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Thursday, July 14, 2011
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"As The Deer"
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" (Psalm 42:1,2).
We have plenty of deer in our area. In wooded areas where they are especially populated we must be observant as they can suddenly leap out in the road as our car is going full speed. Of course we instantly slow down since one deer often means others will follow! My cousin's wife sent me the photo we have at the top of our message. They live in a rural part of western Wisconsin and she snapped the photo in her back yard.
A song written written by Marty Nystrom about 30 years ago is based on today's Scripture text. During a very intense heatwave in the summer of 1981 in Dallas, Texas Marty was seeking the will of God during an extended time of fasting. Nineteen days into his time of fasting he meditated on Psalm 42 and it became the cry of his heart. He wrote the music to "As the Deer" and it has blessed millions of Christians all over the world. Surely he had a fuller sense of the meaning, "My soul thirsts for God" during a heat wave which usually includes a drought, water restrictions and all.
The Psalmist likely observed deer panting for water and drew a parallel with our soul's thirst for God. I don't recall ever seeing a deer panting for water but I've seen plenty of dogs do so. After a good run with our dogs, Roxie and Mollie, they begin to pant heavily and head straight for the water if we're walking alongside the creek or the water bowl after we've returned home!
The second verse especially grips my heart and brings conviction to me: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"
The "sons of Korah", who wrote this Psalm lived some three thousand years ago. They express a longing for the "living God," the very same God we serve today who is ever living.
"When can I go and meet with God?" For us the answer is, "Always!" It may not be a church service with other believers but our living God has declared, "I am with you always." The prerequisite is having a longing and thirst to be with the Living Lord.
The very first chorus I ever led others in singing was, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." There's a wonderful line that declares, "The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
There have been times when I can testify that this Scriptural truth is evident in my life, but so often the things of this earth hold too much importance. May God help me and all of our readers to realize the joy and fulfillment of living in God's presence! It far exceeds the earthly pursuits that can leave us with a sun-parched soul.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father God, even as water is essential for physical life, You've created within us a thirst for holiness and righteousness to sustain our spiritual life. So often we attempt to quench that inborn thirst with temporary substitutes that give us a quick high and then we inevitably face recurring dissatisfaction. No person, position, or possession can effectively replace our divine appointment with You, the Living God, who desires to have fellowship with Your creation. We invite Your supernatural presence to be fully manifested in our lives as we call out to You night and day, in times of refreshing and in times of drought. Be glorified in me, Living God!
Another Psalm also expresses the sentiment in today's message, "I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land" (143:6).
Yesterday one of our companies had an "Ice Cream Sundae Day" and we were invited to attend as company chaplains. You don't have to do much convincing for us when we hear "ice cream"!
On the way we followed some interesting traffic along 322 east of Ephrata PA. As children Brooksyne and I both enjoyed riding in the back of a pickup with our backs to the cab. I suspect based on the load this family had been shopping at the Ephrata Walmart and the kids were looking forward to getting home and using the "noodles" in the pool or pond.
Brooksyne's note: I rode nearly 200 miles in the back of my dad's truck since the cab was too small to hold our large family, but the truck was needed for a project on the mountain. My sister and I had long hair and I think we lost half of it just trying to comb out all the tangles after our windblown arrival. Our mouths were rather parched as well (somewhat fitting with the theme of our message today.)
The ice cream was served by members of the company management team, demonstrating "servant leadership".
Of course there was some good-natured teasing as well!
John, Linford and Mel Kurtz, three brothers who have an accumulative total of over ninety years of dependable service in the very same company. I don't suppose you see much of that these days!
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"As The Deer" Video Maranatha Singers Video Instrumental only version
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" Video Michael W. Smith I so enjoy the violin intro to this version as well as the congregational expression.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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