When we are running on empty, we must not forget that God is our endless supply. His well never runs dry. We so often make the mistake of thinking it is out of our own reserves that we need to find our strength, but it is never from our selves but from His springs of living water. Sometimes we can drain ourselves, so to speak, in giving out to others around us, and feel as though we have nothing left to give. We have forgotten that it really is not in ourselves at all that we have much to give. When we run dry, it’s because we have not been filling up with Him and giving out of His fullness, but giving instead out of our own empty tank.
Finally, we become exhausted. We realize that there is nothing left in ourselves to give and we ourselves need to be ministered to. It is His reminder that He alone is our endless supply.
Joh 4:13 Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again,
Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Have you forgotten to take a drink lately? Has your thirst gotten to the point where you can no longer ignore it even while you are giving out to others to drink? Don’t forget that all you need to do is come to Him and drink. He is always there with His endless supply of living water to fill you up again. You cannot exhaust His resources. He meant for us to continually abide in Him and from that abiding relationship, to have a continual outflow of living water that others around us can partake of. But it is our human nature to forget and rely on our own reserves until we ourselves become empty.
I think of how Jesus spent the days, from morning until night ministering to others around Him, sometimes crowds of people pressing Him, demanding from Him, testing Him, and always so needy. He always, always had an abundance to give them. But you say…”well, He was God!” But the same source that He relied on we also have continually to abide in and rely on just as He did. He has made Himself available to His children every moment!
Jesus has given you, as a child of God a ministry, whomever you are, whatever your occupation or lot in life. Your ministry is those people around you He has brought into your life. Are you drinking from His well, so that the fresh water they receive from you is from His springs of living water? Or are you only giving them what you have of yourself until you have no more to give?
Even Jesus knew when it was time to get away from the crowd and spend time in prayer. If we are not doing that, then we are giving out of our own reserves. In prayer and nourishing ourselves in His living Word, we are able to have true spiritual life that will naturally flow from us to others.
We can know this, but still forget. Our busy lives can drive us on and we continue until something - physical or emotional exhaustion, stops us. We become burned out. If you are burned out, then it is because you have not been looking to Him as your resource, but finding it in your own strength.
Sometimes when we are exhausted of our own supply, God may ask us to still give food and drink to His children. We may think we have nothing at all to give! But yet, He tells us He will supply it, not us. Just like the story of Elijah and the woman and her son…
1Ki 17:12 And she said, As Jehovah your God lives, I do not have a cake, but only a handful of meal in a pitcher and a little oil in a jar. And behold, I am gathering two sticks, so that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, so that we may eat it and die.
1Ki 17:13 And Elijah said to her, Do not fear, go. Do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it, and bring it to me. And then make for you and for your son.
1Ki 17:14 For so says Jehovah, the God of Israel, The pitcher of meal shall not be emptied, nor shall the jar of oil fail, until the day that Jehovah sends rain on the earth.
1Ki 17:15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah. And she and he and her house ate many days;
1Ki 17:16 the pitcher of meal was not consumed, and the jar of oil did not fail, according to the Word of Jehovah which He spoke by Elijah.
Perhaps you have only a handful of meal…(spiritual nourishment) and only a little oil…(the filling of the Holy Spirit). But God is asking you to give all that you have and He says to you, “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid. You won’t run dry. I will be your supply, and your food will not run out, and Your oil will never run dry. In fact I will give you more and more.” In those times when it seems we have nothing…out of our emptiness, when we give trusting in Him alone, He will surely meet the need. It is out of His endless supply, not ours. Trust Him to do it! Don’t look within yourself and say, “what do I have?” But look to Him, and see the supply will never run out! Don’t be afraid to pour yourself out for Him. He will never fail you nor forsake you. He Himself will see to it that you have an abundance, and will be supplied with all you need.
Why would God require of a woman who was in such desperate need herself, to be the one to supply someone else’s need? Because He knew that out of her giving up all she had to Him, that He, Himself would become her abundant supply.
Perhaps the Lord is asking you to love the unlovable even though you yourself are hungering for love. Or perhaps He is asking you to give rest to the weary soul, when you yourself are weary and in need of rest. Maybe you are continually having to care for others totally dependant on you, when you need, yourself, to be cared for and nurtured. Don’t forget your source. Don’t forget He is your unlimited supply and will also in turn supply all you need as He provides through you to others. We are His jars of clay that He fills with the oil of His Spirit, from His own supply, each time we come before Him, empty.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that in everything, always having all self-sufficiency, you may abound to every good work;
The woman in the story of Elijah did not wait until she had enough; she obeyed in faith, believing that God would be her supply. If we wait until we have enough, we may not ever find that we have enough for others and ourselves also. The very act of giving what we have to God, is an act of faith that allows Him to give us, not only all that we need, but enough for others as well.
Dear Father God, You would never require of us what You Yourself didn't intend to supply. Help us to learn to draw from that endless supply that You have provided when we find we are running out. Help us always to remember You alone are our supplier. You never meant for us to try to do it ourselves, but by Your Spirit that You have given us...Your well that is within us that never runs dry.
There are times in our Christian walk that we just need encouragement from the Lord. We know the doctrine, the theology, as Twila Paris’ song goes…but there’s one thing we just got to know…”Do I trust You Lord?”
Sometimes nothing makes sense. We thought we had God figured out. We were walking in confidence in His goodness and trusting that He was in control, but then something beyond our control, and beyond our capability to understand why, happens. Now we are left with questions and even wounds that we feel God Himself has given us. Even though we may understand all the theology…yes, God does work all these things together for our good…yes, He loves us and even the suffering is ultimately for our good, we are left stunned and hurt, and find all we want is some encouragement from God, and to know that in spite of our not being able to understand His hand we can trust Him still.
In these times we need to look to the Word of God for the encouragement and faith that only He can give. Nobody else knows our wounded heart. Nobody else knows what we need to hear from Him alone. No quick fix will help. We just need to hear God. We are driven more than ever to find that intimacy that we desperately need from Him.
When my oldest son left us and wanted nothing more to do with us or our God, leaving us no way to ever contact him again, our hearts were broken worse than if he had died. We did not know why he did this. There was no word of encouragement anyone could give to us. There was nothing that could comfort us. We were alone in our misery and pain and feelings of failure. But one day as I was reading in the Word of God in Hosea, God identified with me there in a way no one else could have and shared in my pain and sorrow. As God spoke of His son, Israel, who he had brought up and nurtured and who had despised Him, I felt God’s sharing in our grief and that was my comfort. He understood and grieved with us.
We never know how the Lord will encourage and comfort us and enable us to go through these trials and griefs, until we put ourselves before Him and allow Him to minister to us and encourage us. But if we don’t, and we instead look to other people, we will miss out on the encouragement only the lover of our soul can give. If we turn to other things to dull our pain, we will never understand the intimacy with God or the power of God to sustain us. As we turn to God in our moments of despair, we find there is no other encouragement that can take His place. He, after all, lives in our heart, the seat of our affections, our inner being, where we experience the deepest sorrow, and knows us more than anyone, even ourselves.
Sometimes we turn to people looking for comfort and find misunderstanding and judgment instead. We find we are further alienated and left more alone than ever. Our pain is only made worse when we try to make others understand it and find that all their efforts to “fix” us only make it worse and show us that they really don’t understand at all. But you see, they can’t, and we shouldn’t expect them to. Only God can. He’s the one we are to find our encouragement from.
It can be a very lonely road, being a Christian. We tend to want others to live our Christianity for us, find a quick answer and always have someone else do the hard work of seeking the Lord for us. To grow up in Christ means we learn to seek the Lord for ourselves, getting down on our knees and praying through until we hear from God ourselves and know what He is saying to us. It is digging into the Word until we understand it from God, and not from someone else’s experience of God. Know God for yourself! Don’t seek to know Him through someone else. Know Him for yourself! He is your God. He wants You to know Him in the dark hours, that He can sustain you. He wants you to know Him in the good times and share in your joy. He wants to be your teacher, your encourager, your Father. You won’t find that through someone else’s counsel. You’ll only find it at the feet of your Savior, in your prayer closet, at His Word. You will find that only God knows the inner you and only He can share that with you. Not even your spouse or your closest friend can share that with you. Don’t let someone else be the Holy Spirit in your life.
”The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” Prov. 14:10
Do you understand why God made that lonely place in our hearts that longs for someone to share it. It was made only for Him. But we keep trying to fill it with others. Know God’s encouragement deep in your inner being. You can. He meant you to. When nothing makes sense in your walk with God, the road seems to have taken a turn you can’t understand, you are left wounded and used, and alone, go to God for that encouragement and intimacy only He can give. Don’t miss out on it! Don’t expect to get it from anyone or anything else.
Here are some words of encouragement from God for you today...
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accournted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor poers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jeus our Lord." Rom. 8:31-39
"For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2 Cor. 4:6-10
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen,but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Cor. 4:17-18
Abba, Father, I lift up to You those who are so needy of encouragement right now, those who need faith, strength to go on, and just need so much to hear Your Word of encouragement today. Fill their heart with the encouragement meant just from You to them. Help them to receive it from You today. Help them to come to You for it and trust You. Enable them to know You and share with you in Your sufferings as You share with them in theirs. In Jesus name, amen.
Psa 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psa 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Psa 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Psa 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Matthew Henry - The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence.
Have you ever been caught in the snare of the fowler?
A snare is something that takes you suddenly and unexpectedly. You are caught unawares in a trap laid for you by the enemy of your soul, before you realize it. There are so many things in our Christian life that can become a snare for us, before we realize it, and we find we are caught and cannot escape. They become a snare to our soul, to our spiritual growth, to our relationship with the Lord, and to the life God intended for us. It may be something that looked good. It may have looked beneficial. It may have even appeared led by God to some degree. It lured us because of some appeal it had for us. Something evil in our hearts that we did not even see drew us to it - some wrong desire, weakness, or motive hidden in our heart.
There have been things in my life that I thought were good, they had a spiritual appeal, and seemed to be from God, that later ended up being a snare to me. I ended up needing God’s deliverance from them later on because they caused a bondage in my life I could not free myself from. This is just like the snare of the fowler.
"Snare" 1. A trapping device used for catching small birds and animals. 2. Anything that serves to entangle the unwary.
Satan, the fowler, the enemy of our souls seeks to catch us in his many snares. Sometimes we are like weak birds, that are easily caught and do not have enough strength to get away. We struggle, we strain to free ourselves once we are caught, but we cannot. We are not strong enough. We become easy prey for this enemy who is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
The snare can be temptation, deception, it can be worldly counsel, it can be drugs, alcohol, false religion, wrong relationships, addictions, or any number of things that subtly take over our weak wills until we have no control over them.
Why do we become snared? Because we trusted in our own understanding instead of seeking the Lord with all our hearts. We did not say, “search my heart O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me.” We did not seek His Word of truth for our counsel. We were drawn by our feelings, or intellect.
How can we escape?
There is only one way…
Psa 124:6 Blessed is Jehovah, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth.
Psa 124:7 Our soul has escaped like a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Psa 124:8 Our help is in the name of Jehovah, who made the heavens and earth.
Our help is by once again turning to the Lord, our refuge. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress…” Ps. 91:1,2
What is meant by dwelling in the secret place of the most High? He that walks in nearness to God, in trust in His truth by faith in Him and all He is and does, this person will be protected from the snare of the fowler. Once caught, the only way of escape is to again turn in humility and weakness to the protector of our souls and trust Him to set you free from the snare. Abiding in Him once again, by faith is your only strength to escape. There is no way to free yourself. What does Ps. 91 say? By making Him your refuge, a place where you run for protection, by making Him your fortress, by making Him your trust, and the object of your love… ”Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
All our struggling and striving will not set us free…but when we stop struggling and yield to our Savior again, He Himself will set us free.
Go back to the basics. Just as you first came to Jesus, humble yourself before Him now, admitting that you can do nothing. You cannot free yourself. Admit that you were wrong. Repent of your sin and now put your whole trust in Him to release you from the snare of the fowler and set you free. He can again make you new. He can again bring you to that secret place with Him where you will be under the shadow of His wings. There you will find protection. Let His truth be your shield and buckler. Study His truth and love it. Hold on to it!
”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
No matter how long you have been a Christian do not think you are safe from the enemy’s snares. In fact if you feel you are strong enough to never be caught in one, most likely you are a prime target for getting caught unawares. But abide in the Lord and in His Word for your protection always from every snare. The thing about a snare is that you don’t see it until you are caught. But God sees it and knows it ahead of time. He knows every trap the enemy has laid, before he lays it for you. He alone can warn us and protect us and keep us as we walk daily trusting in Him.
Sometimes people become resigned to their snare. Just as the bird who struggles and struggles and struggles until he can’t any longer, and finally gives up, waiting for the fowler to come for him. We resign ourselves, because we have struggled to be free and find we can’t and we get weary of the struggle, so we give up. Along comes the fowler to devour us! If you feel this way, if you’ve struggled and you are saying, “I want to just give up. I can’t free myself. What’s the use”…then give up to God. Give up by surrendering once again to Him and His will for you, whatever that may be, though it may seem hard and unpleasant to go through His discipline, and allow Him to set you free. Trust Him to do it. Give up to God. Abide in Him for your strength. It may not happen overnight, but as you surrender to Him and give up to Him continually, you will find Him to be your refuge and strength.
Abba, Father, You alone are our hiding place. Teach us to hide in You and trust in the shadow of Your wings, Your truth, always.
Like all of us I have struggled this week with the terrorism that has struck our country. It was difficult for me to come up with a devotional as my heart was so torn over the evil that has taken place in our nation, and sorting through my own difficult feelings over it. I had feelings of anger and grief like all of us. I had to search my heart and look to God for the answers. I thought I would draw our attention to God’s Word for us during such a time as this. The one portion of scripture that has meant most to me this week has been Ps. 37.
Psa 37:1 A Psalm of David. Do not fret yourself with evil doers; and do not be envious against the workers of iniquity.
Psa 37:2 For they shall soon wither like the grass; and fade as the green herb.
Psa 37:3 Trust in Jehovah, and do good; you shall dwell in the land, and you shall be fed on truth.
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself also in Jehovah, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5 Roll your way on Jehovah; trust also in Him, and He will work.
Psa 37:6 And He shall bring forth your righteousness like the light, and your judgment like the noonday.
Psa 37:7 Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of him who practices wickedness.
Psa 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret yourself to do evil.
Psa 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on Jehovah, they shall inherit the earth.
Psa 37:10 It is but a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, you shall search his place, and he shall not be.
Psa 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the overflowing of peace.
Psa 37:12 The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes on him with his teeth.
Psa 37:13 Jehovah laughs at him; for He sees that his day is coming.
Psa 37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly.
Psa 37:15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
Psa 37:16 A little to the righteous is better than the riches of many wicked.
Psa 37:17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; but Jehovah upholds the righteous.
Psa 37:18 Jehovah knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.
Psa 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psa 37:20 But the wicked shall pass, and the enemies of Jehovah shall be like the beauty of pastures; they are consumed, like smoke they perish.
Psa 37:21 The wicked borrows, and never pays again; but the righteous shows mercy, and gives.
Psa 37:22 For His blessed ones shall inherit the earth; and those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by Jehovah; and He delights in his way.
Psa 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be cast down; for Jehovah upholds his hand.
Psa 37:25 I have been young, and am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging bread.
Psa 37:26 All the day long he deals graciously, and lends; and his seed is blessed.
Psa 37:27 Depart from evil and do good; and live forevermore.
Psa 37:28 For Jehovah loves judgment and does not forsake His saints; they are kept forever; but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psa 37:29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.
Psa 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment.
Psa 37:31 The Law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Psa 37:32 The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to kill him.
Psa 37:33 Jehovah will not leave him in his hand, nor allow him to be found guilty when he is judged.
Psa 37:34 Wait on Jehovah, and keep His way, and He shall lift you up to inherit the earth; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
Psa 37:35 I have seen the wicked ruthless, and spreading himself like a luxuriant native tree.
Psa 37:36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; and I looked for him, but he could not be found.
Psa 37:37 Watch the perfect and behold the upright one; for the end of that man is peace.
Psa 37:38 But the sinners are destroyed together; the end of the wicked is cut off.
Psa 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from Jehovah; He is their strength in the time of trouble.
Psa 37:40 And Jehovah shall help them, and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.
I don’t know what I can add to God’s perfect Word for us today. We need to meditate on it, take it to heart, and let it direct our perspective in all the World’s events and our responses to them. We are not to fret, when it seems that evil prevails. And in this world there will be times when it does seem that way. We are not to give in to hate and wrath and anger. By doing so we let evil over come us, but we are to overcome evil with good.
Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We are to commit all into God’s hands. God will bring forth truth, righteousness and judgement in His own time. We are to continue to do good and trust completely in Him. We know that for those who are the enemies of God, this earth is the closest they will ever get to heaven. For we who Know the Lord it is the closest we will ever get to hell. We know that our God will reign and that for all eternity we will rejoice in peace, and righteousness and love. We know all evil will be brought to an end.
Another thing we need to understand is that none of us is promised a long life on this earth. We are here for an allotted amount of time that only God Himself knows. We all have opportunity to turn to Christ and live for Him during whatever days He gives us. These things cause us to realize the importance of every minute God gives us and how we are to spend it, not in vanity, and our own pursuits, but using the time wisely for His glory and for His life to be shared with others when He gives opportunity. This earth was never meant to be our resting place, or our heaven. It is only that to the unbeliever. I would rather wait for His Heaven!! We are pilgrims. That is more evident than ever when the world begins to rail against Christians and try to kill them. When world thought turns against us and the Bible that we believe in and the Jesus that we love and serve, we know more than ever we are aliens in this world. So we need now to remember where our citizenship is and live accordingly. If we haven’t been doing that now, but living as citizens of this world, which could soon be brought to an end, now is the time to get our lives in order, and realize where our citizenship is. We must be prepared at any moment to face our Creator and the Savior of our souls.
What if terror comes to our own community, and right to our door? What are we to do? I'm reminded of what Corrie Ten Boome said, as one night she got up from her bed in restlessness and got a cup of tea. While she was out of her room a bomb exploded near by and the impact caused a large block of plaster to fall from her ceiling right above her bed onto her pillow where minutes ago her head would have been struck. When she saw it she said, "Oh Father, the safest place to be is right in the center of Your will."
If everyday, in peaceful times, we are living for God and abiding in Him, denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Him, then it will be no different than it always has been, we will use every opportunity for Christ, we will trust in Him, we will know that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Our life is not in this world. It is in Christ alone. One day we can be sure of our eternal reward. We have a blessed hope that none can take away. We have a surety given to us by the Holy Spirit…a guarantee of our inheritance, that is incorruptible and no man can take from us by terror, or bomb or pestilence or anything else. In Christ there is no terror. There is only hope and life eternal. We need to pity those who have not that hope and are deceived by wicked forces in this world. They are blinded by the spirits of darkness in this present age. They have no hope. There terror is approaching and they will be in terror for eternity. Pray that the eyes of all who will can be opened now while there is time.