Sunday, August 29, 2010
Let in the light! Part II
1:36 p.m. Today's project was to bless people at church. I made sure that we got up early and left the house by 9:15, so we'd have at least 15 minutes to give away our gifts.
Last Thursday, a lady from my Bible study gave me a lovely package for our pastor's son Joel and his wife Ashley who are expecting a baby girl, Finlee, in October. The creator of the gorgeous multicolored crocheted blanket did not want to be identified. So I needed to find at least one of the Milhouses and deliver the gift. It sure was nice getting to church early and fellowshipping with friends instead of scurrying in late (or barely on time). The last three weeks, I was beginning to feel that "Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events," could have been posted in our kitchen, we were getting to church so late!
Joel was delighted with the gift and posed for a funny picture, which is already posted on Facebook as promised. But the giveaways had just begun.
I had notified Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley friends that I would be giving away yellow tomatoes between first and second services. So I returned friends' hugs of greeting with a tomato or two from our sackful, catching up with the goings-on in their lives and filling them in on ours. Steve and I also had the opportunity to speak with Greg and Cathy Griffith, former missionaries and church planters in Wales, who are headed out to North Carolina on Wednesday to start a new Calvary. We are excited to see a fresh new work begin in Winston-Salem, and looking forward to this evening's send-off fellowship.
The last of the tomatoes were all given away after second service. Mission accomplished!
Yesterday's experience of clearing away dead vines in the garden presents me with another inspiration: the need for fresh, life-giving water to flow freely to the remaining healthy plants. As Steve and I cleared the deadwood away, we saw that the irrigation furrows were now visible, but not in very good shape. Many of them were clogged and cluttered with plant detritus, fallen, half-eaten, rotted tomatoes, leaves, roots and clumps of soil. The shape of the furrows had become dull instead of sharply defined like they started out.
We often begin our Christian lives like newly dug furrows: sharp and sharply defined, acting in sharp contrast to others around us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit, and stay refilled through the study of the Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. We listen attentively to sermons and Bible studies and drink in the wisdom of experienced believers. We experience amazing deliveries from our trials, because we "ask, seek and knock" continually at our Father's door.
Jesus said in John 4:14, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
When we seriously take Jesus' call to live for Him, the Holy Spirit's living water freely flows through us, and we regularly give it out to other thirsty travelers on life's road through witnessing and sharing, even if we barely have a working knowledge of the Lord, just a small daily supply for ourselves! But we know where the spigot is to get the water flowing again--prayer and the Word of God. We don't hesitate to go refill our supply.
However, if we begin to take the marvelous Christian life for granted, let worldly desires, pursuits and the "debris" of life clutter our way, the stream of Living Water struggles to push through a narrowed canal, or it aimlessly trickles out and around the blockage, not quenching our own or anyone else's thirst. We can find that we've lost direction and purpose altogether!
But there is a cure! Isaiah 55:1 states it, and Jesus quotes it in John 7: 37-39:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, which those believing in Him would receive...
Let's clear out our furrows, get back to prayer, stay in fellowship, be refreshed by the Word and ask for the refilling of the Holy Spirit!
Hear Jesus in Luke 11:11a, 13
If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?...If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"