Tag Archives: living water

Ezekiel 10-12; Psalm 83; John 4

I recently got results from a DNA ancestry/health test I took. I was unprepared for the depth of feelings I’d feel as I looked at the results and saw a profile of my ancestry–such a gasp of wonder and joy, a glimpse into a past. It was really exciting, and more than that, I felt a connection and belonging to a greater history. There were fun findings–that I’m likely to drink more caffeine than average (true) and that I am likely to be more afraid of heights than others (also true). And it fell short in a couple of places suggesting that I don’t have a widow’s peak (I do), and that I’m likely to dislike cilantro (I buy it weekly–love!).

Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. They talk, and he tells her things about herself she already knew–things about her choices and past. It’s stuff the people in her life might know, that she might even be known for, but that a stranger wouldn’t know. Instead of feeling shame or embarrassment or apathy, she has a kind of wonder, and perhaps relief.

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” (John 4:39, NLT, emphasis added)

She comes to the well every day to fill a very real need (and perhaps much of her life was spent trying to fill a need for acceptance, provision, love, belonging, purpose, fulfillment), and he promises her an everlasting satisfaction. Living water.

I think of my ancestors and I want to know more–their names, their stories, and what they were searching for. What were they leaving, and what were they pursuing that moved a lineage from place to place, and finally here to my doorstep in the woods?

Father God, you will stop at nothing. No distance. No desperation. You already know I love cilantro and coffee. You know the depth of my weaknesses. You know my struggles and my strengths. You know every thought I’ve ever had, every word I’ve ever spoken, and every feeling I’ve ever felt (even the ones I try to keep from myself)–and you don’t flinch. You don’t turn away. You meet me in the place of my need, and I feel like you’re telling me, ‘You can keep coming back to (this place) looking for (understanding, satisfaction, answers, fulfillment, love), but even if it meets your need today, you’ll be back here again tomorrow. I can meet that need once and for all time so that you don’t need to keep returning to (a place) that can’t (heal you).” Lord, I believe you because … you know everything about me, you keep your promises, you are able.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 24; Hebrews 6; Joel 3; Psalm 143

Have you ever been thirsty? Really thirsty? Last summer my family and I want on a hike at Mt.Rainier. It was spectacular. But the sun was hot and the air was dry. We thought we had brought enough water to last for the hike but the arid conditions caught us by surprise. Luckily we realized we were getting low and were able to ration our water. I experienced a thirst beyond a normal thirst. It was all I could think about. I longed for a cool drink of water.

In Psalm 143, David is experiencing a different kind of thirst:

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.

When we are thirsty we need water. When we thirst for God, He fills us with Living Water. I think it isn’t a coincidence that God created our human bodies to work in such a way that it reminds us daily of our need for relationship with Him. Every time we take a sip of water it can remind of us of God’s satisfying goodness. When we go too long without it, we become parched.

Lord, help me to make spending time with You and time in your word as natural as it is to fill my body with water. Help me to have a healthy thirst for you. Thank you for the flow of Living Water that is always available and never runs out. Help me not to look for other things to quench my thirst because they will never satisfy.

Ann (naturelady)

 

 

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Leviticus 4; Psalm 1, 2; Proverbs 19; Colossians 2

Hiking in the woods, near a stream, is one of my favorite things to do. The closer you get to creation, the closer you get to The Creator. His very character is embedded in nature – and it is no coincidence. Just as you can learn much about an artist, as you see a painting, natural settings cry out about God. The words of Psalm 1 came to life as I read them:

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:3 NIV

Psalm 1, Tree by stream, Living Water, blessed, meditate day and night

Tree planted by streams of water

In Psalm 1, a person who meditates on God’s word day and night is equated to a tree planted by a stream – it grows, bears fruit and prospers. The trees roots are immersed in the water, soaking up the goodness that makes it thrive. Even if there are rocks, as in the picture above, the tree finds a way to get those roots in the water. Jesus is our Living Water. It is only through constant immersion in Him, that we can grow and bear fruit.

In Leviticus 4, it discusses all the types of sacrifices that had to be made to make things right with God. Yet, because of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice, we can come to God, clean, anytime we want. What a blessing to have the Living Water covering us, bathing us.

A couple years ago, I got to see the Redwoods for the very first time. It was far beyond my wildest imagination. When I inquired what made them so big, the answer was that the conditions of the rain  and the mist make it ideal for them to grow. We have control over our conditions. Consider that – as our roots our bathed in Living Water and our leaves are covered with the Holy Spirit, The Word, and Fellowship, etc. we too can grow. Wow!

Lord, I want to be like a redwood. Help me to grow roots that soak up your goodnes. Help me to immerse myself in you. Thank you for your provision and your availability.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

There it is again….rooted and built up in Him. I love how God reveals himself in tangible things that surround us. I encourge you to get outside and see Him. He is everywhere.

Ann (naturelady)

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2 Chronicles 36; Revelation 22; Malachi 4; John 21

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears this say, “Come!” Let whoever is thirsty come; whoever wishes may have the water of life as a free gift. Revelation 22:17 (NCV)

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat”…Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, along with the fish. John 21:12-13 (NCV)

The end of the year is a perfect time to remember my past, not in such a way that bogs me down and makes me depressed over my failings, but in a way that lifts me up and gives testimony to God’s goodness in my life. It is a time to reflect on His timely provision, His faithfulness, and His constant beckoning.

This year has been a difficult one for me. Spending the first half of the year in the U.S. as a single mom to my two daughters while my husband ministered in India and then spending the second half of the year re-adjusting to life in a third world country has made for a lot of stress and struggle. I have dwelled much of the year in a desert place – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – hungry and thirsty for more connection, especially with Jesus.

“But for you who honor me, goodness will shine on you like the sun, with healing in its rays…” Malachi 4:2 (NCV)

As I look back, I am reminded of the oases that God offered me throughout the year, havens that allowed me to be refreshed, to heal, to be encouraged, to taste and see that He is good:

  • My family’s support. Though my parent’s house became overrun with baby paraphernalia and toddler’s toys, Nick Jr. and Sprout cornered the TV airways, and temper tantrums and time outs were a moment by moment occurrence, they welcomed us with open arms. They helped me love my kids on purpose and made it possible for me to care for myself as I transitioned into a mom of two.
  • My friends’ encouragement. I was re-united with women I’ve known for years and I experienced divine encounters with new friends. Bonding over coffee, playdates, and MOPS meetings gave me time for adult conversation and helped me remember that I am not alone in my journey as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother.
  • My church body’s acceptance. I am blessed to call many places of worship ‘home’; communities where I am readily received whether I’ve been there every week or only visit once in a blue moon. The people are caring, the corporate prayer and worship is a breath of fresh air, the pastors’ messages fill my spirit, and the nursery workers are God-sent, allowing me precious moments to spend time with God without worrying about my children.
  • My husband’s and in-laws’ provision. I grappled with the thought of returning to India because our living arrangements in the past had been less than ideal (150+/- square feet of living space without a place for a kitchen and without running water). When my daughters and I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by an apartment on the second floor of my in-laws house which tripled our living space and provided a kitchen, a bathroom on the same level, and running water.
  • My daughters’ unconditional love. No matter how unruly and high-spirited my girls are, no matter how many times they do things that infuriate me and break my heart, there is nothing in the world quiet like the sweet, and sometimes sticky, hugs and kisses from my children. Their expressions of love melt my heart and strengthen my revelation of love with the Father.

The end of the year is also an opportunity to think about my hopes for the coming months. It is a time to make future plans, to make choices about what paths my journey will take. It is a time to listen to what the Lord is saying about His will for my life.

The Lord has been whispering the word ‘COME’ to me recently. “Come near to Me. Be connected to Me. Position yourself in My arms. Let Me be your priority. Let Me give you what you need, the desires of your heart. Let Me give you joy. Let Me show you the truth about who I made you to be. Let Me be your fulfillment. Let Me feed you and give you drink. Let Me give you peace, freedom. Rest in Me.”

The follower whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard him say this, he wrapped his coat around himself. (Peter had taken his clothes off.) Then he jumped into the water. John 21:7 (NCV)

When I hear these words spoken to me, I want to dive into His Glory. I want to drink His living water, His new wine until my thirst is abated. I want to be renewed by the rivers, baptized in His restorative blood once again. I want to run toward my Creator, my Savior. I want to embrace Him and never let go. I want to abide in His oasis and be filled by His daily bread. I want to draw close to His heart and rest forever in His presence. And, I am grateful that I am His daughter, His beloved.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May it be your best year yet, full of abundance and blessings!

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Malachi, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

2 Chronicles 19, 20; Revelation 8; Zechariah 4; John 7

…The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle, it is God’s…You won’t need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places, and you will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord is with you…” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 (NCV)

Sometimes I have a difficult time keeping my focus on God. The busyness of life, the day-to-day hustle of caring for my husband, kids, house, ministry, etc., swiftly steals my attention. I soon find myself in crisis mode, overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list and exhausted by nonstop tasks.

Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right.” John 7:24 (NCV)

While concentrating on what things look like and how they feel, it is easy to forget that things aren’t always what they seem. The Lord is moving behind the scenes even when I am unaware of what is happening. He is maneuvering things into place, suggesting solutions, offering wisdom, providing for my needs, whispering peace to my spirit, and giving me strength to stand.

…‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. Zechariah 4:6 (NCV)

In the midst of the struggle to balance everything, when I choose to worship the Lord rather than wallow in my misery, the Lord gives me His strength to do all things. The battle becomes the Lord’s, when my praises flow.

For me, singing is the quickest way for me to enter into God’s tangible presence. Worshipping the Lord takes me from a place of putting the spotlight on myself and on my problems to keeping my heart centered on Him. It opens my spirit to receive His ministry to my heart. It calms my mind to allow me to hear His truth for my life and His wisdom for my situation. It helps me taste and see that He is good. It reminds me that He is faithful all the time.

Jehoshaphat bowed facedown on the ground. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down before the Lord and worshiped him. Then some Levites from the Kohathite and Korahite people stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voices…

Jehoshaphat listened to the people’s advice. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord, to praise him because he is holy and wonderful. As they marched in front of the army, they said, “Thank the Lord, because his love continues forever.”

As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes for the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom who had come to attack Judah. And they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:18-19, 21-22 (NCV)

The people of Judah and Jerusalem made the choice to worship the Lord. They chose to put their focus on the God of Israel, instead of the enemy that they faced. They praised Him with loud voices. A handpicked worship team actually went into the battle ahead of the warriors to sing praises to the Lord and to offer gratitude for His continuous love. And as a result, their enemy was easily defeated by God.

On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” John 7:37-38 (NCV)

When I send praises up to God before going into my battles, He defeats my enemies too. When I believe in Him, trust in His goodness, I am filled with living water, my thirst for Him quenched. Gratitude flows from my heart and turns to joy. Despite the craziness of the day, I am strengthened. He gives me my piece of peace and shows me the path to take. His love casts out my anxiousness, my fear, and I am encouraged.

Yesappa, Praise the Lord, O my Soul and let all that’s within me praise His name. I will not die, I will live and I will tell of the works of the Lord, sing of His wonders. He’s a great God. I get to love You through, whatever comes. What a privilege. Oh how sweet it is. Nothing’s going to take Your praise out of my mouth as long as I shall live.* In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Lyrics from the song “Praise the Lord” by Kristene Meuller

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Numbers 7; Psalms 42, 43; Song of Songs 5; Hebrews 5

As a deer thirsts for streams of water,

so I thirst for you, God.

I thirst for the living God.

When can I go to meet with him?

Psalm 42:1-2 (NCV)

I am thirsty. Thirsty for more of God; more of His tangible presence.

I am craving extra time spent in His arms, enveloping my heart with His compassion. I am longing to bury my face in His scent – purity, sacrifice, love – and feel the glowing warmth of His Glory. I am eager to hear His voice, whispering in my ear, booming in my spirit. I desire to see His benevolent face, His grace-filled eyes, and His tender smile. I yearn to taste and see more of His goodness.

The distractions of life, of motherhood, of the busyness of piled up to-do lists, and the enticing lure of smart phone, computer, television…, cut chunks out of my day. Interruptions make upheaval out of my attempts at quiet time, exclamations in the middle of my prayers. Most days I don’t have a single moment to myself to think, use the bathroom, or shower, let alone be still and know. Exhaustion, an ever constant, yet unwelcome companion, leads to falling asleep moments after beginning to meditate on the Word.

I often feel spiritually dehydrated, and left wanting more of His Living Water. My lips are parched from thanklessness issuing from my mouth; my tongue is dry from a lack of praise. My eyes gritty from being in the desert place. My ears not fully tuned into the whispers of His voice, hearing only fragments of truth amidst the enemy’s lies. My skin dried up, mummy-like, desperate for His healing salve.

When I am able to find my way to the river, when I am able to meet with Him, I dip my toes into the waterside, feeling His refreshing. Wading into His compassion, forgiveness ripples and flows around me, currents of mercy tugging at my legs. Sinking deeper still, I am able to drink in His Holy Water, tasting His perfect draught, baptizing in His love.

My heart is flooded with gratitude, and my mouth is filled with worship. I am soaked in His affectionate whispers and drenched in His Truth. I am renewed, revitalized by His answers to prayers. I am encouraged by His Word. I am restored.

My thirst is quenched.

And, yet, I still want more…

I am thirsty. Thirsty for more of God. When can we meet again?

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Ex. 25; John 4; Prov. 1; 2 Cor. 13

The Samaritan woman at the well. I had heard of her, and her midday walk to get water was one of rejection and loneliness. It was suggested that the other women would get their water early in the morning, not in the middle of the day’s heat. But this woman shows up after everyone had left, to avoid her peers. It’s in the exclusion and loneliness that Jesus shows up. Her life hints at wandering and indulgence–I love that Jesus crosses lines (political and social) and looks her in the eyes. I would have expected she’d feel shame, but he talks to her and she feels free–free enough to spread the words “He knows all about me.” Shame drops to the ground, replaced by joy. Actions that may have bound her reputation are freed through Christ, and she can share her story with joy.

Is that what harvest looks like? Lives lived in truth, worship, joy.

34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” 2 Corinthians 13:34-42 NLT.

I know I’m not alone. I know other people have stuff they want to tuck away from public knowledge. But I know freedom in Christ, that I can proclaim: He knows all about me.

My God accepted me, looked me in the eye, stood by my side when no one else would. On days when I would have walked in exclusion because of another’s judgment, he walked beside me.

Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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