Monthly Archives: March 2015

Why God Is My Shepherd?

Ref. Scripture: Psalm 23

He knows me – Psalm 23:1

JamesSeward-TheLordisMyShepherd

A good Shepherd knows each and every sheep in the flock regardless of how big the numbers could be, (John 10:3-5). Likewise David when he uses the metaphor of the Shepherd to describe God, talks not just about a designation or a name for the Lord, but the relationship between God and his covenant children.

The Bible says that God knows each and every one of these people by their names. He not only knows but he cares. The Bible says God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, (John 3:16). The Bible also says that whoever receives him (including you) receive the power to know God as personally as a son knows his father, (John 1:12).

He provides Psalm 23: 1-3

flat,550x550,075,fSheep obviously cannot voice out their needs. Yet the shepherd naturally knows the needs of each and every animal in the flock. Likewise The Bible says that we don’t have to pray lengthy prayers like heathens do because God our creator is aware of our needs even before we ask him, (Matthew 6:7-8). The “green pastures” are the rich and verdant pastures, where the sheep need not move from place to place to be satisfied.

The fields even parts of the desert, would be green during the winter and spring. But in summer and fall the sheep would be led to many places in search of food. God’s care is not seasonal but constant and abundant. Shepherds don’t allow sheep to drink from running water (rivers etc.) because sheep while bending to drink water might also fall into it. Therefore Shepherds draw water from wells and give their sheep to drink. These wells in the middle east are very deep and require special mechanisms to draw water.

Lesson: We don’t need to worry about our needs because just like the Shepherd is aware of the needs of his flock and leads them to green pastures and still waters God also is aware of our needs, as well as how and where to meet them. Once again the new testament bears witness to His divine provision because in Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus advises us not to feel anxious about our needs and assures that God will provide.

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Is Your Life Full of Oil?

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25:8-10

Our passage is from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Five had brought plenty of oil. Five did not bring enough to last until the groom came for them. While they were waiting, the foolish virgins ran out of oil. They asked the wise virgins to share their oil, but they sent them to buy more for themselves. While they were away buying oil, the groom came. The five wise were let into the marriage banquet, and the others were locked out. When they knocked on the door, the groom replied that he did not know them.

The expression of not knowing someone is found earlier when some try to enter heaven (Matthew 7:22-23). In that passage, Jesus says they never fed, clothed or visited Him in jail. He was referring to things done to the least of His brothers as being the same as doing it to Him. Comparing these two teachings we could relate the oil to a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. He is the One who sheds light upon our path.

The Scripture makes the simile of oil and the Holy Spirit. Some lives are so yielded to the Spirit that they serve God continually without even consciously being aware of it. Their thoughts are set upon the desire of the Spirit and controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6). You can’t give that to someone. Each of us must individually seek that from God.

Many of the parables of the return of Christ imply that He will come at a time that no one suspects. Many will be taken off guard, while others will be waiting expectantly. Are you waiting? Is your life full of oil? Continue to ask for more of your life to be filled with the Holy Spirit, available to serve others at His leading.

Consider: Whether we live to see His second coming or die before that event, we should live every day as if it were our last.

Fay-Ann Swearing
fayannswearing.wordpress.com
52E22D58 || @fayswearing

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THE STEPS OF FAITH

REFERENCE SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 14:22-33

SEEING GOD

As the dawn approaches, Jesus goes out to the disciples walking on the water. With a loud resonating voice so he could be heard over the wind, Jesus speaks to the men with God-like overtones. His words echo those that Moses heard in the desert. “It is I” or literally, “I am.” The reaction of the disciples is not unusual given the circumstances. They were tired from the lack of sleep and a night of hard labor. They had not eaten for several hours.

They were quite a distance from shore. With the strong wind, they had not expected to see anyone else on the water even in a boat much less walking on the water. They were understandably mystified and frighten at the sight of a man standing on the water. They mistook him for a ghost but he quickly reassured them with the most frequent command in the Bible, “Fear not!”

How much like the disciples, are we? We labor for what seems like an eternity but when God finally comes to us, we fail to recognize him. He may not walk on water but his appearances are no less startling and mystifying. Circumstances fall into place, a person comes by for a visit or offers to help us during a time of crisis.

THE STEP OF FAITH

JESUS

Peter responds to the words of our Lord by asking permission to come to Jesus. I have often wondered about Peter’s reasons for asking to walk on the water. Was he testing Jesus? Did he want to verify if this was really his Lord? Was he trying to prove the miracle to himself? Was he driven by his ego, to be the only disciple who would walk on the water? The point of the story is that Peter took the step of faith.

At some point in our lives, we have to leave behind the safety and security of the boat. We have to step into the realm of the unknown. We must be willing to trust our life to our Lord’s care. That is a difficult step. We spend our lives building a security net around us. We work hard to insulate ourselves from the danger of failure, the threat of the unknown and the terror of uncertainty. We get pretty comfortable in our boats. They are not fancy but we have everything we need.

Then God asks us to step out of our boat. To go and talk to a friend about their faith; to volunteer for a committee that requires us to do something we have never done before; to serve as a missionary. We do not feel prepared. We are not good public speakers. We do not have any teaching gifts. We do not know what to say to someone who is dying. What water is God expecting you to walk on?

Peter may not have leaped over the vessel but he took a certain step nonetheless and in that step, he captured of the essence of faith. Faith is belief expressed in action. It is trust declared in danger. It is courage revealed in the presence of the unknown. Peter, for one brief moment, expressed his belief, declared his trust and revealed his courage and he walked on the water.

THE WIND ON HIS FACE

After a few steps, Peter catches the wind in his face.  It is said, “it is one thing to experience faith in a flash of enthusiasm, and quite a different thing to keep our courage seaworthy amidst the ups and downs of daily living.”  Peter’s faith is now mixed with fear and “wondering whether Jesus or the raging wind will finally prevail, he begins to sink beneath the waters.”

Even in his faltering faith, Peter teaches us a valuable lesson-Jesus continues to save. He pulls Peter to safety and the two join the others in the boat. The disciples are startled by the events and in that moment they “discover that they are not at the mercy of the angry sea; they are in the mercy of their compassionate Savior.” Matthew tells us, “those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.'”

FROM DOUBT TO FAITH

Peter learned a difficult and pain lesson of faith. Faith requires risk and risk exposes us. It strips us of all the artificial camouflage behind which we try to hide. We are forced to stand with Peter and the other disciples to hear Jesus words, “You of little faith, why did your doubt?”

And so like the disciples we must learn to move from doubt to faith by:

Resisting the temptations of the world

Laboring against the wind

Seeing God when he comes

Taking the step of faith

Spending Time With God

Reference Scripture: Luke 12:6-7

God wants us to commit to spending with Him where He can make us feel special and loved and prepared for whatever the day holds. The more time we spend with Him, the more we will begin to feel and believe that we really are valuable, that we really do matter, and that our lives count for something in God’s eyes.

Luke 12:6-7 says “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Did you know that in biblical times, sparrows were the lowest and least valuable commodity? Sold for less than a penny each?  Basically they were deemed as worthless. But Jesus said not one of them was forgotten by God. Every sparrow was valuable in God’s eyes – so how much more are we, as children of God, worth to Him if He cares about the measly sparrows?

God doesn’t want us to spend time with Him because we feel obligated or out of Christian duty – but because He knows that the more time we spend with Him, the more we will begin to embrace how valuable we are. The more we embrace our value in Him, the more we will listen to and hear His voice. The more we hear His voice, the more likely we are to be excited about our faith and begin living intentionally and excitedly for Him.

The more we not only be still – but be still and listen – the more He can fill our hearts with forgiveness, peace, acceptance, joy and purpose. Time with Jesus is always time well spent.

Consider: Set a routine to spend time with God each morning, and make a commitment to stick to it. Mornings are always busy, so maybe consider getting up 30 minutes early each day. Consider looking up these verses for encouragement: Matthew 6:6, Exodus 9:13, Mark 1:35, Psalm 143:8.

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Launch Out Into The Deep

Reference Scripture: Luke 5

“Sir, we’ve fished all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, we’ll do it” (Luke 5:5)

“Because I say so!” I cringe just writing those words! How many times did you hear them as a child? How many times have you said them as an adult? How many times has God said them to you?

One day Jesus said those words to Peter and John. Not exactly word for word, but that’s what He meant. See, Peter and John had been on the open sea casting their ropes and hauling in empty nets all night. Other than seaweed and a few bits of trash, their nets had brought in nothing. No fish. No income. No food to feed the hungry mouths that depended on them back at home.

As the sun made its way over the horizon, the discouraged men washed their nets on the shore. Then Jesus, the carpenter and teacher, followed by a hungry crowd, asked to use their boat as a platform. He got in Peter’s boat, pushed away from the shore a bit, and began to teach the crowds sitting along the beach. When He had finished teaching, He turned to Peter. “Launch out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).

Jesus+and+the+Disciples+at+the+lakeI can just hear Peter now: “Good grief, John. Do you hear that guy? We’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing. Then here comes this country carpenter telling us how to do our job. He doesn’t know the first thing about fishing. Real fishermen don’t even fish during the daytime. We fish at night. We’re the professionals here. But I’ll be polite.” “Sir, we’ve fished all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, we’ll do it” (Luke 5:5). Good decision.

Peter and John rowed away from the shore and hoisted the freshly cleaned nets one more time. Just then, the God of the universe who created the fish and the seas whistled for the schools of fish to head for the nets. The fish filled the nets like teenagers pouring into a rock concert.

Peter and John must have laughed. I would have. The catch was so large that the nets began to break. They couldn’t even contain all the fish. Exceedingly abundantly more than they could have ever asked or imagined. Abundant. Lavish. Extravagant. A sudden glory! Can you just imagine the size of their eyes, the drop of their jaws, the strain of their muscles as they pulled in the blessing?

Not only were Peter and John blessed because of their obedience, they called their friends in to enjoy their bounty as well. Oh the moments of sudden glory that fill our nets when we live and move and have our being in obedience to the One who loves us most.

“Because you say so…” Notice what Peter did after he hauled in the miraculous catch. He left it all behind and followed Jesus to become a fisher of men. That was the real catch of the day. Oh how silly we are to think that the true riches are simply financial gain. Peter had financial gain with this incredible catch, and yet he left it all behind to follow the God who pursued and caught his heart.

“Launch out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” It was a simple request—nothing earthshattering. Peter had no idea that obeying Jesus would lead to such an all-encompassing life-changing experience. Our little acts of obedience may do the same. Don’t look for the seemingly big showy acts of obedience to get your name in heavenly lights. People might be impressed, but God won’t be. Look for, listen for, and watch for the daily responses to His nudges—opportunities for sudden glory all.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be quick to obey Your gentle nudges even though I may not understand them. Help me to obey Your Word…because You say so. Thank You for the many opportunities You give me to pull in miraculous catches. I pray I won’t miss them because I think I know better. In Jesus name Amen.

Consider: What would have happened if Peter and John had disregarded Jesus’ instruction to throw the nets in one more time? Is there something in your life that God has asked you to do, that you have been reluctant to do, because it didn’t make sense to you? If so, what do you need to do about it?

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Reflections

For reading & meditation: Psalms 73

“But as for me, it is good to be near God ‘” (v.28)

A tinge of sadness is upon my spirit as I come to this last day of meditations on Psalm 73. In all my years of writing, never can I remember being so personally blessed. The truth this psalm conveys has gripped my own heart and life in a most unusual way. Allow me to share what the psalmist has taught me.

Life is filled with many painful and perplexing problems which at times cause us to cry out: “Lord, why don’t You intervene?” Yet just as our feet are about to slide, something always comes to us – an idea or a thought, which, if we hold on to it, serves to halt our downward progress.

I have discovered that when we act responsibly and do what is right, even though we do not feel like it, we put ourselves in the way of experiencing inward change. But it is not God’s purpose to bring about only a little change – He desires to bring about a lot of change. How does He achieve this? He does it by bringing us into His presence and revealing to us His Word. There we discover that our greatest problems are not the ones that are outside us but the ones that are inside us – our perspectives are wrong.

Real change comes about not when our feelings are soothed but when our thinking is changed. Changed thinking leads to changed desires. When our perspectives are controlled by the Word rather than by the world, then we will experience inner peace. The psalmist resolved to draw near to God and stay close to Him so that he could “see life steadily, and see it whole.” Let’s make that our resolution too.

Prayer: O Father, I see that the secret of effective living is looking at life from Your point of view. I resolve by Your grace to give myself more and more to learning this secret. Help me, my Father. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.

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Building A Place Of Intimacy

Ref. Scripture: Psalm 42

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee. Psalm 42:1

It is said that “Spiritual good is of a satisfying nature; and for that very reason, the soul that tastes and knows its nature will thirst after it; and a fullness of it, that it may be satisfied. And the more he experiences, and the more he knows this excellent, unparalleled, exquisite, and satisfying sweetness, the more earnestly he will hunger and thirst for more…”

This truth goes beyond the ordinary. It is the essence of building a place of intimacy with God. The most outstanding characteristic to any true ministry is how well it maintains a deep, abiding hunger and taste for the nearest of the presence of God. It must stand alone, above and beyond everything else.

The Psalmist David cried out and said, “But it is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73:28). James also tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). Just like the deer pants for water, the soul must pant for the nearness of God. One of the biggest roadblocks to building a place of intimacy with our heavenly Father comes from the daily restraints of duty and sacrifice. A minister can often find himself so busily engaged in the activities of ministry that it preoccupies his time and attention.

One very important rule that must be observed is never exchange the preparation of the heart for preparation for ministry. So many pastors only spend time preparing a message, when they need to be preparing their heart, and there is nothing more needful in preparing the heart than panting after God’s heart. Being hungry and thirsty for God’s nearness must be constant.

Charles Spurgeon made this observation: “When a man pants after God, it is a secret life within which makes him do it: He would not long after God by nature. No man thirsts for God while he is left in his carnal [i.e., unconverted] state. The unrenewed man pants after anything sooner than he does God.” He went on to say, “It proves a renewed nature when you long after God; it is a work of grace in your soul, and you may be thankful for it.”  It is in this first statement that I think really holds the key to everything…”When a man pants after God, it is a secret life within which makes him do it.”

In our text we read: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”  Drop down a few verses and you find this statement: “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me” (Psalm 42:7). Suddenly, we have gone from the quiet resting place of a flowing brook to the noise of the waterspouts. If you’ll notice from the image, a waterspout is a funnel-shaped cloud that hovers over water. It’s usually non-tornadic due to the very low wind velocity, but it has been known to be violent at times. The Hebrew word for “waterspout” is TSINNUWR, and it actually means a water conduit.

What a beautiful expression of intimacy with God! When you drink of the waters of life you construct a water conduit where the clouds of heaven hover over you and stir up the winds of the Holy Spirit. By panting for his nearness suddenly things begin to build inwardly toward a spiritual encounter. Your hunger pipes down a divine, heavenly influence that penetrates deep within your soul. It is what pulls you into a place of intimate communion, being fed and nourished by the sweet, holy presence of God.

No wonder Solomon said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Pro. 4:23).  Or, as one translation reads, “…for out of it are the wellsprings of life.” As you begin to build a place of intimacy with God then the very life of God will begin to erupt. Isn’t this what Jesus taught us? “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink….out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”(John 7:37, 38). Your spiritual hunger and thirst will cause rivers to erupt inside you. That is where ministry is born – out of the overflow. Instead of just wanting to be stirred, your whole life lives with a constant stirring. The deeper your encounters, the more intense the appetite — until nothing will mean more to you than staying true to that secret life you hold in your heart. I challenge you to begin building a place of intimacy where the clouds of heaven can hover over your life, and where the waves and billows of his presence can become a conduit that refreshes your life daily, and where you live in a perpetual overflow.

PRAYER: Father I am so hungry to draw all I can from your presence. All I want is to be where you are. Deep within my heart I cry out for that deep place of knowing you, of being near you, and to be filled with your holy presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

CONFESSION: I have purposed in my heart to build a place of intimacy with my heavenly Father. My life belongs to him. He is the center of my life. I live only to please him. I will surround myself with things that build my relationship so that I am consumed with only him.

DEFINING MOMENTS… Hunger is a powerful thing. Many men have been driven to do extraordinary things because of the need to be satisfied. How fitting it is that we find ourselves hungry for the things of God. God can do extraordinary things through us if we will but seek him above everything else. Is there something deep within your heart that cries out for the living God? If you hunger, he will feed you. If you thirst, he will satisfy you. How desperate are you? There is nothing you need more than to make this your one aim in life. Posted from WordPress for Android

God Is Looking For Someone To Stand In The Gap

God said, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one”(Ezekiel22:30 NIV).

“Well, I guess the only thing left to do is pray about it.”How many times have I heard those words? How many times have they slipped past my lips? But what if we looked at prayer from a different perspective…God’s perspective? What if we viewed prayer as our first course of action rather than a last resort?

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 29:16, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘you know nothing’?”

God is the Master Potter, and He certainly doesn’t need you or me to tell Him how to shape and mold the people that we are praying for. Oh, we’d like to. That’s for sure.But God’s ultimate goal is for each lump of clay to be fashioned according to His design and for His purposes, not ours. “We are the clay, you are the potter,” Isaiah writes, “we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). I am. You are. Whoever you are praying for today is. God shapes and molds. You pray and intercede.

Regardless of where your marriage, your children, or your family fall on the continuum of terrific to tolerable to terrible, there is always room for improvement. Prayer can make a bad situation good and a good situation great.

James warns about the danger of praying with wrong motives (James 4:3). Check your desire to control at the door of the prayer closet and don’t let it in.

Ezekiel gives us a glimpse into the heart of God regarding prayer. Israel had sinned in every possible way, and her people were doomed for destruction. God said, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).

God looked for someone to pray, to intercede, to stand in the gap for Israel, but there was no one.Today God is looking for people who will stand in the gap for their husbands, children, friends, family, and nation. I’m so glad He has found such a man/woman in you.

Fay-Ann Swearing
fayannswearing.wordpress.com

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Happiness Without Sin

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28

It is hard for some people to believe, but you can have a happy life without sin. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28). There is happiness in hearing, believing, and keeping the Word of God.

To be honest, there is some happiness in sin. There is some fun in sin. I think sometimes that Christians are reluctant to admit that sin isn’t always miserable. In fact, the writer of Hebrews said that Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (11:24–25, emphasis added).

But sin comes with a price—a hefty price. I’m sure it would be very pleasurable to jump out of an airplane and fly through the air without a parachute. I think it would be the ultimate rush. I think it would be better than any roller coaster or any amusement. But then you are going to hit the ground. So there is fun for a time, but inevitably there is a payday.

There will be pleasure in sin for a season temporarily. But then the repercussions kick in. The Bible warns that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). For a moment of pleasure, you can have a lifetime of regret. But if you keep the Word of God, you will be happy.

James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation.” Sometimes you don’t feel that way when you’re tempted, because temptation is appealing of course. But when you choose to walk away from temptation, you’ll be glad that you did.

You can have a happy life without sin. And this comes from reading, studying, memorizing and obeying the Word of God.

Fay-Ann Swearing
fayannswearing.wordpress.com

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The Living Water

Ref: Scripture John 7:37-39

Three Observations About Coming to Jesus to Drink

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

First, Jesus is what we drink. “Come to me and drink.” Jesus doesn’t just have what our souls need; he is what our souls need.Recall John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” He is the bread of life. He isthe living water. Our souls were made for Jesus. The ache in our hearts is at root an ache for Jesus. This is how the soul lives on God. It lives on Jesus.

Second, the soul can drink. It can swallow. He is speaking spiritually, not materially, when he says, “Come to me and drink.” This drinking is not something you do with your mouth and your throat. You do it with your soul. You do it spiritually. You were made to do this. You are not a mere animal. You were made for this—coming, not physically, but spiritually, to Jesus, and drinking, swallowing the water for your soul that he is.

Third, this coming and drinking are what it means to believe on Jesus. Verses 37–38: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me . . .” That last phrase is another way of saying come and drink. Coming and drinking Jesus is what happens when we believe. It’s what believe means. We saw it in the parallel structure of John 6:35: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Believing on Jesus is coming to him to eat and drink for our soul’s deepest satisfaction.So be done forever with the sad notion that saving faith—that believing on Jesus—is a mere decision to believe facts. No. It is a coming to him as a feast. A treasure. A banquet. A spring in the desert when we are dying of thirst. This is what the apostle John meant when he connected believing on Jesus and receiving Jesus in John 1:12. Believing is receiving him as water, food, life for the soul.

So those three things: Jesus is the water we need, the soul does the drinking, and that is what believing means—coming to Jesus to drink for our soul’s satisfaction.

The Rivers That Flow from the Soul

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

Literally, it says, out of his belly. But the point is our inner being, call it belly, heart, soul, spirit. What does this mean?

It means that when you come to Jesus to drink, you don’t just get a single drink, but you get spring, a fountain, a well. You get Jesus. Rivers of water will flow because a River-Maker is in you. That’s the point. You will never have to search again for a source of satisfaction for your soul. Every river that needs to flow for the joy of your soul will flow from Jesus. When you come to him, you get him. And he never leaves.

The Spirit of the Glorified Jesus

Verse 39: “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”There was an experience of the Spirit that could not be enjoyed until Jesus had died for our sins, been raised triumphant over death, and ascended to the right  hand of the Father in glory—namely, the experience of fellowship with the Spirit of the glorified, risen Christ. This is what the Father gives to everyone who believes. The presence and power and fellowship of the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ.

Once Jesus was with us as an incarnate man, and now he is in us by his Spirit. Listen to John 14:16–17: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”And he is indeed in everyone who believes on Jesus.
Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:9? “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” If you come to Christ to drink for your soul’s satisfaction, you get Christ. And now we see that he means: You get the Spirit—the Spirit of God and of Christ.Christ, as the incarnate Son of God, is in heaven. We can’t see his body now. We walk by faith and not by sight. But he is in us (Romans 8:10). We have the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ living in us. Which means Christ is in us.

The Witness of Scripture to the Plans of God

Verse 38 again: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”There are so many Old Testament texts that point to this reality. Let me give you just one.Isaiah 58:11: “You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

But here is the way we should end—the really wonderful implication for us that God spoke of this reality hundreds of years before it happened. It means that God was planning this for you. God was planning to send his Son. He created you to have an unquenchable soul thirst that could draw you to him. He planned for Jesus to stand in Jerusalem, and for me to share in this phatform and cry out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me [Jesus] and drink.”This is God’s invitation to you. Not just mine. Not just Jesus’s. But God’s. Come, drink, live.

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