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).

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.

Presents

The beaming bride-to-be sat on the round ottoman opening presents. Surprises awaited to fill her new home. As the wrapping fell to the floor, Sophie discovered new items thoughtfully picked out by family and friends. The macramé table runner from Lisa. A colorful apron reflecting the generosity of Annette. A Shark vacuum from Peter’s sisters. A marble rolling pin from Carol to make cookies. The list goes on; each gift was specially chosen to bless Sophie and Peter.

As these items make their way into the Gomez household, both Sophie and Peter will remember the givers as they enjoy the gifts. Presents remind us of the people who give them to us.

Presents

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus received gifts from traveling men. These gifts reflected their givers as well. Wise men brought carefully picked presents to give to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These were perfect gifts for Jesus, the King of Kings. I wonder if Mary and Joseph pictured these generous men whenever they saw the gold in their home? I wonder if they remembered the gift-givers each time they smelled the aroma of the frankincense and myrrh?

Do all good gifts remind you of the Giver?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

How often do you thank our Triune God for the blessings He has given to you?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

When you think of God, do you reflect upon Him sending His one and only Son as a present to earth for humankind?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

When you think of Jesus, do you contemplate the salvation His sacrificial present provides us from our sinful state?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

What stirs within you when you realize God does not necessarily give you what you want but gives you just what you need?

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Romans 5:15-17

When you think of the Holy Spirit, do you embrace Jesus reassuring words that we would receive a Helper, Advocate, and Guide from heaven?

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:25

Can you think of a time you had to wait for a special gift?

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4

I love this time of year when we take time to imitate the King of Kings and give gifts to one another to celebrate Jesus’ birth. When you think of Jesus, do you think of God, the gift-giver?

Before entering this gift-giving season, begin with gratitude. Thank God for His generous presents: grace, love, eternal life, the Bible, His faithful presence and peace, spiritual blessings, good things to enjoy and share, spiritual gifting, etc.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 1 Corinthians 12:4

Practice ABC Praise to thank God for who He is, for His character, for His goodnesses. It is actually better than counting sheep when you can’t sleep or bidding time when stuck in traffic. Begin with A and move through Z, thanking God by proclaiming His names, His qualities, and His blessings.

The presents we receive from God reflect who He is: Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Friend, Judge, Father, Healer, Shepherd, Forgiver, Reconciler, Provider, Abiding Presence, etc. Reflect on who the Giver is and the abundant gifts He bestows upon us.

What kinds of presents will you give in the next two months? Will you intentionally choose gifts to bless the recipient? Consider God’s gift to humanity in Jesus. God gave us what we needed. What are the needs of those for whom you will select presents? In what ways can you engage thoughtfully with their needs? Sure, it might incur more time to be thoughtful about the gift, but remember that God patiently took a few thousand years to prepare the present of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Give thanks as you remember the presents of God in your life.

Be thoughtful this season as the presents you will share can reflect your character, your God-given qualities, and your relationship with the recipient. Follow God’s example and let the presents you give reflect you, the giver.

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

Ephesians 2:7-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

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

R. Kevin Seasoltz. God’s Gift Giving: In Christ And Through The Spirit. New York, NY. 2007.

 

Alan Vermile. It’s a Wonderful Life Study Guide: A Bible Study Based on the Christmas Classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Brown Chair Books. 2019.

Vows

The dimly lit church highlighted the center aisle and the platform at its end. Dressed in a finely tailored suit, the young man set his gaze at the back of the sanctuary. Tears pooled within his eyes as he watched the love of his life slowly move down the aisle escorted by her father, with a white flowing veil trailing behind her.

This was the scene on the much-anticipated day when Samuel David Hoag and Emily Suzanna Law spoke vows of devotion, exchanged rings, and committed their love to each other before God, family and friends.

Vows – A solemn voluntary promise or a set of promises that commit to a determined role, calling and/or action.

There are nearly 50 references to vows in the Bible, many of which occur in the Old Testament. These commitments revealed blessing when followed and consequences when broken.

The book of Psalms references vows multiple times (see Psalm 56:12, 66:13; 116:14; 50:14; 65:1; 132:2; and many verses in Psalm 119). Similarly, Leviticus detailed the necessity and resulting outcome of vows.

Many Bible characters made vows, but one of my favorites is the vow of Hannah. She made a vow to God in 1 Samuel 1:11. “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

This wise, hope-filled woman vowed to dedicate her son to the Lord if He would bless her with a son. Hannah desired God’s blessing and in return promised to bless God with her son, giving him back to the Lord in service. Samuel, Hannah’s son, became a mighty prophet and priest representing God because of the vow Hannah proclaimed.

Sammy and Emily wrote their own vows of promise, honor, and commitment. Notice their pledge made just days ago.

Our Wedding Vows – 26 October 2019

Emily Susanna Law, Since the day that we met I knew you were the kind of woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. As I got to know you further, I only fell more in love with the godly woman that you are and are becoming.

Thus far, God has guided us through this crazy journey called life and today in front of our family and friends He has blessed me with the opportunity to join with you in marriage becoming husband and wife.

I know that our life together will be full of many highs and lows and in them I promise to stand by your side and trust God to direct how they go.

I promise to lead you to the best of my God-given abilities and with love, serve and support you making your dreams reality.

Since the beginning God’s blessings and provision have been abundantly evident and I look forward to the future knowing he has so much more in store than the present.

I promise to honor you, respect you, and remain faithful to you and you alone as we strive to honor God in this covenant of our own.

I promise to treasure and protect you as the beautiful and priceless daughter of the King that He made you to be.

I promise to be intentional with you even when life gets rough and to seek God for wisdom to handle when trials come up.

I promise to surround you and our marriage with my prayers, keeping God as the focus of it all.

All these things I promise to you my Love, and so much more with all of my heart, with all that I am, forever and always, till the end of my days.

I love you, Emily!

Our Wedding Vows – 26 October 2019

Samuel David Hoag, Since the day we met I knew there was something special about you. My heart wanted to turn and run, but with your patient pursuit and God’s guidance, I stand before you today with family and friends promising myself to you in becoming husband and wife.

I know that our life together will be filled with hills and valleys, but I promise to stand by your side, trusting God to make a path for us.

I promise to trust your leadership following where God leads, to love and serve you through all that our days may hold.

God has faithfully blessed sand provided for us in numerous ways and I promise to continue to embrace His provision in all our coming days.

I promise to honor, respect, and remain faithful to you and you alone as we strive to honor God in this covenant of our own.

I promise to support and encourage you as the strong and gentle man of God He made you to be.

I promise to not let the sun go down on our strife, and to seek God’s grace working through any troubles that arise.

I promise to cover you in prayer and to fight for our marriage with the power that God has given to me.

I promise these things my Love and so much more with all heart, with all that I am, forever and always, till the end of my days.

I love you, Samuel!!

How does reading these vows encourage and challenge you? If you are married, when is the last time you read your wedding vows?

Dust off the promises you made and look at them with an honest heart. Are you actively keeping the words of commitment you made to your spouse? What areas in your vows need care and attention? Ask God to help you faithfully fulfill the promises you made.

Vows are not to be taken lightly. These pledges represent intentional service, self-less attitudes, and strength to trust God, even when life is challenging and confusing.

Likewise, what sort of vows have you made to God? Have you promised Him your life, attitudes, words, behaviors, dreams and hopes?

God has committed numerous promises to us and He is faithful to keep them all. We actually become more like our Savior when we make promises to Him and others.As we carry them out, we follow His example. Let Scripture guide your vows, then trust God to help you fulfill them. We get to depend upon God for the realization of the vows and promises we make.

Remember the promises you have made to God and others. Ask God for grace and vigor to fulfill them. Delight in following His example of faithfully keeping His promises.

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

Psalm 61:5
For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Deuteronomy 23:23
Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.

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

Max Lucado.  Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God. Nashville, TN. 2018.

William J. Byron. Words at the Wedding.  Mahwah, NJ. 2007.

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

November 15-16 – Lakewood, CO
Women’s Retreat Speaker, Southern Gables Church

Questions

How is it with your soul today?

When was the last time someone asked you this question or one with similar depth?

Jesus asked questions, a lot of them. He entered into conversations that brought about lasting change by asking thoughtful and meaningful questions.

  • “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
  • “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. (Mark 10:51)
  • “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)
  • “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
  • “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)
  • “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28)
  • “How many loaves do you have?” Matthew15:34)
  • “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew16:26)
  • “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17)
  • “Do you love me?” (John 21:17)

How often do you ask questions in conversations? Questions followed by silence invite others to consider their response and enter into a reflective exchange. These discussion-starters open the door for further familiarity in relationships. When questions flow in dialogue, vulnerability and honesty emerge.

Children ask a lot of questions. The inquiries of kids arise from curiosity, wonder, and longings to understand. Perhaps the perpetual barrage of questions by the little people in our lives becomes exhausting, but their inquisitive spirits teach us as we age. Do we live with curiosity, wonder and longing to understand?

The Bible records the story of Priscilla and Aquila. They engaged in thoughtful conversation with Apollos. When these three met up, it became evident that Apollos didn’t have the full picture of Jesus death and resurrection. Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos into their home. They offered curiosity, hospitality and shared the way of God more accurately (see Acts 18: 24-26).

I imagine this mighty couple asking Apollos a lot of questions to initiate deeper understanding of the wonder and power of God. This interaction changed the story for Apollos. He became a bold follower of Jesus Christ and a great help to those who believed in Jesus. Confidently, Apollos refuted his Jewish opponents in public debates demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-6).

When we develop relationships by asking questions, we learn and grow together. We humbly set aside preconceived ideas and expectations, and learn the heart of others as God created them. When we query each other, we respectfully acknowledge we don’t know everything about the other person. This leads to growth, interesting conversation, and honest sharing.

Frank Lauback, a missionary to the Philippines in the early to mid 1900’s, poignantly urged people to move into sincere honest conversations. He desired authentic interactions that offered space to pose questions, listen, and respond to the wonderings and longings of the soul. He moved dialogue beyond mere facts and shallow musings to profound soul revealing engagement.

I love Lauback’s exhortation in Letters by a Modern Mystic from January 26, 1930.

“In defense of my opening my soul and laying it bare to the public gaze in this fashion, I may say that it seems to me that we really seldom do anybody much good excepting as we share the deepest experiences of our souls in this way.

It is not the fashion to tell your inmost thoughts, but there are many wrong fashions, and concealment of the best in us is wrong. I disapprove of the usual practice of talking “small talk” whenever we meet, and holding a veil over our souls.

If we are so impoverished that we have nothing to reveal but small talk, then we need to struggle for more richness of soul.

As for me I am convinced that this spiritual pilgrimage which I am making is infinitely worth while, the most important thing I know of to talk about. And talk I shall while there is anybody to listen. And I hunger – O how I hunger for others to tell me their soul adventures.”

Do you struggle for more richness of soul in your conversations?

Let questions open doors to sharing soul adventures.

The next time you find yourself interacting with someone, listen and ask questions. Purely pay attention to their heart and words. Experience the unveiling of their soul. Just as Jesus posed questions to instigate awareness and growth, allow authentic curiosity and wonder to flood your conversations.

Not sure what questions to ask to lead into the sharing of soul adventures? Here are a few ideas:

  • How is your soul?
  • Who is God to you right now?
  • What is on your heart today?
  • What do you need?
  • Describe a high and low today.
  • What gives you life?
  • How are you stuck right now?
  • Where do you notice God?
  • What is your prayer life like?

Let’s share soul adventures by engaging in conversations that change through the powerful use of questions.

How is it with your soul today?

 

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

Luke 17:17
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Mark 8:27-29
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

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

Martin Copenhaver. Jesus Is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered. Nashville, TN. 2014.

Joanne J. Jung. The Lost Discipline of Conversation: Surprising Lessons in Spiritual Formation Drawn from the English Puritans. Grand Rapids, MI. 2018.

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

October 26 – Denver, CO
My son, Sammy, gets married to a beautiful young woman, Emily, on October 26th. Would appreciate prayer for a blessed celebration. Thank you!