Apr 1, 2011
Everyday by Joel Houston
Apr 1, 2011
Everyday by Joel Houston
He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. —John 7:38
A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, “rivers of living water” will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow— “This is the work of God, that you believe…” (John 6:29). God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.
A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while it is blocked, yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, only later to emerge again even broader and greater than ever. Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ— not emotion nor experience— nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.
Think of the healing and far-reaching rivers developing and nourishing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up wonderful truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is another indication of the wider power of the river that He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has developed and nourished in you mighty, rushing rivers of blessing for others.
It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Many people think about the last years of life as an opportunity to relax. But this does not fit with God’s purpose for us; He wants us to serve Him all the days of our lives.
Let’s look at the apostle Paul’s journey and explore what it means to finish well. He spent time pouring into others until the very end of his life. Consider the letters he wrote to Timothy from prison prior to being executed. In every season of life, God calls us to serve others.
And notice how, when writing about his life, Paul chose words descriptive of a battle. He understood the human struggle against sin as well as the challenges of pain and persecution in the trials we all face—even in doing kingdom work like preaching Christ to a fiercely resistant society.
This godly servant’s life was also marked by surrender. His mindset is obvious in these words: “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). He was not afraid of the Roman emperor Nero, nor was he struggling to stay alive. Paul trusted God to determine everything about his life, including where he would go, what he would do, and when he would die. Death did not scare him, because he knew he would dwell with Jesus forever.
God doesn’t require us to have perfect lives in order to finish strong. We can live abundantly and be ready to meet our Maker by surrendering, walking victoriously with Christ, and serving others. The question is, if Jesus called you home today, would you—like Paul—be confident that you lived well until the end?
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
This well-known verse contains the first use of the Hebrew verb for “meditate” (hagah) in the Bible and, significantly, it is a command to meditate on the Scriptures. Such meditation is not mere quietness or daydreaming, but is thoughtfulness with a purpose—to obey “all that is written therein.”
Meditation for its own sake, without being centered on God’s Word, is often useless or even harmful. Witness the Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (T.M., etc.) in recent years, which lead their devotees into pantheism and occultism. Isaiah 8:19 warns against “wizards that peep, and that mutter [same word as ‘meditate’].” “Why do . . . the people imagine [same word] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).
The blessed man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). That is, only if we are continually guided by the Holy Scriptures will we be happy and successful.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for “meditate” (melatao) is used only twice. Once, it is translated “imagine” (Acts 4:25) and is in a quotation of Psalm 2:1, as above. The last time it is used, however, its emphasis reverts back to the context of its first usage, as in our text above. Paul commands us: “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. . . . Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (1 Timothy 4:13, 15). Modern meditationists say that the goal of meditation is to clear our minds of “things,” but God wants us to meditate on “these things”—the life-giving, life-directing doctrines of His Word. HMM
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
There seems to be a notion abroad that if we talk enough and pray enough, revival will set in like a stock market boom or a winning streak on a baseball club. We appear to be waiting for some sweet chariot to swing low and carry us into the Big Rock Candy Mountain of religious experience.
Well, it is a pretty good rule that if everyone is saying something it is not likely to be true; or, if it has truth at the bottom, it has been so distorted by wrong emphasis as to have the effect of error in its practical outworking. And such, I believe, is much of the revival talk we hear today….
Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting “Glory to God,” it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way. We are calling on God to send fire on our altars, completely ignoring the fact that they are our altars and not God’s.
Forgive me, Lord, for wanting any of the credit or any of the control as I call on You to do a work among my people. Work today in Your way, on Your terms, only for Your glory. Amen.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
In the divine scheme of salvation, the doctrine of faith is central, so that every benefit flowing from the atonement of Christ comes to the individual through the gateway of faith!
Forgiveness, cleansing, regeneration, the Holy Spirit, all answers to prayer, are given to faith and received by faith. There is no other way! This is common evangelical doctrine and is accepted wherever the cross of Christ is understood.
Faith, as the Bible knows it, is confidence in God and His Son Jesus Christ; it is the response of the soul to the divine character as revealed in the Scriptures; and even this response is impossible apart from the prior inworking of the Holy Spirit.
Faith is a gift of God to a penitent soul and has nothing whatsoever to do with the senses or the data they afford.
Faith is a miracle; it is the ability God gives to trust His Son, and anything that does not result in action in accord with the will of God is not faith, but something else short of it!
Faith and morals are two sides of the same coin. Indeed, the very essence of faith is moral. Any professed faith in Christ as personal Saviour that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last!
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. HEBREWS 13:13
The absence of the concept of discipleship from present-day Christianity leaves a vacuum which men and women instinctively try to fill with a variety of substitutes.
One is a kind of pietism—an enjoyable feeling of affection for the person of our Lord, which is valued for itself and is wholly unrelated to cross bearing.
Another substitute is literalism—which manifests itself among us by insisting on keeping the letter of the Word while ignoring its spirit. It habitually fails to apprehend the inward meaning of Christ’s words and contents itself with external compliance with the text.
A third substitute surely is zealous religious activity. “Working for Christ” has today been accepted as the ultimate test of godliness among all but a few evangelical Christians. Christ has become a project to be promoted or a cause to be served, instead of a Lord to be obeyed! To avoid the snare of unauthorized substitution, I recommend careful and prayerful study of the lordship of Christ and the discipleship of the believer!
Dear Lord, I pray that there will be a growing interest in our churches to implement training strategies that will help believers take their relationship with Christ to a new, higher level.