Archive for June, 2018

The Wellspring of Life

June 19th, 2018

Above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Circumstances may discourage, but you are more than your circumstances. Environments may seem to limit, but there is more to you than can be discovered just from your environment. A hard and apathetic world may suggest that you are insignificant and your life does not count for much, but there is another One whose opinion on the matter is the one that ultimately matters. He calls you His child, His beloved, His friend, and His family.

The issues of life are settled in our soul, not in our surroundings.

A wellspring is a source of water that comes from deep within the earth and can exist even in an arid environment. Jerusalem was not watered by lakes or rivers; the inhabitants had to search for water elsewhere from rainfall or from underground streams. The inspired psalmist used this to depict spiritual truth as he wrote, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God … God is within her, she will not fall” (Psalm 46:4-5). He was saying that what we see on the surface is not all that there is to any circumstance, and this is especially true for believers.

We have a Source of strength who works within us by His Spirit, Christ Jesus the Living Water. As He said to a Samaritan woman, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). A few days later, Jesus spoke similar words to crowds in Jerusalem, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38), and then John explained further what Christ meant, “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 7:39).

A wise person does not put temptation in his own way, that is, he is careful about his circumstances, his surroundings, the company he keeps, and the places he goes. But more than these outward things we need to watch what is happening inside our hearts. The words above from Proverbs instruct us to be careful about the thoughts that we entertain in our minds. Set a guard up to block the wrong thoughts: jealousy, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, or anything impure.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-9:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

You are more than your circumstances. Your failures are not the final comment on your life. Your outward limitations do not deprive you of eternity touching your soul. An arid moral environment does not mean that you cannot be filled with the Living Water of holiness. Take care not to put temptation in your own way, but more than watching your steps, guard your heart and fill your thoughts with the true, noble, and pure things of God. This is your life and He is your Wellspring to give you strength and encouragement in times of difficulty.

Lord, we are dry vessels in an empty moral desert on this earth, and we need Your life that refreshes us and makes us glad. Today let us draw deeply from Your wellspring of life that satisfies and strengthens. Amen

Evening Devotionals

The Brevity of Life

June 15th, 2018

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

Life on earth is surprisingly brief. We hardly realize how brief it is in the early days, when we long to grow stronger, taller, and, thereby, older, but in the later years of our lives are amazed at how quickly it has all passed. If life were a clock, in our youth the hands encircle the face in slow motion, creeping like snails past its numbers. But in our later years they gain speed until they seem to spin like the blades of an electric fan.

An act of God: God has left this mark upon our race – temporariness – and it is just part of our overall limitedness. Our natural life is marked with boundaries – limitations in knowledge, perspective, imaginations, talent, ability, power, influence, resources, and time. Adam and Eve were originally created with physical bodies, and though sin has shortened the original life spans of people, it is clear that from the beginning human life left to its own resources would die. They would live only as they ate of the tree of life in the Garden (Genesis 2:9,16, 3:22).

Man tended the tree of life, as he did other plants, but he had not created it. He was utterly dependent upon God for any hope of eternal life. Once he was cast out of the Garden he could not recreate this mystical tree. It appears again in scripture at the end of the book in the New Jerusalem, the eternal home of believers, and there it is described not as a single tree, but as a unique species of tree, “yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).

There is a commonly held thought that our immortality is expressed through the memories of our loved ones, but all are eventually forgotten, most very quickly. Though some are remembered longer, no one has been so well remembered that they lived forever that way. This idea offers no real hope of eternal life, for being remembered is not the same as being alive. Memories are left to the whims of the living to re-interpret, and sometimes to mangle and destroy with no ability of the deceased to defend themselves.

We are completely dependent on God for eternal life, and the only sure promise is through Jesus Christ, that He died for our sins and rose from the grave victorious over death. He offers eternal life to those who repent of their sins and trust in Him. Outside of Him there is no real offer.

James wrote that we are like a mist that only appears for a little while. This is a great illustration, for though a mist, or a fog is a real thing, it is only temporary and when it vanishes we may even wonder if it ever really existed. It goes slowly, vanishing a little at a time, and this the way many of us die. How often have we heard of someone and then say, “I didn’t know they were still living.” They had already begun to vanish and were barely there at all.

The rejuvenating power of God: Yet we also see that God can give surprising strength to us in our old age. Joel wrote that God will pour out His Spirit upon the world, and “Your old men will dream dreams” (Joel 2:28). This is a mark of the Spirit, that he renews us in our old age. If there are limitations in our years, this reality is counter balanced by the surprising power of God. Life is surprisingly brief and God is surprisingly powerful.

Samson was such a man who had wasted his youth, his talents, and his opportunities. Yet in his final years, blinded and chained as he was, God renewed his gifts and strength. He who had been a paradigm of spiritual failure became a paradigm of spiritual renewal.

It is God’s plan that we counter our limitedness through spiritual renewal in Him. Paul wrote: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).

The Last Surprises of Life ,