Archive for November, 2010

Pouring Water on the Thirsty

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.

Isaiah 44:3

I love this verse.  I love the verses that tell of the “overabundance” with which God answers prayer.  God doesn’t just give us what we ask, He gives us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  (Ephesians 3:20)

Notice the requirement for this water: “upon him that is thirsty.”  The only requirement God puts on man to “drink of the water of life freely” is that of thirst.  If you do not thirst, you are not going to seek the water.  If you do not thirst, you will not see a need for the water.  How thirsty are we today?  He has promised to give us all that we need and more.  All we must do is thirst.

Notice also the abundance of the water.  I love the fact that the verse doesn’t just say “I will give a drink to him that is thirsty.”  If it said that, we would have no reason to complain.  When we are thirsty, if He gives us something to drink, we should be thankful.  But He doesn’t stop there.  “I will pour water on him that is thirsty…”  The image I get here is this: it’s hot and you are in the desert, dying of thirst.  You find an oasis with water everywhere.  There is a bucket there and you fill the bucket with cool, refreshing, life-giving water.  You probably wouldn’t take a couple of sips.  You would probably start pouring that water all over yourself.  Of course, some would end up in your mouth, but the water would go everywhere.  That is the image I get from this passage.

He is going  to “pour water on him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry grounds.”  He’s not just going to allow the dry ground to get wet – He is going to send floods to the dry ground.  When we thirst for Him, He is going to give us all we need, all we want and so much more.  He is going to give us so much of Himself that we couldn’t possibly contain it.

What a wonderful Saviour!

The Reason for our Strength

Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:9

This verse was mentioned in a message at church the other day and a couple of things stuck with me about it.  I’ve been thinking about it lately, so I thought I would write a little about it.

The first thing is obvious: like the Israelites in Joshua’s day, we are commanded to “be strong and of a good courage.”  We are also told not to be dismayed.  Being strong and courageous and not being dismayed are good character traits that Christians need to possess.

But the thing that really struck me is the reason for these things.  I’ve often heard people tell other people to just “toughen up,” or “get over it,” or “be a man,” etc.  But that is not how the Lord deals with us.  He doesn’t just tell us to be strong and courageous and then leave us to try to do it.  He gives us the reason that we should be strong and of good courage: “the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”  He is with us!  With the eternal and all-powerful God of the universe with us at all times, how can we not be strong and of good courage?

He has promised to “never leave us nor forsake us.”  With that kind of power not only at our disposal, but actually in us, how can we fear?  Our flesh is weak and prone to fear, but we need to remember Who is with us.  We need to remember the source of our strength is the Lord, who has promised to be with us wherever we go!

Angels We Have Heard On High (Hymn)

Angels We Have Heard On High
French carol; English version by James Chadwick (1862)

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

My favorite part of this song is the refrain “Gloria, in excelsis Deo”.  I enjoy singing this carol at Christmas because I enjoy all of the movement in the held our “Gloria…”, but I enjoy the truth that it represents even more.  “Glory to God in the highest”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Everything We Need

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Isaiah 25:4

When you read through the Bible, you really start to get an understanding of just how great God is.  You read verses like this one and you begin to grasp concepts like “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”  There is a hymn (and I can’t remember which one it is off the top of my head) and it has a line that says “all I need in Him I find.”  That is so true and I think that is the main thrust of this verse.

This verse describes the Lord as being a:

1. Strength to the poor.
-The Bible tells us elsewhere that “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matt. 5:3)  We are all poor and needy, whether we realize it or not.  I don’t think that this passage and others like it refer mainly to physical poverty.  I think they refer more to spiritual poverty.  And it is when we realize that we are indeed “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” (Rev. 3:17) that we begin to come to Him.  Though we may be poor, He is our strength.

2. A strength to the needy in his distress.
-He is our strength when we need it the most.  When we encounter distress in our lives, it is then that He shows Himself strongest.

3. A refuge from the storm.
-Again, whenever we find ourselves in a storm, He is our refuge.  We can run and hide in Him.  Whenever there is a tornado warning around here, we go to the basement.  I am more safe there than anywhere else in the house, but sometimes I still don’t feel totall secure.  But with Him, we are totally secure.

4. A shadow from the heat.
-Jesus said “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)  He is our rest.  When we just can’t take it any more, we rest on Him and in Him.

Whatever our situation and whatever our problem, He is our strength and our refuge.  It is a glorious privilege to have Him.

The Will of God

In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Continuing on with our series of thankfulness and thanksgiving, we will look at one of my favorite verses about giving thanks.  In this verse, we are told to give thanks “in every thing.”  And, again, this is sometimes a difficult assignment.  But it is what we have been told to do, so we need to work at it. 

As I was thinking about this verse, it occurred to me that the “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” phrase could be taken one of two ways.  Now, grammatically, I’m not exactly sure which what the “this” refers back to.  (My mom is an English teacher, so don’t tell her that I didn’t know this)  But, one of the things I love about the Bible is that it has the ability to say more than one thing at a time.  When you think about it, I believe that you can apply this verse either way.

1. It is “God’s will in Christ Jesus concerning you” that you give thanks.  The Lord wants us to give thanks in everything.  This is something that we have mentioned in the last couple of days, and I have noticed that several other bloggers have mentioned the same type of thing in their blogs.  No matter what the situation, God brought it into our lives, and so it is His will that we be thankful for it.  That application is probably the most common from this passage.  But I think that you could also look at it like this:

2. We should give thanks because “every thing” in our lives is “the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  God does not make mistakes.  Neither does He “forget about us.”  Everything that He brings into our lives, He brings into our lives on purpose.  He has a purpose for everything.  We may not immediately see His purpose, but we can take comfort in the fact that the things He allows in our lives are “the will of God.” 

Either way we look at the verse, we can not get away from the fact that we need to be giving thanks for every thing.  It is no longer
Thanksgiving Day”, but we need to remain thankful always!

A Psalm of Thanksgiving (Psalm 100)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100

I thought that this would be an appropriate Psalm for Thanksgiving Day.  It really needs no explanation.  It just need to be read and followed. 

Enjoy this day and remember to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving”; not just today, but every day.  We have so much to be thankful for!   Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks In Everything You Do

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3:16-17

Continuing on with our thoughts about thankfulness in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday this week, we will today look at these verses in Colossians.

Like we saw yesterday in Ephesians 5:19-20, and like we see in several other places in the Bible, thanksgiving and thankfulness are connected with singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  A thankful person has a song in their hearts.  A thankful person is almost always “bubbling over” with thanks and praise to the Lord for all that He has done for them.  There is no room in the heart of a thankful person for griping and complaining.  If you have ever noticed, it is pretty much impossible to go around singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” with a rotten, unthankful, bitter spirit.  It just doesn’t work.  You can have one or the other, but never both.

Another thing that I noticed about these two passages is the fact that both dealt with the heart and what is going on inside of us.  The passage in Ephesians dealt with being filled with the Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:18)  This passage deals with letting the “word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  When you think about it, thankfulness is a heart issue.  Of course, according to Proverbs 4:23, everything is a heart issue.

What is in our heart eventually comes out in our words and actions.  If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit are going to come out in our lives.  We are going to be thankful.  When the “word of Christ” is dwelling in us, we are going to be thankful. 

Let us keep our hearts tuned into Him and let us allow Him to keep us thankful!

Giving Thanks For All Things

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Ephesians 5:19-20

This is the week in which we as Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  For some, it’s simply a time to eat too much food, watch football and maybe enjoy being with family.  For Christians, it should hold a higher meaning.  A Christian should be thankful all the time, not just once a year on a special day.  And a Christian has so much more for which to be thankful than anyone else.  This week, I have decided to do a few posts on the matter of thanksgiving and thankfulness.  I hope that they will be a help and an encouragement to you.

This passage from Ephesians begins with the familiar exhortation to be “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord..”  If we will do those things, we should have very little problems fulfilling the next verse: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

When you think about it, it really is sometimes a difficult thing to give thanks to the Lord “always for all things.”  There are things that I do not understand.  I am supposed to give thanks to the Lord for them.  There are things that I do not like.  I am supposed to give thanks to the Lord for them.  It’s easy to thank the Lord for all the “good” things that He has done for us.  If we are healthy, it is easy to thank Him for that.  If we are doing well financially, it is easy to thank Him for His provision.  But it becomes more difficult (but possibly even more important) to thank Him during our trials and problems. 

One thing that we need to remember when we are trying to thank Him “always for all things” is that “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28  If we will believe that, we will find it a little easier to thank Him for those things that we may not understand.

Giving thanks “always for all things” might be a difficult assignment, but it is one that we have been given by the Lord Himself!

A New Thing

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

These verses were a great encouragement to me when I read it, and I hope that it will be the same for you.  “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”  There are quite a few things in my life that I would rather not “remember” or “consider.”  There are a lot of things that I would rather forget.  I’m sure all of us are that way to some extent.  When we think about and dwell on our past failures, it can bog us down to the point that we don’t want to move forward and we can’t find the strength to go on.  It is good to remember some of those things, as that will help to keep us humble and keep us coming to the Lord.

But He says here to forget the former things.  And He says that because of what He says in the next verse: “Behold, I will do a new thing…”  II Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

We are to forget the “former things” because He is doing a “new thing” in us.  Has He done a “new thing” in you?  Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”  We are told to “put off the old man” and to “put on the new man.” 

He also says in these verses that He is going to make “a way in the wilderness” and “rivers in the desert.”  Have we ever found ourselves wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of life?  He can make a way in that wilderness and lead us through it.  Have we ever been spiritually “dry?”  He can make a river of life run through the barren wasteland of our lives.

What a wonderful Saviour!  Is He making a new thing in you?

Angels From the Realms of Glory (Hymn)

Angels From the Realms of Glory
James Montgomery (1816)

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:


Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.


Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.


Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.


Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:


All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.

I had not heard all of the verses to this song that are listed here, but I like the ones I hadn’t heard.  When you think about this song, it basically deals with every group of people.  It deals with sinners and it deals with saints.  It deals with Christ’s birth and it deals with His eternal reign.  It deals with the lowly among us (the shepherds) and it deals with the “higher” among us (the sages).  There is one thing all of these various things have in common: their need for Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.