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GOD

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him,
and apart from Him nothing came into being
that has come into being.

LIFE

In Him was life,
and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was the true Light
which, coming into the world,
enlightens every man.

UNKNOWN

He was in the world,
and the world was made through Him,
and the world did not know Him.
He came to His own,
and those who were His own
did not receive Him.

BORN OF GOD

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right
to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name,
who were born,
not of blood
nor of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man,
but of God.

GLORY, GRACE, AND TRUTH

And the Word became flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of

grace 

and

truth.

For of His fullness we have all received,
and grace upon grace.

For the Law was given through Moses;
grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

GOD REVEALED

No one has seen God at any time;
the only begotten God
who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has explained Him.

John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18 NASB


Happy Incarnation Day and Merry Christmas!

See you again soon

Ben

8

Many Waters - SoS header

A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.
...
A fountain of gardens, 
A well of living waters, 
And streams from Lebanon.

Song of Songs 4:12, 15 NKJV

Last week we began to look at these four water metaphors used by Solomon in these two lines from the song with a look at the spring. Today let’s talk fountains.

A Fountain Sealed

Sausalito Fountain

In my mind a fountain is where water sprays and splashes, bubbles and flows. When He calls her a fountain, He is speaking of the effervescence of her life, the way her joy explodes with celebration in His presence.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalms 16:11

Again, the fountain is sealed. His presence is what draws this joy out of her. When she gets around Him she is full of joy. She is a fountain, pure and clean, and set apart for only Him, and He is aware and sees that she only has eyes for Him.

As we look at the way the word fountain is used in scripture there are a couple I would like to draw to the front here.

First, in Proverbs, Solomon weaves a fountain into a number of verses where he refers to “a fountain of life.”

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, - Proverbs 10:11
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, - Proverbs 13:14
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, - Proverbs 14:27
Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, - Proverbs 16:22

Each of these is pointing to one particular Word who is the fountain of life. The Word who was made flesh, and literally became the fountain of life that Zechariah prophesied:

"In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. - Zechariah 13:1

I love this old William Cowper poem/hymn.

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

On one hand we are a sealed fountain, bubbling joy and live in His presence and for His pleasure. As He sends us out we become to those around us what He is to the world.

As Jesus is a fountain of life to us, so we become a fountain of life to those around us. We bubble with joy and speak words of life into the world in which God has placed us. As we lay down our lives for those we rub shoulders with we become a fountain of life flowing with living water, the living water, flowing from that one eternal spring that in which we abide.

Lord, today I pray that I would be a refreshing fountain to you, and a fountain of life to those I come in contact with.

Ben NelsonCome back next week as we take on the deep subject of wells.

Until then, FLOW!

Ben

2

photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc
photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

Today’s red letters are from Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount.

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. - Luke 6:38

I know that nine out of ten times (perhaps 99 out of 100) when this is taught, the lesson is about money, but I think it has a much broader reach. The fact is that the context is that of relational advise more than money advise, though Jesus’ words are flowing back and forth between giving, and loving, and judging, and well, just life in general.

And that is what I want to use for my application today, LIFE.

Are you stingy with your life? Do you keep all of your “self” to yourself? Are you a life hoarder?

Have you ever noticed that when you pull back from living your life in community, your life begins to dry up? At first it might feel like you have a bit more freedom, nobody asking you to serve, nobody poking at your life, or getting in your stuff. But soon, you feel like life is not fulfilling. You go through a rough patch and there is no one to stand beside you.

I don’t think we realize that life is a commodity, and we are not given life to hoard and keep to our selves, but the life we are given is meant to be shared, spread around, planted, given away.

Now, I know there are some of you out there who give away all the life that you have, and keep none for yourself, and of course you are the ones reading this thinking – “I should get more involved” – Well, perhaps not. Be sure to save some of your precious life to sustain your family. He who does not care for the needs of his own family is worse than an infidel – that goes for your time and love and life, as much, or more than it does for your money.

But if you find yourself feeling alone, left out, forsaken, consider whether you have stopped sharing that wonderful commodity that God has put in your hands for the express purpose of sharing – YOU.

Do you want to unstop the flow of life into your world? Share what you have, and God will press it down, shake it together and pour so much life back into your lap you won’t know what to do. [Tweet This]

How was Jesus able to feed 5,000 people? By taking the tiny offering of a young boy who was willing to share.

Paul said it this way:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. - Galatians 6:7

Spread some life today!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Photo Credit: http://www.polskiekrajobrazy.pl/index.php?option=com_images&task=view_image&id=36695&catid=183&Itemid=48

I am again surprised by context. If there is a verse in the Bible that can stand on its own, it is the ‘Golden Rule,’ Matthew 7:12. Nevertheless, it does not stand alone. Though it has been a sound bite millions of times over, when Jesus shared this great divine relational wisdom, it was in the context of the gate.

I want to ponder this gate a bit, but first let’s hear what Jesus said:

Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small (strait KJV), and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. ~ Matthew 7:12-14

Here we have two paths leading to two gates. These two gates in turn grant access to two results. The broad way and wide gate grant you access to destruction. The narrow way and the small gate lead to life.

Today I want to makes one fairly simple point.

How much of religion, even Christianity is based on the keeping of rules (Golden or otherwise.) I have a friend who is an orthodox Jew, and we have over the years talked a lot about life as an orthodox Jew. What it’s like, once a year, to clean your house, clean your car, wash every surface, just to ensure that there is not even a crumb of leavened bread anywhere to be found. Imagine the challenge when you have little ones who sit in their car seat on a long trip eating from a cup of Cheerios.

Different pots and pans, plates and bowls to be used only one week out of the year.

There are restrictions on where they can buy a house because it had to be within a Sabbath day’s walk from a synagogue.

You get the point.

As a young Christian girl, my mom was never allowed to go the movies. It was not until well into her marriage, when her husband pointed out that they were watching movies on the TV in their home, that she finally relented.

She grew up in a day when Christians ‘didn't smoke and didn't chew and didn't go with girls that do.’

In my wife’s house growing up they had stacks of my father-in-law’s old business cards with symbols and numbers drawn on them, so they could play games that required a deck of cards with out using those worldly ones that had images on them.

I had friends who were not allowed to go out and play, or even change out of their 'Church clothes' on Sunday afternoon, because it was a day of rest, and playing was clearly not rest.

I really do get where these rules come from, and I don’t want to dishonor those who keep them.

What I want to point out today is that this narrow way and strait gate, in context, is 100% relational. [Tweet This]

Staying on the 'straight and narrow' is about how you treat other people, not about how you follow rules.

Are you planning a trip to LIFE? Is your intended destination LIFE? Is that where you want to end up?

Then treat everyone you run into with the same kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, trust, honor, respect, honesty, generosity, forthrightness, purity… with which you wish to be treated.

This is the road to life. It’s narrow and straight. All other roads lead to destruction.

BenThanks for coming by.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

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