“There Is A River”

July 31, 2014

Pittsburgh bridge (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)

Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
“There Is A River!”
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High” (Psalm 46:4). “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38)

There is a river, that flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to these waters; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

Yesterday we visited Pittsburgh, PA, where we met up with our friends, Pittsburgh native Howard Blichfeldt and his wife Sharon (who is originally a Texan). Growing up my image of Pittsburgh was that of a gritty old steelmaking city with belching smokestacks and foul air.

When we moved to the northeast out of Bible College it was several years before we actually visited Pittsburgh. We first saw the city when we departed the Fort Pitt tunnel under Mount Washington coming from the west which ended with an outstanding skyline view on a beautiful clear day. It was a stunning sight. We went through the same tunnel yesterday. Immediately after departing the tunnel you cross a bridge over the Monongahela River and into the heart of the city.

We’re staying Washington County which has experienced tremendous economic growth through the development of their energy resources positioning it as “The Energy Capital of the East.” Pittsburgh has been revitalized in recent years and we were “wowed” by the views we saw during our tour yesterday as the Blichfeldts drove us through the city. One thing Pittsburgh is well known for is its rivers. At the tip of downtown the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio River. Pittsburgh is also known as the “City of Bridges” since there is a total of 446 bridges in the city.

Jerusalem has no major rivers running through it but of course just to the east is the Biblically famous Jordan River. But Scripture also uses the image of the river to communicate spiritual truth.

In our first daily text the Psalmist wrote, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.” Spurgeon comments concerning this text, “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore.”

In our second verse Christ is speaking. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’.” The rivers of living water refer to the life-giving Spirit flowing from within as a result of belief in Jesus Christ. Matthew Poole comments, “The flowing of rivers of water, signifieth the plenty of spiritual influences with which believers shall be supplied; whether joy, knowledge, spiritual gifts, or graces. If any ask, where the Scripture speaketh this? I answer, in all those promises we meet with in the Old Testament, about pouring out the Spirit.”

Yesterday we wrote about having a “full life” which doesn’t depend on our being young, strong, or physically healthy. No matter our physical condition our lives can be like “rivers of flowing water” as we invite the surging power of the Holy Spirit to channel through us as we exercise the spiritual gifts God has dispensed for all His people.

You might feel beat down due to long work hours, physical pain, or a longstanding struggle that has squeezed out the vibrancy you once had in your walk with Christ. We encourage you to exercise today. Sure, we encourage you to physically exercise if you’re able, but far more importantly we challenge you to exercise the spiritual gifts available to all who follow Christ which will be a spiritual influence to those around you and it will give you a strength and vibrancy in Your walk with Christ.

Some of our older readers may recall this chorus:

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You want us to do more than just survive. You want us to thrive and therefore You provide, from our inmost being, flowing rivers of living water. The world seems to be filled with stagnant or dried up holes of water as we witness the rising surge of immorality, dishonesty, suicide, corruption and crime. But even as we journey through this troubled world rivers of living water can flow through us as we exercise the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives showing to others love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We want to walk in the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit and joyfully declare that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ which gives us surging, endless hope now and forevermore. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Some more scenes from Pittsburgh (All photos except the last one were taken by Howard Blichfeldt and used with his permission.)

Pittsburgh bridges (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Look at all the bridges!!!

Pittsburgh three rivers duck (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
This area is known as the Point where the two rivers join to form the Ohio. Howard said the inflated Duck was a major tourist draw!

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Skyline from Mount Washington above incline.

Pittsburgh incline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
The Duquesne Incline

Pittsburgh skyline (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Night-time skyline from the north shore.

Pittsburgh statue (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Who is this? (Answer posted below)

Pittsburgh skyline with Blichfeldts (photo by Ester)
On Mount Washington overlooking the city skyline. Ester included Sharon and Howard Blichfeldt along with her Mom and Pop in her selfie photo!

Today we are headed out to central Ohio and plan to visit the Longaberger Homestead.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“There Is a River”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

“Spring Up O Well”  Video

“Thrive”  Video Casting Crowns reminds in this song that we can do more than just survive. We were made to thrive. Listen carefully to the lyrics that are posted on this song.

“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”  Video  Collingsworth Family Next week we will travel through Shipshewanna, IN where the Collingsworth family will be singing at the Blue Gate theater. We learned about it yesterday morning so Stephen called to see if we could get tickets. It was just in time since they had only three seats left. We’ll post photos next week as we enjoy this concert.

Here are some more photos from Pittsburgh that Howard took on his photography website. Howard has an interesting ministry opportunity that we will share about in several weeks. The “bigger than life” statue is Mr. Rogers in his own neighborhood!

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