Expectations and Disappointment

 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.  (Jeremiah 2:13).  Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.  It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”  This is what the Sovereign LORD the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  (Isaiah 30:12-15).  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.  (2 Chronicles 20:12).  
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water … Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:10, 12).  “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Cor. 4:6-7, 18).  “[O]ne thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 3:13-14).  

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.  (Mark 14:3).  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Phil. 2:17).

What is it you seek to fill your cistern with?  What kinds of things do you tell yourself, “if I could: win this game, achieve that goal, have this relationship, fix this problem, have enough “followers,” influence the right people…?  Friends, even where our “goals” are beautiful, good things, if we seek to fill our cisterns with them, we will be disappointed. Have you sought to satisfy yourself with God’s blessings and gifts rather than God Himself?  Come to the Well.  Be filled.  Be poured out.  In sacrifice, let Him flow through you.

Sowing and Reaping

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.  They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.  But David remained in Jerusalem …  (2 Sam. 11:2).  Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.  (Prov. 25:28).  I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment: thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.  (Prov. 24:30-34).  The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish … The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them … At midnight the cry rang out: Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!  Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out … while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived… And the door was shut.  “Sir!  Sir!”  They said.  ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’  Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  (Mat. 25:1-11).  Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  (Gal. 5:7).  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18).  The fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness … self-control. (Gal. 5:22).  Therefore, my dear friends … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  (Phil. 2:12-13).

For the first time in my professional life, I had a case involving a tax lien and tax deed. If you’re like I was three weeks ago, you don’t know what a tax lien is.  The simplified version is this:  if you don’t pay your real estate taxes, the county in which you live will give you and the whole county notice that they are going to have a tax lien sale and somebody can pay for your taxes.  Then, at least three years later — if not even a little longer than that — the person who paid your taxes will own your entire property, for a mere fraction of its true value.  Of course, there are all kinds of notice provisions — you will get lots of letters about it — but if you don’t pay your taxes and you refuse the notices, there is a distinct possibility that you will have lost your property.

It got me thinking about consequences.  And the seed we sow in all aspects of our lives.  So, friends, what is your garden plot?  And what seed are you sowing there?  What “notices” might you be ignoring?  What weeds might need pulling?

Whatever your answers, trust in Him.  Therefore, my dear friends … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  (Phil. 2:12-13).