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Oasis of Living Water
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” Matthew 11:28 TPT
Oasis: a fertile spot in a desert where water is found.
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV
Point to ponder while you wander: You dry? Parched? In need of refreshing?
Living water Jesus is. -Yoda
I’ve been struggling with emotional exhaustion and my fuse is the shortest it’s been since before I first started the healing process with Jesus 12ish years ago.
I don’t like it when I’m short tempered and negative. I hate it when I start bashing anyone and everyone who annoys me in any capacity. So I need this reminder today….
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander…it is so easy to take out our hurt, frustration, and fear on other people, especially our immediate family or those we live with. But there’s a better way.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I need this rest today, and I pray you and I both find it.
Some times in the middle of the biggest storms you have the deepest peace. That’s the peace Jesus left with us when He ascended, the kind that allows you to sleep in the boat during a hurricane.
“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27 NLT
To me the biggest miracle wasn’t Jesus calming the storm, it was Jesus being able to rest in the middle of the storm.
Point to ponder while you wander…”Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
I know few people who really get the work-rest balance. I know I struggle with it at times. I either work until I drop or tune out and be completely and utterly lazy. But that is not the example God provides, nor the example Jesus provides.
We are made in the image of Elohim, the Great God of Creation. He is imagination and creativity. Genesis 1 and 2 are the example Elohim gave us. God said, then He saw, and then He said it was good. He finished what He started. Then He rested. God understands the importance of rest. Not laziness. Not work avoidance. But true rest.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3 NKJV
Jesus also understood the work-rest balance, even in the midst of people continually hounding Him. His example can be found in Luke 9:10-18. Jesus had taken the disciples to a place of solitude to rest after all that they had been doing. But the crowds found him. Jesus had compassion on the crowds, and fed the five thousand + people both spiritually and physically. This means He did not blow up at the people who needed Him, or were seeking Him out. He tended to them, and then went off alone to recharge. In verse 18, we find that Jesus has left the crowds again.
“And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him…”
Jesus understood that He had to be recharged by time with the Father. It was the only way He would be able to have anything to give His disciples and the people that they were ministering to. Jesus took time to Himself to spend with God, even though He was continually sought out. This tells me that, like Jesus, we NEED time to recharge in order to be at our best.
Jesus is both our example and our Shepherd. Psalm 23 tells us that our Shepherd leads us to peace and rest, even when times are hardest.
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
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.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
The point is that God blesses the work of our hands and He also blesses a day of rest. Balance helps you stay healthy and strong. It makes you better at work and better with people.
Happy Labor Day!
Gift of Peace
“My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
Jesus’s peace does not mean having zero issues! His peace is a trust that allows you to rest, knowing God is for you even when there are issues. This peace is a gift. Like all other gifts, it only needs to be received and used.
Peace is a gift. Trust is a choice.
At work today our new leader (He’s been here about 3 weeks) held an all-hands meeting. He used this time to detail his expectations and priorities. He also discussed the issues that had been brought to his attention. He was very up front, and I respect that. He also said something that really stuck me about priorities. He said that the best way to check your priorities is to look at your calendar. How you spend your time reveals your priorities. No matter what you say, your calendar shows the reality.
It’s not what your words say; it’s what your calendar reveals that counts.
Many people say that their family is their priority, but they spend most of their non-work time sitting on the couch tuned into the television or on some sort of mobile device. Many people say God is a priority, but the only time they actually acknowledge His presence is at their church’s Sunday morning service. I could go on, but you get the point. I get that everyone’s busy, I am too. I’m not trying to criticize, as my calendar needs some scrubbing too.
My point is to sit down and think about your priorities. What and who matter the most to you? What are your long and short term goals? Now look at your calendar and think about how you spend your time. Your nights. Your weekends. Your vacation days. How are they used?
If your calendar does not reflect the people and things that really matter, then make some changes.
Say no to things that don’t line up with your priorities. This may mean you have to pass on some fun things or some good things even, but that’s okay. It is okay to say no. Your “no” to the extraneous things leaves room for you to say “yes” to the things that matter most. You don’t have to explain to people why, just say “no.”
Get out a calendar or use your smart phone calendar and mark off family days and time with God. Carve it out and keep it for its dedicated purpose. Block out some down time too, while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
I need a break
I am counting down to my upcoming vacation. I am sooo excited. I haven’t had a real vacation in quite some time, and I need it desperately right now.
There’s something about taking a break from life and unplugging now and again, it recharges and rejuvenates. For me it can be a spontaneous road trip to anywhere I can get lost in the beauty of the earth God created, a completely planned trip and itinerary or anything in between. No matter what I adore traveling. I love to explore new places. I enjoy sitting and watching the waves hit the beach at Lake Michigan. I enjoy walking around art museums and seeing the different architecture in historical towns. I enjoy taking a camera and capturing little details that other people may not bother to look for. Those things make me happy.
I’m sure I’m not alone. I would imagine everyone likes to go on vacation and just get away from everything for a bit. Get away from the stresses and pressures of work and family life. Get away from the general day to day grind. But what about those times when you need a break and you don’t have the vacation time or money or your situation will not allow you to have that break you need? What do you do then?
Personally I like to talk nice long walks, like 4-5 miles. It helps. When I’m really overwhelmed (when I don’t want to think) I will read or watch movies. I like to go live in someone else’s world for a few hours before coming back to deal with real life.
Jesus never took a vacation, had hobbies or anything like that. But what He did do was maintain a good balance with His time. 1. Ministry: Jesus talked to people, poured into people, prayed with and for people, healed them and etc. 2. Growing and teaching disciples: But He also took time to teach and grow His 12 disciples. 3. Friendships: He spent bonding and chilling out time with 3 of the 12 disciples. 4. Alone time and God time: Jesus went off alone to pray & spend time with Father God often. That is how He was able to do what He did. He was continually rejuvenated and refreshed by seeking God. Check out Matthew 14:13-23 to see Jesus’ priorities.
Matthew 14:13-14, Jesus heard that John the Baptist was killed and planned to take some time alone. But he was unable because the situation. So He took care of the immediate situation first, “As soon as Jesus heard the news, He left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where He was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
After taking care of the immediate situation, Jesus took the time He needed as soon as He was able. Matthew 22:23 says, “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”
This wasn’t a onetime thing, in Luke 5:16, it says Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. In His biggest trial, knowing He’d be crucified, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and seek the Father. Jesus knew that no matter what was going on, taking some alone time to pray and just enjoy God’s presence was essential.
When you have to deal with things you’d rather hide from or you need a break and a rest, seek God first. Here’s what I mean….
If you are a new parent with a tiny screaming baby, pray while you are giving them a bottle in the middle of the night. Praise Him for your baby’s healthy lungs and that you have a healthy child.
If you have a stressful situation at work, take a few minutes and go into the bathroom and pray. Or go for a walk around the building and pray. It’s amazing what even 10 minutes in the midst of a situation can do.
If you are at the hospital with a loved one, take a minute and go to the chapel or to sit on a bench outside and remind yourself that sickness isn’t from God, it is one of the curses from the enemy, along with lack, poverty and death. Speak life to the situation. Speak His word. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. Every single one.
If you are under attack from people, read Psalms out loud. Give the situation to God and remind yourself that the battle is His, and the victory is yours.
These are just some little things you can do to seek God no matter where you are or what’s going on. God is always with you. He’s everywhere so it is physically impossible for Him to leave you. The word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us. All you need to do is acknowledge His presence (even just speak His name) and He turns His attention to you.
I’ve found that these seemingly small things keep me focused on God and prevent my attitude from spiraling downward. It helps me get from day to day in the rough patches and deal with the people in my world that aren’t exactly pleasant.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Thessalonians 5:16-18
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6