“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25 ESV
I stumbled across this verse as I was doing some morning reading, trying to get it in before the house awoke pulling me to all my “duties” for the day.
This verse stuck with me and has for weeks now.
Water for Water…
Throughout scripture, Christ himself is referred to as “living water” – the one thing our frail human bodies need so desperately. And the promise here is utterly special if you stop to think about it.
As I water – He promises to water me back.
>> I make time to phone a friend who is struggling :: He waters me.
>> I extend grace and forgiveness to someone who has hurt me :: He waters me.
>> I follow His voice and step out of my comfort zone :: He waters me.
>> I serve my community by being on the front lines :: He waters me.
>> I make time to play with my kids :: He waters me.
>> I walk with a friend who is mourning :: He waters me.
I could go on and on!
Here is the truth. The God of all, who owes me nothing, desires to keep me nourished and whole as I serve Him. His goal for us is not to just survive, it’s to thrive in His special care. And that, my friends, is a brilliant promise worth holding onto today.
As a young girl, I loved those days with my Grandmother when we would set the table for Thanksgiving dinner — the white tablecloths, the pretty dishes, all the little forks to use for cheese, and the beautiful bowls that would hold all kinds of salads. By the end, it was a beautiful display and brought so much joy to the family dinner!
It got me thinking about the spread Jesus creates for us each and every day. In Psalms 23:5 it says, “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” I can be in the most difficult circumstances, and in the midst of that, Jesus is moving and bringing forth his beauty!
There’s nothing more enjoyable to me than preparing an atmosphere. I love my home to be a peaceful place; always with candles going and warm lighting. Now, with three teenagers, it’s not always peaceful of course, but I try my best to create the atmosphere and make it feel inviting. My kids make fun of me because I prefer to use real dishes, even when we bring home take out food. I love for it all to look nice and create a warm mood.
How much more do you think that God loves to prepare the atmosphere for us, his family; we are coheirs with Christ! And Jesus states in John 14:2, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” We have an awesome hope of eternity to come, but friends, I want you to be reminded of something today…
You are secure in this life, right now. Your place is with Christ because you have a seat at the table with Jesus every day!
Ephesians 2: 6 says, For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
That means that right now, in this moment, I am seated next to Christ in the heavenly perspective of “complete acceptance, complete joy, complete victory.” Because ultimately, it’s Jesus who serves the food! He said I am the bread of life, the living water and you don’t lack anything in my Name! Come and experience the table with Jesus.
Please know deep in your heart today, no matter what is going on, you are sitting next to Jesus!
He’s called you, stabilized you, and will sustain you just like 1 Peter 5:10 states, “In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.”
Amen! I believe it!
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What a summer! My family and I have found new normals these last few months. However, I personally felt lost for a bit. With so many restrictions, friends and family dealing with sickness, and the lack of community; my heart was feeling an ache. Some days I would feel suffocated with the weight and chaos of the world.
Has anyone else felt like this?
Let me share two easy practices that helped me cope with all of this:
The first was a consistent time every morning in the word and prayer. Those quiet times are my time to pour out my pain and troubles to the Lord. He lifts the weight of this world off my shoulders while drawing me near to Him. John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have OVERCOME the world”. The word of God became my peace and comfort. Those quiet times and sitting with the Lord in his presence is where I found peace inside of me.
“Peace I leave with you; my PEACE I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
The second practice I applied was getting some kind of daily physical activity. I go for walks or take bike rides around my neighborhood. During those times, I usually play worship music or listen to a podcast; and several times I have felt God so near that I would stop to BREATHE in His presence. I found God in my daily exercise too!
See, He is always around us. When the enemy tells you that you are alone and defeated, you can find comfort in His truth. Whatever season you are in you can breathe in God’s peace. Whether you are in the valley, desert, or mountain top – you can find Him if you draw near.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” Genesis 2:7.
What does this look like for you? Are you holding your breath? Or maybe you are breathing in the wrong air?
Here is a song that has been on repeat for me this summer. It reminds me that when I begin to feel suffering, worry, or chaos; I can take a moment to breathe in His presence.
Let Him breathe His breath of life over you today.
John 16:32-33, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 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.” God becomes our BREATH OF LIFE and PEACE.
“Breathe” by Anna Golden
I found peace in the river
I found peace by quiet streams
I found peace on the mountain
I found peace in fields of green
I found peace in the desert
I found peace in raging waves
I found peace in the valley
I found peace in what You said
I can finally breathe again
I can finally breathe again
I found peace in the chaos
I found peace in suffering
I found peace in confusion
I found peace inside of me
I can finally breathe again
I can finally breathe again
I found You in the river
I found You in suffering
I found You on the mountain
You were always around me
Before – Behind – Above – Under – Beside – In
You are surrounded by God!
For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
From the ends of the earth, I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 139: 7-12
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 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. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I love the story of Gideon. As I read it again, I am so encouraged at how God opens my eyes to new things and reveals what He wants to say to me, right now. Today’s reading of God’s Word made me evaluate my walk with God.
I’d love to give you a little backstory. Gideon was a Judge chosen by God. I think it’s so beautiful to see how God met Gideon right where he was at! At that time, Israel was doing evil things before God, and the Lord handed them to their enemies. Many Israelites would hide in caves or in the mountains when the enemy would come and destroy their crops, until they had nothing left. But then Israel cried out to God… I love this because when we realize we can’t do it… GOD CAN!
When they cried out to God, the Lord sent a prophet and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
God then revealed himself to Gideon. God’s faithfulness and love is far greater and goes beyond anything we can ever imagine! When we think it’s over, God is working behind the scenes until all things work out for our good. You see, God always has a way out for us! He does not leave us where He finds us. When we cry out and surrender, He hears and He answers. He is the lifter of our heads.
The Lord said to Gideon, ”Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” God doesn’t see what we see. No, He sees you as you WILL be, not just who you are right now. During their conversation, Gideon said “Pardon me, my Lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” And the Lord said, “I will be with you!”
I see so much of myself in Gideon’s insecurity.
Have you ever questioned God when He asks you to do something? Sometimes our initial response is “Wait…me? No, you got the wrong person, I can’t do that.” –Instead of responding, “Yes, Lord!” As I read, it made me aware that all He wants from us is our willingness and obedience. He wants you to trust Him, regardless of where He is leading you. Do not worry, just follow!
Gideon asked for several signs, and God answered and revealed himself with each request. At any point, God could have said, “Really, again?” But no, God answered each time! God sees it all, and if He sees an obedient heart, He will continue to pursue you and prove He is who He says He is. I’m guilty of being partially obedient because of my lack of trust. He wants you to say “yes” wholeheartedly and trust His leading.
What is God asking of you? What are the doubts and insecurities that are keeping you from doing everything He is asking of you? If you take the steps of faith and are obedient, God will establish you and give you a future that you never could have imagined. God rewards those who diligently seek Him! I challenge you to seek Him and do everything He is placing in your heart!
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11 ESV
This verse has been rolling around my head since our Women’s Bible Study last fall. Especially the part about, “the word of their testimony.” Every Christian has a story, (1 John 5:10) because every Christian has been saved from something. But what if we’re not just meant to be saved from something. What if we’re actually meant to be saved for something? And what if that starts by simply sharing what God has and is doing in our lives?
Honestly, that’s as far as I got for several months. If you’re like me, when you hear something about telling your story you think that means sharing a polished story from a platform with a large audience. We have all experienced the transformative power of that type of storytelling! I’ve come to realize that sharing experiences from our lives is more than a one-time encounter. It goes far beyond one story to one audience as God uses our story to affect those who are listening. Telling our story starts with a grateful awareness of God’s work in our lives and routinely sharing that work with the people around us as we go.
I also realize there are a lot of hang-ups when it comes to sharing. We are all sinful people. Therefore, we have been hurt by sinful people and, as sinful people, we have done hurtful things. This can make God’s work in us messy and sometimes hard to share. Let’s look at the last part of Revelation 12:11, “for they loved not their lives even unto death”, which is another way to say they chose to set their pride, fear, and comfort aside to be used by God.
Friends, don’t let your past keep you from boldly proclaiming God’s goodness in the present! 1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known His deeds among the peoples.” Share what you can, when you can and, as you do, God will grow this spiritual muscle in you. When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim his message, he told them not to worry about what to say or how to say it and reminded them that God would speak through them (Matthew 10:19-20).
I’m proposing this thought to you today as a fellow struggler, but also as encouragement. Whether your story is polished or raw, your audience is 1 or 1,000, I want to encourage you to train your mind to focus on God’s continual faithfulness. Practice keeping His faithfulness on your lips day and night, ’til Kingdom come.
1. Pray: Ask God to help you tell your story for His glory (Matthew 5:16).
2. Write it Down: write down 3 things God has/is doing in your life THIS week.
3. Share: reach out to a friend, family member, neighbor, etc. and talk to them.
4. Repeat this process as often as possible!