Living Water! Clear Water Flows From Clear Wells

Living Water! Clear Water Flows From Clear Wells

Winter or summer, a cup of clear water stays within easy reach on my desk. It constantly reminds me of the Living Water dwelling within. Though others may prefer a cup of freshly brewed coffee or simmering tea, clear, clean water in my favorite glass cup is all I need.

During my life on the farm, our water supply came from a shallow well dug into an underground spring. The consistent quality satisfied the thirsts of four generations. During droughts when other wells went dry, people came from many miles around for the clear water from this little well and a similar one on my uncle’s property. Though the spring ebbed with the seasons, this well never ran dry.

Many times, I prayed over our well and thanked God for His abundant supply. Shortly after moving from the farm, the new owners tested the water again and deemed it inadequate. They dug a deeper well within the farmyard. Unfortunately, the alternate water source proved “hard” and loaded with excess minerals.

Jesus once met a woman beside a different country well and offered her living water.

“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

Living Water

The Samaritan woman in the story misunderstood Jesus. She struggled to understand the spiritual water Jesus offered to her. The “water” of His Holy Spirit revived not just bodies, but souls and spirits as well. Even without fully understanding, she welcomed his offer. She ran back to her village and shared the good news with everyone who would listen.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
John 4:39-41

The interchange between this beautifully broken woman and Jesus is worthy of a full read in John 4. Jesus goes to the heart of her real thirst and her deepest need for Living Water — a thirst that only a personal relationship with Him would satisfy. Even though the scenario seemed intrusive and confusing, without hesitation she took Him up on His offer.

Clear Wells

Then and now, Jesus comes to supernaturally supply what we could never provide for ourselves — complete forgiveness and redemption. He becomes for us “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” How wonderful!

Our once polluted selves become clear wells through which He can flow, continually transforming us into His likeness. Rather than a destination, the Christian journey is a process of growth and change.

Everyone encounters Jesus differently. But most people have a tangible sense of their deep, spiritual thirst being quenched — unspoken longings satisfied and soul hungers filled.

The woman at the well experienced something more powerful than any intellectual conversation could give her. Through believing in Jesus, she received Living Water. Despite rejection and shame, she boldly shared this good news with everyone, welcoming them to the Source of true life.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

Clear Water

Periodically, our farm well needed extra work to maintain a healthy flow of water. Sometimes sand clogged the cribbing around the well. It needed to be cleaned to restore the flow of water into the well. Even though the spring still surged around the well, the water could not enter the well and become accessible. At other times, the well house needed minor repairs to protect the well from the contaminating elements. During winter, the warmth of a lightbulb kept the system from freezing over.

In the same way, our spiritual wells also need maintenance. Intentional and unintentional debris may clog the Holy Spirit’s flow. If we desire to be used by God and fulfil His call on our lives, we must guard the Living Water flowing within. Though He promises to never leave us, we may not be able to freely receive from Him?

“Garbage in; garbage out!” wisdom says. This means that whatever we allow into our hearts and minds — good or bad — will eventually work its way out through our actions, attitudes, and speech.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 ESV

Honestly, we cannot afford to allow anything to pollute these internal wells which Jesus paid such a high price to clean. “With all vigilance,” the proverb says. How true! Disturbing messages and images bombard us from every side. To maintain the purity of the “water” flowing from our Source, He calls us to guard our hearts and minds.

A Guard

The more we value what Jesus Christ has done for us, the easier it becomes to guard this Living Water. Then, temptations become unattractive and trivial. Reading the Bible and praying takes precedent as a way to maintain our wells.

When we maintained the old well house and everything within, we gave little thought to the critters and dangers lurking outside. We knew that clear water flows from clear wells.

We don’t need to fear contamination of our wells and hide in our secluded homes. Like the Samaritan woman, we go into our communities to share Jesus through actions and words. There is no shortage! He fills us with the fullness of all we need.

To guard our hearts, we protect our eyes and ears from spiritual pollution — intentional and unintentional, active and passive. If we leave the door open to this valuable well house of our hearts, all kinds of vermin will come in, bringing disease and contaminating the once pure water. The consequence may prove higher than we wish to bear.

Let’s bravely ask Jesus how our wells are doing. Does His Living Water flow freely into and through us? In what way do we need to tend to our wells, purging ourselves from harassing thoughts, recurring patterns, or destructive actions? It doesn’t take long to make sure that clear water flows from clear wells.

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Psalm 20:4 — May God Grant Your Heart’s Desires

Psalm 20:4 — May God Grant Your Heart’s Desires

The other morning, I read, “May he (God) grant your heart’s desires.” Scribbled in the margin was a date, “Nov 9/2014.” I paused for a moment, considering why I found this verse significant a decade earlier. In the subsequent years, many areas of my life have dramatically changed. What caused me to highlight the verse? What desires were stirring in my heart at that time?

I honestly couldn’t remember, and the notation revealed no clues. The verse stood alone. It needed no additional merit.

“May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”
Psalm 20:4

For much of my Christian life, I subconsciously included any fleeting desires of the moment. Good health, peace-filled home, and loving relationships usually topped the list. Periodically, new things would move to the forefront, but these remained.

https://pixabay.com/photos/candy-sweetmeats-jar-candy-jar-1961538/

The Desires of Your Heart

Perhaps more often than I’d like to admit, my desires might resemble a young child in a candy shop — fleeting from one colorful treat to another. I find it interesting that in the original Hebrew the reference to “desires” is completely absent. Perhaps, the verse might more accurately be translated as, “May he (God) make your “inner man, mind, will, and heart full.”

What truly fills our inner man? What is it that makes our hearts “full”?

Years later, I realize that by removing the “me, myself, and I” from the quotation and replacing it with “Him and His,” my heart is more apt to become full in every sense.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Psalm 37:4

In turning our focus and attention to Him, our heart’s desires are fulfilled.

https://pixabay.com/photos/candies-jars-candy-jars-539695/

Your Plans Succeed

The scope of my plans on “Nov 9/2014” included very little of what I am experiencing today. My limited vision couldn’t see the things that are bringing the most success and fulfillment now.

Consider how your life has changed in the last decade. Are you livng the plan you formed ten years ago? Or have you, like me, experienced radical and unexpected shifts?

I am discovering that my greatest pleasure comes from a well within — set in place by the Master Craftsman, God Himself. Before I was born, He planted within my “inner man, mind, will, and heart” longings I have been largely unaware of. Only as they come to pass do I finally realize how intrinsic they are to living a satisfying and full life — not through “my” plans or “my” desires but His.

Only when our hearts become united with God, and we adopt His desires as our own may we enjoy the fullness of what we were created to be and to do. Until then, we experience a faint shadow of what could be.

Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed … We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”
Proverbs 16:3,9

https://pixabay.com/photos/cake-pops-pastries-food-dessert-693645/

Heart’s Desires

The seeds of unknown desire
lay buried in each heart —
hidden in sacred seclusion.
Until He breathes each into existence,
reviving what we deemed dead,
restoring what we thought lost.
Gift, upon gift, upon gift,
until hearts sing and
joy leaps upon the
hills of desire,
meeting, at last, the Sower
of sacred seed..
The union of Creator with created
to the tune of heart’s desires,
blending color and dimension
inviting to dream, believe,
and trust in the Maker
of all things good.

https://pixabay.com/photos/sweets-heart-heart-candy-yummy-2087625/

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Easter — Why the Blood? Part 1— Surrender

Surrender

Easter, the greatest celebration of the Christian Church, correctly emphasises the resurrection. Though once dead, Jesus Christ lives! His resurrection signed the guarantee for each of us to now have the hope of eternal life.

Easter celebrates His life.

As we approach this Easter season, I again consider the significance of the shed blood of Jesus. Many believers today, hesitate to discuss this often-controversial subject. In so doing, we perhaps miss key truths and essential realities of our faith.

So pardon me while I briefly share a few thoughts. Each one only skims the surface, but hopefully it will help us to consider why the blood is so significant, both to us as individuals and also to the larger church “body.”

“For the life of the body is in the blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.”
Leviticus 17:11

Baby Bird

Surrender of Will

Redemption began, not on the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus travailed in prayer, calling to His Father and seeking another, even easier, way to accomplish His mission.

“‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'”
Mark 14:36

Jesus knew every detail within the impending hours. Being fully God, Jesus was also fully man. As a man, He felt, as intensely as you or I, the sting of betrayal, the isolation of abandonment, and the pain of physical suffering. Yet in great angst, He surrendered His will.

Baby bunny

“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Luke 22:44

Our redemption began in the Garden. Because of the blood of Jesus, now our wills, too, may be fully surrendered to the authority of Lord.

Surrender of the Mind

“They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.”
Matthew 27:28-29

The full cruelty of these soldiers is difficult to imagine. They wove a crown of thorns, pressings it into Jesus’ head, piercing his flesh, and releasing a flow of blood. But as they mocked, Jesus won for us the victory over the devil’s influence over our thoughts, shattering the negative strongholds over our minds.

Baby Kitten

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians10:4-5

Why the blood? Easter reminds us that through the blood, Jesus gave us the ability to surrender our minds completely to the authority and truth of God.

Surrender of Pride

The soldier continued to vent their full aggression upon Jesus.

“Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.”
Mark 15:19

We scarcely want to believe the brutality Jesus experienced. They beat His face and head again and again with fists and rods. The prophet Isaiah spoke about the event hundreds of years prior,

“Just as there were many who were
appalled at him —
his appearance was so disfigured
beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond
human likeness —”
Isaian 52:14

Baby Chick

Why the blood? Jesus submitted to the soldiers beating as a symbol of surrendered pride and vanity. Through His blood, we now have the power to endure humiliation, reproach, and the loss of reputation. The blood of Jesus strengthens us to withstand persecution as His divine beauty shines through us.

Surrender of Position

Isaiah adds another detail to the soldier’s treatment of Jesus.

“I offered my back to those
who beat me,
my cheeks to those
who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.”
Isaiah 50:6

The beard represents priesthood, dignity, distinction, maturity, and position.

Baby Duckling

Why the blood? As the soldiers ripped the beard from Jesus’ face, His blood paved the way surrendering earthly position and prestige. Now, He brings us into a higher place of serving the Him as His priests.

” . . . To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 1:5-6

Easter

We celebrate Easter, rejoicing in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. No one and nothing could hinder Him from completing our redemption to the fullest. Through the power of His blood, we gain the victory to surrender our wills, minds, pride, and position to Him completely.

Why the blood? Through Jesus shed blood, we join Him in overcoming, conquering, and triumphing.

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Revelation 12:11

As we prepare for family gatherings and celebrate Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, may we appreciate every way Jesus’ blood was shed.

“Thank You again, Jesus, for Your precious blood. Amen.”

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Setting the Goal of Love – Hit the Target!

Focus

My father taught me how to drive a vehicle. He showed me how to target my gaze far down the road while scanning closer sections to avoid upcoming hazards. Good advice for driving and living!

This past Sunday our pastor stressed the importance of setting goals. Apparently, those who do:

  • achieve more
  • tend to flourish in those areas
  • find more meaning and greater significance in their life
  • feel better about who they are and where they are going

His words were still fresh in my mind as I read,

 “… The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
T
he second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

Jesus sets our goal. In fact, there is no greater focal point or personal life target!

Goal

My older brother and I would often head off into the bush on the farm where we lived and craft ourselves bows and arrows out of a fresh-cut willow and an old piece of baler twine. Rarely did they shoot as far or as straight as we had anticipated. Targets were difficult to hit!

I often miss the target to love the Lord fully and love others genuinely. What does God mean to love in this way?

Affection

“…with all your heart…”

Affection is loving with tenderness, devotion, caring and strong sense of attachment. It also includes friendship, fondness and generally liking someone.

Sometimes when there is slight rift in our marriage one of us might say, “I love you, but I don’t like you right now!” Though this little phrase may serve to lighten the atmosphere, it really is an oxymoron. To love with all our heart opens our eyes to see people through God’s eyes.

Target Affection

To love God with “all my heart” is to love with undivided affection even

when I don’t understand the battle
knowing He promises victory:
and when death steals
but He is the Life-Giver;
when all doors are locked
but He could make the way.
To love when confusions invade and doubts soar!
To love with all my heart!

Emotion

“…with all your soul…”

When it comes to emotional honesty, our granddaughter “A” takes the award! Whatever her current status, she is all in! You don’t need to guess what she is feeling at any particular moment. “A” feels and communicates her emotions transparently. Always!

Target Emotion

To love God with all our soul requires emotional honesty. To give Him, with childlike fullness, the truth in how we are feeling.

The Lord is big enough to handle our anger or confusion. He never asks us to contain our enthusiasm or repress our delight. Our relationship with Him is solid! He is neither frightened or repelled by great fluxes of emotion.

We are made in God’s image. He experiences a wide spectrum of emotion including:

God’s love and faithfulness is steadfast.

Attention

To hit any target, or reach a goal, it requires our full attention.

“…The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord…
with all your mind…”

I am woman! My mind is never on one thought! Men have “box” perspective, an incredible attribute of being able to fully focus on one thing, or even nothing at all. I find this amazing if not completely unbelievable.

Male or female, to love God completely is to focus all our attention on Him alone!

Target Attention

A cheetah is the fastest animal on land, but it cannot maintain those speeds long. He fixes his gaze completely on the target with relentless focus. His life depends on it! His family’s lives depends on it!

My world is full of distractions screaming for immediate attention. It takes concentrated effort to turn the volume off, close the doors and pull the blinds to attention grabbers. Not just because I am female, but because I am human!

Nothing is more important, than time with God! No one is more deserving than my undivided attention!

My spiritual life and the lives of others depends on my ability to love the Lord so fully that distractions do not pull me away. It really is that critical!

Ability

“…with all your strength…”

To love the Lord with all my strength is simply giving back to him and others every ability and talent He has given me. In some areas, I am stronger than others. Even my yielded weakness in Christ produces incredible results.

Target Ability

Foolishly, I am often unwilling to tackle areas of personal strength because I don’t want to appear better than others. Sometimes I am reluctant to engage in areas where I know I am weak, not wanting to embarrass myself. Either way, I am not loving fully. To love God with all my strength, is to completely engage in life. To be fully me – the way He created me!

The Target

Setting a goal to love is like focusing on a target beyond all human possibility. Nevertheless, it is what we aim for! Like my brother and I during our childhood play in my father’s pastures, I pick up whatever pieces I can find, fashion a bow and arrows and aim.

One day I will shoot straight and with strength to hit the target of love!

__________

___________

More reading? Try this:

Mercy, Peace and Love – Jude Contending for the Faith!

Family Motto – Do You Have One?