Devotional Week 16 Thursday
Today’s Texts and Thoughts of Encouragement
“Then He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.”
“There are four calls by which the hen calls in her brood. The first is the call of the night, when they need a shelter from the dampness and from the darkness. The second is the call for food, when the hen would attract her little ones to pick up some dainty morsel that she has found for them. The third is the call of danger, when the hawk descends, or the brood is in peril. And the fourth is the call of love, when, with motherly desire and yearning, she would gather her brood where they may feel the softness of her breast-feathers and the warmth of her own body.
When the night shadows are falling, when the night hawk is descending, when food is needed by you in your hunger, or when my love yearns for a closer embrace, you shall find a safe and delightful shelter under the shadow of My wings.”
“He found (her) in a desert land, in the howling void of the wilderness; He kept circling around (her), He scanned (her) penetratingly. He kept (her) as the pupil of His eye. As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young. He spread abroad His wings and He took them, He bore them on His pinions. So the Lord alone led (her).”
Deuteronomy 32: 10, 11
Today’s Study Text:
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had made ready. And they found the stone rolled back from the tomb.”
Luke 24: 1, 2
“Lest I Forget” – Part 7
“Let Me Bring My Gift to Thee”
“We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions.”
What is the gift I can bring to Jesus?
If the women who followed Jesus had asked me to go to the tomb with them, would I have accepted their invitation?
“In this world it is not what we take up but what we give up that makes us rich.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“Have we opened our door to Christ? Have we ever invited Him in? That was exactly the question I needed to have put to me. For, intellectually speaking, I had believed in Jesus all my life, on the other side of the door…But all the time, often without realizing it, I was holding Christ at arm’s length and keeping Him outside. I knew that to open the door might have momentous consequences.”
John R. W. Stott
“Let Me Bring My Gift to Thee”
Throughout the Scripture, there are stories that excite our imaginations and motivate us to action. But I believe it would be difficult to find a story as personally compelling as the one found in John 20 and Luke 24. Both disciples leave us a detailed record of what happened at the tomb where Jesus was buried early on Sunday morning, before the sun came up.
The first people to brave the darkness and the dangerous and thieve infested road from Jerusalem to the sepulcher were women. I have to tell you, I’ve read this story over and over again because when my faith wavers, I take great comfort reflecting on the lives of these women who followed Jesus faithfully throughout His entire ministry.
I really appreciate Dr. Luke for he goes into a great deal of detail when leaving behind his record of the lives of women who were followers of Jesus. As we read in Luke 8: 1-3, “Soon afterward, Jesus went on through towns and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the Gospel of the kingdom of God.And the twelve apostles were with Him. And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been expelled: and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager; and Susanna andmany others, who ministered to and provided for Him and them out of their property and personal belongings.” I wanted to make certain I got a clear picture of what kind of commitment these women had to Jesus, so I got out my Greek dictionary and here’s what I found. In the King James Version of the Bible there are two specific words which caught my attention – the word “minister” and the word “substance.” The word “minister” in Greek means “to wait upon, to serve as in the role of a deacon taking care of a friend.” I love how Jesus not only elevated women in a society that really put them on a low level. But then, Jesus also had a special group of women who He called to serve Him as deacons. However, these women weren’t only “serving” Jesus, they commendably put their money where their activity was. The Greek calls “substance,” “personal possessions and finances.” Jesus ministry was kept financially intact by the women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and let’s not forget the “many others” mentioned by Dr. Luke as well.
Let’s get the facts straight. It was near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry when we are told by Dr. Luke that along with the 12 disciples, Jesus had a group of women whose devotion to His ministry forged an unbreakable bond. Just to interject for a moment, we know Joanna was healed by Jesus. But what’s more, her husband was the steward (overseer) of Herod’s household. And I’ve thought it rather ironic that it may have well been some of Herod’s own wealth which Joanna’s husband, Chuza, used to benefit the ministry of Jesus. God works in so many wonderful ways to benefit His precious children and who knows how the wicked Herod’s money, in God’s hands, blessed His Son Jesus.
For nearly 3 ½ years, these trustworthy women kept close to Jesus. And I ask you, “Wouldn’t you have loved to be numbered among those women who served their Saviour?” Lest we forget, when the gang of priests and soldiers came after Jesus and when our Saviour was dragged through the streets of Jerusalem and up Calvary’s mount, while most of the disciples fled in fear, Dr. Luke again lets us know the “women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things” (Luke 23: 49, R.J.V). They didn’t run when their Master was nailed to a rough-hewn cross. And if they didn’t leave Jesus’ side at the most crucial moment in history they wouldn’t leave His grave either. It was this dedicated band of women who came in the dark of night with spices to anoint their beloved Friend.
I could read this story over and over again for there isn’t any experience that calls out to my heart more than the fact that nothing could keep these women from Jesus’ side. I love how Matthew Henry comments on the words of Dr. Luke: “We have here the affection and respect which the good women that had followed Christ showed to Him after Jesus was dead and buried. As soon as they could, after the Sabbath was over, they came to the sepulcher…to anoint Jesus’ head and face and perhaps His wounded hands and feet, and to scatter sweet spices upon and about His body…The zeal of these good women for Christ continued…at great expense they did not have second thoughts when they had slept upon it…they brought their gifts for what was prepared for Christ would be used for Him.”
But the story isn’t over. These “gift-bearers” who arrived in the darkness of the morning hours were met by angels – sent by a loving Father, I believe, to let His precious daughters, who had remained faithful to the bitter end know, that their heavenly Father had not forgotten them. He knew they were on their way to His’ Son’s grave and so He surprised them with two angel messengers who were bearing the phenomenal news that the “Living One” wasn’t among the dead – He had risen from the grave. What a wonderful gift our Father gave His daughters (and sons) down through the ages, for when we find the light of hope nearly flickering out in our own hearts, we can find immense comfort in the knowledge that our Father knows what’s going on in our lives and He will do anything we need to lift us out of the depths of sorrow and confusion.
But there’s one other thing we need to remember and it is this: the women who brought tangible evidence of their love for Jesus had long before the crisis caused by Jesus’ death, placed their hearts and lives, totally and without reservation in the hands of their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
It was 1873 when poet and hymnist Frances Havergal, at the age of 36 felt a great inner desire to more fully commit her life to Jesus. On December 2, 1873, as she later told her story, “I first saw clearly the blessedness of true consecration. I saw it as a flash of electric light, and what you see you can never un-see. There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness.”
In his informative book, Then Sings My Soul, Volume 1, author Robert J. Morgan, who shares the history and background associated with favorite Christian hymns, states that not long after her re-consecration, Frances Havergal “found herself spending several days with ten people in a house, some of them unconverted. Others were Christians, but not fully surrendered to Christ. “Lord, give me all in this house,” she prayed. She went to work witnessing, and before she left, all ten were yielded Christians. On the last night of her visit, Frances – too excited to sleep – wrote this great consecration hymn, ‘Take My Life’.
In the years that followed, Frances frequently used this hymn in her own devotions, especially every December 2, on the anniversary of her consecration.
On one occasion, as she pondered the words, ‘Take my voice and let me sing, Always only for my King.’ She felt she should give up her secular concerts. Her beautiful voice was in demand, and she frequently sang with the Philharmonic. But from that moment, her lips were exclusively devoted to the songs of the Lord.
On another occasion she was praying over the stanza that says, 'Take my silver and my gold,
not a mite would I withhold.' She had accumulated a great deal of jewelry, but she now felt she should donate it to the Church Missionary Society. Writing to a friend, she said, 'I retain only a brooch for daily wear, which is a memorial to my dear parents; also a locket with the holy portrait I have of my niece, Evelyn. I had no idea I had such a jeweler's shop; nearly fifty articles are being packed off. I don't think I need to tell you I never packed a box with such pleasure.' "
As the Apostle Paul, wrote: “Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish in order that I may gain Christ the Anointed One” (Philippians 3: 8, Amplified Bible).
“You must keep all earthly treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Take My Life and Let It Be
“Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee.
Take my hands and let them move,
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Take my voice and let my sing
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages for Thee,
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my love, my God I pour
At Thy feet its treasures store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee.”
Frances R. Havergal
“What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb
If I were a Wise Man,
I would do my part
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.”
“My son – my daughter – give Me thine heart.”
Proverbs 23: 26
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus