Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT) As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?
The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is so small. (John Piper)
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is pivotal. The fact that Jesus is alive changes everything. The passion of our pursuit as Christians must be to discover the living, breathing reality of God for ourselves. My grandparents and parents introduced me to the Lord as a child. I had an encounter with God at eleven years old. It was only the beginning. It would take decades of my life to begin to experience the vitality of living in the Presence of God. Our faith is not established in the reality of what is seen but the realm of hope that exists beyond the human eye. It is illogical outside of the Word of God which is alive as well. To hunger and thirst for the Living God requires an encounter. We must taste and see that the Lord is good to work up a desire for more of Him.
I have acquired a number of tastes based on different foods I have tried and actually liked. My biological mom was not big on vegetables. My bonus mom cooked them every night encouraging us to try them. I found that I actually liked broccoli, Brussel sprouts and asparagus. All once thought to be green and gross, but after I tasted them and found them to be quite tasty have become my choice. Not only are such vegetables palatable to me but hidden within each one are nutrients that are good for me producing benefits to my whole body. Fresh vegetables straight from the garden are the best. The price tag for organic food without the preservatives is higher than the canned goods.
If the key to Christian living is a hunger and thirst for God, it seems advantageous to try Him. What is the point of serving a powerless and lifeless concept? If faith does not give any benefit to our life than why attempt it? I wonder today how many people are serving a dead god rather than experiencing Resurrection Power and Life offered by loving and serving the Living God. What if we faced each day with an urgency to experience the Kingdom and seek encounters with the Lord? What if we truly believed that on the third day Jesus came out of the grave? Martha was looking for the Resurrection of the dead expressed in Revelation before it was even written. She was waiting for the Messiah that would call all the dead to life in one gesture. What she did not know is that the Living God was with her that day and His Intent was to call her sleeping brother from the grave in which he had laid for four long days? I wonder how many times we limit the Living God in our limited belief.
“When you have closed the Bible, you have neither closed God’s mind nor shut God’s mouth. God continues to speak, live and exist. I think we should consult the Living God for the living word for living people dealing with death, destruction and despair in the midst of our hurt humanity. I believe love will conquer all.” (Michael Eric Dyson)
Do we seek God past the Bible or beyond the church? The Lord has placed His Spirit in us. The Spirit of God is constantly seeking to plant seeds of new life so that we can become the new creation that He promised. Life in us is not dependent on our physical condition but spiritual hunger and thirst. It is our desire and appetite for the Living God that changes everything. How can we have a relationship with a dead Jesus? Except He is alive and well – what’s the point?
God is alive. He is constant. He is All-Powerful, All-Knowing and everywhere at the same time. Mind-blowing is the fact that given His Sovereignty and Pervasive Presence, He still chooses to love us in spite of ourselves. That God in all His Divine Wisdom still thought us worth every breath in His Son, Jesus is enough to praise Him and thank Him for the rest of our natural life. BUT…God didn’t stop there. Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life. To meet us in the land of the living and escort us to eternity. To provide an excellent example of how to live and hope for the moment we die and exit this world. He has it all covered. My lack of interest or inability to fully comprehend the extensiveness of God’s Plan, His Goodness and His Grace all wrapped in unconditional love does not exempt me from it, but is a moment wasted on a worthlessness when righteousness could release Heaven on earth in my life. God is ready to bless me. He is ready to heal me. He will restore me. He will make good on every promise. He will turn every detail of my life into something good. He will make me a masterpiece. I must only believe. Believe that God is alive. To know that I serve a Living Savior and Lord. This is the moment that my life changes.
Acts 17:22-23 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
Who was more religious than Saul? One encounter with Jesus Christ changed him into Paul. He knew the Word of God inside out. He was a scholar. He knew the rules and regulations of religion and was a Pharisee. He persecuted Christians killing them without cause. The same man changed in an instant after meeting the Living God know stands before the council. Paul recognized their religion but now attempts to introduce them to the Living Lord. They worshipped an “Unknown God”. Do you? The same God that you have sought after is ready to meet you right where you are. His Presence is life but you must first believe that He is alive. As Easter is upon us – many will gather together to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. But few will actually realize the impact of that day. The day that Jesus came out of the grave and breathed life again was the day your life gained meaning and purpose. It was the day that every promise became your reality. It changed everything and yet many do not know this because they do not know the Living God.
“Having your spiritual radar up in constant anticipation of His Presence – even in the midst of the joyful chaos and regular rhythms of your everyday living – is paramount in hearing God, because sometimes the place and manner you find Him is the least spectacular you’d expect.” (Priscilla Shirer)
The revelation of resurrection power and life were not discoveries on a mountaintop inspired by a passionate preacher or meaningful message. In fact, it was on an oncology floor of a hospital. Our son had been fighting cancer for quite some time. Suddenly the odds were shifting or more like sliding down the scale. The doctor declared us to be living in the “realm of hope.” His survival was becoming a medical impossibility as each relapse came closer and closer together. While he underwent treatment, often sleeping through each course, I would put in headphones and listen to worship music. I was listening to Kari Jobe sing, “Forever”. It still gives me chills. The thought came to mind no doubt the enemy trying to place fear in my heart, “What if he doesn’t make it? God, what if my son dies?” As if on cue, the words shook me back to my seat, “The ground began to shake…the stone was rolled away… His Perfect Love could not be overcome… Now death where is your sting… Our resurrected king has rendered you defeated. Forever, He is glorified. Forever, He is lifted high. Forever, He is risen. He is alive. He is alive.” (Forever – Kari Jobe) I cannot explain the peace that overtook me in that moment and remains in me today. My life, the life of my husband and children forever secure in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It seems like each day more and more people I love enter eternity with Jesus. What if we did not have that hope? How awful it would be? But what if that same hope in forever could be manifested today? The same power and life demonstrated in the ordinary life of men and women. It can! His Name is Jesus. He is alive and He will do everything He promised if you only believe. In every situation and every impossible condition, there is always hope for those who have faith in the Living and Loving God.
Luke 24:4-8 (NLT) As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this.
“Beware of anything that stands between you and God – the Spirit living in your soul.” (Lee Tolstoy)
Do you know the Living God? Are you hungry and thirsty for Him? The women came to tend to the body of Jesus. They did not expect to encounter angels or an empty grave. In utter shock and disbelief, they stood and listened to the angel’s good news. Jesus is alive. “He isn’t here! He is rise from the dead! Remember what He told you…” Some of us need a reminder that Jesus IS alive. We have resurrection power and life inside of us which means nothing is impossible if we believe. The women only needed a reminder to remember and then ran back to tell the others the phenomenal news that Jesus had done exactly as He said that He would do. Only some believed. Jesus spent 40 days after the resurrection trying to prove that he was alive to his own disciples. (Acts 1:3)
Do you believe that He is alive today? Do you believe that Jesus is alive? He left the grave behind – will you? Will you stop holding the stone in place and let the Living God breathe life back into dead dreams and impossibilities today? What if you are the only thing standing in the way of resurrection power and life changing your situation? What if the newness of life is sealed in doubt and disbelief that Jesus is alive and well today? Lord, don’t let that be me! I believe. I pray that Your Word penetrates hearts today. I pray that Your Spirit changes minds today! I ask Lord that you make yourself known to those who hunger and thirst for you enough to try You today! You will never let them down! You ARE alive!
Psalm 84:1-2 (NLT) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.