This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff Mazzariello.
ENCOUNTER: Read John 7:37-39, and 14:16-18.
“... Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." - John 7:37,38
It's pretty common language among us as believers to talk about our "relationship with God" or about "walking with God" or about how we are "followers of Jesus." And yet we don't often stop to analyze this reality. It is through the Holy Spirit, one person of the Triune God, that we have any encounter and experience of God in our life. It's pretty amazing. We aren't just following a religion or trying to be good people, we are actually encountering God himself by the Holy Spirit who lives in us as Christians. When Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross, and therefore leave the earth, he said to his followers, "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7) You see, Jesus - even as the divine Son - could not be IN and WITH all his people all the time. So the Holy Spirit comes "to help you and be with you forever." (John 14:16)
We are given the Holy Spirit so that we can walk with God. Or maybe better put: So He can walk with us. He is never further than INDWELLING us! Wow. What if we lived according to that reality? Would we reach out and communicate with God more? Would we expect his power since it is so near? Would we be not so tempted to believe that we are out here on our own and God is far away? Could we incline our ears to listen to God's whisper more often and with greater expectation that he probably has things to say to us?
Does reflecting on this change how you think about being a (daily, moment by moment) Christian? How could you live more fully into your actual connection with God himself this week?
BE A BLESSING:
One of the ways that God loves to show himself present within you is when you are stepping out to love and serve someone. He has come to us in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit so that we can be empowered to live out the Kingdom of God. When we decide we will be agents of the love and healing of this Kingdom, God manifests himself big time! He speaks wisdom and leading to us, he gives us deep and authentic love for people, he gives us strength beyond our abilities. Can you step out for him to love and serve someone today and watch God show himself to be a stream of living water flowing from within you?
Our community of faith is a community of Holy Spirit filled people. (See Peter's sermon in Acts 2:37-39.) In light of that, it follows that when we are together we give and receive the presence of God through the Holy Spirit within us. The more we are with one of God's filled people, the more of God we will come to know and experience. And, of course, the more people are with you, the more they will come to know and experience God. With whom are having this Holy Spirit transaction this week?