Monday, February 12, 2018

Open Wide!

 

[Photo of a baby eating]


“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it…
You will be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
—Psalm 81:10, 16

We’ve all watched as a mother tries to feed her child something the child thinks is undesirable: the mouth shut tight and the head squirming away from the spoon. The beets or peas—or worse yet, the medicine—remain despised, even though what’s on the spoon may be meant to nourish or heal.

How often have we closed our mouths, our hearts, or our minds to our Heavenly Father’s intention to feed us with something new that we perceive as totally undesirable. The struggle goes on until a smidgen of the substance gets into our system, leaving a messy face and a determination on our part to never take any more of the dreadful stuff.

However, our Heavenly Father loves us too much to allow us to persist in our stubborn ways. Sooner or later, He initiates the feeding again, and eventually teaches us that He has our best interest—and that of His Kingdom—at heart.

Do you remember the lengths to which Jonah went to keep His mouth and will closed up against God’s plan? God had requested Jonah to go “proclaim” the words God had given him to the people of Ninevah. After the unfortunate ship ride, the detour inside the giant fish, and the expectoration upon the beach, Jonah reluctantly obeyed so that God’s miracle work could happen for the Ninevites. Jonah opened his mouth and God filled it with His message.

Perhaps you don’t know what God wants to put in your mouth. You hesitate because you want to be sure you will like what He has for you. Or, you hesitate because you want to be certain that you are capable of “keeping it down.”

Yet sometimes, God only wants us to trust His wise and loving intentions. Even though the spoonful may not appeal to us at first, we must believe He has something tasty and nourishing for us.

Let us learn the valuable lesson to “open wide,” allowing Him to give us all He has for us!

 

 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Keep Us

 

[Photo of a girl with her cat]


“The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will
watch over your life; the Lord will watch over
your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
—Psalm 121:7-8

Often children are given responsibility for a plant, or a young pet, so that they learn the reliability it takes to keep something safe and alive. They learn the necessity for dependability and the sacred duty of a “keeper.”

Have you ever had the responsibility for taking care of another human being? A child, an elderly parent, or a sick spouse? The heavy task of such care gives comfort to the one under your watch. We want that one to feel at peace, to know that even in danger, he or she can relax, unafraid.

The older I get, the more I realize that I am incapable of taking care of myself. Yes, I do my best to live spiritually for God. But, more and more I recognize that I have nothing in me that will please Him. If left to ourselves, we produce only spiritual deadwood. We have no “life” in us but what Christ has given us. Even with the best of intentions, we utterly fail at pleasing God, of showing forth His glory, of doing His will in His way.

God has taken the responsibility of our care upon Himself. Not only does He watch over our physical and emotional needs, He has taken upon Himself the accountability for our sin, and cares for us spiritually. We would utterly fail, and die, were it not for His keeping power.

I love the prayer that Charles Haddon Spurgeon penned:

Hast Thou not said, “I, the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day”? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against Thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny Thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us labouring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need Thee, O our God!1

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1Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Morning and Evening. McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., Public Domain. p. 363.