Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
For I will yet praise Him,
My Saviour and my God.”
“How am I to find hope
in this much sadness?
I see no flicker of light
And have wearied in darkness.
As each hour flowers
I cannot catch the color
Or hold to shape.
More moments leave me numbed.
Some days staring outwards
Blinds me with brightness.
Trudging through the mundane
has helped me survive
the very ordinary of life – for a while.
Now, I find myself digging –
there is nowhere to go
but the very depth of my soul.
And slowly surfaces a treasure
Guilt overwhelms. I question.
Should this be mine?
But it shines and keeps on shining.
A small voice inside speaks of this as my future
It grows out of my need to live,
Nourished by the love of those around me.
Gifts of faith,
Kind acts, prayers, unselfish thoughts.
God’s love as simple as a smile.
I know my life will grow, flourish
with wonderful memories and new discoveries.
Morning waiting to be picked.
I also know that some days will not bear fruit.
But in me somewhere is hope
And, given time, this will open into joy.”
Today’s Study Text:
“He found (her) out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland. He threw His arms around (her), lavished attention on (her), guarding (her) as the apple of His eye.”
Deuteronomy 32: 10
The Message Bible
Day 1: How God embraces us with His watchfulness.
“Embrace” – To encircle. To include. To encompass.
In what area(s) of my life have I personally experienced God’s watchful care?
“You’re the God who sees Me!”
Genesis 16: 13
The Message Bible
All families have their unique peculiarities that give character and distinctiveness to them. In our household, one of those attributes is the ability of my mother to have a camera at all times and at every occasion. Every time my mom pulls out her little camera, we all run for cover knowing we are in for some shutterbugging – big-time.
After my father’s sudden death, we were thankful my mother’s amateur photography skills had been put to such good use, for we found many photos that have preserved treasured family moments.
One photograph is particular was taken on Christmas Eve in 1984. My dad and I were sitting on a small couch. I even remember that he had just asked me how my job was going. He was looking at me as thought there were not another person on earth. At that moment, I felt as if no one else was in the room and yet, there were ten other people enjoying the festivities. The look on my father’s face in that photograph, serves as a reminder to me, that he considered me to be “the apple of his eye.”
Aren’t you thankful this is the way our Heavenly Father refers to us? In Deuteronomy 32: 10, God tells us He watches us as “the apple of His eye.” I decided to check on the meaning of the phrase, “apple of the eye”. This term, taken originally from Scripture, is found in Psalm 17: 8. David asks God to keep him as the “apple of His eye.” The Old English says this is the pupil of the eye. Some individuals feel that an apple and the pupil look similar. The pupil, we know, is the clear center part of our eye where light enters. So we might say David wanted God to keep him as the core or center of His focus.
In our language today, the “apple of one’s eye” refers to someone very precious – someone who is loved very much – someone who is very important. And for all of us who are women, in the Hebrew, when using this phrase, I found one author who noted that this phrase was often used by fathers in reference to their daughters. Don’t you love being called the “apple of your Heavenly Father’s eye?” Doesn’t it encourage you to know this is the kind of watchful care Your Father has for you? And that His tenderness toward us is like that of a loving father who embraces his precious daughter in the circle of his love.
After better understanding the words that God keeps me like the “apple of His eye,” I am even more touched by this thought from St. Augustine. “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
Many years ago, the poet, John Keats, after looking up in the sky at the brightest star in the evening penned the phrase, “Watching with eternal lids apart.” I thought about God’s watchful care and the fact that David, in Psalm 121:3, 4, describes God as, “Your Guardian God.” Then he continues by saying, “God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! He who watches you will never doze or sleep.” God’s eternal lids are apart as He watches His precious daughter (you), who is the “apple of His eye.” (The Message) Now this is something to truly be thankful for this year!
“God of Fire, God of Light, are you watching over us?
Yes! You are holding up the Light
For us to see.
God of Fire, God of Light.
You are our Energy. You are our light.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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