Saturday, January 2, 2010

THE SPIRIT OF NEWNESS

‘Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.’ Isaiah 32:15. A thirsty land. A shower of God. A forest of people.

‘My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.’ Psalm 143:6b. ‘Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive.’ John 7:37b-39a. Thirsty souls. Rivers of God. Spirit-filled people.

‘Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will honour Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.’ Isaiah 43:19-21. Transformed deserts. A word from God. Transformed people.

‘Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.’ Ezekiel 36:25-27. Cleansed souls. Blessings from God. Obedient people.

‘John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and all were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins… And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”’ Mark 1:4,5,7. Penitent souls. Poured out water. Promised Spirit.

‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.’ Acts 10:44-48a. Souls magnifying the Lord. Promise poured out. Covenant signed and sealed.

Is your soul like a shrivelled walnut? Have you withered on the vine? Is your heart dry as dust? Is your tongue of praise sticking to the roof of your mouth? Is a guilty conscience sapping away all your strength? Then hear what Jehovah-Jesus says, ‘Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without price. Why do you spend money on what is not bread, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear to Me, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David.’ Isaiah 55:1-3.

A desert in bloom is a picture of a land renewed and a soul restored. ‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’ Psalm 23:1-3.

As Peter says, ‘Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.’ 2 Peter 3:13. And John says, ‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold! I make all things new.”’ Revelation 21:1a, 5a. Not only does the Spirit renew the individual and cause deserts to bloom, He even renews the whole cosmos!

To join with all creation in its praise of the wonderful and gracious Creator bow the knee before Jesus Christ and call on Him. ‘For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:13. ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ 2 Corinthians 5:17.

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