it should grow for a lifetime.
JUST BETWEEN US…
Do you remember thinking that you were in love as a teenager, only to have that feeling fade over time?
What did you think and feel when we first met?
How did God show you that I should be your marriage partner?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful gift of love. Grant us your blessings, Father—more than we can even imagine right now! Amen.