Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered and saved.”
Joel 2: 32
K.J.V. and Amplified Bible
“I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word ‘Whosoever’ is a very wide and comprehensive one…My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“And when the people had heard thereof, they followed Him (Jesus) on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick. And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him saying, ‘This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals (food to eat).’”
Matthew 14: 13-15
“Stuck in the Desert With Nothing to Eat”
“In difficulties we need only have recourse to Jesus Christ, and beg His grace, with which everything became easy.”
Is there a situation in my life right now where I feel as though I’m stuck in a desert place without the resources I need to survive?
Have I asked my Father to supply all my needs according to the riches in Jesus Christ?
“Our difficulties are always matched by God’s mercy.”
“It is a great mistake to be looking at obstacles when we have such a God to look at.”
D. L. Moody
When the day began, Jesus had crossed the sea by ship with the intention of taking some quiet time to reflect on the harsh reality of a world in turmoil. With the death of His friend and family member John the Baptist, pressing upon His mind, a time of communion with His Father was what Jesus needed, and yet, the Bible makes clear that “a multitude” of hurting people followed Him out to the desert where, noting their infirmities, Jesus had compassion and as Matthew tells us, “He healed their sick.”
But as often happens in a day filled with service, time got away from everyone. Soon the setting sun became a reminder that another day was almost over. For all those thousands who had followed, a reality hit home – they had not eaten all day. And now, they were out in the middle of nowhere. They were in a desolate area to be exact, and they didn’t have a thing to eat.
I really appreciate what Professor Dock Hollingsworth in Feasting On The Words, Year A, Volume 3, shares as his perspective on this Biblical passage: “As Jesus tries to retreat to a deserted place, His followers are literally following behind Him. The crowds follow on foot, apparently following longer and farther than they expected, because when mealtime comes, they discover that no one has packed a sandwich. What kind of person forgets to bring food on a trip that might last past mealtime? Perhaps there is some hunger of the soul that causes people to continue to pursue Jesus even after their stomachs start growling.” And I ask you, has there been a time in your life when the hunger for Jesus has superseded every other need in your life? This longing is one that our Heavenly Father promises to fill. And this may be the reason that the multitudes of people so eagerly followed Jesus at first. He had something they thought they wanted. Theirs was a longing they hoped He could fill. However, upon realizing that the day was soon to be over, the disciples recognized they had a challenge on their hands. They faced a difficulty because in their eyes, the problem was too big to be solved.
As I have read through this miraculous story over the past several weeks, the thought repeatedly hit me that I’m a lot like the disciples, and just maybe you are, too!
We see a looming problem up ahead and suddenly it becomes so very large, in fact, is so huge in our own eyes, that we can’t see anything else. Our total focus becomes fixated on our problem rather than on the solution Jesus offers.
The great man of faith, George Müller, who was repeatedly buffeted by challenges to his work for 10,024 orphans and his work of establishing 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children offers us this encouraging view when we are beset by difficulties: “God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.” I like the way Pastor Müller refers to trials as “food of faith.” For this statement got me to thinking back to another wilderness experience when God’s children, led by Moses, found themselves out in a wilderness, too. Here again, we find that their cry was, ‘Ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then said the Lord – unto Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you’” (Exodus 16: 3, 4, K.J.V.). And God did just that when He sent “manna” to feed His children.
I don’t know what mammoth obstacle blocks your way today. It may be a difficulty so large you’re unable to keep your mind on anything else. Pastor A. W. Tozer, a spiritual giant for God, evidently knew all too well that challenges would be scattered along the pathway of life for each of us. So he addressed the challenges we face directly when he penned these words: “What then are we to do about our problems? We must pray for grace to endure them…Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting.” As I’ve told you before, I have found tremendous encouragement from the spoken and printed words of England’s “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who I might add, did not have a pathway through life covered with rose petals. He endured many a challenge, including multiple health difficulties which caused separations from his beloved family. Here’s how this vibrant spiritual man uplifts each of us when we are knocked off our feet by trials and tribulations. “Out of every difficulty Omnipotence can bring us, only let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord.”
It was English Pastor Charles Wesley who wrote the words to the familiar old hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” While I was familiar with the first verse of this song, it is the words found in the second verse which, today, provide a healing balm from my Father’s loving hand:
“Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.”
It was a multitude who came to Jesus because they hurt and needed healing – because they were hungry and needed to be fed. The Bible tells us that Jesus had compassion on them all. This is the same Jesus who still heals our pain-filled hearts and feeds our empty souls. Burdened as we may be, let us always to His bosom fly.
“Focusing on difficulties intensifies and enlarges the problem. When we focus our attention on God, the problem is put into its proper perspective and it no longer overwhelms us.”
“‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me till the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him;
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!”
Louisa M. R. Stead
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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