Friday, July 22, 2011

Stagnant Water Stinks

I've got peace like a river,
I've got peace like a river,
I've got peace like a river in my soul!
I've got love like an ocean,
I've got love like an ocean,
I've got love like an ocean in my soul!
I've got joy like a fountain,
I've got joy like a fountain,
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul!

Hmmmm.... have you ever noticed it doesn't say I've got peace like a pond in my soul? 
Peace, love, and joy all coming from flowing, active, bursting bodies of water.

"For thus says the LORD,
“Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed,
you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees."
(Isaiah 66:12)

As I was working on my lesson for this coming Sunday morning from Luke chapter 2 the Lord zeroed me in on what "the boy Jesus"(Luke 2:43) was doing in the temple. 
When we look at Luke 2:52 we read that "Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." What? Jesus had to increase in wisdom? He had to increase in favor? We must never forget that Jesus is our example. He lived it all, so that He could indeed sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:14-18).
So now the question is how did he do it? What was His process of increasing? What self-help point plan did He follow? I believe His how is all right here in these few passages that the divinely inspired, God-breathed Word of God has given us.
I believe the point plan has only two points. It has always only had two points. The point of the points is do you carry out the points?

So what are the points?

Point 1: Love God
When we look at Luke 2:46 we read that Jesus was in the temple "sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions." Jesus was seeking God. He was discussing the Scriptures. Notice He was both listening and asking.
Let me ask you... can you ask questions in "big church".
No you cannot. You only listen. What if in your listening you misunderstand? What do you do with your questions? Do you have them? Oh I hope so. Questions are part of seeking.
What we see here in this example of Christ is we need small groups. Did the disciples of Christ only sit in the crowd? No they followed Him closely. They sat with Him in small groups and asked Him questions and Jesus reasoned the Scriptures with them. This, my precious one, is how we increase in wisdom. It is not in just listening alone, but in asking questions. This is how we love God. By loving His Word enough to seek to understand it. So that we might obey it. And in obeying it we bring ourselves to point 2.

Point 2: Love others
When we look at Luke 2:51 we read that Jesus "continued in subjection to them (Joseph and Mary)." What? Jesus was in subjection to man? Yes. He obeyed the Law of God. What merit would God have if He broke His own Word? Jesus humbled Himself to this point. He laid aside who He was in order to obey truth. Here He is the Creator of the entire universe and He is saying "yes ma'am" and "yes sir". So at any point and time should we ever think that our position in life negates the common decency of showing respect to another human being? No, it does not. How do we love others? How do we increase in favor with God and man? We show them respect and love. God tells us how to do this in His Word. You can find it all broken down in Exodus 20. He then showed us how as the person Jesus Christ. The commands of God show us how to love Him and how to love others. This is why they are not a burden, but indeed they are a treasure.

Well how does all this relate to where I began this post with peace like a river? As we look at Jesus He is increasing... he is continuing. These are words that are in motion. If we want peace like a river, and love like an ocean, joy like a fountain, then we can't be a pond. We cannot be stagnant in our Christianity.

Stagnant water stinks and grows gunk. 
We must keep the living water flowing through us.
We cannot dam it up.

We must not just sit in the crowd. We must put ourselves where we can both listen and ask questions.
Come let us reason together... (Isaiah 1:18). 

The living water, the Word of God, must flow through us. It must come into our heart and out of our lives. The Prince of Peace must flow like a river in us. Sending peace to others. Flowing down from the mountain into the deepest valleys.
The love of God must go deep within us and rise up and crash onto the shores of those around us.
The joy of our Christ must spring forth praise out of our mouth with shouts like a geyser from the fountains of the deep and also with the gentle flowings of fresh spring fountains.

Love God. Love others.
It starts with God and spills on to others.

Oh Father, Let me be one that increases and continues...