Water… I Need Water

The other day, I must have been dehydrated. Knowing me, I probably drank way too much coffee, and ignored my water intake. Can you relate? By the end of the day, after working all day, chugging as much coffee as I could into my body, and then working out at the gym after work. I. was. Parched.

As I left the gym, I stood at the drinking fountain slurping as much water as I could, and when I got home, I guzzled more.

I was thirsty.

When you get to a point of being dehydrated, the urge to quench that thirst is overwhelming isn’t it? When we get dehydrated our thoughts gets fuzzy, our organs don’t work properly, our skin and hair get dry, our joints get achy because they need lubrication to move properly, and the list goes on.

We. Need. Water!

God created us to be thirsty – for Him. Have you ever experienced “spiritual dehydration?” I sure have. It’s not pretty. So, what are the signs of spiritual dehydration?

  • A short temper.
  • Worry and fear.
  • Guilt and shame.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Resentment and anger.
  • Insecurity.

Anyone? Anyone? My hand is up high! And I have to ask myself: why do I let myself become so spiritually dehydrated? It happens far too often I’m afraid.

John 7:37-38 says: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to ME and drink. He who believes in ME, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Are you thirsty for Jesus? Are you looking to Him to quench that thirst for your souls first? OR, are you looking to other people and things in this world to quench that thirst?

I think it can be so easy to look to our spouse, a friend, or a material possession to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Yes, God has placed special people in our lives who encourage, and build us up. But, the issue with seeking out our earthly support system before God, is that we are human. We are not perfect. We will fail each other, and disappoint each other. We may even give poor advice or direction out of our own humanness.

When my husband and I were in Canada a couple weeks ago, we got to see some beautiful, amazing waterfalls. The water and energy flowing down the mountains was truly awesome. When thousands of gallons of water are rushing down from the top of a mountain – nothing and no one is going to stop it going to where it wants to go! Yes?!

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Just like that rushing water, the Spirit of God within us is unstoppable.

But there is something that must be in place for that to happen.

To allow His Spirit to move in and through us, we must give it permission to move. We must give His Spirit access to our hearts, souls and minds. One word that comes to mind when I think of that is: SURRENDER. We need to be willing to surrender our will to Him with both hands up in the air saying, “I can’t do this in my own strength. I need you, Jesus.”

Being willing to surrender our own will, to the will of the Father means setting aside our wants and desires.

Easier said than done, right? I’m selfish! I want to hang on to my ‘stuff’ (my material possessions, my people, my money, my time). It’s hard to completely surrender to God every part of me. It can make us feel vulnerable, or exposed. Yet; we also believe that our security is found only in Him. But as human beings, that is such a hard concept to LIVE day to day!

Picture the ‘flow of living water’ in the verses above. When we are filled with the living water of Christ, it spreads out. Water goes where it wants to go. It seeps into the crevices, and if there’s no space, it’ll find a new route and space to fill.

So it is with Christ in us – through His spirit He has no boundaries.

The question is: will we let Him?

If you feel spiritually dehydrated, if your soul is crying out and parched. Only Jesus can fill that void, and quench your thirst. His living water will satisfy in a way our world and the people in our lives cannot.

Seek living water today, friends! We CAN do it!!! God bless you!

~Allison 

His Covenant of Peace

I’ve quit watching the news. I don’t miss it, frankly. My husband and I used to watch the 6am news together in the morning’s while drinking our coffee and waking up to the day. But, it’s been several months now that we decided to just shut it off. It probably coincides with election season. Enough said.
 
Although it’s important to be informed, and aware of what’s going on around us, I found that being filled with the news first thing in the morningt robbed me of peace. The news is so often unsettling, negative, and disturbing. I do believe it is vitally important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to use that knowledge to PRAY.
So I do get my news, I just don’t start my day with it.
 
But, having said that, we have made the choice to start our day more peacefully. Have you noticed it doesn’t take much to drain our souls of peace? Some of us start our day off running the moment our feet hit the floor. And some, like me prefer to start out slowly with a half pot of coffee, and quiet music.
 
Once we move on with our day and go about our work at home, or away from home – little by little we deplete ourselves. We give to our kids and spouses, we give to our jobs, we give to our co-workers and friends.
 
Giving is all good. But if we give without taking the time to receive – we will find ourselves depleted and empty. Running on ‘fumes.’
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well (at all) feeling depleted. When my reserves run low, everything, and everyone suffers for it.
 
But here’s a beautiful promise from the book of Isaiah 54:10 –
Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
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Ahhh… take a moment… breathe in the promises of that verse. Let it soak in. Memorize it. Write it down on a sticky note. Highlight it. Circle the words that stand out to you. ❤
 
Though our lives or our world around us be shaken, His unfailing love CANNOT be. His promise of peace CANNOT be removed from us. When we put our full faith and trust -confidence and hope in the person of Jesus, we are unable to be robbed of the peace that only comes from Him. The world around us may offer a temporary peace or sense of well being – but it is so often fleeting and completely dependent on circumstances. But the peace of God that transcends all human understanding is eternal. It lasts and cannot be removed.
 
Claim it today. Own it. Trust in it. CLING to it. I know I have had to tighten my grip on MANY occasions in my life and struggles. But even in the darkest of days, I never doubted His love. I may have held Him at arms length at times, but I always knew to the deepest of my core that He loved me.
 
Do you ever feel robbed or depleted of peace? By looking honestly at where or from whom we seek peace, we may find that we are seeking in the wrong places. It’s ok – we can change course so easily. I have had to switch course many times… Our God is so very patient with us, isn’t He?
 
Today, I am wishing each one of us peace and the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting, unfailing love that will not, and cannot be shaken.
 
Blessing’s on your day, friends!
 
Allison

Count to 10

1 Corinthians 13:5… love is not become easily angered

As a child I bet we all learned to “count to 10” before we respond to something or someone who wronged us. Back then, I probably rolled my eyes a few times when being reminded to count to 10. But oh how wise is the wisdom of that skill! It’s just enough time to catch your breath, think twice, and make a better choice… If only we always chose well!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve delved into the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians. Breaking down these verses of scripture has opened my eyes to so many areas of my heart that I need to surrender to God.

Love isn’t easily angered. In other versions of this verse it says love is not: “touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offence, doesn’t fly off the handle.”

In other words: Love counts to 10.

So much easier said than done, right?

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful. The issue with anger is that it so often leads to sin. God allows us to feel and express emotions. The emotion of anger can lead us down the long, dark road of regret. Have you traveled that road? I know I have.

anger can lead us down the road of regret.Add heading

My husband is so very good at the skill of counting to 10. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I just love how God pairs us with our exact opposites! Where I am up and down, he is steady and focused. There have been times where he has literally taken my phone away so I don’t respond to someone in a moment of high emotion. He is self-controlled, and wise. I love that about him. ❤

As I reflect on moments of anger in my past, I see things that accompany almost every encounter with anger. For me, they are: hurt and rejection. Anger has been a defense mechanism that God has been steadily chipping away at my heart for some time. Our God is the Great Healer of all our hurts and whatever ills us –  He is able to soften us, and change us from the inside out!

Jehovah Rapha

I’ve learned that my feelings of rejection have probably come due to my being adopted. The pattern of hurt and anger in my life has been partially due to my fear of rejection from people in my life. Being ultra sensitive to rejection has led me to make some very poor choices that I’ve regretted greatly.

My “Fight or Flight” response is very sstrong. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt rejected, or feared that rejection was coming. I could feel it in the air. My reaction many times was to sabotage the relationship or friendship and  be the one to leave (flight response) first.

I used anger as a way to flee rejection in so many relationships.

Responding this way led to loneliness, despair, guilt, and so much more.

If you fear rejection,  instead of running away – run TO Him. He will never reject you!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

Maybe you respond with anger for different reasons as me. But regardless of how we get to the point of anger, God does not want us to dwell there. When life doesn’t go our way, or we feel rejected or hurt, He begs us to respond in LOVE.  Anger divides, but love unites.

As much as I’d love to control what others do, and how they treat me, I can’t. None of us can. But, what we can control is how we respond. By allowing God to take control of our attitude, our emotions, and our reactions to whatever life throws at us.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galations 5:25

We allow God to move in our lives by:

  • Grounding ourselves in His Word
  • Living a lifestyle of prayer
  • By surrounding ourselves with Godly people who will hold us accountable, and encouraging us to dwell with Him.

His Holy Spirit is ever present and powerful IF we allow it to be. When His Spirit moves within us, there’s no denying it. When His Spirit moves and stirs us to love – when we may not feel like it – we need to then take a big step of obedience, and act upon His leading.

With God’s help, we can overcome anger with love. Jesus calls us to bring our anger, our hurts, and our fears to the cross.

Climb that hill, kneel before the cross of Christ, and lay your burden down.

When you feel rejected, know that He accepts you. Just as you are. But, He doesn’t want you to stay that way! He longs to change each one of us from the inside out.

-To The Cross-Where can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there my shameYou have washed awayWhere can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there You gaveUp Your life for meYou gave Yo

In Him we have no fear of rejection.

Run, don’t walk to Him. His love is enough. Through Him we have the opportunity to live in freedom, and joy, wihtout regret.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison

Knock Before Entering

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not rude.

In his book “A Love Worth Giving” Max Lucado writes,

“Jesus always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But He doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” {Revelations 3:20}. And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Let’s just sit on that for a bit… Our Savior Jesus, is no steam roller! He certainly could come rushing in, but he doesn’t. He quietly, gently knocks and awaits our answer. He knows that we are much more willing to answer the door when it’s a gentle tap, rather than a loud and forceful pound.

The Greek word for rude means: shameful or disgraceful behavior. I don’t know about you, but those two words are not words I’d like to be referred to as. Shameful. Disgraceful. They are powerfully descriptive words aren’t they? Sometime throughout our lifetime, I bet we’ve all used either of those 2 words. What memories are conjured up when you read them? Probably not very pleasant ones.

Years ago, when I was preparing for an over-seas mission trip, part of my training involved cultural sensitivity training. As visitors to a foreign country, we were essentially going to be ambassadors for the United States, and as missionaries, we were also ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ. The lessons I learned in that training have stayed with me throughout my life, and have helped me in many ways. Having cultural sensitivity is an asset when traveling in a foreign country, but it also applies right here in my every day life.

Recently, I was having major technology and computer software issues at my business. I was beyond frustrated, and frazzled. I had spent hours and hours on the phone with tech support, on hold, and being transferred multiple times from tech to tech, and department to department. To say I was at my wits end was an understatement.

Only by the grace of God was I able to stay calm. But, let me tell you, when I made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, and friendly, the level of customer service went up, and up, and UP. Being kind is so worth it! I not only got help with my computer problems, but I was even able to share my faith with a tech support woman in the Philippines!

God opens doors when we are open and willing.  Because I was kind, and respectful, this gal who was patiently helping me was willing to listen to me share my faith in Jesus. It was brief, but she was open.

My kindness in that instance didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated with my situation. I was definitely frustrated. But by not allowing myself to take out that frustration on someone else, it provided me with an opportunity to allow the light of Jesus to shine, and encourage her that day. Only God will ever know how that brief conversation impacted her life. But I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity. It taught me a very important lesson on how to treat people. Even strangers I will never meet in person, or see.

Being kind is so much better than being rude. Rudeness is not how we should represent ourselves, or our faith in a loving God.

We are ambassadorsfor Christ!

As Christians, we have the added responsibility and privilege of representing Jesus to others, rudeness cuts off any form of witness we could possibly hope to have. If we treat someone rudely and then expect them to be open to what we have to share about Jesus with them, the only thing that person will absorb is the fact that we are a hypocrite. I don’t know about you – but that word is not something I want attached to my name.

God calls us to a much higher standard than that.

Colossians 4:5-6 says: Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”

When we are kind, walls and barriers are torn down, and hearts are softened.  Kindness puts the other person as a priority over ourselves. Isn’t that just what God asks us to do? To humble ourselves before Him, and others, so that we can serve with pure motives and a joyful heart?

There aren’t many things in this life that we can control. But one thing we can is our attitude. Maybe we’re not perfect at it all of the time. But overall; we have control over how we treat others in our lives. Strangers or friends alike.

Romans 12:8 says: Do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Let’s just commit to doing our very best. Let’s be willing to allow God’s BEST to flow in and through our lives. He’s standing at the door of our hearts gently knocking.

What will your answer be?

Daily His,

Allison

 

Vengeance is Mine says the Lord

Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Vengeance is a strong word. It’s not one of those pretty, flowery words that just flow off our tongue. It’s not an enjoyable word to say. It’s hard, harsh and angry sounding.

Vengeance comes from the depths of pain and anger. It’s the urge to get even. When we’ve been hurt, vengeance rears its ugly head in the form of wanting to give back the pain that someone gave you.

Here’s the problem with that. It doesn’t work. The end result that you hoped and longed for in taking revenge on someone for something they did for you only turns into more pain for yourself. It never results in feeling good or satisfied.

Yesterday I shared about how forgiveness is scandalous. It’s unfair. It doesn’t make any logical sense. It’s so hard, in our humanness to reconcile the hurt someone caused to us with the call to forgiveness and pardon.

Gandhi said, “If we followed the ‘eye for an eye’ principle eventually the whole world would go blind.” Oh how true is that? You see, none of us are immune to hurt. And the reverse is true, none of us are immune to being the one who hurts. We can thank our own sinful nature for that one.

There is only ONE perfect person who walked this earth, and there will never be another one. His name is Jesus.

Look at how He responded to hurt? He sacrificed His life for the sins of every single one of us for all time. Once and for all. As he was dying on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He wasn’t only referring to the soldiers who were crucifying Him. He was referring to ALL of us. He was proclaiming there, on the cross, the forgiveness of our sins. Yours, and mine. 

I’m a big World War II buff. I have watched a lot of movies, documentaries, and have read countless holocaust books. My husband doesn’t quite understand my interest, because it’s so very, very sad and disturbing. Sometimes I even ask myself “why?” am I so interested in such a dark part of history.

When I think of forgiveness, I can’t help but think about the story of Eva Kor {read about her here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/12111155/Why-I-forgive-the-Nazis-who-murdered-my-family.html}. She was a concentration camp survivor, and she and her twin sister were used as medical “guinea pigs” by the famous Dr. Josef Mengele. She found it in her heart to forgive. Her public forgiveness has brought criticism from other concentration camp survivors to which she responds, ““Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting?” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don’t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept lashing out in anger rather than embracing friendship and humanity.”

“Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting-” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don_t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept la

She gets it.

She’s GOT it.

None of us can quite grasp the amount of pain, trauma, and brutality the Jewish survivors experienced. It puts our trivial quarrels and issues with each other quite in perspective doesn’t it?

When we forgive, we also must remember that we are not excusing the behavior. We could never condone or excuse persecution and murder such as the Jews endured. Not at all. But by forgiving, we free ourselves of the weight that the bondage of unforgiveness places on our shoulders.

Writer, Elizabeth O’Connor says, “To bless the people who have oppressed our spirits, emotionally deprived us, or in other ways handicapped us, is the most extraordinary work any of us will ever do.”

hiking

Does forgiveness matter today? Yes. Without forgiveness we are robbed of living in the freedom and joy that our Father God wants us to live in.

Take a good look at the world we live in. What if countries forgave each other? What if tribes forgave each other? What if world leaders forgave each other? What if church denominations forgave each other? What if friends forgave each other? What if husbands and wives forgave each other? What if children and parents forgave each other?

What IF?

We have the choice.

Every day.

To forgive, or to hold on to unforgiveness in our hearts and miss out on what God has in store for us…

What is the reward? It’s a life lived free of regret, redeemed, and restored.

Forgiveness: remember – it’s “scandalous.”

Let us prayerfully choose well.

Daily His,

Ally