Rivers of Living Water

In the last few weeks I have listened to three sermons with commonality – all three preachers talked about water.

The first two sermons were read in our church one Sunday. They were both written by pastors in the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. One sermon was on Jeremiah 2:9-13, and the second one was on Romans 1:8-17. The third I heard on RefNet; it was by John Piper.

The first illustration is that God is a spring of living water. He supplies all our needs. From Him flows a fountain of life, love, mercy, and joy. Through Jeremiah, God is saying that the Israelites had this, but they forsook God and made themselves idols. Idols are a lot of work to make and look after! And the other thing – they can give us nothing! They are but cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water. Idols cannot provide life and love, mercy and joy. They are brokenness and deceit, a waste of time and a fraud. There is no-one like God.

The second illustration is about us, the people of God. The way I see it is, when all that cool velvet water of life comes pouring over us, what are we doing with it? We can be a reservoir by trying to keep the water for ourselves, hang on to moments, and live in the past. Or, we can let the water flow through every corner of our lives and on into the lives of other people we know. We can follow Jesus, and strive to be like Jesus.

The Gospel must not stay in my heart. It must flow on like a river.

Thirdly, in John Piper’s sermon “The Pleasure of God in Public Justice” he says

I have a fountain of living water that never runs dry and always satisfies my thirst.

That is Who God is for us. So I encourage you to let the waters of God fill your life and overflow into the lives of other people. Serve God by becoming more like Jesus, and do it all with joy!

Love, Rhoda

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Books, Books, Books

old.booksYesterday Our family was so excited!!! I’d looked out the back of our public library, where the older books are kept, and found a real treasure! Six of Graham Oakley’s Church Mouse books, some of which we hadn’t yet read! We hussled home, and squashed up on the couch. We laughed ourselves to pieces!

Today I’m so excited! I just finished counting our family’s books, and the total is…. 2,190!!! I had problems with freezing cold rooms and the issue of whether or not pamphlets/ magazines etc. are books, but it was well worth it!

Tomorrow Mum is holding a meeting outside our local Post Office. It’s about a book which has very unfortunately been given a New Zealand Post Children’s Book award. This book, which I have not read, is a really filthy novel, and written for young adults. It’s so bad that the authour had to self-publish it. (You get the picture 🙂 ) Please pray that the reward will be withdrawn.

In our family, books are very important. Mum spends up to two hours each day reading to us, individually or all together. Then, we each spend a lot more time reading on our own.

It’s often hard to find books which are really worth reading. Most non-fiction is based on humanistic, evolutionary thinking, which can subtly influence our thinking, without us being aware of it. It’s a lot easier to realize what’s happening with a book titled “Atheistic Worldviews of the Twenty-first Century.” And most fiction is just as bad. So bad, in fact, that I’ve just about given up reading it, and now mostly read Christian non-fiction. I’m not saying that you should do the same, only that we should all be aware of what we, and our families, are actually learning from what we read.

Of course, the most important book is the Bible. And if we aren’t reading, studying, and memorizing it, we won’t be well-equipped to understand what really matters, what’s really going on in the world, and what other books we should be reading to understand other aspects of life in detail.

So, in conclusion:

  • Reading books is important
  • Some books are dangerous
  • All Christians should be reading the most important Book of all.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Hope you all enjoyed this new style of post. It’s not about me. It’s not directly from the Bible. But I wrote it, and it’s for you! (Please note that although this post was published on Saturday, it was written on, and back-dated to, Thursday.)

Treasure God’s Name, Part Two

white flower“I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:2

“Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth, who have set your glory above the heavens!” Psalm 8:1

“Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.” Psalm 113:2-4

So, last week in Treasure God’s Name, Part One, I wrote about being wary of misusing God’s name. In contrast, His name must be viewed with reverence and awe.

A name is a reflection of a person’s character. God gave Himself the name ‘I AM’. This indicates His eternal being, He who was and is and will be, forever. God’s name is clearly to be regarded as precious. It is strong, sparkling, a precious stone. It is a privilege to use it. A privilege which must not be abused.

Use God’s name to worship Him. Read one of the many Psalms which extol the glories of the Lord.

Use God’s name with awe at His Majesty, and His creation.

Use God’s name with thankfulness that He has allowed us to speak to Him through His Spirit!

Finally, use it with joy. Because you are His child, you know Him, and He has forgiven you your sins!

Treasure God’s Name, Part One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Deuteronomy 5:11

“And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 24:16

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

I would like to encourage each of you to watch yourselves carefully, as to
how you think of His name,
how you represent it,
and how you respond when others abuse it.

Being constantly in prayer can be dangerous if we forget who it is we are praying to. If you are always thinking “God, please may this matter go well for me,” and not remembering exactly who you are talking to, that could be blasphemy. It may be effectually praying to yourself, if you are only thinking of yourself.

As children of God, whose citizenship is in heaven, we are ambassadors of Christ. Anything that we do as Christians can be seen by others as representing God and His church in general. Our actions will be a good witness for Christ. Or, they can send the message that being a Christian is nothing special, that God doesn’t care what we do. We must be a good and faithful reflection of God.

What should we do when someone misuses God’s name? Well, we are not to be silent bystanders, for then it would be as if we were joining in the crime. Instead, we should speak up! Say, ” Excuse me, but do you realize what you’ve just said?” “I can’t allow the blaspheming of God’s name to go past me without saying something.” The dishonouring God’s name is not something to be overlooked.

Coming soon: Treasure God’s Name, Part Two!

This World is Not Our Home

file000520062726This world is not our home. John 17:14 makes that clear: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” adds Philippians 3:20.

OK… so what? We know that. We’re headed for heaven, and, well, that’s good, isn’t it?

If you are assured of your salvation, that’s a reason to rejoice! But this knowledge also has implications for our lives in this world.

If we don’t belong here, we shouldn’t live as if we do. We should actively examine our motives for all that we do, say, and think. This is assuredly no easy task, and this need for godly wisdom and discernment is a reason to spend time with godly, wise older people who have learnt from their life experiences and can give us help in our lives. Spending time with people, or girls, of this world will just encourage us to be like them, worldly, foolish and certainly not a good influence. But mature believers who have walked life’s narrow road for some years are sure to be a help, and not a hindrance!

Another implication of our heavenly citizenship is that we should not be satisfied with our lives as they are. We should be able to see our sins, faults, and unwise choices, and work to eliminate them. If you are comfortable with your life, and the world around you, you should do some serious thinking about how you measure up to God’s standards.  Even if you aren’t, we all need to evaluate our habits, and examine our lives.

If you are living for this world, and the things of this world, you may be of it.

We must also look at our serving, and be sure that we are serving God, and not the world.  It must show that we are not taken up with worrying about earthly things, but concerned only with giving the glory to God. It must be honouring to Him, and show that we are waiting for our eternal reward.  Because, after all,

This world is not our home.