Month: June 2014

“God Seeks People to Worship Him in Spirit and Truth” by John Piper

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”  John 4:16-26

 

If people are spiritually asleep, you have to shock them, startle them, scandalize them, if you want them to hear what you say. Jesus was especially good at this. When he wants to teach us something about worship, he uses a whore. “Go call your husband!” “I don’t have a husband.” “That’s right. But you’ve had five, and the man you sleep with now is not your husband.” She was shocked. We’re shocked. But Jesus simply sits there on the edge of the well with his hands folded, looking at the woman with razors in his eyes ready to teach us about worship.

Worship and Real Life

The first thing we learn is that worship has to do with real life. It is not a mythical interlude in a week of reality. Worship has to do with adultery and hunger and racial conflict. Jesus is bone-weary from the journey, hot, sweaty, thirsty—and he decides: “Yes, even now, just now I will seek someone to worship God—a harlot, a Samaritan adulteress. I will show my disciples the worship that my Father seeks and how he seeks it in the midst of real life from the least worthy. She is a Samaritan. She is a woman. She is a harlot. Yes, I will even show them a thing or two about how to make true worshipers out of the white harvest of harlots in Samaria.”

Jewish and Samaritan Animosity

Let’s go back to the beginning, John 4:4–6. “Jesus had to pass through Samaria on his way to Galilee. So he came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about noon.” Before we meet this woman who comes to the well, recall who Samaritans were. They were the remnant of the northern Jewish kingdom who had intermarried with foreigners after the chiefs and nobles had been carried into exile in 729 BC. They had once built a separate worship place on their own Mt. Gerizim and they rejected all of the Old Testament except their version of the first five books of Moses. The animosity toward Jews was centuries old.

Raising the Levels of Amazement

Jesus walks right into this hostility, sits down, and asks for a drink (v. 7). The woman at the well is amazed that Jesus would speak to her. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” Instead of answering her directly, Jesus shifts the focus of her amazement up a level. He says (in v. 10), “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Jesus says that the really amazing thing is she is not asking him for water. He calls it living water and he calls it the “gift of God.”

But the woman doesn’t rise very high. Her background has not made her a prime candidate for spiritual insight. She was more like the three guys behind Karsten and Benjamin and me at the Twins game on Thursday who kept saying how full of beer they were and arguing endlessly like five year olds about whether Eisenreich should have tagged up on third base. She was simply enslaved to the flesh. Her spirit was dead. She simply says (vv. 11–12), “How can you give me water when you don’t have a bucket? And if you want me to drink water that doesn’t come from Jacob’s well, then you must think you’re greater than Jacob. Well, if this water was good enough for Jacob, it’s good enough for me.” She’s not on Jesus’ wavelength yet at all.

So Jesus again lifts the level of amazement (vv. 13–14): “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The amazing thing is not just that I can give you water without a bucket, but that the water I give takes away thirst forever and, even better than that, it will turn you into a spring that brings eternal life to yourself and others.

Living, Thirst-Quenching Water and a Fountain of Life

What did Jesus mean? Proverbs 13:14 says, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life.” Perhaps, then, Jesus meant that the wisdom he gives satisfies the soul and turns a person into a fountain of life. Perhaps the water is his teaching. But the closest parallel to verse 14 is John 7:37–39, “Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.” Just likeJohn 4:14, this passage speaks of a drinking in and a flowing out. But here John makes plain that Jesus is speaking about the Holy Spirit. It’s the presence of God’s Spirit in your life that takes away your frustrated soul-thirst forever and turns you into a person who overflows with life for others instead of sucking up other people’s life like sandy soil.

But probably both these answers are true—that Jesus’ teaching satisfies your thirst and makes you a fountain of life, and that the Holy Spirit satisfies your thirst and makes you a fountain of life. Jesus kept the Word and Spirit together. For example, in John 14:26 he says, “The Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said.” The work of the Spirit of Christ is to make the Word of Christ clear and satisfying to the soul. When we come to Christ to drink, what we drink is truth—but not dead, powerless facts. The Spirit and the Word unite to slake our thirst and make us a fountain of life. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:52:13.) The word of promise and the power of the Spirit are the living water offered to the Samaritan harlot.

I hope this encourages you as much as it does me. Sometimes I feel so dead and so sinful that I don’t see how I can be of any use to the church any more. But up till now God has always come to me at those times and graciously shown me something like this—the hope that a worldly, sensually-minded, unspiritual harlot from Samaria can become—not just saved (which would be wonderful enough)—but a fountain of life. She can be used to give life. And I take heart that if I just turn from my sin and keep drinking at the well of Jesus’ words, I may still be of some use to this congregation. And so can you if you just drink deep at the right well.

Deadened Senses and Open Wounds

I think that’s what Jesus wanted her to see. But harlots and beer-bellied baseball fans have hardened their spiritual senses so deeply they can’t taste what Jesus means. So she says (in v. 15), “Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Beware of giving up on people too soon. This woman seems hopelessly carnal. She can’t see beyond her physical senses. But Jesus aims to make her a worshiper of God in spirit and truth.

So now he touches the most sensitive, vulnerable spot in her life—”Go call your husband.” The quickest way to the heart is through a wound.

Why does Jesus strip open this woman’s inner life like this? Because he had said in John 3:20, “Everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed.” Concealed sin keeps us from seeing the light of Christ. Sin is like spiritual leprosy. It deadens your senses so you rip your soul to shreds and don’t even feel it. But Christ has set his sights on this woman’s conversion. So he lays bare her spiritual leprosy. “You’ve had five husbands and the man you’re sleeping with now is not your husband.”

Evasive Irrationality

Now watch the universal reflex of a person trying to avoid conviction. She has to admit in v. 19 that Jesus has extraordinary insight (“You’re a prophet!”), but instead of dealing with her guilt, she tries to suck Jesus into an academic controversy: “O, so you’re a prophet, well, where do you stand on the issue of where people ought to worship?” Verse 20: “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you [Jews] say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” A trapped animal will chew his own leg off. A trapped sinner will mangle his own mind and rip up the rules of logic and discourse. “Why, yes, as long as we’re speaking about my five husbands and my adultery, what is your stance on the issue of where people should worship?” Brothers and sisters, that kind of double-talk and evasive, verbal footwork is very common. And texts like this incline me to think that wherever I hear it, someone is hiding something. If your conscience is clean, reason can hold sway; if it’s not, you will be instinctively irrational.

The “How” and “Whom” of Worship

It’s interesting, though. Jesus never goes back to the issue of adultery. It was a thrust against the sealed door of her heart. But now his foot is in and he is willing to take the very issue she raised and use it to finish his saving work. She raised the issue of where people ought to worship. Jesus responds by saying, “That controversy can’t compare in importance to how you worship and whom you worship.” How and whom are vastly more important than where.

Engaging the Heart 

Verse 21 turns her attention from where to how: “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”‘ In other words, it is not the location that makes an act of worship authentic. Worship is not merely an external act that you can accomplish by going to a place. Jesus said in another place (Matthew 15:8): “This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me.” Worship is first and foremost an experience of the heart. Prayer without heart is vain. Songs without heart are vain. Confession and creeds and liturgies and sermons that don’t come from the heart are empty and worthless in God’s eyes. So Jesus says to the woman: Don’t get hung up on irrelevant controversies. How you worship is vastly more important than where.

Knowing the True God

Then verse 22 introduces the question of whom you worship. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” When all our efforts to be gentle and sensitive and respectful of another person’s religion are done, the time eventually comes when you have to say: Biblical worship is true worship and yours is false. That will often be thrown back in your face as a statement of arrogance. But it isn’t. If there is truth, and you have bowed humbly before it, then to try to persuade another person to bow with you is not arrogance. It is love. The Samaritans rejected all the Old Testament except for their version of the books of Moses. Their knowledge of God was deficient and so their worship was deficient. And to tell them so was as loving as telling a person with lung cancer to stop smoking.

Heart and Head in True Worship

So in verses 21 and 22 Jesus directs the woman’s attention away from the external question “where” to the internal question “how” and the theological question “whom.” Worship must be vital and real from within and it must be based on a true perception of God. Now verse 23 sums this up with the key phrase “in spirit and truth”: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” The two words, spirit and truth, correspond to the how and the whom of worship. Worshiping in spirit is the opposite of worshiping in mere external ways. It’s the opposite of formalism and traditionalism. Worshiping in truth is the opposite of worship based on an inadequate view of God.

Together the words “spirit and truth” mean that real worship comes from the spirit within and is based on true views of God. Worship must have heart and worship must have head. Worship must engage your emotions and worship must engage your thought. Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full of unspiritual fighters. Emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates flaky people who reject the discipline of rigorous thought. True worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.

Fuel, Fire, Furnace, Heat

Therefore, as a pastor I agree with Jonathan Edwards when he said, “I should think myself in the way of my duty, to raise the affections of my hearers as high as I possibly can, provided they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.” I think of it something like this: The fuel of worship is the truth of a gracious, sovereign God; the furnace of worship is your spirit; and the heat of worship is the vital affections of reverence, fear, adoration, contrition, trust, joy, gratitude, and hope.

But something is missing from that analogy, namely, fire. The fuel of truth in the furnace of your spirit does not automatically produce the heat of worship. There has to be fire, which I think is the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus says in v. 23, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” some take him to mean “in the Holy Spirit.” I’ve taken him to mean that worship must come from your spirit within, instead of being merely formal and external. But in John 3:6 Jesus connects God’s Spirit and our spirit in a remarkable way. He says, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” In other words, until the Holy Spirit touches our spirit with the flame of life, our spirit is so dead it does not even qualify as spirit. Only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. So when Jesus says that true worshipers worship in spirit, he must mean that true worship only comes from spirits that are made alive and sensitive and vital by the touch of the Holy Spirit.

So now we can complete the analogy: the fuel of worship is the grand truth of a gracious and sovereign God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is worship, pushing its way out in tears, confessions, prayers, praises, acclamations, lifting of hands, bowing low, and obedient lives. Notice verse 34. When his disciples come back with food, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” The work of God is to seek real worshipers. Jesus was sent to accomplish this work.

Therefore we should see the whole interchange with the Samaritan woman as the work of God in Jesus seeking a real worshiper. In verse 35 Jesus applies his example to us, “Do you not say there are yet four months and then comes the harvest? I tell you, lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already white for harvest.” There is a white harvest of harlots in Samaria. I have just made one into a real worshiper. That’s why the Father sent me; so send I you. God seeks people to worship him in spirit and truth. Here comes the city of Sychar white unto harvest. If you love the glory of God, make ready to reap.

“The Blessing of the Rain: Praising God in the Storm or the Gentle Rain” by Randy Kinnick

 

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7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.  Psalm 147:7-8

Some people dread a rainy day.  The gray skies and the gloomy weather seem to them to be a downer.  I can understand how the weather will affect one’s state of mind and emotion.  When the winter days get short, the gray skies dominate, the cold is bitter and the darkness comes earlier, I feel that affect.  Not so, however, for a rainy day.

Rainy days are a welcomed thing sometimes.  Granted, when I have outdoor plans and the rain interrupts, I’m not too happy.  But, hey, I don’t get to make those decisions, right?  However, there is actually a comfort that a rainy day brings.  I feel cozy.  I remember, as a kid, when a summer or spring rain would come, I would get the lounge chair and a blanket and sit on our carport watching and listening to it rain.  It was soothing and calming.

Last night, it rained, and lightning and thunder pierced the sky throughout the night.  This morning, from the perch of my Starbucks vantage point, I watch the rain descend on the world around me.  It soaks, drenches, washes and cleans.  Our dry, parched land is drinking it in…a much-needed refreshment.  I’m reminded, as the rains descend to refresh the ground, so I desire to drink in the presence and truth of the God who supplies the rain.  I long to be refreshed in soul and spirit as He rains His love, grace and power in me.

Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. 2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. 5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. 9 He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry. 10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. 12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. 14 He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat. 15 He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; 17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold? 18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. 19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!

The rain reminds us of the faithfulness of our God.  I am reminded of my dependence upon Him for life and sustenance.  I am reminded of His provision for every need…to fill my parched spirit with His refreshing “rain.”  As Psalm 147 reminds me, there is so much for which to praise the Lord.  Here are a few reminders…

  • He gathers the outcasts to Himself
  • He heals broken and wounded hearts
  • He demonstrates His mighty, infinite power through creation
  • He lifts up the humble
  • He brings judgment upon the wicked
  • He supplies the earth with nourishing rain and growth
  • He provides food for the animals
  • He finds pleasure in those who fear Him and seek His mercy
  • He blesses our habitations and posterity as we follow Him
  • He provides for our needs and security
  • He has given us His powerful Word

There is so much for which we can praise God.  The rain today reminds me of these and many other works of our mighty God.  Let us, as Israel was challenged to do through this Psalm, “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.”

“Trusting God When You Don’t Understand” by NAQUAN

It’s easy to say, “give your cares to the Lord and trust Him” when everything in life seems to be going well.  It’s easy to say, “I trust you Lord with everything I own” when bills are paid on time and when you just got a promotion at work.

However, if God striped you of everything you own; If God told you to leave the very job that’s paying your bills, will you trust the Lord enough to do it?  Will you trust God even when you don’t understand; even when life hurts?  If God told you to leave the familiar and enter the unfamiliar, will you trust Him?

For many of you, God has done just that.  He has taken you from what’s “oh so familiar” and redirected your paths into the unfamiliar.  You don’t understand what’s happening in your life; what to do or where to go.  The only thing you know is that the Lord gave you a word (instruction, a promise, vision, etc) and the only thing you have to hold on to is that word.

I understand the feeling; you’re not alone.  There is encouragement for you today.  Here are 4 things to remember whenever you feel as though you don’t understand what God is doing and/or allowing in your life.

Consider the Source

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Revelation 22:13).

Who else can say that but God?  No one, only God can say such a thing.  God knows everything: the past, current and future and our knowledge and understanding doesn’t even compare to the knowledge and understanding of God –  even when it applies to our own life.

Furthermore, when you don’t understand what God is doing in your life, consider the source – Who is it that you’re trusting; God or yourself?

Here is something to remember.  Man is fallible; we fall short and at times we’re unable to keep our promises.  Man can give you instructions that are misleading and imperfect.  With God, none of these things are possible.  God keeps His promises, God gives you right instructions according to His perfect will and He won’t mislead you.

No matter how much you don’t understand life as it is right now; no matter how uncomfortable it may seem or how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God is with you –  the same God who spoke life into you, the same God who IS and knows the beginning and the end, the same God who knew you before the foundation of this world -is with you, then ask yourself who or WHAT can stand against you.

Consider the source and seek to be obedient to the Lord, even when you don t understand what God is doing in your life; don’t worry about “this or that” because God has provisions for you.

Trust the Lord

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

When you learn to trust the Lord, you will begin to have a sense of rest in the Lord knowing that He has everything under control even when life seems to be out of control.  Trusting God will get you to the point where you make a decision to trust in Him and NOT in your own logic and understanding.

As Christians, we must make a decision to trust Him regardless of how scary the situation may seem.  Trusting God doesn’t prevent you from being in uncomfortable situations but it does allow you to be placed in a position where you seek the Lord’s presence, provisions, guidance and promises.

I encourage you to stop stressing yourself out- losing sleep, being weary, anxious, worried, depressed and sad.  Don’t try to understand the ways of God because it is impossible for you to understand His decisions and ways! (Romans 11:33). The natural man cannot understand the things of God.  For God’s ways are higher than mans, they are past finding out and this is why we must make a decision to trust our all knowing God.

Be Obedient

The bible states that “obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)” which should tell you a lot about our God.  God places significance on obedience.  He’ll much rather you be obedient to His instruction than for you to give Him sacrificial praise, money offerings, fasting and etc.

Why do I bring obedience up?  Because when God gives you instruction and you’re in a situation where you don’t understand what’s going on in your life, you need to be reminded to be obedient and to trust in the one who does understand – Christ.   There are blessings that follow a person who is obedient just as there are curses that follows a person who is disobedient.

God Will Lead You

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

God told Abraham to leave everything he knew; everything he was familiar with and to enter into the unfamiliar.  God told him to go into a land which he will show him which meant Abraham didn’t know where he was going; He only had the instruction of the Lord to depend on.  Abraham could have easily said, “God, where will I go; what will I eat and drink”, but he didn’t.  He chose to trust God and be obedient and as Christians we must learn to do the same.

“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

As much as we would like God to give us “what where when and how” upfront all the time (all in one shot), God does not operate like that.  Sometimes, God will place you in a satiation where you have to trust Him and He’ll give you piece by piece as you obey and trust Him.

As a person who’s been in this situation, I will tell you that this only increases your faith as you learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

Trusting God When You Don’t Understand: Finial Words

I don’t know what your story is (your more than welcome to share it below), but I encourage you to trust God even when you don t understand what’s happening in your life.

You may not understand life and all that’s happening; but God will give you a piece to the puzzle as you learn to step out on faith, trust and obey him.

Don’t let the devil fool you into believing that you’re taking a step backwards in life or that you’ll never make it out of this situation; because you will.  What you’re going through is temporary.

Encourage yourself in the Lord daily; read His word; pray without ceasing and seek His face.  The next time you find yourself in a position where you are stressed and worried about what God is doing in your life remember to:

  1. Consider the Source
  2. Trust the Lord
  3. Be Obedient
  4. Trust God to Lead You

Prayer for Trusting God’s When You Don’t Understand Life

Heavenly Father,

I ask that you place within me your obedient spirit so that I may be obedient to your instruction.  Help me Lord to walk by faith and not by sight.  I don’t understand what you’re doing in my life, but I make a decision to trust you God.

In this season, I ask that you place within me your spirit of joy, peace and rest.  Give me joy; peace and rest to endure all that comes my way.  Right now, I make a decision to trust you Lord because I know that you’re in control of my life even when my life seems to be out of control.

Lord, I thank you for clarity, guidance, provision and strength.  I pray and ask for these things in Jesus name; Amen.

Pray and stay in the word of God.  There is strength for you in the word of God.  Trust the Lord and be obedient even when you don’t understand life and what God is doing.  Be blessed and encouraged in Jesus name.

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“All I Need” by Eowyn

Take this cup from my hands
Is it half full or empty?
My will screams demands
Will you pour out your mercy?
So I pray
So I pray

Captured by your love
You are all I need
Standing inside your light
Falling on my knees
Take control
Fill my life
You are all I need

In the mist of your perfect grace
Resting slowly in your presents
So I break from your embrace
Restore me and my savior
So I wait
Yes I wait

Captured by your love
You are all I need
Standing inside your light
Falling on my knees
Take control
Fill my life
You’re all I need

Captured by your love
You are all that I need
Standing inside your light
Falling on my knees
Take control
Fill my life
You are all I need

You are

“New Life in Christ” by M. Larson

Maybe I should have that dead thing cut down, I thought.

Then one day I heard the mockingbird sing. Going out into my backyard, I saw him perched on the top of the highest branch of the dead apple tree, rendering his melodious repertoire to cheer the neighborhood.

No, I can’t have that tree cut down, I decided. That makes too good a bird perch. And whatever birds sit up there, I can see clearly and learn their different songs! So I continued to enjoy that tree. Though dead, it lived in a new way.

According to God’s Word, all of us are dead in sin before we are made alive with Christ by God who loves us (Ephesians 2:1-5). In that dead state true peace escapes us. We long for what we do not know. Some of us may even consider killing ourselves because life seems too chaotic and hopeless.

But when we call on the Lord to save us for Jesus’ sake, He reaches down and lifts us up and gives us a new life. Second Corinthians 5:11 tells us that when we are in Christ, we are new creatures. Old things are passed away; all things become new.

Even though we have been resurrected to new life in Christ, we sometimes fail to appropriate the benefits of that wonderful new life by not staying close to our Lord. Yet the good news is that our Lord is always near, and we can always get right with Him.

In God’s Word, David said it this way: “Lord, restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). And God did.

Some of those benefits of the new life in Christ are:

JOY. King David, in deep repentance, asked the Lord to restore to him the joy of His salvation (Psalm 51:12). Jesus promised to give us His joy, a supernatural experience that lifts our hearts to the heavenlies and puts a smile on our lips (John 15:11). It is within and is not dependent on our outer circumstances.

Peace. Jesus also promised us “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), a peace that gives us strength through the severest trials.

Love. Jesus puts a love in our hearts, even for the unlovely, that shines out to others for Him and makes it possible for us to forgive others. (See 1 John 4:7-8).

Power. Jesus promised His followers the power of the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1:8). King David, after asking for restoration, said, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you” (Psalm 51:13). This power transforms us into soul winners.

Comfort. When we are right with the Lord, we are assured of the comfort of God in Christ whenever we need it. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

Assurance. When we’re walking with Jesus, we experience surety of this truth: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11).

Prayers answered. First John 5:14-15 says, “…If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. and if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Provision. The Apostle Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, assured the dedicated Christian at Philippi, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Father God, Restore to me the joy of my salvation today. Amen

Questions: Are you experiencing the power and the joy of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you worried about your situation? How can one turn from worry to being thankful even in dire situations?