The Source of More

This season, there’s a stirring in my heart about that word–More. The world says, “You need to be better. You need to do more.” But what does God say? Where does God’s “More” come from? If you are feeling pushed around by a fast-paced life or believing the lie of the enemy, please take time to read this message. I am so blessed to share this beautiful post from my dear friend and pastor’s wife, Angela Grider. I pray it blesses your heart and gives you encouragement today to let Jesus fill up your well.

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I want to love more,do more and give more;

I want to love more, do more and give more, but eventually I run dry.

In today’s key verse (John 7:38), Jesus says, “The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”

When I read this, I sometimes wonder if I’m missing something. I believe in Jesus, but my life sure doesn’t seem to yield these streams of living water all the time.
Could this really be a statement of fact? Surely these streams of living water that flow from deep within are reserved for only a few people. People in a much slower season of life.

But that’s not what Jesus says. He says the only prerequisite to streams of living water flowing deep from within is to believe in Him. If we believe in Jesus, yet still feel like a cup tipped over, maybe we just need to unclog our stream.

As the holiday season knocks on the door, to-do lists grow and threaten to tip the cup of our souls on its side. To keep our souls from running dry, we have to frequent the Source of our streams regularly.

In the hustle and bustle it can be hard to find these soul stops, so I want to share three things I’ve found that help keep my soul steady.

Look for short stops.

One way I keep my focus on God and His plans even on the busiest days is to set aside 3-5 minutes throughout the day to literally drop to my knees and talk to God. It redirects my worry and keeps my thoughts on Him — even in the midst of chaos.

Pay attention.

As you set your soul on the mission to fill up and stay filled, ask God to get your attention. Look for Him at work in the simplest ways — a text from a friend at just the right time, a song in your heart, or a giggle with a young child that refreshes your spirit.

Set limits.

Pick a time your distractions begin, and tell them when they end. During those hours, do the phone thing and computer thing and every other thing that you pour your soul into, but when those hours tick to an end, shut it down. Determine to save time at the end of your day or beginning of your day (or better yet, both!) for nothing other than soul-filling time with your Savior.

Our souls rely on one Source: fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus. Any substitute may take us a few miles further on our journey, but it will not last and could even cause damage.

Dear Jesus, I believe Your words, and I want desperately for these streams of living water to flow from deep within me into the world around me. Give me a soul that thirsts for You. And as I fill up with Your living water, let me be a source of refreshment for others who need it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 42:1, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” 
John 4:14, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

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Finding Grace.

 

 

It was late one fall morning—my husband had taken the kids to school and I was here with one baby in the bassinet and the other baby sitting in her crib playing with toys so that mommy could make the bed. The phone rang and I grabbed it off my dresser.

“Dad called on the way to school. He said bring a box to work.”

Bring a box to work. As in, pack up your things—you’re not working today.

I can’t remember if I stood there and listened or sat down to hear him out. All I know is that by the end of the conversation, it was clear. My husband doesn’t have a job…again. We’d been through this before—before our first anniversary. And here we were again, going around the same mountain again, back at square one. Except we’d learned a few things this time.

When I set that phone back in place, I set myself in gear for the day.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank you, God, that this is not the end. This is only the beginning.” My hands set to making the sheets of my bed as I declared God’s promises over my husband and our home. “Thank you, God, that You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. This is not going to be a bad week. This is going to be the best week ever.” Smoothing out the comforter, I repeated it to myself. “Best. Week. Ever. Thank you Lord, In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

God gave me the grace I needed that day–He still does. There’s something about God’s grace that makes every situation shine a little brighter even on the edges of a dark cloud. There’s light around the edges. There’s a good situation fixing to turn up. There’s going to be a better day. The grace of God.

Grace—(n.) 1.a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; b: a virtue coming from God (Merriam-Webster.com)

The first mention of God’s grace in the Bible is in Genesis 6:8. God has just looked at His creation, and “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” (vs. 5, AMP).

Only. Evil. Continually.

God’s heart was grieved. He made these people—man and woman. He created them for fellowship. He created them for relationship. But here they all were—running around acting in ways God never intended, turning their backs on God, living in sin and shame and constant evil. Didn’t they even care? Like a son who has turned his life over to drug or alcohol abuse, like a daughter who hooked up with a guy that doesn’t honor women. You know what I’m saying?

No. Just no.

This is not what parenthood is supposed to look like. This is not what I created you for, child.

God was so disheartened by their sin that He was ready to wipe it all out—wipe everything off the face of the earth—and just. Start. Over.

Have you ever been there?
God was there.

Living in the face of continual evil.
There.

Like a slap in the face of God.
There.

“So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, but the beasts and the creeping things, and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:7, AMP)

Then verse 8 says:
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (vs. 8, NKJV)

Noah found grace.

He experienced God’s favor.

That is my prayer. Will you speak this prayer with me?
God I want to find grace in Your eyes. Your loving favor is so precious to me. May I always honor Your Word and Your plan for my life. I pray that my thoughts, my actions, my heart would line up with what You created me for. Thank You for Your grace at work in me. I declare the grace and favor of the living God over my husband, over each one of my children and over my own life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.
Where do you find your life in this story? Is there an area you need God’s grace in your life at this moment? Are you experiencing the grace of God today?

The Days In Between

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Well, it’s official.  The “In Between” days have begun.  After the main event, before we rush back to the normal schedule of school and such—this is the best time for me.  When the parties are over, the presents are put away, and a load of laundry is in the washer, I love to sit in the twinkle-lit living room with my fuzzy-sock feet propped up on the ottoman and a cup of coffee nearby.

Taking a few extra moments to sip and savor, knowing that I have nowhere to be and nothing pressing to attend to—these are the moments.  Getting to read a little extra in my Bible, picking up a devotional, turning on praise music—Love it!

For me, the days in between also allow time to knock a few things off of my “to do” list.  Over my teaching break this year, I will be entering grades for the last grading period, decluttering the house a bit, reading my Middle School and High School kids’ NaNoWriMo entries, and (I’m super excited about this one) **creating the wedding invitation design for my nephew and his bride-to-be**!!  This is a first, and I can’t wait to see how it will turn out.  (Yes, there will be pictures.)

 

Something else I love is catching up on my reading.  Teaching doesn’t allow for a lot of free time, so I really enjoy binge-reading through my “to-read list” on break.  This year, I picked a few excellent reads from the Christian writers I have met in 2016:

A Goose Creek Christmas (novella) by Virginia Smith

a-goose-creek-christmas

Precious in His Sight by Karen Pashley

precious-in-his-sight

A (Sorta) Southern Serenade by Krista Phillips

a-sorta-southern-serenade

(I also recommend the cute, Christmas novella I read earlier this year,

The Funky Chicken by my friend, Melinda Eye Cooper.)*The links in this post are all non-affiliated

the-funky-chicken

What about you?  What are you doing on the “Days In Between”?  What are your favorite reads in 2016?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reading books 2016 christmas free novel novella good read reads mom homeschool wife mother teacher teaching schoolyear kids parenting ACFW writer writing KY Kentucky