Home to Living Waters

Some years back, I had the experience of robbing a wild bee hive in the woods with my father-in-law, who was in his 8o’s and a humble Christian who loved the Lord. It was in the heat of the summer in Texas, and rain had been sparse. Yet he had found a bee hive way up in an old tree. My brother-in-law cut the tree down and the hive was robbed of its honey, along with a few stings, though we had smoked the hive to calm down the disturbed bees.

A dishpan full of honeycomb was extracted and we returned home to put up the honey for later use.

This was a new experience for a ‘city dude’ with a simple man who made his living on a farm and in the nearby wooded river bottom. For a man in his 80’s he was in good shape. But what was more remarkable was how he found the bee hive some 30 or more feet up in the tree. I could barely see bees coming and going at that distance, yet he had found them in dense woods far from a dirt road or pasture. I marveled at how he did it.

I knew bees would make a ‘bee line’ to their hive when they returned home. But I didn’t know why.

Puzzled I asked him “how did you find these bees, . . . did you find them gathering nectar and watch them return to their hive?”

No he said.

I asked why not? He said “if you watch them on flowers you won’t know if they have a full load of nectar.”

I then asked “well then how would you know when to pay attention to their flight and direction back to their hive?”

He said, from years of experience, “you wait until a hot day and find where they are gathering water to take back to their hive, then you know they have a full load and they will fly true and straight home.”

His answer from life’s experience had taught him an essential of life, that I believe has value for one’s spiritual life as well. When we find ourselves in a dry and difficult place, providence has ordained a thirst to bring us home.

John 7:37-39

. . . Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.

(But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on Him should receive; . . .

Good Friday, the Day of Power Manifested

Today is known as GOOD Friday in Christendom.

Today we commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, on Calvary, or Golgotha in the Hebrew tongue, meaning the place of the skull. John 19:17.

On this day, Christ’s last day on earth before His voluntary sacrifice for the sins of the world, Our Lord and Savior was falsely condemned, spit upon, whipped, ridiculed, mocked with a crown of thorns, labeled as the King of the Jews, rejected by His own who proclaimed, “. . . We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15.

Forced to carry our cross, for our sins, He willingly and obediently, despite the shame and humiliation, went to His death without objection, retribution or contempt for His accusers. So, a reasonable question arises that reveals the logic of ‘what is GOOD about Good Friday?’

Consider what the Apostle Paul said:

” And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in the DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit and of POWER.” 1 Corinthians 2:4

Early in my pilgrimage, I was acquainted with believers who often believed God’s POWER was in miracles, not confirmed by the miraculous. So, troubled in my spirit about this belief, I went to the Scripture to find what they testify to about what POWER IS, rather than does. What the Scriptures testify to (KJV-NS) are three simple witnesses.

They are:

” For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ; for it IS the POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

The Gospel can be summed up in this:

Man is doomed to righteous judgment for his sins, and cannot atone for the consequence of his way. Yet, before we loved Christ Jesus, He loved us, willingly died a horrible death for us, paying a debt He did not owe, for a debt we could satisfy. He suffered, died, was buried, then rose again unto Resurrected Life, so that all who confess him, turn and repent of their sins, and place their faith and trust in His finished work of the Cross may have ETERNAL LIFE.

The second Scriptural witness of what POWER IS, is:

“For the PREACHING OF THE CROSS is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the POWER of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18.

What worldly foolishness!

The last Scriptural witness of what POWER IS, is;

But unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST the POWER of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:24, 25.

What DIVINE WISDOM, the POWER OF GOD!

We are warned that in these last days “perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1b.

And later on in that same chapter, the Scripture gives this witness;

Having a form of godliness; but denying the POWER of it; from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5.

Today, we reverentially commemorate GOOD Friday. Let us also remember, reflect and return to the POWER of God as this Day recalls the demonstration of “the SPIRIT and POWER of God” in Christ Jesus, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelations 13:8.

“Who, being the brightness of His Glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding ALL things by the WORD of HIS POWER, when he had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3.

Amen, and Amen.

Redbuds and Dogwoods

Down in the southern mixed pine and hardwood forests, dogwoods are known for their Easter time display.   Yet long before the dogwoods make their presence known the woods are for the most part dead of signs of life.   Then something unusual happens.  One tree comes to life.  But not in the typical way of green leaves preceding blooms or flowers; but contrary to the normal way trees bloom.  The redbud blooms before it grows green leaves.  This also occurs before the last frost and during the tail end of winter.  Yet, every spring the first tree to bloom is the redbud without signs typically associated with life – green leaves.  This happens even before the famous dogwood which follows about 4 to 6 weeks thereafter.  I always knew the dogwoods were a symbol of our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross.  But then I wondered why the particular timing of the redbud?

As I thought about this, it came to me what was the meaning and who were these simple plants testifying of?  I am not suggesting trees speak but my faith believes there is a “a voice in this sign” of nature as it goes through its life cycle.

Why do I say this?

When God was instructing Moses about approaching the king of Egypt, Pharaoh, God make an important statement.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the VOICE of the first SIGN, that they will believe the VOICE of the latter SIGN. Exodus 4:8

My comments about redbuds and dogwoods blooming have little in common with Moses performing signs to demonstrate the power of God.  Rather, what I find important and relates to these two trees is the concept of SIGNS SPEAKING if we will hear the VOICE within them.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the TRUTH in unrighteousness,

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath SHOWN it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  Romans 1:18-22

Hear we have a clear testimony that God is manifesting truth in His creation that prophesies or speaks of the glory and truth of God.

We also know that no one will be able to claim I didn’t know about you, I didn’t know what your Son did for me and creation by coming, bearing witness of the truth, suffering. enduring physical and mental pain and humiliation, was crucified, died a horrible death on the cross, willingly, despising the shame, then rising again in RESURRECTED LIFE.

So what does this have to do with redbuds?

For me, creation is crying out and demonstrating the glory and truth of the Great Creator God of the Universe and all Eternity.

The VOICE in the SIGN is speaking to me of His shed blood for the sins of the whole world, by simple red blooms on a barren limb. Then in the fullness of Creation’s time, the white blossom of the dogwood awash in the green leaves of new life, testify to the witness of His RESURRECTED LIFE.

Jesus said unto her, I am, the RESURRECTION and the LIFE; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  John 11:25

So, if you live in this part of the world, and you see a redbud in bloom, listen for creation testifying to the Glory and Truth of our RESURRECTED Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And, if your not from around these parts, I suspect creation in your ‘neck of the woods’ has a similar VOICE in the SIGN of your local creation.

May God give you Grace to hear the heavens declare His Glory and the desire to pause and Praise Him for His priceless free gift of redemption to any who will let their foolish minds accept His undeserved charity.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  Psalms 

The Treasure of our Faith

In John 6 Jesus proclaims He is the bread of LIFE.

   44 I am that bread of LIFE.

   45 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

   51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is m flesh, which I will give for the LIFE of the world.

Later in John 14:6

   . . . I AM the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE.

By the witness of these two verses, among many others, we reckon Jesus proclaiming that HE (the Divine person and very God) is THE WHO. . . of LIFE.

Yet when Jesus, the Truth, stood before Pilate, the Truth said, in John 18:

37 Pilate, therefore, said unto HIM, Art THOU a king, then? Jesus answered. Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for the cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the TRUTH.  Everyone that is of the TRUTH HEARETH MY VOICE.

   38  Pilate saith unto him, WHAT is truth?. . .

When Jesus testified in John 6:45 that Your fathers did eat manna . . . and are dead. He referred to the account in the Old Testament in Exodus 16:15

And when the children of Israel SAW it, they said one to another, It is manna, for they knew not WHAT it was.  And Moses SAID unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

According to Strong’s Concordance manna means ‘WHAT IS IT’?

Both Pilate and the children of Israel were concerned with WHAT they were seeing, rather than the WHO that was speaking.

So we are back in the garden, again.  For we find we are dealing with the Tree of Knowledge (WHAT) of good and evil and the Tree of Life (Jesus, the speaking WHO), guarded by a flaming sword of fire.  The fruit of one leads to death in our efforts to be like God, the other requires a death/cross that leads to eternal resurrected LIFE by faith in Christ Jesus.