“I Thirst…”

So, it’s springtime in Alabama.  Flowers are blooming everywhere, birds are singing…  I am existing on a healthy diet of Zyrtec, Mucinex, and Robitussin…  I love spring but hate allergy season.  How can I feel as if I am drowning at the same I am so thirsty and can’t speak?  Antihistamines are ok I guess, but I have been walking around feeling severely dehydrated for about a week.  So I am constantly looking for something to drink.

I was meditating this morning over Jesus hanging on that cross.  He said so few words, however, one thing He said stays with me:  “I thirst.”

Of course he was thirsty, between the blood loss from flogging, the physical exertion of carrying the cross, and the ever-present dust in that desert, I can imagine his thirst was like nothing I have ever experienced.  It had to be torturous.

So I stayed with that image for a while, thinking about his reason for willingly being there. – So I wouldn’t have to.  Plain and simple.  My Savior decided to go through that torture so that I would not experience the price for my sins.  How do I make peace with that?

Just for kicks, I walked around my house looking for liquid.  Orange juice?  bottled water?? Hmm.  3 kinds of gatorade…  sweet tea? YUM!  There it is… Dr. Pepper! YES! Ahhhh, I am a new person.

I had over 17 different beverage choices in my house to quench that thirst this morning.  17!  And had never thought twice about what a luxury I had.  Some people might find themselves feeling guilty for it.  “There was Jesus hanging on a cross for me, with no water to drink.  Here I am a sinner, with more than I can consume…  How awful is that?”

But I don’t think those words were given to us in the Bible to make us feel guilty.  I believe they had another purpose.  Jesus tells us in John chapter 10 that He came, “So we could have life and have it abundantly.”  He didn’t say, that we were going to have to scrape the dismal ground to get by.  (Although, I feel like I have been there too at times…)

No friends, much like a parent, Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself, and He wants better for us.  I don’t think He begrudges us some of the little pleasures in life.  However, that is not the message I get from this scripture either.

What I take away from that passage is that Jesus was human.  He understood our most basic physical needs, more so than some of us.  And in His grace and mercy, He wants to provide them for us.  We may never be wealthy, but I do believe He wants to shower us with necessities and extravagances (every now and then…) because He loves us that much.  He wants us to trust Him to provide.  He wants us to run to Him with our worries and needs.  What is stopping us friends?

Do we fear rejection?  Do we fear showing weakness?  Do we fear that He is unable to provide for us?

Do yourself a favor.  Walk around your home.  Pay attention to the small things that make your life good, easier, more comfortable… Then consider the source of all your gifts and ask yourself, “What should I be asking for?”  “Is there something else He wants to give me?”  Joy, Peace, Contentment… He is the giver of all good gifts.  He is faithful to supply our every need if we leave it in His hands.

Shalom,

 

Heavenly Father,

Forgive us when we don’t notice the multitude of good things you send our way.  Help us to be aware of your presence in our lives and homes.  Speak to us in ways that we can understand, and lead us into a more trusting relationship with You.  Thank You, Lord, for all the things we don’t even see.

In Christ’s name we pray,

Amen

“Jesus Christ – The Good Shepherd…”

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”

John 10:14-16

This scripture conjures up so many familiar images for us doesn’t it?  Even those outside the sheepfold probably recognize this quote and can finish it, “The Lord is my shepherd…”  It brings up images of soft fluffy lambs and Jesus carrying or leading them somewhere.

However, for me, as one of the “lost sheep” for much of my life, it brings to life something more like this image.

jesus is shepherd

That is me.  That little black sheep wrestling to get out of the briar patch.  And there is my faithful shepherd, having left the other “good” sheep, to come out and rescue me again.  Logic says He should have left me out there on my own.  After all, there is no guarantee that I won’t go straying off on my own again – getting into other trouble regardless of what He does to keep me safe.

But He loved me so much that He searched for me, picked me up, cleaned me off, and carried me to a place where I could be a part of His flock – safe and secure.  He even changed my appearance to be as white as snow, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed there with the others.  He had compassion for me, the lost sheep, even when I didn’t even know Him.  And He sacrificed everything that I might be rescued.

How thankful I am that Jesus is my Good Shepherd.  Where would I be without His grace and mercy?

How about you my friends?  Where would you be with Him chasing after you?

“So, Who Took Care of Jesus?”

Our reading today comes from Matthew, chapter 14

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2014&version=NLT

Reading this chapter makes me sad.  Although a couple of Jesus’ greatest miracles are documented here, the thing that strikes my heart today, is how much the world expected of Him.  I have read Matthew several times, but I don’t think I realized until today that Jesus was grieving when these people crowded in on Him.  Twice He tried to leave and be alone, but people kept following Him.  

It seems that when He needed someone to minister to His needs, there was no one that cared to lay their own problems aside and be there for Him.  So He sought solitude.  He sought the comfort of the Father’s presence.  He was purely human.

Where do you go when you are overcome by grief or sadness?  Where do you go when you need someone to listen?  I fear that I am much like the people in this story.  Too concerned with my own needs to worry about taking care of others who are hurting.  But I don’t want to be that way.  I very much want to be a friend when people need it.  If anything, this story reminds me that everyone has problems, and everyone has hurts.  And I am called as a believer to care for my brother at all times.  

 

Dear Jesus,

Fill me with Your Spirit and compassion.  Even in Your grief, You still continued to minister.  But I know there are times when people just need to be loved.  Help me to not be so self-consumed.  Help me to be a lover of people.  Show me how to be a friend at all times.

In the name of the Healer I pray,

Amen