O, God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NIV
I was out of shape after winter, so in the spring when my husband suggested that we hike a mountain trail, I reluctantly agreed. Not long after we began, I realized that I was out of shape from winter’s interlude. Why hadn’t I walked regularly or gone to the gym more often?
It was a warm day, and I depended on frequent stops and water from my canteen’s diminishing supply. The cool refreshment quenched my demanding thirst.
Exhaustion turned to relief as the trail’s end finally loomed ahead of us. As we welcomed the mountaintop end of the trail and a well-deserved rest, we enjoyed the inspiring view across the valley and final sips from our canteens.
Even though I am grateful for the water that quenches my physical thirst, I am even more thankful for the living water of God’s Word, the Bible, which strengthens me and relieves my soul’s thirst. Through prayer I am filled by His presence. To remain refreshed all I have to do is to seek Him daily.
Heavenly Father, thank You for offering us refreshment for our suffering spirits. We know that as long as we drink in Your fulfilling Word and quench our longing hearts with Your fellowship, we will never be thirsty. May our first stop daily be at the well of Your everlasting spring.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 NIV
The beautiful ivy had crawled up through the ground after winter’s cold and was overtaking our sturdy wooden fence. I needed to remove it. So, on a beautiful spring day, with gloves and clippers, I headed out to trim. The vine was solidly and deeply rooted in the dirt, but I was able to pull the runners away from the fence. I hated trimming those beautifully variegated leaves. To me, ivy gives a sense of antiquity and strength. As the day ended, I looked at the carpet of cuttings on the ground and breathe a sigh of relief that the job was nearly complete. As I finished the next morning, I noticed how dead the trimmings were after only one night.
Jesus cautioned believers to live in Him for the same reason. His words in the Bible resound with the same thought—apart from Him, we can do nothing for His kingdom, and we do not become what He has created us to be. If we are like sturdy branches growing in Him, the Vine of Life, we will understand that the pruning, while sometimes painful, is necessary for us to grow in love, trust, and service for God, leaving us to be an ever-bearing, vibrant part of His kingdom. However, as the leaves of the ivy vine die apart from its strong source of strength, we too will die spiritually if we remove ourselves from prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers.
As the springtime brings new growth, and the earth becomes rejuvenated with beauty, may we experience the same in our relationship with Jesus by staying connected to Him.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a fruitful branch on Your vine of life. May my life glorify You.
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3: 16-17 RSV
“Mom’s taking out her maps again,” my children would groan when we were preparing for a trip. I would spread them out on the dining room table to show them the states we would go through on our trip. In addition, I wanted to show them some of the interesting sights we would see along the way. However, they weren’t always interested in the journey itself. They were concerned with the destination--the beaches or theme parks. But I continued to remind them that they could enjoy both.
These days we travel with GPS assistance or computerized map sites, but travel is still the same. It is important to know the details of our trip beforehand to reach our destination in a timely and pleasurable way.
In the same manner, the Bible is our map of life. It points us toward salvation’s road through Jesus that leads to eternal life with God. However, sometimes we are more impressed with the destination than the journey. We must remember that the journey not only prepares us for our eternity, but also gives us wonderful spiritual insights and fellowship with God on the way. To be all that He wants us to be here and to prepare for heaven, we must use God’s word to direct our journey. Today, enjoy the journey in him.
Thank you, God, that You provided the Bible for us. Remind us each morning to check Your Word before getting on life’s road. Thank You, too, that we have a glorious destination to look forward to, if we know You.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7 NIV
I am not good at casting a fishing line. It might take me several tries before I hear the click, click, click, and then plop, as the sinker, hook, and bobber fall into the water. But whether I am fishing by a quiet lake or in salty surf, the relaxation that comes while I wait patiently for the fish to bite is a welcome relief from the busyness of life. Problems are cast out with the line, and deadlines drown in the depth of the water.
God wants us to feel as relaxed and assured about casting our cares onto Him, as we do when casting a fishing line. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines casting as “causing to move or send forth by throwing.” God promises that we can send forth our problems, sadness, and difficulties to Him. We can then relax in His Presence, knowing that He is at work for our good. Just as He taught His disciples to cast out and receive unto themselves a great yield, He will provide blessings as we cast our anxieties onto Him. What else could we ask for than for a wonderful day of fishing with Jesus?
Dear God, today I choose to cast all of my anxieties and cares upon You, knowing that You care about me. Thank You for the peace that You send when we trust in You.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may…..grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV).
There is something about the water’s edge that calls us toward it. As children we ran toward it with abandon, skipping flat stones as we walked along, took a dip within its refreshing, sparkling goodness, or completely submerged ourselves in it. We marveled at its treasures, whether shells, smooth rocks, animal inhabitants, or the movement of the ripples or crashing waves. We learn from birth of water’s sustenance and necessity for life. I don’t think that fascination or love of its beauty ever stops.
As a senior citizen now, I reflect not only on the beauty of this magnificent creation of our great God, but also on the joy as the Lord has led me by the water’s edge of His great love—a love as deep and as wide as the ocean. He has filled me with the joy of His salvation and allowed me to drink deeply of His love and presence. I know that I am quickly moving toward that time when I will know Him even beyond the water’s edge, as I am completely immersed in my heavenly home with Him, a place of great glory and love so overwhelming that even now it is hard to comprehend in my finite mind. Now I can only feel the water at the edge, but our great God is leading me further and deeper into that great time of being with Him forever, where I will know more completely His great love for me.
Thank you, Lord, that You love us so much, more than we can comprehend. Thank You, too, for walking with us along the water’s edge of life. Help us to bless You in all we do. Amen
I love to walk with and write about our great God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Now in my senior years, I can say, looking back at the joys, difficulties, and challenges of life, "I know that my Redeemer lives," (Job 19:25 NIV). I am a retired teacher and author of many published articles, and contributor to two books--God Still Meets Needs (Littleton)and Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ (Wilburn,Butts). I am also author of In God's Creation: Devotions for the Outdoors and In God's Creation: Devotions for the Beach. Both books are available on Amazon and www.booknofurther.com.