WHAT’S IN A NAME? LIVING WATER

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His faithful love endures forever!“                                  I Chronicles 16:34

Today I am praising and thanking God for water! Most of all, I am praising and thanking him that He is THE LIVING WATER!

When you are traveling away from home one of the first things you think about is water. Not just drinking it but using it!

Your first thought is, can I drink this water?Even if the people around me are drinking it, because I am out of the area and could get sick if I drink it. Then there’s the question of, should I brush my teeth with it? If I bathe in it, should I keep my mouth closed so I don’t swallow it?  

If your trip is more than one or two days, the answer is never,  I won’t drink water until I get back home! Nor is it, I won’t brush my teeth or bathe until I get back home! WE NEED WATER TO SUSTAIN OUR LIVES!

We are quickly reminded of how easily we can take it for granted when we are in a foreign place and it is not as easily accessible to us or safe for us to drink or use.

As I am following my Good Shepherd through Israel I am also thankful that He is also my Living Water!

He lets me rest in Green Meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.“      Psalm 23:2

My Good Shepherd leads me and guides me and even allows me to rest in green meadows that have been watered and are growing lush and full! He leads me to peaceful streams where the water flows gently and ever so calmly without feeling pushed or prodded!

In this crazy “go, hurry up and go,“ world that we live in, I need quiet peaceful streams that still provide the living water I need for my sustainment, but also bring me peace and calm. I know that connecting to the Living Water Himself, is the only way that I can get this in this crazy world we live in!

Jesus himself makes the clear distinction between the physical water we need for life sustainment, and the spiritual water that is essential for our souls!

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that ask you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have giving you living water.”   John 4:10

As I take step after step and walk where Jesus walked, I am more aware of the culture he lived in during his 33 years of life on this Earth. The rich meaning of each word He spoke and each illustration He used make more and more sense, and come to life in a significant way!

As Jesus speaks here to the woman at the well, and asked her for a drink of physical water to quench his thirst, He is offering her living water that will give her eternal life in Him, The True Living Water!

I can see clearly now, when I look at where the well actually is, and how far the women would have had to carry all of the water in jars from the edge of town to their household, bringing all the water they needed for each and every day to sustain life.

In this one statement to this woman, Jesus is claiming to be all the sustainment that she needs for everything in her life!

He is claiming to quench her thirst. He is claiming to cleanse her and wash her clean. He is claiming to be the vital water that she needs to grow, and He is claiming to be the power that will give her the energy she needs to live this life!

Water is all of that and more!

Jesus is offering all of this to you and I as well. Are we willing to except it and to have the rest and peace that only He can bring us? Or are we still putting the Living Water God has put at our disposal into empty pails? Do we allow ourselves to go thirsty, to remain dirty, and parched and powerless by not accessing our Living Water?

C. S. Lewis puts it beautifully in The Chronicles of Narnia:

“Are you thirsty?“ Said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,“ said Jill.

“Then drink,“ said the Lion.

“May I– could I – would you mind going away while I do?“ Said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl…

“I daren’t come and drink,“ said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,“ said the Lion.

“Oh dear!“ Said Jill, coming another step near. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.“

“There is no other stream,“ said the Lion.

There is no other stream friends! The Lord is our Living Water! Through Him our lives are completely and fully sustained!

We can reject this Living Water and wither away. We can accept this Living Water, put it in an empty pail and continue to be thirsty, dirty, parched and powerless! Or, we can receive this Living Water and have all that we need and rest in green meadows and walk beside peaceful streams!

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There is no other stream…only the True Living Water will quench our thirst and provide us all we need!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME?SHEPHERD

This first week of September, 2019, marks a week of great significance for me!

It is not significant because I know what’s ahead of me. I actually have no idea of the outcome! The significance actually comes in the “not knowing!”

I know that it is the first week of November, and I know that I love love love November! My family laughs at me as I clap and cheer on the morning of November 1st!

The first significant mark is that it is November and my heart and mind are turned to giving thanks to my God!

Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.                                     I Chronicles 16:34

I do not know the outcome of my giving thanks, I just know My God is good and He deserves my thanks!

In other words, I do not give thanks to God because of something I want. I am not thanking Him in advance for doing something for me.

I am simply giving Him thanks because HE IS GOOD!

He is my Shepherd, and He leads me even when I can’t see where I am going!

This year we were blessed to all be together as a family on November 1st,  at one of our favorite places, Apple Hill!

The reason that we were there was because we had been evacuated from our home due to the fires near us.

As I focused on this verse I realized that God is good all the time, regardless of our circumstances! And in the middle of some of our most difficult times, God gives us blessings!

My second significant mark this week is that I am leaving for Israel TODAY!

I am going to walk where Jesus walked! I can hardly stop shaking from the excitement to make my hands be still enough to write these words!

I truly never believed that I would see Israel this side of heaven! But last February, Jim and I were gifted with this trip. It is truly a gift beyond measure! We are humbled and thankful!

My mind cannot even begin to wrap itself around the significance of this trip and experience in my life! I have prayed, I have fasted, I have asked God to open up my heart, my mind and my spirit so that I can fully take in all that He has for me during this trip, but I can’t. In my humanness, I am not smart enough, strong enough, or astute enough to prepare myself for something this big! I need my SHEPHERD!

Sheep by nature are not smart. They will wander right into running creeks of water to satisfy their thirst, then while standing in that same water they keep slurping it up while their wool grows so heavy as it becomes wet, that they actually drown.

In preparing for this incredible trip I have felt like a dumb sheep! I have been running around, fretting at times, that I have not prepared properly. I keep asking myself constant questions…Have I packed the right things? Have I attained the right things to take? Have I bought all of the right sizes so they’ll pass through customs? Have I turned off certain features on my phone or computer?Have I bought the right adapters?…And the list goes on and on.

Most of all I have struggled within myself to prepare my spirit for this trip. As I was feeling like a failure on Sunday as I walked out of church, saying the words of one of my favorite Winnie the Pooh characters Eeyore, “I’ll never make it.” I was reminded that God is my shepherd! He will lead me and guide me when I am not wise enough to do it myself and that He is ALL that I need!

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My Good Shepherd is all that I need!

In the book of Psalms we are given a beautiful picture by David who was a shepherd, of our Lord, The Good Shepherd!

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.“ Psalm 23:1

Stop worrying! Stop fretting! Stop trying to figure out everything in your life before you even live it! Our Lord God is our Good Shepherd! He goes before us, He goes behind us, and He goes beside us! He is ALL that we need!

So as I get ready for my plane to takeoff and land in Israel, I am committing to walking alongside my Lord God, my Shepherd!

As I do, I am committing to take these two significant events in my life this month, and share on Psalm 23 with you as I walk step-by-step where Jesus walked, following my Shepherd, and beginning each and every one of my days by giving Him thanks!

I can’t wait for this great adventure and I’m excited for you to walk it along with me!

Love, prayers and a heart full of thankfulness for all of you!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? IMMANUEL – GOD WITH US

I sat in my car in pitch black darkness lit only by the car lights behind me and in front of me.
I was alone. My husband was in our second car, a few cars up from me with our dog. In the darkness, nothing looked familiar. We were only a mile from our home, yet it felt like we were in the middle of no where!
We had been startled by the loud warning on our cell phones that we were being evacuated due to the fires surrounding us. We had been on stand by for hours with our important papers, passports and special belongings packed and ready to go. Now it was REAL! The fire was reaching a dangerous level and the winds were increasing. We were being evacuated for the third time in three years!
We got into our two cars, put our necessities and our dog inside and headed out. We made it no more than 3/4 mile down the road, when we encountered a ‘DETOUR’ sign. We were required to turn to the left. At least it was in the direction of the freeway!  We made the left turn and went about one cars length before we were at a stand still. We were boxed in from all sides and no one was moving!
Of course, I reasoned, everyone was being evacuated and we were all trying to reach the freeway. My husband texted me from his car to turn on the local radio station and keep updated on the latest reports. I did that, and for the first hour it kept me focused. The second hour approached and we had not moved more than two car lengths! My patience began to waver.
I felt the frustration rise as the second hour passed and the third hour was approaching!
I decided to turn off the radio that continued to repeat the distressing fire updates and turn on my worship CD. I heard the words come through my speakers like God was talking to me Himself…
“IMMANUEL, Our God is here with us, He’s here with us!”  
 
My grandchildren had been with me just two days earlier, and had asked me to change my worship CD to Lincoln Brewster’s Christmas CD. I had, and God’s clear and undeniable message came blaring at me from the pitch black desperate darkness.
MY GOD WAS WITH ME!
 
I WAS NOT ALONE!
 
At the top of my lungs I began to sing along, “Our God, (My God,) is here with us, He’s here with us!
IMMANUEL was the name given to our Savior, Jesus, as God sent Him to be with us!
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him, IMMANUEL, which means, GOD IS WITH US!”            
Matthew 1:23
 
The miracle of His birth was the fact that we would once and for all be cleansed of our sins by the cleansing power of His blood! This would give us access to a Holy and perfect God that could not otherwise look upon us due to our sin. At the miracle birth of IMMANUEL, God with us, and His perfect life, death burial and resurrection, we now had the ability to accept His sacrifice on our behalf and gain eternal life with God in heaven FOREVER!
PRAISE HIM!
But, God was always with us, His people, from the minute He created us.
God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve and even talked with them. After they disobeyed God’s command and sin entered the world, separating man from God, He still strove to be with them!
All throughout the Old Testament we read time and time again of God being with His people.
God was with Gideon when he was hiding grain and fearful of attack from his enemies!
“The angel of The Lord appeared to Him and said, “Mighty Hero, the Lord is with you.”Judges 6:12
 
God was with David as he encouraged God’s people to continue building God’s temple.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for The Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you.”    
I Chronicles 28:20
 
God was with His Chosen people, Israel.
“For The Lord your God is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies and He will give you victory.”    Deuteronomy 20:4
 
God was with Nathan as he spoke to the king.
“Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for THE LORD IS WITH YOU!”
 II Samuel 7:3
 
And God was with Joshua as he led God’s people to the land God promised them.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is WITH YOU wherever you go!”    Joshua 1:9
 
God was with me!  I was not alone!
GOD WAS WITH ME,
In the fear,
In the uncertainty,
In the frustration,
In the waiting,
In the unknown!
It took us another hour to finally reach the freeway, and another 4 hours to reach our children’s home in where we could finally rest.
And even though the story of this fiery trial has just begun, and the end is not yet written, my faithful God, IMMANUEL, is with me from the beginning of it through to the end!
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I CAN TRUST IMMANUEL GOD TO BE WITH ME NO MATTER WHAT I GO THROUGH!
 
No matter what “fiery trial” you find yourself going through, my prayer is that we may know that The Lord Is With Us, no matter what, no matter where you are. He gives us His strength so we can be strong and courageous! We can trust Him to calm our fear and discouragement.
“For The Lord Our God Is With Us Wherever We Go!”
Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? PROTECTOR

Today my granddaughter is 7 months old!  She is so beautiful, so sweet and perfect in every way. She is learning new things each and every day. She sits up now, grabs her blocks and toys with both hands, puts absolutely EVERYTHING in her mouth, and speaking of putting everything in her mouth, she has been introduced to food! That’s right, the baby girl is no longer just drinking milk, she is grabbing at every food item she can get her hands on! She smiles and laughs out loud and looks at each and every person with great intent! She loves being outdoors and is soaking up and absorbing the big wide world around her more and more with each passing day.
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 I adore her and would give her anything she wants. But truly, what I want most for her in this whole wide world, is for her to be protected! I want her perfect innocence to never be taken away from her. I want her to be given every opportunity this world has to offer. I want her to understand that we love her with all of our hearts, and that God loves her more! I want her sense of giving love freely without expecting anything in return to never be diminished or robbed from her! I want her to always be free of illness, or harm. I want her to grow up and be anything she wants to be and have no one ever tell her she isn’t good enough or worthy of it!

I want her to be PROTECTED!

The definition of PROTECT is, “to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc…it is too cover or shield!”

While my desire, and I know the desire of her parents, may be to cover, shield her, and protect her from all ill or harm, the truth is, we can’t! As much as we want to. As much as we would be willing to give our life for hers, we cannot guarantee her protection!

What we can do, is entrust her to the only one who can truly protect her, the Mighty Protector Himself, God.

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God is the PROTECTOR of His children!

God reaches out and speaks to two of His children and assures them that He will PROTECT them. He actually uses two of the words in our definition of PROTECT…

Cover and Shield!

God speaks to Abraham in Genesis 15:1 and says,

Do not fear, Abraham, I am a shield to you.

God assures Abraham that He is His shield of protection and that he does not need to be afraid!

We also see God protecting Ruth in Ruth 2:12 that says,

May the Lord the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.

God is “covering” and protecting Ruth, “under His wings”, as He leads and guides her to her Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz. 

In the Psalms, David cries out to God over and over and over again for His protection…

May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him.”    Psalm 61:7

O, Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.”  Psalm 71:1

My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.”         Psalm 71:7

Throughout Scripture we see God protecting His children and shielding them and covering them with His love and protection!

I have great peace and confidence as I cry out to God and put not just my youngest granddaughter into His hands, but also my other granddaughter and grandson.

They are God’s children and He is their faithful, strong PROTECTOR!

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises are true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for PROTECTION.”      II Samuel 22:31

Do you struggle with holding on too tightly to what you cannot control?

Do you allow fear to override the Truth that God is a shield and protection for all His children?

Do you deal with anxiety over what you want to fix but cannot?

If you do, you are not alone, anxiety, fear and desire to control is skyrocketing out of control in our society.

The only antidote my friends, is God! His Word is Truth! His promises are true! He is your shield and cover, your refuge and PROTECTOR!

Speak Truth Love

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME? CREATOR

Do you pride yourself on being “CREATIVE?”  Can you put together a great party, shower or event? Can you take a blank piece of paper and draw something, anything, that looks similar to something else? Can you take 3 simple ingredients and make a meal out of them?

If you can do any of the above, then I consider you “CREATIVE!” I also, admire you!

As a teacher I used to commonly pronounce that I was a very good “copier.” I could observe others ideas and copy them well. It is not a hidden fact to anyone who knows me, that I can barely draw a stick figure that somewhat resembles a person. I was not personally gifted with an artistic flare!

My father however was! His handwriting to this day, remains the most beautiful I have ever come across. I have saved many cards and letters he has written, and even though he is in heaven now, I still love to take them out and look at them and read them.

He could also draw free hand and paint extremely well. His profession was a Contractor, but he still drew and painted on his truck and truck windows before it was an actual “thing!”

One of my sisters inherited his natural artistic ability, but I did not! I was in awe of the way they could look at a mountain and draw it or paint it and create something that actually seemed to come to life. My dad especially loved horses. He grew up on a farm, and when he finished playing professional baseball and settled down to run his contracting business, he bought an acre and a 1/4 of property within the city limits, but zoned for horses. I grew up with two, and at one point even three, horses in my backyard. My dad loved them, rode them and at one point decided to draw them. His painting of our horse looked almost more real than the horse itself. 

I posses, and to this day possess, many traits from my father, to my disappointment, one of them was not his artistic ability! To this day I stand in awe at Museums, art exhibits, and even school art fairs, and marvel at the ability to create something beautiful.

The realization came to me one day as I lay in the grass and looked up at the dancing leaves on our gigantic weeping willow tree. Through them, the whispey white clouds floating slowly across the clear blue sky…and then it hit me. Only the CREATOR Himself can truly create something out of nothing! What I marvel at, and is a gift given by the creator to some, is actually an excellent copy of the original.

My dad could draw and paint a horse. But he could not create the horse itself. Only God the CREATOR could do that. The best we can do is to reflect the image of what the CREATOR created in the first place.

To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?” says The Holy One.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one,

and calls them each by name.

Because of His great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing…

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

 The Lord is the everlasting God,

the CREATOR of the ends of the earth.”            Isaiah 40:25-26, 28

We like to think we are creative and indeed we are prolific at making things! The list of human inventions over the last 100 years alone are phenomal! They indeed make life easier and are noteworthy. We have the ability to do this because we have been created in God’s image and we are his image bearers.

But only God Himself, The CREATOR, can create something out of nothing!

The definition of CREATE, is “to cause to exist, to bring into being.” 

God alone can truly cause something to exist that never existed before. God alone can take meaningless nothing, without form and void, and make it something significant.

Using the gifts God has put at our disposal, we as God’s image-bearers draw, paint, perform, compose, sculpt, weave, knit, cook, write, sew, and yes, even sometimes come up with something that has a fresh sound or look to it. But truly, the best creations of the image bearers are at most reminders of and reflections of our CREATOR Himself!

I love created things! I love climbing a mountain or skiing down it! I love sitting on the beach and watching the tide roll in and putting my feet in the sand as the powerful force of the water tries to drag me out to sea! I love watching the birds build a nest in my apple tree, and I love eating the sweet apples that grow on that tree! I love listening to children laugh as they play with each other on the jungle gym and I love seeing the joy in their faces as they eat sticky sweet cotton candy! In my heart I know that only the CREATOR God could bring any of this into existence. Only the CREATOR God could make any of this be!

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ONLY GOD IS TRULY WORTHY OF THE NAME CREATOR

Today as we claim the name CREATOR for God, my prayer is that we would give Him all the glory and credit for what ONLY HE CAN DO, CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Prince of Peace

If I just had a little “Peace and Quiet!”  

How many times have I said that!  Maybe all of the times I am driving down the street and a car is pressuring me from behind to move a little faster.

Maybe it’s when I sit down to have my “quiet time” on Monday morningand the loud sounds from the neighbor’s gardeners start up and break my silence. Maybe it’s when I think about my endless to do list or pending bills.

Whatever it is, Peace seems illusive to me.

How about you?

Peace in this world seems to be what every beauty pageant contestant asks for, but what no one ever finds!

Perhaps we are looking for the wrong kind of peace?

Peace is defined in the dictionary as:

“A state of mutual harmony between people or groups of people, especially in personal relationships.”

Or,

“The normal freedom from civil commotion and violence in a community.”

Or,

“Freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, tranquility or serenity.”

I guess, that according to our last definition, there is no surprise that the number one requested gift from women is a “SPA DAY!”  At least we can escape for one day and pretend we are peaceful. The problem is that as soon as the “Spa Day” ends, we are right back in the annoying, distracting, anxiety-producing lives we left only a few hours earlier!

LIFE IS BASICALLY PEACE-LESS OR NON-PEACEFUL!

So, what does it mean to have a Savior in our lives that calls Himself, The Prince of Peace?

It means that instead of looking at PEACE as working from the outside in, as the world does, we have to start looking at PEACE as working from the inside out!

True PEACE comes to us from the Prince of Peace Himself. When He is living inside of us, we have His inner PEACE no matter what our outside circumstances may be.

Isaiah tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace,

And He will be called…Prince of Peace.”                            Isaiah 9:6

In John we are told that the ‘Peace of God,” is given to us by God Himself…

Peace I leave with you; my PEACE I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”           John 14:27

John also tells us that this PEACE is with us even when we encounter trouble.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The PEACE of God, TRUE PEACE, begins on the inside of us, when Jesus, The Prince of Peace, lives in us! It is a peace that the world does not understand. 

The world looks at the outside circumstances that we all face…trials, problems, unforeseen circumstances, difficulties, disappointments, etc, etc, etc…and says, “If I only had a little peace and quiet, then I would be alright.”

But God says, you will face trials and issues and peace stealing situations of every kind, but when I am on the inside of you, you will have PEACE. True PEACE that can only come from the Prince of Peace.

And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”                                                              Philippians 4:7

We have a gift. The gift is a Person who himself is PEACE, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ!

Jesus is all we need!

Jesus is our perfection!

Jesus is our completeness!

Jesus is our reconciliation!

JESUS IS OUR PEACE, OUR PRINCE OF PEACE!

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IN THIS CRAZY CHAOTIC WORLD JESUS IS OUR PEACE.

In the beautiful Jewish word SHALOM, Jesus is offering us His Peace! All we have to do is allow Him to live inside of us and The Prince of Peace will produce His Perfect Peace in us and through us no matter how chaotic the world around us gets!

SHALOM MY FRIENDS!

May the PEACE of God be with you!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? THE ROCK

I LOVE ROCKS!

  That’s right, I’m a rock lover! While others are planning their vacations to Hawaii or some other exotic beach location, I am dreaming of the mountains! Those bigger than life masses of earth’s surface that rise to great elevations. At the bottom of them they seem stately and grand, almost too majestic to climb!  After ascending their peaks, via chairlift or by foot, their grandeur is nothing short of awe inspiring!

With your feet firmly planted on this massive rock of earth, you feel immovable! The ground beneath your feet is solid and firm. You feel an amazing sense of security as you stand on the rock’s dense, thick surface. The only disappointment of this grand rock you are on, is that you eventually come down. 

There is a ROCK that we never have to descend! It is surer than the highest mountain on earth! It is an immovable stronghold that we never have to break free of!

It is our Lord God, and He is The Rock!  One of the names in the Word of God given to God is ROCK!

The Lord is my ROCK, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is My ROCK, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold…For who is God besides The Lord? And who is The ROCK except our God…The Lord lives! PRAISE BE TO MY ROCK! Exalted be God my Savior.”          

  Psalm 18:1-2, 31, 46

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THE LORD GOD IS OUR ROCK, IN HIM WE STAND FIRM!

In the world we live in and in this life we lead, we find our feet on shaky ground too often.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that when we have God, we have The Rock, the solid, unshakable ground that our feet stand firmly on!

God is our ROCK, the firm foundation on which we stand when everything else is shifting and changing.

May this be our prayer as we plant our feet on the ROCK, our Lord God….

Lord, God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, my ROCK and my Redeemer.”                                      Psalm 19:14

Speak Truth Love