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I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25 NIV

It seems like we are deluged with pictures and stories of the horrific famine that is ravaging parts of our world. The pictures and stories anger us. They rip our hearts out and make us question why. Why does God allow this? Why don’t we do more to stop the carnage? Why are those people who withhold assistance allowed to continue to do so? Why….?

Latest estimates tell us that roughly 1/3 of the world will go to bed hungry tonight. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies from hunger. Want a better perspective of that gruesome thought? This Sunday while you sit in your comfortable 1 hour church service, 17 people will die of starvation.

These statistics are staggering. It may be of some comfort to know that comparatively few people die of starvation in the U.S.A., but it’s of little comfort.

Harsh as those statistics are, there is another statistic that’s even more staggering. It’s a type of starvation that will never make the news. Those who suffer from this type of starvation often suffer alone. Its effects are rarely noticeable. Some who have noticed have openly chastised these victims for their plight! Not only do they suffer from the starvation, they are blamed for their condition. Such is the plight of those who suffer from starvation of the soul.

Disease and starvation of the physical body is easily seen, but those who suffer from starvation of the soul, suffer in silence. They live in a world where nothing seems to go right. Relationships fail. Attempts at success are met with failure and on those rare occasions when they do succeed there is no one there to cheer them on. All of us long for someone to slap us on the back occasionally and tell us we did a great job. Soul starved people long for that but rarely see it.

The people of Israel knew what that was like. They had all the assets of the God of the Universe at their fingertips but never figured out how to make it work. They tried and failed and suffered the consequences. But there was hope. Jeremiah tells them that someday God would revive them, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

That refreshment comes through Jesus. Regardless of how deep your pain is, Jesus is there to comfort. No matter how dark the bruises of your heart, he is there to pour the soothing oil of his grace over them.

Jesus came to refresh us. It’s really a pretty cool word picture. The word would be better translated as ‘satiates’ (full to the top) or ‘inebriates’. You read that right. ‘Inebriates’. The same word we use to describe someone who has turned over control of their bodies to alcohol or drugs.

Each of us struggle in some aspect of life. It may be in our relationships. It may be with our jobs or our thought life. The bruises of an abusive past or the ghosts of our abusers may haunt us. Jesus came to refresh, to encourage, to make us so drunk (if I can be blunt) on his love and forgiveness that the pain of our starvation is filled and we can approach each new day filled to contentment.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I pray for those who are struggling physically. Let us not forget their plight or fail to meet their needs as best we can. But I pray as well for those suffering from starvation of the soul. May they find contentment and filling in you. Amen.


“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. Zechariah 2:10

Rejoice! He has come to live among us. That babe in a manger, whose birth we celebrate with decorated trees and brightly colored packages. That babe in the manger who shows us how to live in the midst of trials and tribulation. That babe in the manger who heals us with the gentle touch of his hand. That babe in the manger that came for no other reason than to die so that we might live.

Have you ever thought about this? If you were the only one who needed a savior, he’d have still come for you. He didn’t come to save ‘masses’ of people, he came for you. He came to provide a way for you to find freedom from the burden of your own stupid choices. He came to provide comfort for you in the midst of the evil and abusive acts of others. He came to empower you to live victoriously over addictions. He came to lift you up when you fail. He came for you!

Notice something else. He came to live among us. There are many fine organizations around the world that provide opportunities for people to assist those who are down and out. You can pick from any number of places to help the homeless, to help feed the starving, to offer medical, physical and spiritual assistance to those who are desperately in need.

That’s not the same as living ‘among us’. Jesus didn’t come to visit the homeless. He came to be one of the homeless. He didn’t come to offer a hand to the leper, the addict, the social outcast, the poor or the starving. He came to live ‘among’ them. It’s not a temporary position. He holds the hand of the severely sick child, whispers in the ear of the elderly person whose foot is on the threshold of eternity; has his arm gently on the shoulder of the parent who has lost a child…or the child (of any age) who just lost mom or dad.

He never leaves you. Why should he? He lives with you. Your home is his home. He doesn’t have the cubicle next to you at the office…he’s got the desk in your corner. There is no place he has not been with you. There is no feeling that you have had that he isn’t aware of. He’s seen every tear, heard every laugh, felt every fear. He is among you. That’s grace. Grace sent Jesus from heaven to earth to live among you in every situation. Rejoice!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you for coming to earth for me. Thank you for showing me the way of life and forgiveness. Thank you for loving me and providing a way for me to escape my past and live for you. Most of all, I thank you for the promise that you don’t just live ‘with me’, you live ‘among me’ so that you see and feel everything I feel. Empower me with your Spirit to sense your presence in every place I go, word I speak and action I take. In your name I pray, Amen.

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