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Archive for the tag “living water”

What is the Silence Teaching You?

For the last couple of weeks, I have heard many encouraging words. But I have also heard a message or two about where is God at a time like this? It’s always the question when trouble comes, right? One of the messages I heard recently from Pastor Jack Hibbs concerned the church of Ephesus in the Book of Revelation.

Jesus has been given the authority by God the Father to judge all things. During Jesus’ time on earth, He did not judge (condemn) but came to save (rescue) us from our sins. He exchanged our sin debt for His life – He was the Sacrificial Lamb who took away our sins by His blood being poured out for us (by death on a cross).

After Jesus’ ascension back to heaven, His role has changed. He will no longer by the Sacrificial Lamb but the Lion of Judah when He returns. Through His mercy though, He offers warnings to His people. When He was walking this earth, He spoke of the Good News that the Kingdom of God was near. He asked all to repent of their sins. He looked at sinners and told them He forgave them. He looked on the people with compassion. He healed them; drove out demons and caused the blind to see and the deaf to hear. That was then; what’s going on now?

Jesus still looks on us with compassion. He still sees us as sheep without a shepherd; lost and wandering in the desert looking for food and water. However, He warns us through His Word that time will come when we have to own up to our sins. We will face Him one day as a judge. For those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, His judgment will be based on what we have done with what we were given. For those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior will be judged based on the sins they committed. We will all be given an eternal sentence – it just depends on whether it’s life or death.

This all seems a bit harsh, right? Sorry, just writing what I know to be true. However, there is still Good News to be shared in this day and time. Jesus did come to save the lost and to bring living water and daily bread to those who would seek Him. The Kingdom of God is still near and He still wants us to repent of our sins. He still forgives and gives us life everlasting when we turn toward Him. There is no doom and gloom when we received the free gift He offers us. He is still the Rescuer and the Redeemer.

In Revelation, we find seven letters to churches Jesus chose to give a warning before their influence is removed from them (their lamp stand). It can be said these churches represent the Church through the ages. It could also represent our own hearts concerning Jesus. Jesus warns the churches of their lack of zeal for the Lord. He also told them to repent and turn back to Him – to those who have ears, let them hear.

If we wonder where God is at this time, look to God’s Word. God is speaking today just as He was in biblical times. However, are we paying attention? I do not believe God caused these things to occur, but I do believe God has allowed these things for our good and for His glory. I believe He is using these times to get our attention.

The distractions have been taken away. Our “busyness” has been put on hold. There is nothing to fill our time with going back and forth – chasing after the wind as Solomon put it in Ecclesiastes. There is silence wherever you turn. Very few cars on the roads, people are not gathering in different places; and life has slowed down to an almost stop. Every worship center around the world has closed regardless of religion. So, why the silence?

God speaks clearly in the silence.

When the prophet Elijah wanted to see God, God hid him in the cleft of a rock. God was not in the powerful wind that tore the mountains apart or the earthquake or fire; but when Elijah heard a gentle whisper, he pulled his cloak over his face and went to stand before the Lord at the mouth of the cave (1 Kings 19:11-13).

It is silence that brings His presence. Are we willing to step into the cleft of the rock in order to hear Him? We haven’t experienced this type of silence in so long, it’s a bit scary. However, it’s never a scary thing to be with God. Peace beyond understanding is what He gives in His presence.

There are many words in the Bible to give us encouragement for such a time as this. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6-9); I’ll be with you wherever you go (Deuteronomy 31:6). When I find myself in circumstances beyond my control, every time God brings Isaiah 41:10 to mind:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God is speaking. Cover your face and listen to Him. Lean into this time. Learn from it. Make this a pivotal time in your life and also your family’s life. Jesus is here with us and for us and is upholding us in this time. Be assured of His presence in the silence.

Lord, give us ears to hear and a heart that is obedient to what You say. Forgive us and help us turn away from these sins of ours and turn to You and only You. May You once again look upon us with favor as we humbly come before You. Heal our land as only You can do for the sake of Your Name and for Your glory. Amen.

Headline News

Do you watch the evening news or still read newspapers? The last time I picked up a newspaper, I noticed it was very thin. Yesterday’s news just seems irrelevant for this fast-paced society now. We like instant news feeds. When an event happens, we want to know about it immediately. And we can. We have instant access. News alerts and weather alerts come directly to our phones. But what do we do with all the alerts? Do we shrug it off or get anxious about it? What do we discern from the events that are taking place today?

This next week is significant in many ways. First, Israel turns 70. Many nations have fumed about it and threatened disaster upon that tiny nation, but Israel is still here and celebrating a significant milestone. The second thing that is significant about next week is that the US is moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Life in Israel and Jerusalem may be difficult in the next few weeks or months. Time will tell how these events will shape the Middle East.

Then we have our own issues going on. Hawaii’s volcano is changing the landscape of the Big Island once again. There may be a significant explosion this week that could send boulders flying through the skies. Or ash clouds that disrupt air travel, not to mention covering the landscape and cause breathing problems for those who live nearby. It’s like a physical expression of an angry world that is just about to erupt and cause chaos in the world. I think we may have reached a boiling point – the spiritual battle has blown up in the heavenly realms and it’s going to get real very soon.

Our instant news feed may not mention these events in the coming days unless it’s a significant event – something spectacular happens. But I know with all that goes on, God is still in control no matter what. God has been setting the stage for many years and it all comes together just as He plans. We don’t know the time of all events, but God does. Do we get anxious about these things? I hope not.

We may not understand all the events taking place and their significance. However, we can know God is at work through these events. God has an agenda. Maybe we don’t like to think like that, but it’s true. God’s agenda is for the lost to be saved and for His glory to be revealed. We can be a part of this agenda. Actually, we are a major part of His agenda. We didn’t get saved just for ourselves. We get saved so that others will be saved through us when we go tell them our stories.

It seems really difficult to tell them our stories in this day and age. Many think we’re foolish. They are not ready to hear it. However, there will come a day when they are ready. When their world is in chaos and they have nowhere else to turn, they will look to us and the peace that we have. Then they will be ready.

In our age of instant access, we have about three minutes to share our story. When I was in my health coaching school, the instructor told us we needed an “elevator speech” to tell others what we do in three minutes or less. It’s the only way we can communicate these days. Sound bite news – sound bite stories. Just hit the highlights and if they are interested in our stories, they will ask us for more. If we just give them a sip of living water, they may want the whole fountain. The woman at the well did.

The story is found in John 4 tells of a woman who needed to hear the Good News. Jesus just happened to stop for a drink of water at a well while the disciples went into town for food. Jesus asked the woman who came to the well to give Him a drink of water. The woman was surprised that a man – a Jewish man – would ask her for a drink. But Jesus persisted with this woman to show her that she needed more than this physical water that doesn’t satisfy the soul. He gave her just enough information to want more. He engaged her in a way that no one ever had before and she was intrigued.

The trouble with our day and time is that we don’t stop long enough to engage others in conversation. The people around us are so thirsty and they don’t even realize it until we engage with them. The headline news may keep us from having those engaging conversations if we are anxious about our own lives. It’s when we find ourselves in a peaceful place that we notice our access to others who need our own “sound bite” good news that is worth sharing. Let’s not be anxious about anything that takes place on the world’s stage because the world is looking for peace that we have to offer through our Good News of Jesus. Let’s share it soon before the world implodes before our very eyes. The news is too good not to share!

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.” John 4:13-14

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:34-35

The Waterfall

I love to travel. I love going to different places that have natural beauty. I just am so much more aware of God’s presence in those places. Over the years, I have found a real love of waterfalls. I love to hear the water falling onto the rocks below. In the majesty of thunder and the roar of the water, the power that is exhibited in the rushing waters leaves me in awe. I lived in the mountains when I was younger, and I got to see a few waterfalls while traveling around in those hills and valleys. Maybe that’s where I got the fascination of waterfalls. Such beauty is those places and gives me such a sense of peace.

Recently, I heard a statement that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. It was an imagery that resonates so acutely with the power of waterfalls. I don’t remember who made the initial statement, but it was in the context of God’s love for us. The speaker said that God’s love was like a waterfall. If we would get beneath that waterfall, we would experience such a profound change in our hearts that we could not be silent about it. Think about it. If God’s love was poured out on us like a waterfall, we would be forever changed! If we truly believed in God’s great love for us, we couldn’t be silent any longer.

Water changes the landscape. Whether it’s falling off a cliff or cutting a path through the valley, it’s changing the landscape of where it flows. All we have to do is look at the Colorado River carving the deep path of the Grand Canyon. Or look at the rocks below the waterfall to see the smooth stones in its path. The water takes off the sharp edges and smooths the rough places. If I consider things in a spiritual way, God’s living water does the same thing for us. The living water changes our landscape in our hearts. We are forever changed by the path it takes.

In John 4, we are told that Jesus gives us the Living Water. If we ask Him for this living water, we will never thirst 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” (John 4:14). This picture of water welling up in us gives me the idea that it has to overflow somewhere. It doesn’t just well up and evaporate or get stagnant. But it is living; it is flowing; it does not stay put. It carves a new path. It washes over to form a new life. The love of Jesus causes us to change. I think though we don’t actually understand this love. I know I have struggled to understand it myself. But I have to believe this truth. God said it, therefore I believe it. Because His words never lie. His love is powerful. His love is thundering down on us. His love roars in the deepest part of us, but we fail to listen; we fail to understand. We get sidetracked by our own interpretations instead of understanding the truth found in God’s word.

God’s love changes everything. His love sent Jesus to show us His reflection. His gaze is always on us; not of condemnation, but of love. His love is flowing like the waterfall. Stand up under it and let it transform you. There’s always room for one more under the falls. Soak it in and be refreshed by the Living Water.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

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