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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Deer photo taken from the Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, VA
 by Janice Martz
Click on photo to enlarge

"As The Deer"

Note: Today we are going up to New England for a week, visiting in New Hampshire and Maine. Our expected highlights will be a train trip to the top of Mount Washington on the Cog Railway. Stephen will be returning home next Wednesday and Brooksyne will be going on to Oklahoma and Arkansas to visit her family the following week. Ester is going to San Antonio today to stay with Brooksyne's sister and they will later meet up with Brooksyne when she is in Tulsa. We do not expect to post messages until next week.

Message summary: Today we consider an illustration from the panting deer.

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“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).

Like most of the country (and perhaps world) we have plenty of deer in our area. It seems like no matter how often you see them people tend to get excited about seeing deer. Now that the corn is off we might catch a glimpse of deer running through the open field. 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! Today's lead photo was taken
in Virginia by Janice, a friend we saw yesterday at Audrey's.

Marty Nystrom wrote a song
based on today’s Scripture text over 40 years ago that many of us have sung. 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.

Psalm 42:1“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." 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 walk with our dogs, Mollie and Sadie, 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". 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.

Max Lucado writes,

"Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray, and when we remember, we hurry through prayers with hollow words. Our minds drift; our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail. Why is this? Prayer requires minimal effort. No location is prescribed. No particular clothing is required. No title or office is stipulated. Yet you'd think we were wrestling with a greased pig." (Live Loved)

The very first chorus I ever led in congregational singing (while in Bible College) 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.

In the Beatitudes Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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 is my prayer! Amen.

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).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"As The Deer"  Video  Shane & Shane

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Same God"  Video  Jonsal Barrientes

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Stephen & Brooksyne

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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