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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Audrey's devotional 7/2/19
Yesterday morning we joined the employees at Audrey's for a brief devotional period.

"The Joy Of Satisfaction"

Note: This message is posted late due to having internet connection problems. Being a solo operator I do not have an IT department!

Message summary:  Regardless of our circumstances, let us truly be satisfied with God's unfailing love. Let us sing for joy and be glad all our days, this day and every day! Listen to our message on your audio player.

"That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:13). "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance" (Isaiah 55:2). “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good" (Psalm 107:9). "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14).

Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
But then I heard my Savior speaking:
"Draw from the well that never shall run dry".

Many readers in my generation will recall a popular song by the Rolling Stones that had the recurring line, "I can't get no satisfaction". My Rock and Roll interests curbed shortly after I became a Christian in 1971 but due to the frequent air play of this song in the sixties and seventies this phrase and the tune are embedded in my memory even to this day. That's the way memory can work, good and bad, especially when it comes to music.

In many ways the song summarizes the outlook of the world. Marketing strategy is intent on convincing us that we are not satisfied and must have their company's product or service to be satisfied. The implied promise is if we buy the product or service we will finally find satisfaction. Just consider that this really is the message of virtually all advertising. Even if you don’t have a need for the item the barrage of advertisements are designed to make you reassess your original thinking; to bring dissatisfaction with what you now have, or at the very least to raise your curiosity.

Satisfaction can be an emotional response to good things such as a fulfilling marriage, a happy family, a job promotion, educational attainment, or acquiring more of this and that. These things aren't necessarily bad but they all lack the overall true source of satisfaction. Everyone seeking lasting satisfaction for the soul will find that true lasting satisfaction is found only in a dynamic, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Isaiah, chapter 55, God asks, "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance."

This verse points out two contrasting sources of satisfaction: The physical which does not ultimately provide satisfaction and the genuinely spiritual which is found only through communion with God. "Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance."

Psalm 90:14Moses offers one of the richest prayers found in the Psalms. He cries out to God, "Satisfy us in the morning", thus acknowledging that the source of one's satisfied life is rooted in God. Even more specific he speaks of one of God's characteristics; His "unfailing love".

God's unfailing love is a stark contrast to the offers flashed in neon lights which brings temporal satisfaction at best. It can't be stored in a safety deposit box, sold to the highest bidder, traded in for a newer model, or made available only to the smart, rich, young or attractive. Just think back to your high school days and what you thought would satisfy. The deep, abiding satisfaction the soul longs for can only be found in God. It's a treasure for the here and now and for all eternity. Later in the Psalms we read, "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing" (Psalms 145:16).

Moses said "in the morning". The Hebrew here literally means "at the break of day". Consider the phrase we have often sung from the classic hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy", which we proclaim "early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee". As we begin our day with the deep assurance of God's unfailing love we are filled and equipped, so that we can live the day in victory, sing for joy, and be glad our entire day; in the ups and downs, the quiet and busy aspects of our day as well.

Let us be very intent on experiencing this deep satisfaction that God has provided. The Psalmist's prayer is so powerful. God alone is the source of satisfaction. Regardless of our circumstances, let us truly be satisfied with God's unfailing love. Let us sing for joy and be glad all our days, this day and every day!

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His blood I now am saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, far too often our minds can be consumed with things that only money can buy which can also bring discontent for that which we already have. Help us to focus our hearts on that which has lasting value, that brings eternal dividends. As we lift our voice to You this day and turn our hearts toward Your unfailing love we find joy and satisfaction that will not be determined by the events or non-events of this day. When human love is fleeting or disappoints help us to look to Your unfailing love which satisfies. We want to listen carefully to You, eat what is good, and delight ourselves in Your abundance. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Fill My Cup Lord"  Video  The Nashville String Machine

"Satisfied"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Finally today, a few reflections on Brooksyne's experience at Joni and Friends Retreat she served at last week (see Monday's message for an earlier message she shared.)

“Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13b,14).

Unless you are personally impacted by one with a disability you only see from a distance the physical and emotional turmoil that a person(s) endures day after day, year after year after year along with the major inconveniences their disability imposes on their caregivers.  My friend, Barb, warned me before going to the retreat that most all the STMs (short term missionaries) get what she calls “allergy attacks” at camp (moist eyes), and that proved to be very true. Every day observing either the physical struggle one was enduring, his or her lack of “normalcy” in behavior or appearance as compared to ours, or even the genuine love another person was extending to the disabled individual brought on an “allergy attack”.

It was certainly not my first time to be around those with disabilities. My nephew was deprived of oxygen right after birth and I spent a great deal of time looking after him as a young child. For seven years I drove a school bus van for intellectually and physically disabled children, some quite severe. But to live among them for six days, to be interactive with their families, to see a ministry like Joni and Friends, with the help of staff and volunteers, enable these disabled individuals and their families to feel an outpouring of love and encouragement, along with specially made programs and equipment so that each camper could participate and be involved, at times overwhelmed me. (Sorry for the run-on sentence but I just couldn’t find a place to stop.)

There was a variety of volunteers; teens, adult individuals, couples and several entire families volunteered. Age was not a factor as we blended together our interests and desire to give every camper a joyful experience. Phones were to be used for taking photographs only and not for social media or otherwise so fellowship was continuous and not interrupted by people who preferred their phones over conversation.

A greeting from Joni via PowerPoint was presented during our STM orientation. She said something that really stuck with me. It helped me accept and process the pain and suffering especially visible among the disabled:  “God permits that which He hates to bring about that which He loves.” She was referring to her diving accident that left her quadriplegic but brought her closer to God, after initially feeling despair to the point of wanting to take her own life. Sin brought about sickness, disease, and mortality and it was very present in this camp setting with so many disabled present, but when you witnessed the STMs, family members, and others at camp go out of their way to express love, acceptance, and effective communication with the campers it showed me the compassion of Christ extended through committed servants of Christ. To observe the campers worshiping God and testifying to Jesus working in their lives, if they were able to communicate such, was richly inspiring and to see dedicated Christian families loving and caring for their disabled child(ren) was a rich taste of seeing "that which He loves".

There is much more that I could write but I will sum up the camp experience in the words of my camper, Diane, who attended Impact 2 class. “Claudia, can I say something?” Diane would say to the teacher just about everyday.  “Yes, Diane, what would you like to say?” Diane would answer with a lovely smile and declare for the whole class to hear, “My heart feels good because I love Jesus. I feel good at camp and love to come here!”

If you know a person with a disability who might benefit by attending a Joni & Friends Family Retreat or if you want more info about being an STM or serving in another position see https://old.joniandfriends.org/international-family-retreats/stm-faqs/. The cost of attending a retreat varies at each location. Many volunteers raise funds in their local church to cover expenses if they’re unable to pay their own way.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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