September 21

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”

Psalm 29: 11
K.J.V.

“All the doors that lead inward to the secret place of the Most High are doors outward, - out of self, out of smallness, out of wrong.”

George MacDonald

Andrew Rykman’s Prayer

“Let the lowliest task be mine,
Grateful, (to do) the work of Thine;
Let me find the humblest place
In the shadow of Thy grace;
Blest to me were any spot
Where temptation whispers not,
If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help them on;
If a blinder soul there be,
Let me guide them nearer Thee…
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Let me find in Thy employ
Peace that dearer is than joy.
Out of self to love be led,
And to Heaven acclimated,
Until all things sweet and good
Seem my natural habitude.”

“Thus did Andrew Rykman pray.
Are we wiser, better grown,
That we may not, in our day,
Make his prayer our own.”

John G. Whittier

Today’s Study Text:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5: 48
K.J.V.

EXPLORATION:

“A ‘Whole’ Lot of Love”

“Whole” - 1) containing all components; 2) not divided or disjoined; 3) sound and healthy; 4) constituting the full amount; 5) a complete entity.

What have I learned this week about the “wholeness” Jesus offers as His gift?

How will I respond to Jesus’ gift of “wholeness” in my life?

“At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of Him…But now, by giving Himself completely at the cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole.”

Colossians 1: 22
The Message

INSPIRATION:

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep…make you perfect in every good work to do His will.”

Hebrews 13: 20, 21
K.J.V.

I love to cook. It was something I learned from my mother (an excellent cook!) when I was quite young. So whenever I go to a bookstore, I always head toward the sign, “Cookbooks.”

It seems that a recent trend has been to publish cookbooks about “comfort” food – the type of food you eat when you need solace. For me, the pinnacle of “comfort” food is my mother’s homemade applesauce. It’s the best. As a kid, when I didn’t feel well, my mother would pour her fresh applesauce over a piece of toast soaked in warm milk. Delicious! Or we would, for a treat, heat up the applesauce and put a full ladle or two over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Absolutely yummy. And for a quick, pick-me-up, Mom’s applesauce with cottage cheese couldn’t be beat.

My friends would always ask me, “What does your mother do to her applesauce? What’s in it? It’s different. It’s thicker. It’s better than any other applesauce I have ever eaten.”

Well, one day, I decided I would, under the guidance of my mother, make applesauce. I got everything on the counter that I needed and with a peeler in hand began to whittle the skin off my apples. All of a sudden my mother shouted, “Stop! You can’t do that! Don’t peel the apples.”

There it was. The big secret to the applesauce. You use all the apple except the core – not just some piece without skin. My mom cooked the entire apple; put the whole apple into the sieve grinder and with her special touch and flavorings – out came the world’s best applesauce. (In my opinion!)

God’s work in our lives is a lot like my mother’s applesauce – it’s about “wholeness.” It is about taking all of us – the “whole imperfect works” and with His touch repairing the blemishes and bruises that affect us.

Not long ago, I found this poem by Mary Caroline Richards. It is her reflection on the path God has for us in His work to bring wholeness to our lives:

“To be perfect
Even as your Father in Heaven
Is perfect…

How, O God, am I to understand,
The word?
Perfect and pure in heart?
What means pure?
Pure, pure.
Pure apple juice!
I begin to sense a clue.
Pure apple juice is made
from the whole apple;
bruises, blemish, skin, core –
the whole imperfect works.
Pure apple juice is not
pasteurized ,refined,
filtered, nonentity!
Bruises, blemishes, skin and core.

To be perfect is to be
whole, a paradox
Even as our Father in Heaven…”

AFFIRMATION:

It is my prayer that God’s wholeness will be felt in your life today. “So let’s walk right up to Jesus and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4: 16, The Message).

                       Your friend,

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

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