<![CDATA[ Rivers Not Reservoirs - Rivers Blog]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 13:02:52 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[February 29th, 2016]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 20:56:18 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/february-29th-2016

Life as a River
"Suspending my Campaign"

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As most of you know, my wife Marybeth and I have begun what we are calling our Journey of Obedience. We have joined with World Gospel Mission to serve as Missionary Volunteer Partners at West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria beginning in July of this year.

Therefore, I am temporarily 'suspending' my
​ blog postings under Rivers Not Reservoirs.

If you are not yet receiving our Obedience Journey Update's you can follow us at: 

http://www.obediencejourney.com 

or please send me an email and I will add you to our monthly update list.

his.rivers@gmail.com

The essence of being a River and not a Reservoir, is centered on obedience isn't it? Everything comes from God, including our 'orders for the day'. When we obey, the flow of the 'River' begins. And each day, the flow continues. So today, tomorrow, and until we see Him face to face, my prayer is that we all will be daily obedient RIVERS! To God be the Glory.

​Mark
NEW CONTACT INFORMATION
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Mark & Marybeth Leavell
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
​(404) 784-4618

SUPPORT
www.wgm.org/leavell
JOURNEY WEB SITE
www.obediencejourney.com
JOURNEY EMAIL

obediencejourney@gmail.com

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<![CDATA[January 12, 2016]]>Tue, 12 Jan 2016 20:46:52 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/january-12-2016


​Where's your Reservoir?


Over the past two years or so I have posted many thoughts related to us being Rivers Not Reservoirs. The emphasis is clearly on being one who lets the gifts from God flow on to others as He directs.  I have also - at least implied - that we are not to be a Reservoir. We are not to hold on to the gifts of God and hold them for a 'rainy day.  In other words, stockpiling them in our Reservoir. 

The fact is that using a metaphor (Rivers not Reservoirs) as the formula for all things in life will at some point break down.  It may in fact seem like the whole concept is a myth.

This post title may in fact seem just that way. Where is my Reservoir? I didn't think I was to have or be a Reservoir! Now wait just a minute, Mark. 

Okay, let me explain.  Let me put the statement a different way. A Reservoir (by our definition here) is a place filled with the gifts of God. We have stockpiled them for use at a later 'needed' time.  In a sense they are treasures - meant for someone else that we have held onto, believing they are ours.  To those casually passing by 'our' reservoir, they might think that we have had great success, or are even rich.  
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So let me re-state the question.
Where is your Reservoir [Treasure]?



An earthly reservoir will be filled with 'treasures' rightfully meant for someone else perhaps?  But if we let the river flow, that very act will result in the 'laying up for ourselves 'treasures' in Heaven.'  Wait a minute, that is too simple - it can't be that easy? Yes, it is simple. But like so many things in life, being simple doesn't make it easy.

But that is precisely what Christ says:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;…"
Matthew 6: 19-20

​One more time
Where is your Reservoir,
On Earth or in Heaven?


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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
(404) 784-4618

BLOG:    www.hisrivers.org
EMAIL:  his.rivers@gmail.com


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<![CDATA[December 06th, 2015]]>Mon, 07 Dec 2015 01:18:05 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/december-06th-2015

God Doesn't Need My Help​

As you probably know, Marybeth and I will be moving to Nigeria soon to answer the call of God to "GO". I must be honest, that there are moments when I have wandered close to the temptation to think that God needs us in Nigeria. It is then that the leading of the Holy Spirit, scripture and A.W. Tozer remind me of the Truth.  'Listen' below.
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The Self Sufficiency of God
Rev A. W. Tozer

"Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world. But the God who 'worketh all things', surely needs no help and no helpers.

Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his hearers, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. 

I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. 

But, the truth is, God needs no defenders. He is the eternal Undefended."

No, God does not need us - He 'needs' no-one. Our going is not anything to be applauded, only acknowledged as obedience to Him. Our thanks is to Him for allowing us to join Him in the work that HE is doing. Thanks to Him for allowing us to receive the joy that comes from obedience.  

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that
this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

2 Corinthians 4:7


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RIVERS NOT RESEERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236


WEB:      www.hisrivers.org
​EMAIL:  his.rivers@gmail.com

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<![CDATA[November 28th, 2015]]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 23:52:05 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/november-28th-2015

​God Never Changes

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"God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow". Like you I have heard that since I was a young child. To be honest, I have thought that it meant that God was always consistent. Of course He was - after-all He was God. No mistakes, or slipping up on an 'off day'. But recently, A.W. Tozer, in his little - but powerful book - The Knowledge of the Holy - has helped me to see that it wasn't that at all. God cannot change. He is unchangeable. He is Immutable. Not by His willpower - but by His very being. Read a portion of Tozer's comments below. And then maybe read them again. 

The Immutable God
by A.W. Tozer

“Of what use to me is, the knowledge that God is immutable?” someone asks. “Is not the whole thing mere metaphysical speculation? Something that might bring a certain satisfaction to persons of a particular type of mind but can have no real significance forpractical men?”
 
If by “practical men” we mean unbelieving men engrossed in secular affairs and indifferent to the claims of Christ, the welfare of their own souls, or the interests of the world to come, then for them such a book as this can have no meaning at all; nor, unfortunately, can any other book that takes religion seriously.
 
But while such men may be in the majority, they do not by any means compose the whole of the population. There are still the seven thousand who have not bowed their knees to Baal.
 
These believe they were created to worship God and to enjoy His presence forever, and they are eager to learn all they can about the God with whom they expect to spend eternity. In this world where men forget us, change their attitude toward us as their private interests dictate, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a source of wondrous strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not? That His attitude toward us now is the same as it was ineternity past and will be in eternity to come?
 
What peace it brings to the Christian’s heart to realize that our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. Incoming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him in a receptive mood.
 
He is always receptive to misery and need, as well as to love and faith.
 
He does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when He will see no one. Neither does He change His mind about anything.
 
Today, this moment, He feels toward His creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for mankind.
 
God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.
 
His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried,
 
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
 
God will not compromise and He need not be coaxed. He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word nor talked into answering selfish prayer.
 
In all our efforts to find God, to please Him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part. “I am the Lord, I change not.” We have but to meet His clearly stated terms, bring our lives into accord with His revealed will, and His infinite power will become instantly operative toward us in the manner set forth through the gospel in the Scriptures of truth

Fountain of being!
Source of Good! Immutable Thou dost remain!
Nor can the shadow of a change Obscure the glories of Thy reign.
Earth may with all her powers dissolve,
If such the great Creator will;
But Thou for ever art the same,
I AM is Thy memorial still.

 From Walker's Collection

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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

WEB:     www.hisrivers.org
EMAIL:  his.rivers@gmail.com

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<![CDATA[November 19, 2015]]>Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:22:34 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/november-19-2015

Life as a River
Brain Lock?

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Busy at the computer just about to complete the next blog posting when it happens….. ‘locked up’. Can’t do anything. Mouse won’t work. I click or try to click on everything…. nothing. I hit every function key and even every number on the keypad… nothing. Even ctrl+alt+del doesn’t work. In a second of frustration, I hit the power button and turn the ‘thing’ off.  And you are saying ,,,, “Yep, been there, done that”.

I have been reading a 120 page little book by A.W. Tower - The Knowledge of the Holy.  Randy Alcorn has said, ‘that other than the Bible this book has been the most influential in his life.’

From the first paragraph on, my brain begins acting like my computer —- it is trying to ‘lock up’. It just doesn’t seem capable of processing. 

However, not being one to keep this experience to myself, I am going to share ‘some’ of Tozer’s thoughts with you, and pray that your brain will not lock up! Here is just a small taste.



“God has no origin, and it is precisely this concept of no-origin which distinguishes That-which-is-God from whatever is not God.

Origin is a word that can apply only to things created. When we think of anything that has origin we are not thinking of God. God is self-existent, while all created things necessarily originated somewhere at some time. Aside from God, nothing is self-caused.

By our effort to discover the origin of things we confess our belief that everything was made by Someone who was made of none. By familiar experience we are taught that everything ‘came from’ something else. Whatever exists must have had a cause that antedates it and was at least equal to it, since the lesser cannot produce the greater. Any person or thing may be at once both caused and the cause of someone or something else; and so, back to the One who is the cause of all but is Himself caused by none. (Are you starting to feel a little bit of lock up?)

Where did God come from’ - the child asks. By this question, he unwittingly acknowledges his creature-hood. Already the concept of cause and source and origin is firmly fixed in his mind. He knows that everything around him came from something other than itself, and he simply extends that concept upward to God. The little philosopher is thinking in true creature-idiom and, allowing for his lack of basic information he is reasoning correctly. He must be told that God has no origin, and he will find this hard to grasp since it introduces a category with which he is wholly unfamiliar and contradicts the bent toward origin-seeking so deeply ingrained in all intelligent beings, a bent that impels them to probe ever back and back toward undiscovered beginnings. (Some of you are already hopelessly ‘frozen’ - ‘locked up’)

To think steadily of that to which the idea of origin cannot apply is not easy, if indeed it is possible at all. The human mind, being created, has an understandable uneasiness about the Uncreated. We tend to be disquieted by the thought of One who does not account to us for His being, who is responsible to no one, who is self-existent self-dependent and self-sufficient. 

To admit that there is One who lies beyond us, who will not be be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason, nor submit to our curious inquiries; this requires a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least down to where we can manage Him. (Anybody still with me?)

Yet how He eludes us! For He is everywhere while He is nowhere, for ‘where’ has to do with matter and space, and God is independent of both. He is unaffected by time or motion, is wholly self-dependent and owes nothing to the worlds His hands have made.”

​Rev. A.W. Tozer
Timeless, spaceless, single, lonely,
Yet sublimely three,
Thou art grandly, always, only
God in Unity!
Lone in grandeur, lone in glory,
Who shall tell Thy wondrous story?
Awful Trinity! 


Frederick W. Faber

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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

EMAIL:    his.rivers@gmail.com
BLOG:      www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog

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<![CDATA[November 12,2015]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 16:30:19 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/november-122015


Jesus said to His disciples, "Come and follow me......". And they - dropped their nets, left their business, or there families - and followed Him.  Now that was pretty simple - simple but not easy. For us in the 21st century it is still simple, but not easy.  

'Yes Jesus I will follow you, just as soon as I take care of a few things. I will follow you when I am finished with this current project. I'm coming.'

We just 'fell back' from daylight savings time to standard time.  In a sense, sometimes I think we are operating the same way with Jesus. We are on two different time zones. I am sometimes on 'Easy life time zone"  and Jesus asks us to operate on "Simply follow Me time zone". 

One of the truths the Leavell's are realizing, is that when Jesus says Come - or Go we must keep it simple even though it is not easy.  Obedience to the Lord, is simple, and it it immediate - it requires dropping everything and following Him.  

​Anything else may be easier, but I am not so sure it isn't Disobedience.
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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
​(404) 784 - 4618

Leavell's to Nigeria Web Page
Mark's Email

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<![CDATA[October 26th, 2015]]>Mon, 26 Oct 2015 15:01:30 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/october-26th-2015

The Obedience Journey Begins

"Jesus said to them again,".... As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.:
John 20:21
"A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus.The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us.  The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front - to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, and is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him - to carry out His plans". - Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest.

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Marybeth and I are continuing our journey of obedience. The next step for us is to join God in the work He is doing in Nigeria at West Africa Theological Seminary. We have joined World Gospel Mission as Missionary Volunteer Partners (MVP), and our likely date of 'landing' will be sometime mid year 2016. 


​To follow us or to Join us on this journey,
Please click on the Link 
View our Obedience Journey email

RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

WEB/BLOG          www.hisrivers.org
       EMAIL:                  his.rivers@gmail.com
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<![CDATA[October 15th, 2015]]>Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:51:10 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/october-15th-2015

Hurry up & Wait

“Hurry up and wait’ - have you ever said that, or felt like you were ‘’getting no-where fast’?
We want it NOW. Waiting is not a common trait for most of us.  We see it, and we want it. We think it and we want it to happen that way. We know we need to lose 10 lbs, and we expect it will happen sometime in the next 7 days. I am sure each of you can come up with your list of ‘can’t waits’.

I am in the middle of one of these inward ‘can’t waits’.  And I am growing very weary. It seems that every day that passes, the resolution is even further away than the day before.  
I pray and then I pray some more. I am definitely in a “hurry up and wait” mode. I am reminded of the traffic in Lagos Nigeria. The often heard phrase is:  “I was in a go slow”.  And that is where I am - In a major “Go Slow”.  
Doesn’t God hear my prayer?  Oh, I’m sure He does, but obviously He must be growing weary! 

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STOP

Listen to Isaiah 40:28- 31

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the ‘teenagers’ (my italics) shall faint and be weary. And young men shall utterly fall. ​But those who WAIT upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.

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THINK

Someone has said, ‘Waiting on God is not so much about TIME, but ATTITUDE.’


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DO IT
Today I will inwardly wait -
keep my focus
upward for strength -
and
outwardly walk & run.



SOMETIMES WAITING IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING
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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

WEB BLOG:     www.hisrivers.org
EMAIL:              his.rivers@gmail.co
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<![CDATA[September 29th, 2015]]>Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:25:03 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/september-29th-2015

Life as a River

The Law of Resupply

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I am including portions of an article by Jay Link of Stewardship Ministries in this blog post. He takes a familiar passage from Proverbs and 'reframes' it in a way that I believe is true to the scriptures. - Mark

 “Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so that
your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine”
​Proverbs 3:9-10

Pastors often quote these verses urging people with limited or ordinary means to give liberally so that they will, as a result, become people with extraordinary means. Their “pitch” is that the more you give, the richer you will personally become. This, obviously, is the cornerstone of the prosperity gospel message. However, this half-truth is not limited to just those who promote this theology. I have seen many forms of it in evangelical sermons and teachings as well.

I will say that after studying this passage in much greater depth, this common interpretation of these verses misses the mark by a mile. Allow me to drill down a bit deeper and share with you what I have discovered about these two short verses.

A Command

Solomon is well known for making astute life- observations and then using his supernatural wisdom to coin simple yet profound proverbs about how life works. These proverbs form a treasure of life-counsel that is pointed and practical – many of them being insightful one-liners. They provide us with wise observations on life-outcomes resulting from certain decisions and life choices.

But Solomon in this passage shifts from merely observing how life works to giving a specific command. He uses the opening word “honor” in the imperative making his statement a command. Solomon is ordering the reader to “honor the Lord” with a specific kind of giving. He is not trying to simply entice us to give by dangling the promise of enjoying greater, personal, material prosperity before us. He is telling us that giving is serious business. But the more important question we must ask is, “Who is he talking to here?”

Your Wealth

Solomon’s command here is not directed to the poor or people of modest means. This command is rather directed to individuals who are rich. Notice this giving is to come from the person’s “wealth.” Poor people of Solomon’s day would not have any wealth with which to obey this command. This command is also not being directed to a group of middle class people who collectively may own among themselves more than one barn or vat.

​In all three places where the pronoun “your” is used (before “wealth,” “barns” and “vats”) they are all in the singular – meaning Solomon is talking to one wealthy person who personally possesses multiple barns and multiple wine vats – the wealthiest of the wealthy. There would have been no disagreement that anyone who owned multiple barns and vats in Solomon’s day would be wealthy. So this command from Solomon is specifically for those who are already wealthy, not those who want to become wealthy.

The Law of Resupply

One of the most common fears of giving is this, “If I get really radical in my giving, what I currently have in my barns and vats could be greatly diminished. Consequently, I may find them being only half-full or worse yet, entirely empty because I gave too much away.” This is the exact concern that Solomon is addressing in this passage. He tells the wealthy that your liberal giving from your barns and vats will not reduce what your barns and your vats hold. Contrary to what you fear, your first fruits giving will not diminish what you have. Instead, it will ensure that your “barns will (remain) filled” and “your vats will (continue to) overflow” with excess even after your giving. This is what I call the Law of Resupply.

This is not the only place where we see this Law of Resupply demonstrated. We see this Law of Resupply taught in II Corinthians 9:8, 10. Paul encourages us, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. ...He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way…”

Paul is telling us what we give will be resupplied to us. Why? So we can do even more giving. When we demonstrate a life and a commitment to doing good and helping others with the materials possessions He entrusts to us, the Law of Resupply will operate in our lives and we will have “all sufficiency in all things at all times, (so we) may abound in every good work.” And “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.” What an incredible assurance! We can never become poor by giving too much away. God will always give givers more to give!

The Motivation
Let us all be mindful that without a proper check of our motivation, this Law of Resupply can easily be reduced to nothing more than a self-serving gimmick to getting personally richer using “giving” as the methodology to achieve it. Solomon dismantles this possible self-serving motivation with his opening words, “honor the Lord...” Our singular motivation for giving is solely for the purpose of bringing honor to the Lord.

Do you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:16? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” What is the ultimate objective of our giving? It is to bring glory and honor to the Lord. And as we focus on giving honor to Him, He gives us repeated opportunities to honor Him by enacting His Law of Resupply. Our goal then is not to increase prosperity for us, but to increase honor for Him.

The Conclusion​

Do you want to experience the Law of Resupply? Here are the steps.

(1.) Begin by believing this law even exists.
(2.) Find some way to give to honor the Lord.
(3.) Give to the point that what you hold in your “barns” and your “vats” are at new lows.
​(4.) Repeat this honor the Lord giving process until you run out of money and possessions.

What? Relax. You will discover you will never get to (4.)! The Law of Resupply will become operational at some point and in some supernatural way “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.” Like the widow of Zeraphath, you will discover you will never run out of flour and oil.

Solomon isn’t making a suggestion here. He is giving us a command. Are you ready to obey his command and experience the supernatural Law of Resupply?


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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

BLOG:       www.hisrivers.org
EMAIL:      his.rivers@gmail.com

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<![CDATA[September 15th, 2015]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 18:26:53 GMThttp://www.hisrivers.org/rivers-blog/september-15th-2015

River or Reservoir?

When you experience (not just believe) the  love of God, 
You will be changed because you cannot genuinely experience God's love 
without loving others. Your love for others will flow out of His love for you.

Because the flow is controlled by Him, 
 You will be functioning as a River, 

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 1:9 


However, if you believe that God's love for you has been earned 
or 'you deserve it', you will love others only in your own strength. 
The flow will only come out of your will or duty.  

Because the flow is controlled by you, 
you will be functioning as a Reservoir

"The person who doesn't love does not know 
God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8


That sound you hear is of a broken record !
(For those under the age of 40 -  you probably don't even 
know what a record is - much less what it sounds like)

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RIVERS NOT RESERVOIRS
7982 Hillcrest Trail
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236

BLOG:      www.hisrivers.org  
EMAIL;     his.rivers@gmail.com

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