Which Will Refresh?

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Sometimes I just need a Coke – nothing else will do. I’m thirsty but choose something that actually defeats the purpose – something that dehydrates me. My body is asking for water – my flesh chooses wrongly.

We have become a “thirst-less” bride of Christ – dehydrated from choosing wrongly. We live an ineffective lifestyle – no longer true ambassadors for the Kingdom. So many of us have chosen wrongly – chosen that which has dehydrated us.

How do we become thirsty if we have allowed our thirst to be quenched with other things?

Once again we need to turn – stir up what has been lost – pant as a thirsty deer after the presence of a living God. Drink deeply from the rivers that reside within us – then we will be the bride that has made herself ready, the bride that will pour out healing for the nations, the bride whose heart overflows with living water to all those around her.

Today chose to put down the Coke and drink deeply of the water of His presence.

Psalm 42:-2a As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God. (ESV)

John 7:37-38 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, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (ESV)

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We Are Never Empty

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As I wrestled with sleep through the late hours into the morning, I dreamed. I woke over and over from a similar dream – quickly falling back to sleep to dream another version. This puzzling dream was filled with only one thing – open boxes. All the boxes were different sizes, construction and material but all were empty. I began to question God and wait for an answer as to “what does this mean and what do I do with it?”

That morning, I soon found myself listening to my pastor explain a tradition of the Feast of Tabernacles regarding drawing of water and empty cisterns. (In Latin, cisterns translates to boxes) My galloping heart sat transfixed, waiting for God’s revelation.

Now, days later as understanding has marinated in my spirit, His direction brings expectation in my heart. We the bride of Christ have allowed our cisterns (the place of His indwelling presence) to grow cold and empty – thus many empty boxes.

How easy we trudge through life in the midst of chaos, pain, and distraction; never realizing that each hit we take from those we love, our physical ailments, financial struggles and living in a crazy “on the edge” world; sucks the water from our own cisterns. We live in a state of constant empty boxes – our cisterns have been depleted – and that is the insidious lie! We have been given full cisterns – ALL the time – it’s a sustainable promise! The Spirit dwells within us, we are never empty – we just don’t take time to dip in and drink.

Within each of us resides the Spirit of God through Christ – we have all we need within us. Jesus has given us a river of living water that is available to us ALL the time. We don’t have to live a life with dry empty cisterns. Just stop, dip in and you will find water available! Begin to walk in a life filled with thanksgiving and praise – yes in the very midst of all that sucks you dry – there you will soon find that your cistern is no longer dry but will begin to flow. Joy will bring relief – and though life may still be in the same state you will find the journey now flows differently within your heart.

John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “if you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

John 4: 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Grandma Blankets

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     Pregnant with my daughter, I began a craft that has covered babies for over 40 years. Now hundreds upon hundreds of blankets made from yarn or fabric, covered with love and prayer have warmed so many little bodies.

     Recently I have begun to hear and see what I never expected – those much older children and adults still have their “grandma” or “Judy” blankets. Tattered, torn and covered with patches they still cherish those “blankies”.

Why?

It’s just a piece of fabric long outgrown.

Secondhand stores are filled with old beat-up blankets.

But these seem to be different, held in unusually high regard.

     As I pondered this I felt the Spirit of the Lord speak – encouraging me that each act of love poured out will reap a harvest and that is what I am now witnessing. He reminded me that every blanket I have made specifically for that one “special” little one – or now “special” loved one; is soaked in prayer as each stitch is added.

     It’s that Love that is felt – as it saturates and covers them right there, as they cuddle down into its warmth. It brings peace and comfort – so years later when hard, painful times are faced – the heart, the mind and the emotions return to think on the “blankie” and what comfort was found there. So they keep it – treasure it – fold it away for another time – a time to be reminded of the comfort found there.

     Those “blankie”s are simply an earthly example of a heavenly, eternal comfort available to us all. So for now, I have been blessed to pass on a little bit of heavens love to the “littles” around me – those “grandma” blankets.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (ESV)

 

Living a Road-kill Lifestyle

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“I have such a crazy busy day, I don’t know how I’ll get everything done.”

     We have all said those words – felt the build up of stress they evoke – experienced the exhaustion as that day ends only to begin again tomorrow in the same fashion. How do we get off this crazy cycle?

     Expectations wait for you at every corner, every event, while every individual seems to elicit more of your life. Even worse, they are all good – nothing you’re involved in says, “This isn’t worth doing”. But, still the chaos swirls around you whispering “more, more, more”.

     A day must come when the brakes are applied. The screeching of tire meeting pavement must fill the air because without that application the next sound will be the uninterrupted crunch of metal and breaking glass as you become the road-kill beneath your “I can do this” chaotic lifestyle.

     Living in a constant “flurry” of activity leaves no place for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to direct you to that broken young mother, that lonely old man, that friend who needs a listening ear. No time is available to dig deep into the Word searching for the nuggets He has stored there just for you – just for today. No time left to “pray” for your friends needs that you carelessly regurgitate “I’ll pray for that”. The enemy loves to keep you at this pace for when he does you are of no threat to him and of little value to those you love.

     The application of the brakes – the NO – has to be a choice, a very specific decisive choice. It is NOT easy but once applied – in time – you will find the rhythm of walking under the grace of God. Waiting, listening, hearing and moving as He directs. Will you never again feel that “busy” day syndrome – No – but it will be with a different mindset and with an outcome that will be eternal.

     Hit the brakes today – avoid becoming the road-kill of your chaotic lifestyle – step under the peace of His presence and learn to walk in the rhythm of His grace.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (ESV)

Where Does My Help Come From?

Only when you lift your eyes to the face of Christ and allow Him into your pain and suffering will you truly be set free to live a life where that weakness will become your strength.

Young beautiful girl emotionally prays to the god of a wind

     “You are living in a ‘rainbow and butterfly’ world that is not reality” and “How can you always be positive and only see beauty” – these are just a couple of the phrases that have been spoken at me during the last few years BUT are far from my living reality. I too, live in a world full of struggles – physical, financial and emotional stressors tug daily whispering doubts and fears that could easily derail me. Every day I make a choice – my eyes look up – the only place that my strength can be found.

     The last 19 months have been some of the most difficult of my life as physical disease robs and steals my sleep, thought processes, every day movements, abilities and even my hopes and dreams. Many days I have been to weak to get up from a bed where I have barely slept due to pain that nothing releases – willing myself to push up and roll off the side to begin my day. BUT in the midst – I look up – I make a choice to see the beauty in a new day, a flower, a butterfly – all of life that buzzes all around me.

     I make a choice to look up – not down, inside or even around me (though I admit I have done all of these over these months) BUT I look to Christ – He has me, carries me, loves me and is ALWAYS there for me. He is GOOD all the time – even in the darkest most difficult places.

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

     During these months I have found that His strength is my strength – when mine is totally gone – THEN He comes in and gives me hope, purpose and direction where there has been none.

     Through Christ – His strength floods in and I can always be positive, I can see only beauty, I can love living in a “rainbow and butterfly’ world – for it is a specific decision to lift my eyes to the hills and to be strengthen by His loving hand in the midst of my own weakness.

     If you too, are living in the midst of pain and suffering – begin to look up for your hope – not down, in or around. Only when you lift your eyes to the face of Christ and allow Him into your pain and suffering will you truly be set free to live a life where that weakness will become your strength. You will step into a world where living a ‘rainbow and butterfly’ life can be a reality.

II Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Together As One

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     This morning I watched as my arbor became filled with fluttering activity. All different species of birds together – flying in and out taking a waiting perch for their turn to be filled with the juicy ripe grapes that now dangle ready for consumption.

     When we have forgotten to fill their bird feeders they will group together and come asking for help – in their lack; but what a joy to watch it when there is an abundance. You can hear the chatter and singing, you can feel the anticipation and joy as they hop from one place to another waiting – anticipating – sharing.

     In lack and abundance they group together not caring about size or difference but together united on a focus for the good of them all.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

     In the midst of the chaos, anger and hate currently harbored in our nation we have seen a momentary glimpse of what I witnessed with the birds this morning. A compassionate flood that has surfaced in the heart of people as images of great pain and loss have triggered a unity that only a few days ago was devoid. Now the united focus does not care about difference but to help those hurting and in lack. Together they are pouring out help – sharing from their abundance and even from their lack.

     Isn’t this the heart of Christ? To care for the hurting and broken? To pour out love and compassion on the most vulnerable?

     Stepping up, setting “our” lives on hold, giving from our abundance and our lack, helping in any way possible is what it is to be a loving human being. But we, as believers in Christ have a bigger assignment – it’s not just for a disaster – it is a lifestyle! A lifestyle of sharing our abundance into the lives that surround us that walk daily in lack.

     Unfortunately – just as the birds will revert back to their natural thinking – most people will quickly become cold to the needs and revert back to living their “own” lives with no thought to those still hurting and continually living in lack.

     But for now my heart smiles as I watch the birds united and full of joy sharing with one another – just as Our Heavenly Father must be doing now too. But also, with a renewed outlook on what my lifestyle needs to shift to – one of daily walking in a lifestyle of sharing – hopping from place to place waiting, anticipating and sharing as HE directs.

Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.