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Living Water Church                                                                              Augest 7, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

View From a Back Pew

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.

Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.” (Psalm 23:1-4)

Last Sunday, after church, I cleaned and disinfected to prepare the church for the evening music recital. When I finished, I got a bottle of cold water and sat in a back pew to cool down and wait for my ride. The entire building was empty except for me. There was no thing or no one to distract me. I took advantage of this perfect opportunity to spend some quiet time with God, praying, reflecting and counting my blessings.

As I looked around the sanctuary, I thought about the miracle of our church. I thought about how far God had led us in such a short time. I thought about the spiritual health of our church, then and now.

When we left Buckton, we left with little more than unanswered prayers and a confused and mournful song in our hearts. It felt like a worst case scenario. We knew we had people to be our church, but no church building. We had a pastor, but one who had been ‘disenfranchised’. We had questions, ideas, and suggestions, but nowhere to meet and discuss them, except a parking lot on which we were trespassing! The devil had made an impact!

But, it didn’t stay that way for long! Almost everyone who followed the pastor out of the doors of Buckton became involved! We reminded each other of something! We had an unprecedented blessing! We had an advocate! We had an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God on our side! We were strengthened by Christ and each other! Our spirits were of one

mind and one accord! We were on fire for the Lord! And, that’s when Living

Water Christian Church was set in motion!

We decided early on, that we would focus on Our God for direction. And, the grace and amount of blessings we received confounded us! We thanked God for each one, large or small, accepting them as confirmation that we were on the path God had chosen for us! Still in the habit of using our physical vision more than our spiritual vision, we inched forward trying to imagine how God would take this great disappointment of our lifetimes and use it for our good.

“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him,

those whom he has called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Sometimes we felt shaky and uncomfortable as we bumped our way along the path. But God provided for our every need and in the end, He exceeded our every possible expectation!

“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and

not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Like manna from heaven, God dropped us, a faithful remnant, into the basement of a beautiful church building! He put us directly into the loving care of another God-fearing remnant! He intertwined those two remnants, and, as only He is able, met the needs of each person involved! And, as if that was not enough, He made that church building and all its’ contents, a mortgage-free blessing!

“Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, Who does not change or cause darkness by turning.” (James 1:17)

We received these gifts in total awe! We received these gifts with praise and thanksgiving! We worked hard to be good stewards and to share, through missions, all that God had bestowed on us! In all our endeavors, we remained strong, energized, motivated and spiritually healthy!

Then, in the blink of an eye, a horrible virus arrived. It caused sickness, death and life-altering changes to the entire world. From this invisible monster, ‘our, once bustling, little church’ has not been exempt. For quite some time, we were forced into ‘all remote’ services. Eventually, our doors were opened for worship and, later, adult Sunday school.

Yes, we are somewhat confined, but, we must not allow the virus or its’ accompanying laws and mandates, to, in any way, compromise the spiritual health of our precious Living Water Christian Church. We must refuse to be

reduced from a fire to a flame. We know that God put us in this place, to flourish in His name and spread the Gospel in word and in deed.

So, during difficult times such as these, whether you happen to be counting your blessings on the back pew, reflecting in your recliner or, perhaps, chilling on your back porch swing, remember to Whom you belong. Remember Who promised and Who provided. Remember how far He has brought us! Remember the One Who loves us unconditionally. And, remember Who strengthens, protects and promises life eternal!

Then, never forget to persevere! Our future blessings depend on it!

“”We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

“Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you safe from the time of trouble which is coming upon the world to test all the people on earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being Our Faithful Shepherd, always nearby, every step of the way. Continue to be with us, Lord, as we push through this pandemic and in all troubles beyond. Help us, always, to use the blessings which you have provided to us, to persevere in the furtherance of Your Kingdom and return to You, Your glory. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                              July 30, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Tear Therapy

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                         Inspired by God

“Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet.  ‘Lord,’ she said, ‘if you had been here, my brother

would not have died!’ Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. ‘Where have you buried him?’ he asked them. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they answered. Jesus wept. ‘See how much he loved him!’ the people said.”                                                   (John 11:32-36)

The Oxford Dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” Similar words listed are pity, sympathy, feeling, empathy and understanding. Wikipedia says, “Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of

another and themselves.”

The story of Jesus bringing his friend, Lazarus, back to life is such a beautiful one! Surely, Jesus felt overwhelming compassion for Lazarus’s sister and friends, as well as, Lazarus. First, feelings of sympathy, pity, empathy and understanding brought Jesus to tears. But Jesus’ compassion didn’t end there. Those tears weren’t the end of the story! The following Scriptures reveal even more.

“But some of them said, ‘He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?’ Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. ‘Take the stone away!’ Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, ‘There will be a

bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!’ Jesus said to her, ‘Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?’

They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, ‘I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.’ After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. ‘Untie him,’ Jesus told them, ‘and let him go.’”

(John 11:37-44)

Twice, Scripture says, Jesus was “deeply moved.” First, Jesus was moved to tears. Then, Jesus was moved to action. The compassion of Jesus moved the story one giant step further! He raised Lazarus from the dead! What began with compassion, moved Jesus to perform a miracle that very day!

As we are born with the capacity to experience love and joy, we are born with the capacity to understand and show compassion. These God-given abilities have nothing to do with gender or intellect. Surely, they can be strengthened and developed over time, but I believe they are present at any age.

There is a short story called “The Crying Chair” by Marcia Lee Norwood. As a child, she remembers a chair in their home named “The Crying Chair”. It was a

place where neighbors, friends and family members could sit when they needed to share burdens with someone or when they ‘just needed a good cry’. According to Marcia, the chair worked really well during her childhood years.

As an adult, Marcia became a Kindergarten teacher at a private Christian School. One year, to comfort, calm and quiet one of her little students, whose parents were divorcing, Marcia introduced the Crying Chair into her classroom. It worked just like it had in her home when she was a child. Marcia said, “The students had almost a reverence for the Crying Chair.” When the little boy was in the chair, crying, other children asked permission to pat his back, give a hug, pray or leave a piece of candy for him. “Not one child teased him about sitting in the Crying Chair.” With time, the little boy’s life became more ordered and predictable and “his trips to the chair became less frequent.” Once again, compassion healed.

Over the years, for many different reasons, many students used the crying

chair. Marcia wrote, “One particularly trying day, when I felt overwhelmed with the duties of teaching and motherhood and marriage, I announced to the class that I needed to spend some time in the Crying Chair. I laid my head in my hands and I cried. As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I felt the touch of many tiny hands as my students walked by and gently patted me on the back.” She continues, “The teacher learned compassion from her students. The students learned a teacher hurts just like they hurt, and cries just like they cry. Both learned to love each

other.”

I know a young man whose life had become less and less stable and more and more complicated.  He found himself recently divorced, with two little girls who lived with their mommy. Misguided decisions and unwise choices had left him feeling empty and alone. With another birthday on the horizon and realizing the urgent need for a better pathway into the future, he found himself looking back and doing some intense soul-searching.  In subtle spurts, knowingly or unknowingly, the young man seemed to reach out to his mom for help.

His mom sensed his unhappiness and quiet despair. She urged him to reconnect with his Heavenly Father. She hoped to help through love and compassion but without pressure or judgment. For his birthday, his mom took him to dinner and provided him with a care package full of his favorite treats. She also

gave him his ‘childhood history’; boxes of photos, keepsakes and other memorabilia which she had kept for him since he was an infant. He wasn’t sure he wanted all

‘that stuff’ at this particular time in his life, but she finally persuaded him that this was a perfect time to take an honest look at the past. Reluctantly, he loaded it into his truck. And, one quiet evening, when his little girls were visiting, he began to revisit his childhood.

He later told his mom that the ‘journey back through his childhood’ had him

‘crying like a baby.’ And, not fully understanding the reasons for his sadness and pain, yet sensing his overwhelming need for comfort and compassion, his little 7- year-old girl, climbed onto the couch beside him and cried, too. That little child ministered to her daddy through a pure and Godly compassion.

I believe that the ‘gift of compassion’ is present in everyone.  I believe It begins as a subtle cognitive force or feeling which awakens and somehow motivates our insights and thoughts. The result is an instinctive desire to move toward action and to ultimately respond physically, in an attempt to lessen or resolve another’s need.

There must be great power in compassion. (Could it be the Holy Spirit?) If we were created in the image of God, and Jesus demonstrated compassion as a

necessity in his ministry then feeling compassion must truly be ‘something divine’! At its’ best, compassion can help us move to spread the Gospel, live out the mission of the greatest command, and bring light to this world!

Heavenly Father, You are an All-knowing and All-powerful God! Help us to remember that you are the Source and Resource of everyone and everything, forever.

Please be patient with us, as we, in awe and wonder, speculate at the endless intricacies of Your Creation. Help us to always remember that those things which truly matter are felt in the heart, not examined with our eyes.

And, help us, Dear God, to mirror the earthly life of Your Only Son, filled with love and compassion for all who cross our paths. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                          July 22, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Encountering Jesus

“For we fix our attention not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

My grandchildren, who live with us, came to help me clean the church this week. Their rewards for their completed tasks were; lunch from McDonalds, ice cream at River Dairy Bar in Bentonville, and $5.00 cash. My rewards were an easier work day cleaning and disinfecting, plus inspiration for this devotion. I get so excited for them when they share special thoughts with me! They ‘glow’ when I tell them they just gave me some “good stuff” to write about!

Today, Hannah was dusting Pa’s office. She saw this little sign on his desk.

(Focus your eyes on the tan part and you will see tiny bits of brown and tan wood. Now,

focus your eyes on the dark brown part and you will see ‘Jesus’.)

 

“Hey, Grandma.”

“What do you need, Hannah?” I asked.

“When I saw this little sign for the very first time, it was really hard for me to see ‘Jesus’. But now that I’ve seen it, it’s hard to see it any other way!”

“I know what you mean.” I replied.

“And, it’s also true in another way!” I continued. “Once you see Jesus in your life, you can’t see your life any other way!”

“I know”, she said, smiling.

“Very good!” I said, approvingly. “And, you just gave me an idea for my next devotion!”

I had recently read “5 Things That Happen When You Encounter Jesus” an article on the website of Christ Chapel Bible Church (Fort Worth Texas). The article is based on Chapter 4 in the book of John, the true account of Jesus and the Woman at the Well. These Scriptures from the Book of John clearly highlight the validity of the five parts of the article.

  1. “An encounter with Jesus will often not be what we expect.” (Mid-day, two strangers, a Jewish Jesus and a Samaritan woman of “unclean

character” encounter each other at a well. Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water.) (John 4:7-9)

  1. “An encounter with Jesus often addresses questions we didn’t know needed answers.” (Jesus tells the woman about his ability to give ‘living water’ that can result in eternal life and the woman accepts, not fully understanding.) (John 4:10-15)
  2. “An encounter with Jesus reveals the gross parts of us.” (Already knowing her past, Jesus questions the woman and the woman honestly responds. Jesus first recognizes her honesty and then provides more sordid details, confirming his prior knowledge. The woman realizes that Jesus is

‘special’ and perceives that he is a prophet.) (John 4:16-19)

  1. “An encounter with Jesus gets to the true heart of the issue.” (Sensing his gentleness, truthfulness and wisdom, the woman is prompted to ask Jesus a heartfelt question ‘to clear up the discrepancy between her people’s tradition and his.’) (John 4:20-26)
  2. “An encounter with Jesus sends us out to tell others about Him.” (After she left the well, the woman went back to town and told everyone she met about Jesus! They believed her! And, when they encountered Jesus, their belief increased, as well!) (John 4:39-42)

The writer summarized the lesson in these words.                                                                             “So this, I think, is the most important thing we need to remember about a true encounter with Jesus. When we truly know Him and He’s done all of this work in our hearts,

we can’t possibly keep it to ourselves. We should be compelled by what He’s shown us and by the love He’s placed in our hearts to help other people meet Him and be changed by Him.  A true encounter with Jesus sends us out to tell others about Him.”

What Hannah learned took only one lesson. Once she focused her eyes, and really sought the meaning of that confusing little sign, the word, Jesus, became clear.                 Now, because of the clarity provided in her first experience, it’s difficult for her to see that little sign any other way!

In part, Hannah’s experience is similar to the story of the woman at the well.

Sadly, the woman at the well was ‘lost’ and burdened with an ‘ugly’ past.

Her encounter with Jesus cleared the muddy waters of her past and promised her clear, ‘living water’ overflowing into her future. As the woman told and retold the promises of Jesus within her story, it must have become impossible to see life any other way!

If you haven’t already, today is a perfect day to seize the opportunity to encounter Jesus. The Bible promises that He is waiting for you, anytime and anywhere! He knows your past! He knows your problems! (He already knows the sordid details!) But, he’ll welcome you with a smile. He’ll listen! Maybe He’ll laugh or maybe He’ll cry with you! But, without a doubt, He’ll lead you in the right direction giving you new hope and promise for your future!

And, if you’ve already had that first encounter, keep returning to Him! Once a day, twice a day, twenty times a day or all day! He’ll never tire of your visits!

Always remember, you are the reason He died and you are the reason He lives!

All He wants is for you to keep Him first and foremost in your life and share His Good News!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to bring Your light and Your love and Your hope to every dark crevice and corner of this very troubled world. Forgive us for the many ways we have knowingly or

unknowingly contributed to its’ misery and darkness.

Once we’ve seen Your Son, Dear God, give us the confidence and wisdom to seek encounters with him, every single day of our earthly lives.

Help us to, always, stay focused on Jesus, only. And, remind us that Yours is the Glory as we spread the Good News!

In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                              July 15, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Leaving a Godly Legacy

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                        Inspired by God

“’Teacher, he asked, ‘which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with

all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)

Let me first say that I love my grandchildren.

The other week, my grandson, Landon, made yet another ‘mess’ in the kitchen.

Staying true to that which is often his style, he just walked away from the mess and the kitchen. Staying true to that which is often my style, I called him on it.

“Landon, What about this mess you’ve made? Who do you think is going to

clean it up?”To which he replied, “I didn’t do it! What mess?”

“What do you mean, ‘what mess?’ The one you left in the kitchen”, I said,

indignantly.

“I didn’t know I made a mess”, Landon said.

Have I mentioned that I really do love my grandchildren?

“Come here, I’ll show you,” I said.

Staring directly at the spilled food on the countertop, Landon said, “Oh, I didn’t see it.”

“Yeah, right,” I replied. “Really, Grandma, I didn’t,” he protested.

Still loving my grandson, I helped him clean up the mess. As he quickly began

his ‘get-away’, thinking he reached an ‘all clear’ status, I said, “Land…….” and before I could finish his name, he interrupted, “I’m sorry, Grandma!”

“I heard you, but I’m not finished!”

“Why? Grandma, I said I was sorry,” he pleaded.

Refusing to allow the opportunity to teach a lesson to escape, I said, “I know, and if I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t bother to try to make you understand. Landon, you have got to learn to be more aware of what you leave in your wake for others

to have to deal with. Do you know what I mean?” At the moment, poor Landon had no idea! But, he does, now!

And, I still love him and he says he still loves me!

Much was gained in that ‘teachable moment’ by both the student and, especially, by the teacher! Being only 12, but knowing, now, what it means, Landon has his whole life to think about his legacies. But, being 68, I thought long and hard about what I will ‘leave in my wake.’

At this point in my life, I think I would like to be remembered for having taken the time to say, do or write something that sparked a realization and need in someone else to want to learn the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ. I pray God will use me to help further His Kingdom, especially, within the lives of my family members. I want to know that one day I’ll see all of my loved ones in heaven.

Thinking further, I wondered about the legacy of Jesus Christ. I gathered opinions of three writers.

My mom often told me the exact same thing that Jon Bloom (staff writer and co-founder of desiringGod.org) writes, “You can often tell what mattered most to a person by what they leave behind when they part this world.”

Jon added, “What Jesus left behind is more astonishing when you think of what he didn’t leave. The only things he left behind were people who believed his gospel. Jesus left his Word (teaching) and his church (a few hundred people.”)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

(Matthew24:35)

“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

(Matthew 16:18)

Jon goes on to say, “These two legacies changed the course of history. They are, in fact, what history is all about. Everything passes away: rulers, nations, professions, species, industries, families, possessions, political movements, houses, IRAs, 401Ks, heirlooms, photos, books, cars, schools, degrees, careers—every earthly thing we cherish.

Except for Jesus’ word and his church.”

Chris J. Hayes (Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, Arlington and Writer for ministrymatters.com) wrote an article, The Legacy of Christ, based on Mark 13:1-8. Chris writes, “As Jesus tells his disciples good-bye and prepares for the trials and persecutions that are to come, there are several things that Jesus obviously thinks are important to pass on before he goes. Out of this care and concern, Jesus tells them to keep the teachings and the path that he has set for them and that no matter what destruction or persecution may come, to remain faithful to his guidance.” Clearly, Jesus shares his timeless legacy, in His continued love, warnings, lessons and advice in order that we, His people can move forward in our faith.

In a sermon, entitled, “Building a Legacy that Lasts”, based on Mark 12 by Andy Cook (Pastor of Shirley Hills Baptist Church, Warner Robins, Georgia) Andy tells that leaving a Godly legacy is two-fold. The first requirement is to love God completely and the second is to love others as we love ourselves. Andy says, “Love God, and love the people God puts around you. Jesus modeled this perfectly, and his legacy has had more impact on the world than any individual in history. He didn’t leave a legacy of money, property or power. Instead, he left a legacy of loving God completely, and sacrificially loving us.”

Andy adds, “Strangely enough, it usually catches us by surprise to find that the things others considered most important about us is not how successful we might have been, but rather, how much we loved them. But it is in loving others that we best show how we love God. Because Jesus loved His neighbor – you –we can love our neighbor by His Spirit.”

“There’s only one way to leave a Christ-like legacy – to leave footprints that will last. You cannot do this on your own. You cannot find life in loving God and love your neighbor, because that is the Law.” In other words, Scripture makes it clear that it is not the law that brings life, it is the gospel that brings life.

Andy concludes, “Receive Christ’s offer of mercy, let Him fill you with His Spirit

and then watch as He empowers and teaches you how to love Him and others.”

Writing devotions is a valuable opportunity for me. Some correct me, some teach me, some make me thankful and some cause me to search my own soul. Writing this one has been confirmation for me that my hope for my personal legacy is a worthy one in God’s eyes. I pray to never miss a chance in something I do, say or write, to influence another person to wish to be a Child of God. And, maybe,

because of me, Landon’s will be the same!

Heavenly Father,

We love You! You are our All-in-All! In You and Your Word, may we continue to find Our inspiration. In Jesus Christ, may we continue to find a perfect earthly example of a worthy legacy. And, in the Holy Spirit may we continue to find help and comfort along the way. In Christ’s name, we pray, Amen!

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Living Water Church                                                                              July 10, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Choose Kindness

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26)

In today’s harsh and selfish world, kindness toward our fellow-man is a very big deal! Unfortunately, it isn’t a big deal for all the right reasons.

Kindness isn’t solely awesome because of its life-saving powers to connect, soothe and heal. More so, kindness is a big deal because it seems to be getting harder and harder to find. In order for kindness and other God given Fruits of the Spirit to multiply and become wide-spread to the point that kindness begets kindness, joy begets joy, peace begets peace, etc., each must have a start somewhere. Sadly, the eyes of the world have lost their focus on God, our Ultimate Source and Resource. Because of that lost focus on the source and growth of such important life-giving and life-sustaining qualities, the resulting growth is minimal. That’s why stories like the following are so heart-warming!

Tallulah is an eight- year-old little girl who lives in Manchester, England. Like many other children, since the COVID 19 ‘lockdown’, Tallulah has seen quite a bit of Tim, the delivery man, who is deaf. To thank Tim for his work, Tallulah drew Tim a picture of a rainbow which he put ‘on show’ in his van!

Tallulah then learned how to sign “Have a good day” so that she would be able to greet him. In turn, Tim taught Tallulah to sign, “Good morning, have a good day” and when she had done so successfully, a very happy Tim said, “It absolutely made my day!”

Amy, Tallulah’s mom, proudly shared the video on Twitter! The response was overwhelming! That sweet and true story went viral! All who saw it agreed! This is such a beautiful little story! Even better, they believed it to be so worthy that they, too, shared the story with everyone they knew!

Take a moment to think about that!

They watched! They didn’t delete! They paid attention! They considered!

They didn’t ignore!  They didn’t ridicule it! They didn’t put a disparaging label on the story or its characters! And, for a few brief moments, people everywhere, recognized that something good and righteous had happened, amid the evil and sinfulness of daily life. It was such a positive experience that they wanted to share that feeling of goodness and joy and kindness. So they sent it out to the ones they love and care about.

How did this small, intentional act of kindness, this good little deed, merit all of this attention? In all of the kazillions of good and bad people in the world, where did the ability to discern the Godly values of this little story come from?    How did the average person decide that this was something good and worthy of their time, attention and sharing? And, how was all of this goodness seen as goodness, rather than weakness, in this hard-hearted world?

Dr. Joshua Straub (of Focus on the Family) says, “Kindness is one of the few things that will gentle the response of others.” As a child, Straub’s mom often told him to ‘kill his adversaries with kindness’, because she believed, like the Apostle Paul, that kindness has the power to soften hearts.

Romans 2:4 says “Or perhaps you despise his great kindness, tolerance, and patience. Surely you know that God is kind, because he is trying to lead you to repent.”

Straub added, “When we’ve been hurt or offended, we tend to react in anger or bitterness. But kindness leads us to do just the opposite—to

respond with love and forgiveness.”

“Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Finally, we must remain aware that kindness is only one of the named

Fruits of the Spirit. Straub says, “Kindness by itself is insufficient.” In other words, when Paul talks about the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, he is talking about the Fruits of the Spirit as one thing, made up of character traits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, not nine separate traits. These qualities must be developed together because they depend on one another and are not

totally effective on their own. So, when we’re experiencing kindness we’re also gaining understand of goodness, gentleness, self-control, etc.

No wonder that tiny act of kindness by Tallulah got the attention of the world. No wonder her act of kindness had such a far-reaching, powerful effect! No wonder so many kinds of people were touched by it! And, no wonder there was no back-lash from the hard-hearted in this world!

When we, like Tallulah, knowingly or unknowingly, call upon the power of the Holy Spirit, we are summonsing the power of God!

Heavenly Father, Thank you for being our Ultimate Source and Resource.

Thank you for the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Comforter. Thank you for Jesus, who taught us by example, to always be kind. Help us to always remember, to approach our daily lives, allowing the Fruit of the Spirit to lead us. And, if evil finds its way onto our path and allows us a choice, help us to engage the Fruits of the Spirit to thwart its hate and unforgiveness, first.

Amen!

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Living Water Church                                                                               July 8, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Re-gifting a Perfect Gift

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                         Inspired by God

“Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive

a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold.

The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”  (Luke 6:38)

The Bible tells us that God has a purpose for every life. And, as Christians, we believe that we all receive gifts from God.

“Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down

from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause

darkness by turning.” (James 1:17)

My best friend of more than twenty-five years has been pushing her way through a series of life-threatening issues with her health. Very recently, with God’s help, Glennette has survived yet another cancer. Now, she is in physical

therapy working hard to overcome some very serious complications. I’ve thought a

lot about her strength and resolve to overcome cancer.

As an only child, she’d had a quiet childhood. Glennette was raised in the Lutheran Church where she remained an active member and as an adult, sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and helped assemble and edit the church newsletter. She was a founder of the church preschool where we met and worked together for many years.

I’ve thought about all of the trials and obstacles that I learned had been put in her path before I knew her. Sadly, her first marriage ended, but not before the birth of her first blessing, a beautiful baby girl!  A few years later, Glennette married a wonderful fellow! Tragically, within a year, he was killed at work in a freak accident. Within a few days of his death, she found out, she was pregnant with a second blessing, another beautiful daughter! Surely, at that point, most women would have been defeated. They would have been overwhelmed at the idea that they were going to be raising two young children on their own.

But, even in her grief, my friend responded, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” To Glennette, ‘baby girl number two’ was not an insurmountable

burden, but a window open to new possibilities! Always seeing the ‘glass half full

rather than half empty’ was how she decided to see life, back then and still today!

As I reflected further, I thought about her life since I’ve known her. As my dear friend and co-worker, she constantly reminded me to see the glass half full and to look on the bright side of troubles.  Or, at least, to laugh about them!                                                                                 I can’t tell you how many times she helped me through my trials because she made me laugh! Definitely an extrovert, Glennette has many gifts! As for me, and many, many of her other friends and acquaintances, her sense of humor is the perfect complement to her positive, outgoing personality!

Everyone who knows her loves her! Everything about her, from her beautiful smile to her ability to crack a quick joke and summons a smile from even the most serious person is encouraging!   Wherever she is, Glennette is lifting up others!

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead he puts it on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

God provided my friend with these wonderful gifts of encouragement.

“So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; if it is to encourage others, we should do so.” (Romans 12 6-8a)

Glennette has used her gift of encouragement to bless others. She has encouraged others with her words, her actions, and with the way she lives her life! She continues to move forward through every obstacle within her illness, while remaining an encouragement even to her own caretakers!

“Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Surely, God is taking these gifts which He gave to Glennette to use for the benefit of others and is now returning them to her for her own use! If you would

check out her Facebook page, and see her ‘following’, you would understand what I mean. It’s called ‘goo’s army’! That army of encouragers, in addition to, all of the encouragement sent by emails, phone calls, greeting cards and, especially, prayers, is truly a perfect gift from God, perfectly worthy of re-gifting.

Even in her weakest moments, Glennette is using her God-given strengths to supporting and lifting-up others! I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to strive to be more like my dear friend. God will notice! Just as He is re-gifting Glennette, God will use what you give to prosper you! And to Him will go the glory!

Heavenly Father, You are an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God. Thank You for understanding our human needs and for sending friends, like Glennette, to be lights in this dark world. Inspire each of us, Dear God, to fully embrace all of our heavenly gifts which Only You can bestow and to put them to use in the furtherance of Your Kingdom. Amen!

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Living Water Church                                                                             June 30, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Dearest Children, I’ll Love You Forever!

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                   Inspired by God

Dearest Children,

“The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you, as joyful as people at a festival. The Lord says, ‘I have ended the threat of doom and taken away your disgrace. The time is coming! I will punish your oppressors; I will rescue all the lame and bring the exiles home. I will turn their shame to honor, and all the world will praise them. The time is coming! I will bring your scattered people home; I will make you famous throughout the world, and make you prosperous once again.’ The Lord has spoken.” (Zephaniah 3:17-20)

I see all of the evil, causing crisis after crisis in the world and I will help you stand against it.

“Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but

against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.”

(Ephesians 6:11-13)

I know it is hard to understand. I know that you feel punished in your innocence while seeing the guilty go unpunished. But, vengeance will be Mine in My time. I want righteousness to be yours. So you must stay alert, ‘stand ready’, and pray.

“So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good news of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with you it will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason, keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.”

(Ephesians 6:14-20)

I love you and I know that you love me! In your actions, I see proof of your love for Me because you have received the Helper I have sent and you continue to follow my commands.

“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you will know him, because he remains with you and is in

you.” (John 14:15-17)

In this ‘current mess’ and always, remember that I am always with you and I will help you.

“God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; even if the seas roar and rage, and the hills are shaken by the violence.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

I know you are tired but if you trust in Me, I will renew your strength, determination and confidence.

“The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts. He strengthens those who are weak and tired. Even those who are young grow weak; young men can fall exhausted.

But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” (Isaiah 40:28b-31)

Do not be angry because anger causes trouble. Remain righteous. I will drive out the wicked.

“Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land, but the wicked will be driven out. Soon the wicked will disappear; you may look for them, but you won’t find them; but the humble will possess the land and enjoy prosperity and peace.” (Psalm 37:8-11)

You need not feel anxious and depressed. I will shield and protect you. Leave your worries and concerns with me.

“But all who find safety in you will rejoice; they can always sing for joy. Protect

those who love you; because of you they are truly happy. You bless those who

obey you, Lord; your love protects them like a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12)

When you are isolated and feeling alone, meditate on my word and remember that I am with you, always.

“The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

When you feel fearful and alone, I understand. But, always remember, I am in control. I, alone, will determine ‘the destiny of the wicked and of the good’. You are my children, I will never abandon you.

“Don’t be worried on account of the wicked; don’t be jealous of those who do

wrong.  They will soon disappear like grass that dries up; they will die like plants

that wither. Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and be safe. Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.” (Psalm 37:1-4)

This is what I want you to do. Continue to show Me that you belong to the truth and are confident in Me.

“This, then, is how we will know that we belong to the truth; this is how we will be confident in God’s presence. If our conscience condemns us, we know that God is greater than our conscience and that he knows everything. And so, my dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have courage in God’s presence. We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us. Whoever obeys God’s commands lives in union with God and God lives in union with him. And because of the Spirit that God has given us we know that God lives in union with us.”

(1 John 3:19-24)

And, stay alert and watchful, knowing there are false prophets in the world.

“My dear friends, do not believe all who claim to have the Spirit, but test them to find out if the spirit they have comes from God. For many false prophets have gone out everywhere. This is how you will be able to know whether it is God’s Spirit: anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came as a human being has the Spirit who comes from God. But anyone who denies this about Jesus does not have the Spirit from God. The spirit that he has is from the Enemy of Christ; you heard that it would come, and now it is here in the world already.

(1 John 4: 1-3)

You belong to Me. You are my children. Understand, that in you, is a Spirit more powerful than that which is in the world.

“But you belong to God, my children, and have defeated the false prophets, because the Spirit that is in you is more powerful than the spirit in those who belong to the world. Those false prophets speak about matters of the world, and the world listens to them because they belong to the world. But we belong to God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever does not belong to God does not listen to us. This, then, is how we can tell the difference between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:4-6)

Never, doubt my love for you. I breathed life into you. I created you as the recipients and caretakers of all creation. You are wanted children.

“Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it;

he breathed life giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.” (Genesis 2:7)

“Then, the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.” (Genesis 2:15)

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a

suitable companion to help him.’” (Genesis 2:18)

“Then, the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him.” (Genesis 2:21-22)

I love you for ever and for always. With Me, you have life that will never end.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Never hesitate to come to me in prayer, through my Son, Jesus Christ.

“The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his power. (John 3:35)

Your Heavenly Father

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Living Water Church                                                                             June 25, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Dear God, Help Us!

Breathe Life Into Us, Again!

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                        Inspired by God

Dear God,

“God spoke, and these were his words: ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves. Worship no god but me.’” (Exodus 20:2-3)

Why is all of this happening to us, one crisis after another?

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

(2 Timothy 3:3-4)

We don’t understand! It seems like evil is going unpunished!

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’(Romans 12:19)

We love you, God! Why are we feeling punished when we’re innocent?

“But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the sons of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and those who do evil.” (Matthew 5:45)

And, where are you in all of this mess?

”There you will look for the Lord your God, and if you search for him with all your heart, you will find him.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Help us!

“The Lord your God is going with you, and he will give you victory.”

(Deuteronomy 20:4)

We feel exhausted!

“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)

We have lost our confidence!

“Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident!

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you

wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We are angry!

“Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”

(James 1:20)

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:26-32)

We feel anxious and depressed!

“Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

“Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don’t have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

We’ve been isolated and we are lonely!

“I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the

Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) We are discouraged and fearful!

Israel, the Lord who created you says, ‘Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.’” (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

What do you want from me? I’m just one person!

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 3:5)

“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word, instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like.

But whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and does not simply listen and forget it, but puts it into practice—that person will be blessed by God in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)

Don’t you love us anymore?

“Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him, who alone does great wonders, his love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:2-3)

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Please, breathe life into us, again!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

In the name of Jesus, we ask You, Your children

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Living Water Church                                                                                                     June 22, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

In History, Lies Hope

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“All these things happened to them as examples for others, and they were written down as a warning for us. For we live at a time when the end is about to come.”

(1 Corinthians 10:11)

Many believe that we are living in the end times as foretold in the Bible. Evil

continues to shake its’ fists and flex its’ muscles. Good continues to try to stand firm and oppose, holding fast to truth in Biblical precepts and promises. Christians know that, in the end, God’s truth will finally prevail.

“For sin pays its’ wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6: 23) Therein lives our Hope!

Yet, we also know that our journey to Our Hope, to His eternal kingdom of truth and peace, won’t be easy. The worst of our personal life struggles and daily ‘conflicts with evil,’ are no comparison to the magnitude of battling against the evil enveloping the entire world.

Of course, evil is nothing new. We know that evil has been prowling around since Adam and Eve succumbed to it in the Garden of Eden. We know that fact, because it is in the Bible. The Bible is our history, a written account of God’s people, describing blessings and miracles, as well as, many instances of past evils in the world, including such things as murder, adultery, slavery, and so called, ‘alternative life-styles’. It might be said that ‘evil is everything the Ten Commandments condemn’. These Laws of God were given to us to keep us from sin. All are the inspired words of God, true accounts, given to warn, encourage, and give hope! And, Jesus Christ was sent to us to save us from sin. Today, in Jesus Christ is Our Hope!

All of the story, the good, bad, and ugly is part of our history. God wants us to forever remember every aspect of our history. That’s why we are heirs to His Word. God wants us to know and understand His Word. God wants us to use the Bible as a handbook as we go about our daily lives. He wants us to use it all, even the worst parts, as lessons for the present and future. It will help us to be better able to identify and prepare for evil. We will know the precise differences between right and wrong. And, if we heed the history of the Bible, we can be free from repeating sins of our past and we can be forewarned of evil traps and detours on the pathway to our future.

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Living Water Church                                                                          June 11, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Kneel to No One, But Christ

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and

gave him the name that is greater than any other name. And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

It would be difficult to argue with the fact that there is unprecedented confusion and chaos in the world. To be blunt, in today’s world, evil is

rampant! If we don’t quickly change our course with revisiting and reestablishing God’s priorities, evil won’t just be rampant. Evil will prevail! It will prevail because, at an accelerating rate, knowingly or unknowingly, we continue to kneel to evil people and an evil world.

In preparing to type this ‘story’, I ‘googled’ this phrase, ‘God punishes evil.’ In .37 seconds, I received 1, 810, 000 results. Results 1 and 2 were reasonably ‘normal’ responses. Result 3 came from an article in the

Washington Post, “It’s time to rethink how you read the story of Adam and Eve” by Reza Aslan, (“a scholar of religions and author most recently of ‘God: A Human History’”.) Honestly, this two page article blew my mind! Certainly, I admit that I don’t understand all of it but the gist is ‘pantheism’, the belief that God and the universe are one and the same.

This is an attempt to redefine Our God. Reza suggests that we stop trying to form a relationship with God and, instead, become more fully aware of the relationship between ourselves and the world around us.

Further, he suggests we do not root our moral choices either in fear of eternal punishment or in hope of eternal reward because everyone and

everything are God! He ends with these statements, “Eat the forbidden fruit. Don’t fear God. You are God.”

Excuse me, but weren’t some of those words the same ones spoken by the serpent in the garden, written in The Holy Bible?                                                                               Do not kneel to anyone, but God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Unfortunately, another worldly priority changer is the pressure of political correctness. Being politically correct is incorrect because it is completely lacking in meaningful content. Thinking or doing something, based solely on how it looks rather than the purpose it serves is stupid. God gave us brains to discern His truths, not the world’s ‘truths’. And, God blesses those who uphold His Truths with wisdom. Don’t let political trends define or redefine Godly priorities in your life. Kneel to no one, but God.

“But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

Sadly, there are people, many of wealth or position, whose lives are constantly observed, upheld, and labeled successful. Television commercials do it constantly. Increasingly, they are becoming evil propaganda, attacking all that God once deemed ‘good.’ Evil continues to corrupt the lives of many of our leaders, sports heroes, and celebrities.

Once, many years ago, I had a discussion about trust, with my then, five year old son. He precisely described the devil as a ‘trickster.’  The evil forces in this world are masterful at deception. We must see them for what they are and refuse to kneel to them!! As Tucker Carlson from Fox News

said, these evildoers are “vampires, they will avoid you, the light.”

“Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Other people, some clearly lacking in wealth and/or position try to use social media to pretend and try to convince other people (who happen to be just like them financially and in status), to envy them because their lives are ‘rich, perfect and totally fulfilling.’ Because of our obsession with social media, these ‘average people on the street,’ have a ‘platform’ to intentionally and/or unintentionally, subtly and/or dramatically affect our priorities! When used properly, facebook and youtube are great resources for connecting people! When used improperly they are tools of the devil.

They emotionally, socially, and psychologically, destroy lives of average folks and lives of some very fragile souls.

‘Worldly priorities’ are much less important than Godly ones. Choose

God’s platform of priorities. Kneel to Him, only.

Matthew 6:19-21 advises, “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.

Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are.”

We must stop trusting the world to know what is in our best interest. We must stop allowing the world to prioritize our lives for us. We must stop believing and ‘silently feeding’ on media lies instead of ‘feasting on Bible

truths.’ We must realize that if something or some idea is ‘hard to swallow’, then it is probably not good for us. We cannot ignore evil. We must refuse to be silenced by it, lest we give the impression that we condone it. We cannot kneel to evil!

In my mind’s eye, I envision Christ, on His knees before His Father, crying, praying, and fervently, interceding for us! Before Christ, we must do likewise. We have to read, examine, digest and assimilate into our lives, God’s priorities, found in our Bibles. God, alone, knows what is best for us. And, His Son is the Only One, to whom we should submit, kneel before, and praise.

Yes, we must kneel! And, we must pray! We must kneel and pray to Our God, Our Creator in Jesus name!

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your love. And, thank You for Your Word. Help us to remember to reach for our Bibles, as our first resource, whether in times of peace or in times of chaos.

When alone or when ministering to others, remind us, always, to seek Your perfect priorities and Your perfect platform, in prayer, on our knees, and before Your Beloved Son. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                          June 9, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Teachable Moments

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

As a former preschool teacher, I am a big fan of “teachable moments”.

What could be more gratifying that watching a life-lesson unexpectedly present itself, evolve into a problem or controversy, come to a fair and just solution, and finally turn into a blessing, without any instruction or teaching to help it along? Believe it or not, there is something more satisfying! It’s when two teachable moments happen at the same time!

Today, our family went to our church to prepare for ‘reopening’ during ‘phase two recovery’ of the COVID 19 pandemic. We needed some

disinfectant spray and wipes, so my grandson and I decided to make a quick trip to Walmart.

Amid lots of foot traffic, we found a spot in a rather long line. As we waited in line, I looked in my purse for my debit card. It wasn’t in my wallet, as usual. I checked the two front pockets. No luck! I was beginning to feel anxious! Landon said, “Don’t worry, Grandma, you’ll find it.”

As he helped me check my purse, again, we looked up to see a tall elderly man get in line in front of us. I just chuckled. I looked at Landon, who appeared a little indignant. I smiled at him, shrugged my shoulders, and whispered, “It’s okay.” The two of us went back to searching for my debit card.

Hearing a woman’s voice, we looked up, again. This time it was an elderly lady. She smiled, greeting the elderly man and then saying, “I’m just gonna’ pull my cart in line right here behind you.” The elderly man laughed and agreed. So, the little old lady pushed her cart into the line in

front of the little old man. Once again, Landon and I looked at each other but this time, we got so tickled, we were having a hard time keeping from laughing out loud!

As I continued my debit card search (unfortunately, to no avail), a man spoke out from behind us. (Being preoccupied with my purse, Landon and I hadn’t noticed that a line had formed behind us.) Directly behind us was a middle-aged couple. The man had become angry at the old man for getting in front of me and had become completely undone when the little old lady got in front of the little old man. Directing his speech to the little old man, the man behind us said, “Hey, Bud…..the back of the line is back here.”

Appearing confused and embarrassed, the old man replied, “What?

What’s wrong?” as he walked toward the man behind us. Then, realizing, what he had done, the old man apologized. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you all were just standing there talking.”

Refusing to accept the old man’s apology, the younger man who was still visibly angered, became somewhat quieted, when his embarrassed wife

spoke up, saying, “Oh, it’s okay.” In the meantime, I was trying to apologize to the younger man for not having told the older man about the end of the line, because I didn’t realize anyone was behind us! (It’s no wonder that during all of the confusion, the very end of the line had dispersed.) Things calmed completely, as the old man apologized, again, the wife behind us apologized for her husband, and I apologized, too!

Laughing, I returned to searching my purse. The couple behind me went to another line, and a clerk yelled, “I can take someone” on a nearby aisle. Using a credit card, I made my purchase. As it turned out, Landon and I were heading out of the store, while the others were still waiting in line.

“See, Landon, we got blessed for being a blessing.”

Smiling, Landon agreed, saying, “Yeah, and Grandma, don’t worry about your debit card because God is going to work it out.”

Guess what? God did! When we got home, I found my receipt and debit card in the pocket of my jeans I had worn the day before! God had worked it out, just like Landon promised He would!

Wow! Two teachable moments in one day! One for the preschool teacher and one for the grandson!

Heavenly Father, Thank you for children! And, thank you for all blessings that come out of teachable moments!                                             No matter how old or young we are, help us to always remain alert and watchful for all of the life-lessons you put in our paths! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                          June 5, 2020

Water from the Well

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

(Isaiah 12:3)

Non-essentials

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

The following is a statement published by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth Texas. “Despite the fact of man’s sordid record, he still remains the crown of God’s creation. Even as a sinner, he is the object of God’s eternal love as seen in the fact that Christ died to save him (Romans 5:8). It follows naturally, therefore, that man is of infinite worth in God’s sight.

‘God is no respecter of persons’ (Acts 10:34). For this reason, ‘every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.’

I used this statement to begin this writing, because it precisely explains the Perfect Love for each and every one of us, by our Heavenly Father.

Beginning to end, The Bible is filled with many such affirmations of God’s love for us. In Genesis 1:26-31, God tells us that we were created in His image, to be Godly people who would “reflect His image”. God blessed us and told us to “have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.” By Him, we were given dominion to rule over all creatures. And, He made provision for us with grains and fruit and provision for all creatures with grass and leafy plants. There is no doubt, that we are essential in His eyes! We are wanted, accepted and loved by Our God. And, our God- created world, is flawless!

Sadly, it is not the same story in our earthly lives. Available to us are raw materials of God’s creation. Out of His unlimited supply of perfect resources, we attempt to “make” our own imperfect material world that is never satisfied. We build, teardown, and rebuild. We revise and improvise, always with the intent of improvement. We crave being bigger, better and best.

With childlike understanding, we repeat the mantras, “He who dies with the most toys wins” and “I want it all and I want it now!”

Our priorities have become increasingly skewed, causing tragic results for all of humanity. Things have become essential. People have not. The world does not value us, God’s people,’ the crown of God’s creation.’ Thankless, always offended, and forever entitled, we are quickly becoming a world where things reign supreme and people are considered disposable, nonessential, and valueless.

But, worse than the failure to recognize that typical ‘men on the street’ have value, is our inability to identify certain groups of our ‘most vulnerable’ who are often forgotten. They are treated as after-thoughts, often perceived as burdens to society. They are the ‘least of these.’ They are the ones of whom Jesus often spoke.

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!’” (Matthew 25:40)

In today’s world, the ‘least of these’ are veterans of the military who have been gravely injured physically or psychologically in service to our country.

‘Non-essential’ are the healthy elderly, forced to remain in nursing homes, sharing quarters with other elderly ‘disposables’ who are patients of COVID 19.

Easily forgotten are the ‘nonessential’, young lives (including preteens) tragically lost to drug addiction, suicide due to the isolating effects of COVID 19, and a myriad of cultural factors.

‘Disposable’ are the unwanted babies, quietly forming deep within their mother’s wombs. Often without legal repercussion, we literally, throw their lives away’ at abortion clinics, under the innocuous guise of “pro-choice.”

Meanwhile, in some large American cities, fines are being levied on businesses and contempt shown to individuals for using and throwing away disposable plastic straws! And, at this very moment, there is rioting and looting of small businesses and brutal assaults on the owners who are trying to protect their livelihoods, by thugs, out to score ‘essentials’ such as a designer handbag or pair of Nikes. (Their additional ‘reward’ is a ‘get out of jail free card.’)

How did we get here? How did we allow the world to cheapen God’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for each other? We got here by skewed priorities. Today’s focus is on things, not people. We got here by lack of respect for human life which precipitated from our lack of respect for Our Creator. Some still believe we are essential to Him. But, little by little, some have decided He isn’t essential to us.

We took Him out of our schools. We limited Him to a Sunday morning church service, now and then or maybe a mealtime prayer. We are continually crowding Him out of our lives only to refill it with other things that the world promises are more essential.

But, the story doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end because God has no end. His love, unconditional and freely poured out for all, does not end. Life with Him has no end! Life matters to God. He promises we will always remain essential to Him.

We must always make God essential to us! We must rethink our

priorities! We must tune out the ‘things’ in the world!

All He wants from us is for us to seek relationship with Him (Matthew 6:34) “Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you” and to love one another (John 13:34) “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have

loved you, so you must love one another.”

So, fear not! God gave us life! God loves us! We are worthy! All lives are essential! All lives matter to God!

“In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for life and unconditional love. Thank You for the proof of Your Love in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! And, thank You for being a God of Grace!

Forgive our selfishness and self-centeredness. Open us to the needs of all people, especially ‘the least of these.’ And, help us to astonish the world as we prioritize our lives and live together with all of Your children in the fullness of Your Love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                                                                     June 3, 2020

Water from the Well
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Response to “Get It”

(Isaiah 12:3)

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God


This was written as a response to the article, ‘Get it?’ in the May 14th edition of The Page News and Courier. It was published in the Page News and Courier June 3, 2020.
This is the first time I’ve ever responded to a letter to the editor. I was moved to respond for two reasons. The first reason was due to the sad thought that no one else felt a need to respond. The second reason was the following. It needs to be said.
“Anyone who does evil things hates the light and will not come to the light, because he does not want his evil deeds to be shown up. But whoever does what is true comes to the light in order that the light may show that what he did was in obedience to God.”
(John 3:20-21)
The writer stated that she wished people would stop putting religion into politics. But, God was here, first, not politics. People need to stop putting politics into religion.
God created this world. God created people. Then, He put His laws in place in His world, which He created. His laws, called the Ten Commandments, were specifically designed to guide and protect and prosper His people. His eighth commandment reads “Thou shalt not kill.”
Yes, women have the right to control their bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory.”
Clearly, women do not have the right to deny life to the God-given children housed in their God-given bodies.
 
Here is the good news! Women do not have to be their own doctors! Women do not have to hire someone to end the life of their unborn babies, either! There are many, many people in this world who want children, but aren’t able to have them. Adoption is a wonderfully creative alternative to an  unintended pregnancy! It’s a win/win situation! Everyone lives! Everyone is blessed! Praise God! I’m so thankful that my mom was pro-life! Aren’t you?
By Joanne Boyette

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Living Water Christian Church of the Shenandoah Valley
72 N Lake Avenue
Front Royal, VA 22630
540-622-6320

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Let us not give up meeting together… let us
encourage one another- and all the more as you
see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25