Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thirst For Living Water

Chuckle:  A man sat in the pew, scratching and scratching. Finally, the minister stopped his sermon and asked, "Why are you scratching like that?" The man replied, "Cause I'm the only one who knows where I itch!"
Quote:  “The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hurts our spirit; and the more he touches it, the greater our hunger and craving.”  --Jan van Ruysbroeck
    "On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, 'If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within.' When he said, 'living water,' he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him" (John 7:37-39a NLT).  "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled"  (Matthew 5:6 NIV).
Do you have a deep and sincere craving/thirst for the Holy Spirit to fill your life? The Spirit-filled life begins with a thirst that nothing else can quench -- a desire growing out of discontentment with our current spiritual condition. This discontentment grows into a deep longing for a life filled with the Spirit. This is the first step toward experiencing the abundant flow and overflow of the "streams of living water."
When Jesus used the words "come and drink," he was alluding to the theme of many Bible passages that make reference to the Messiah's life-giving blessings. By promising to give the Holy Spirit to all who believed, Jesus was putting forth his claim that he was the promised Messiah. No one except the Messiah could make good on such an offer.
In John 4:10, Jesus spoke of "living water" to indicate eternal life. But, here, he uses it to refer to the Holy Spirit. Of course, this double usage makes sense because for whomever accepts the Holy Spirit, the Spirit brings eternal life. Jesus taught us much about the Holy Spirit and then the Spirit empowered Jesus' followers at Pentecost. Down through the ages, since that time, the Spirit has been available and resident in everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior.
When your thirst allows the Spirit to fill your life, you are taught, convicted, comforted, and led by Him in every aspect of your life. In other words, you are filled with the Spirit each day. Your thirst is quenched and you experience the power and peace of God in every thing you do. How about you -- do you have that thirst about which Jesus was teaching? If so, you will not be disappointed. These words by J. S. Baxter describe God's plan for his Holy Spirit in your life.
"What God chooses, He cleanses.
What God cleanses, He molds.
What God molds, He fills.
What God fills, He uses."
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Boasting in the Lord

Chuckle: A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt." His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"
Quote: "My great concern is not whether God is on our side, my great concern is to be on God's side." --Abraham Lincoln
    "The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done" (1 Corinthians 1:31 NLT).
Many of us like to draw attention to ourselves by boasting about what we have done. Some have the idea that the way to earn God’s favor and attain eternal life is to live a moral life. If we can convince God of our “goodness,” surely He will find us acceptable in His sight. But we must realize that skills, wisdom, and good deeds do not get a person into God’s kingdom – simple faith in Jesus Christ does. Let’s delve into this amazing truth more deeply and learn how to satisfy our desire to boast.   
In our passage, Paul gives us some sage advice concerning boasting. It's easy for us to want the credit for all the good things in life as if we had earned them all on our own. When we begin to think too highly of ourselves, we risk having our pride take control and everything becomes about us and what we have done. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3 NIV). We are warned that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).
Our pride and boasting should always be about what God has done. That way He receives all the honor He deserves. When it comes to our salvation, no one can boast that personal achievements helped him or her secure eternal life. No, our salvation is a gift from God through our faith in Jesus Christ. We can never be "good" enough to earn it. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
If we have been saved by God’s grace through faith, what is the significance of doing good deeds/works? This verse reveals the answer. “For we are God’s workmaship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”  (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Now our good works are to glorify God, not to earn our way into His favor.  
If we recognize that everything we are and everything we have comes from God, we have accepted the truth that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . ." (James 1:17 NIV). When we glorify God, we praise Him and our only boasting is about what He has done in our lives.
Love, Jerry & Dotse