September 1

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

II Chronicles 20: 22
N.I.V.

“Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more! There are thousands of things that we wear as shackles which we might use as instruments with music in them, if we only knew how…We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away. Sing in the morning. The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of.”

Author unknown

“Look around you. Winter is over. The whole world’s a choir – and singing! Spring warblers are filling the forest with sweet arpeggios. Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed, and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms. Oh, get up dear friend.”

Song of Solomon 2: 11-13
The Message Bible

Today’s Study Text:

“When they had gone ashore, they (the disciples) saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught…Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’”

John 21: 9, 10, 12
N.R.S.V.

EXPLORATION:

“Bring Me What You Have”

“Unless we perform divine service with every willing act of our life, we never perform it at all.”

John Ruskin

Have I ever felt I had nothing to bring to Jesus?

In what ways can I show my Master’s love and compassion to those I meet each day?

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Dr. Albert Schweitzer

 

INSPIRATION:     

“My dear, dear friends…don’t hold back. Throw ourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort.”

1 Corinthians 15: 58
The Message Bible

      The disciples had been overwhelmed by an empty net which was quickly filled to a tremendous capacity of 153 fish. But this wasn’t the only thing which transpired on the beach in the early morning hours. As they arrived at the location where Jesus was – to their amazement, Jesus was preparing breakfast. And it is at this breakfast where John pens these words: “Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’”

I want to take time to focus on these words of Jesus for they are vital to your life and mine. Here’s why I don’t think we should pass over what Jesus asked of His followers. First of all, Jesus had the power within Himself to see that there were fish and bread a-plenty for breakfast. He didn’t really need the disciples fishing catch but here’s the reason I think He asked them to bring what they had to the morning feast. Jesus wanted to honor the disciples’ hard labor and obedience. They had followed His instructions and let their empty net down on the right side of the boat. But even before the point in time when their net was filled to overflowing, they had been at work all night long and it was hard work. But as J.R. Mac Duff so astutely points out, “God honors and consecrates daily toil.” He then goes on to explain that the disciples’ work carries an important lesson which is applicable to you and me today.

“It is a healthful and encouraging lesson in this everyday working world of ours…It tells us that the tear and wear – that ‘loud stunning tide’ of human care and incessant toil so far from being incompatible with the service of God, may be made by Him the very medium for higher and more exalted revelations of Himself…Jesus had left (the disciples) for a while with the indefinite assurance, ‘I go before you to Galilee, there shall you see Me.’ How, meanwhile, are they to employ themselves? Are they to remain in listless inactivity at their native village? Are their boats to be anchored on the beach, and their old means of honest industry abandoned?...God loves honest earnestness in our lawful worldly callings; and moreover, diligence in business may be combined with fervency in spirit serving the Lord.”

What makes this experience so interesting to me is that it was while the disciples were busy with their day-to-day jobs when some of Jesus’ most spectacular miracles happened to them – in a most personal manner. Taking this to heart on a personal level, I can tell you of repeated times when Jim and I were operating our commercial companies that God intervened on our behalf. One particular time we developed an outstanding proposal for an organization we really wanted as a client. We met with the C.E.O. and I still remember walking out to the car and saying to Jim, “This is a slam-dunk. We’re going to get this account and what a financial lift it will be to the company.” Well, we didn’t get the account and I was not only shocked but sorely disappointed.

But if we had been able to see what God saw, eighteen months later that same organization left the new advertising company they had hired with over $100,000 in debts which they never paid. That kind of debt would have put us out of business and so what at one point in time looked like a failure on our part turned into heaven’s blessing and protection on our behalf.

The reason I share this experience is that watching God at work in my own daily job has been key in helping me learn to trust Him to carry me along as He called me to take what He had put in my hands and bring it to Him to use in any way He sees fit.

How empowering Jesus is for He doesn’t just tell us to come into His service without saying ‘Bring what you have in your hands for I want to use all of your abilities in my service.” As the great theologian Oswald Chambers so insightfully notes, when we come in service to Jesus Christ, “He will make (us) of use unconsciously every moment (we) live.” In the wonderful words of Elizabeth Fry, an English Quaker and prison reformer: “Since my heart was touched at seventeen years old, I believe I never have awakened from sleep, in sickness or in health, by day or by night, without my first waking thought being ‘how best I might serve my Lord.’” Today Jesus invites us: “bring to Me what you have to use in service for Me!”

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robbing
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

Emily Dickinson

AFFIRMATION:

My Hands

 “My hands were filled with many things
That I did precious hold,
As any treasure of a King’s –
Silver, or gems, or gold.

The Master came and touched my hands
(the scars were in His own),
And at His feet my treasures sweet
Fell shattered, one by one.
‘I must have empty hands’ said He,
‘Wherewith to work My works through thee.’

My hands were stained with marks of toil,
Defiled with dust of earth;
And I my work did oft times soil,
And render little worth.

The Master came and touched my hands
(and crimson were His own),
But when, amazed, on mine I gazed,
Lo! Every stain was gone.
‘I must have cleansed hands,’ said He,
‘Wherewith to work My works through thee.’

My hands were growing feverish
And cumbered with much care!
Trembling with haste and eagerness,
Nor folded oft in prayer.

The Master came and touched my hands
(with healing in His own),
And calm and still to do His will
They grew - the fever gone.
‘I must have quiet hands,’ said He,
‘Wherewith to work My works for Me.’

My hands were strong in fancied strength
But not in power divine,
And bold to take up tasks at length,
That were not His but mine.
The Master came and touched my hands
(and might was in His own!)

But mine since then have powerless been,
Save His are laid thereon.
‘And it is only thus,’ said He,
‘That I can work My works through thee.’”

Author Unknown

“We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world.”

Mother Teresa

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcàrcel,
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@Transformationgarden.com

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