Friday, 3/27

Today's Reading: John 7:37 - 39

Today's Meditation:

Jesus told the Jews on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, "'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."

Jesus satisfies us. In this passage, He invites all who are "thirsty" to come to Him, and He will indeed give us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide, and pour forth great joy and life, in and through our lives. Are we thirsty? Humans inherently feel that there is something more to life than just living and dying, or gaining reputation and amassing great wealth. There is a deep hunger and thirst for some spiritual meaning in our lives, and filling up that void, we would never be satisfied. But Jesus here gives us the answer. Come to Him, drink of Him, believe in Him, and He will satisfy us through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Come Lord Jesus come! 

Thursday, 3/26

Today's Reading: 1 John 2:1-17

Today's Meditation:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6 What does it mean to "hunger and thirst for righteousness"? We had better understand what righteousness is. John Stott, a minister in the Church of England, gives a helpful definition, observing that righteousness in the Bible has three aspects: legal righteousness, social righteousness, and moral righteousness.

A citizen of the kingdom of God hungers for legal righteousness--that is, to be right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. A citizen of God's kingdom hungers for social righteousness, in which people together aim to do what is right for all, especially in showing care and compassion for hurting and disadvantaged people. A follower of Jesus also thirsts for moral righteousness, learning to live God's way and "to say ?No' to ungodliness" (Titus 2:12).

The people who first listened to Jesus were similar to us in many ways, with many of the same kinds of personal struggles and sorrows. Jesus has come to us all, saying that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled, or satisfied. We all know that when hunger is not satisfied, we starve. And when thirst is not quenched, we die.

So we need to ask, How much do we want righteousness? Do we want it as much as a hungry or thirsty person wants food or water? 
Today Daily Devotional

Forgive us, Father, for not having our priorities straight and for seeking fulfillment in ways that leave us empty. Thank you for giving us a thirst for righteousness. Amen. 

Wednesday, 3/25

Today's Reading:

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

Today's Meditation:

This text points to the fact that believing in Jesus is a feeding and drinking from all that Jesus is. It goes so far as to say that our soul-thirst is satisfied with Jesus, so that we don’t thirst anymore.

He is the end of our quest for satisfaction.

When we trust Jesus the way John intends for us to, the presence and promise of Jesus is so satisfying that we are not dominated by the alluring pleasures of sin (see Romans 6:14). This accounts for why such faith in Jesus nullifies the power of sin and enables obedience.

John 4:14 points in the same direction: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” In accord with John 6:35, saving faith is spoken of here as a drinking of water that satisfies the deepest longings of the soul.

It’s the same in John 7:37–38: “Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

Through faith, Christ becomes in us an inexhaustible fountain of satisfying life that lasts forever and leads us to heaven. This he does by sending us his Spirit (John 7:38–39).

John Piper 

Tuesday, 3/24

Read slowly over the following scripture passage and allow the word of God to penetrate your heart. Stay with the words for a while and let one of the thoughts grow in your heart.

Today's Reading:

Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips.
(Jn 19: 28 29).

I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
(Ps. 69: 20-21). 

Today's Meditation: I Thirst

Hear Jesus speak to your soul:

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life; there is one thing I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change. I THIRST FOR YOU - just as you are. You don't need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day - standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there - for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: "I THIRST..."(Jn 19: 28). Yes, I thirst for you - as the rest of the psalm - verse I was praying says of Me: "I looked for love, and I found none..." (Ps. 69: 20). All your life I have been looking for your love - I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit. "No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake, Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock. Open to Me, for I THIRST FOR YOU..."

Just think, God is thirsting for you and me to come forward to satiate His thirst. Just think of that! Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, 3/23

Today's Reading: Psalm 42 - As a deer pants for the water brooks

Today's Meditation:

Imagine a deer on the run, as it’s being chased or hunted by its enemies. It’s on its last leg, mouth dry and parched, panting hard, longing desperately for refreshing water. This was the kind of thirst David was talking about. Perhaps he felt like a hunted man, as though he was on his last leg. Whether his state was real or imagined, he was clear about what he needed: “My soul thirsts for God.” He was desperate for the water of God’s presence, touch, and Word. Like David, we need to come to the water of the Word of God to be refreshed and cleansed. Just as the physical body thrists for water, so do our souls, but it is a thirst that can only be quenched in God. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst . . . [it] will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Many years ago Lawrence of Arabia visited London and brought with him some of his desert-dwelling friends. These men were impressed by the bustling city and its modern conveniences. But they were most impressed by the water faucets. All one had to do to obtain fresh water was turn a handle! The visitors asked Lawrence if it would be possible to take some of the water faucets back to the desert. They had absolutely no understanding of plumbing. This is what takes place in people who are spiritually dead as they attempt to find joy and fulfillment in material pursuits, pleasure-filled living, or worldly success. They are trying to get joy from a tap that isn’t attached to anything, which is just as impossible as getting water from a faucet that isn’t connected to a water source. David understood 3000 years ago that true joy and fulfillment are only possible after surrendering one’s life to the source of living water, Jesus Christ. 

Pastor Ed Rea

“LORD, we thirst for more of You. Please fill us again as we come to drink from Your Word today.” 

Friday, 3/20

Today's Reading: Matthew 27:45-46

Today's Meditation:

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The verses up to now have depicted Jesus’ increasing isolation. It has been a constant and discouraging process. First his disciples betray, deny, and flee from him, then the crowds turn on him, the authorities condemn and crucify him, and his opponents taunt him. Jesus has been stripped of all the normal human supports and encouragement even as his clothes were stripped and divided between his executioners.

And in recognition of this – or perhaps expressing the last element of his utter isolation – Jesus cries aloud in despair, voicing his conviction that even God has turned away. And as if nature adds its assent to Jesus’ assessment, the sky itself turns dark.

Over the years, Christians have tried at times to explain away this cry of dereliction. Noting that it is part of a Psalm, some have seen it as a sign not of despair but faith. He is praying a Psalm, after all, a Psalm that after voicing discouragement turns to hope. But I believe that is huge, unnecessary, and ultimately unhelpful interpretative leap to make. 

It seems far more likely that Jesus, steeped in Scripture as his native faith language, finds in it words to express his sense of utter isolation. Further, who says that despair is absent from the life of faith? The last thing one needs when sinking into despair, quite frankly, is guilt. So rather than hold on to Jesus as a model of unyielding faith, why not instead see in Jesus one who understands and accepts our moments of despair because he himself has experienced them?

I think we resist Jesus’ cry – the only thing Matthew reports him as saying from the cross – because it challenges our ideas not only about faith (that is, faith should not despair), but also about God (that is, God is strength). If Jesus is God, we may wonder, how could he despair?

But that overlooks the humanity of Jesus and the commitment of God to take on our lot and our life fully, even to the point of death and despair. And so in this moment we see Jesus at the extreme end of human experience, and thereby we know that there is nothing we ourselves can feel that God will not understand, indeed, already understands because Jesus experienced it. David Lose

Prayer: Dear God, whatever we may experience, you have also experienced. Whatever we may feel, you have felt. Remind us that you understand us fully and love us completely, that we may reach out in understanding and love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Thursday, 3/19

Today's Reading: John 14

Today's Meditation: 

“God how could this happen?” “Don’t you care?” “Now what?” “What’s the use?” “It’s hopeless” There or similar thoughts are indicative of my five-step slide into spiritual defeat: disappointment, doubt, discouragement, depression, despair. For me, this downward descent into darkness and defeat would happen just before or just after some challenging situation, when I was most vulnerable emotionally and spiritually and somewhat drained physically and mentally. It always seemed to happen the same way. Some hope or expectation would be dashed by someone or some uncontrollable circumstance, resulting in deep disappointment.

Praying Jesus’ Words, “Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

Lord, the losses and disappointments in my life often throw me for a loop and cause me to doubt myself, my loved ones and friends, and even your love. Sometimes I feel totally alone and forsaken, as though nobody cared about my dilemma or my feelings. When I am “up” spiritually, I know that these feelings are not based on the truth, but when I am low, I am tempted to believe them. Help me to follow Jesus’ example and never forsake the Father, even when I feel forsaken. Help me to ground myself in your love and learn to live in the light of truth rather than in the lies of darkness. Help me to know even in times of loss and disappointment that you never forsake me.