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Living Water Church                                                                                                                            October 29, 2020

Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

Getting Over It

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he

requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.” (Matthew 6:33)

If you are alive, you know the feeling. You can’t live long on this earth before you experience it. Although its causes and effects can be seen on a societal level, it is first, most deeply perceived on a personal level. It is subjective, based on personal opinions and feelings, not science. Wikipedia identifies it as, ‘a source of psychological distress.’ It is experienced in varying degrees, yet individuals caught up in it, often describe it as ‘a state of personal despair’. Synonyms for it include; failure, setbacks and letdowns. It is disappointment.

The world, today, is drowning in it. The United States is considered the leader of the free world, therefore other countries look to us for example and direction. Sadly, we are having great difficulty leading and directing ourselves. The drumbeat continues day after day, as disappointments over-shadow the American Dream. We are disappointed in the behavior of our leaders in an election that could change our country and world forever. We are disappointed in our leader’s inability to handle life, death, and critical need issues of this pandemic. We cringe as we watch this non-thinking, viral, force of nature, be exploited and used as a political platform, an excuse, and a tool, amid so much suffering and death, only to cause even more suffering and death. We’re tired of the blame-game.

We are disappointed in the loss of our freedoms, now and for the future. We are disappointed that life is so very difficult even when we work so hard to ‘take it one day at a time.’           We are tired of being desensitized as media attacks our morals and values with distasteful and outrageous advertizing, often targeting our youth. Our school systems disappoint us, allowing radical attempts to erase and rewrite our history. And, we are so disappointed at the prospects of a bright and promising future for our children and grandchildren.

Christians, are not exempt. Even though Christians are not to be ‘of the world’ we must still be ‘in the world.’ This is a critical time for Christianity. We are disappointed and often outraged as we experience actual violations or sense impending threats to our God-given, inalienable rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Believers feel oppressed as our houses of worship are forced closed or so heavily regulated that congregations can’t afford to keep them open. We are targeted by liberal government which refuses to see that worship is essential to life. Our elected representatives move farther and farther into the dark leftist ideologies of their personal agendas for personal power and wealth, rather than

representing the people who voted for them. And, if we cry out, our media is so corrupt and one-sided that our voices are ignored, censored, and despised.

Recognizing the fact that our world is disappointing is secondary, only, to knowing that our personal lives are disappointing, as well. It is hard, if not impossible, to separate the two. But, somehow, it is less devastating to be drowning in disappointment which everyone in the word is experiencing than to be drowning alone in your own personal disappointment. The economy, the election, and instability in foreign affairs may be disappointing, but hey, ‘we’re all in this together’, right?

As tragic as they are, disappointments on a world level somehow pale, in comparison to such personal disappointments as, receiving a cancer diagnosis, loss of an unsaved loved one, loss of a life-long job or a realization that you are not your best friend’s, best friend.

Your heart is broken. You might even feel physically ill. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else. The immediate sting from that kind of personal disappointment burns, first, as a flame and then smolders. Reponses can be extreme. Reactions include; disbelief, confusion, shame, panic, anger, or even feeling like you can’t go on.

When disappointment becomes that overwhelming and complicated, when it’s all we see at every turn, when it’s on every possible level of our already complicated lives, when it seems to be stacking up at an incomprehensible rate, as it is, at this very moment, for millions and millions of us all over the world, it is at that precise moment when disappointment can become either a debilitation or a motivation. It can cripple us or cause us to move.

God doesn’t want anything to cripple us. God wants us to move. Walk, crawl or sprint, God wants us to come to him. God wants us to see it as a way to remain faithful and seek him, always, for rehabilitation and deliverance from disappointment and all of our needs, large and small.

“The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)

In an article entitled, “God’s Promise for the Disappointed” by Pastor Steve Fuller (www.desiringgod.org), Steve writes, “Those who seek God will lack no good thing. If something is good, God will give it to you.”

We might argue, ‘But, God, the very thing that I am disappointed about is still in front of me. I am remaining faithful to You. How are You fulfilling Your promise?’ Pastor Steve

suggests that we research the answer to ‘what is the greatest good?’ He cites the following Scriptures. In Psalm 16:2, David says, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” Asaph says in Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” And, in Philippians 3:8, Paul wrote, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus My Lord.”

Clearly, these verses declare that ‘the greatest good is God himself—knowing God in the person of Jesus Christ’. Steve clarifies his statement saying, “This is not just knowing about God. This is actually knowing God. This means to feel his glory, sense his love, experience his presence. When we experience God in this way, we are so full that we desire nothing else. God is the only all-satisfying good, which is why he is the greatest good.” We must

see God as our ‘All in All’.

So the next logical question is, ‘what does God mean when he promises us that we will lack no good thing?’ Pastor Steve answers, saying, “If God is our greatest good, then what

makes something good is whether it brings us more of God.” He uses the example of healing and lack of healing. When we are healed of a sickness, it’s good because we are healed, of course, but also because we are brought closer to him in witnessing his goodness, mercy, and power. But, not being healed can be good, as well, because we get more of him by drawing closer to him. In God’s choice to not heal us, we will receive even more of his presence than actual healing would have brought.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, experiencing, ‘a thorn in his flesh’, Paul wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When God is our ‘all-satisfying treasure’, then, all that is necessary to make something good, is that it brings us more of God. We must see God as our perfect Source and Resource.

So, knowing all of this, why do we still feel disappointed? Pastor Steve says that we still feel disappointed because there is something that we desire more than him. So as good and honorable as our longings and desires may be, none of them will ever come close to satisfying us as much as God himself.

It sounds so very simple! Fully rely on God! That’s what our Perfect Heavenly Father

implores us to do! Just trust God! Seek him for everything!

Much easier said than done! After all, we’re not perfect and almost as soon as we come into this world, “It’s on.” We begin to see the world as a place to become independent.

We’re rewarded for growing up and doing it ourselves! We pride ourselves on being able to say, “I got this!” There really isn’t anything innately wrong with that idea. We all are born to grow and thrive in the world in which He sent us.

However, the problem is that we often somehow lose sight of why we are here. Our connection with Him weakens. Sure, we can live somewhat independently and successfully and happily in the world, but we definitely cannot live an abundant Christian life, if it is independent of our God and Creator. We are here because God put us here. He has a will and purpose for our lives. As Christians, we are set apart from the world because we are of Him. We live in Him and He lives in us.  He wants to shower us with blessings.  He wants us to thrive within His promises. Apart from Him, our lives lose meaning. Apart from Him, we will be disappointed.

Pastor Steve writes, “So when I am disappointed by God, there’s a problem with my faith. I am not trusting that God himself is who he says he is for me in Jesus. I’m not trusting in him as my all-satisfying treasure.”

Heavenly Father,

We know that You love us. In these times, we are truly drowning in disappointment. Help us to remember that the way to ‘get over’ all of our disappointments is by bringing them all to you. Unlike the cord that is severed when a child leaves its’ mother’s womb and is born into this world to one day live independently, allow our connection to You to always remain vital and intact, until we reach our home with You, in Your eternal kingdom. In

Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                                                         Octobrt 16, 2020

Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

A Divine Gift with Heart Strings Attached

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     inspired by God

“As Jesus went along, the people were crowding him from every side. Among them was a woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years; she had spent all she had on doctors, but no one had been able to cure her. She came up in the crowd behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, and her bleeding stopped at once. Jesus asked, ‘Who

touched me?’ Everyone denied it, and Peter said, ‘Master, the people are all around you and crowding in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I knew it when power went out of me.’ The woman saw that she had been found out, so she came trembling and threw herself at Jesus’ feet. There in front of everybody, she told him why she had touched him

and how she had been healed at once. Jesus said to her, ‘My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8:42b-48)

Having heard miraculous stories about the healing power of Jesus, a very sick woman sought to be cured by him. The woman possessed complete faith and confidence in the power of Jesus to heal her body but no confidence in her own self. Bound by feelings of unimportance and unworthiness, the woman sought Jesus in total humility and quiet anonymity. She did not want to hinder or inconvenience Jesus in any way.

So as not to be noticed, she made her way through the crowd from behind him.

Planning to just touch Jesus’ cloak and retreat, the woman reached out. Imagine her surprise as she touched the threads of his garment and almost simultaneously, three events took place. She was healed, Jesus felt the release of his power at her touch, and Jesus immediately asked, “Who touched me?”

Realizing that she had been ‘found out’, she had to have been overwhelmed by cascading feelings of regret, shame, embarrassment, disappointment and more.

Adding insult to injury, she had an entire crowd of witnesses! And, most unnerving of all, Jesus was the subject of the impropriety of her behavior! Her mission for healing had been accomplished, yet the woman must have wished she had suddenly become invisible!

Perhaps she wanted to flee! Instead, whatever her reasoning, she came in front of Jesus, trembling, and fell at his feet. The Bible does not say that the woman begged forgiveness. It did not say that the woman burst into prayers of praise and thanksgiving. The Bible says, that the woman, in front of everyone, ‘told her story’.

And, what was the response of Jesus? This miracle-filled, powerfully gentle man, God’s Only Son, replied, “My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Jesus did not respond with judgment or admonition. There were no words of anger or condemnation. Jesus did nothing to detain the woman in any way. The only thing Jesus wanted was to see her face-to-face, and to know who it was, who had reached out to him in faith. Who was this person who believed that just a momentary touch of his cloak’s woven strings would heal her of a twelve-year illness? It almost seems as if Jesus was surprised.

Indeed, this entire story is filled with many beautiful surprises. In that one tiny act of faith, within one very brief encounter, blessings freely flowed! God was glorified! A miracle took place as a body was healed! Jesus opened the door for a personal relationship in which he wished to heal a soul! A new follower had a personal experience to share! The Disciples and those in the crowd personally witnessed Jesus in action! Everyone got a glimpse of what makes Jesus, Jesus!

It’s almost more than one can comprehend. In need and faith, a woman sought to touch the threads of Jesus’ cloak. Her touch tugged on the strings of Jesus’ heart. In response, Jesus healed her body and showed his desire for a personal relationship with her which would tug at her heartstrings as well as her soul!

So how is this story relevant to our lives in 2020? Everyone agrees that living in today’s world is challenging, at best. Add the misery of this pandemic and social unrest and life is often ‘next to impossible.’ One of the biggest and most wide- spread obstacles is isolation. Some folks are bound to their homes, nursing homes or hospital rooms.       With closed schools and universities and little, if any, opportunity for playing or viewing, sports are outlawed or severely limited.

Restaurant seating, park benches and even ‘old timer’s benches’ in Wal Mart have all but disappeared. If there is public seating, it is often ‘socially distanced’ which forces yelling in place of once quiet conversations. Resulting in an incredible yearning for authentic, unconditional love and meaningful, long term relationship unattached to a screen.

That kind of relationship is free and available to every living soul! The very best thing about the ‘woman who reached out in faith’ is that the story doesn’t end there. And, there is a guaranteed promise within it. Jesus wishes for you to

substitute your name for the woman’s. You can be sick or well, dressed or in pajamas, at home or away. He is waiting for you to reach out to him in faith and tug at his heart. He promises to be there for you, no matter what!

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word which can guide and direct our lives in right living while providing Your comfort and Your peace to our often-chaotic lives. When we’re feeling the effects of isolation, Lord, help us to remember to turn to away from unhealthy worldly solutions to the promises of Your Word and to a divine personal relationship with Your Only Son, made of faith, love, and intertwined heartstrings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Living Water Church                                                                                                         September 30, 2020


Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

The Jesus Diet

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of

the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’” (John 6:53-58)

I’ve always thought that the hardest addiction to overcome is overeating. We know we cannot live long without food and water. Unlike smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling, and pornography, food and water are necessary for life. You can live completely, without cigarettes, beer, game apps on your phone, etc. But you can’t live completely without food and water.

Consequently, breaking an over-eating addiction requires limitation, not elimination. Unlike other addictions, you can’t just ‘swear off’ food and water. You must develop character traits such as; self-control, perseverance and endurance to reach your goal. In addition, you must forever maintain those qualities, lest you fall back into the pattern of overeating. Losing weight while maintaining one’s health is challenging, at best!

While watching the news the other evening, a weight loss advertisement aired.

The commercial boasted to be the ‘best diet without dieting’. With this product, you would stop ‘yo-yo’ dieting. It would help you build healthy habits to lose weight. You would receive benefits beyond weight loss. You would receive a 16- week customized course for long term weight loss, with virtual coaching and

‘personal progress tracking.’

You could receive a 14-day trial. Services include a weekly 1-on-1 appointment and daily lessons to ‘lose weight for good.’ This ‘diet which isn’t a diet’ “doesn't follow a traditional diet format but instead lets you decide what foods to eat while

setting limits on calories.” It “connects dieters to a support group and a weight- loss coach who can provide feedback when needed."

According to the website, “If you thrive on smart phone apps and virtual interaction, the Noom diet plan could work for you.” Customer comment ‘pros’ praise support and flexible food choices. ‘Cons’ include lack of nutritional guidance and ‘being glued to your phone.’ A computer cost check revealed that without a waived trial fee, plus a three-month subscription and a custom meal plan but no

custom workout plan, you’ll see $239.00 charge on your credit card bill.

What? Forgive me, Friends, for seemingly ‘rubbing salt into wounds’ but, truth is truth. That diet, and a million others just like it, is not truth, but a fairly accurate description of life in the year 2020 A.D. Of course, we’re all aware that we’re living in a complicated, impersonal and troubled world, at best. Factoring in some of the crippling effects of covid19 such as fear, anxiety and depression, creates new problems and exacerbates many of our already existing problems.

Those living in poverty, squalor, and homelessness are sinking deeper into despair. Even ‘once healthy individuals’ are now falling into the ‘unhealthy living category’ with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, over eating, excessive worrying, extreme anxiety, etc.

The results are sometimes deadly with many lives lost to suicide. On the increase, are coping mechanisms which are often self-destructive behaviors and treacherous patterns of living                    Tragically, even as we seek to find new solutions or ‘tweak’ to improve old solutions, the world is increasingly becoming a miserable or more miserable place to live. Sadly, on this revolving sphere, it seems that hopelessness is commonplace. Ironically, in some instances, hopelessness is thriving.

But there is hope! For Christians, there is always hope! Hope is Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is eternal! And, Hope lives in all who have welcomed Him into their hearts and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior! Hope is ever-present on the Jesus Diet, because, as Christians, Jesus lives in us and we live in him!

Hands down, this IS the ‘best diet without dieting’. Only, on the Jesus Diet, can one feast continually and live forever! When you are feasting on God’s Word, enjoy as much as you wish as often as you wish! Binging is never an issue! Never get fat or bloated and always be blessed! There’s more!

On the Jesus Diet, you’ll never feel too full or too hungry, because God’s Word is always perfectly timed. As I sat, typing these last few sentences and reading them to my husband, he smiled and commented that I needed to read some words of inspiration that Joy Stiles had forwarded just today. (Joy has sent out a devotion every day since the beginning of the pandemic!)

The encouraging words posted read, “I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. (Psalms 119:15-16) Those verses inspired these words from someone named Rocky, “When it comes to reading the Bible, I find it to be like nutrition for my

soul. I've known people that speed-read the Bible, and have a huge portion of the Bible memorized, but their lives reflect little to nothing of what they have read. We have to meditate on it, ponder it, enjoy it like a good meal.”

Unbelievably, the Jesus Diet allows you to indulge with abandon! You’ll never find yourself in a pattern of yo-yo dieting! There is no such thing as guilt over failure on the Jesus Diet because forgiveness is guaranteed with any confession of sin. Plus, you will enjoy a support group of ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’! This group meets at least once per week on Sunday mornings, but you will also have unlimited 24/7 direct access to The Only Son’s prayer line.

But, wait! On the Jesus Diet, you will build healthy habits without an exercise plan because you will be feasting on the Perfect Words of the Bible, which have been exemplified and promised as life eternal in the life, death and resurrection of the CEO, Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Founder. There’s more! You will have a personal coach, called The Holy Spirit who will comfort, encourage and inspire much needed feedback, forever. There is no trial period and your acceptance is risk free. There’s still more! Your free life-long subscription has been paid in full and is guaranteed for eternity. And, to God will go the glory!

Heavenly Father,

In Your love, mercy, grace and infinite wisdom, You have devised a perfect plan for us to know and experience lives overflowing with hope. Thank You for the opportunity to feast upon the incredible gift of Your Word, provided in the Bible.

And, thank You for Your Only Son, the Living Word, who promises to keeps us spiritually healthy, that we might one day know eternal life with You.

In Christ’s name, Amen.

Living Water Church                                                 September 21, 2020


Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

A Good Kind of Tired

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength, so that I was able to proclaim the full message for all the Gentiles to hear; and I was rescued from being sentenced to death. And the Lord will rescue me from all evil and take me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17-18)

Selflessly, Mother Teresa (of Calcutta, India), devoted nearly her entire adult life to feeding, caring for, and praying for other human beings. “In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also runs soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children's and family counseling programs, as well as orphanages and schools. Members take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and also profess a fourth vow – to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor." (Wikipedia)

In her book, Refresh Me Lord, Anne Costa, wrote, “Mother Teresa of

Calcutta, who died on September 5, 1997, was one of the greatest spiritual

‘overachievers’ of our time. She accomplished so much, that we might think that she rarely took a break from tending to the human misery that surrounded her.”

An interview with Malcolm Muggeridge, BBC reporter, then working on a documentary about her life, found Mother Teresa in unbelievable squalor in a ghetto in the streets of Calcutta. The following is an excerpt of that interview.

“Eighteen years!” exclaimed Muggeridge. “You’ve been working here in these streets for eighteen years?”

“Yes,” she said simply and yet joyfully. “It is my privilege to be here.

These are my people. These are the ones my Lord has given to me to love.” “Do you ever get tired? Do you ever feel like quitting and letting

someone else take over your ministry? After all, you are beginning to get

older.”

“Oh, no,” she replied, “this is where the Lord wants me, and this is where I am happy to be. I feel young when I am here. The Lord is so good to me. How privileged I am to serve him.”

Clearly, Mother Teresa was a wonderful example of agape love. Her life over-flowed with a love which was sacrificial and unconditional. It seems Mother Teresa worked tirelessly, requesting very little except that God would grant her more days and continued strength to complete what she fervently believed ‘had been set before her by God’.

Mother Teresa is one of my heroes. I’ve been known to say, “When I grow up, I want to be like Mother Teresa.” When I speak on an altruistic level, I honestly do wish in my heart and soul, that I might achieve such a Godly kind of life. Yet, on a practical level, I wonder if I could. What if I got sick, became exhausted, or lost focus? Would I persevere? Would I become frustrated? Would I push forward?

Think for a moment about how much more complicated this ‘already complicated’ world has become because of covid19. Staying healthy and

keeping our families healthy are at the top of our ‘already too long’ daily ‘to do’ lists. We devote so much of our precious time just cleaning and sanitizing. Just making sure we have a supply of personal protective products takes time and energy. Child care, education, employment, unemployment, groceries, cooking, exercising, shuffling bills, all sap us.

Physical exhaustion is one thing! Now, add mental and emotional exhaustion! There’s the news and the upcoming election! The future of freedom for our children and grandchildren is at stake!                                                                  Surely, we, like Mother Teresa are dealing with ‘human misery.” It’s hard to have enough time to just survive without having anything ‘extra’ to tack on to the list. God knows, we are tired!

Oh, yes, we’ve kind of forgotten Him! God is ‘on the list’, too! Sorry,

God!

Even ‘church’, at its’ very best, has been made difficult and inconvenient.

Yet, our pastor keeps preaching! The congregation keeps singing and praying! The organist keeps the music going! Our Sunday school teachers keep preparing and teaching! The acolytes keep lighting the candles! The

secretary/treasurer keeps on paying the bills! Our church leaders keep tending to church ‘business’! Our website keeps being updated! The janitor keeps cleaning and sanitizing! The backpack program keeps providing food for hungry children! The landscaper keeps on cutting the grass! And, because of covid19, the videographers keep recording to bring the service to those at home!

Yes, okay, we get it, God! We are appreciative. But, why do church leaders and pastors and church family members keep pressuring everyone to keep ministering, and giving, and sharing and supporting and reaching out to each other? You said, Yourself, that You understood we are exhausted!

Teresa of Avila, from the 16th century said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, No hands but yours, No feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”

Forgive us, God! We know that it is never a problem to be tired in our service. But, we must never grow tired of our service. Help us, Dear God, to remember that!

“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.

What we need is to love without getting tired.” (Mother Teresa)

So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for lovingly building our character through Your gifts of perseverance and strength. Help us, Dear God, to always feel that ‘good

kind of tired’ as we in our service seek to further Your Kingdom. Allow us to never tire of our service, so that we can look forward to the day, when we are finally face to face with You. On that day, You will look upon us and say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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   Living Water Church                                                 September 14, 2020

                                  

                                     Water from the Well

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

                                                                                       (Isaiah 12:3)

Fix Your Attention on Eternal Symbols

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                            Inspired by God

“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)

     According to Wikipedia, “a symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. All communication (and data processing) is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas, or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs.”

     I remember that my formal study of symbols did not begin until high school, with such books as The Scarlet Letter and The Red Badge of Courage. In my mind’s eye, I can still ‘see and hear’ my teachers repeating, “Remember, ‘a symbol is what it is’, but it stands for something else.”  Perhaps, because I had great literature teachers or perhaps due to my enjoyment of words, it was then, that I became intrigued with words and symbols.

     It makes perfect sense that I was in high school before symbolism was part of the curriculum. In my many years of being a mom and teaching preschool, I have found that it is very difficult to try to explain to young children what a symbol is.  Teaching algebra to the average first grader would be frustrating for the teacher and the student.  After all, the conceptual world is much harder for a child to relate to than the physical world.  Even telling a preschooler, “I’ll have a treat ready for you in a little while” is vastly different from, “You may eat this hot fudge brownie sundae right now.”

     Yet, it boggles my mind, as to just how early an age children are capable of understanding the meaning behind particular symbols, signs, and pictures. Both of my children were easy and quick to potty train.  I first took a picture of them sitting, ‘unsuccessfully, yet comfortably’, on the potty.  I hung the snapshot next to the potty.  After their first ‘successful attempt’, I took another snapshot of the ‘actual success’.  After much praise and celebration, I posted the second photo next to the first snapshot.  My children were potty trained in no time! 

     But, here is the quandary. My daughter was afraid to sit on a toilet when it was being flushed!  And, my son was afraid to be in a bathtub when the water was draining out!  Clearly, they had no understanding of the unseen. They were fearful of the unknown.  What would happen if she ‘went down with the flush’?  What would happen if he ‘went swirling down the drain’?

       I remember when Hannah was 2 ½ and her brother, Landon, had just been born. We were on our way to the hospital to see her new baby brother. A very hungry Hannah was in the back seat and it was suppertime.  As soon as Pa made the turn into the McDonald’s parking lot, an impatient and hungry little voice cried out from the back seat, “Park, Pa, park!” Apparently, Hannah had recognized the signs and logos and understood that the meaning behind them was food! We were pleased that our observant little granddaughter recognized a healthy need within herself while also recognizing how and where this basic need could be met.

     In less than 13 years, the world of symbols has gone completely out of control! Advertizing, along with accompanying trademarks, logos and symbols, dominates our many ‘always evolving’ forms of media! Sadly, much of the advertizing is inappropriate, immoral, and ungodly!  Some of it is pure propaganda! As we try to raise our grandchildren, this world of signs, hidden meanings, and sometimes, cryptic or subliminal messages, continually present some very serious challenges.    

     We try to limit Hannah’s and Landon’s exposure to the unhealthy and relentless drumbeat, but this world is “saturated and soaking’ in the dictates of unhealthy media forces!  Today, our grandchildren pressure us for Vans or Nike shoes, and new and improved versions of phones.  We often hear the phrases, “Everybody else is doing it!” and “Everyone else has one!” and, most recently, “There are too many rules in this house!” In response, we try to make sure they have everything they need, but only some of what they want.  Yet, it’s often beyond healthy needs, and nearly always, a struggle.

     How did we get here?

     I believe it boils down to this. Without regard for our levels of understanding or our ages, the world swirls further and faster into chaos and confusion with every passing day!  The ‘seen’ secular world of symbols is fickle, temporary, two-faced, and unworthy. Much of it is ungodly in design and deed because within the realms of chaos and confusion, evil thrives best!  The result is discord, ‘evil’s best friend’! 

     Dwelling in constant discord causes instability and insanity.  Life becomes senseless,  joyless, unhealthy and unnerving. We cannot ignore the problem and hang onto our hats as we endure the ride!  We are Christians!  As we grow and mature, spiritually and individually, as we raise our children and grandchildren, and as we seek to serve as salt and light in this world, we need to be cautious concerning how we ‘posture ourselves’ in relationship to understanding the constant drumbeats and false symbols of this world. As Christians, we must not allow the clanging of temporary worldly symbols to drown out the calm, quiet refrain of divine, eternal symbols, such as the cross, the fish, the dove, the bread and wine, and the Alpha and Omega.

      Balance is a necessary! Sadly, in today’s world, the scales are tipped.  The pan on the side of the eternal world seems to be ‘up in the air’ while the pan on the side of the temporary world seems to be ‘weighted down’, likely due to an illegal, unethical, often ungodly thumb hold. If we turn back to God, we can tip the scales in the other direction.

     These are difficult and delicate issues.  Forcing our youth to feel like they are ‘outsiders’ isn’t fair, yet, allowing them to ‘fall to the dictates of society and the world’ isn’t fair either. Just as we cannot allow the color of our skin to be a measure of our character, neither can we allow our youth to believe our character can be measured by the brand name on their shoes. And, we can’t ‘force’ Christian beliefs and still call ourselves Christians.

     We cannot continue to fix the majority of our attention on the ‘seen’ rather than the ‘unseen’, the physical rather than the spiritual.  God has given us everything we need.  He gave us His Only Son to be our savior if we take time to have a relationship with Him.    Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. God offers eternal life with Him.  We must be dependent upon God, not on the world. 

     We must invite God back into our hearts, our souls and our world. Vote for leaders who will put God back into our classrooms and onto our college campuses.  Let’s make sure He is welcome in our churches and courtrooms. Let’s prove that it is God, and not the world, in who we trust.  Let’s prove we are “One nation under God.”  

     We must remember that even when our children, our youth, and ‘the lost of this world’ ‘appear to be otherwise engaged, our youth and children are absorbing and watching everything.  Of course, we must live in this world but we cannot let it consume us!  As Christians, we are to be ‘in the world’, but not ‘of the world’.  So, it is up to us to help our children and youth discern righteousness in an unrighteous world.       

     And, while focusing our attention on the ‘Godly unseen’, we will need to remain alert and diligent, to the ‘seen’ world, lest evil catch us off-guard. We must teach our children to accept no one or no thing at face value, except for the face of Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your mercy, grace and love.  Forgive our lack of respect and obedience to Your Holy Word. As we try to remain focused on You and Your light-filled, eternal world, while residing in this temporary, dimly-lit world of flesh, forgive our selfishness in Your provision. Help us to wholly depend on You.  And, help us to be the kind of people in whom you are glorified! In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Living Water Church                                                                         August 31, 2020

Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

Divine ‘Likes’

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                        Inspired by God

“Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world.

If you love the world, you do not love the Father. Everything that belongs to the world, what the sinful self-desires, what people

see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of, none of this comes from the Father, it all comes from the world. The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but he who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

It’s no secret that I’m ‘technologically challenged.’ Just recently, my husband, (who often tries to undo my computer mistakes), said, “I can’t figure out how you do that!” (Once again, I had successfully, but unknowingly, deleted something that he could not retrieve.)

Occasionally, I am still challenged by my “antiquated’ flip-phone. Our ‘ultra-digital’ car, which I prefer not to be forced to drive, intimidates and unnerves me, as does online banking and online bill paying. (Only by severely limiting options, could the bank ‘force’ me into debit card usage.) And, honestly, the teasing about my tech inadequacies is of little concern to me.

What does remain a concern to me, are instances when inanimate objects attempt to manage my actions and reactions for me. I do not need a machine to monitor my thoughts and behaviors. Alexa needs to get her own life. And, my computer needs to sit on my desk, waiting for my instructions. I do not need my email account to talk to me, asking me to resend an unanswered email or trying to put words in my mouth concerning a possible answer to a question asked of me. It has no right to ‘prompt’ me. It is a non-human apparatus.

I can understand and accept the fact that computers, phones, and debit cards, etc. can be valuable and important tools when properly used. But, I

want to ‘use’ the tool. I do not want to feel as if the tool is in charge of me. My husband gives me this advice; “Don’t try to understand it, just carefully respond to the method or directions.” I do try. But, admittedly, I am a

‘control freak’. And, I get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I turn that control over to a lifeless machine.

More and more I resent objects which have been specifically designed or have been casually or deliberately, allowed to ‘morph’ into things which addict, influence, manipulate, and dehumanize people. It’s “Twilight Zone” material. It reminds me of an episode I saw as a child about a car that ‘came to life’ and tried to kill it’s owner. The thought of it ‘creeps me out’ still today.

Perhaps I’m obsessing, but, truthfully, I think about it often. Lifeless objects ‘messing’ with life is scary. I realize that most began innocently enough. They were originally designed to connect people and help people. They were devices to save time and/or work and make life better. Email is a great example. After email, the devices were ‘improved and advanced’.

But that wasn’t enough, so new developments resulted. We had instant messaging and texting on phones that people are now addicted to. It sounds crazy. But there are people who carry their phones with them every minute of every day. They become anxious and insecure when they aren’t able to access them. Does that sound like someone you know? Defined by Wikipedia, addiction is “a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.” Most Christians would add that addictions are ungodly because they interfere in our relationship with Christ. So, addiction is dangerous enough on its’ own, right?

Even scarier is the fact that the motives behind our cyber experiences have changed!

Our innocent cell phones with the once altruistic goal of ‘connecting people’ are out to destroy us. Devices have been twisted and tweaked. Today, they are data collectors with deadly intentions. Our personal data (friends, families, finances, religious and political affiliations, etc.) are all being used against us, world-wide, in ways that we, ‘average people’, will never comprehend. In addition to becoming addicted, we are being observed, studied, and experimented with. With every instant message, every facebook use, and every tweet, we continue to be evaluated and judged, affirmed and disaffirmed and, most recently, ‘cancelled’!

Friends, this isn’t science fiction! Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley Tech guru, recently wrote a book entitled 10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. In a New York Times review of Jaron’s book, entitled,

“Click Delete to Save Your Soul”, (June 13, 2018) Franklin Foer writes of Lanier, “Many of his criticisms of social media will feel familiar to distant observers of American politics. Twitter and Facebook have made us cruder, less empathetic, more tribal.

Only at the very end does Lanier venture into new territory. His argument, however, is a profound one. He worries that our reliance on big tech companies is ruining our capacity for spirituality, by turning us into robotic extensions of their machines. The companies, he argues, have no appreciation for the ‘mystical spark inside you.’ They don’t understand the magic of human consciousness and, therefore, will recklessly destroy it.

Whatever the flaws of this short manifesto, Lanier shows the tactical value of appealing to the conscience of the individual. In the face of his earnest argument, I felt a piercing shame about my own presence on Facebook. I heeded his plea and deleted my account.”

This poses serious questions for all of mankind. While the world of technology speeds along, subtly or unsubtly, twisting and entwining itself into the fabric of our regular everyday lives, how long before we casually or unknowingly allow ourselves to become totally controlled and completely

‘rewired’? How long before we become machines controlled by other machines? How long before we choose to ignore, fail to recognize or allow to be extinguished, that ‘magic of human consciousness’ inside of ourselves and each other? How long before we surrender our God created humanity? How long before we attempt to ‘out source’ Our Maker?

Take a moment and really think about that!

Our God is a God of provision! He, Author of all life, created us!  He is the Alpha and the Omega! Our beginning and our end is in Him because, forever, we are His creation!                      Because of His unconditional love for us, He offers us life eternal, through the life, death, and resurrection of His Only Son, Jesus Christ. As if that wasn’t enough, Christ left us with a Helper and Comforter who resides within us, guiding us, as we exercise our free will and dominion over God’s creation. Surely, the Holy Spirit is that ‘mystical spark’ within us to which Jaron Lanier referred, fearing its’ reckless destruction.

Are we willing to allow the existence of God within us to become extinct? Who or what are we allowing ‘to direct the steps’ of our lives?

Who or what are we allowing to affirm our lives?

We, as Christians and ‘modern day consumers’, need to be cautious when it comes to unconditionally embracing tools of technology, compromising our Christian principles, and failing to uphold Christian values. We cannot rely on the world.

We must remember that in Christ, we are to be light to the world. As Christians, our mission is to spread the Gospel. We must look to Christ for focus, direction, and continued provision.  And, we must seek affirmation, not from the number of ‘likes’ and ‘friend requests’ on social media accounts, but from the One who created us. It makes perfect sense. All glory and affirmation begins in Him and belongs to Him, anyway. What could be more empowering than knowing that He lives within us?

So what can we do to help ourselves avoid the pitfalls associated with social media and the like? It is necessary, first, to remember that believing in oneself is important, only if, one fully embraces the fact that “we are who we are because of the truth of The One Who dwells within us.” I believe that having that understanding will keep us humble and mindful, setting a great foundation for all social media interactions. That mindset should help us, then, to protect and defend that mystical spark of the Holy Spirit within us.

Our interactions will hopefully become “more about Him and less about me.”

We will find it less necessary and less fulfilling to seek and depend upon worldly media approval when we can count on the ‘Divine Likes” and blessings of Christ. We will know the full power of divine affirmations such as, grace, mercy, validation, peace, redemption, and joy, to name a few.

Our confidence will grow as we show the world that we are special enough for God to use, encourage us and change us! That’s what He did for young Jeremiah. In the eyes of the world, Jeremiah was not a success. But, because of his faithfulness, obedience and courageousness, Jeremiah

became one of the greatest in God’s eyes.

You don’t need to get rid of your electronics. Use them for good! Use them for God! If it isn’t helpful, don’t say it. If it doesn’t uplift or affirm, don’t click ‘send’. In the words of Germany Kent, “You are what you Tweet. Harness the power of Twitter to harness a healthier, happier life!”

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the Holy Spirit! And, thank You for modern technology!

Help us to unharness the power of the Holy Spirit, residing within each of us, to turn social media into a platform for the furtherance of Your kingdom and for Your glory!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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Living Water Church                                                                      August 22, 2020

Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

Living In the Moment

Written by Joanne Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“And I am not saying this because I feel neglected,

for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether

I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to

face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.”                                                                     (Philippians 4:11-13)

Earlier this week, we brought our two granddaughters, Macie and Maddie to our home to spend the day with us, swimming in the pool and eating! You are probably thinking that the swimming sounds ‘normal’, but eating, although necessary, sounds kind of strange! I promise you, they are not under-fed children. But, when we have a ‘little girlie day’, they love to come to our house and eat! It doesn’t matter what I have; bologna sandwiches or grilled cheese, apples, tangerines, homemade Chex mix, etc., as long as I have donuts! Oh, it is very important, that the donuts have sprinkles on top! (Thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts!)

The children are not picky about what they do when they are with us, but when given a choice of shopping, or going to the park, or going to our house, they choose our house. They watch a video, play with toys, play outside, or in this case, get in the pool.

In the car, as we make the trip from their house to our house, sometimes we sing, recite nursery rhymes, or just talk as we look out the windows. But, on the gravel road to and from our house, no matter how hot or how stinky, the windows go down and our speed drops down to about 3 mph. Every flower, especially roadside weeds, every duck in the pond, every cow, and every butterfly and every bird is noticed and admired. And, their trip home, always includes a nap followed by a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

If you had to put a practical label on their behavior, you might say, ‘kids are

just creatures of habit.’ But, I believe it goes much deeper than that. I think it has to do with the effects of aging and worldly experiences on our psyches. As we mature, it is natural for our priorities to change somewhat. But, often, our

perceptions of ‘what’s a big deal and what’s a little deal’ change, too, and we allow ourselves to be robbed. We aren’t able to fully embrace and indulge in the moment, in the joyful details of living, because we are interrupted and bombarded by so many outside influences and distractions that compete for our full attention.

During the visit, our older grandchildren, Hannah (14) and Landon (12) who live with us, plus Macie (7) and Maddie (4), put on swim suits, grabbed towels, and headed to the pool. Maddie, was first on deck. As Macie, Landon and Hannah reached the deck, Maddie had already jumped in the pool. As she busied herself with every inflatable toy available, in water nearly a foot over her head, the other 3 talked about the cold water and debated as to which inflatable would be best for them.

About five minutes later, after sorting through pool toys, Landon jumped in, immediately complaining about the cold water. Without complaint, Maddie continued to enjoy herself.                     After waiting for her float to be inflated, Macie jumped in the water, but laughed and giggled because the water felt so cold. Last one in was Hannah, the oldest one, who’d been sitting in the sun, and hoping not to get splashed with that cold water. As the others pleaded with her to join in the fun, her dread over the small deal of cold water delayed and diminished her full moment of joy, before she finally jumped in!

As I ponder this little story, I have no excuse but to examine my own life. I know I am often very guilty of ‘not living in the moment’. Always rushing to get caught up with my ‘to do list’ robs me of completely living fully in the moments of joy.

I know that much of my attitude about ‘wasting time’ comes from the way I was raised. Hard work and accomplishments were noticed and rewarded. Being a child who ‘wanted to please’ kept me working hard. Sometimes, I still think that I work too hard. But, with God’s help, I know positive changes are always possible!

How about you? What is holding you back from living fully in moments that are joyful? What ‘little deal’ is causing you to miss out? Take a break from media! The world today, with so much turmoil and darkness, can quickly and easily strip away your joy.  Don’t allow it!  Be like Little Maddie!  Plunge in while thinking, “I got this!”

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for joyful hearts! Thank you for grandchildren! Continually remind us, Dear Father, that all joy comes from you! As we grow-up, mature, and grow old, encourage us to live every moment like Little Maddie, without hesitation, without interruption and without worry over unfinished items on our ‘to do’ lists. Please help us to remember to fully inhale and exhale every bit of the joy which you provide within each and every breath of our lives!

In Jesus’ name,         Amen.

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August 12, 2020

Water from the Well

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

(Isaiah 12:3)

Revisit That Skip in Your Step

Written by James Boyette                                                                                     Inspired by God

“May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15: 13)

The Bible commands that we should be joyful in all things. In both good times and bad times, Christians are to be characterized by rejoicing.

“May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

A while back, amid some ‘civil discord and unrest,’ my husband, by way of a refrigerator memo, made this decree, “We have to be joyful in this house. I mean it.”

Honestly, at first glance, I thought, ‘people cannot make other people be joyful.’ And, I am ashamed to say that my next thought was, ‘and, anyway, amid a global pandemic, confusion and disruption to nearly every aspect of daily life, it’s pretty hard to be joyful in our house or anywhere else.’

Of course, my thoughts left me with an ‘unsettled, gnawing kind of

feeling.’ I’m sure you know that feeling……it always comes when the ‘Holy Spirit is dealing with me’. I mean, I figured my husband was right. After all, he’s a pastor. He definitely knows the Bible better than me. And, let’s face it, he’s usually right about such things. But, amid all the misery, sickness, death and destruction, it seemed to me that a ‘joyful, bubbly,

gratitude attitude’ would somehow minimize the very legitimate despair that was currently blanketing so much of the world. It made me feel like I was trying to swallow a pill that was the size of a marshmallow.

Then I read an article on joy, by David Mathis, Executive Editor of desiringGod.org. The title of the article was “Joy is Not Optional” and the subtitle was “Why Your Happiness Matters to God”. David writes, “Our

Heavenly Father is not indifferent to our happiness. Joy is not a garnish on the dutiful entrée of the Christian life. Joy is not the icing on our cake, but an essential ingredient in a complex batter.”

Okay, the light bulb is on. Now I’m beginning to get it.

David continued, “It’s not that there is only joy, but that in our most painful losses and sufferings, we discover how deep the reservoirs of Christian joy run. Only here, in difficulty and darkness, do we taste the essence of such joy—that it is not frivolous and empty, but thick and

substantive and full.”

Yes, I will admit it. I was right to believe that my husband was right! I’m just kidding! Actually, I’m proud to admit my husband was right. He leads by allowing his heart to lead, often wearing his heart on his sleeve.

I’m fortunate to know someone else who wears her heart on her sleeve.

Last Sunday, after the church service, we were standing just outside the door, talking to folks as they left.                                        Marie, an 8 year old, little red-headed girl, stepped out of the door. She stopped to talk, proudly pointing out,

through her ‘Snoopy” mask, the attached little pin she had earned in a music

recital the Sunday evening before.

As we admired the pin and Marie’s commitment and hard work, the organist came out the door just behind her. She, too, seized the opportunity to praise Marie for her consistent progress and dedication. As they walked away, we talked about the fullness of joy that seemed to define Marie’s personality.  I asked Marie’s mom if she or Marie’s dad had been so full of joy as young children. She thought for a moment and said that it may have been like that for one or two of Marie’s grandparents. As we decided that perhaps that trait had skipped a generation, Pastor James said, looking in Marie’s direction, “Did you just see that? That child is so full of joy! It seems as if she can’t ‘just walk.’ She has to walk, skip in between, and then, walk

some more!”

I admire Marie! I’ve been taught a great lesson through her! Without factoring in COVID 19, our world continually shows signs of falling down around us. Upheaval and difficulty are so widespread, that even our day to

day living is threatened in so many ways. We no longer remember ‘normal’ and routine has all but disappeared. This is a challenging time for everyone. She’s an 8 year old child! And I’m 68 year old woman. Yet, while my disposition and nerves are rattled, Marie’s joy remains more than she is able to contain. She is a true inspiration!

Obviously, Marie’s joy is overflowing. It is spilling into all aspects of her life. I’ve thought a lot about the source of that kind of joy. Surely, there can be only one source for it. I no longer think that it began as a trait, passed down through genes by birth into her family.  Yet, it did come from family. It came from Our Heavenly Father, into the Family of Christ by way of the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful blessing! I hope that Marie will flourish in that gift all the days of her life!

Guess what, Friends? As Christians, all of us are part of that family! Joy is one of the Fruits of the Spirit! It is a gift within each of us! It isn’t the type of gift to be displayed on a shelf and admired. It is to be used in every possible way! Untie the ribbon! Open that present and enjoy it. Savor it!

Give thanks for it! Discover its’ power! Like Marie, our joy and hope in the future will be multiplied!

Heavenly Father,

You are an Awesome God! We thank You for Your continual provision and infinite love for us! And, we thank You for refrigerator memos and little red- headed girls who are able to teach us life-lessons just by their sweet spirits! Please, help us, always, to find You at the source of our joy. In good times and in bad, we pray that others will seek to know You, because of the joy and hope which they see within us!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

pastor@lwccsv.org
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