Friday, February 17, 2017

Let It Flow

... but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)

Let It Flow
Picture a large meadow of yellow flowers bowing to a gentle breeze. This golden pond of beauty is densely populated on the outer edges by trees that stand stoic throughout the course of time. The summer sun hangs lazily alone in the afternoon sky against a canvass of aqua blue. The air is punctuated periodically by God’s curious creatures that fly about on cue — assuring the casual observer that life is more than worrying about the next event.

But that’s not all.

The sound of a rushing river nearby captures the essence of energy as it follows its familiar path toward the open sea. All marvel at its ability to remain constant. Nothing stops its flow. Its strength is undeniable. Its will, undeterred. The river beckons those who are thirsty to partake of its power to quench. For the filthy, it calls them to bathe in its capacity to cleanse. For everyone who seeks healing, it invites them to take a leap of faith and jump in. Robert Valleau

Father, thanks for being the ever-present river of life in our lives. May your rich presence flow from us so that others may see your mercy and grace. May those who feel discouraged or depressed find supernatural strength in your heavenly reservoir of love.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Let Brotherly Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them — those who are mistreated — since you yourselves are in the body also. (Hebrews 13:1-3 NKJ)

The book of Hebrews was mainly about the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Old Testament prophets and religious systems. In concluding his message, the writer of the book admonished his audience to let brotherly love continue. The Greek word (filadelfia) translated "brotherly love" in most English translations of the Bible can mean mutual love of brothers (and sisters) or "love for one's fellow believer, affection for a fellow believer." It is in contrast with another Greek word (agapee) also translated "love" which is the unconditional and unparallel love that God has for the mankind. The implication of the admonition was that brotherly love already existed among the Hebrews that the book was addressed to. So, it must continue and the continuation should have no end. The writer of the book went ahead to give two explanations on how to demonstrate brotherly love (Hebrews 13:2-3). One, by entertaining strangers: he inferred to Abraham who unknowingly entertained angels (see Genesis 19). Two, by caring for the less privileged: Jesus Christ alluded to this in one of His parables (see Matthew 25:34-46). There are other ways of making brotherly love continue among us.

It is evident from these two ways of demonstrating brotherly love that the "brother" that one is to love may not necessarily be a sibling or a fellow believer (as a commentator put it) or somebody of common interest, but anyone that one can help at a given time. The Samaritan in the popular parable of the Good Samaritan has been a classic example of demonstration of brotherly love (see Luke 10:25-37).

Many people would say that they love God, and they are ready to do anything for Him. However, do they love their fellow "brother"? Such people are hypocrites! Apostle John said, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20 NIV).

A very important reason why one should let brotherly love continue is that one may on one occasion or the other be at the receiving end of such love. The "strange" stranger who leads the love or care may be YOU!

Do you have brotherly love? Be ready to demonstrate it to anyone that comes your way. Let brotherly love continue! Bayo Afolaranmi

Friday, January 27, 2017

Learning to Lean

Learning to Lean
Are you left alone to face the music? Have others deserted you, forcing you to stand on your own? It hurts deeply to feel like you have been abandoned, thoughtlessly cast aside. It cuts deep, possibly leaving lifetime scars. If not dealt with hurt often turns to bitterness and anger.

Even the apostle Paul dealt with the hardship of desertion. He did not rely on others, their faithfulness or approval. “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion,” (2 Timothy 4:16-17 NKJ)

Paul’s security and support came directly from the Lord. Jesus fully understood Paul’s feelings, when finding those trusted turning away, when most needed. “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled” (Matthew 26: 56b NKJ). Lean on Jesus. It is a sign of true strength to admit our weakness and lean on the Rock! PamFord Davis

Friday, January 20, 2017

Learn to Know His Voice

... and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name ... and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4 NIV)

Learn to Know His Voice
How do we learn to 'know his voice'?

First we expect God has something to say to us. As parents we always have something to say to our children and the same is true of God. Often it may simply be the assurance of his love and care.

Not only is expectation necessary, but also a desire to hear from God. Jesus often said, 'whoever has ears, let them hear'. This phrase speaks of deliberately tuning in to what God is saying.

Sometimes I find myself reading the Bible, yet my mind is elsewhere. Even in church I can be singing and yet my mind is far away. Lately I have been challenged to pay attention and focus on God. It's not always easy. I may not want to listen to God for fear of what he might say. Yet I know, and remind myself, there is no need to fear him who loves me perfectly.

God speaks in many ways. Through reading the Bible, praying and other spiritual disciplines we prepare ourselves to listen. Sometimes words will grab our attention in a way they haven't done before, or an impression or a desire comes to us after prayer, or maybe an idea drops into our mind that we know is not our own, but is it from God?

It takes preparation and practice to 'know his voice' but it will happen as we make the effort to listen. Susan Barnes

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lean Not to Your Own Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)

Lean Not to Your Own Understanding
We are born with an amazing ability to be deceived. Most of us adults remember our times of adolescence when we thought we knew everything. We didn't want to listen to our parents who had "been there and done that." They warned us about the consequences that would follow our actions, but we dismissed them as being old-fashioned and not understanding. Oftentimes, however, their words turned out to be prophetic.

As we have gotten older things have not changed much. I continue to be amazed at the con games grownups fall for. However far-fetched a scheme someone comes up with, it seems as though there are always many takers to be taken. Sometimes, the victim will appear on a news program such as 60 Minutes and tell his or her unbelievable story, and what really surprises me is that the person appears to be rather intelligent. You wonder, how could this have happened? One thing for sure, the victim didn't go looking to be deceived. What seemed so right turned out to be so wrong.

Christians are no exception. For example, some are taken by pyramid schemes, others are taken to the cleaners by insincere televangelists, and the statistics regarding our divorce rate suggest that many Christians make bad choices in selecting a mate for marriage.

Making the right choices in life is hard because people are seldom what they appear to be, neither are things in life as they often appear. These truths coupled with our innate ability to be deceived make for bad decision-making in life.

That's why we need God's help in making the right choices. We can only see people's outward appearance, but He sees their heart. And as for life, only He perfectly understands its complexities. The Bible is filled with the wisdom of His counsel. Our diligent study of the Scriptures enables us to tap into this wisdom for guidance. Also, as we pray in faith, He will direct our paths. Frank King

Dear Lord, thank You for the wisdom in Your word. You inspired holy men to write the Bible that we might have direction for life. Help me to acknowledge You in all my ways. Amen.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Lay Your Burdens Down

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

Lay Your Burdens Down
The burdens of life can drag us down. They can snuff out the excitement and energy we once had for living. When we try to carry our own burdens, we can feel suffocated, hopeless and alone. So, what is the remedy for our burdened souls?

Jesus tells us to take upon his yoke and learn from him. His yoke is a life of submission and obedience of love. As we submit ourselves unto him, and stand in the presence of his great love, our cares become small and our concerns insignificant. Bob Valleau

Jesus, help us to realize we don’t have to carry our burdens by ourselves. May your gentleness and humble heart lead us into a supernatural rest for each burden we lay at your feet.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blessed New Year 2017

Have a Blessed Year!

Happy New Year

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NAS)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Learning from Victories of the Past

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1 NAS)

Learning from Victories of the Past
Looking back as a way to learn from the past and to move forward into the future is not a bad thing. However, looking back and remaining in or reliving the past leaves us stuck and paralyzed.

God’s desire is for us to grow and mature. He provides a “host of witnesses” to encourage us as we strive for excellence in our daily living. They have gone before us, set the path and are the shoulders upon which we all now stand. Take time to learn the qualities, characteristics, and strategies of Biblical and other leaders. What obstacles did they face? How did they achieve success? What can you learn from their stories? How will you apply it to the story of your own life? Tracie Morrison

God you have left us a legacy of greatness. We thank you that their stories live on to encourage us as we run our race each day. When we start to slow down or come to a complete stop, or want to turn back, give us strength. Help us to let go of anything that is holding us back. We declare that we are moving forward – we are pressing toward the mark — we are keeping our eyes on you! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blessed Christmas 2016

Living Water wishes you a Blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Learning Contentment from a Tree

Learning Contentment from a Tree
I have to say that I greatly marvel at the wonder of God we call a tree. There are countless insights wonderful in the design and function of these plants we see every day. But in our busy and mired modern lives there is a particular insight that has brought great blessing to me. The Creator gave this same profound message to the shepherd David. He wrote this inspired insight about those engaged to godly living in the first Psalm.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. (Psalm 1:3 NLT)

Trees do not have feet, they have roots. So while a quality gardener can uproot a tree and relocate it, the process is traumatic. The first seasons after the transplant see a significant reduction in the fruitfulness of the tree. It takes a couple of seasons for the roots to expand so that they can absorb the nutrients needed to support a fruitful harvest. So trees that live long and fruitful lives have two things in common: they are planted in a good location and they stay there for a long while. In a word trees are content. They spend their entire lives without ever knowing what is around the corner. They see the deer run past, feel the wind blow through, and only improve their view by increasing the height and breadth of their present makeup.

People do not have roots, they have feet. In spite of this fact, past generations tended to be more like trees than we are today. In those days families in transition were described as settlers. They usually only moved around when something traumatic forced them to do so. As soon as they found a suitable place they settled with the intent of never moving again. Modern people have forgotten that a happy and fulfilling life is grown not found. We are too busy climbing the ladder, moving on to better opportunities, and broadening our horizon to let our roots expand and find the nutrients in the soil where we are.

So what is God teaching us with the trees we see every day? Uprooting our lives is sometimes necessary but always traumatic. A fruitful and fulfilling existence is not found elsewhere but by growing deeper where we are planted. If God has placed you where you are, then find faithful contentment there. God always plants his children along the river where we can find what we need to grow tall and strong. If your life is not a fruitful one then you have one of two problems: either you are not planted along the river or you are not allowing your roots to dig into the soil where God has planted you. Jeremy Higle


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