SEPTEMBER 2

Today's Bible Reading
     I Samuel 26
     I Corinthians 7
     Ezekiel 5
     Psalms 42-43
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
      ''As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God." (Psalms 42:1)
 
PANTING FOR HIS PRESENCE
      One of the most familiar verses in the Bible tells us that in our desire for God and His presence, there should be the same urgency of a deer panting for water. We must have water to survive. It is God's desire that our very life itself would depend on His Presence. Our soul is to pant for Him.
      God wants there to be a hunger and thirst in the life of every person that can be satisfied only with Him and His presence. He wants to meet a need in your life today that no other person and no other fellowship of persons can meet in your life.
      Even when rejection and loneliness comes into your life, it is part of God's desire to drive you to Him that you may experience that intimacy that only He can provide for you.
      Even Jesus was lonely. The prophet Isaiah said of Him in Isaiah 53:3, ''He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows." John 1:11 tells us that Jesus came into His own and His own received Him not."
Jesus was a man who lived a rejected life. He experienced loneliness and its deepest pain. This is proof positive that loneliness is not necessarily a sin; in fact, Jesus experienced the ultimate loneliness on the Cross-because He had taken the sin of the world upon Himself.
      In three years of public ministry, the young Messiah experienced persecution, rejection, and misunderstanding by His Disciples. He was doubted by one, denied by another, and completely betrayed by one. He was rejected and taunted by the crowds and, finally, in intimate rejection He cried out, ''My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?''
On one occasion I spoke to a young woman who was one of those ''unclaimed blessings." She wanted to get married so badly and no one was paying her any attention. So I said to her, ''Jesus is your companion and He will satisfy your loneliness."  She responded, ''Thank you, Pastor, but I need somebody real."
      I understood what she meant, but she really misunderstood, and illustrates the problem many people have. Jesus is real! It is only when you realize how real He is, and long for His presence, that you can understand the meaning of our memory verse.
      Then, she said, ''And I need somebody who is here right now." Again, she misunderstood. He is here right now. He said, ''I will never leave you nor forsake you."
      So even the rejection and loneliness you may feel in your life is to drive you to Him, and as the deer pants for the water, it is God's will that we desire His presence with that same intensity.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
      Today, pray for a special group in the country of Bhutan. These are the Bhutanese Nepalis, and they have responded to the Gospel in a great way. Since 1970, there has been steady growth. There are little churches and house fellowships all along the southern half of the country that have been planted through several Indian agencies. Many groups have suffered harassment and persecution.  Pray for them today, that God will give them protection and encouragement.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
      ''No man ever repented on his deathbed of being a Christian."
Hannah Moore