April 25, 2014

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.”

Matthew 11: 28: K.J.V.

“Jesus! I am resting, resting,
in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of
Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
and Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.”

Jean S. Pigott

Today’s Study Text:

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (and daughters) of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

John 1: 12, K.J.V.

EXPLORATION:

“Behold The Man” – Part 5
“To Them That Believe”

“Man lost life by unbelief – by not believing God’s Word; and we get life back again by believing.”

D. L. Moody (1884)

If I had lived at the time when the “Word” came to earth, what do I think it would have taken for me to believe Jesus was the Son of God?

Have I “received” Jesus into my heart?

“One can believe in God with a very complete set of arguments, yet not have any faith that makes a difference in living.”- Georgia Harkness

INSPIRATION:

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you.”

C. S. Lewis

It’s a question which I’ve asked myself on more than one occasion: “When Jesus came to earth, would I have believed He was really the Son of God?” There are times I’ve considered the options individuals had when Jesus arrived. As with King Herod, Jesus, even as a baby, was perceived to be a threat to the cruel ruler’s power. Or we could have been like Nicodemus, wanting to only meet Jesus under the cloak of darkness in some remote location. Quite possibly, if you or I had been blind like Bartimaeus, sitting and begging on the highway out of Jericho, we might have cried out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” because we felt we had no one else to turn to (Mark 10: 46, 47, K.J.V.). What I hope I would have done was join up with those “women who had been healed…who provided for (Jesus) out of their means. (Luke 8: 1-3, K.J.V.). What a testimony to the belief in Jesus that welled up within the hearts of those women. And then there was Simon (Peter) and Andrew who when “Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men,” they straightway “forsook their nets, and followed Him (Mark 1: 16-18, K.J.V.). That’s the kind of response I want to believe is the one I would have had. As Professor Cynthia L. Rigby asks each of us today, “Do we recognize this One who has entered into our midst? Have we received Him, really, for who He is?...Will we become with Him, the children of God?”

When you and I consider the hustle and bustle involved in our daily lives, I fear there are those times when the busyness of my own life, doesn’t allow me to develop the close relationship needed to recognize the “Word” when He is moving in my world and longs to draw me closer to Him.

This very point was emphasized by author Henri Nouwen when he commented in his book, With Burning Hearts, on how a simple encounter can lead to a relationship:

“I have many memories of encounters with people who made my heart burn but whom I did not invite into my home…Interesting, stimulating, and inspiring as all these strangers may be, when I do not invite them into my home, nothing truly happens…It is one of the characteristics of our contemporary society that encounters, good as they may be, don’t become deep relationships. Thus our life is filled with good advice, helpful ideas, wonderful perspectives, but they are simply added to the many other ideas and perspectives and so leave us ‘uncommitted’…only with an invitation to ‘come and stay with me’ can an interesting encounter develop into a transforming relationship.”

If what you long for is a “transforming relationship” with Jesus, then as Philip instructed a man of Ethiopia, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest (be baptized) and he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8: 37, K.J.V.). This is the relationship I want to develop with Jesus – the Son of God.

There’s an old hymn with the words by Emily E.S. Eliott which is often sung only at Christmas, yet today appropriately calls out to each of us to believe in the “Word” who left the glory of heaven to come and bring lifesaving power into your life and mine. The fourth verse of this melody is rarely sung but shares such a tremendous message:

“Thou camest; O Lord,
With the living word
That should set Thy people free;
But the mocking scorn,
And with crown of thorns,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.”

The Apostle John, further into his record of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, whose love he craved, leaves us with a record of the doubts that Thomas had regarding the resurrection of Jesus. It was Jesus, who after Thomas had exclaimed, “My Lord and my God,” told Thomas, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20: 29, K.J.V.). In my study on this particular passage of Scripture, I came upon this wonderful statement of belief penned by Joseph T. Nolan, entitled:

We Have Not Seen…And We Believe!”

“We believe in God whom we do not see because of Jesus who was seen and people who live by His Spirit.

We believe in God whom we do not see because of truth and beauty, love, goodness, and integrity, which makes the divine a part of human life.

We believe in a heaven we have not seen because love is stronger than death and all our hopes cannot find fulfillment in this life.

We believe in the Spirit we cannot see because we see the Creator Spirit at work in our lives and hear the Spirit’s voice in our silence.

We believe in the resurrection in spite of the death we see because we have been raised up many times, and passed from death to life.

We believe in God whom we do not see because of the One who said, ‘He who sees me see the Father.’ We have seen Him in our humanity, in His risen body, and we believe.”

Joseph T. Nolan

In the words of Shelly D. B. Copeland, “To believe what one is seeing sometimes takes a leap of faith…To believe in Jesus Christ as God in the flesh means relying on that something within that allows one to trust. It means opening up the heart to believe that God has so much love for humanity that God wants to walk in our shoes. We are compelled to accept that God chose to live as one of us – to be one with us.”

“A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, God with us.”

Isaiah 7: 14

AFFIRMATION:

I Believe

“I believe, although everything
hides you from my faith.
I believe, although everything shouts No! to me…
…because I have founded my life
on a sincere word,
on the word of a Friend,
on the word of God.

I believe, although I feel alone in pain.
I believe, although I see people hating.
I believe, although I see children weep,
because I have learnt with certainty
that He comes to meet us
in the hardest hours,
with His love and His light.
I believe but increase my faith.”

Brazillian Hymn

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

 Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

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