Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“’Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking reverently and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and (she) who keeps on seeking finds; and to (the one) who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened. Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick (her) with sawdust? If (she) asks for fish, do you scare (her) with a live snake on (her) plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?’”
Matthew 7: 7-11
Amplified Bible Verses 7-8
The Message Bible Verses 9-11
“We doubt the Word that tell us: ask,
And ye shall have your prayer;
We turn our thoughts as to a task,
With will constrained and rare.
And yet we have; these scanty prayers
Yield gold without alloy;
O God, but she that trusts and dares
Must have a boundless joy.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Now Jesus, again sighing repeated and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against the entrance to close it.”
John 11: 38
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 33
“Blocked By A Boulder”
“The faith of Christian believers is like that of pilgrims on a journey. They have to face many obstacles both within themselves and from society.”
Sri Lankan Theologian
What “boulder” is blocking my way?
Do I have the faith to believe that my Master has already taken care of moving the boulder even though I may not recognize the fact at this particular moment?
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
Through the years, as I have read many biographies, the books written about Leonardo da Vinci have more than interested me. As a young child, da Vinci’s brilliance became evident as he excelled in his study of mathematics and music – quite a fascinating combination.
As time moved on, da Vinci developed his love for art as a painting apprentice. Not satisfied with keeping his interest locked in one specific area, he “studied and sketched rock formations, caves and fossils.” Later in life he found “a niche at inventing machines like the helicopter, diving suit, and the submarine.” Called the “mind of the Renaissance,” this amazing man understood something about overcoming obstacles. As he observed, “Obstacles cannot crush me.” This was certainly true in his own life. But he added this important caveat: “He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” Earlier this week, as I looked up at the starry sky late at night, I found my “star point” which for me happens to be a constellation called The Pleiades. My reason for liking this cluster of stars so much is that in the book of Job, The Pleiades are mentioned twice. In fact, Job credits his Father in heaven with creating “the constellations the Bear, Orion, and the ‘loose cluster’ Pleiades, and the vast starry spaces of the south” (Job 9: 9, Amplified Bible). Then in Job 38: 31, God had a question for His friend Job, “Can you bind the chains of the cluster of stars called Pleiades, or loose the cords of the constellation Orion?”
The reason I reference these two passages is that at those times in my own life when I have felt that the obstacles in my path seemed to be overwhelming, I take a few moments late at night to focus on the heavens and my eyes traverse the sky for the familiar bunch of stars that Job looked at thousands of years ago. I’m reminded that a Creator who could hang the Pleiades in space, is more than capable enough to move any boulder that “Dorothy” may encounter in her life.
It is comforting to recognize that when I’m over-whelmed, God is not. And when I’m standing in front of a grave with a boulder blocking the entrance, the presence of the King of the Universe makes it impossible for me to feel that I can’t go on or that I’ll most-likely stumble somewhere along the way.
How encouraging it should be to us that as the people surrounding Lazarus’ tomb looked at the rock cave and the boulder blocking the entrance, little did they know that with Jesus in their midst, there was absolutely no reason to be concerned about what could appear to be an impediment.
The fact is that those in the crowd most likely never considered the far-fetched notion that Jesus could give life to a decomposing corpse. That was probably the last thing on their minds. And lest we make the same mistake, I would add that in your life and mine, when the most challenging events block our way, we would do well to keep our minds open and our eyes focused heavenward on the "Son" -- that "Star" in the sky -- our Creator and Guide, for when we do, we will not lose our way. The impossible will become possible. The unheard of will be heard. And the unimaginable will take place to the glory of God, right before our eyes.
Whenever, because of life’s hardships, we find ourselves prone to be diverted because of the rock at the mouth of the cave rather than the “Restorer of Life” at our side, may we remember that as commentator Matthew Henry so astutely notes in writing about the Pleiades, “The stars of which these are composed are put into that order by God who still preserves them in being and guides their motions…they are under divine direction and dominion. How wise is God then and how Mighty.” And indeed, He can and will clear your path of absolutely any obstacle which appears to block your way today.
“Our Lord and Saviour lifted up His voice and said with incomparable majesty, ‘Let all know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase.”
Rose of Lima
“’I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration, but be of good cheer, take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.’”
John 16: 33
Roll Back The Stone
“When we are all despairing;
when our lives are full of grief;
when we can see no way ahead,
and hope has gone away:
Roll back the stone.
Although we fear the future;
although we are not ready for what is to come;
although we would rather weep and run away;
Roll back the stone.
Because we trust our Master;
because we will hope where hope
appears to be in vain;
because You call us from the grave
and show us Your way:
Roll back the stone.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy, pity and mercy and the God who is the Source of every comfort, consolation and encouragement. Who comforts and consoles us in every trouble, calamity and affliction, so that we may also be able to comfort those who are in any distress, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
II Corinthians 1: 3,4
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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