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Thirsting for Jesus

 
“If you knew the generosity of God
and who I am,
you would be asking me for a drink,
and I would give you fresh, living water.”
 
~ Jesus
 
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Do you thirst for Jesus?  When I try to answer that question, I want to scream “yes,” but in reality the answer is often “no”.  In the book, Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge masterfully discusses the “playful, disruptive, extravagant personality of Jesus.”  I love it when I read something new about Jesus!  This book highlights aspects of Jesus’ personality that are clearly seen in scripture but too often overlooked because of years of religious muck.  It makes me thirst for Jesus in a way I never have before, and I invite you to join me in reading this book.  The following is a compilation of quotes from Beautiful Outlaw:
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We need Jesus like we need oxygen. Like we need water.  Like the branch needs the vine.  Jesus is not merely a figure for devotions.  He is the missing essence of your existence.  Whether we know it or not, we are desperate for Jesus …. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness.  The purpose of your being here on this planet, at this moment in time, comes down to three things:
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1. To love Jesus with all that is within you.  This is the first and greatest command.  Everything else flows from here.
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2. To share your daily life with him: to let him be himself with you.  On the beach, at supper, along the road – just as the disciples did.
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3. To allow his life to fill yours, to heal and express itself through yours.  There is no other way you can hope to live as he did and show him to others.
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Sadly, for too many people, the Christ they know is too religious to love, too distant to experience, and too rigid to be a source of life.  It explains the abject poverty of the church.  But hear this — Jesus hasn’t changed one bit.  He is still quite himself.  The Scriptures assure us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). 
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It’s a little ironic that in a sophisticated visual age like ours we still cling to a two-dimensional Jesus.  Such is the power of religious fog.  Everyone talks about Jesus’ “great acts of humility, faith and compassion.”  What about his great acts of playfulness, or cunning?  What about his brilliance, his wit, his irreverence, the scandalous freedom with which Jesus lives, his exasperation and impatience?  Not to mention his humanity; we have nearly forgotten he was a man.”
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Let’s take time and extend effort to get to know who Jesus really is … 
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“I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again.” ~Jesus
 
 
Quotes from Jesus from John 4, translations The Message and The Voice
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 I pray you may have power to grasp how
wide and long and high and deep
is the love of Christ, and to know this love.
Ephesians 3:18-19
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People often feel blessed when their lives are going well and angry with God when their lives are painful.  Our challenge is to know we are loved, even when our life circumstances are distressing.  It is important that this knowledge is not based on feelings.  The apostle Paul was greatly loved and the Lord said of him, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  Many different times, Paul boasted about his suffering.  His suffering did not make him think God loved him less.
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Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.  I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;  I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:25-28).
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If I were going through what Paul went through, I would be thinking, “God has abandoned me,” but Paul confidently assures us, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  I believe that Paul knew Jesus so well and knew that he was loved so well that whatever his circumstances were, he had peace.   
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From Jesus
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“I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe my love you: I thirst for you. I thirst to love and be loved by you — that is how precious you are to me.  I thirst for you.  Come to me, and fill your heart and heal your wounds.” Mother Teresa 
(see complete essay below)
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“I know you through and through – I know everything about you.  The very hairs of your head I have numbered.  Nothing in your life is unimportant to me, I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings.
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I know every one of your problems.  I know your needs and your worries.  And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity my Father gave you by creating you in his own image. 
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It is a dignity you have forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin.  But I love you as you are, and I have shed my blood to win you back.  If you only ask me with faith, my grace will touch all that needs changing in your life; and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.
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I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations.  I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share my strength and victory.  I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished.  But often have thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – with even greater emptiness of sin.  Do you thirst for love?  “Come to me all you who thirst” (John 7:37).  I will satisfy you and fill you.  Do you thirst to be cherished?  I cherish you more than you can imagine to the point of dying on a cross for you. 
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I thirst for you.  Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe my love for you:  I thirst for you.  I thirst to love and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to me.  I thirst for you.  Come to me, and fill your heart and heal your wounds. 
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If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all.  For me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you.  I thirst for you.  Open to me, come to me, thirst for me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to my heart.
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No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life, there is one thing I want you to remember always, one thing that will never change: I thirst for you – just as you are.  You don’t need to change to believe in my love, for it will be your belief in my love that will change you.  You forget me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart, and knocking.
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Do you find this hard to believe?  Then look at the cross, look at my heart that was pierced for you.  Have you not understood my cross?  Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: I thirst (John 19:28).  Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the Psalm verse which I was praying says of me: “I looked for love, and I found none” (Psalm 69:20).
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All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love and be loved by you.  You have tried many other things in your search for happiness;  why not try opening your heart to me, right now, more than you ever have before.
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Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit: “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake.”
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Come to me with your misery and your sins, with your trouble and needs, and with all your longing to be loved.  I stand at the door of your heart and knock.  Open to me, for I thirst for you.”
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Essay by Mother Teresa, From Bread and Wine ~ Readings for Lent and Easter, The Plough Publishing House 2003
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Grace and peace to you from God 
our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
1 Corinthians 1:3
 
 
“I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in Him you have been enriched in every wayin all your speaking and in all your knowledge–because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
 
– You have been enriched in every way.
– You do not lack any spiritual gift.
– Jesus will keep you strong until the end.
– God is faithful.
 

Valentine’s Day Revolution

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in distress.

James 1:27

 
  

Let’s start a Valentine’s Day Revolution!

On Valentine’s Day, it is natural to focus our attention on those we love.  However, I would like to challenge us to be just as aware of those who desperately need love.  It is easier to ignore the pain that Valentine’s Day invokes for some people than to enter into the distress of the heartbroken, isolated, and lonely.  Let’s deliberately and intently search for people that we can show God’s gracious compassion and unrelenting love.  Let’s look for practical ways to demonstrate this love and “look after” those living with a relationship void. 

Please share this idea with your friends: Remember orphans, widows, and the heartbroken on Valentine’s Day.

 

If you are in emotional pain, please know that there is hope.  God is “closer to you than the blood in your veins.”  Many encouraging words can be found on my Dad’s blog, Your Story Matters.

What pleases God?

 
Love the Lord your God
 with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and find out what pleases the Lord.
 
Matthew 22:37 & Ephesians 5:10
 
 
 
Loving somebody and wanting to please them go hand in hand.  This is a natural connection — a relationship connection that the Lord wants to have with us.  Recently, I have been noticing many verses that mention some form of the word “please,”and I would like to share some of them with you:
 
We have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. (1 John 3:21-23)
 
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)
 
Jesus said, “The one who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”  (John 8:29)
 
I urge you in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
 
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. (Romans 14:17-18)
 
My righteous one will live by faith.  I will not be pleased with the one who shrinks back. (Hebrews 10:39)
 
We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:1)
 
Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all
spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)
 
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus  33:17)
 
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
 
“Is this pleasing in your sight Lord?” is a question that should filter our thoughts and actions.  A great love for the Lord is the motivation for wanting every aspect of our lives to be pleasing to Him.