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Gold finch
Gold finch (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

"Jesus is Calling"

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to man, 'Where are you?'"  (Genesis 3:8,9).

We enjoy the unique sounds of the country.  The clickety-clack of an Amish horse and buggy slowly passing by, farm machinery working in a field, wind and rain splattering on the metal roof of our small utility barn, the neighborhood woodpecker persistently pecking the creaking tree.  Of course we especially like the constant bird sounds that we hear as we prepare this message.  The most dominant evening sound we hear, during this late summer season, is the locusts.  I think they're in competition with all of nature to be the loudest!

There are special sounds wherever you live, sounds that you become familiar with and perhaps even take for granted.  I hope there are enough pleasant sounds to drown out the undesirable noises.

Have you ever wondered what God sounded like as He walked in the garden?  Apparently Adam and Eve had become familiar with this distinct sound and recognized it.  Prior to the Fall it was a sound they cherished, but now they were attempting to hide.  That distinct sound, which once brought joy, now brought shame.  What a difference sin makes! 

Their hiding was futile.  God, whose very nature is to "seek and save that which is lost", called out, "Where are you?" Thus begins the grand story of God's redeeming love, what Bible scholar W. Graham Scroggie calls, "the scarlet thread of redemption" which runs through the Bible.  He writes, "Christ is predicted in the Old Testament, present in the Gospels, proclaimed in the Acts, possessed in the Epistles, and predominant in the Revelation."

Today God continues to call out.  If you listen you will hear His voice today.  Three times the writer of Hebrews quotes an Old Testament Psalm, "Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts" (3:7,15; 4:7).  I encourage you all to respond to His voice today.  Jesus is calling!

Come home, come home.
Ye who are weary, come home.
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling, "O sinner, come home!" *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's Prayer:  Jesus, day after day we hear familiar voices and repeated sounds that have become a routine part of our lives.  They seek our attention and usually demand a time consuming response.  In the midst of all the clamoring noises I want to make time in my schedule to become familiar with Your voice so that I am led by Your spirit in all that I do and say.  I want to be quick in hearing Your prompting voice remind me, "This is the way" when tempted to walk in my own ways.  I want to recognize the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit that compels me to repent when I have sinned. I also want to be familiar with Your affirming voice that says, "Well done" when I have been obedient to Your beckoning call.  Soften my heart, Lord, so that I not only hear Your voice, but I also feel Your compassion for those whom You bring into my life today.

Brooksyne's Note:  Stephen and I certainly take notice when goldfinches visit our finch feeder that is right outside our window where our computer sets so yesterday he took the photo above.  Thankfully he did not scare off the bird.  This morning I was thrilled when four goldfinches visited the same thistle feeder but as I slowly moved my hand toward the camera they all flew away.  Maybe tomorrow they'll visit and pose for a photo on the Daily Encouragement site!

* "Softly and Tenderly" Thompson, Will L. © Public Domain   This beautiful hymn, "Softly and Tenderly" was written in 1880 by Will Thompson born in East Liverpool, Ohio.  Though a very wealthy and successful writer he chose to play and sing to small churches throughout the Midwest.  In 1899 Mr. Thompson paid a visit to the famous evangelist D.L. Moody, who was very ill and near death.  Most visitors were turned away, but when Moody heard that Thompson was downstairs, he called for him.  "Will," he said, "I would rather have written 'Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling,' more than anything I have been able to do in my whole life."  Obviously the message of this hymn deeply touched the heart of D.L. Moody.  I use this song as the background to today's podcast.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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