August 1, 2015
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY JESUS IS CALLING
Have you ever eaten at an ‘all you can eat’ restaurant? Sometimes, a restaurant will offer one particular entree as an ‘all you can eat’ item on the menu. They can afford to do this because very few people can eat more food than the amount equal to the price charged; many actually eat less, choosing to have just one serving of the item. Often, it’s the idea that, if you really want more food, you can get it without paying extra! But maybe you live in a region where food is more scarce, where restaurants are uncommon and many do not get enough food to satiate their hunger. I remember, when I was a small child, Nigeria was in a civil war, torn between the Igbo people who wanted their own, independent state called Biafra, and the Yoruba tribe which populated a larger area of Nigeria. To get us to eat all the food on our plate, our mother would say, “think of the starving children in Biafra”, because the news reported conditions similar to what we have witnessed in Darfur in recent years, with emaciated children and tearful mothers cradling sick infants dying of malnutrition.
Recently, I heard another story about food and thought it was a good parable about backsliding, drifting away from our connection with the Lord: “I sat at a table that was not meant for me; the food tasted good and I stayed too long; I ate too much. I felt uncomfortable in my body with the extra weight. Now it is twice as hard to get back to where I belong.” Many can relate to the first phrase, ‘a table not meant for me’. How often do we find ourselves at a party or in a club with the excuse that we can go to those places to witness to others, that we are strong enough to resist any temptation? But after going a few times, it was easier to accept the offered cigarette, drink, or just a little marijuana… We found that ‘the food tasted good’, that we liked the feeling we got from those substances, so we frequented the place more often – we ‘stayed too long’, and forgot the original reason we had for going there. We became habitual users of whatever it was that enticed us and we ‘ate too much’. Then one day something, maybe a family member’s concern, maybe a television evangelist, maybe we just hit the lowest point in our life and it triggered a guilt feeling for what we had been doing – we ‘felt uncomfortable’ – but felt that we had drifted so far from Jesus that He would never take us back, that we could never ‘get back to where [we] belonged’ – in His loving arms!
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves? “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”" (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT). If He did, not one of us would be saved! But God is a god of patience and compassion. He waits for each of us to hear His voice and return to Him. His very character is defined by the word love. Read 1 Corinthians 13, commonly called the Love Chapter of the Bible, when you have time; it will help you to better understand God’s character. Once we heed the urging so far the Holy Spirit, and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, we can stand before God knowing that we have a robe of righteousness to cover all those past mistakes!
How long has Jesus waited for you to answer His call? Today, my <3 song is an old favorite, often used as an altar call encouraging listeners to come forward and give their lives to Jesus…
“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.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should 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?
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.”
“Jesus stopped in his tracks, “Call him over.” They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!”" (Mark 10:49 MSG). Have a blessed day!
ABOUT MY BOOKS
My first two books are available on amazon.com in either paperback, hardback, or ebook formats. they are the first two books in my group called “Journeys of Faith”. Take a look on my books page for “Through the Waters” and “Across the Wilderness”. Now that I’ve retired, I am hoping to get “Out of the Valley” to the publisher within the next month or 6 weeks.
Also, I will be publishing several ebooks, separate from the Journeys of Faith group, including a compilation of my daughter’s poems call “Heart of a Dove”, the name which she chose, and two other books related to the grieving process: 1) a personal tribute to my daughter called, “Only in My Dreams”, and 2) an overview of the various ways we grieve other losses in our lives, named “White Crosses Line the Highways of Our Lives”. As they are released through Kindle Direct Publishing, links will be placed on this website.
I am also launching a non-profit organization to try to reach the many in need around the world. Watch for more on JBWWO.org once it is launched; I will appreciate any donations, not just of money, but supplies and time, to help in this project!
Take time to search for somebody in need in your own community, as well. Donate time feeding the homeless. Find new, innovative ways to reach out in your community. Most of all, don’t forget the commission in James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Feel free to use the emails on this website to contact me regarding scheduling a book-signing and/or talk to a reading group, church group or just a gathering of friends. I am always open to new experiences and meeting new people.
<>< Jeanne F. Brooks ><>