TRUST COMPLETELY

Pro.3:5 – TPT – Trust in the Lord completely,

and do not rely on your own opinions.

With all your heart rely on him to guide you,

and he will lead you in every decision you make.

I want to share a passage from Proverbs 3 from the Passion Translation today. Verse 5 has two short but extremely powerful thoughts. First, trust in the Lord completely. What exactly would that look like? I have actually been working on this for the last forty-five years. I think I still need to sort out what trusting completely looks like. Trusting Him when everything seems to be going my way is one thing, trusting Him when Katrina comes knocking at your door is another thing entirely. The second thought in this verse is don’t rely on your own opinions. I would say that is definitely easier said than done. What helps me with both of these instructions is this, draw close to the Lord, get to know Him intimately, then I will see His love for me and trust Him to sort out the intricacies of my life. Actually the next verse says exactly that.

VS.6 – “Become intimate with him in whatever you do,

and he will lead you wherever you go.”

That is the solution, intimacy with God. From that place of intimacy we trust Him more. From that place of trust it is easier to follow His lead.

The next verse I want to share is verse 9 and 10.

“Glorify God with all your wealth,

honoring him with your very best, with every increase that comes to you. Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!”

So this is where the Lord gets extremely personal with us. He wants that intimacy to include the financial part of your life. We all know that we don’t just bring anybody into our financial world. Allowing intimacy with God to extend to our possessions is extremely important and rewarding. When He comes on the scene He brings His wisdom, His influence, and His unlimited source of provision. Knowing Him intimately makes tithing a no-brainer. I bring in the first portion of my harvest and He takes it and multiplies it back into my life. Then that last part of verse 10 comes into play, “every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!”

EVERYWHERE THE RIVER GOES THERE IS HEALING

Ezekiel.47:9 – And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the river goes, will live.

Ezekiel’s vision is a glimpse into the recovery of our world at the end of this age. Ezekiel saw the millennial temple and the river of God flowing out to bring healing to our devastated world. When Jesus returns there will be a great need for the healing nature of His river to flow all throughout the land. In Ezekiel’s vision the Lord led Ezekiel out into the healing waters for himself. We don’t have to wait for the millennium to enjoy the healing properties of the River of God. Even now anyone who is thirsty can come and drink. This living water will flow into you and heal and restore every broken part of your life. Everything, from your mind to your emotions, your inner man to your body; everywhere this river flows there is healing and there is life. Here is how Matthew Henry described this passage.

“The healing virtue of this river. The waters of the sanctuary, wherever they come and have a free course, will be found a wonderful restorative. Being brought forth into the sea, the sulphureous lake of Sodom, that standing monument of divine vengeance, even those waters shall be healed, shall become sweet, and pleasant, and healthful. This intimates the wonderful and blessed change that the gospel would make, wheresoever it came in its power, a great change, in respect both of character and condition, as the turning of the dead sea into a fountain of gardens…..Christ, coming into the world to be its physician, sent his gospel as the great medicine, the panpharmacon; there is in it a remedy for every malady. Nay, wherever these rivers come, they make things to live, both plants and animals; they are the water of life. Christ came, that we might have life and for that end he sends his gospel. Every thing shall live whither the river comes. The grace of God makes dead sinners alive and living saints lively; everything is made fruitful and flourishing by it.”

The river restores every part of our life. Actually the river is a person, the blessed Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a healing spirit; the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life. Today, find some way to get into the river. Worship the Lord, gather with friends in prayer, find a service where the Holy Spirit is being poured out; Push out into the depths of the river and experience His healing and life.

WHAT A SAVIOR

Jn.14:16 TPT – And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you.

This verse has been very important in my life for many years. It marked the first time Jesus began to teach the disciples extensively about the Holy Spirit. He used a powerful phrase in this passage to describe Him, allos Paracletos. Jesus would not be on earth physically after His death and glorification, this would be the beginning of the age of the Paraclete, the precious Holy Spirit. He would continue the ministry of Jesus; He would work in and through His followers. He would also apply the saving work of Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection to our lives. As always, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working in unison. Here are some powerful thoughts from the notes in the Passion Translation on this verse.

“The Greek word used here is paráklētos, a technical word that could be translated “defense attorney.” It means “one called to stand next to you as a helper.” Various translations have rendered this “Counselor,” “Comforter,” “Advocate,” “Encourager,” “Intercessor,” or “Helper.” However none of these words alone are adequate and fall short in explaining the full meaning. The translator has chosen the word Savior, for it depicts the role of the Holy Spirit to protect, defend, and save us from our self and our enemies and keep us whole and healed. He is the One who guides and defends, comforts and consoles. Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, our Savior. The Aramaic word is paraqleta, which is taken from two root words: (1) praq, “to end, finish, or to save,” and (2) lyta, which means “the curse.” What a beautiful word picture, the Holy Spirit comes to end the work of the curse (of sin) in our lives and to save us from its every effect! Paraqleta means “a redeemer who ends the curse.”

I love that, the power of the curse is broken. We are liberated through the power of the Spirit to live totally free lives. We are free from sin and the issues that held us back in the past. We are made whole by the work of the Spirit. The beauty of this can’t be kept back, we have to share it with everyone who will listen to us. We are now carriers of the Holy Spirit to this needy world.

SWEETNESS

Ps.45:2 – TPT – Beautiful! Beautiful! Beyond the sons of men!

Elegant grace pours out through every word you speak.

Truly God has anointed you, his favored one, for eternity!

Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it sets itself apart from everything else? Maybe a favorite Mountain View or a special spot to view a sunset. There are moments and places like that for all of us. There is a rose that is especially beautiful to us who are from Southeast Louisiana called the Peggy Martin. It was named after a lady who lived in Chalmette who lost everything in Katrina. She lost family and property and all of her precious flowers in her garden except for one, a rose which became known as the Peggy Martin rose. For whatever reason these Peggy Martin roses survived and even flourished. Her property experienced twenty feet of salt water for two weeks but these roses survived. Obviously, anyone from this region has to say that these Peggy Martin roses have a beauty shared by no other; they stand out above all others with there message of survival and renewal. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon about Jesus, our Rose of Sharon.

“Whatever there may be of beauty in the material world, Jesus Christ possesses all that in the spiritual world in a tenfold degree. Amongst flowers the rose is deemed the sweetest, but Jesus is infinitely more beautiful in the garden of the soul than the rose can in the gardens of earth. He takes the first place as the fairest among ten thousand. He is the sun, and all others are the stars; the heavens and the day are dark in comparison with Him, for the King in His beauty transcends all. “I am the rose of Sharon.” This was the best and rarest of roses. Jesus is not “the rose” alone, He is “the rose of Sharon,” just as He calls His righteousness “gold,” and then adds, “the gold of Ophir”—the best of the best. He is positively lovely, and superlatively the loveliest….Even the recollection of His love is sweet. Take the rose of Sharon, and pull it leaf from leaf, and lay by the leaves in the jar of memory, and you shall find each leaf fragrant long afterwards, filling the house with perfume. Christ satisfies the highest taste of the most educated spirit to the very full.”

So, maybe your life has been crowded out with the ugliness of this present life. Take a look around, Jesus is near. In the ugly places of this world His beauty is even more magnificent. His beauty will fill your life with sweetness…

WASHED AND RENEWED

Titus 3:5 – not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

I love the word renewal. This is the work of the Lord that is continuous. He finds us one way and then continues to work on us throughout our whole life making us totally different. This beautiful work associated with redemption is a cooperation of the Word and the Spirit in our heart and mind. David spoke about renewal in his prayer of repentance in Ps.51:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

He wanted his heart to be not only washed and forgiven but transformed. That is the beauty of today’s verse. The Lord washes us from our sins and then begins renewal in us so that we will not fall back into sin. Paul called it the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Here is a definition from Dick Mills on renewal.

“renewing, anakainosis – A combination of ana, “again,” and kainos, “new.” The word suggests a renovation, restoration, transformation, and a change of heart and life. In Rom. 12:2, it indicates a complete change for the better, an adjustment of one’s moral and spiritual vision. Here it stresses the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming the life.”

In Psalms David says that our inner strength is effected by renewal. Ps.103:5 -“Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” We can lean on this promise to stand strong in times of temptation and also when we need strength to endure the challenges of life. He is daily renewing my inner strength like an eagle.

Psalms also describes the creative power of the Lord involved in renewing His creation.

Ps.104:30 – “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.”

Think about it, the Lord didn’t just create everything and then back off and become uninvolved. He is daily involved with His creation, renewing the face of the earth. If He is involved it’s eagles, badgers, waterfalls, and arctic formations; He is surely involved on a daily basis in the lives of His children. Renewal is happening everyday. What is my part? Step in to His flow and allow Him to work His beautiful work of renewal in me.

ONE WITH US

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We can never really come to the end of the power of this verse. What was in the mind of the Lord when He became one of us? He gave us glimpse inside the veil in His prayer in Gethsemane. John’s account is much more detailed and intimate. These words are really beyond comprehension, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20–21

He prayed that we could enjoy the intimacy with Him and His Father that He Himself enjoys. Unthinkable!!!! He became one of us to redeem us from our fallen condition and bring us into this oneness with the trinity. Eternity will be an unfolding of this incredible intimacy bursting with indescribable joy. Here is a glimpse of this truth from Jonathan Edwards.

“Such was the love of the Son of God to the human nature, that he desired a most near and close union with it, something like the union in the persons of the Trinity, nearer than there can be between any two distinct [beings]. This moved him to make the human become one with him, and himself to be one of mankind that should represent all the rest, for Christ calls us brethren and is one of us. How should [we] be encouraged, when we have such a Mediator! ’Tis one of us that is to plead for us, one that God from love to us has received into his own person from among us.”

Salvation is bigger than any of us realized. We were looking for help in this life and an escape from eternal damnation. We got way more than that when Jesus became a man. We have been brought into the heavenly places. Paul said we are seated with Him in heavenly places. So this is what the humanity of Jesus was all about, it was about oneness. Now our commission is to enjoy this new life and bring as many others into it that we can.

Christ gives us everything that pertains to life and godliness

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS-

As his divine power has given to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue, through which he has given to us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” I Pet.1:3

Adults are a lot like children. We live in perpetual repeat in our lives learning the same lessons over and over again since infancy. We just haven’t learned the lesson of “if you get too close to the fire it will burn you”, what we eat can definitely ruin us, or learning to drive the speed limit. As we move into adolescence, we learn painfully to pay our taxes, pay the ticket we just got and show up at work on time. For the ‘millennials’ we pray that they just SHOW UP! The stress that we accrue in the process of life becomes so debilitating that we self medicate, plunging ourselves into a deeper hole. Over and over again the cycle of life is repeated,

Christians need to change that way of life. There is another way. I call it RIVER LIFE! Christ can meet you and with a little effort your life can have a breakthrough to where you live free of this world and it’s cycle of pitfalls.

The Apostle John saw a pure river clear as crystal that was for the healing of the nations. Great cities since the beginning of time learned to live around rivers to ensure health, commerce and pleasure. We too must do the same. Learn to live on the river that flows from His Throne, His presence. On his river the healing of the nations is provided. His river purifies the unclean soul and washes out the deepest dye of our sin that has stained our garments of flesh. Malachi describes this white as no fuller on earth can whiten! Whatever you have gone through, experienced as trauma God has sent this precious river to provide the help we need. This river provides enjoyment and recreation on a daily basis that we don’t need to “go near the fires of the world that try to inflame our hearts”. The things of the earth are barren and lifeless and can hold no life source or give any lasting value to our upkeep. But whenever the river flows there is life and life abundantly. Christ himself is upholding this world by his word and he upholds us by his amazing power! All a man needs is sustainable in this river. He quenches our thirsty soul. Our natures are renewed, refreshed and reproduced over and over again. Its a supernatural life.

I pray you will find this precious river—it’s running right next to you! Jump in!

RESTING BY THE RIVER

Psa. 23:1,2  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

This is a beautiful picture of the spiritual rest the Lord gives His sons and daughters. The Amplified Bible says it like this, “He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters”. That is one of the beautiful functions of the wonderful Holy Spirit, He gives us rest for our souls. This is one of the greatest of all needs in today’s crazy world. Stress seems to be the order of the day; seasons of earthquakes and national disasters, political chaos, racial contention, economic tsunamis, and incurable pandemics. Without this place of rest to run to, we can easily be overwhelmed by the troubles of this life. Have you learned the importance of following the Shepherd daily to the waters of rest? I think I would have shipwrecked long ago without learning the blessing of resting in the Spirit. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry of the waters of rest.

“The still waters by which he leads them yield them, not only a pleasant prospect, but many a cooling draught, many a reviving cordial, when they are thirsty and weary. God provides for his people not only food and rest, but refreshment also and pleasure. The consolations of God, the joys of the Holy Ghost, are these still waters, by which the saints are led, streams which flow from the fountain of living waters and make glad the city of our God. God leads his people, not to the standing waters which corrupt and gather filth, not to the troubled sea, nor to the rapid rolling floods, but to the silent purling waters; for the still but running waters agree best with those spirits that flow out towards God and yet do it silently.”

I can remember very clearly the first time I found myself in this semi-conscious state resting in the Holy Ghost. I was prayed for and fell under the power of the Spirit for the first time. I found myself totally caught by surprise as I was overtaken by the restful waters of joy. Resting, laughing, and overcome by love; that’s the very place the Shepherd wants to takes us. This is the beautiful place of restoration, cleansing, and empowering. Go ahead and take a break in the River, this is the place you have been looking for all of your life.

GOD IS A RIVER

Ps. 46:4

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

Is it possible that this river that we see all throughout scripture is actually God Himself? Several years ago there was an international outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was characterized by the River. Anytime you were around Christian gatherings in the mid-nineties everyone was talking about “the River”. The question on everyone’s lips was “have you been touched by the River?” It was everywhere at the same time; the river was a living, breathing thing. Some began to see the River as an experience that would surely be temporary. It seemed that many ministers were anxious for things to “get back to normal”. That has been twenty five years ago now, I’m still not back to normal. The conclusion I came to is that the River is not an experience but a person. Ralph Erskine, a Puritan minister in Scotland in the 1600’s said this about the River.

“What is the river that makes glad the city of God? I answer, God himself is the river, as in the following verse, “God is in the midst of her.” 1. God the Father is the river: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13. 2. God the Son is the river, the fountain of salvation: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” Zec 13:1. 3. God the Spirit is the river: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Jn. 7:38. What are the streams of this river? Answer—the perfections of God, the fulness of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and these running in the channel of the covenant of promise.”

The Father is the fountain of the River which is the love of God. Everything springs from this overflowing fountain. Jesus is the very radiance or display of God’s love. In Him we see the glory of this River of love. The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God, the manifestation of the love of God. When we are immersed into the Holy Spirit we begin to experience the blessing of the River, the amazing love of God.

CHRIST IS A RIVER

Psa. 63:1

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Living near the Mississippi River gives us a constant picture of the River of God. The Apostle John saw a river flowing out from the Father and the Son, this River is eternal, in other words it just never stops. Several years ago there was an outpouring of the Spirit and the River became a term that was used for the moving of the Spirit. I will never forget when a local pastor announced that the River was over. How can this River, the one flowing out from God, ever end? The answer of course is that it can’t. The River is endless and is the very source of life; we live in and off of this River. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes this God phenomenon.

“It is said that Christ is a river of water, because there is such a fulness in him, so plentiful a provision for the satisfaction of the needy and longing soul. When one is extremely thirsty, though it is not a small draught of water will satisfy him, yet when he comes to a river, he finds a fulness, there he may drink full draughts. Christ is like a river, in that he has a sufficiency not only for one thirsty soul, but by supplying him the fountain is not lessened; there is not the less afforded to those who come afterwards. A thirsty man does not sensibly lessen a river by quenching his thirst. Christ is like a river in another respect. A river is continually flowing, there are fresh supplies of water coming from the fountain-head continually, so that a man may live by it, and be supplied with water all his life. So Christ is an ever-flowing fountain; he is continually supplying his people, and the fountain is not spent. They who live upon Christ, may have fresh supplies from him to all eternity; they may have an increase of blessedness that is new, and new still, and which never will come to an end.”

If Jonathan Edwards is right, Christ is a River. He is enough for all of us. He is enough on the good days, and He is enough on the worst of days. He never changes, and He quenches the longing of our souls.