Posted by: Jo | March 27, 2015

Telling And Retelling the Good News

“…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him”

(1 John 4:16)

image Our little grandson is approaching three years old and loves listening to stories and the ones he loves the best are ones about the family and everyday happenings, especially the ones that have some dramatic incidence in them. He begs his grandfather to tell and retell about how the big trees surrounding our cabin had to be chopped down and my husband obliges by many loud noises of chain saws and much moving of hands until the final mighty crash as the tree comes falling down. As soon as he finishes talking a little voice immediately pipes up, “Tell the story again, Grandpa” He never seems to tire of the story (like we do who are listening along with him) and this made me remember an old hymn about the joy of listening to a well-loved story about our Saviour and what incredible peace it brings about in our lives and how the retelling of it is so important. The hymn is called;

Tell Me The Old, Old Story

Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above

Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.

Tell me the story simply as to a little child

For I am weak and weary, helpless and defiled.

When I was searching for these words on the internet, I reached one site that had a beautiful rendition and as I listened to the one who was singing, I felt the deep longing of countless others who had uttered these same words. All of us need to be reassured like little children of Jesus’ all-encompassing love. We need to hear again and again that he is the glorious one and is able to restore us even though we may be weak and helpless and feel we are not worthy. We also need to hear the truth simply. I feel man-made rules and many doctrines have complicated our beliefs and we need to heed this hymn that tells us, accept the truth with childlike trust. I think the disciple John puts it so simply “God is love…” (1 John 4:16) and Jesus himself tells us to be like little children in acknowledging this wonderful news.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

The other verse of the hymn that catches my attention has these words in it;

Tell me the story often for I forget so soon.

I think this happens to all of us at different times. Life gets busy. Stress happens. Problems arise. Even though we know the good news of Jesus Christ, somehow it is not forefront in our minds. This is when we need to be like my little grandson and beg others to “tell the story again”, or we may be the ones to remind others when they are struggling with life’s problems so we join together in rejoicing in his great love.

The good news is so good, it needs telling and retelling over and over again!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Posted by: Jo | March 20, 2015

Give Me A Hearing Heart

“My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

(James 1:19)

image Some years back I remember reading about a New Yorker who moved in the rich and famous circle and was frequently invited to their numerous cocktail parties. He became bored with the meaningless chatter which was a part of every gathering, and to amuse himself he played a game in which he tried to see who actually listened to what he was saying. When he was asked, “How are you?” He would answer, “Oh everything is wonderful” and then as an afterthought would add. “My grandmother was murdered last week.” Time and time again people would smile and move on as though the last sentence had never been spoken. They hadn’t bothered to really listen to what he was saying.

The art of listening seems to be rapidly fading in our own society today. People nowadays communicate using electronic devices, leaving Facebook messages for friends, or texting those same friends with abbreviated symbols, or brief e-mails. Telephoning any big companies for advice on problems can be a frustrating experience in which one argues with an automated voice which sometimes doesn’t sound like it is human. We have read tragic stories lately in the media about teenagers taking their own lives because they had nobody with whom they could share their problems. We all need to hone and sharpen our listening skills.

The book of Proverbs is a wonderful source of how to live our lives in such a way, that we practice loving one another and in so doing please Our Heavenly Father. Listen to this good advice;

“He who answers before listening- that is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13)

And who of us have not experienced this type of conversation;

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2)

One of the saddest verses in Scripture about listening, is when Job is going through all his troubles and he calls out these words;

“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!” (Job 31:35)

image Job did have somebody to hear him, his Heavenly Father, but he needed desperately a friend who would hear his outpourings with love and understanding, and allow him to share his thoughts without judging him.

So many lonely people, still today, utter that same cry as Job. The elderly who are shut in. The young mother struggling with that new baby. The family who have just moved into the neighbourhood. The new boy at school. The recently widowed man. The teenager beset with all the angst of growing up. A new migrant striving to fit in into a new country. Sometimes the person most needing an attentive ear is within our own family or one of our close friends.

I was reading a beautiful message about listening just recently and came across this very meaningful phrase

DEVELOP A HEARING HEART

This really spoke to me as I realised that too often we hear with our ears, but our hearts are not involved, so we miss the sadness, fear, worry behind the words. We can desire to develop this sensitive heart just by asking our Heavenly Father and then be able to answer the cry, “O, that I had someone to hear me.”

“Create in me a pure heart, O’ God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Posted by: Jo | March 13, 2015

Embrace Change Through Faith

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

(Hebrews 11:8)

imageI came across a phrase in my reading, recently, that I was not aware of ever having heard before.

EMBRACE CHANGE

I had to process the words before I could quite grasp what the author meant, but the more I thought about them, the more I realised that they had a very deep meaning. Change in one’s life can be a welcome visitor, or a dreaded unknown that can unsettle the rhythm of life and bring about great anxiety about what lies ahead. We can use the word casually, “I need to go on a holiday. I need a change.” Or much more poignantly. “He has lost his job. Life is going to change”. Life is a series of changes and especially as we get older the challenge is to accept them.

The story of Abraham is a wonderful one that illustrates how one man coped with a startling change in his life. God asks him to leave his own country and to go where God was going to bless him mightily, by making him and his descendants into a mighty nation. This patriarch accepts change and as my author puts it “he embraces change” and obeys God without questioning, relying on his Creator to guide him.

Many of us may be facing change in our lives as change has become a part of our current society. When I was a child, one chose a profession or a trade while young and most of us expected to stay, sometimes with the same employer, all our working life, but now companies are nationwide or global, so one could be suddenly told to pull up roots and move to an unknown place. So change in the working place can be very frightening. We can embrace change by being upheld by these words;

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:9 – 10)

imageChange can also be a very liberating thing, especially within ourselves. Over time we can develop attitudes that can hold us back; old fashioned ideas we cling to; out dated-time- worn thoughts that need to be refreshed. We often see this arising in our own churches where “we have always done it this way” surfaces. This is when we need to be brave enough to come before the Lord and hear these words and ask him to give us a new attitude to things that are new and to help us have open minds to change;

“…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23 – 24)

Personal change can be very challenging, but the results of looking honestly at ourselves and admitting in front of our Heavenly Father that some of our habits, or choices of life style need to be discarded, and to realise the harm they are doing with our relationship with him, brings about a new freshness to our fellowship.

Deliberately facing change with optimism, can give us a wonderful sense of peace, we can expect our Lord to guide us through whatever is going to present itself to us. Instead of “However am I going to cope?”, we can choose to believe that he will be on the sidelines, giving us advice, directing us, upholding us;

“Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” (Psalm 25:12)

So, then, with faith in the Lord it is easy to embrace change

Posted by: Jo | March 6, 2015

Empower Not Discourage!

“Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

(1 Thessalonians 4:18)

image My husband and I have just been reading the story of Nehemiah, in our Bible study, and I suddenly realised while we were reading, what an incredible example this is of how harmful words can be, especially when they are laced with discouragement.

Discouraging remarks can have a powerful impact on those to whom they have been directed and can shake one’s confidence, weaken resolve, destroy ambition and even paralyse effort altogether. Many of these emotions emerge in this story and how Nehemiah was able to negate them is still relevant.

Nehemiah had been sent back to restore the broken walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3) and this effort was viewed in horror by Israel’s enemies who certainly did not want to see Israel prosper again. They first try belittling the Jews themselves;

“…What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall?” (Nehemiah 4:2)

Then they attack their work

“…What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.” (Nehemiah 4:3)

Nehemiah, however serves a mighty God and he calls upon his help to destroy any power these words have on those building the wall. Speaking to God restores his confidence and then he is able to speak encouraging words to the workers, destroying the poisonous words effect on the Israelites.

“…Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

The similarity of events contained here, are strikingly evident in our own society today. Many of us have been in situations of being the target of discouraging words. We may have been seeking a change in careers, thinking of going back to school, we may have an idea for an outreach ministry in our church. We may have also heard these words;

You haven’t got the skills for that!

You were never good at school work!

It will never work!

image Discouraging words can hurt more than weapons.

When we look at Nehemiah’s reaction to discouraging words we have a solution to any attack we or others, we know and love, experience. Seek the Lord first. Seek encouragement from those who love the Lord. Spread the good news to others.

Scripture has a lot to say about how we use our tongue and how words can destroy or bring about healing and this is one of my favourites;

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

When we realise that our words, spoken with the Lord’s wisdom behind us, can bring about healing, we become more aware and careful of how we speak to others. When Paul was writing to believers, he frequently began by praising their faith, praising how firmly they stood for Jesus Christ. So when we also realise we can empower others by using encouraging words , praising their work, commending them for their efforts, we will witness amazing growth in the kingdom of God.

Posted by: Jo | February 27, 2015

Excess Baggage

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses , let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us.”

(Hebrews 12:1)

image I was watching a very clever ad on the TV, the other night that caught my attention because I perceived a much deeper meaning in its portrayal than the producers had intended. The ad was from a bank and the gist of the action was how debt, and worrying about it, destroyed enjoyment no matter what one did. It featured people going about their everyday lives, but in each sequence, they were carrying another person on their shoulders. They showed a man playing hockey, but the man around his shoulders was such a burden he played badly and had no fun in the game. One other was a young working mother, coming home to her family and the other woman she carried on her shoulders only added to her overworked life. The message was; “Get debt off your back”.

As I was watching , I thought this is a wonderful message for many of us in our Christian walk who are carrying what I call, “excess baggage” that not only burdens us, but destroys our joy and vitality and limits our blossoming as true followers of Jesus Christ. The “excess baggage” can take on all sorts of forms. Worry is one of those tiresome burdens that can weigh us down and seems to override our productivity, robs us of peace, disturbs our sleep and casts a pall over all we attempt.

Jesus implores us to get rid of this joy robber.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

We can also load ourselves down with guilt which when added to the baggage already there, casts gloom over the brightest day as the psalmist says

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” (Psalm 38:4)

image Unresolved disputes wrapped up in resentment, anger, bitterness can easily slip into that baggage, making it weigh even more heavily upon us.

If Jesus was writing an ad his beautiful invitation would be written in huge letters, at the end, offering not a bank loan, but a perfect solution to all these problems,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I was discussing with a friend recently, both of us experts in the field of worry, of how hard it is to rid ourselves of our own baggage and we both agreed that most of it is self-inflicted. She said to me, half in jest, give me your worries and I will give you mine and then we will both be free. Later on thinking back on our conversation I realised that God’s word says exactly that.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Being brave enough to share with another is a great way to lighten the burden.

The other truth I gained from my conversation with my friend was the realisation that what is weighing us down is often self-inflicted, Jesus assured us he came to give us the abundant life, not a burdensome one. He is longing to free us from anything that would spoil our close walk with him and Paul when writing to the Galatians urges them to remember we can be free from any burden, self-inflicted or otherwise.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

When we feel the weight of “excess baggage” we just need to stand up, look up and feel the relief as it slips off our shoulders.

Posted by: Jo | February 20, 2015

Overwhelmed With Wonder

“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.”

(Mark 9:15)

image Last week end was a long week end here in Canada and as the Monday was a holiday we were invited to go with our little two and half year old grandson and his parents to visit the very large aquarium in our city. What a delightful experience! The aquarium is very child friendly with strategic steps placed next to the huge glass panels so that even the little ones are able to view all the fascinating creatures who live in water. At first I spent very little time looking at the exhibits as I was intrigued by our grandson’s reaction to this startling new world he was being introduced to. His face was a study of wonder. As each new amazing sea life swam past, the wonder on his face grew and grew. His wonder became infectious and I began to see things differently, looking with childlike eyes at God’s wonderful creation, seeing God’s design in a fresh and awesome way.

I then remembered Jesus’ words that we all need to be childlike in our faith;

“…I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3 – 4)

After watching our little grandson I realised how important it was to heed Jesus’ words and be like children, never losing that excitement of marvelling at the new and different. We can not only lose our sense of wonder in our everyday lives and allow hum drum to invade our thoughts, we can also let it slowly disappear from our Christian walk and apathy begins to take over, our prayer life becomes perfunctory; our worship loses its vitality; we cease to be aware of the Holy Spirit and joy disappears from our friendship with Jesus.

Scripture constantly reminds us of the importance of seeing wonder in God’s word,

“Open thou my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18 KJV)

We can cry out like the psalmists to keep wonder in our relationship with the Lord;

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand…” (Psalm 17:6 – 7)

When I looked up the dictionary meaning for wonderful it read;

awesome, marvellous profound admiration for person/ object

image We serve a wonderful God who is awesome, marvellous, and definitely deserves our profound admiration. Just as it is a pity when we stop being filled with wonder with the world around us , it is also so sad when we lose that beautiful sense of wonder in our relationship with the Lord, but the good news is that it is so easy to regain. His invitation for a closer walk with him is always open and Peter reminds his readers;

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Practising to be a kid again, revelling with joy, basking in that wonderful light, will dispel any gloom. We just have to try it. Our love will blossom so others also will be filled with wonder.

The Wonder Of Your Love

The wonder of your love cleanses my soul, making me whole

It flows from above

Now I can see, your love makes me free.

Posted by: Jo | February 13, 2015

What Can I Do?

“…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

(James 5:16)

image World news has become so filled with stories of mankind’s brutality that watching the coverage of all these outrages leaves one feeling hopeless and filled with despair. Not only the world news is filled with horror, local stories that fill our newspapers are graphic accounts of injustices and the lists go on and on. Many of us have our own trials to grapple with and being aware of so much sorrow surrounding us as well, over whelms us and we are tempted to cry;

WHAT CAN I DO!?

When we know and love the Lord there is a wonderful answer to that question. We have access to the ear of the Creator of the universe and Scripture tells us that prayer is a powerful weapon against evil. The answer is;

WE CAN PRAY!!

My husband and I found early on in our Christian walk that praying together every morning was a wonderful way to start our day. The pace of life has become busier and busier and often I hear Christians bemoan the fact that between, working, shopping, exercising, housework, there is no time to pray. imageThen we need to be ingenious in spending that time in prayer during our everyday tasks. I have a great example of this within my own family.  One of my daughters had an appointment with the dentist and she was not looking forward to it as he had booked two hours for the procedure. She was sharing this dread with me so I said, “That would be good time to spend in prayer.” I was delighted to learn afterwards that she had taken my advice and found not only how soothing the prayer was for her, but an answer to a problem became clear to her during the prayer time.

The psalmists had great confidence in the Lord not only hearing their prayer, but had great confidence he would act on it.

“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” (Psalm 6:9)

Jesus encouraged his disciples to be diligent in prayer and gave them and us a beautiful model to follow for our own prayer life in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”. Unfortunately too often we repeat the familiar words without thinking of their real meaning.

While I was asking myself about what I could do about atrocities across the world, two sentences of the Lord’s Prayer came into my mind;

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV)

Imagine God’s kingdom spreading and overcoming the hate filled areas of the world. Imagine mankind practising God’s will instead of the self centered imposing of man’s will. We can pray for that to happen. I find if you choose a country, a situation that grieves you, a personal problem you know about and consistently pray those words, you are joining your words with countless others and we can be confident that our prayers will be heard.

image When to pray. Most of us have tight time schedules, but when we seriously look at our days we will be surprised at how many little openings we have. Lots of people sing in the shower. What better time to pray instead. Driving to work. Leave the radio off, talk to God instead. Waiting rooms. Don’t read the outdated magazines, speak to your Heavenly Father. Running on the tread mill. Leave off the ear phones, contact the Lord instead. Of course we all still need that special time of uninterrupted prayer, but when we choose to make prayer a vital part of our everyday life we will boldly answer, I know what I can do.

I CAN PRAY!!!

Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians was this;

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)

Posted by: Jo | February 6, 2015

God’s Timing

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say You are my God. My times are in your hands;…”

(Psalm 31:14 – 15)

One of the things I remember about my father was his obsession with time. Every clock in the house was checked every day to ensure it was portraying the correct time. His wrist watch could be trusted to always be accurate. He was always punctual, as to be late for any appointment would have been unthinkable for him. He also had lots of sayings about time which he would repeat to us children;

image Time and tide wait for no man

Give it time

If you have time on your hands do something with it

Time is money

…and more…

 

Time, of course, is what we humans are controlled by and however hard we try we cannot make the clock slow down or go faster as the case may be.

I was thinking about the constraints of time last week as we are studying Genesis in our Home Group and have reached the story of Joseph. (Genesis 37 – 47) At seventeen Joseph is blessed by God to receive two startling dreams. We find out as we follow his story that he had to wait thirteen more years before they come to fruition, years that would shake anyone’s faith as he is sold as a slave, falsely accused of molesting, thrown into prison, forgotten for two years. What we learned from our study was that God’s timing for Joseph and for the future of Israel was perfect. What we all have to grasp is that God’s timing is always perfect.

Mankind has always been fascinated by time and the book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 has spawned many songs about there being a “time for everythingimage

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

but the author, believed to be Solomon, really gets to the heart of the matter in chapter 8;

“Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,…” (Ecclesiastes 8:5 – 6)

But for many of us playing the waiting game, the proper time and procedure is sometimes hard for us to fathom. Then that is a good time to go back and look at God’s timing in Scripture. When we look at Joseph’s ordeal we see a phrase being recorded over and over, “the Lord was with him” as a slave to be sold, a servant wrongly accused, a prisoner unjustly imprisoned, yet at each stage of his life these beautiful words nullified the circumstances surrounding him and the triumphant outcome was God using Joseph in a mighty way to ensure that his chosen race would be preserved. We too can claim those words for ourselves, imagereminding ourselves daily that “the Lord is with us” while we wait for his timing.

Accepting God’s timing for our own lives brings about an incredible outpouring of peace no matter what we are deeply troubled by. Some of the most uplifting verses in Scripture talk about waiting upon the Lord, not running ahead, but seeking direction, not making quick decisions, being made wise by reading his word and speaking to him in prayer. Then we will be awed at how his perfect timing brings about that perfect peace that transcends all understanding.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Posted by: Jo | January 30, 2015

Love Not Law

“…If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her him.”

(John 8:7)

image When I was a child I was intrigued by the descriptions I overheard my parents using when they discussed people they knew. I didn’t quite understand them in those days, but of course began to grasp their meanings as I too encountered similar people. One of them I remember my mother saying about an acquaintance was, “She does everything by the book!” She was not talking about the Bible, but this lady’s own unwritten code of behaviour, and woe betide anyone who broke those rules that this lady thought were good and proper. My father had another fascinating observation about a neighbour, “He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” and yet another, “He won’t give an inch if he thinks he is in the right.” This terrible rule setting for others, sadly, still exists today and was very evident when Jesus encountered the teachers of the law and the Pharisees as he strove to show them the power of love over the law.

Probably the best example of Jesus’ overturning the rigid, hypocritical, crushing approach the Pharisees had to God’s law, was his encounter with the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would condone stoning her for her sin, even though they themselves were bending the law, as the man involved in this sin should also have been judged just as harshly, (Deuteronomy 22:22). Filled with self-righteousness and wanting to trick Jesus, they are startled by Jesus response to their questioning. Instead of entering into heated arguing about what is right, he challenges them to search themselves, to look honestly at the wrong doings they had committed to see if they too were guilty of breaking the law. He challenged them to put themselves in another’s place, to temper justice with mercy and slowly they slip away his words touching their hearts.

When the Pharisees again try to insert their “law over rules love approach” Jesus quotes a very telling passage from the prophet Isaiah;

“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesised about you. ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’” (Matthew 15:7)

image Many of us have been exposed to the stifling of love when churches take it upon themselves to set rules for others to obey. We may have been guilty ourselves, in a small way, not realising how damaging that can be to a relationship when we expect others to act to our standards. The saddest place to see this is within our Christian family and this when we need a great out pouring of love as we read;

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8)

When love triumphs over law, God’s richest blessings flow.

Posted by: Jo | January 23, 2015

Streams of Living Water

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

(John 7:38)

image All of us are aware of the life giving properties of water, but my husband and I have been watching a series on the T.V. which displayed how dramatically this plays out in the desert. We watched in awe as a piece of barren sandy landscape, which had been bereft of rain for months, sprang to life as it was drenched with rain. One of the episodes, filmed in Australia, showed a particular frog emerging from the sodden earth, after being in a dormant state for years. Another episode showed the power water had to even carve valleys, changing the actual terrain on which it was falling.

Any of us who have lived in hot countries know how important water is for life to exist and one of God’s beautiful promises to his people contains these words;

“Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” (Isaiah 32:2)

Our lives can sometimes feel like being in a dry and dusty desert. Signs of blossoming life seem strangely absent. We go through the motions, but joy seems to elude us. We may even feel the Lord has forgotten us, but strangely enough these times often precede startling new changes the Lord is wanting to activate in our lives;

“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

The secret to discovering what the Lord is planning for us, is to draw close to him as revelation often doesn’t come in a dramatic powerful way, but in a whisper. Elijah was experiencing a desert time in his life when he was discouraged, burnt out and ready to give up (1 Kings 19:9- 12) He had to wait through a powerful wind, an earthquake and a fire before he heard the Lord whisper to him. Being alert to the Lord’s whisper means active listening and we do that through prayer and reading his word and spending time worshipping him.

image So what did Jesus mean when he said that those of us who believe in him will flow with “streams of living water”?

When Jesus speaks of this living water, he is not only talking of the new life it will bring for us, he is urging us to discover how we can allow this miraculous water to flow from us to bring life to others.

God graciously refreshes and restores Elijah, but the renewed prophet is immediately called back to action as God’s servant (1 Kings 19:15). This is true for us as well; the life giving streams that change the desert surrounding us are to be used for God’s glory in doing the same for others so that his Spirit will dispel all that is barren in his children’s lives.

“Till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.” (Isaiah 32:15)

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