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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Obedience is Only Instant

tea towelsImagine your mum comes into your room, and says “Go hang out the washing”. Do you:
Say “Sure, Mum, I’d be glad to,” put a marker in to your book, and head to the laundry?
Say “Yes Mum,” finish your chapter, and go along out?
Say “Mmhmm”, read for 15 minutes, and then climb out the window and sneak round the house so she doesn’t see you?
Well, I’m sure you realize that only the first scenario is the right one. And it makes no difference who gave you the instruction, what it was, or what you were doing. If you don’t obey instantly, you’re not real obeying at all. And this doesn’t just apply to legal minors. This is true for all of us, no matter who we’re supposed to be obeying.
Imagine that your instructor instructs you, and then hangs round staring at you until the task has been carried out. It would be irritating in the extreme, but you would definitely get onto the job much sooner, and perhaps even do a better job, knowing that you were being watched.
I’ve just realized that God is always watching. He sees every time you sit around, slack, take too much break time, or carry out your chore with a sullen attitude or rebellious heart. God sees. And he cares.
Look up these verses, in context, to more fully understand this important truth. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Romans 2:8 “but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

An instant response to the initial prompting of the Holy Spirit, or to the commands of another authority, is true self-control. Look up 2 Peter 1 and  Galatians 5:22-23 on the subject.

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 We don’t serve God because we have to. We are freed from Satan. Serving is our privilege, and it is our work of thankfulness to God for our freedom from slavery to Satan. Put aside your pride, and become an obedient servant of God, and all the authorities He’s placed over you. And do it with Joy!

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.

How do You Spend Your Time

file000274328404How do you spend your time? And how much of it do you use to read the Bible?

As a young woman living at home, I often find myself with time on my hands. And until recently, I would often use that time to read young adult fiction books from the public library.
We read in 2 Timothy 3 these verses:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,”
The word ‘adequate’ here means perfect, or complete, and therefore my understanding of this passage is that the Bible is plentiful for everything.
All we need to know about God and how we should live in response to His glorious goodness can be found there. If we devote our time to reading the Word, we can discover God and His will for our lives.
So, if the Bible can answer all these questions, and all we have to do to find the answers is take time to read the Scriptures, the question is,

Why don’t you?

When this question was asked of me, it as if a dagger had pierced me to the heart. It hurt so much. My immediate response was outer silence, accompanied by an inner guilt.
The next day, realizing that I had never actually read the whole Bible, I started reading at Genesis 1:1. I read the book of Genesis in three and a half days, and a week after beginning, I had also read the whole of Exodus.

Although I have slowed down a little, the fire still burns within me. And while I don’t expect everyone to follow my example to the letter, I pray that this post will inspire you to place the Bible high on your priority list.
The Bible is indeed the Word of God, which He has given to us, so that we may be equipped for every good service. And I’m sure it pleases Him when that service is full of joy!

Serving When You Don’t Feel Like It

file0001675513757When you’re having a good day, it’s easy to serve with joy. You know, you wake up feeling beautifully refreshed, spring out of bed, and dress swiftly in your favourite outfit. Then, upon entering the kitchen, you discover that you are the only one up, and decide to prepare breakfast for your whole family. It feels right to serve when you are happy.
But what about the bad days? When you wake tired and grumpy, all you can find to wear is a stretched top and your gardening skirt, and your siblings have eaten all the breakfast? What then?
It is all too easy for us to resign ourselves to having a Bad Day. We just muddle through somehow, resenting everything that goes wrong, and then are annoyed when our Bible passage for the day includes Romans 12: 12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Think with me about what would happen if you weren’t complacent, If you said “No” to your bad attitude and sought the Lord constantly in prayer.
Your day could change. You could retire for the night reveling in the fact that you claimed that day and made it a joyful work of service for God!
Let’s take up the challenge, fight the Lord’s battles, and Serve With Joy!