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

Advertisements

The Necessity of Love

Love Heart in Sand
I’m not going to contribute to the fascinating discussion of the different Greek words for love in the New Testament. I’m just going to start this post right here and say –

Without love, there is no real life. Neither is it loving to end someone’s life.
Killing someone is not love, no matter what the euthanasia campaigners would have us believe. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Love is not taking someone else’s life –  it is giving them yours.

Even if you don’t give your life – if you don’t actually die for your friends, love is still about giving. It’s about forsaking yourself in the interests of others.

Jesus didn’t only love His friends – He loved His enemies. In fact, He even died for them, and  for you. Because you were an enemy of God. But He sent His own Son to reconcile us to Himself  – while we were still His enemies, Christ died for us. Now God even calls us His children!

How much does this say about your love? Is your every thought, word, deed and desire rooted and grounded in love? (Ephesians 3:17) Are you truly a loving person?

We are called to love. And now it’s time – for you. To love your God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength. To love your neighbour as yourself.

Because God is Love.
And He’s commanded it.

With love,
Rhoda

Guest post from Aviel – Trusting God

In all my childhood I dreamed about so many things. I dreamed about being a woman, living an important life, and doing something to lighten the burden of this filthy, dark earth, bringing a little hope in the midst of despair. Right at this moment, on the 7th of December, 2013 at 12:26pm, I’m still dreaming, yet my dreams have strayed from the simple aspirations of childhood. I no longer have that complete and certain confidence in my beliefs, my dreams, my Almighty God.

Father Daughter Dance blog post pic no. 4 (1) final 3

When I was a small child, I thought my father could do anything. He was my inspiration and example in standing up for the Gospel, facing difficulties with the Lord’s strength, and living by the Word of God. My father was able and willing to lead me through life, teaching, guiding, advising, and correcting me.

If only I could trust my Lord Jesus as I did my father. If only I could turn to Him with every problem, lean on Him through every difficulty, have faith in Him to guide my path when I am lost, and trust my every dream and hope to His protection.

In the meantime I am here now, trying to cling to my childhood, striving to trust my Heavenly Father, trying to understand all these new responsibilities. But at the same time I still have to cling to my old innocent hope that has guided me through the time, and given me a purpose and a direction. But even more importantly, I must cling to my everlasting light that truly can never fail – Jesus.

Do you ever struggle with an unknown time, or have doubts? Remember to always cling to the hope we can find in our Saviour.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.  Psalm 125:1-2

Hello!aviel (1)

This is Aviel Gonen. I am really happy to be on Serving With Joy once more! I used to co-author this blog – I was writing alongside my good friend Rhoda.
To tell you a little about myself, I am 12 years old. I was born in Telaviv, Israel. My family and I moved to New Zealand because my father wanted to study at a Bible College in the North Island. After 2 years of studying, we had to go back to Israel because our Visas expired. 2 Days before our flights, my father was offered a place in Chosen People Ministries – sharing the Gospel with Israeli travelers here in NZ. We moved to Oamaru, on the South Island of NZ, because most of the backpackers go there. We had some great opportunities, and I also talk to them alongside my father.
While in Oamaru, I got to know the Newtons better, and we have been great friends ever since. I also started Serving With Joy with Rhoda, but then continued writing on my own blog – Crowned in Glory. We have moved to Mosgiel now and continue to serve the Lord in the ministry. It’s great to have been working with Rhoda on this post, she is such a good writer, and an inspiration to me as a young woman. 

Blessings and Love,
Aviel Gonen

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!

Life as an Actress

file7781250177228Girls, did you know that you are an actress? You are performing your own life, live on your own personal stage.

Your audience consists mainly of your director. Others come and go, but they do not fully understand your performance. The director instructs you, and gives you guidance when the script is blank. This play is a one-off event, and at the end, you will either gain admittance to the director’s mansions, or be sentenced to eternal death. The director’s son is also watching. He is a perfect man who has acted his play, and is seated with his father.

As you live, you are acting. But you are not reading the script. It is in your hand, but you pay little attention. The script has all you need in order for you to act the play correctly. It is, literally, ‘at hand’, but you ignore it altogether. You see this as your play, and have no intentions of obeying the orders of anyone else. You have your own ideas about what you should be doing and only glance briefly at the script when you are at a loss for what to do or say next. You have no wish to follow the director’s instructions.

Your director is totally repulsed by your performance. You are not following the script at all. In fact, you are doing the complete opposite of what is written! Only occasionally do you do something which vaguely resembles your instructions. The director can only give you a mark of zero and condemn you to a place far removed from him. It is a place where you, among many others, will wander, eternally doing your own thing. Always you will be there.

On stage, your heart grows faint. You realize the futility and absolute worthlessness of your performance, and you have an inner assurance that, when you take your final bows, there is no future for you but listlessness and eternal nothingness. You can feel the full weight of all your misdeeds on your thin shoulders. You fall to the ground, bowed down with anguish and completely humbled. All you can do is whisper,

‘Sir, I can do nothing but to ask you to remove this burden…’

The director stands, and calls out,

“Son, be there!”

The Son comes onto the stage. Gently He lifts you to His shoulder, and begins to act your part. He gives you strength, and you cry, with utmost gratitude, from the depths of your soul,

“Abba, Father!”