Fresh Springs

Fresh Streams

Proverbs 18:20-21 (ESV) From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

The proverbial warning is that death and life are in the power of the tongue. It is spoken and taught on a regular basis. Cautioned that every idle word will be judged according to its fruit. Though such a small part of a large organization, the tongue is the most powerful weapon given to mankind. We can start wildfires with one tiny spark. It can also put out raging ones with just a little of its soothing calm. Communication is the sowing of many seeds. What is growing in your life today? What is the fruit of your communication today? Are you satisfied? From the fruit of my mouth, my stomach is satisfied. I am satisfied by the yield of my lips. Faith has deposited seeds of potential in full measure inside of me. They are waiting to be sown. My words are part of the process. If my words are not life giving, they will be death to my potential. Words can take the life of my dreams and seal them in dark tombs of disappointment.

Proverbs 15:4 (ESV) A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

The gentle tongue is a tree of life. It takes a tiny seed to make a giant oak. God has called us to be “oaks of righteousness”. In our frustration, He is blamed when there is no growth or development of the promise that is in us. But maybe…just maybe… it is not God’s Lack of attention that is the problem but rather the poison flowing from our lips. Right and righteousness must be partners. I can be right about a lot of things. Righteousness is given to me only through Jesus Christ. My mouth my speak truth. Truth without love is the law and seals my fate. Each word is wrapped in the breath that God began in me and carries the fruitful potential of prosperity in my life.

James 3:7-10 (ESV) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Jesus has cleansed the church by the washing of water with the Word. The same Word is declared living and flows within us as a steady stream. It is useful in cleansing our conversation and watering the fresh seeds planted in communication. Blessing and cursing cannot come from the same mouth without nullifying itself. If you bless it, then curse it – something will die. You are created in the image of God. The Spirit of Jesus Christ, who is resurrection power and life, lives inside of you. You will make declarations on the earth. You cannot choose to be salty and sweet at the same time. You cannot be living water and a stagnant stream together. You must choose to be a fountain of living water. You must decide that you desire to bring life and not cause death. The taming of our tongue and monitoring of our words is not easy but vital in living the life that God has promised us. We must speak His Word. We must let Him be the gatekeeper of our lips.

Exodus 4:10-12 (ESV) But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Moses was commissioned to set God’s People free. He was to go and speak to Pharaoh. Moses used the excuse that he was “not eloquent…but I am slow of speech and tongue.” I wonder if that was really what was holding Moses back or could it be his pride. He was in exiles tending flocks in a hillside because he was a fugitive from justice. A murderer. He was once a palace dweller, but now living in a pasture covered in the smell of sweat and sheep. Was it really his ability to speak that was holding him back? Sometimes our mouth gets us in trouble and pride keeps us from making it right. Look what the Lord tells Moses, His Servant, “Who has made a man’s mouth? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be your mouth and teach you what you shall speak?” In Psalm 139:4, it tells us that even before a word is fully formed on the tip of our tongue, God knows it altogether, fully or completely. It means that before our body gave breath to that thought or idea – God had already put life in it. He knows the potential of our words and the rebellion of our tongue which means that Jesus has already provided sufficient grace to secure it. It means that the potential inside of our words always has goodness attached to it. Even when rash, callous, heated or ugly words are spoken, at the submission of pride, He will bring about new life.

Luke 6:45 (ESV) The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Our life is lived in seasons. God is constantly giving us the opportunity to sow and reap in a perpetual seedtime and harvest. What we sow in each season determines the harvest that will come. The great part is that our next season of life doesn’t have to yield the same as the previous one did. Because Christ lives in us – we have the promise of new life and becoming a new creation. Our words reveal the abundance of our heart. Harsh and hurtful words are often born of the same seeds planted deep within. It is up to us to filter our speech but first we must sift through the contents of our heart. A communication problem is a heart problem…at least that’s what God’s Word indicates. If the mind, soul and body agree than our words will duly reflect its unification, but if blessing and cursing come pouring out – it is time for careful examination. No one is exempt. We will be judged by the fruit of our life. The Lord is looking at our fruit. We must become fresh streams of living water to prosper as the Lord intended inside and out.

John 7:37-38 (ESV) 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. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

What flows from our mouth waters the seeds of promise in our life? Abundance is born of living water that produces a harvest in our soul that prospers our life. You have this kind of stream inside of you. Release it today – in Jesus Name.

Proverbs 10:19-21 (ESV) When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

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Hungry?

hungry

John 6:34-35 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”

I am not absolutely certain what happens during a church service but immediately following my family is always hungry. As soon as the offering is taken and service dismissed, the debate begins as to where to eat. “I’m starving! Can we go to “insert restaurant”? It is clear by the appearance of my people that there is no imminent threat of demise yet one would not be so certain by their wails of distress. If I dare insinuate that there is food at home or I have prepared a meal, our girls will turn their noses up and state their preference. Now in everyone’s defense, the fellowship aspect is what they are really after. To congregate together which I strongly support and encourage. The truth of the matter is not their state of being but rather their preference.

Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life.” He went on to explain that “whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” He took it one step further in that “whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” To hunger means a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food coupled with a desire to eat. It is a strong desire for something that produces a craving for it. Desire compels us to find satisfaction. It becomes a drive. Are you hungry today? Do you thirst? What is the object of your attention or even dare I say affection? There are few reading this who are on the verge of starvation but all will admit that there is something they crave and desire in life.

“But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Full satisfaction is found when Jesus Christ becomes our source of life. Food and water are essential to natural survival but righteousness is where eternal life is to be found. We must believe that Jesus can satisfy our hunger, need and yes even wants to come to him hungry and thirsty with complete expectation. Righteousness sounds so ominous and foreboding. It sounds like a lot of hard work and habit changes. Like a manual filled with rules and regulations throwing down heavy doctrine on top of us. More baggage to lug through life. This is not the case at all – right standing with God releases the heavy yoke and burdens. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. There is life and liberty in the Spirit of God living in us that can only be experienced by those who hunger and thirst for Him.

Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (The Message)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” You cannot hunger or thirst for something you have not experienced. I have never eaten lamb that I am consciously aware of. Therefore, I am not going to hunger for it. I may have a desire to try it. But hunger or desire is established by an encounter or experience with something or someone. I may meet an individual who peaks my interest and I would like to spend time with them. You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness without knowledge and understanding of what it is and how you achieve it. Otherwise, it is an experiment. I can look up recipes and buy all the ingredients to make lamb for dinner. Then I will give it a go and see how it turns out, but until I taste it for myself – there will not be a hunger or desire for it.

Righteousness is established in Jesus Christ through faith in the Grace of God alone. End of story. It’s finished. I can add things to it, or try to make it more palatable through preference but it does not change or alter God’s Plan and Promise. The sum total of my faith is the sufficiency of God’s Gift of Grace that establishes a right relationship with Him in my life. I can do nothing to earn or deserve the Grace of God. It cost the Father everything to give His Children the Kingdom. Therefore to hunger and thirst for the Lord requires relinquishment of our pride.

Psalm 34:9-10 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Lions are the only wild cats that live in groups. These groups are called prides. I guess it is fitting that the “king of the jungle” would have an established kingdom. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the “young lions suffer and hunger”. There can only be up to three male lions in a pride. The younger males who reach adulthood are driven away to establish their own pride. “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” What are you seeking today? Do survive in the world? Or to be part of a Kingdom? Kingdom culture is full satisfaction. Let me say it again, “Those who seek the Lord lack NO GOOD THING.” If you are not living in full satisfaction and even abundance then there is more to this righteousness thing to be discovered. We must taste and see that the Lord is good to create a hunger and thirst for more of Him. I must also mention that righteousness comes at the sacrifice of pride.

Luke 15:17-20 (ESV) “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

There is a common misconception that God puts certain expectations on us. An expectation would be considered a condition which is not possible in unconditional love. As our drives and desires detour us, it is easy for the enemy to convince us that God will not accept us like before based on our sin or unwillingness to follow Him. This is simply not true. Every single day every single Christian believer struggles with and engages in sin. I don’t how they look, what they say or how they live. Sin is a common problem. Some are just a little more honest about it. On the same note, every single day every single person strives to contend against their flesh some with success and others in total weakness. Again, the Grace of God is enough. It is sufficient. God knew you when He formed you and provided enough grace, love and mercy to overcome judgment in our life. The only thing for us to do is live in it.

The prodigal son took his inheritance. We have an inheritance in the Lord. Sometimes we see it and other times take it for granted. Impatience wants everything right now. We do not want our control, comfort or convenience compromised so “we make it happen”. When filled with dissatisfaction, disappointment and discouragement – what happens? We turn to the Lord. Exhausted and worn out – hunger and thirst for the love, joy and peace of God send us running for home (or the altar and/or prayer closet). “When he came to himself” – it was the truth that see him free and brought him full satisfaction. He only wanted his base needs met. The young man was hungry and just wanted a nice meal. What he gained was his father’s “kingdom”? So it is with you friend, when our desperation turns to desire for the Father and His Kingdom – grace shows us that the Father was waiting with open arms and an open heart to receive us.

Revelation 3:20 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Our family friends are hunters. Our fellowship with them has introduced a whole new world of “fine dining”. I have experienced many foods in their company that I had never tried. Truth is – I have enjoyed them all. I believe that the Lord offers us “bread of life” and “living water” on a continual and daily basis. He stands at the door ready to come in and create a “meal” for us called communion. It is in fellowship and intimacy with the Lord that we experience fullness. Satisfaction. Contentment. As our soul prospers, so does our natural life with the Fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Some may say that’s not what I want – I am praying for a partner, spouse, children, new job, new house, and more money.

The desire within us creates the drive that moves us. We do not hunger and thirst for righteousness because we have not experienced the fullness of a prospering soul, made up mind, and perfect peace. We want our preference and not His Perfection. Perfect love casts out all fear. Imagine never having a worry, care, anxious thought or sleepless night?

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. (Lamentations 4:9) We are overcomers in Jesus Christ who live in the promise of victory. Every detail of our life ordained for good for those who love Him. He promises to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can think, ask or even imagine. Yet many will die of starvation choosing fruitless fields and barren brooks rather than living in the abundance of God’s Kingdom and His Spirit’s Fruitfulness. Taste and see that the Lord is good! An invitation to experience an exquisite meal prepared to perfection by a Gracious Father free to those who will open the door to Him. If Wolfgang Puck, Racheal Ray, Emeril Lagasse, or Jamie Oliver came to your door with the intention of cooking you a wonderful meal, you might open it as they are famous chefs. Their cooking touted by the world and faces plastered on everything from television to cookware. If familiar with them, you would throw open the door and show them in. However, Jesus knocks and there is a hesitation. What if we do not like the life that He has prepared for us? What if we do not prefer His Will over our own? What if I don’t want what He has for me? A lack of belief will always foster lack in our life. To live a life of full satisfaction requires a hunger and thirst for righteousness that means believing that it is palatable for life. My hunger and thirst is individual, but when I hunger and thirst for the bread of life and living water – my life becomes a meal to be shared.

Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Dry Seasons

Dry Seasons

Psalm 63:1 (ESV) O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

It is human nature to question our faith and the logic of it. Faith is not logical in the natural and only becomes wise when coupled with godly knowledge and understanding. It is in our relationship with the Word, who is Jesus Christ, that faith isn’t such a crazy notion anymore. As the unfailing love of a good God whose grace is more than enough to overcome the trials and troubles of this life so as our soul prospers then our life will as well.

I have found myself in a dry season. Sowing and reaping. Beating the hard ground that only seems to yield dust. God sent me to this place. He told me to come here. The Lord gave me a glimpse of the potential secretly hidden beneath the surface. As one year turns to two, I am beginning to retrace my steps. It’s hard not to let the dryness of a season saturate your soul. To protect your heart and mind from discouragement in the midst of delay. God, you are my God! It doesn’t mean that your relationship with the Lord is failing. In fact, it is in the seasons of drought that He hears our desperate cries. “Earnestly, I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you…”

Are you dry today? Thirsty? Working a land that refuses to give up its harvest? Stuck in a season that resembles a cycle refusing to move to the next? Are you in a place where it is “as in a dry and weary land where there is no water”? I feel you…I really do. I am right there with you. Today I asked the Lord a one-word question, “Where?” Where am I supposed to be? Is it here? Did I make a wrong turn? Misinterpret your direction? Did my humanness cause me to stumble into the wrong field? Where Lord? Where would you have me to be today?

Matthew 5:6 (ESV) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. When our want for water becomes a desire that turns into a necessity it will be met with urgency. No longer a whim it will become the driving force in our life. Our body reacts to a lack of water with a condition called dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, exhaustion, headache, dry skin and dizziness. As it progresses, it will also produce a rapid heart rate, fever, and low blood pressure. Dehydration demands a response or bodily functions will eventually shutdown and the person succumb to lack of water.

Thirst, in a spiritual sense, causes desperation. Desperation is defined by urgency, despair, and a sense of hopelessness. It causes doubt to rise up from the deepest recesses of the heart and challenge God at His Word in its discomfort or discontentment. It demands immediate action. It warrants relief of some sort. Are you desperate today? Where do you turn to? Those who desire right standing or a continued relationship with Jesus Christ will turn to the Lord. What if this dry season is not so much about a lack of harvest but the Father longing for more of our heart? Just a thought…

John 7:38 (ESV) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

Fear and doubt are overcome by faith. Confident hope that becomes anchored in the Love and Grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ so that darkness and drought cannot change our commitment. Inside my heart is living water. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. He lives in me. Greater is that is in me than He that is in the world. What if I am the “living water” for this dry land? It is human nature to ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” But what if we are asking the wrong question… What if the real question to be answered today is “God wants in me for them”? What if you were not brought to this field for you but for them? God’s Word cannot and will not EVER return to Him void. It must do exactly what it set out to do.

Psalm 107:35-38 (ESV) He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.

God turns fields into deserts. He also turns wastelands into waterfalls. God knows the potential of the field that He placed you in and He sees the seeds hidden beneath the ground. He prepared you in other seasons to come here. He tried you so that you will have patience. He tested you so you would endure. He gave you everything you need and every spiritual blessing to survive until you thrive. What if it is all in the waiting? What if all you have to do is work the land, be patient and endure? What if that really is all there is to it? Will you walk away? The harvest will come whether we choose to wait on it or not. God will not force you to stay where He sent you or remain where He called you. The Living Water in you is dependent on your willingness to work the land regardless of your feelings and despite how things look fully trusting Him.

Psalm 65:9-11 (NLT) You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

From God’s Perspective, His Plan is working. We must align our heart, mind, and thoughts with His Word. It is only then that our faith becomes logical and waiting fruitful. A dry season must not be misinterpreted that the ground is barren, the drought ongoing or the dream of harvest dead. It is just a season in God’s Cycle of life that is working beyond the place where eyes can see, hands can touch and our mind can comprehend. If God called you to this place, the blessing associated with it will come because God is faithful. God is good. He is in complete and absolute control.

The dry season is waiting on one thing – rain. God’s Rain. Living Water. When it comes, it will cause the ground to yield its harvest. It will cause our heart to do the same. In Matthew 5:45, it says that the Lord causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust. Rain is inevitable. Seasons will change. The satisfaction in each season is the promise of harvest and blessing. God didn’t put you where you are just for you. He placed you there as a Light in the darkness. You have a purpose in this season that will produce something in you, around you and for others. The potential crown for this year is a bountiful harvest. His Word promises that “even the hard pathways (will) overflow with abundance.”

Psalm 63:3-8 (ESV) Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Why? Why wait for the dry season to end? “Because (God’s) steadfast love is better than life.” It will be worth it. The desperation, frustration, and weariness caused by your willingness to keep beating the dry ground, soaking it with tears, saturating it with sweat, and washing it with His Word. There is potential in each place that the Lord places His People. It doesn’t always look like it or seem to be suitable but that’s the beauty of faith – we walk by faith not by sight. So the way things look today do not dictate the outcome of tomorrow in the life of the believer. We live subject to change. The change is called transformation. It begins inside of us and works its way out. As our soul prospers so will we.

Are you dry? Thirsty? Desperate? Tap into the Living Water inside of you. It is the Source that never runs dry. Speak life to those dry bones. The Lord’s Plan is fully operational and destined to be delivered. You just have to stick it out. Let His Word wash over you today. It will refresh, restore and renew you in your waiting. Let the Holy Spirit produce the good fruit that will nourish your soul. You are never alone. God is with you. Jesus lives in you. You have all you need for a rich and satisfying life. It’s coming. Don’t miss it!

Isaiah 44:2-4 (ESV) Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.

Fizzy Soda

Fizzy Soda

Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT) Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Have you ever been then grocery getter for your house? You have those thin and useless plastic bags rolling around in the back of the car. When you get home an army of helpers hoping to plunder the new supplies arrive to help carry the hoard in. Some of those big two-liter bottles of soda were on sale so you got them BOGO or to the novice shopper – buy one, get one free. Immediately, my people turn up their nose at them. In my efforts to be a wise consumer, I find that they do not want the surplus of soda and list their complaints. Opening the bottles at the release of pressure, the dark syrupy liquid becomes a foaming bomb shooting soda everywhere creating a huge mess that even the dog is incapable of licking it all up. They don’t like the way that after a day or so they go flat – no matter how tight the lid is kept or how quickly they try to consume it. When the fizz is gone – so is their appetite for the once coveted drink. In all fairness, I bought them for portion control. Tired of pouring their unwanted, forgotten soft drinks down the sink that sounds like change falling in the drain. Yet now, I have a garage full of unwanted bottles but wait what just happened? Suddenly, they are grabbing water bottles instead. How did that happen?

For more than a week, I have had this image of fizzy soda in my head along with the idea that it is just like the zeal a Christian might have at first for the things of God. We come to the Lord full of expectation and excited about the potential of His Spirit’s Inhabitation in life. But once the “fizz” is gone, our life goes flat so we return to our old life and old way of thinking abandoning the potential of faith in God that remains there. Where are we once the excitement is gone? What happens when things take longer than expected? Why is discipline necessary? God is greater than all things. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He supplies all we need but when I ask I must wait. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. We must desire to move from things that are not good for us to those things that benefit our life. It will be a struggle in a world that offers immediate gratification and feeds our emotions. God wants us to be godly people who have joy in Him and those who trust Him will lack no good thing.

For the last month or so, I have been attempting to give up a beloved diet drink. Is it bad for me? Depends on who you ask. Water is better for me. All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. When I was young, my birth mom was a “Coke” addict in the soft drink form. She gave it to us freely. As I began to share time between both parents’ homes, my new mom provided sweet tea – the soft drink of the South. Loved it and consumed it freely. However, I became more aware as I grew older that water is a much better choice. However, I don’t necessarily want water. I don’t care for the taste. I don’t really want it or desire it. It is good for me in many ways. It is the best for my body health wise. It is excellent for my skin. It keeps me well-hydrated. But I prefer other things and none of that I desire is illegal or prohibited. I make the choice to drink a gallon of water or at least try to every day. What I have found is the more water I consume the less capacity that I have for those things that are not as good for me. Water is more beneficial. How does this all tie together? I am glad that you asked.

So many times, we try to make a Godly life resemble our good life worldly expectations applying our appetite to the things that the Holy Spirit would like to do in us and through us. Did you know that the primary content in all soft drinks is water? We add the sugar or sugar substitute. We put the carbonation in it that makes it fizzy. Have you ever noticed that conscientious parents do not give their newborns soft drinks or tea? They give them milk. If not straight from mom, they sterilize the bottles. Everything they do is to make sure that their baby grows, develops and matures. God sees us as His Children. He feels the same way.

I Peter 2:1-3 (NLT) So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Pure spiritual milk. What is it? I believe that it is the Word of God. We must know the Word to enter fully into a productive relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. Salvation is not an arranged marriage but a personal choice to engage in an active and committed relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord. We make that choice. All things are permissible yet not all things are beneficial. Just as in our relationships naturally, there must be development and growth to mature our relationship so it is no longer superficial. If we are not growing in the Lord, we are growing apart from Him. I find it interesting that in this passage, it says, “Get rid of all evil behavior.” Then it begins to talk about things that destroy relationships first. To cry out for nourishment once we have tasted the Lord’s Kindness is to grow in our knowledge and capacity to love the Lord and other people. We focus on our list of seven deadly sins and regard religious rules and regulations but miss the part about love. God is love. To be godly we must be good lovers.

John 7:38 (NLT) “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

A newborn primarily exists on milk although the newest parenting trend does add water at an early age. When my babies were little, I only gave them milk, some juice and lots of water. Growing in our walk with Christ, spiritual milk gives way to living water. Jesus promised that living water would flow from His Heart to us. He has given us His Spirit. The Word of God works with the Spirit of God to allow us those benefits offered to those who choose the better way over the permissible options in life. We must discipline our body and mind to live a healthy spiritual life. Have you ever tried to take candy from a baby?

The little children at our church flock to “Memaw” a beloved matriarch. She always has a sugary candy treat for them so after service like little ducklings they flock to her. They want the contents of her big bag. They know she has treats for them. However, mom and dad have the opportunity to train their children in healthy habits. Thank God I am headed into “memaw” days! I found with my own children that in order to take something from them, I offered them a better choice. If they did not want the new thing, they would often pitch a fit. As a mom, I hated that they were so upset but my heart was set on giving them the very best start in life. Candy and sugar was limited. I made sure they were given the right food – all the things that were nutritious. Too many times, it is human nature to cave in to emotions rather than stand strong for goodness and so it is with the church.

Romans 10:1-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

To pursue God emotionally but not spiritually is misdirected zeal. To claim to know Him but not take in the spiritual milk and living water is spiritual suicide. You are starving your spirit to feed your flesh. False teachers pave new roads every day and we fall for it because our flesh is strong and our spirit weak. Many years ago, in order to lose some weight, I switched from full-powered soft drinks to diet soda. Ironically or not so much, it was after a Daniel Fast, where for a solid month I only drank water. After becoming addicted to them, I read an article that warned of the high sodium content in diet drinks that they wreaked havoc on weight loss efforts. How is this possible? Well, the sodium that settled in our body soaked up the water and got fat, too to put it in layman’s terms. Bottom line – water retention. Ugh! Darned if you do and darned if you don’t. Is it possible that rather than relying on water – we are substituting things in our life that are not God’s Best and of no benefit. Absolutely.

Zeal is not bad. In fact, the Bible encourages and endorses spiritual fervor for the Living God. Romans 12:11 tells us to never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. See the “but” – it is our warning. It is easy to direct our zeal toward the Lord, and then get detoured, delayed, or distracted. In fact, it is the greatest scheme of the enemy. He challenges our knowledge of God every day in the temptations of life. Religion is the diet soda of the church. Rather than truly loving people somehow church folks get an appetite for judgment and hypocrisy based on false knowledge of God who expects love to be our first and foremost motivation. If I can do it, God is not required. It’s everything I cannot do that is where grace causes His Power to manifest. I am not supposed to be strong but weak and reliant on Jesus Christ for all things every day. The psalmist admits in Psalm 119 that “zeal wears me out” and goes on to admit that his enemies ignore his words. Words must hold power. The power of my words is based on my knowledge of the Truth and its ability to set me free. I am free to choose the life I live.

God is not emotional. Our feelings do not move the heart of God or His Hand, His Focus is set on our future. He is working in us now for forever. Endurance means making it to the end. It is a struggle because usually somewhere around the middle we begin to wonder what were we thinking. Towards the end, everything in us screams quit. Those who endure to the end are honored because not many will. When the zeal is gone and the fizz goes flat in their spiritual life, many become discouraged, discontent and disinterested in Living Water which runs steadily and consistently in us. Water seems boring. It doesn’t seem like anything of worth. Yet 71% of the earth is covered in it, and mankind is made up of about 60% water. It would seem that water is important. Living water is essential to spiritual survival and one’s ability to thrive in Jesus Christ. Maybe there are substitutions in our life that must be filtered out so that we can engage in spiritual growth and development again rather attempting to survive in deprivation.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

People spend a great deal of time on what they consume. Whether deciding what to eat or where to eat. Challenged to consume more or eat less or even just make better food choices. Intake is a primary concern in many households. There are even some that wonder if they will get to eat. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. The first day of the water challenge was horrible for me. I didn’t want to drink one glass of water let alone almost eight. Some days I do great and other days I choke it down. I know that if I stick to it that over time I will develop a taste for it. Why the struggle? Water is good for me. It is good for my body and skin. I hate when my flesh dictates things so the more it fights me – the more I fight back. I want a healthy body.

God is not building a building – He is creating a body. The Body of Christ. The Bride for His Son. It is important that I do my part to be the best member of the Kingdom I can be not for others or even me but to be who I promised to be when I partnered with Jesus. I would become less and He would be more. I would decrease so He could increase. I John 3:20-21 is clear that God is not an emotionally-driven God. Thank you, Lord! His People are emotional enough. When our spiritual life goes flat, maybe God is facilitating an appetite change in us that will produce growth and maturity. He is giving us something better if we will endure the process of refinement. Our flesh wants none of it and will fight it all the way. Until our relationship is not emotional but faithful – the blessings and benefits promised in His Word may seem elusive. Nothing could be further from the truth – they are exclusive. Exclusively for God’s Children, those who decide to use their freedom to become part of the Body of Christ rather than building another church.

To become rooted and grounded in the Love of God through Jesus Christ, we must stop wavering back and forth. Discipline gives way to faithfulness when we decide to engage in the process called endurance. We must move from the emotionalism of infancy into the steadfastness of adulthood – the Body of Christ must mature to become effective. The Holy Spirit and Goodness of God’s Word produce the spiritual growth potential in the lives of those who are committed to its consumption daily. (Hebrews 6:1-6) We must learn to hold on to the progress made in our spiritual life and build upon it. (Philippians 3:14-16) If our goal is to press on and obtain the high calling, we need something to stand on. The firm foundation of faith built in trust is the only way to reach the heavenlies and bring it to earth. God promised that our earthly life and heavenly existence can be connected in heaven and on the earth. We put in the effort.

Discipline is not a warm fuzzy feeling but a tough painful process. Immediate gratification is not part of it but endurance is. There may be some things in our life that although they are permissible are not beneficial to our walk with the Lord. When runners pass a checkpoint, they are not handed coffee or a can of soda. The helpers hand them water or a supplement filled with electrolytes to replace those used while they run. What do we give others when tired, thirsty or weary? When weighted with sin, do we give them yet another set of rules to fail at or the grace that has been so sufficient for me? The first discipline that is to be readily accepted in the modern church is love. Not love for the rules and regulations set forth by religion, but to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ and relaying it to the world including every single person in it. Our language is love and we must not only speak it but live it. You cannot give what you do not have. God’s Word and His Spirit give us new life to give to others. We must taste and see that the Lord is good. Has your spiritual fervor gone flat? Are you growing disinterested in God’s Way? It is time to make a change. Call a fast. Ask the Lord to stir you up. It is up to you to develop a taste for spiritual things rather than feeding full of substitutions. God has given us everything we need to live a godly life – now we just have to tap into it. It’s a choice. Better life or best life. Permissible or beneficial. Good or God! I know what I am after…how about you?

2 Peter 1:3-8 (NLT) His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Water Me

Rushing Water

John 7:37-38 (NIV) On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

The single most important thing that a human being needs to live is water. A body requires a minimum of two quarts of water per day. Hikers and survivalist recommend that it is the most necessary item if lost in the woods. The safest form of water is rushing water. If every caught off guard, the suggest listening for the sound of a stream or river to secure this life source. Watch the animals – they know where to find water in their natural habitat. A muddy area has water available as well one must dig a little deeper to find it beneath the surface of the earth. A stagnant pond requires dramatic purification by fire if possible. Ponds or lakes that have no movement lack any natural filtration. Water is critical to our survival physically and spiritually. The same applies to our spiritual life. We need water – living water every single day. To survive, one must be consciously aware not to become dehydrated or allow their spirit to become stagnant. Jesus offers to those who are thirsty to come and drink. Can the Lord really give us something to sustain us in life? Rivers of living water will flow from within them. How is the living water in you today?

To effectively thrive in this life, I cannot live on stagnant water or an unmoving current. I must be sure that the water within me is living, moving and breathing with me. If not, I will become stuck in a rut, weak, and desperate for something. We must learn to be conduits of living water rather than earthen vessels. It is one thing to carry water from another source and pour it out as it were our own. But the Lord has promised that we will have living water surging within us. Where is the Living Water that He promised? How do I make it consistent in my life? So glad you asked.

John 4:7-14 (NIV) When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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.”

The Samaritan woman was came to draw water. She did so every day about this time of day. It was her habit. Her routine was to come after the other woman had left to collect the water needed for her family and chores each day. She was accustomed to this life. Jesus was waiting at the well for her that day with the divine purpose of breaking new ground and releasing living water from within her. She was stuck in a rut, driven by routine, beaten down by life, and destined to hopelessness. When Jesus asked for water to drink, she quickly came up with an excuse as to why she had nothing to offer the Lord. Jesus immediately offered her the gift of life to her dead and dying soul to dry to even soak in what He was offering or Who it was who was willing to give.

The Samaritan woman quickly fell back on religion like most of us do when faced with such a question. We get uncomfortable when pressed about our relationship with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be that way. When a messenger of another faith comes to the door, like maybe a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, does it make you uncomfortable? Most people immediately blurt out that they “go to church”. But who will say, “I know Jesus Christ. He lives in me.” Are you solid in your connection to Christ to offer them an honest answer in love and wish them a good day? Or is our immediate inclination not to answer the door at all or if we do quickly shut it in their faces? Confident hope operates in love not fear. We fear the questions that we do not know the answer to. It doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus is offering to release rushing and living water deep within those who are willing to come thirsty and ready to drink.

John 4:15-18 (NIV) The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty again. Soul satisfaction comes from living water rising up within us and nothing we can find around us. Fresh water or a good meal is enjoyed in that moment but how many times do we head back to the kitchen a few hours after. The kind of water that the Lord offers us will keep us in every season. It is not dependent on our condition or circumstances. This woman had five husbands all long gone. The man who kept her now was not her husband. How empty this poor woman must have felt? She was an empty shell left like a crumpled cup thrown to the side. But Jesus saw her differently, he pointed out her brokenness to meet her deepest need. She needed fulfillment. She needed to see herself as God saw her not all those men had made her feel. Sometimes our past limits the potential of our future, while Jesus tries to pour into us – we refuse to accept based on guilt, shame, regret and unforgiveness. He did not point this woman’s faults out to hurt her even more but to establish her need. Like the Great Physician that He is, the Lord pointed out the driest part of her in order that Living Water might reach her there – restore, revive and renew her in that place.

John 4:21-24 (NIV) “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

When the disciples returned, the woman went back to share with the others what she had discovered…leaving her water jar behind. The water jar was her livelihood. It was vital to the natural survival. We carry water jars around with us pouring out the contents on our life. Jesus said, “Come to me those who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) So let’s think about the water pot logically. It probably carried as much water as a five-gallon bucket like one might buy paint in. If a gallon of water weighs about 8.5 pounds it would make that jar filled with water to be about 43 pounds give or take. This is not considering the weight of the jar itself in Biblical times – it would have been made with clay. Every day she would lug it back and forth to get water for her family. I am sure it was exhausting when considering all her other household responsibilities. When she met Jesus, she left it behind.

What is that thing keeping living water from rushing through you today? We all must consider our stream and remove ever obstacle that keeps us from becoming completely satisfied in Jesus Christ. True worshippers are to do so in Spirit and in Truth. We must become fully operational in our service to Jesus with these two vital components in life. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as Living Water. The Truth is God’s Word – His Word is Truth. Jesus is the Word of God. We must know the Word to know Jesus. The “washing of the Word” is constantly filtering through the lower philosophies adopted by mankind that lead to compromise and substitutions. It sheds light on every lie that darkness has laid before us as a trap. Living water should be rushing through us freely and unrestricted allowing us to let go and live in the victorious freedom that Christ offers us.

Isaiah 58:11-12 (NIV) The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun- scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Before the great flood of the days of Noah, it had never rained before. The earth was watered from the inside out. Springs underground kept the plants and trees hydrated while feeding the thirst of every living creature. Sin pushed the water outside of us. No longer is could our soul be satisfied from within due to our dying state. We are born dying thus our need for hunger and thirst in order to realize our need and satisfy this state to keep us physically alive. But when Jesus came to die for us, He made the Way for Living Water to flow within us. To restore, revive, and renew us from the inside out again. Our soul can now find satisfaction again which will create a reservoir that allows us to give something of worth to others. We are called to rebuild ancient ruins, to raise up age-old foundations, to be the Repairer of Broken Walls, restorers of streets and dwellings all leading others to the Love of God that has satisfied our soul. Are you satisfied today? Truly satisfied, no matter the circumstances or conditions of your life, is it well with your soul? Or maybe I should ask is the well of your soul open and overflowing in Living Water?

Isaiah 55:1-3 (NIV) “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

Our journey as believers and followers of Christ goes through many seasons and changes along the way. It is not always straight highways and flattened pathways. There are times when it is a struggle and quite draining. We neglect our time in His Presence in the name of Christian duty and church service. The responsibilities of life steal precious moments that we need to know Him more and one day we find that we have a dry and thirsty soul. What happened to the Living Water that once washed over me and ran through me with such intensity? How could I expect God to keep washing and restoring such a broken vessel such as myself? The enemy will tell you that there is nothing good in you to give and I must object wholeheartedly. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. If Jesus lives in your heart, and you love the Lord with your life, there is always something to pour from and give to others even when you feel empty inside. Caught up in responsibility and doing, the Lord invites us to the fountain again. He calls and invites us to come to the altar and allow Him to pour His Love on us. He wants nothing more than to satisfy our thirsty soul.

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NIV) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

Is your life like a dry desert wasteland today? Have you found your way into the wilderness again? Sometimes it is not a bad choice that leads you there but rather the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have a dry and thirsty soul and the Savior is waiting to refill you. Considering our physical conditions sometimes causes us to ignore our spiritual condition, so we slowly starve ourselves and become dehydrated as the Living Water in us no longer flows through us. Maybe unresolved or hidden sin has blocked its flow and now you are filled with stagnancy that needs a good flush. I find that tears of repentance bathed in His Blood covered by His Love will do the trick quite nicely. Jesus loves us. He doesn’t want us to want for a single thing. If your life is lacking and may just not be living anymore. We must come to the fountain continually. Listen for God’s Voice which is like rushing water. (Ezekiel 43, Revelation 1 & 14) He speaks to us through Living Water as His Spirit lives in us and breathes in those who give Him their heart. The substance of God in us is not lacking but waits to fill us to overflowing time and time again. Are you thirsty? Jesus says, “Come to me!”

Revelation 19:5-7 (NIV) Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Deeper Wells

DeeperWells

John 7:38-39 (NLT) Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Are you satisfied? Completely content with your life and current conditions. Do you want to be? Of course, you do. It is the reason you get up and go about each day in hope of finding true peace and absolute satisfaction. Is it even possible? In our very creation, humanity is given eternity in their heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) A longing for the realization of right standing with God and fulfillment of purpose as originally designed. This is not an element of nature but representative of divine design that also provides a little tiny bit of faith to start from. Those who discover the reality of forever and use that bit of faith to work into confident hope will find satisfaction…one day.

What must one do to be truly satisfied? Jesus offered to anyone who believed the invitation to come and drink. With grace that is totally sufficient, He extends an offer to taste and see that the Lord is good. He is kind and loving filled with compassion with just one purpose. Jesus wants to give us a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) The “living water” spoken of is the Holy Spirit who was given to us after our Savior satisfied our indebtedness to sin and freed us to live a miraculous and prosperous life. How is that going for you today? Is your life miraculous? Are you prospering? If not, you should be.

John 4:10-14 (NLT) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

If you come to our house to visit, during the course of our visit, I would offer you something to drink while you are here. If you express a desire for something, I would provide a cold glass of water or more likely some sweet tea. Let’s be real…we live in the South. Sitting the beverage in front of you within arm’s reach, I then settle back in the chair to continue our conversation. Now imagine, if after doing so, you continue to say that you are thirsty and need something to drink. The very thing that will satisfy you is right in front of you, but you refuse to acknowledge or even take and drink it. Whose fault is it that you are still thirsty?

We have been given Living Water. It rushes deep within in us ready to satisfy us quenching our thirsty soul. It is in us but we cannot find a way to make it come out of us. The woman at the well with Jesus couldn’t fathom how to draw such water from a deep well without a bucket or rope. Yet Jesus continued to reach out to her with what she needed most, unfailing love and unconditional grace that would create such a flow that she would never be thirsty for love or completion again. She expressed a great desire for this water. The kind where you would never be thirst and “I won’t have to come here to get water.” This is important. Though we do not obtain “water” from the same well, we must learn to access the water in our well.

John 7:40-43 (NLT) When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” So the crowd was divided about him.

All of these people believed in the Messiah. They just were not sure this man named Jesus was the Messiah. His method was not as expected. His arrival was not as they had planned. Salvation was more than a rescue but a resurrection of life. Who could comprehend? How would they understand? Jesus would give them Living Water. It would be poured out on all mankind. Some would believe. These would become the sons and daughters of God. Disputes. Divisions. All over water rights if you will…sounds familiar.

Genesis 26:17-22 (NLT) So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them. Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

There was a famine in the land. The Lord came to Isaac and instructed him not to go to Egypt, but rather do as “I tell you”. He was to live as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines. The Lord promised to be with Isaac and bless him. So Isaac did just as the Lord instructed him to do. Obedience is absolutely essential to accessing the living water in our soul and releasing it to prosper our life. Obedience requires stepping out by faith in the order of God’s Planning and the precision of His Timing.

In Genesis 26:12-13, is says that when Isaac planted his crops that he harvested a hundred times more than he planted. Let’s go back to verse 1 – “a severe famine now struck the land.” What in the world? Prosperity in famine. Crazy blessing in the drought. How is it even possible? With God all things are possible if only we believe. Isaac believed the Lord and stayed where he was told to be and continued to do as he knew to do. As Isaac prospered, the people around him became jealous. They were hungry. He was not. They were thirsty. He was satisfied to the point of abundance. He was ordered to leave.

Upon his arrival to Gerar Valley, Isaac reopened the wells that Abraham, his father, had dug long ago. The Philistines had filled them in their anger and resentment. Isaac’s servants did not stop there but continued to dig and “discovered a well of fresh water.” The shepherd’s from Gerar claimed the spring. Even though he found the well, Isaac left it to them calling it Esek or “argument”. He left it behind. Isaac had another well dug. Again the shepherd’s disputed it and again Isaac abandoned it but first calling it Sitnah or “hostility”. Finally, Isaac dug a third and final well. There was no dispute over it. He named this one Rehoboth which means “open space.” He declared, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in the land.” Hang on a minute, he was already producing one-hundred fold crops in abundance. How much more did he want or need?

Natural, physical and financial prosperity was not enough for Isaac. He was in search of absolute peace. He found it in that place and would continue to dig another well. At that place, he built an altar to the Lord. There comes a time when money, resources, influence and earthly energy and human power is not enough. The more we achieve the less satisfying it becomes unless the living water within us is released to prosper us externally as our soul prospers. Isaac’s prosperity made him a powerful man. It was a time of severe famine. He had a plethora of food. Yet, as he continued his journey, it was marked with humility and peace every step of the way. Isaac did not exert his power but rather continued to dig deeper until he found the place of prosperity chosen by the Lord and prepared just for him. He would call it the “open space”. The place where Isaac would prosper in peace.

Galatians 5:17-23 (NLT) The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

The Living Water expressed in God’s Word is referring to the Holy Spirit. He is the conduit to prosperity and abundance according to God’s Design and Christ’s Provision in our life. We choose whether to pursue the “open space” where we can live according to the Fruit of the Spirit or whether we will exist on the provision of the world. The Fruit of God’s Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Obedience in Christ makes us dig deeper each day to release the wellspring of life hidden inside our soul. It allows the fresh water delivered to us in His Mercy and Grace each day to replenish the vast emptiness drained by this world. Isaac kept digging. He did not get wrapped up in arguments. He was not hindered by hostility. But rather, Isaac kept pressing into the source of life until he reached the open space where he could truly and abundantly prosper.

A life of satisfaction is marked by consistent obedience. Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus. On hearts intent on Heaven. Our mind helmeted with salvation all wrapped up in truth and fortified with thoughts higher than our own and ways beyond our comprehension. To live is Christ is die is gain becomes real when ordinary circumstances and real life do not matter compared to the hope I have in Jesus. What is the abundance in your life today? Is there famine in your land? What are you doing about it? To live the rich and satisfying life that Jesus promised is to keep digging until you overflow in Living Water, and quench that dry and thirsty soul.

Psalm 147:16-17 (NLT) When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; He is filled with kindness.

Before God prospers us in life, He will prosper our body, mind and spirit preparing us for fulfillment. Otherwise, we will proverbially “take the money and run.” Nature satisfaction is temporary and totally dependent on one’s environment. It is only when a believer decides that there is more to life than this investing time and energy in pursuing the Kingdom of God that peace and contentment finds us completing us. I find that there is nothing in the natural that can give me the depth of satisfaction that I have in the freedom that Christ allows. Every act of obedience is met with blessing. Every step of trust carrying me closer reveals a promise. Every ounce of energy invested in pursuing more and more peace with God through His Son, Jesus is met with unfailing and unconditional love covered in amazing grace that produces abundance and prosperity in my life. Obedience opens the Hand of God. Commitment grabs His Attention. Faith connects our heart and purpose together. Now my life will prosper because Living Water flows in me. If your life is not producing and prospering as God’s Word promises, it is time to dig a little deeper. It’s in there…

I Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

The Beautiful Life

The Beautiful Life

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

 

Every little girl learns of fairytales early in life. They dream of big castles, white horses and ironclad knights who are really princes in disguise. Reality is not an issue in make believe worlds as wonderful as the imagination can wonder. During the difficult days of my parent’s divorce, just eight years old, I still remember making a checklist in my head of what I would do and not do when I grew up. I based my list on the hurt, pain and struggle of my world split in two. Loving two people who live far apart is difficult on the innocent heart constructed of happily ever after. Princesses are not real. At least, not the ones read about. Knights on white horses do not rescue damsels in distress and there is no such thing as a perfect life.

 

My favorite Disney princess is Aurora also known as Sleeping Beauty. Although my grandmother read Cinderella to me, Aurora was the one who I loved the most. She sings the song, “One Day My Prince Will Come.” It’s funny though that we do not remember the plight of the princess in each fairytale only the happy ending. Cinderella suffered the oppression of her evil step-mom and her daughters after her father’s death. Snow White was left in the woods to die. Aurora was plotted against from birth. Each princess had a plight. Each one hurt, abused or forsaken yet many little girls desire the outcome of their journey in life. Do we forget the price paid for their resolution? No. To believe will test everything our life is founded upon. It will challenge us to do things that we never once thought we could do. I read a little pictogram on Facebook that quite simply stated, “You were born to do more than pay bills and die.” A little rough around the edges but relevant and true. You will never know who you are in Christ without a little faith in a beautiful life. We have to believe that there is more to life than this to ever find it. We must decide to hope for more than is evident and realistic but hopeful and new.

 

Beauty for ashes. My life is beautiful thought I did not always think so. I am a princess who lives in a real fairytale. My Prince is coming. The process of claiming my crown is a bit challenging. It requires that knowing who I am and still living this life just the same. So this morning as I read Isaiah 61, I skipped past the beginning to see what is required. I have the Spirit of the Living God inside that has confirmed there is more to life than this. I live for the day of my soon and coming King who will rescue me. Life is beautiful. It is just how He planned. The Lord has promised that everything is beautiful in His Timing. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) I finally believe it. Do you?

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

To give them beauty for ashes…there must be a sacrifice. No Kingdom moved its castle to sit by the prince or princess. The royal one must claim their Kingdom. We have a Kingdom though unseen is unconquerable. It cannot be shaken or moved which requires us to be shaken and moved to claim it. To have it will require sacrifice – some small and others too costly to count until the day of accounting. Life leads us in choices. Small beginnings of faith fan the flame of desire for more than is offered in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. We strive for more but to attain it requires a sacrifice of this life for the one that is coming. It is not what I do or what I say or even in what I give. It is in me. God doesn’t desire the contents or conditions of my life to be given away or changed in the slightest. He only asks for me. He want me in all my mess, mistakes and misfortune. The Lord sees me as beautiful in the ashes of sacrifice. The moment I surrender and submit my heart, mind, soul and body to loving Him fully and completely is the moment happily ever after becomes my reality. He is free to work all things together for my good now. (Romans 8:28) I have given Him permission by laying my life down at the Cross.

 

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17) This is the revelation that changed my life forever. The Truth that all God wants from me is me. Every day He pursues me with His Unfailing Love and Goodness hoping to overtake me. His Love for me is neverending. It cannot be stifled or stopped even in my best attempts to avoid Him. The Lord wants me. All of me. For many years, I tried to be a good Christian. To do all the right things. To be a good person. To share the Light of His Love. Yet, in the end, the very thing that saved me was when I could do no more. In my weakness, His Love overtakes us. With the ashes of broken dreams, disappointments and shattered hearts, Jesus begins to make us beautiful.

 

Matthew 16:24-26 (NKJV)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

I must choose a Kingdom. I must decide. It is a matter of life or death that I choose well. When I choose to live for the Kingdom of God, I must die to self. “The oil of joy for mourning” comes to those who decide to live for something more than this life. If cannot flow freely in a life that is conflicted. One must make the choice if they will life for today or forever in each moment. Whoever loses His Life for Christ’s sake will find it. True joy is born of true repentance. Turning from sin and darkness to claim righteousness in the Light of His Love. The wages of sin will always be death. (Romans 6:23) To remain present in our sin after salvation will only result in a contradictory life. In such a volatile conflicted state, one will never make a clean break from this world to claim forever. Salvation means to repent of our sin. Not relinquish it for a moment or day, but to turnaround and walk the other way. You will never experience the joy of salvation unless you are truly saved.

 

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14) We are not helpless bystanders but heroes and heroines in disguise. The Lord has given us the Holy Spirit to help us transition from death to life. He is the partner who should not be silent but continually sought for our eternal success. He grooms us, molds us and shapes our life so we can become conduits of joy and strength.

 

Matthew 11:27-29 (NKJV)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” comes when by burden. To experience praise is an act of release. When we give our burdens to Christ, He gives us a reason to praise. New songs rise up in our heart as we experience freedom again. You will never fully understand praise until you have given up heaviness to have it. Come to me all you labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Few people come to the Cross of Jesus before broken. It is not until you cannot bear the load of sin and consequence that one unloads it at His Feet. We give Him just enough to readjust and keep marching. God never told you to be the strong one. It is our flesh that demands control of our strength. The Word of God says that true strength is found in weakness for that is the moment His Grace is sufficient for me.

 

The burden of our life is simple. Give Jesus all our fears, faults and failures and feed His Sheep. (John 21:15-19) How many times did Peter fail the Lord? Yet, Jesus still came to meet him on that beach. Just because life didn’t turn out the way we intended and we gave up on the Lord, doesn’t mean that He has given up on me! He keeps coming back. Jesus offers to carry the load of my life if I will just continue to share the Good News with others. To take care of His People until He comes. To get involved in messy people who just like me need Him the most. Praise comes when we surrender our life – the good, the bad and the ugly including that which we can handle and that which we cannot to say, “Yes Lord, I will feed your sheep!”

 

Psalm1:1-3 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

 

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV)

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

I am almost finished with this rendition of a fairytale. Yes, this is a fairytale but true. Our life is a process. It is the process of planting our life in the Love of Jesus Christ so that we will be rooted and grounded by His Love. Through sacrifice – there is beauty. Sadness and death produce joy and life. Oppression gives way to peace, rest and praise. All these unlikely things produce an abundance in our life. The unlikely becomes likely. The impossible completely possible. However, no one willingly asks for that which produces a beautiful life. When it comes, we question God and doubt His Love in pure ignorance that is only remedied by experiences with the Lord and encounters in His Presence. These are the things that drive us there for if we would go willingly it would not be necessary to move us to better and we simply respond.

 

Our life gains purpose in the Kingdom of God because it is the place that we were created to be. When the supernatural becomes our new natural – it is in that place that satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment govern our once reckless, random and purposeless existence. We become the rebuilders the road to righteousness for others paving it in truth and genuine love. We will raise up the banner of His Love to a lost and dying world so that will know the Way. We will repair the breaches made by false prophets and fake preachers allowing wolves in the fold while silencing the lie of the enemy with the Truth of God’s Love, the profit of obedience and the sweetness of surrender so the sheep will come home. With this message of restoration a revival will begin in the final stages of preparation for our soon and coming King. (Isaiah 61:4-5) It also says that those who live this way will be well-provided for. Life is beautiful or at least it can be when we choose to believe that there is one true fairytale with a Prince called Peace. As we wait for Him, it is not in vain. He make everything beautiful in its time as we grow deeper in His Love season after season until He comes.

 

Isaiah 61:6-7 (NKJV)

But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.

 

I Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

 

When we think of a prince or princess, do we ever really consider their wealth? No. We long for a carefree life filled with love and honor. Think about it. There are not huge piles of gold or expensive gifts. We long to be saved from our ordinary life into an extraordinary existence. We are given the opportunity to become Sons and Daughters of God. The Creator of all that exists. He offers us a chance to be part of His Royal Priesthood. His Own Special People. We are special. We are wanted. All of this potential is locked up in our life waiting to be revealed by faith. When we believe that God has purpose in meaning in every facet of our life – past, present and future- we begin to see that none of this is random and all of it has meaning and purpose. Happily ever after is possible even when up to now has been hard and hurtful. Don’t give up on your dream because your life is a disaster. God makes our mess a message. I would rather listen to the wisdom of well-planted trees who have made it through all seasons which means that they may appear broken and abused but they have the best fruit that will renew my soul and refresh my spirit. Their roots lead me to living water and not some dried up pool. As I look at my life, I am living happily ever after and there are many chapters in the book. It is coming together as a beautiful story as God is faithful in each exchange.

 

John 10:9-10 (NKJV)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they

Honeymooners

Honeymooners

Psalm 26:2 (NKJV) Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.

 

When I gave my heart to Jesus completely, finally surrendering ALL of my life and not just the parts I was comfortable with, it entailed a different kind of worship than that of my family. My husband and I were attending a full-gospel church. For the first time in my life, it all made sense. The Word of God and the Spirit of Truth finally made up my mind. I wanted all of God. I engaged in a full pursuit to know Jesus – spirit, mind, heart, soul, and body. Every facet of me in agreement to live for the Lord…finally. Although my family was glad to see me finally settle down and surrender my life, they were concerned with my choice of doctrine. Raised Southern Baptist, they were cautious about my choice to become charismatic or Pentecostal. I was hurt. I was disappointed as the newfound zeal and enthusiasm for Jesus seemed to be somehow discounted or discredited. I knew the transformation I was experiencing but could not seem to express it to those whose opinions mattered most. After months of radical change in our life, but continued questioning all I could ask was that they examine my fruit, the productivity of my life and decide if it truly was of the Lord.

 

There are honeymoon periods in life when something is new and exciting. Obviously a marriage is followed by a honeymoon which can last a few days or even a few years for some. This is followed by the reality of commitment. Love is not the fuzzy feeling or enveloping emotion at the first sight of someone or deepening intimacy. It is the commitment that after initial passion cools or appearances fade who can continue in covenant when the getting becomes giving. Love is an extension of us. It connects us with the outpouring of self to accept another and give them our all. Anything less is not love. Every new thing in life comes with anticipation and excitement but as we engage in the operation of life called obedience – it is remaining faithful and true to all that is promised which challenges the wavering heart and indecisive mind. Any oath taken, promise made or commitment agreement is laborious. It is contrary to human nature. It will require patience, endurance and perseverance. This is when we no longer can rely on the five senses or emotions to get us through but must examine our heart and mind to prove our commitment.

 

We must examine ourselves. We must invite and allow the Holy Spirit to assist us as we do. Other people are not the most credible source for evaluation of self. No person is above sin or has achieved perfection. Only Jesus can give us clear insight of what needs to happen to take one more step in the journey to eternity. Only I know the real and raw contents of my heart and mind including every doubt, fear, hurt, disappointment, bitterness, strife, malice, anger, sin and more that keeps me from moving deeper into the Presence of God whether I will admit it or not. This partnership with Christ must be one that is examined daily for reality, credibility and true or our life as a Christian is nothing more than a farce. A self-established title for this life without any benefit beyond our natural life.

 

2 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NKJV)

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

 

Examine yourselves as to whether you in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? How do you respond to the testing and challenging of your faith? Are you the only one who knows that you are a Christian? Are you sure that Christ lives in you? Are you experiencing manifestations and demonstrations of God’s Power in natural life? All of these are valid points of faith in full operation. We cannot live as a life of godly authenticity and not experience God’s Power in our life. Obedience and faithfulness beginning in our heart and mind in agreement with Christ will yield supernatural results whether invited, welcomed or acknowledged or not. We are weak in the natural but the Strength and Power of God is ours in our weak inabilities. When we decide to live a life committed to the Lord, His Power is released in us and through us.

 

Faith is not blind though we cannot see what we can believe. It is the knowledge of God exalted in our life as we live by what is unseen rather than relying on what we do see. Successful Christianity is not dependent on what another person pours in our life, but what we receive from the Lord directly. It is not our pastor or Sunday school teacher’s responsibility to grow, develop and mature us but rather equip us. It is what we do with the knowledge give that determines if we will live in God’s Power or remain in human weakness. We must test ourselves. Our faith must be genuine. It is personal. It is intimate. No one can make our faith stronger or determine it validity but us. We must examine our life daily.

 

I Corinthians 2:10-12 (NKJV)

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

 

You know your heart. You know your mind. You know what you believe. Now whether or not one is willing to admit the longings, thoughts and truth behind these entities is up to the person. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to partner with us in the soulful and heartfelt development of our faith and commitment to Him. He is our deepest confidant and closest companion until our Savior and Lord returns for us. He comforts us and convicts us to fully commit our heart and mind to Jesus. He searches us and offers us knowledge and understanding to use as wisdom in our life. But no one can examine ourselves but us. People at the leading of the Holy Spirit may confirm in us something that the Holy Spirit has expressed but God is our confidant and will never tell them something outside of what He has already been whispering to us. Our relationship is intimate and personal.

 

Many couples who have problematic relationships will give a hundred and one excuses as to who is to blame and why the partnership is failing. It can be finances, careers, family, kids, responsibilities, unmet expectations and the list goes on and on. When our life and ALL our expectations are firmly rooted and established by our faith in God’s Love for us, we can live our lives without need, want or expectation in anyone or anything else. The bottom line in any relationship is our commitment to one another. Love covers a multitude of sins. Our natural spouses, partners, family, friends and coworkers are all imperfect. They all have their own needs, wants and desires driving them. They have weaknesses just like us. Our life and happiness is not dependent on any other human being. Our true confidence, joy and peace is found only in Jesus.

 

I Corinthians 11:27-32 (NKJV)

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood[ of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

What is communion? It is not the symbolic gesture in a church service when we sip on grape juice (or in some cases wine) and break a tiny wafer that tastes like paper. This is strictly symbolic of our relationship with Jesus Christ that should be our lifestyle. Religiously this act means nothing without a heart committed to Jesus. The Word of God is the Bread of Life. His Spirit is the Living Water rushing in us. When we eat or drink in an unworthy manner it is judgment. Stop. Process and repeat. When we eat (the Bread of Life) and drink (in His Spirit) without a true desire and longing from our mind and heart to live in complete commitment to Jesus Christ it is worthless and unfruitful act of self not surrender.

 

Communion is association and fellowship with Jesus. It is to share our thoughts, emotions and intimate communication with the Lord. We sharing and hold everything in life in common and participate in life together. Communion is our daily life engaged with our Savior withholding nothing. It is this kind of life that opens the windows of Heaven in our life. Our life will become a demonstration and manifestation of the Power of God when our heart and mind agree with Christ choosing to live in an intimate partnership of love, trust and commitment. It is then and only then that we will be able to examine our heart and mind to find real faith and confident hope.

 

Revelation 3:19-21 (NKJV)

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 

Jesus is standing and knocking on our hearts today. He can only walk as far as our faith allows. As we examine our heart to repent, we allow the Lord to come in closer to us. By seeking Him each day through His Word and Spirit, the building process continues as He moves closer and closer in our life. One day, it will be like Enoch and we will find ourselves living in the Presence of God. This doesn’t necessarily have to be when we meet Him face-to-face but by daily communing with Jesus. Asking Him into our heart requires a pure heart and made up mind that nothing less than the sweetest intimacy will do. Forsaking all others, Lord I want you!

 

If the honeymoon is over and reality setting in, maybe you don’t feel the same warm fuzzies as when you first fell in love with Jesus. This is a natural human reaction when the excitement of first love wanes and the rubber hits the road. Faith is born of commitment. It is the genuine and real part of love. It leads to a road less traveled that is quite narrow. It can be a lonely place at first as we begin to leave people behind or they leave us, but then we can focus on the One who loved us first, loves us the most, and always loves us the best! He is knocking today. Will you answer?

I John 4:18-19 (NKJV)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.

Free Water

Free Water

Psalm 107:8-9 (TLB)

Oh, that these men would praise the Lord for his loving-kindness, and for all of his wonderful deeds! For he satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good.

This morning when I woke up I was thirsty. No, really parched and dry like I had walked in the desert all night. Going to the kitchen, I quickly drained a bottle of water. Yet, still I was not satisfied so I kept drinking. When I opened the Word of God, naturally thirst was on my mind. God let me straight to this Truth. He satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good. The Living Bible is not one of the usual translations that I study from. I am not sure how it ended up in the browser unless the Lord wanted me to look at this familiar passage in a different light. The Light of His Love will do amazing things to enhance our knowledge and understanding of what God is saying and how He moves in our life. We can praise the Lord in each day because of His Loving Kindness, but instead we work for a love that is freely granted. Concentrating on making our life acceptable before the Lord, sometimes I think it is forgotten that such righteousness is established by grace alone. I can do everything right for the rest of my life following every single commandment in detail and walking the rest of my days out in complete sacrificial love for God, Jesus, and all mankind yet still fall short of the glorious standard of living found in Christ alone.

Christian burnout comes from trying to find satisfaction, contentment and completion in our actions rather than placing our life in the Love of Jesus. There are thirsty and hungry souls in churches every day who know the Lord but have no idea how to receive from Him. There is nothing I can do or say to ever be deserving of the Love that I have been given. It is futile to try. The only way that I can receive the loving kindness and wonderful things that the Lord has for me is to step out of my doing and into His Love. That’s really all there is to it. It seems so small that all He wants to do is stay close and love me. I am not worthy. No one really is. Even great preachers like Billy Graham and T.D. Jakes have fallen short of God’s Standard of Living and committed transgressions against God. Being great teachers of the Word does not change the fact that they had to come to Jesus and step in His Love like everyone else. The difference is that they learned to live there.

Today the Lord is reminding me that I have all of His Love right here and right now to live in. I do not have to do a single thing but surrender my life to Him – body, mind and spirit. If I give all that I am to Christ, He will do the rest. I don’t have to do a thing. I must hunger and thirst for more of Him. Just as I was thirsty when I got out of bed this morning, I knew that in the kitchen we had bottles of water that would quench that desire and need for hydration. My soul cries out for such relief. Do I respond by receiving? Do I run to His Word, or step into His Presence to be filled yet again? Today my natural thirst has revealed a spiritual thirst. The Lord wants to satisfy us today with His Loving Kindness.

John 4:10-15 (TLB)

He replied, “If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!” “But you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well! Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob? How can you offer better water than this which he and his sons and cattle enjoyed?” Jesus replied that people soon became thirsty again after drinking this water.14 “But the water I give them,” he said, “becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to make this long trip out here every day.”

 

It takes a desert to dry us out sometimes. I am not at all surprised that this journey has led us to the woman at the well. She was thirsty for love. There is no doubt that she was ready to be satisfied and made complete. Her opportunity met her at a well. The place where she would dry water to sustain her home for another day. She was in the process of providing water for others when the Lord came to water her. I think religion offers us a bucket and rope when we really don’t need it at all. We forget that living water comes from our relationship to Christ alone. The woman was given access to the well because of her “ancestor” – Jacob. When Jesus came and offered her living water without a “bucket or rope”, she was perplexed because she could not see how He had access to the water or what the Lord would use to pour it in her life. It would require faith to receive living water from Jesus. The Lord offered this empty, broken woman water that “becomes a perpetual spring within (her), watering (her) forever with eternal life.” She asked for the living water right then and there. The Lord would go on to make the way of repentance for her that day. Though He had not yet died for her sins, or provided a way to His Kingdom, this woman was well on her way to salvation and satisfaction in Jesus Christ.

We all have our moment that we meet the Lord. Repenting of our sins, we accept His Loving Kindness, His Grace and Mercy because in that moment of complete brokenness – we are filled. To worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth as he told this woman we must do requires remaining in such a humble place of receivership. If she had not had multiple husbands in her pursuit of love and care, she would not have been at the well alone broken and ready to meet Jesus. Her position in the community would have allowed her to join the other woman as they journeyed there together each day to draw water and fellowship together. She came alone. She bore the weight and burden of her life in solitude. She met Jesus there.

Isaiah 35:3-7 (TLB)

With this news bring cheer to all discouraged ones. Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, “Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, with springs of water in the thirsty land. Where desert jackals lived, there will be reeds and rushes!

 

God uses our droughts to drench us in His Loving Kindness and Goodness because we become broken open and willing to receive in such a place. Broken is open. The Lord doesn’t have to break our heart. Life is hard enough to do it on its own. Sin has made this world a terrible place. Evil seems to be prevailing. Love has grown cold. People are callous. Just yesterday, someone got so angry in traffic that they shot into a car killing an innocent four-year-old riding in her car seat with her parents. Road rage. They got so angry driving to their destination that they opened fire on a family in a car. Last week in other news, a woman was attacked and killed by someone. This story is already tragic enough until you read further to see that her body hung on the fence that kept her from escaping for more than a day because people thought she was a Halloween decoration. People, I can’t make this stuff up just read the news. There are other tragic stories that are not as senseless as the ones I just mentioned. Like that of the famous football player whose wife battled cancer valiantly for many years yet still succumbed to the illness leaving him a widower with four children to raise. Sickness and disease are a part of this life but not what the Lord intended for His People. Life is hard. The enemy is prowling around looking for people to devour, discourage, detour and destroy. These are all opportunities for the Lord to reach His People as through the darkness He offers the Light of His Love, in the midst of such rampant evil He give us hope that one day it will end as we step into His Kingdom forever. In the midst of such brokenness, we can be satisfied as He fills every void with His Loving Kindness and Compassion…if we come to Him thirsty, dry and broken and allow Him to fill us up!

Isaiah 55:1-3 (TLB)

Say there! Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine and milk—it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that doesn’t give you strength? Why pay for groceries that do you no good? Listen and I’ll tell you where to get good food that fattens up the soul! Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you, to give you all the unfailing mercies and love that I had for King David.

 

A local church decided to bless some people sitting in rush hour traffic by handing out cold bottled water. There were no donation buckets in hand or intent to deceive but rather just to satisfy some thirsty people. So they went to an intersection and when the light was red, walked up and down the roadway trying to give people a cold bottle of water no strings attached. The ones who would open their window received a bottle of water and told, “Jesus loves you!” That was it. It took them over three hours to get people to take the “free water”. People were afraid to open their windows in the car. Most wouldn’t even make eye contact.

The Living Water given to us by Christ is a powerful drink. It satisfies our soul. It completes us so that we lack no good thing. It may be free to us but it costs Christ everything. Have we closed our life to is overflow? Are we afraid to partake because it might cost us something? The invitation still stands – “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink.” The Lord invites us to come to Him and He will do the rest. He will fill us. He will satisfy our thirst from the inside out. He will meet our needs and our longings, too. If we will just meet Him at the well, He will be there.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (TLB)

 I will say this: because these experiences I had were so tremendous, God was afraid I might be puffed up by them; so I was given a physical condition which has been a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to hurt and bother me and prick my pride. Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite happy about “the thorn,” and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him.

2 Corinthians 11:27 (TLB) says, “I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” This is Paul describing his life AFTER he met Jesus Christ. This is not what most of us imagined coming to the Lord. Remember, Paul was a Jew. He was a Pharisee. He was not killing Christians out of blood thirst but because his religion gave him hatred for these people because he thought they were contradicting his God. Now, he came to the Lord after the dispensation of grace so God is not punishing Paul for his actions – they are under the Blood now. Where is the prosperity message in the persecution of believers? I will tell you were it is. It’s in 2 Corinthians 12.

Paul begins to tell of his wonderful experiences in Christ and all that the Lord is doing in him and through him. Paul talks about suffering for the Lord and also preaching the Gospel and building His Church. He then reviews a “thorn in (his) flesh.” Brokenness is openness. That thing which challenges us, breaks us open, keeps us exposed creates a spiritual thirst that nothing in this world can fill but Jesus Christ alone. This is the thing that keeps us connected to the Source of Life otherwise our religion and self-righteousness would carry us away. It is in our absolute and utter devastation that we are filled to the max with His Loving Kindness. I have been broken and for months now have tried to pack the wound. But the Lord has kept it open, not for my destruction, but to fill me with His Loving Kindness so that I can overflow with joy and gladness once again. The things in life that are tragic, unexplainable, and unexpected leave us open and exposed to the Love of God all over again. They are the very instances that drive us in His Presence for relief. I wonder if we learn to live there if we will finally be released…

John 7:37-38 (TLB)

On the last day, the climax of the holidays, Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.”

 

Jesus wants us to live fully satisfied and complete lives. (John 10:10) The enemy will have none of that and works to drain us of faith and hope in God every single day. Those who use these times as an opportunity to allow Jesus to pour Himself in our wounds and fill our brokenness with His Loving Kindness will soon have rivers of living water flowing from their innermost being. We just have to believe. Living water requires a living Savior. Jesus wants to overflow our life. Are you thirsty today? Have you hit a dry spot? Are you in need of refilling? If you are broken, you are open. Christ can fill your every void with His Love, Grace and Mercy – if you come thirsty and ready to be filled! You don’t need to bring a thing – it’s free. Just be ready to receive!

Revelation 21:5-7 (TLB)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

I Am Thirsty

IAm Thirsty

John 4:13-15 (NLT)

 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

River run through me. I want the rushing water of His Spirit that satisfies my soul to run through me today. Wet the dry areas. Satisfy the thirst that lies deep within me. Wash away the hard exterior to a soft fertile surface ready to receive the planting of Your Word. We have a swimming pool in the backyard. It has a filter and pump that keeps the water moving. My husband pours chlorine in it once or maybe twice a week to combat the impurities out. Living in Florida with lots of humidity and abundant rain, it is always a surprise to me that from time to time the pool needs more water. Where does it go? I also can’t figure out where the green algae comes from and how it survives the influx of chemicals. Every day we must examine the water, sometimes dropping a test strip in or taking a sample to the pool store to make sure the chemicals are balanced and there is nothing going on in the water that cannot be seen. It is all part of maintaining a pool. What good is it if we cannot swim in it? What’s the purpose if not to immerse ourselves in the crystal blue water?

There is a river that runs through me. I drank it in when I asked Jesus to be my Savior and made Him my Lord. I need the water. It cleanses me. It refreshes me. Day by day it renews me. Jesus told the woman at the well, “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within in them giving them eternal life.” Are you thirsty today? Feeling a little bit dry? Is the “water” you received from the Lord a little stagnant and unmoving? Do you a fresh drink? Living water must be maintained just like any other body of water. It must remain connected to the Source in order to continue to satisfy us from the inside out. Just as I may not sense a sudden change in the atmosphere around me, but it will become evident in the pool water in the backyard. We must examine the flow of God through us each day. We must add the nutrients it needs. The Word. We must pray for direction and guidance as we go. The Holy Spirit. We need Jesus or the living water us will no longer satisfy our soul.

John 7:38-39 (NLT)

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

 

I attended a church meeting last night in a small storefront church on a side of town I normally do not visit. The little church had been in revival. As I pulled through the sketchy liquor store parking lot looking for a place to park, I was a little unnerved by the surroundings. As I drove around trying to figure out if it was the right location, I was about to take my carload of girls back to familiar surroundings and the comforts of home. Just then the side door of the building next door opened, and you could hear praise pouring out so we parked and went in. For many reasons that I will not enumerate or bore you with, but suffice it to say I needed time with the Lord. Corporate worship was calling my name. Slipping in the back of the tiny church two different cultures meshed together into one of the most awesome services that I have ever attended. God was glorified in that place. Jesus was the Guest of Honor. The Holy Spirit was quite welcome there. I was blessed.

The sad thing is that I almost missed my blessing. This house of worship didn’t look like what I was accustomed to. The people were all strangers to me. I was uncomfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings until inside when it was clear – we all wanted the very same thing. How many times do we turn our noses up at the Living Water that the Lord supplies us because it is unfamiliar, doesn’t look like what we are used to, makes us uncomfortable or maybe we are afraid? When the pastor read this verse, I realized that I have rivers of living water in me that are not moving. They are drying up. I must reconnect to the Source just like pulling the hose around the house to put more water in the pool. It may not be convenient or comfortable but to be filled and refilled is necessary to remain alive in our soul.

Isaiah 35:1-8 (NLT)

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.

It is very difficult to fully wrap our mind around the fact that God knows the days of our life before we live them. Our life is part of a plan that contains a future and hope prescribed from our creation. We are predestined to discover His Love and live in it. God is Sovereign so that means that no matter what we do with the opportunity it is always there. He does not lie or change His Mind. We do. Over and over again, we chase the Lord one day and run off in another direction the next. We are satisfied today and become dissatisfied the next. The wasteland you may be walking in today has hidden waterfalls. There is water in us ready to move through us if we will only become thirsty enough to pursue it. It is already flowing and available thanks to Jesus Christ.

The atmosphere we live in does not dictate our success. The environment does not have to impact our prosperity. Satisfaction is not dependent on our surroundings. The scenery of life changes every single day. The “great road” called the Highway to Holiness is not what we do but based on one’s ability to keep living water freely flowing through our life no matter what the circumstances. My daughter won a gift bag in a free drawing at the little church. It was clear that this House of God had limited resources though they were diligent stewards of what they had. When she got in the car and opened the bag, I could tell by her face she was surprised. Inside she found soap, toothpaste, and some other toiletries. We began to talk about the church and its people. To some people the very things we take for granted are a sacrifice. My children are used to church. It is a way of life for them. The image of church was shattered the moment they realized how blessed they are. The very things they take for granted they were gifted in that moment. I was just as guilty going in as I judged the book by its cover in the parking lot afraid to go in. Once inside thought, I found living water rushing like a raging rapid.

Psalm 107:33-38 (NLT)

He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.

 

Dissatisfaction. Discontentment. Aggravation. Agitation. Discomfort. Spiritual dehydration if you will can be a faith fatality if left unchecked. Living water is the Source of Life that sustains us on the Highway of Holiness. This world has nothing for me. When my “resources” dry up, and I am not talking about physical things but deep inside my spirit. I know that I must inspect my connection to the Source. I need to get to the Water of His Word. I need the filter and flow of His Spirit to rinse out the impurities settling in me. Sometimes it will require a change of scenery, but be warned. The greatest experiences of revival and restoration in my life have not been mountaintop discoveries but in the deepest, darkest valleys of life when the only thing left to depend on was God alone. God is planting seeds deep in my heart that require water and time to grow. I must be faithful in cultivation to see these things come to life. I must not abandon my fields for a different source but grow where I am planted. River run through me today. God prime my pump. I want to stay connected to the River of Life that flows in me. Be my source.

Isaiah 55:1-3 (NLT)

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.”

Is anyone thirsty besides me today? The message is clear and straightforward. Come and drink. It is free but still costly. I am thirsty today. Last night our son went back to school after a weekend visit. The same son who just spent the last four years fighting cancer and won! I will see him on Friday when doctors will take out his port. The same port that has delivered seemingly endless rounds of chemotherapy to his body. He doesn’t need it anymore. As I look at him, there are definitely scars obtained on the journey. He fought a hard battle. Yet, his smile tells the story of one who has been set free. He is flourishing under God’s Amazing care. This test is over. I know another one awaits – it is all part of growth! I want to be filled to overflowing each day with God’s Living Water. I think what I have come to realize is that during the dark times – we live on reserve. When we realize there is a deficit, the Lord simply says come closer. I have what you need. You can have it for free. Just dig a little deeper, My Love will supply all that you need. So Lord, I will admit today that I am thirsty. I need more of You. Living Water wash over me, flow through me, and fill me to overflowing. I will trust in You!

Psalm 63:1-3(NLT)

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!