TITLE: Searching for Answers 2/22/15
By Richard McCaw
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Searching for Answers
by Richard McCaw
When we were children sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, our mother would take us to “Hope Botanical Gardens.” We wandered among the gardens, the ponds and at the zoo enjoyed gazing at the animals. We raced into “the Maze,” a large plant construction of winding paths trying to find our way to the center and then out again. Sometimes, children took a wrong turn and lost and frightened would start crying loudly.
Some of life's questions may leave us utterly confused like the children lost in that maze.
If weak-hearted we may become lost in the maze of contradictory doctrines and accept fatalistic thinking: if God really wants anyone saved or if there is a deeper spiritual life,God is sovereign. There is nothing anyone can do.
In contrast to that kind of reasoning, Charles Finney, a great 19th century revivalist, outlined his case for personal revival simply.
No farmer expects God to bring seed, trees and fruit from the ground. He must plough up the soil, root out the weeds, water the seed, then God will do the rest.
Finney’s scriptural premise was; “Sow in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, it is time to seek the Lord until He come and rain righteousness upon you!”
Man’s responsibility is to seek God with all his heart.
However, many of us, unable to take the strain of always searching for answers, may easily give up. Others may seek answers among the cults. But God’s Word can meet our every need as our only safe refuge.
Jesus warned His disciples, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves!”
One day, the phone rang. Pierre Carrington from school and camp days, was on line. “Hey, Rich, we’re having a prayer meeting on Tuesday night,” he began. He was then a graduate of the University and teaching at Jamaica College.
“Where’s the meeting, Pierre?” I asked.
“Oh, my goodness,” he chuckled. “Imagine! I’m inviting you to a meeting and I haven’t even told you where we’re meeting!”
I laughed knowingly.
“At my house. Do come along!”
When I arrived Tuesday night, several university graduates, and some of Pierre’s friends and the few I knew were scattered around his living room on couches and others square-legged on the carpet.
Although they were seriously seeking the deeper things of God I felt somewhat lost among them! Prayer poured from deep in their hearts, a sharp contrast to the cold, stereotyped prayers I was accustomed to hear. I thought, “The dynamic power from their spirits seemed almost electric! What am I doing here? I can’t pray like them!”
After two sessions, I decided, “This is not my crowd! I’m not going back!”
Looking back, I realize that what they had was exactly what I needed; the fire of the Holy Spirit that gives boldness to be an effective witness for Christ.
I had always been searching for answers to life’s deepest questions. So far I had made definite and satisfying conclusions about some questions: Does God exist? Does He answer prayer? But other questions still bothered me. Do some believers have more spiritual power than others? I had seen a boldness that was miserably absent within my own experience. I wanted to know how I could have that same spiritual power.
Comparing myself to others was, of course, not right, since Christ was the only role model I should have. Nevertheless, God was using this clear difference to stir a greater hunger in me for Him.
Jesus’ disciples were convinced that the secret to His powerful ministry lay in His prayer life. “Lord, teach us to pray,” they asked. Obviously, the power of the Spirit touched every aspect of His life and He went about doing good and healing everyone oppressed by the devil.
One day, Jesus attended the great feast of Tabernacles in which large containers of water played an important part of the ceremony.
Suddenly, he stood up among the great throng of people and with a loud voice declared, “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!”
John, the apostle, reported the event, saying, “This He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive.” John then added a further explanation, “for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Only believers could receive the power of the Spirit, and then only after Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, glorified, and seated on the right hand of God, the Father.
I soon discovered that Jesus is still offering living water today, the true satisfaction of knowing God at a deeper level.
Walking around with the Son of God for three years never made Peter or any other disciple drink deeply of the Spirit. They all had to have their personal experience with the Holy Spirit in the upper room.
On the day of Pentecost, when the disciples were filled with the Spirit, a great crowd gathered and Peter explained, “This is that which was prophesied by Joel the prophet, ‘It shall come to pass in the last days,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh.”
These are still the last days. The tables are still spread. And Jesus is still calling those who long for a closer walk with God, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Out of his inner being will flow rivers of living water.” He is still referring to a second and deeper experience with God, that only genuine believers can receive.
Having this relationship with Jesus Christ is like going to a well, from which everyone can draw water and find complete satisfaction.
“With joy,” says the prophet Isaiah, “you will draw water from the wells of salvation!”
1. Hos 10:12 2. Matt 7:15; 3. Luke 11:1; 4 John 7:37–39; 5 Acts 2:32-36 6. Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16; 7. Isa 12:3
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