Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Filled and Flowing

“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Ephesians 5:18–20, NASB95)

Recently when we had a major freeze in our area, one from which some are still trying to recover. I woke up to a brief flow of water from our shower head and then nothing. The water went away. It wasn’t flowing. Yet I did not ask where it went because I knew that it was still there, but something was preventing it from flowing through our pipes. So I got dressed and went out to the well, where there was no water pressure, indicating that something out there had frozen. I grabbed a heater and put it in the well house and waited. It wasn’t terribly long before we got our water back. The pipes were filled and we were blessed once again with their overflowing bounty. While we later had some other minor issues as the pipes thawed, we were only inconvenienced in minor ways as compared to some.

I think it fairly safe to say for all of us that there are times in our lives when maybe we feel empty like those pipes. There may be any number of reasons we feel this way. It may be because we’ve sinned and we need to deal with it before God. It may be because we’ve been looking at a looming problem or being weighed down by a significant loss. It may also be because we’ve let distance come between us and God in our walking with Him, looking to Him in prayer and daily trust, hiding His Word in our hearts, stepping out in service, and any number of other relational breakdowns. And it may be because we are in a desert season where we are simply called to keep trusting for that which we cannot see.

I can’t pretend to know all of the ways or reasons that we don’t sense God’s presence. But what I do know is the truth that God has not turned His back on us. He has not let loose of us from His hands. He has not altered His eternal purpose. And He is the same always present, forever good God Who created us and Who called us as His children to return everything back to Him in worshipful service. He is the same God who dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, Who empowers us to understand His truth, to grow in wisdom, and to step out in service.

We are guaranteed that God’s pump house will never freeze, and though we may not turn on the tap, we know that the full presence and power is there. In both the Old and New Testaments we see some pretty incredible things happen when people are “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The reality is that as believers in Jesus we cannot have any more or less of the Holy Spirit in us. The issue may be whether or not we walk by that power or we trust in our own feeble efforts or something else. I started with a quote from Ephesians 5 that began with “…”. The “…” said “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation [wastefulness], but” and then it went on to say, “be filled with the Spirit….”

For me, when I feel empty it is a fairly sure sign that I have taken my eyes off of God and that something is weighing me down. And when I feel this way, it is a great time for me to turn my attention to God, praying with thankfulness and resting in what I know to be true of Him. And while I may not instantaneously feel His presence, I know that He is there just as He always is and that He is good and faithful. I can trust Him in time to also warm my heart in incredible ways just as the heater warmed our pipes and brought fullness back to our lines.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14–21, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (12/17)

Come to Me with your gaping emptiness, knowing that in Me you are complete. As you rest quietly in My Presence, My Light within you grows brighter and brighter. Facing the emptiness inside you is simply the prelude to being filled with My fullness. Therefore, rejoice on those days when you drag yourself out of bed, feeling sluggish and inadequate. Tell yourself that this is a perfect day to depend on Me in childlike trust. If you persevere in this dependence as you go through the day, you will discover at bedtime that Joy and Peace have become your companions. You may not realize at what point they joined you on your journey, but you will feel the beneficial effects of their presence. The perfect end to such a day is a doxology of gratitude. I am He from who all blessing flow!

“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NASB95)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” … “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:3,6, NASB95)

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” (Colossians 2:9–10, NASB95)

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6, NASB95)

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