Archive for October, 2008

Invitation to the Well

Friday, October 31st, 2008

“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come see this man…’” (John 4:28 & 29).

This Samaritan lady was at the well in the middle of the day which went against the custom of women drawing their water in the evening hours. Possibly she came at a time unexpected to avoid the ridicule and judging attitudes of the other women. Whatever the reason, Christ knew she would be there. He had an appointment with her and she didn’t even know it. When she saw Jesus sitting at the well, she asked Him why He was talking to her, considering He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jesus witnessed to the lady and told her that the water He could provide is living water and that if she’ll accept it, she’ll never be thirsty again in a spiritual sense. The woman didn’t think Jesus could possibly know who she was and all she’d done. Quite the contrary; He told her of her 5 husbands and that she was living with a man that was not included in the top five. She was amazed by His knowledge and compassion and she accepted the living water.

Then she couldn’t wait to get back home and tell everyone what happened and then she begged them to return with her to the well to meet this man.

That should be our desire, our passion. Tell everone we know what the Lord has done for us and then invite them to the well that springs up with living water! Remember, the well is bottomless – it never runs dry. There’s plenty for all.

Have a blessed weekend. We’re in Dallas about to head to Waco. Yoo hoo!!

Hope

Filled to overflowing…

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Another day on the truths of the living water from the well of the Lord. Wendy Duke, one of the other speakers at WOW gave an illustration of pouring our living water into a thirsty, thirsty world. In order to do that, we must keep our tank full. Then today at lunch a friend shared an illustration that she heard from a Bible Study about the importance of keeping the holes of lies and deceit that Satan punctures in our tank filled with the truth of God’s Word. I love that! We want to be filled to overflowing with God’s love and we can’t do that if we have holes in our tank. The water will seep through the holes, and sometimes we’re not even aware of the small holes until the water has completely drained and then we realize we’re empty. We prevent that by staying filled to overflowing with God’s truths.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Allow God to fill you with His joy and peace so that your living water of hope overflows on all those around you. Don’t hold on to it as if it’s a limited supply! God’s reservoir is endless, He has a mighty deep well! Ask Him today to fill you to overflowing with His joy and peace – and then spill it out on all you come in contact with by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Well, (pardon the pun) Clay, Caleb and I leave tomorrow morning to fly to Waco, TX to visit the Robinsons. We are so excited! Caleb gets to spend the weekend with Jacob at Texas A&M while Clay and I chill out with Glenn and Rhonda. I may have an opportunity during a layover in Dallas to post a devotional. If you don’t hear form me, you’ll know why. TTYS!

Hope

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Faith Davis made the point in her presentation on the well that by the time we feel the thirst, we’re parched, desperate for something to drink. How can we keep that from happening to us spiritually? By visiting the well often and keeping our reservoir filled to the rim. If we do not go back regularly and drink from the living water, we will “use up” our supply and before we know it we’ll be parched and dry, thus ineffective in our Kingdom work.

I’ll go back to my water filter illustration. Clay had the water filter system when we got married so it’s at least 10 years old. But it still works like a charm as long as we keep the filter changed. But in order for it to dispense good, clean, COLD filtered water, we’ve got to keep it filled. I’ve decided I’m the only one in the house that knows how to refill it, though my boys (and I do mean boys) have no problem knowing how to use it! Caleb likes a water bottle rather than a cup so he opens a fresh bottle of water, pours the water into the dispenser and then fills his bottle with already cold filtered water. He says that gives us twice the protection since he’s putting filtered water in to be filtered. That irks Clay to no end. It doesn’t bother me as long as he drinks the water. At least he’s not pouring Mtn. Dew into the dispenser, that’s my take on the matter. But it seems like the dispenser is always empty when I’m my thirstiest. Just this morning after my workout I rushed to the fridge, flung open the door and stopped in my tracks…much to my dismay the dispenser was empty. “Urrrgghhh!” I growled to no one because I was home alone, and then I took out the dispenser, sat it in the sink and filled it with water. How hard is that?

We must keep our spiritual dispenser filled with fresh living water so that when others come to us thirsty and dry, we have a spring of living water to give them. The only way we can do that is to go to the Source, God’s Word regularly so that we’re not thirsty ourselves. Sometimes by the time thirst hits, we’ve gone without the drink too long and there are side effects from the dehydration. Stay hydrated in God’s Word – and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to refill!

“Jesus answered…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13 & 14).

Hope

Contaminated Well Water…

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

I’d like to continue with the thought from yesterday’s post. We draw from God’s well of living water and we fill our lives with that pure water. But what if we do nothing with that water but instead let it grow stagnant and fill with impurities? We certainly do not want to share contaminated water with others. However, if our water has become contaminated with negative thoughts, gossip, unbelief, impure thoughts, activities contrary to God’s Word, then that’s the kind of water we’ll pour out to others. For that reason we must keep the water fresh with God’s word and not allow it to become contaminated with unclean water.

We have a water purifier as most of you probably do. When we first started using it I thought it was a little ridiculous. After all, I grew up on well water and certainly never filtered it before drinking a glass of water. But now that I’m accustomed to drinking the purified water, tap water has a taste that I’d never noticed before. Regardless of the purifier, however, if I leave my glass of water sitting on the counter and do not put it to use, dust particles settle on top, a fruit fly may meet its final destiny in the glass, and before you know it the water is contaminated with all kinds of impurities. Had I used it immediately for the purpose it was intended, nothing could have contaminated it. The same principle applies to the living water within us. We must use it as it is intended and keep it fresh and clean. It is the water of life – let’s share it before it becomes contaminated.

“Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:7).

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

Hope

David Strengthened himself in the Lord his God

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Jesus, I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that You alone are the One who has and continues to bring healing to my heart and my life. I knew that no one would be able to help me but You. And I thank You that by Your grace You drew me close to Your heart. And You have in quietness and in solitude brought an amazing healing over my life. Jesus, thank you that You drew me close and thank You that You held me so tight that I couldn’t go wandering off somewhere – I stayed right up close to Your heart and to Your voice. The words from the 121st Psalm that Hannah quoted come to my heart and mind, “I lift up my eyes to the hills; Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I knew my help had to come from You and You alone.

You have kept me quiet and still for much of these last two years and it has been precious being still in Your presence and You have indeed breathed life back into me again. I was challenged, Lord, yesterday evening and this morning as I was reading from David Jeremiah’s “The Joy of Encouragement” just about that very thing – solitude – quietness with You and how You minister life and healing when we chose solitude with You alone.

David found himself in a very lonely place – everyone was against him. The approximately 400 men who were surrounding him as his “army” were “in distress or in debt or discontented” (I Samuel 22:2) – not exactly the kind of men that would be suited to bring great encouragement to David’s aching heart. Saul was pursuing David out of his great hatred and jealousy. In chapter 30 of I Samuel they found themselves in Ziklag and all of their wives and children had been taken captive. After they wept bitterly until their strength was gone, they began talking of stoning David – as their leader. And then, Lord, You showed me a precious verse I had never seen before. The scripture says that, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)

David Jeremiah says, “In his moment of distress, in the heat of discouragement, the young king turned to the one true God, his God, for encouragement. There was nowhere else to go. Life had reduced his options to one. Sooner or later, life does that to all of us.” He goes on to say that “David’s aloneness may have been his first step toward wholeness. There can be great healing in solitude.” I would say there is definitely great healing in solitude.

“But let’s be honest. Silence and solitude don’t seem to have a place in today’s world. Jean Fleming, in her book Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World, makes this observation:

We live in a noisy, busy world. Silence and solitude are not twentieth century words. They fit the era of Victorian lace and high button shoes and kerosene lamps better than the age of television, video arcades, and joggers wired with earphones. We have become a people with an aversion to quiet and an uneasiness with being alone.”

“Jim Elliott, the martyred missionary, once wrote in his journal: “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowds. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.”

In the scripture, You took many of Your servants away to places of solitude – Moses to the desert, Elijah to the brook, Jesus often to a quiet place. “There is ministry in solitude – to be alone, to be quiet, so you can talk to God and God can talk to you. David knew that. His psalms show us that he understood the importance of getting alone with God, whether it be in a cave or on a mountainside.”

“If a man considers his time to be so valuable that he cannot find time to keep quiet and be alone, that man will eventually be of no value to anyone. To spend all one’s time with people, it to soon have nothing to give to any of them.”

“Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, had nineteen children. She was committed to solitude. In the middle of her busy day, she would pull her apron up over her head and have her quiet time. When the apron went up, the children knew mom was praying and reading her Bible and they left her alone.”

“There are times when the only way to find the encouragement we need is to get alone.” You, Father have given us Your precious word through the scripture to speak and minister life and peace over our troubled hearts. You always meet us when we come to You. I bless You and I thank You Father for ministering to my heart through Your word in times of solitude.

Another tool You have given us is song. Tammy Trent was so precious on Saturday as she shared with us in song. You have given her a new song. You have turned her ashes into joy and You have made her leap and dance again! You are and have ministered to my heart through song all during this journey! I pay attention now, Lord, to the words of the songs in a new way!

Oh, Jesus, thank You for reminding me of what You have wrought in my life through solitude. Help me never be afraid of being alone with You and help me always treasure quiet time in Your presence. Keep me dependent upon You so that I never think I don’t desperately need my alone time with You.

Thank You for so beautifully reminding me of these truths once again through Your servant. Help me choose solitude so that I can know You more! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

A Spring of Living Water

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The WOW (Women of the Well) Conference on Saturday was just that – Wow! We had a great time and the messages were just what I needed to hear. I took away so many nuggets that I may be talking to you about a “well” for days! 

Faith Davis spoke of our lives being a well for others to draw from. I made myself a note to come up with my own thoughts on this point, and here they are. As we know, Christ supplies a spring of living water for all who come to Him thirsty and in need of hope. When He fills us with that living water, what do we do with it? Do we keep it to ourselves or do we allow others to come to us for just a drink of water? Do we provide hope to the thirsty, encouragement to the disheartened, a little nudge onward to the weary, a smile for the saddened, a ray of sunshine in dark times? Is our well open for others to draw from or do we keep it covered with a figurative “No Trespassing” sign posted at the base?

As Christians we have our own spring of living water that flows from the Source. Make that water available to anyone you come in contact with. They need our hope! We live in a generation of hopeless individuals and we have the answer. Invite others to your spring today and share the living water of Christ that flows within you.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38).

Hope

 

“May I press onward to know You, Lord”

Monday, October 27th, 2008

“May I gaze deeper, May I stay longer, May I press onward to know You Lord. . .
Remind me that I come before a King, There is nothing, there is nothing more precious, more worthy
May I gaze deeper, May I stay longer, May I press onward to know You Lord.”  Laura Story
Oh Dear Jesus, that is the cry of my heart – may I gaze deeper, May I stay longer at Your feet, May I press onward to know You more! Nothing, Father, compares with knowing You – nothing. Oh Jesus, that was what Paul was saying in Philippians last night as we verse by verse looked at Chapter 3. From a “religious” viewpoint, Paul had it all – he was at the top – the top of knowledge, the top of keeping the law, the top of being born in the right family and the right linage, the top of being zealous, the top of being in the right church, the top of being righteous in the eyes of the world . . . and yet . . . Paul considered all of that rubbish – trash – compared with the surpassing greatness of knowing You, Jesus. None of those things meant anything compared to the knowing of You!
Oh Jesus, that is it! There is nothing more precious, more worthy, more worthwhile, more satisfying, more fulfilling, more joy-giving than being in Your presence and at Your feet. The Psalmist said “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” 16:11 In Your presence, at Your right hand are pleasures that are eternal!
“May our time be sweeter –  And Lord, may I remember these moments of surrender and live my life this way from this day on.” Oh Jesus, please guard my heart from ever getting over You – just You Lord – just You! May You alone always be the satisfier of my soul, my longings. Keep my focus and my heart set – set on You  – protect me from becoming distracted by other things – good things. Keep my gaze steadied upon Your face.
Paul said at the beginning of chapter 3 that it was no trouble for him to write the same things to the Philippians again. The truths he was communicating were of such importance that he was glad to write them again. Paul said it was for their protection – a safeguard for them. Oh Father, do that for me – protect me, safeguard me from ever getting away from the foot of the cross and understanding that there is nothing more precious than relationship with You. Let me never substitute anything for getting to know You more. Jesus, let me resolve in my heart that I would trade everything – give everything – lose everything for the surpassing greatness of knowing You!
Paul gave up everything – family, friendship, and freedom – in order to know Christ and His resurrection power. We also must make sacrifices to know You in that way. We must choose You above all else. We must choose You above other things that seek to steal our thoughts and time, we must choose You over the glitter and glamour this world offers, over what others think of us and over the ways of this world.
Oh Jesus thank You for speaking to my heart last night in Philippians, thank You for challenging me through the words of “There is Nothing” – oh Jesus, empower, enable me to live my life in a way that communicates the truth that there is nothing more precious to me than You.
For Your amazing grace, strength, provision, joy and sufficiency over the last few weeks, I give You great thanks! For continuing to use Hannah’s story and life to impact the lives of others, I give You great thanks, for the opportunity to get to know more of Your children and see Your reflection in their faces, I give You great thanks. You are indeed a God who continues to do “immeasurably more, exceedingly abundantly above anything we could ask or imagine.” That is just who You are! And I bless You, Jesus!
Speak to me from Your word this morning and prepare my heart to pour out like water before the face of the Lord. May I lift up my hands toward heaven for the lives of my children.” Lam. 2:19 In the name of Jesus, I pray and Amen.
 
 

 

Stand on His promises…

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

“Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave…” (1 Kings 8:56).

God is good all the time. All the time God is good. He has made many promises and He has not failed to deliver on any of them. That may seem contradictory to the fact that sometimes He tells us no. It’s never fun to be told no, but when it’s coming from God we have to trust that He knows best. When we tell our children no and they ask why, we quite often answer, “Because I said so, that’s why!” That’s probably not the best answer and leaves our children thinking, “That makes a lot of sense.” But when it’s because God said so, that’s sufficient. He created it all, He knows all, and He is in control of all. Therefore, we can stand on the truth of His promises even when it appears to be an adamant “No!”

Not one word has ever failed, of all the big talk God has done…He has come through. Stand on His promises.

Hope

Living in the tombs…

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

There’s a reference in Luke 8 of a demoniac who was living in the tombs. He was outcast, wild and out of control, stripped of all pride and dignity due to being possessed by demons. He had nowhere else to live except in the tombs. When he came in contact with Jesus, the demons within him begged Jesus not to hurt him. This same story told by Matthew says that the demons knew their time was short. The devil knows who gets the last word – and it ain’t him!

Figuratively, are you living in the tombs? Maybe your tomb is an addiction, or lack of self worth, or sexual sins, or guilt from your past, or a tomb of despair and hopelessness. I have good news - Jesus can set you free from those tombs! Satan’s days are numbered and his schemes are shortlived. Do not allow him any foothold. God will have the last word – and that word is Jesus! Allow Him to set you free today. If He has already freed you from your tomb, don’t keep it to yourself.

“When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs” (Luke 8:27).

“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him (Luke 8:38 & 39).

Hope

A Keeping Grace…

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

One of the biggest perks of being located in the Carolina Pregnancy Center is their daily prayer time. I don’t always get to attend but I do as often as possible. During the afternoon prayer time yesterday we were discussing our backgrounds and our salvation experiences. For those of us who were raised in a Christian home, always around Christian people and under godly influence, the transformation to our own personal walk with Christ was not a dramatic change. For me, going to church was like breathing – it came natural. Church was not an option. It was never up for discussion. It was a given. Everyone I hung with attended church and all of our “extra curricular activities” were church functions. So when I prayed to accept Christ at age 8, nothing changed except my heart (which is what matters). No big fireworks, nothing visible and no lifestyle changes were necessary. Does that mean I didn’t get it? Not at all.

Then there are those who were not raised in church and were never involved in church activities. God’s ways and His Word were not part of their lives and in fact, Christianity and a life of faith were rather foreign to them. Maybe they lived a good life and were never involved in any “big” sins yet when they accepted Christ they still have a pretty serious lifestyle change. And there are those who find themselves involved in drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, etc. so for them to turn to God and accept Christ is also a major change. Suddenly they’re not going to the same places, not hanging with the same people, not talking the same, everything about their lives is new. Others are wowed! by their transformation. They have an incredible testimony and aren’t ashamed to share it. Does that mean they’re more “saved” and more of a Christian than those whose transformation was much less dramatic? No, all transformations are wonderful and are examples of God’s grace.

I had a pastor friend tell me one time when I shared my concerns and questions about my “lack of testimony” that I am a trophy of God’s keeping grace – and that grace is as amazing as His saving grace from a life of no regard of God at all. It takes as much grace for God to keep us where we need to be as it does for Him to save us from a life of horrendous sin. To God there are no big sins and little sins. A sin is a sin is a sin. And once we’ve accepted Him, no matter what our past, we all become trophies of a Keeping Grace.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23 & 24).

Hope