Devotions

Only Belief

Commit | Devotion #1: Only Belief
Max and Jenny Sinclair | Guest Services & Young Adults Director

Professing faith in Jesus Christ is such a beautiful thing. It is all bold commitments and embracing promises. The presence of God is within you; how could you ever want? Therefore, you do all the things you believe God has called you to do. You play “Oceans” on repeat in your car, with the volume all the way up high. Maybe you decide to read your Bible every day. Possibly, you meet with a Pastor and go over all your big ideas about serving. Whatever it is, you have decided you are striving to be committed.

Then some time passed, you wanted to start serving, but your boss moved up the deadline on a project, and you needed to work late. That new worship song has a great beat, but you stop thinking about the meaning. Your baby has been up all night with an ear infection (or better yet, that Netflix original just came out and even though you said you were only going to watch one episode, you binge watch the whole first season), so you put off reading your Bible until the next day. Before you know it, you start telling yourself things like, “I still see God working in the small things,” as though you are too busy to see God working in the big things.

It seems no matter the commitment we make; we can never follow through with some action. No matter how many times we feel inspired, we still end up distracted. It appears not to matter what steps we take to do things differently. No matter what, we do not feel the way we did the first time we sang “Oceans” during worship. We seem like we cannot get back to how we felt when that sermon spoke directly to us.

Luke 23:46 says, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

When will we realize our promises will never save us? When will we admit that our inspiration is nothing but a deflated balloon, weeks after the party is over?

Jesus called out in a loud voice, not a whisper, and not a small thing. This was the biggest thing of all. Jesus made a sweeping promise to God with His last breath. It is the only commitment which could save souls, transform lives, and heal the broken.

There is no promise from us which can compare. For every time we decide we are all in, there is an equal time in which we have doubted. In all our efforts to be better, to reach the next level, we know there will be a day we decide to go our own way. There is no plan on how we can fix it. There is only belief. It is the belief that the commitment of Christ is enough.

Living Water

Thirst | Devotion #6: Living Water
Josh Lahring | Worship Director

Think of a time you have been desperate for a drink of water. When I was around fourteen years old I was home, my parents were gone, and my grandma’s house was two miles away. I wanted to go there and could not drive, so I went to find a bike to ride. The tires were a little flat, and I thought that was not a big deal.  Have you ever ridden a bike with half-filled tires? Halfway there I was dying and so thirsty.  All I could think of was keep going so I could get some water.  By the time I made it there I was a little dizzy and felt sick. I drank so much water and just laid on the floor thinking I will never ride a bike again.  

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He said, “I thirst.” John 19:28 records the event, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” At this point, the Father had looked away from Him for He had taken on the sins of the world. Jesus was physically thirsty, but more than that He was thirsting for His Father. Jesus, the one who was telling others to come drink from Him, the living water, had no water to give, it had been completely poured out. He Himself thirsted for that relationship with His Father.  

When Jesus said from the cross that He was thirsty, He not only fulfilled prophecy, He also showed again that He was 100% man while being 100% God. However, my mind was reminded of Him as my living water. Looking back at John 7:37, we read, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.’”  

Jesus is our living water, and He is all that can satisfy us. We are to thirst for Christ like our greatest times that we thirst for water.  

One in a Million

Thirst | Devotion #5: One in a Million
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

An article entitled “Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus” from CBN says “The Old Testament is the part of the Bible written before Jesus was born. Its writings were completed in 450 B.C. The Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death, and resurrection. Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering. Mathematicians put it this way: 

1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 

1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power 

1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!”

“Only Jesus!” Only Jesus, God in the flesh, could have fulfilled every single prophecy that was given concerning the Messiah, the One that God would send to save the world from our sins. One of those prophesies was fulfilled when Jesus spoke the words we find in John chapter 19 (NIV), “I am thirsty.” 

My mind can hardly stand to think about what Jesus had been through by the time He made that statement. Our Lord had been beaten, mocked, humiliated, stripped of his clothes and dignity, and nailed. He was nailed to a cross. The Bible tells us that Jesus hung on the cross for six hours. He went willingly for your sins and mine.  John 19:28 (NIV) says, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” 

John tells us that Jesus spoke those words to fulfill Scripture. Psalm 63:1 (NIV) reads, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Jesus left nothing undone that had been foretold. He fulfilled every single Scripture that had ever been written about the One that God would send to rescue us. His will was to do the will of His Father, no matter what the cost. Jesus completely fulfilled the mission that the Father had for Him here on Earth.

We live in a world that is parched. Are you thirsty for the will of God? Do you seek Him no matter what the cost? Do you long for Him? In John 4:14 (NIV), Jesus said, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Let Jesus lead you to spring waters of life. Anyone or anything else will always leave you thirsty.

He Relates

Thirst | Devotion #4: He Relates
Ben Kirkman | Associate Operations Pastor & Facilities Director

Try to visualize the scene: Jesus, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, hung on a cross between two criminals. He had just been mocked, beaten, whipped, spat upon, had a crown of thorns smashed into His head, and nails were driven through His hands and feet. He hung on the cross struggling just to breathe – bloody, cursed, and rejected. The crowd around Him hated Him and wanted Him to die. You could hear the people still shouting and murmuring curses and accusations against Him. Nearing the end of His suffering, Jesus spoke. He said, “I thirst.” It was a simple, seemingly unremarkable and very human request for relief. How did the soldiers respond to the Lord of all creation? They lifted up a sponge on a stick, and the sponge is soaked not in cool water to satisfy but in sour wine that must have stung His parched mouth and turned His stomach. It was cruel for sure, but more had happened than solving an unquenched thirst.

John 19:28 says, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), I thirst.”  By saying “I thirst,” Jesus was bringing about the fulfillment of a prophecy, and it let us know just how thirsty He was. Psalm 22:15 adds, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.” His mouth was so dry that His tongue was sticking to the side of his mouth. Have you ever been that thirsty? John 19:29 gives us the details of the soldiers’ response, “A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth.” This jeering action actually fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” 

​I hope that from Jesus speaking those two simple words “I thirst,” you will be reminded that He was human as well as God. Jesus had emotions, felt pain, and even experienced thirst. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We have a Savior that can sympathize with our troubles and pain. We have a God that knows how to help us with our hurt.

​I also hope from Jesus thirsting on the cross you will be reminded of the pain and suffering He physically endured to make the payment for your sins and how much God loves you. In 1 John 4:9-10, we read, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  

God-Man 

Thirst | Devotion #3: God-Man
Gareth Volz | Senior 55+ Director

In John 19:28 we read these words, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” The first two words of this verse indicate something that happened previously to Jesus saying this on the cross. What happened? 

  • Jesus had been betrayed by one of His disciples – Judas Iscariot.
  • Jesus was taken by a band of the temple guard and officers of the Pharisees and brought before the High Priest for intense questioning.
  • Jesus was then taken to Governor Pilate’s palace, where they demanded Jesus should be killed.
  • Finding no fault in Jesus, but wanting to please the Jews, Pilate had Jesus beaten by Roman soldiers and then sought to release Him.
  • The Jews demanded that Jesus be put to death, threatening to send word to Rome that Pilate was no friend of Caesar’s since Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews.
  • Pilate then had the Roman soldiers beat Jesus again, put a thorn of crowns on His head, and had Jesus carry His cross through the streets and up to Mount Calvary, the place where He would be crucified.
  • Jesus then hung on the cross (crucifixion was the most hideous and torturous form of execution) from 9am to 3pm.

Jesus was not only the Son of God, but He was also the Son of Man. John 1:1-4 says of Jesus “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” This clearly states that Jesus was truly God. John goes on to say in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This clearly states that Jesus was truly a man. Jesus was truly the God-Man, and as both, He suffered greatly and thirsted.

As the Son of Man, Jesus had completed a hard task, suffered greatly while doing it, and in need of refreshment. As the Son of God, taking on the sin of the world had caused the Father to turn away from Him until He completed His task, and He thirsted for that relationship to be renewed.

There are a couple of great lessons for us as Jesus thirsted on the cross. Jesus never gave up on completing the assignment His Father had given Him of paying for the sins of the world so that man could have a renewed relationship with Him forever. We need to remember this when God gives us assignments in this world – do not give when things are difficult. If God called you to do something, He would equip you to do it. Do not give up; stay the course until you complete what God wants you to do.

Jesus also had a great thirst for the relationship He had with His Father. We need to have a great thirst for God. We need to long for His presence and desire to be with Him on a daily basis. We need daily to have conversations with Him. When we read His Word, He speaks to us. When we pray, we speak to Him. 

The fact that Jesus thirsted is not a sign of weakness. He did what His Father wanted and now desired refreshment. He is the source of life, and He was pouring out His life on the cross for us. We need to do what God desires of us and seek refreshment from Him.



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.