True Food

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Isaiah 55

Isaiah ministered in the 700’s B.C., long before Judah’s exile. But the book that bears his name refers to times far in the future: their exile, their return, and beyond to the Messiah.

From Isaiah 40 on, God has been talking about the wonderful redemption and restoration that He would bring about through Messiah. With all that complete and available, in chapter 55 He issues an invitation.

In verses 1-2, who is He inviting? All who are thirsty, and those who have no money.

What is He offering? Water…but more: wine, milk, and bread, nourishing and delicious.

What are the terms of His offer? Everything is free. No money needed. All you have to do is want this food, and come to receive it.

This is true food and drink. Unlike our usual food, this won’t just nourish your body for a few hours. It will nourish your essential life, your complete self, and it will do so forever. It will totally satisfy you! It’s like a buffet of all the most delicious, nutritious foods. Just come, eat your fill for free, and “delight yourself in abundance” (Isaiah 55:2b, NASB).

What does this passage tell you about God? What picture does it draw of Him?

  • He is a Banquet Host who loves to give His very best.
  • He gives it all freely and joyfully. This host enjoys entertaining and giving.
  • He hates to see us wasting our entire lives on what is shallow and temporary, on what will only keep our bodies going for a few more hours. He is passionately concerned about our deepest, most lasting benefit.

Seven centuries later, this Banquet Host would send His only Son from heaven to earth to make the same offer in person:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water spring up to eternal life.” (John 4:10, 13-14, NASB)

Do You Want to Make a Difference?

Years ago I went to a prayer seminar taught by my mentor and close friend, Dr. Morris Weigelt. He asked the group of us to recall the people in our lives who had influenced us the most. Names filled the chalkboard as we fondly recalled a wide range of people who had made a lasting impact on our lives.

Then he asked us why these people had been so influential. What was it about them that left such a deep and permanent effect on us? Again, the chalkboard was filled with reasons.

When they had all had been listed, we looked at them as a whole. To my surprise, there was not a single “professional” ability on the board. No one had been considered influential because they were intelligent or talented or specially capable in some way.

Why had the long and varied list of people been so influential in our lives? All the reasons boiled down to only one: we had each been the most deeply influenced by the persons who had cared about us, who had taken a personal interest in us. The people who changed us most profoundly were those who made us feel valued, respected, and loved. It was the people who had cared about us, not just in word, but by giving of themselves actively, personally, individually, unselfishly. They had said to us by their actions, “You are special! I believe in You!” And because they said it with their actions, we believed them.

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to have a lasting impact on some person’s life, and therefore on our world as a whole? Go out of your way to give someone your personal attention. Love – active, sincere, sacrificial love – is still the greatest force for bringing change, blessing, joy, and new life to our world. If you want to make an investment that will pay off, invest yourself in people. Invest yourself in love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…God is love. (1 John 4:7-8, NASB) 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Touch a Life through Me
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In Me You Have Peace

John 16:29-33

Jesus Christ speaks the truth completely and openly.
He is honest with us about
our weaknesses and
the trouble that life in this world will bring.
But He forcefully teaches us and constantly reminds us
that we should always be joyful because of
the blessings and resources that are ours in Him.

“In the world you have tribulation.”
Pressure will come.
The world will squeeze us.

“In Me you have peace.”
We have wholeness, harmony, and well-being
by trusting Christ need by need.

“Take courage. I have overcome the world.”
We will never encounter any trouble or opposition
that Christ hasn’t already overcome. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Are in Christ Jesus
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FIXED ON GOD Devotional Tapestry

FIXED ON GOD Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

Listen to FIXED ON GOD Devotional Tapestry
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New Driver

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…He does not treat us as our sins deserve…For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love…As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:8, 10-11, 13-14, NIV)

I remember when my son was a new driver. He was so confident in his expertise, assured he could handle any situation (though he had no way of knowing what those situations would be). He was impatient with our parental concerns, eager for independence above all else. He said he could drive. The school said he could drive. The state said he could drive.

And he could drive, as long as it was smooth sailing. When situations were normal and all was clear, he was in control. But when the roads were crowded or unexpected demands were made, when quick thinking and experience were required, he bungled the basics. His reactions were not yet practiced or polished. His confidence suffered a sudden attack of realism, and he panicked, took chances, and sometimes used poor judgment.

For example, on his first Sunday in the church parking lot, he turned the wrong way down a one-way aisle, went too fast trying to pull into a parking space slanted the opposite direction, and scraped the side of a car. $285 in cash (we decided not to bother the insurance company).

Reflecting on this, I realize that to God my Father, I must seem much like my 16-year-old son did to me. I have so much experience as a Christian. I’ve studied and listened and lived. I know.

But when a crisis puts pressure on my faith; when my peace of mind is blind-sided by some anxiety; when a difficult situation demands that I set aside my own concerns and be thoroughly loving, I’m like a new driver. I lack the wisdom, the instincts, the reactions. I too often panic and blow it. In the process, I risk my Father’s reputation and the welfare of myself and those around me.

Yet I praise the Lord for His patience and His faithful persistence in teaching me. Though I panic, He does not. And I pray that He might help me listen more eagerly, reacting to His teaching as to loving wisdom, and not as if He were trying to meddle in my affairs or limit my freedom. I long for the day when I handle my daily demands as Christ would handle them, exercising His faith and His love.

What does a father do when his son blows it—when he makes a $285 mistake? I explained what he did wrong, then forgave him on the spot, gladly and completely. After all, he was doing his best. I was sympathetic with his struggles. It’s not easy, and I wanted to encourage him. I wanted him to succeed.

I was really rather proud of him. Still am.

Personal Service to Jesus

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me. (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

Imagine: you come home weary from a long day at work. You’re settling into your recliner, and just then the doorbell rings. It’s Jesus. There He stands, tired and hungry.

Wouldn’t it be great to serve Him? Get Him something to drink; prop up His feet; fix Him supper. Your tiredness would be gone. Those simple services would be the greatest joys of your entire life.

Jesus isn’t likely to show up at our door. But we’re surrounded by needy people. Jesus says that whatever we do for them, we’re doing for Him. So:

Whatever you do,
do it as for the Lord,
not for people.
It is Jesus Christ you are serving.
(Colossians 3:23-24, para.)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Listen to Love
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How Can We Describe It?

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 3:8; 4:13-14; 7:37-39

How can we describe the life of Christ within us?
The Bible says it is
like breathing the breath of God,
like a river of life constantly flowing in us,
like a deep, inexpressible joy.

We know this:
as we trust Him,
His life grows within.
His Spirit joins with our spirit, and
we become more and more like Him.
He lives in us constantly and forever, and
we in Him.

Father, when we seek Your best gifts,
You gladly give them.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Living Christ
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We Need to See You

Father, we are flooded with so many needs,
but our real need is
You.
We need to know You for all You are,
the One true God,
high and lifted up,
the Holy One,
our Source and Goal,
the All-in-all,
our Eternal Father.
We need to see You for all You are.
We need to trust You always for all You are.

Lift our eyes, Father.
Help us to see You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: High and Holy Sovereign God
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Creation Will Be Redeemed

For all the elegant beauty of this natural earth, it is also a violent, tumultuous place where life is always in the grip of death. How can this be, if God rules all creation? How can a good God claim to be sovereign in a world such as this?

Genesis 1:26-28 proclaims two truths about God’s creation of the human race:

  1. He made us in His own image and likeness.
  2. He created us to rule over the earth as His stewards, sharing in His sovereignty.

We are inseparably connected to God our Creator, and we are inseparably connected to this earth, over which we rule. God subjected the earth to us.

When we rebelled against our Creator, we chose to use creation for our own selfish purposes (Genesis 3:1-6). When our relationship with the Creator was corrupted, so was the earth over which we ruled, now as unfaithful stewards (Romans 8:20). As our home and our responsibility, the earth shared in our fractured relationship with the Giver of all life (Genesis 3:17-18; see Psalm 104:27-30). The results were corruption, futility, and death, both for us and for our beautiful home.

Consistently in scripture, our obedience or disobedience to our Creator brings us either God’s blessing or His cursing, respectively. This blessing and cursing are shared by our natural home as well (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:12-15; 8:6-10; 28:4, 18). As Creator God subjected this earth to us, this earth unwillingly shares in the fruit of our rebellion.

We see the turmoil in our natural world and know that as violence, pain, and death shrouds all human life, it shrouds our natural home as well.

But the good news is this: the corruption, futility, and death that rule this earth are only a passing phase. Creation’s present turbulence is only the pain of childbirth (Romans 8:19-22). When we are redeemed and freed from our suffering, our earthly home will be as well (Isaiah 11:6-9; Revelation 21:1). Our destiny, God’s unchangeable promise, is that we and our beautiful home will be perfected to the full glory of God. As it has shared our curse, it will share our blessedness. All the earth will be permeated with His life, His love, His holiness, and His perfect peace.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Creation Will Be Redeemed
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IN HIS PRESENCE Devotional Tapestry

IN HIS PRESENCE Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

Listen to IN HIS PRESENCE Devotional Tapestry
Printed devotional & hymn
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