Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Journey with the Lord through 2009

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Oswald Chambers once wrote,

‘God does not do what false Christianity makes out - keep a man immune from trouble. God says, “I will be with him in trouble.”’

This is a statement based on Psalm 91:15 where God says,

‘He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him’.

How has 2008 been for you?

Globally it has been terrible with the financial crisis and the threat of severe recession; many are facing economic ruin, concern about credit and retirement funds, the loss of jobs and homes.

There are fears about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, as well as global warming and water shortages.

Many people world-wide have been suffering because of conflicts, poverty, bereavement, illness, floods and famines. Their personal journey through the year has not been easy.

Our personal journeys were never meant to be free of difficulties and sadness. As we look forward to 2009 we must in faith recognise it as one of promise and opportunity because the journey will depend on our attitude to events.

Financial hardship, suffering, accidents, illness, tragedy and even death can come about because of the forces of nature, the passage of time, through human intervention or because of some failure of care by us or others. The world is a volatile and dangerous place and we are not immune from its hazards and trials.

Many see these events as God's punishment, but He is a God of love, not retribution. These things are of the world.

Some may regard prayer in such circumstances as irrelevant - if so they misunderstand prayer. They may also believe that God has in some way let them down - if so they have a crisis of faith.

Prayer may not always alter circumstances but the Holy Spirit will change our attitude to the situation and give us the strength to bear it; either that, or we can choose to despair of what has befallen us.

The New Testament makes no secret of the fact that believers would experience wars, earthquakes, natural disasters and personal hardships. (Matthew 24:6,7). These are the very things that the Bible warned us would happen. The church at Thessalonica was experiencing trouble and Paul sent Timothy to encourage them during trials that they knew quite well would befall them (1 Thessalonians 3:1-6). James wrote to the twelve tribes telling them to regard it as pure joy whenever they face trials (James 1:2-3). Peter, writing to God's elect, understood the trials they had to face (1 Peter 1:6-7). Paul and Barnabas said that they must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

No one suffered more than Jesus Himself and as His time of death approached He said:

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15).

We can face our journey through 2009 with a positive attitude no matter what hardships and sorrow we must face, sure in the knowledge that God is our travelling companion.

The Holy Spirit will influence our decisions, comfort us during times of trial, strengthen us when we are weak, uplift us in times of despair and will never leave us.

Those assurances are encapsulated in the words of both King David and the Lord Jesus Christ:

‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me’. (Psalm 23:4)
‘“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’ (Matthew 28:20)

Have a good week, journeying with the Lord,

Pastor Barry
4th January 2009

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