The Spigot

As my husband, Gary,  watched from a distance the way I served others, he often described it this way: “You get to help people, who’s cups are depleted or empty, place themselves under the spigot of God and His Word so that He can fill them, restore them, guide them and use them.” 

Through these bi-weekly posts, move your cup under the spigot of God to receive encouragement in life and truth from God’s Word to live the full life offered by Jesus (John 10:10).

Curious

During the last few months Joy, our almost 12 year old German Shorthaired Pointer, has been extremely curious.

Today Joy stuffed her head into a mound of snow, apparently looking for something. She has investigated the use of essential oils, trying out the effects of lavender, lemon and melaleuca. She taste-tested granola bar wrappers, trail mix packaging, and packs of bubble gum.

Learning to open packaged medicine, bandaid boxes as well as vitamin jars hasn’t curbed her curiosity but enlivened her quests. It appeared that treasures awaited Joy in the garbage can so she curiously removed the lid and dumped its contents throughout the house, investigating each parcel and morsel within.

Joy checked out Sophie’ mermaid work clothing bag and deep within found a reusable snack bag, so she tore through its frame to sample the variety of nuts. Apparently, everything within and around the house needed exploration. Even though, in dog years, Joy is mature and even on the older end, her inquisitive spirit and curious nature seemingly have exploded.

Kids and animals portray great curiosity, but what about us when we mature and age, do we remain as curious?

Curious – Eager to know or learn something.

Do you ever just wonder, allowing yourself to be curious?

Curiosity welcomes growth and learning. In humility, the curious individual wonders, explores, and without judgement inquires. How can being curious deepen your relationships? Instead of assuming we know or understand others, curiosity leads to fascination, surprise, and awe. We become students of one another and welcome the ways God uniquely fashioned each person. Greater appreciation and admiration arise as we curiously approach the people in our lives.

Too often we make assumptions, believing we understand or know the why’s and how’s of the people around us. What if, instead, we lived curious about them? Watching, noticing, posing questions, purely listening without an agenda, and genuinely desiring to understand and appreciate the puzzle of each person.

Hold what you learn with grace and gratitude. Discard judgement, critique, and dismissal from your encounters. Approach others with a welcoming heart to enjoy, appreciate, and marvel at God’s creativity and special formation of all. Enjoy the space as a gift from God to humbly grow deeper.

Be curious! Try being curious about your spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors, friends, post office person, airline steward, etc.

Be curious about people, places, things and most of all, God.

Let curiosity lead you to explore God’s creation; it’s animals, plants, terrain, and seas. Be inquisitive and learn new things about the laws of nature and the scientific wonders of the world. Notice particularities, odd sights, and beautiful colors. Wonder as the Swedish poet Carl Boberg did, resulting in the hymn, How Great Thou Art.

Be curious about the God of the universe, His handwork, and His ways. Probe into His Word. Wonder with the Holy Spirit as your companion. Approach the triune God with desire, questions, fascination and amazement.

I wonder if the disciples experienced great curiosity when Jesus walked on top of the lake toward them as recorded in Matthew 14:22-33. What held Jesus up? Were his feet wet? Did the water feel warm or cold?

I wonder if the hemorrhaging woman was curious what would actually happen if she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (see Mark 5). Did she feel a tingle? Did a burning sensation flood her body?

I wonder if Jonah shook himself to see if he was just having a dream when a giant sea creature swallowed him whole. Was he curious about the inside anatomy of the creature? Did he try to escape? What did it really smell like? (see Jonah)

I wonder if Ezekiel exhibited curiosity about the symbolism of lying on his side for 390 days. Did his legs cramp up? How did he actually eat? What was the response of those around him? (see Ezekiel 4)

I wonder if Ananias was curious about his call to go to Saul, the murderer. Did Ananias wonder why he was chosen to pray over Saul? What did it feel like as he laid his hands on Saul? Did he notice an immediate shift within Saul? (see Acts 9)

I wonder what the friends of Dorcas experienced after she was raised to life. Did she smile differently? What did Peter do to bring about this change? How would Dorcas serve now that she tasted death? (see Acts 9)

Approach life with curious wonder. Think of questions. Notice. Explore.

Look and live with curiosity. It doesn’t just have to be children and our pets that get to be curious. No matter our age, we can approach the life God has given us with great curiosity and growth.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Job 37:14-16
“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Barnabas Piper. The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life. Nashville,TN.2017.

Elizabeth Caldwell. I Wonder: Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible. Nashville, TN. 2016.

Anthem Lights. How Great Thou Art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48i4l1715uc

Delight

Sunshine beamed through the stained-glass windows of the stone chapel as the young bride, escorted by her father, moved slowly down the center aisle toward her beloved. Though tears pooled in her eyes, her smile radiated great delight as she approached the love of her life. Sophie Victoria Hoag, a stunning bride, overflowed with energy and excitement. She and Peter Joseph Gomez would soon be husband and wife.

Sophie’s exuberance radiated through every pore of her body. She gazed into Peter’s eyes while squeezing his hands and every now and then moved her feet as if she was dancing with excitement. This brought smiles and sighs to all those witnessing this sacred moment. Sophie, Peter, and all in attendance delighted in this special ceremony where genuine love and devotion abounded.

My soul was thrilled to see Sophie’s great delight in marrying Peter. Every expression, word, and gesture exhibited great pleasure and enchantment. Vows honored their shared commitment to God and each other. The service culminated with Peter dipping Sophie and giving her a sweeping kiss. This brought delight to everyone watching and, for sure, God was watching and took delight in it too.

Delight – To please greatly. A cause or source of great pleasure.

The wedding reception offered many moments of joy and delight. Delicious desserts and savory Bavarian pretzels satisfied rumbling stomachs. Silly poses and funny expressions created photo strips at the photo booth. Lively music invited interactive dancing and group activities. The beauty of the Rocky Mountains gleamed through the western wall of windows. Laughter filled the space as guests engaged in lighthearted conversation. Joy and delight abounded in every corner of this cheerful gathering.

Reflect for a moment. In what do you delight? When is the last time you experienced great pleasure?

Have you ever thought about God delighting in you? You are a source of great pleasure to the God of the universe. You captivate the Lord; you are His delight.

Throughout Scripture, we read that God delights in those who follow Him. He is excited about those who love Him and looks after us on our journey with Him.

  • Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, He has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness. 1 Kings 10:9
  • I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Psalm 16:3
  • “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let Him deliver him, since he delights in Him.” Psalm 22:8
  • The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147: 11
  • For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4

The Scriptures not only reveal God’s great delight in His followers, but also display the delight we can have in the Lord. We can be thrilled with the Lord. When we remember His many blessings and provision for eternal salvation exuberant joy and thanksgiving arise. Do you delight in the gift of salvation you have received through Jesus Christ?

  • Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of Your servants who delight in revering Your name. Nehemiah 1:11
  • Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation. Psalm 35:9
  • Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
  • I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. Isaiah 61:10
  • He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of His birth… Luke 1:14

If I am honest, I haven’t really thought about God delighting in me, or me delighting in Him a whole lot. Have you? Yet, after reading these Scriptures and others, I receive this fresh perspective to my relationship with Him, especially after witnessing such delight at my daughter’s wedding.

An area of delight that resonates within me is delighting in God’s Word, the Bible. I love reading the Word, pondering God’s ways, and taking to heart bible passages by memorizing them.

How excited are you about studying and meditating on Scripture? Again, many Bible verses encourage us to delight in God’s Word. Like many who have gone before us, we too can delight in Scripture.

  • But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. Psalm 1:2
  • Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in His commands. Psalm 112:1
  • Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. Psalm 119:24
  • For in my inner being I delight in God’s law. Romans 7:22

Let “delight” enter your vocabulary this week. Picture God delighting in you, because He does! Receive His enjoyment of you. Delight in your relationship with God. Be thrilled at your journey with Him. Take great pleasure in the salvation of your soul. Ask God to fill you with delight as you spend time in His Word: read it, study it, ponder it, step into it, picture it. Experience great fulfillment at the opportunity to be with God through the Bible.

I’m thankful for my delighted daughter and son-in-law who showed me delight which led me to the delight of God in fresh ways. May your day overflow with delight.

P.S. If you want to witness this wedding delight, here is the Facebook link to watch the ceremony. Peter and Sophie Gomez Wedding link.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Proverbs 11:20
The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but He delights in those whose ways are blameless.

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Randy Alcorn. Happiness. Carol Stream, IL. 2015.

John Piper. The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God. Colorado Springs, CO. 2000.

Play

Do you enjoy silly movies, telling jokes, and playing games? When was the last time you exprienced a belly laugh or pure delight?

This week I have played with fairy lights, colored ribbon, chalk markers, and precious photos. Fun, laughter, and delight have filled our home. We are making preparations. In just a week Sophie and Peter will be married.

The Scriptures abound with laughter and play.

Consider Genesis 18:10-15. These verses record the account when God informed Abraham and Sarah they would have a son by “this time next year” (v. 10). Sarah openly laughed. Recognizing her advanced age (around 89), she felt worn out and yet amused that sexual pleasure and a child awaited her (v. 12). Abraham, her husband, probably around 99 years old, thought along similar lines as his wife. Abraham believed God could give him and Sarah descendants, making them parents even though he was “too old” (Hebrews 11:11-12). The idea of fathering a child at his age struck him as funny as well. Nevertheless, Abraham and Sarah enjoyed some play-time resulting in the conception of Isaac.

Play: to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

How well do you play, laugh, and recreate?

Zephaniah 3:17 illustrates joy and laughter in God’s character: “He will take great delight in you … He will rejoice over you with singing.” This rejoicing carries with it the idea of physical activity. The verse presents the possibility that God’s delight entails joyful songs, laugher, and dancing. God created play.

Describe activities in your life that are playful, fun, and lighthearted.

The New Testament abounds with laughter and playful encounters. Jesus exhibited a disarming and compelling personality. He maintained the attention of crowds for days and the loyalty of His twelve disciples for three solid years. In addition to being a captivating teacher whose words brought life, He was fun to be around. For example, a crowd numbering 5,000 men plus women and children followed Jesus to a solitary place (Mark 6:30-44). His teaching caused people to forget to eat, bring food, or attend to their work. That’s hilarious.

In his work, The Humor of Christ, Elton Trueblood lists thirty humorous passages in the Gospels. These texts reveal phrases, parables, and stories that Jesus told which display His funny bone. Trueblood believes His audience would have laughed at the image of those who loudly proclaim their righteous actions in front of others. Why? Because it prevailed in their culture (Matt. 6:2)! Similarly, the audience probably chuckled when Jesus commended the tenacious widow for her persistent pestering of the unjust judge. He even cited her as a successful model for prayer (Luke 18:1-8).

Jesus’ teaching and the Scriptures contain fun, humor, and play. Have you ever regarded Jesus as humorous? He not only caused people to take serious examination of their lives, but also to chuckle.

Tania Runyan, offers a fresh perspective on the wedding at Cana in this poem.

The Wedding at Cana

“At first they stared in terror, the steam of water suddenly flushed red, as if a fish had been speared in the cistern.

They steadied themselves on tables. They look around, awaiting the fire of angels to consume them. Eventually,

a guest cleared his throat and murmured, Hey, we’ve got a regular plague of wine here, and they began to laugh, softly

At first, then wildly, lusciously, as the swallows ignited their throats. The women rattled their tambourines;

The men stomped their feet on the dusty floor; the bridegroom swung his wife to the ceiling. And Jesus whirled an whooped

In the middle of the room as his small, graying mother poured the goblets like made, wine spilling over her wrists.”

What bubbled up within you as you read this poem?

Notice the transformation within the scene. Can you hear the shouts and musical instruments? Do you feel the floor shake? What is it like to see men and women swing, dance, and whirl?

Is it possible Jesus winked at his mother as He said, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”

Picture the expressions of delight alight the faces of the bridal party and guests as the best wine appeared at the end of the celebration. Imagine tasting the deep rich flavor of the extravagant gift of wine.

While we do not know for certain the exact manner in which the play and party took place at this wedding, we do know Jesus brought merrymaking to those around him. He contributed to the extravagant celebration.

Play is a necessary practice for healthy spiritual living.

Ponder the role of play in the rhythm of your living? What does play look like as we mature and age? Consider what prevents you from letting go and taking pleasure in God’s goodness and blessing?

If the Rock of Ages can take great delight with rejoicing and singing, then, we are never too old to play, laugh, and have fun.

  • Find a friend or family member and play a game of rock, paper, scissors.
  • Enjoy a game of “I spy” with friends and family.
  • Run in circles with your dog through the field.
  • Get out markers and crayons and play with color.
  • Choose a variety of spices and create fresh flavors and new tantalizing meals.
  • Build a model airplane or a remote-control car. Play with them in the yard and down the street.
  • Visit the local restaurant and play a game of corn hole.

Laugh and enjoy the playful encounters of life. Take time to play. I look forward to many moments for play sprinkled throughout this next week of wedding anticipation. How will you play this week? Engage with the funny bone of God by receiving and enjoying His goodnesses and blessings.

God made us to delight in others, as He delights in us. Let humor, fun, and play flood your soul and your life.

And if you feel the floor shaking, hear bells ringing, or notice the joyful sound of laugher, you’ll know a playful celebration is erupting on Sophie and Peter’s wedding day.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

John 2:7-10
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Tania Ruyan. A Thousand Vessels Seattle, WA 2011.

Elton Trublood. The Humor of Christ. New York, NY. 1975.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

January 20 – Denver, CO
My daughter, Sophie, gets married to a fine young man, Peter Gomez. Would appreciate prayer for a blessed celebration. Thank you!

Shriveled

Each year during the weekend following Thanksgiving my husband, Gary, and his friend, Tom, venture to Home Depot where they purchase poinsettias. These poinsettias are good sized and exceptionally priced at just a dollar. They buy the limit which is a dozen each and then we have poinsettias to distribute throughout the Advent season. Usually, one is reserved for us to use in our townhouse to add to the festive season.

This year our poinsettia sat beautifully on top of the refrigerator. Its red and green foliage complemented the Christmas tree and red stockings. Nevertheless, because of it’s location, I forgot about it. Last week Sophie asked what was wrong with our poinsettia as the colorful leaves were shriveled up. Immediately I realized that I had forgotten to water it. I noted that the shriveled leaves were the result of a neglected plant.

After watering the poinsettia, many of the leaves perked back up and only a few dead ones needed to be removed. Yet, I needed to remember to not neglect the plant any further if I wanted it to thrive.

I discovered myself thinking about the shriveled leaves of our neglected poinsettia.

Shriveled – to wither due to loss of care, to cause to feel worthless or insignificant.

Questions rose to the front of my mind: What had shriveled in my life this past year, in the last six months, or even the last month? Were there healthy practices or rhythms that I had neglected? Had any relationships begun to shrivel due to neglect, a lack of pursuit?

Just like the poinsettia began to reveal lack of care, so too do areas within our life reveal neglect when we fail to take care of life-giving practices, passions and people.

This reminds me of the biblical account of when Jesus encountered a man with a shriveled hand. A shriveled hand in Jesus day revealed hardship, disability, and loss of relationships. Nevertheless, Jesus focused on the needs of this man and chose to offer tender care. He tended not only to the physical needs of this eager soul, but the emotional and spiritual needs as well. Jesus declared the good He offered this individual when He commanded wholeness and life to the shriveled paralyzed limb.

This man soaked in the command of Jesus and responded in faith by stretching out his hand, thus experiencing healing and fullness from the Great Physician.

Mark 3:1-5
“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”

Take a moment to read this miraculous story of healing again, wondering what it would have been like to be the man with the physical malady. How would it have felt to have Jesus address you? Read it again but this time image yourself as one of the accusers in the crowd. Have you ever been so bound by rules and customs that you miss the opportunity to extend grace? Read the passage one last time as though you were Jesus. What would it have been like to offer life and goodness to this wounded man?

With the help of God Almighty, what needs healing in your life? To what shriveled practices, passions and relationships can the Great Physician “water” and breathe life? What are the “poinsettias” in your life that have been neglected and droop, shriveling away?

Give thought to these possible “poinsettias” – – –

  • Your prayer life,
  • Spiritual community,
  • Bible study,
  • Repentance and cleansing,
  • Physical exercise,
  • Scripture memorization,
  • Contemplative reading of the Word,
  • Journaling,
  • Volunteer service,
  • Noticing God’s activity,
  • Healthy eating,
  • Maintaining a household budget,
  • Connecting with extended family,
  • Practicing hospitality,
  • Engaging with neighbors,
  • Reaching out to co-workers,
  • Planning rest,
  • Embracing your limitations,
  • Tending to your household plants,
  • Reading to stimulate your mind and heart,
  • Giving thanks,
  • Caring for your physical health,
  • Reflecting on your days…

I never planned to neglect our household poinsettia; it just happened. We rarely plan to neglect healthy practices and meaningful relationships; it just happens. Without proper attention practices, passions and people shrivel up when we are distracted and fail to show sufficient care and consideration.

Take some time as you enter 2020 to reflect with God and notice any “poinsettias” in your life that need care to bring life and growth into the coming year.

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Acts 17:27-28
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Kai Mark Nilsen. Renew Your Life: Discovering the Wellspring of God’s Energy. Downer’s Grove, IL. 2015.

Donald S. Whitney. Praying the Bible. Wheaton, IL. 2015.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

January 4 – Lakewood, CO
Hearts of Mercy Ministry, The Bridge Church at Bear Creek

Greeting

Can you believe there remain just two weeks in the year 2019?!

I am nearing the end of reading through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation for the year. Reading Scripture is life-giving and because of this rich spiritual practice, I have learned much and noticed details missed in the past. If you are looking for a life-changing practice for 2020, consider getting The Daily Walk Bible for Christmas and prepare for an exciting year of growth and discovery.

Reading the letters Paul wrote to the church during his time has been invigorating, inspiring, and interesting. I noted an intriguing pattern in Paul’s letters in the manner in which he opened with a greeting.

What do all of these verses have in common? Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, and Revelation 1:4. They each open a letter with the greeting of “grace and peace.”

The salutation of “grace, mercy and peace” is also found within 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, James 1:3, and Jude 2.

Have you ever thought about the way you greet others? Are you welcoming? Distracted? Aloof? Entitled? Intentional? Encouraging?

Paul’s use of grace and peace as a greeting was significant.

Grace reminded the letter-recipients of the undeserved gift of God for all humankind. The grace-filled gift of God was His Son, Jesus Christ, through whom a free gift was offered; a gift not dependent upon any behavior but only that of the Savior. God offered relationship and transformation through His grace. Paul encouraged those he greeted with the grace of God. Grace coupled with peace revealed the ultimate greeting and blessing.

Peace from God is different than the peace of this world.

Jesus provided this supernatural peace when He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Paul sought to lift the gaze of those who received his letters from the issues and hardships of life, to the peace offered by God through Jesus. God’s other-worldly peace transcended all the earthly burdens, joys, and circumstances in Paul’s day, just like today. Paul pointed to true peace for the soul.

Grace and peace; wow, what a greeting!

The mercy of God often flowed together with the grace and peace of God in greetings found in Scripture. Mercy is not giving what is deserved, which is death because of man’s sin and consequent separation from God. It is the flip side to grace. By including mercy in the greeting, a complete expression of all the gifts and blessings of God surfaced. Our triune God reached out in extravagant love to offer what is totally undeserved; pardon, salvation and life.

I wonder if Mary experienced the fullness of God’s love when she was greeted by the angel long ago?

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:28-37)

It appears Mary received this celestial greeting with the grace, mercy and peace of God. Her response overflowed with humility and honor.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Mary Visits Elizabeth. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke1:38-45)

Mary’s visit and greeting brought great excitement and joy within her relative, Elizabeth. A simple greeting caused the provocative proclamation of Jesus as “Lord.” Joy and hope flowed from the kind and uncomplicated interchange between Mary and Elizabeth.

Greeting!

The manner in which we acknowledge, receive, and address others brings about an impact. Have you thought about how you greet others? Do you approach others with humility, joy, and honor? In what ways do you offer the grace, mercy and peace of God?

Notice your opening interactions with others.

Ask the Holy Spirit to awaken within you the privilege to offer the grace, mercy and peace of God to those around you. Let the power of these gifts from God transform people in your path: the grocery clerk, your co-workers, children, neighbors, spouse, extended family, postal worker, department store employee, the airline steward, the uber driver, your church staff, etc.

May you offer the greeting of grace, mercy, and peace so that God’s abundant love brings about redemption and transformation in the lives of others.

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Matthew 28:8-10
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Romans 1:7
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

J.K.Hodge. Grace and Peace: A Plea for Spiritual Humility. Hudsonville, MI. 2014.

Max Lucado. Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine. Nashville, TN.2014.

Renewal

December seems to the month of renewals in our home. Notices to renew have arrived via email notifications, text messaging, postcards and letter in the mail, and alerts on my monthly calendar. So many renewals: vehicle registration, post office box, health insurance incentive, driver’s license, website domains and security, automobile assistance, magazine memberships, and club commitments.

Is there a month when renewal notices flood your correspondence?

Renewal

Could it be possible that of all the months of the year, December might be a month of renewal and refreshment?

 

Instead of a month filled with depletion, scarcity, and exhaustion, December reflects a time of abundance, generosity, life, and hope. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, can change the way we approach this time of year.

Jesus generously left the abundance of heaven to teach humankind the way to live, thus offering hope both in the present and for the future. After ascending to heaven, the gift of the continual presence of the Holy Spirit arrived, offering companionship, counsel, comfort, connection, and renewal by the power of our Triune God.

Renewal means to give life. It also implies the repair of something worn out.

How do you need renewal? Consider each of these areas: Emotionally, relationally, vocationally, physically, intellectually, or spiritually.

 

While renewing necessary products and services extends their use and function in our daily living, spiritual renewal extends beyond this world to the next.

What does it mean to experience renewal from God?

 

A primary means of renewal occurs when  God transforms our perspective toward our current situation and our understanding of life forever. Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 4:18 what changes. What is seen must be viewed as only temporary. Furthermore, he charges followers of Christ to look beyond the temporary to what is eternal.

What does it mean to look to eternity?

 

Paul offers us this explanation. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” He looks past the physical trauma, suffering, and pain of this world to the glory beheld in eternity. That eternal glory makes the troubles of today diminish and lose power and control over us. It is hard to imagine a glory that “far outweighs” the hardships of our current realities, yet that is precisely Paul’s big idea. He suffered greatly but lifted his perspective higher to that which exceeded his present reality, thus allowing the renewal of God to penetrate every part of his soul.

Will you let the Spirit of the living God lift your gaze to His eternal glory?

 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). This verse resonates with hope and healing as it reminds people walking in the way of Jesus that while our physical bodies and emotions experience hardship, even to the point of seemingly “falling apart,” God’s promises renewal to our souls. The Holy Spirit infuses those He inhabits with strength greater than anything humanly conceived resulting in holy renewal by our Triune God.

Shifting our focus beyond the temporary, especially in the midst of trials, requires dependence and trust in our sovereign God. The Bible reminds us nearly 300 times that the Lord is sovereign. We can rest in God’s attention and detail to all of life. Additionally, Scripture abounds with exhortations to trust in our mighty steadfast God. Even when circumstances prove challenging and confusing, He can be trusted to bring renewal.

How does the strength of God renew us within?

 

The psalmists and prophets recount the renewal of God in several of their songs. Our faithful God renews the spirit within (Psalm 51:10), renews emotional stature (Psalm 103:5), renews spiritual strength (Isaiah 40:31), renews physical stamina (Isaiah 57:10), renews relational connection (Lamentations 5:21), and ultimately, He renews all things (Matthew 19:28).

Imagine receiving a renewal notice from God. Is it time to be renewed by Him?

 

In what areas of your life, do you need His abundant, generous life, and hope to refresh and restore your perspective? Just like we need to take action to renew our driver’s license, favorite magazines, website domains, and even health insurance there are ways we can actively notice God’s renewing action in our lives, consequently lifting our gaze from the temporary to the eternal.

  • When you have a quiet moment, whether in the car, at the office, home, or at the gym, pray a simple prayer of renewal. Maybe something like: “Renew my mind, O Lord,” “Renewal comes from you, Triune God,” or “Bring your renwal, Holy Spirit.” Embrace God’s eternal care to the needs upon your heart.
  • Whether you have five minutes or an hour, when activity slows or stills notice God’s inner renewal . Look for the means God uses to support and fortify your soul. Ponder how God refreshes and restores you through the power of the Holy Spirit for today and for the future.
  • Allow the living Lord to strengthen and encourage you when you read Scripture. Read to receive from God. If it is one verse or several, let the Bible richly build you up from within. Welcome the ways God renews your soul and perspective through His active life-giving Word.
  • As each day slows, reflect with Jesus upon the renewing presence of the Holy Spirit. Pay attention with God to the difference between the temporal and the eternal. Picture the God of the universe pouring renewal deep within your soul in order to empower you to fully live and serve Him wherever you are in whatever you do.

Thank God for the ways He repairs our weary souls, restores our spirit within, and pours His eternal perspective into today. Follow the example of Jesus Christ and approach this month with abundance, generosity, life and hope. Experience the renewal of God while celebrating the birth of our Savior.

 

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 73:28
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Chris Tiegreen. The One Year Walk with God Devotional: 365 Daily Bible Readings to Transform Your Mind. New York, NY. 2004.

C.S, Lewis. Mere Christianity. Carol Stream, IL.2015.