Friday, November 21, 2008

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling

TGIF!!! Another week flown by, and it's hard to believe that next week we celebrate Thanksgiving!
I am wrapping up Chapter 8 of Jeremiah today. We'll see again, why Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. His heart is broken for the people of Judea and Jerusalem, and he cries out to God in his sorrow.
8:18-22 - "O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away! 'Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?'
'Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?'
The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn and horror grips me.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?"

Oh that our hearts as believers, would weep and mourn for lost souls, as Jeremiah did. He cried out to God as his Comforter. This is the first time I've ever noticed that in the Old Testament; the New Testament refers to the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, who resides within us. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to men as we know him; He came upon them as God led Him to. Obviously, Jeremiah was somehow acquainted with this third part of God's Trinity, to call out to Him in that way. That's just my opinion.
His question of "is there no balm in Gilead" is a passage I've heard in many sermons throughout my life, but never really understood exactly what it meant. Upon studying this a little further, I found out that the balm - a resin used for medicinal purposes, was available in Gilead, which was just a little over a day's journey for them. Though it was near, the people refused God's help.
I think this reference to help for physical difficulties they were having was used as a comparison of how close the Lord had always been to them, but they refused Him, and/or His help in delivering them from their sin.
The Lord is just a breath away - He hears the earnest cries of one who is lost, and is immediately on the scene to save and forgive. If you are one who does not yet know the Lord in a personal and intimate relationship, he's waiting for you to cry out to Him. He's given each of us a free will, and does not force himself onto anyone. He uses His Holy Spirit to woo us to receive Jesus as Lord of our life, and He will come into your life and reside within you to be to you as he was to Jeremiah, a Comforter. The Holy Spirit always points the way to Jesus.
If you are a believer and have fallen away from your relationship with the Lord, He is still there, and is still just a breath away. He can and will forgive any and all sin, so don't let Satan deceive you into thinking that you can't return to the Lord because you've been in sin. That's just one of his lies he uses all the time on believers to keep them from living a life of freedom in Christ.
I was thumbing through an old Baptist Hymnal last night, looking for the words to a particular hymn, and I ran across one of my favorite hymns that is sung at the end of services, when the invitation to receive Jesus is open. Below are the words to "Softly and Tenderly"; read carefully this beautiful old hymn, and ask the Lord to let it penetrate and minister to your heart.

1. "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling; Calling for you and for me
See, on the portals He's waiting and watching; watching for you and for me
Refrain
Come Home.....come home....You who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling O sinner, Come home!
2. Why would we tarry when Jesus is pleading; pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies; mercies for you and for me?
Refrain
Come Home....come home....You who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling O sinner, Come home!
3. Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing; passing from you and from me
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming; coming for you and for me
Refrain
Come Home....come home...You who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling O sinner, Come home!
4. Oh! for the wonderful love He has promised; promised for you and for me
Tho we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon; pardon for you and for me
Refrain
Come Home.....come home....You who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling O sinner, Come home

That is what the Lord has been doing since the beginning of time - calling out to each one of us to come to him. He tried calling out to the people Jeremiah was weeping and mourning for, and they never responded to his call, and were now facing torment and destruction.
Don't put off today, making that decision to make Him Lord of your life, or to return to him and re-establish your relationship. Make today a new start in your life. We are never guaranteed tomorrow, and once you pass from this life into the next, you won't have that chance. Please don't take the risk of losing that chance that He is offering you now!

Have a blessed Friday...
Janelle

1 comment:

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

It's wonderful how those hold hymns can minister to us. We have a set of the old redback hymnals that we used at the church of my childhood. We still use them at home to teach our boys these precious olds songs based on God's word.

Blessings,
Lea