Monday, May 28, 2012

Bottled water for your thirst...

Recently, my family switched to Dasani water for our bottled water consumption for its fresh taste (and support of our home town bottling company ;) ).  A by-product of this move is our sensitivity to low quality water.  One day, I pulled a bottle from our fridge, and as soon as I tasted the water, I knew something was not right.  My first reaction was that the water was bad coming out of the factory but then I noticed that the caps were not sealed, and I investigated until I ran into a certain young lady who proudly admitted that she was the cause. In an effort to be helpful when we ran out of water, my 11 year old daughter filled some used Dasani bottles with tap water and inserted them back into the fridge.

I imagine that if we drank the water long enough we would get used to the taste and even perhaps begin to like it, but would it be the same?  Would trading the pure high quality filtered water be the same as the unfiltered tap from the sink?  This reminds me of Jesus' life and his promise of "living water" and I offer the following in reflection:

#1. Never ending water.  Jesus' water never empties like a bottle of Dasani that also leaves us thirsty not long after drinking. Jesus states in John 4, "13 ... Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but 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.”   

#2. Fresh pure water. I would encourage you to know your source of water -- is it tap from the sink filled by an innocent well meaning person or pure and fresh water from the Bottler? Jesus states in John 7, "37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'"

#3. Sealed for redemption. Finally, we need to ensure that we are "sealed" with pure high quality water. John 7:39 states, "By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive."  Giving your life to Christ ensures that you are sealed with the living water of the Holy Spirit.  Pure water that never dries up.

It is my hope that in reading this article you would become sensitive to the water that Jesus has to offer, and when tap water is introduced into your life that you would thirst for something pure.  If you have Jesus, and yet have filled your life with the tap water that comes from the world, it would be my prayer that you would consider Jesus' promise that His water flows from the Spirit and is never ending and can fill you again.  If you have a life without Jesus, please understand your life if filled with tap water which is unfiltered and dirty.  It may seem the same; after all it is water, but is it the same?  If you have yet to experience the pure water of the Holy Spirit, it would be my prayer that you would humbly seek Jesus invitation found in Revelation 22:17b, "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

Remember, tap water is used to clean dishes, wash dogs and clean floors, and it is thrown out when its use is done.  Bolted water quenches when you are thirsty, fills when dehydrated and satisfies when consumed. Pure water gives life!
May the Lord Jesus, the Eternal Water, bless the reading of this message,

~Jason Furtak~

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not my proudest day...

Do you ever have those moments in life that cause you to reevaluate how you're living?  Well, I had one of those moments on yesterday.  At first glance, it may seem simple.  One even may let me off of the hook given the situation and human's propensity to make mistakes, and on the grand scheme of things it's magnitude may seem microcosmical to the average person.  It is important to understand that this is an inner turmoil for which I'm loosing sleep, and this in most cases is a prompting from the Lord.

By way of background, my son is 9 years old and plays baseball.  I have been enthusiastic with his participation as any parent would be.  I have been supportive in his practices and have found time on occasion to assist him with one-on-one work.  My son's team made it to the final 3 in a recent post season tournament.  Joshua contributed to these wins by performing exceptionally well as catcher, and during one post season game, placing bat on ball and driving home a game winning RBI.  During last evening's game, I had one of those moments where I became "that parent" and came down on my son after he sat motionless at the plate while each ball came by.  "Strike one...", "strike two...", "strike three... you're out!".  "Joshua!", I exclaimed. "You've got to swing at those balls son!  Why did you just sit there? Don't you understand the importance of this game?"  In my frustration, I kept at it until I saw a well spring of tears build up in his eyes.  He fought the tears but my onslaught was relentless.  You have to understand, my son is one of the kindest young boys you'll ever meet.  It's this kind heart that makes sports a challenge at times.  He enjoys playing sports because he enjoys playing sports.  He doesn't have the eye of the tiger but in all honesty he plays the game like it probably should be; for fun and the enjoyment of it.  Don't get me wrong, he enjoys the competition and works hard but he's not a fierce competitor.  To see my kind boy crying because of the one hero he has in his life was disappointed in his performance got to the core of my being.  I pulled Joshua out of the dug-out and gave him a big hug and apologized but at that moment the damage was already done.  What kind of coward berates his son for something simple and then follows up his guilt with a hug?  I was honestly remorseful, and if I could, I would trade this experience for relentless punishment in order to remove the hurt that I placed on young Joshua's heart.  I tried to make it up by being supportive at the next at bat but I could tell it was too little too late.  After the game I spoke to Joshua about my frustration and begged his forgiveness.  With loving eyes he returned a glance, his eyes teared up a bit more and gave me a hug.  "That's ok, daddy..."  Wow, what do you do with that?  These are the words I wanted to hear, and yet, they provided little comfort because I understood the long term ramifications of the damage I had done and the guilt on my heart was made that much heavier.

So, what do I do with this?  As any Christian should do, I have confessed my sin; and God promises forgiveness. [1]  With forgiveness from my son and forgiveness from my Lord, I have to evaluate where I stand.  It would be easy to rest in my blessed assurance but my soul is stirred with something deeper.  Something that needs change.  The beautiful thing about this walk with Christ is my ongoing sanctification, the transformation of my inner person into the image of Christ by Christ's Spirit, despite my shortcomings. As I reflect on the Scriptures in James 3, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."; I have come to the realization that at the core of my experience last evening is the tongue that is untamed as James points out.  I have to ask these same questions that James is asking here.  Can I praise the Lord and curse my son with the same tongue?  As these are meant to be answered with a resounding "no", I to have hold fast to these questions and reflect.  Luckily, the Lord provides a response through James who doesn't stop there and provides for my answer to my question at the end of chapter 3, "13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom...17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." This is my opportunity to do my part in sanctification by working on these lofty qualities as James has noted, in order that in the future should another opportunity arise like last evening, I sow in Joshua a harvest of righteousness full of encouragement.

May God be blessed by the sharing of this confession,

~Jason Furtak~

[1] "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9.