The Water We Need

It is dreadfuly hot in our area right now.  The need to stay hydrated and well-watered is not just a good idea, but it is essential to staying healthy and safe during these extreme fluctuations of temperatures.

“Come to the waters,” is something I once wrote, with the invite to “Step into the abundant life He so offers (John 10:10).  Come and let your soul be spiritually satisfied.  Come and take the offer of His salvation for yourself.” (Come to the Waters)

The truth is, the heat of this life affects us all and we all need that saving water.

One day Jesus was walking with His disciples and He felt compelled to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Whilst there, He spoke with a woman He happened upon at a well.  He asked her, “Give me to drink,” (John 4:7).  Her response was, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans,” (John 4:9).

John 4:10, 14 says, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” (emphasis mine).

Furthermore, it is expressed in John 7:37-39, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me [Jesus], and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Water is life-sustaining. Water is necessary.  No matter what climate or environment one dwells in, water is a mandatory need that has to be met in order for one to thrive.  For Jesus to identify what He had to offer as “water springing up into everlasting life” is a triumphant statement.  It means He meets the needs and satisfies all that is required for one to enter into life everlasting.

Take of Him today, my friend, drink of what He has to offer and you have this promise: “And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:11).

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).  

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Let God’s Grace Work

Let God’s grace work in the lives of others as He has once worked in your life.

Once, we were without understanding in many areas of life, including the spiritual aspects of life.

There was a time when we didn’t see things as we do now.  Growth will do that for you.  Over time, seeds of change are planted in your life and with the proper soil conditions, they grow and flourish, teaching you, revealing to you, and molding you and me into a better you and me.

How quickly are we to point the finger, verbally or silently, at those who are still struggling to understand?  The place of judging others does not belong to us (Romans 14:4; James 4:12).

We must have patience with our fellow man and remember where we once were and His grace that brought us to this day.  Pray for others as they are still trying to find their footing in this life.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

Did you catch that first phrase of that last verse?  But now…

Remember, we didn’t bring ourselves salvation.  Remember, we weren’t always what we are today.  Remember, it was Christ’s blood that saved us.  His grace did the work that we couldn’t do or didn’t deserve.

Let us show the same grace to others today as God is working on them too.

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At Peace in His Presence

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:1-2

David saw that in our relationship with God there is a peace that cannot be found in any other place.  The phrases “lie down” and “still waters” show the sheep, in the very famous psalm exalting the LORD as our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), being unafraid due to the wonderful care of the Shepherd.

Sheep, who are naturally fearful animals, are at peace in His presence, regardless of what the world may be experiencing.

The Bible gives us many references to the peace that we find in our relationship with God.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
  • John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
  • John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
  • Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

All of these solidify the type of relationship the sheep have with the shepherd; the type of relationship we experience in Jesus Christ our ultimate Shepherd (John 10:11).  Many are grasping at various things and pursuits to fill their life with peace.  This peace and serenity can only be found under the protection of the Shepherd.

If you cannot find peace today, simply look to Jesus, and there you will find peace in His presence.

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. . . Because of God

Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph.  We have the main points in his life down pat: his coat of many colors, his dreams, and his interpretation of others’ dreams.  We know of him being sold into slavery by his own brothers, his life in Egypt, the accusations of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  But how closely do we pay attention to his actual relationship with God?  Do we focus more on the “From the Pit to the Palace,” side of things than on his integrity before God?

In his story, Joseph appears to start out as a young man who is a bit boastful and can’t wait to tell every listening ear his dream.  (I’m not saying he was boastful, just that it appears so).  His dreams became so that they incurred the hatred of his brothers.  This hatred would boil up within them until it filled them with violent intentions.  At one point, they thought murder was one option to rid them of this dreamer.  Instead of killing him, they opted to get rid of him while making a little money on the side.  They sold him into slavery.

In what appeared as the hardest time of his young life, Joseph’s relationship with God deepened.  This showed in the way God cause him to be prosperous and favored no matter where life put him (Genesis 39:3, 21).  Joseph also displayed the importance of his devotion to God in not sinning against God (Genesis 39:9) and in his refusal to take credit for all that God was doing through him (Genesis 40:8; 41:16, 28, 32).

God blessed Joseph with this incredible gift yet in his humility and dependence upon God, he denounced any accolades of his own.  He considered himself to be a vessel, realizing that “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace,” (Genesis 41:16).

The humility of Joseph took him far in life.  Eventually, he became second in command over Egypt.  Had he gotten big-headed I’m sure the story would’ve turned out quite differently.  If he had reverted to the “Me, Myself and I” attitude that a lot of people seem to display, Joseph’s story would not have been noted as the legacy we now know.

“It’s not in me,” Joseph readily proclaims.  The Bible tells us, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  The Apostle Paul out-and-out tells us what Joseph already proclaimed.  We don’t have it in us!  Any gifts, any abilities, any special insights, and any favor – we have it because of God!  There’s no room for a self-sufficient attitude when God is trying to work in you.

When Daniel went before king Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dream, Daniel, like Joseph, admitted his frailty as a human.  He said, “This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living,” (Daniel 2:30).  He did not consider himself anything special just because he could interpret dreams rather, he gave glory to God, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his,” (Daniel 2:20).

Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was asked, “Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?” (Daniel 2:26).  Daniel answered much like Joseph did.  He said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days,” (Daniel 2:28).

It is amazing the miracles that God can perform through the one who will not compete with Him to gain the credit.  When God instructed Gideon to go against the Midianites with only three hundred men, He did so, “lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me,” (Judges 7:2).  When there is competition for glory, God will retain His!  If one is in competition with Him they are “against” Him and God can’t work mightily through them!

It’s not just an Old Testament thing.  Peter said, “Why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12).  Let’s face it, we are human, and unless God puts it in us – unless God gives it to us, we don’t have anything to offer this world.  “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven,” (John 3:27).

Let’s do a credit check today.  Not to decipher our financial status but rather our relationship status with God.  It’s not “Me, Myself and I,” but it’s God working in us.  Let’s stand with Joseph and declare, “It’s not in me: God shall give . . . an answer . . .” (Genesis 41:16).  Everything that we have or are able to do in life is because of God.

Blessings to you . . .

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God’s Omniscient View

In dealing with any adverse condition, circumstance, or trouble one thing’s for sure: God knows all about it and He has the final say! This was proven at the beginning of the book of Job when He limited what Satan could do (see Job 1:12 and Job 2:6) and at the end when God commanded a double blessing over Job’s life (see 42:10) and we see that “The LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning . . .” (Job 42:12a).

But what about the in-between?  That’s the hard thing about trying to hold on while going through the trials of this life isn’t it?  We don’t know the outcome as we are traveling through those difficult times. How awesome would it be to see the beginning from the end; yet, that would not allow our faith to be exercised and stretched, for the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

While we may not be able to see or even understand everything we are dealing with or going through; while we may not have an omniscient overview of our life, God does.  He is omniscient meaning He is all-knowing.  The Bible lets us know, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).  There are no limits to what He knows, sees, or understands.

Isaiah 46:10 also reassures us that God is, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”  In other words, to reiterate my previous statement: “God has the final say” and His purposes for our lives will stand because He is the only one who knows all about it!

Be encouraged today, my friend, knowing that God’s got this no matter how chaotic, difficult, hurtful, or wrong it seems right now.  He, in His divine sovereignty, sees it all and has it all under control.  His view of our life is so much better than our own.  Hold on and trust the God who is infinitely all-knowing.

Have a very blessed day!

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A new attitude for a new day . . .

A new attitude for a new day . . . “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

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Praying . . . 5/20/22

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God, we as Your people stand before You today both as hopeless, and yet as being full of hope. If it is to ourselves we look for strength and resources then we are a hopeless bunch because there is no good thing in us. But, if it is You and Your mercy we are leaning on then our lives have nothing but hope because You, Lord, are the Author of all that can be and when we are trusting in You, we have the possibility of everything before us. Help us this day to keep looking to You where we can find hope, and not to ourselves. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!
🌞🙏🌞🙏🌞🙏🌞🙏

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Acknowledging Prayer

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:2-4

When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve.  Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.”  Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray.  He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”

Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed.  And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything!  This is acknowledgment.

“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction.  There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face.  Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things.  None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change.  That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”

“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us.  Did you get that?  God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer.  Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does.  He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view.  He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy.  Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.”  God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Hallowed be thy name.”  Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness.  Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain.  God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is.  His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”  When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything.  We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval.  Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).

Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.”  We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.

Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all.  “Give us day by day our daily bread.”  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider.  “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God will provide.

Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.  Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!  Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.  And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.

Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (James 1:13).  Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times.  “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20).  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13).  He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.

The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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The Common Thread

There are many things that make us unique creatures.  We all have something that is particularly special about us.

You may be that one with the personality that instantly lightens up a room when you enter in.  Or, you may be a great analytical thinker – a real go-getter and problem solver.

Perhaps you are a great encourager who puts a smile on the face of others.  You may be a great cook, a tinkerer, and a fixer of many things.

As many as there are people on this earth, there are just that many ways to think, do, and perform the things that make you uniquely you.

All the different features and skills – they are remarkably you as God’s unique design.  Knowing this, David says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:141).

But in the community of humanity, looking through the scope of everything that makes us us, there is one thing many fail to remember.  Universally speaking, we all have this common thread: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2, NKJV).  

Not one of us placed ourselves here (truth).

Not one of us was spawned from higher dirt than others (how absurd).

Not one of us gave life to ourselves (can I get an amen).

Through our many differences, there are more things about us that are the same.  And with God being the maker of all, there really is no reason for any to sport a superiority complex or to live under an inferiority complex.

In the grand scheme of humanity, we are all God’s beautiful creation.

Above Photo Source

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In Christ, We Are Free!

Grace is God’s move to save souls.  Grace is something that has been afforded to us by God.  To revert back to the old covenant would be a moment of rejection, saying what Christ did on the cross was not enough.

The Bible emphatically lets the believer know over and over again, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8).  Our salvation is us receiving what we did not deserve, that unmerited favor.  Thus, we are no longer “under the law, but under grace,” (Romans 6:14).  To return to the old covenant is a return to the law.  Galatians gives this warning, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace,” (5:4, ESV).

That move would undo the work that God accomplished by sending His Son to the cross.  If the law and adherence to those rituals could have saved mankind once and for all, then Jesus Christ would have never needed to come to this earth, be born a babe in a manger just to die on that old rugged cross, bearing the sins of the world.  Paul wrote in the book of Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Galatians 2:20-21, emphasis mine; see also Gal. 3:21).

Jesus very plainly spoke, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  John the Baptist also declared, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” (John 1:16-17).

Before Paul’s life was changed on that day on the road to Damascus he was known as Saul.  Before Jesus met him there and shined on his life a new mission, he was a persecutor.  Before grace met him in the midst of his sin, he was bound by the law.  At one point Paul told of his background enveloped in legalism and trusting in works of the flesh, saying, “Though I might have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,” (Philippians 3:4-6).  According to the law, Paul had all the right marks checked off his list.

Yet, when Christ changed his life all that previous stuff was counted as “loss for Christ,” (Philippians 3:7).  His life now was marked by faith and grace.  He wrote to the Corinthian church, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me,” (1 Corinthians 15:10).  Now, he encourages those in Galatia to let their walk of faith be molded by the grace of God and not by the bondage of the law wherewith they have been made free, as his life now demonstrates.  He wants their life to be marked by the power of Christ living on the inside and not by outward symbols and empty rituals reminding them, and us who are born of the Spirit:

“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Galatians 4:28-31

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