Heart on Fire – Hunger and Thirst!

Heart on Fire – Hunger and Thirst!

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Have you ever been hungry? Maybe its been a while since you last ate, and your stomach is grumbling. Your pizza from last night is long gone, and you forgot to eat breakfast. Rumble, rumble, it goes. And it’s all you can think about; you just can’t wait for lunch. You just can’t wait to test food again. Maybe you start imagining what you’re going to eat—what it will look like, what it will smell like, what it will taste like. You can almost taste it now. Maybe you’re going out to lunch at a favorite restaurant today and that is all that you can think about ordering your favorite meal. Your mouth even starts to water just thinking about it, and when you do eat it, it is delicious!!! The taste reminds you all over again why it’s your favorite, and even after you’re done, you know you’re going to have to eat it again—and soon!

The Bible says…

Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trust in Him!

The word taste is translated: Experience. “Oh, taste and see” you are literally saying: Try and experience, or try the flavor of the Lord because He is good.

You cannot see except by tasting for yourself; but if you taste you shall see, for this, like Jonathan’s honey, enlightens the eyes. “That the Lord is good.” You can only know this really and personally by experience. (1 Sam. 14)

The Lord asks us to “taste and see” that He is good. He wants us to hunger for Him and His presence more than we would hunger for anything else in this world. And just like your favorite food, when you get a little bit of Him, He knows that you’re just going to want more. Unlike the food we eat, there is never too much of God. We can never consume too much of Him, of His presence, of His goodness. We could taste of His love forever and ever, and we would never get enough.

How does revival come? It comes when men and women get desperate for God. Revival begins with spiritual hunger, when God’s people are no longer satisfied with man’s plan but they long for something more. Jesus told all hungry people to come to Him. He is attracted to hunger. 

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

There are many people who are not hungry to go any deeper. They like having God in a box. They want just enough of Him to feel better and possibly be blessed but they do not long for a deeper walk. God cannot fill those people in the manner that He desires. His promise is to fill the hungry. He is placing a divine hunger on the inside of men and women who will begin to seek Him for something deeper than what they are walking in right now. That is revival hunger!

Hunger Defined – The discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food; To have a strong desire or craving.

One of the greatest challenges in the church today is that we have lost our hunger for God! My desire is to stir up your hunger —that you would seek Him with all your heart!

There are many people in the Bible who wanted to know God more. Here are just a couple…

Phil. 3:10a KJV

That I may know him…

Phil. 3:10a, Amplified Classic

(For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him (that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly).”

The Apostle Paul wrote this out of His determined focus on knowing Jesus more. He didn’t have Jesus in the flesh to get to know, but like us, he was a seeker and longed to taste and know and experience more of Christ.

Psalm 63:1-3 AMP

A Psalm of David; when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You;

My soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You,

In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have gazed upon You in the sanctuary,

To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips shall praise You.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He was hungry for God and to know Him deeper and to be in His presence. All throughout the Psalms David writes His heart of longing to be with God and that nothing satisfies his hunger or thirst but God. David wrote this when he was in the wilderness of Judah. 

Sometimes God allows us to go into the wilderness to cause us to hunger & thirst for Him! The wilderness is a lonesome place, a waste land, desert, desolate, solitary, a starving place.

There are times God allows us to be in the wilderness to get our attention. Sometimes our own choices places us in a place of spiritual starvation. Maybe you feel dry and famished? Maybe you are feeling all alone and not going anywhere. This may be your wilderness time. What are you going to do? Are you going to get bitter and mad that you are in a wilderness or are you going to seek food and water from the One who can only satisfy?

3 Things about Hunger and Thirst

  1. GOD ALONE CAN SATISFY OUR HUNGER AND THIRST.

John 7:37-38

“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.”

Are you hungry or thirsty for God? This verse is the answer. Go to Jesus and drink of Him. Spend time with Him in prayer and Bible reading. Worship Him 24/7, even when you are at work. Enter into the worship service on Sunday and drink from the fountain that never runs dry. (Fountains by Josh Baldwin)

John 6:35

“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Jesus is the bread of life! In the natural bread sustains and nourishes and keeps us, so does Jesus. He is our daily bread, the air we breathe, the living water that quenches our thirst and satisfies. We no longer have to search for things in this world to sustain us spiritually. We have the best bread that has ever been made and that is Jesus Himself.

2. WE WON’T BE HUNGRY FOR GOD UNTIL WE TASTE HIS GOODNESS!

Ps. 34:8

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

Ps. 119:103

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

1 Peter 2:1-3

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

  • When you know how much God loves you, you will seek Him. We need a revelation of the Father’s heart of love for us.
  • Satan distorts our perception of who God is so we won’t seek after Him – this is a barrier to hunger that must be broken by God’s revelation!
  • Let Him love you—to transform you and wreck you for everything but His presence.

3. ONCE YOU’VE TASTED AND SEEN GOD’S GOODNESS YOU WANT MORE!

THOSE WHO HUNGER:  “God will fill them; and when he fills men with his fulness, they are full indeed.”  –C. H. Spurgeon

The verbs for hunger and thirst mean an intense desire, an ardent craving, and all-consuming pursuit. It is as though you are parched and nothing will stop you from getting to the water fountain to drink. Or, you are so hungry you will pursue food at all costs. It’s a desperate kind of hunger.

In a different context, to describe a person who is ambitious, passionate, and desperate to achieve or to succeed we will say “he’s hungry.” It is that same kind of passion and drive that should motivate the believer to pursue God.

Psalm 42:1 – 2 Amplified Bible

As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks,

So my soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.

My soul (my life, my inner self) thirsts for God, for the living God.

When will I come and see the face of God?

I love these verses. It gives a visual that is so clear. You can see the deer panting for water and it brings a question to ourselves; “Am I longing for the Living water like the thirsty deer is for the water brooks?”

Hunger and thirst are intense desires. It is that same intensity that we need in seeking God. Do you have that kind of desperation for a truly Christian lifestyle that changes us from the inside out so that we no longer seek the praise of men but causes us to seek God’s approval above everything else?

Appetites aren’t filled until you do something about it. It is one thing to intellectually say I am hungry and desire food. It is quite another to take the steps to satisfy your hunger and to quench your thirst. At some point you have to go eat or drink.

By the way, a loss of appetite is a sign of illness. Physically, we know something is wrong when we have no desire to eat. The same is true spiritually. When we no longer hunger and thirst for time alone with God through Bible reading and prayer, or aren’t committed to the worship of God, or fail to get alarmed over our sinful condition and the sin of the world, we see clear signs of spiritual sickness. When we no longer take the appropriate action of developing and deepening our relationship with God, a warning light – like on the dashboard of your car – needs to be illuminated, signaling that something is wrong. We need help.

The action we need to take is to go to the source – the bread of life.

When we are spiritually hungry we will come to the source of spiritual life – Jesus himself. Our real hunger is for God. Saint Augustine was right when he said: “O God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

Here is the problem; many people are going to the wrong places – pleasure, performance, or possessions; living on the junk food of another job, another marriage, another vacation; or thinking, “All I need to do is read the Bible every now and then, attend church and worship every once in a while, serve in ministry when I feel like it.” 

God says, “Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest” (Is. 55:2 The Message).

Many people today are looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places, trying to satisfy the craving of their hearts with junk of this world, or in the church and are spiritually malnourished. You need to come to Jesus – the source of life itself. You need to feed upon Him with balanced, daily diet of prayer and the study of God’s Word. You need to drink from His cup through life giving worship. You need to feast on His love and his grace, His forgiveness, and His power.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Are you hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Is it a continual pursuit? Are you coming back for more? I have discovered that hungering and thirsting for righteousness is like a narcotic. You get hooked. You become addicted. You need more. You keep coming back. Once you have encountered the living God nothing else satisfies. You want more and more of Him.

When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, when you want what God wants more than anything in the world, you will have it. You will be filled with Jesus himself!

There is power in hungering and thirsting after God and His ways. It sets you on the right path, it brings you to a close intimate relationship with God. It brings breakthrough and chains are broken that have captured you.

I close with this final thought. Jesus’ appeal is always personal. He never says, “Come and join the church” or “Come and be baptized” or “Come and give money.” He simply says, “Come unto me.” When Jesus says, “You will be filled,” He means “You will be filled with Jesus himself!”

If you are hungry, come and eat of the Bread of Life.

If you are thirsty, come and drink of the Water of Life.

If are weary and heavy-laden, come and find rest.

If you are guilty, come and be forgiven.

If you are far from God, come back home again.

Read Psalm 63:1 – 8 from The Passion Translation 

Psalm 84:2 Amplified Bible

My soul (my life, my inner self) longs for and greatly desires the courts of the Lord;

My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Psalm 107:9 Amplified Bible

For He satisfies the parched throat,

And fills the hungry appetite with what is good.

Let me give you some good news. In the kingdom of God, everything begins with a seeking heart! Salvation begins with a hungry heart. If you are tired of the life you’ve been living, you can make a new start.

Whatever you want in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? If you are, you can be filled. This is the promise of God to hungry hearts and thirsty souls.

Take time right now and allow your hunger and thirst for God bring you into His presence. Desire to know Him more. Allow God to fill you to overflowing with Who He is!

Your Sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com 

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Persecuted But Not Abandoned!

Persecuted But Not Abandoned!

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This is the last message on the Beatitudes series I have been preaching these past few Sundays at Hope Fellowship in Spokane, WA. I pray it ministers to you!

Matthew 5:1 – 12 NIV

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said: Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10 – 12 NIV
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Now, more then ever, Christians are hated and persecuted. We should think it not strange, but rejoice because the coming of our Lord Jesus is soon. These signs are in the New Testament and they foretell of what is to come. The Apostle Paul knew first hand what persecution was like.

2 Timothy 3:10 – 12 NIV
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Living a godly life is a blessed life, and it is also a persecuted life. If you haven’t had much persecution in your life, maybe it is because people don’t know you are a Christian and you haven’t stood on your beliefs in front of them. If you are persecuted, you are on the right track. If you are persecuted by religious people, you are definitely on the right track.

Jesus was persecuted often by the religious people of His day. Judaism was perverted and the Sadducees and Pharisees created something that would benefit them and not the people. Jesus’ message was opposite of this. His message was of love and connection with God. It was not something new to Jesus though. He knew what His mission was when He came to earth in spite of any persecution, He fulfilled his mission.

Persecution is when someone comes under physical and verbal attack for what they believe and for how they live their life. It is as if they were found guilty in court for no cause.

He knew the world would hate him, but it was irrelevant because Jesus knew their ignorance. Jesus even told his Disciples the world would hate them because of Him.

John 15:18 – 25

The World Hates the Disciples
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’”

Persecution is something that happens to you for no reason other than you are a Christ follower.

In that same breath, Jesus started talking about an Advocate who He will send from the Father – the Spirit of truth – who will testify of Him. This Advocate would be the Disciples as well.

John 15:26 – 16:1 – 15 NIV

The Work of the Holy Spirit
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Why do I bring up all these verses? I hope I am painting a beautiful picture that we are not alone in life, and most importantly, in persecution. We will suffer persecution, the Bible is clear about that, but we don’t have to suffer alone.

John 16:33 NIV
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

The amazing news is that we as Christians already know the ending of the story. Jesus has overcome the world and we will spend eternity with Him! I believe Jesus also shared verse 33 to reassure us that even today, Jesus has overcome the world! With the Advocate, Holy Spirit, living in us, we have more power, more in site, and more help then the Disciples did during their time with Christ. They didn’t know what Jesus was thinking, but we, as Spirit-Filled believers, can tap into what Holy Spirit is saying (He hears only what Jesus tells Him) and be reassured of our life in this world and the world to come.

That is powerful to think about! Today, we have been given gifts from Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) to encourage each other in the middle of any persecution. As such, we have enough “stuff” we go through during a given day of our life, we should be encouraging one another with our spiritual gifts daily!

I believe the more we are persecuted, the more our spiritual gifts should be manifested! We need help from above everyday! We can not make it on our own. That is why Jesus sent us the Advocate!

The word Advocate means: “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy, a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf. (Dictionary)

In the Old Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary, the word Advocate means:

1. Advocate, in its primary sense, signifies, one who pleads the cause of another in a court of civil law.

2. One who pleads the cause of another before any tribunal or judicial court, as a barrister in the English courts.

In Europe, advocates have different titles, according to their particular duties:

Consistorial advocates, in Rome, appear before the Consistory, in opposition to the disposal of benefices.
Elective advocates are chosen by a bishop, abbot, or chapter, with license from the prince.
Feudal advocates were of a military kind, and to attach them to the church, had grants of land, with power to lead the vassals of the church war.
Fiscal advocates, in ancient Rome, defended causes in which the public revenue was concerned.
Juridical advocates became judges, in consequence of their attending causes in the earl’s court.
Matricular advocates defended the cathedral churches.
Military advocates were employed by the church to defend it by arms, when force gave law to Europe.
Some advocates were called nominative, from their being nominated by the pope or king; some regular, from their being qualified by a proper course of study. Some were supreme; others, subordinate.
Lord advocate, in Scotland, the principal crown lawyer, or prosecutor of crimes.
Judge advocate, in courts martial, a person who manages the prosecution.
In English and American courts, advocates are the same as counsel, or counselors. In England,they are of two degrees, barristers and serjeants; the former, being apprentices or learners, cannot, by ancient custom, be admitted serjeants, till of sixteen years standing.

3. One who defends, vindicates, or espouses a cause, by argument; one who is friendly to; as, an advocate for peace, or for the oppressed.

Wow, so many titles for Advocate in Europe and the United States. Now, why do I bring all of them up? This is the exciting part… because Holy Spirit, our Advocate, is all that and more! He is there supporting and standing up for us in the middle of any “persecution court.”

Now, all that said, this is what I see: I see a church filled with Holy Spirit prophesying over each other, lifting, building, and encouraging each other up! I see each of us stirring up the gifts within us and using them daily. I see a church that is strong in any storm all because we come together and lift each other up prophetically, emotionally, and spiritually! We need each other! Let’s find the treasure in each of us and not the dirt! The gifts of the spirit are for Building people up, Comforting them, and drawing them near to God. It is for edification or to edify the church! Isn’t that AWESOME??? We are not to wallow in our persecution, but to find joy in it because we are Christ’s followers who have an Advocate defending and supporting us everywhere we go.

Yes, we may experience persecution, but we know Christ has overcome the world, and that means we are OVERCOMERS!

Persecution is not the only time to encourage one another in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it sure is a powerful way to look past the suffering and receive from Him help in this area.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils
http://www.KrisBelfils.com
http://www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
http://www.KrisBelfils.Wordpress.com