Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Isaiah 54: 10, Amplified Bible
“’Twas in love I poured upon thee,
Sunshine, joy, and sweet content,
But the shadows – just believe Me,
They in greater love were sent,
Wounding thee, the wound cut deeper
Into My heart even than thine
Grieving thee, oh child believe it,
That the greater grief was Mine.”
“We should never see the stars if the sun did not go down. We should never discover the grace and loving kindness of God if there were never a break in our earthly joy. We should never know the wonder of God’s comfort if we had no sorrow. It is when the visible mountains depart, that we have them no longer to hide in, that our hearts find the mountains of God, with their eternal refuges.”
Mrs. Charles Cowman, Words of Comfort and Cheer
Today’s Study Text:
“The disciples said to Him (Jesus), ‘Rabbi, the Jews only recently were intending and trying to stone You, and are You thinking of going back there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? Anyone who walks about in the daytime does not stumble, because he (she) sees by the light of the world. But if anyone walks about in the night, he (she) does stumble, because there is no light in him (her) the light is lacking to him (her).’”
John 11: 8-10, Amplified Bible
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 18
“Walking In The Light”
“It is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.”
Have I chosen to follow Christ’s call to walk in the Light?
How does walking in the Light help me follow the path of duty?
“Duty is a very personal thing. It is what comes from knowing the need to take action and not just a need to urge others to do something.”
“I looked to God with great earnestness day after day, to be directed; asking Him to show me the path of duty, and give me grace to ride out the storm.”
When studying the life and ministry of Jesus here on earth, it certainly helps me to absorb, with clearness of heart and mind, what Jesus meant in His teachings because of the straight-forward way He conveys great truths. Thankfully, whether in conversations with learned followers or humble fishermen, Jesus could take the most complicated concepts and make them understandable.
Our study text for today is a perfect example of a great thought being explained by using a practical example. In order to get to the heart of Jesus’ answer to His disciples, when with utter astonishment they questioned if His thinking was truly rational when He told them He wanted to return to Judea before pressing on to Bethany, I’d like to go to the very first chapter in the book of John. Here Jesus’ beloved disciple begins his book about Jesus with this statement: “In the beginning before all time was the Word, Christ, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, Himself” (John 1: 1, Amplified Bible). John wanted his readers to understand that the person who he was writing about was not just a “good man” living and walking here on earth. Jesus wasn’t just a prophet with a limited time of service to humankind. To think this way, we would have come to a totally false conclusion. Then John continues to tell us more about “God who came to earth” in Jesus by sharing the fact that, “All things were made and came into existence through Him.” However, John didn’t stop there. He gave us some very distinctive characteristics to look for: “In Jesus was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness” (John 1: 3-5, Amplified Bible).
There are two distinct attributes which John says Jesus possessed and both are on glorious display in the story of the family in Bethany. First, Jesus was “Life.” And second, Jesus was “Light.”
Now let’s return to our study text for today. John makes it clear that Jesus came to earth to reveal to us poor, duped slaves of sin, surrounded by darkness, that because of the entrance of the Life and Light into our world, things have changed dramatically. It’s not “business as usual.” Far from it! And this is why Jesus takes the time to make things simple so I can understand what His arrival on earth has brought about. Jesus does this by giving His disciples a practical lesson – one that is grasped not only verbally but visually as well.
When the disciples basically said to Jesus, “Why would anyone in their right mind want to return to Judea where they nearly lost their life?” – Jesus answered by informing His dear friends that a day has twelve hours of light – plenty of time to do the work we are called upon to carry out. During the twelve hours, we can carry out the duty or will of our Father in each of our lives. What’s more, Jesus points out that if we do our duty under the blanket of Light that Jesus shines on our way, we will not get lost or stumble along the way, just as a traveler or hiker is saved from falling over the edge of a cliff or running into a jagged rock if they journey when it is light.
At this point in Jesus’ conversation with His disciples, I’d like to share the illuminating thoughts Matthew Henry conveys regarding the Light and Life: “Christ, wherever He went, walked in the day, and so shall we, if we follow His steps…If we walk in the way of (our own) heart, and sight of our own eyes, according to the course of the world – we fall into temptations and snares…We stumble because there is no light in us…Thus Christ not only justified His purpose of going into Judea, but encouraged His disciples to go along with Him, and fear no evil.”
The fact is that if I choose to walk with the Light, no matter what threat may come my way, as I follow the “Light of Life” – Jesus – not only is my life purpose-driven but it is God-driven for Jesus words, found in John 5 open our eyes to the fact that Jesus came “with the authority of My Father to carry out His will.” If a trip to Judea made the disciples shudder and shiver with fear, then they needed to press in closer to the “Light,” for on the path of duty, within the will of the Father, the Light will guide us even when we can’t see but one footstep at a time. And you know what, for a forward planning tomorrow thinking person like myself, living one step at a time doesn’t come naturally or easily. But when I walk in the light of my Savior, I have nothing to fear. May our commitment be that of Washington Gladden who penned this famous hymn:
“O Master, let me walk with Thee
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me Thy secret; help me bear,
The strain of toil, the fret of care…
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way.”
“Do your duty, that is best; leave unto the Lord the rest.”
David O. McKay
The Sweetest Lives
“The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love enables all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.
The love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working.
A child’s kiss set on thy sighing lips
shall make thee glad;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thou renderest.”
Attributed to Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“I am able to do nothing from myself independently, of My own accord – but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders. Even as I hear…As the voice comes to Me so I give a decision…I do not seek or consult My own will, I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself. My own aim. My own purpose, but only the will and pleasure of the Father who sent Me.”
John 5: 30, Amplified Bible, Words of Jesus
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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