Unbottled Water

Have you ever noticed the nutritional contents of a bottle of water?  If so, you may have wondered why something that contains 0g sodium, 0g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs, and 0 calories is essential to sustain life.  Furthermore, why does Jesus compare himself to such a drab drink?  In the Gospel of John, Jesus states:

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”~John 7:37-38, KJV

To gain a better understanding of this comparison, let us examine some common characteristics of water, and how they compare to the nature of God’s spirit that lives within us.

Water Sustains

Plain ‘ole water has no color, smell, or taste, and many people will reluctantly admit they do not drink the recommended daily amount (8 glasses) according to experts.  Though this may be true, I think we all can agree that the consequences of not drinking water is definitely undesirable, and can contribute to some pretty nasty health issues.

According to Curiosity.com, our bodies are roughly 60-70% water.  Of course, this percentage can change based on factors such as age, sex, and body composition.  Most of our bodily functions depend on the presence of water.  Without it, we would overheat, lose brain and digestive functions, and eventually die of dehydration.  When God created us, he made us in his image and after his likeness, which means he literally placed himself inside of us via his spirit.  Apart from God, we lose the capacity to be the best versions of ourselves.  We become dried-up raisins instead of fresh, juicy grapes.  God’s spirit animates us and gives us life.  Paul states in the Book of Acts:

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…”~Acts 17:28, KJV

Water Fills

Water is known to take the shape of its container.  If it is allowed access, it fills all spaces and voids regardless of shape.  When God created us, he intended to fill us with himself.  For that reason, he created us with a void that was designed to be filled by him and him alone.  This is why it is futile for us to fill ourselves with things that will eventually evaporate and leave us dehydrated and empty.  Only God can truly satisfy us throughout the entirety of our lives, and perfectly fill the void.

Water Cleans

Whenever we prepare to clean anything, water is usually one of the first things we need access to due to its unique ability to dissolve and dilute particles.  Similarly, God’s spirit cleanses us from the stains of sin and dissolves the particles of iniquity.  David knew this quite well as he penned,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”~ Psalm 51:10-11, KJV

Notice the reference in this verse to the holy spirit of God, and how he cleans us through and through.  Like water, God’s spirit is the cleaning agent that daily washes us as we enter into his presence in worship.

Water Flows

Though water is essential to life, it can also be extremely destructive.  For example, a small leak over time can wreak havoc in our houses.  A tsunami after an earthquake can instantly level an entire city.  When water is allowed access into a particular space, it seeks to fill that space completely due to its forceful flowing properties.  This is what Jesus meant when he said from our bellies shall flow “rivers of living water.”  In John 7:39, the Bible expressly states that Jesus was referring to the Holy Ghost.  As God’s spirit fills us, eventually he seeks to fill the other voids around us, because he cannot be contained.  If there are voids in our relationships, or our finances, or our ministries, he desires to address those issues, and to bring his healing hydration to everything that is connected to us.

In summary, Jesus could have chosen to compare himself to anything, but now we see why he chose water.  He is simply the essential ingredient to life.  No flashy colors or sweeteners.  He simply is, and he wants to fill us and flow from us to others.  Beloved, be filled with the spirit of God today.  We were designed to hydrate the world with God’s love and his spirit.  Every wound that life has inflicted upon us releases the flow of God’s spirit and affects the lives of others.  The deeper the wound, the greater the flow.  So, today, allow God to take off your cap of pride, pour you out, and hydrate the world!


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

 

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The Power of Giving Thanks

Here we are once again, at the precipice of the Holiday season, with our tables garnished with turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce.  As we prepare to step across the threshold of a rapidly approaching new year, our feet often traverse the well-beaten path of reflection and self-evaluation.

This year, my wife and I were blessed to visit my home in Birmingham, AL, to spend the Thanksgiving Holidays with my immediate family and friends.  I grew more excited, as the departure time approached, at the thought of seeing all those that I love and cherish.  Gratitude filled my heart as my wife and I packed the car to head south for the Holidays.  In that moment, I discovered the true power and purpose of giving thanks to God in every season of our lives.  Thanksgiving is more than just a day on our calendars reserved for filling our stomachs; rather, it is a lifestyle that releases the power of God in our lives in three profound ways.

 

Thanksgiving Escorts Us into God’s Presence

Psalm 100 is one of many passages illustrating God as our shepherd.  Within God’s sheepfold we have abundant supply and pasture.  We have boldness to enter into the door of the sheepfold (Jesus Christ-John 10:9) to access unlimited supplies of everything we need in God’s holy presence.  No necessity is withheld from us when we approach the Father with thanksgiving and praise.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4, KJV)

The Message Bible further expounds on this idea of entering through the door of the sheepfold via intimate relationship with Christ:

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”  Make yourselves at home, talking praise.  Thank him.  Worship him. (Psalm 100:4, The Message Bible)

When we approach the gates of God’s holy court with gratitude in our hearts wielding the password of “thank you” upon our lips, we unlock the very resources of God’s endless supply.

 

Thanksgiving Releases God’s Peace

This may be contrary to everything you’ve ever heard, but when things seem to be falling apart around you, giving thanks releases the peace of God right in the middle of it all.  When we pray we are instructed to arm ourselves with thanksgiving.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

Thanksgiving is a powerful resource when coupled with the confident knowledge that the Father loves us and wants to care for us.  As we articulate our requests to the Father, they should always be bathed in thanksgiving, knowing that it pleases God to give us our hearts desires when they align with God’s will.  The end result will be the overwhelming peace of God that protects our vital faculties of heart and mind.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7, KJV)

 

 Thanksgiving Magnifies God

I am a firm believer in the effects of perspective.  Life can sometimes deliver some serious blows that disorient us causing us to see things that aren’t really there.  Skirmishes with illness, lack, and turmoil leave us with the perception that there is nothing to be grateful for.  These temporary “lights out” experiences can run deep through the core of our being as we struggle to regain some semblance of consciousness.  Things that are normally clear to us turn hazy and blurry, making it difficult to reach our goals.

Enter thanksgiving!!!

Expressing gratefulness to God shifts our perspective, and clears our vision so that we can stay in the fight.  Giving thanks magnifies God and brings into focus the “bigness” of our Father.  God is bigger, stronger and wiser than any enemy we fight, including the most formidable enemy of all…ourselves.  David says it better than I ever could, so I’ll employ a Psalm of his:

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.  The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. (Psalm 69:30-32, KJV)

Whenever we take our eyes off of what is good in our lives, and focus on the bad and the ugly, our victory hangs in the balance.  Use the power of thanksgiving to shrink your problems and bring them down to size.  You will find without a doubt that they are no match for the matchless King of Glory.

 

During this holiday season, let us resolve to carry the torch of thanksgiving into daily living, thereby bringing light into even the most obscure places of our lives.  May the incense of gratitude unfurl within our hearts each morning, and burn well into the night; yielding the sweet-smelling aroma of peace, power, and proper perspective: thus glorifying God.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!!!


As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WARNING: The Withering Process

Recently, I decided to surprise my beautiful wife with a bouquet of flowers, being the romantic husband that I am (smile).  As I walked into the store, I was met with a spectacular array of colored petals of all shapes and sizes.  It took a degree of deliberation to decide which bouquet to choose, and after inquiring about the differences between the blooms, I proudly made my decision.  Of course, when I walked through the door of our home with the bouquet in my grasp, I was rewarded with tears of joy from my Lady. 

A few weeks have gone by and the bouquet I purchased is still on our kitchen table, but it has undergone some serious changes; it’s not the same robust nosegay that provoked tears of joy from my wifey that fine day. Instead, it bears the effects of disconnection.  Jesus warns against choosing to live a life that is separated from Him:

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned”  (John 15:6, KJV)

 

Since Jesus is our life source, one of the consequences of being disconnected from Him is spiritual withering.  On multiple occasions in scripture, children of God are compared to trees.  Trees must have certain necessities like water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide in order to survive.  When it comes to our spiritual health we are no different.  We are people of power because we are people of prayer.  Apart from Him, we can do nothing…we simply cannot function.  Jesus gives us the formula for abiding in Him in John 15:10

   “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kepy my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (KJV)

 

 A Slow Death

The process of withering is deceptive.  When I brought the bouquet of flowers home for my wife, they were vibrant, fragrant, and bursting with color.  As time passed, the reality of the bouquet’s plight became apparent.  Weeks later as I passed by the bouquet, I noticed that all of the petals were falling off onto the table, and the leaves were now dry and lifeless.  The effects of withering are never immediate, and herein lies the great deception.  There is a dichotomy, here, that I would like to explore.  Although we are drawn to the sheer aestetic beauty of the flowers that we see on display, they have already begun to die a slow death.  If we don’t remain vigilant in prayer, we become suseptible to the following deception:

 Since everything around me looks pretty, that must mean there is still life flowing within me. 

We start trying to manipulate the outward appearance in an effort to maintain the pretty colors of our ministries, marriages, and reputations; because these are the things that people can see.  Many times we are shocked when the spiritual leaders of our day tragically fall.  It may seem like  it happens all at once, but if we were to pull back the covers of their private prayer lives, we may be surprised to find that the withering process began long before the actual fall took place.  There is a sobering quote by J. C. Ryle that sums it up nicely:

“Backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.”

Lack of prayer and Bible study cuts us off from our source, the True Vine, thus initiating the death process.  Although the process may be slow, it is sure, and in time the signs of our disconnection will begin to show.   

Things are not always what they seem, and if we’re not careful, our lives will wither due to disconnection from God.  The petals may be full of color, and the stems may appear to be strong and vigorous for now, but eventually the flowers die; the life sap that is only supplied by the vine is no longer accessible.  Jesus stated:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing”  (John 15:5, KJV) 

       

Residual vs. Actual 

One day I asked my wife why did she like to keep flowers around for so long.  Even after they were completely lifeless and shrivelled up, she found pleasure in them somehow.  She told me that it wasn’t the flowers themselves that she only loved, rather it was the memory she had of the day I brought them to her.  This made me think about something pretty interesting.  Many times, we are so in love with the residual memory of what once was, we don’t pay attention to the reality of what actually is.  There may have been a time when you were on fire for God; you prayed and read the Bible everyday.  Now, you may not pray at all, and the Bible is just a nice book of stories that has found a cozy place on your bedroom end table.  In spite of this, there is a part of you that may still feel as if you’re “on fire” for God.  You see yourself in the light of what used to be instead of what actually is.  Don’t be deceived by the residual image of your former prayer life.  Ignite the flames again and reconnect with the Father now. 

When was the last time you and the Father had quality time together? 

Are you producing the robust fruit of the Spirit that only comes from a vital connection to God according to Galatians chapter 5?

Only you can answer yes or no to these questions honestly, and I encourage you to do so. 

Private prayer and Bible study ensures that we stay connected with our life-source who is Jesus Christ.  We must be cognizant of the importance of connecting with Christ daily by reading the Word and private prayer.  The fact is, we are all like sheep prone to straying away from our sheepfold if we don’t guard our hearts as we traverse through this life. 

Here at Wisdom’s Quill, there is never any condemnation or judgement concerning your walk with God.  I am always committed to fostering change, and presenting perspectives that may not have previously entertained.  It’s never too late to reconnect with the Father.  I admonish you to talk to Him now.  He’s always waiting to hear from us, even if it has been awhile, God promised to never turn any of  His children away when we approach Him.  Boldly go to the Father to obtain the grace that He promised. 

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”   (John 6:37, KJV)  

 


 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Zero Visibility

 For we walk by faith, not by sight…[2 Corinthians 5:7]


As I turned the door handle to exit my home, the morning breeze wrapped around my face and kissed my cheeks as I walked to my car.  My senses were a bit more heightened than usual because of the brisk autumn air.  The pep in my step was restored as I enthusiastically took in a deep breath and savored the cool air as it entered my lungs.  The incessant rain had come and gone, and left a dense layer of fog in its wake.  In fact, I had not seen fog that dense since I was a lad.  My drive to work was slow and steady, as I struggled to see.  The fog was so thick, it was like driving through a huge cloud.  I couldn’t see opposing traffic until the headlights of each automobile zoomed past me.   Although I fancy myself an experienced driver, I was a little intimidated, because I was experiencing what meteorologists call zero visibility.

Many times I’ve found my walk with God to be much like driving in fog.  You don’t realize how scary driving can be until you lose visibility.  Our emotions, decisions, and lives are driven by not only what we see around us, but also how we see what is around us.  Examine your present situation.  Are there areas in your life where you are experiencing zero visibility?  You know God is working on your behalf and for your good, because you love Him…but because you can’t see far enough ahead to know how things are going to work out, your journey becomes foggy.

2 Corinthians 5:7 brings to light an important truth for the believer.  We live our lives in a constant state of flux between the visible and the invisible.  When I first read this scripture, I understood it to mean that we don’t live our lives by what we see, but rather by believing and standing on what God has already said in His word.  That’s powerful indeed, but closer examination of this scripture casts light upon a different revelation.  The fact that we walk by faith and not by sight unfurls the truth that sometimes faith is all we have to light our path.  It’s not that we don’t like what we see in front of us at the time, so we choose to walk by faith; that’s not what this scripture implies.  Rather think about it this way, sometimes, we simply just can’t see in front of us, so our faith in God is the only light we have.  When our vision fails, and our visibility is severely handicapped, we can’t stop moving.  Just because I couldn’t see as I was driving through the thick, foggy cloud, doesn’t mean that I could have just stopped in the middle of the road until things got better.  I had to keep moving.  I had to keep driving.  Here’s a word for you:

For where you are right now, it’s more detrimental for you to stop moving, than it is to keep moving with limited visibility.

I may not have been able to see as far as I normally could, but I was able to see just far enough ahead of me to keep my foot on the accelerator.  So, I say this to you…

You may not be able to see as far into your situation as you would like to.  You may not be able to see how your story is going to culminate from where you stand; but KEEP DRIVING.  God always gives you enough light to take the next step:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…[Psalm 119:105]

Faith in God gives us the power to keep pressing the accelerator.  Keep on driving.

Be encouraged, my friends.  Fog is a good thing.  Why?  I remember asking my mother to explain fog to me when I was a young child.  This is what she told me…

Fog happens when the clouds come down from heaven and kiss the earth below.  It means the rain is over, and soon the sun is  going to shine.

You may be in a foggy season in your life now, and you’re wondering if the sun is going to ever shine again.  I just drove through the fog to tell you that heaven is about to kiss your life.  The fog is lifting, and the sun is about to shine upon you again.

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning [Psalm 30:5]

Editor: Jaime Evans


Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

 

Fourth Quarter Tune-Up

Remember January 1, 2014? 

Seems like such a long time ago, right?  How about all of those New Year’s resolutions floating around in the air (including yours)?  Let’s get personal.  What was your number one resolution?

Start that workout routine?

Eat healthier?

Manage your time better?

Save more money?

Relax more?

 

How’s that going for you?

The truth is, about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% achieve those goals.  Pretty depressing, huh?  In fact, some people  (about 38% of Americans) have resolved to not make resolutions at all (University of Scranton.  Journal of Clinical Psychology).

Let’s pause for a moment of silence for all of the resolutions that have given their lives for our fleeting motivations…

Statistics like these are very telling within our society concerning the evanescence of our motivation.  Just recently I was engaged in a short conversation with two coworkers, and the subject of exercise came up.  I was asked if I was going to workout that day;  my response was one of mixed emotions, because I knew I needed to workout, but I just wasn’t motivated at the time.  Excuses flooded my soul, and all of the things that I needed to do after work presented themselves to my mind one by one.  Eventually, I did recover from the assault on my mind and found the grit to part the doors of the gym for another successful workout.

Within that same conversation, one of my coworkers expressed concern for the usual after-work crowd that makes it difficult to occupy the desired cardio equipment.  This raised some very interesting thoughts, which spawned this very post.  Many of us who faithfully attend the gym are very familiar with the mid-year trail off.  When January 1 of each year rolls around, you can expect to see a massive influx of people hitting the gym, as if brand new sexy bodies were being given away in the cardio section.

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

In many cases, by the time June hits, the numbers have dwindled so; treadmills are virtually screaming for some action.  The psychology of motivation is such a mystery, experts are still trying to figure it out; what causes it, and why is it so fleeting?  I think we all can agree that we’ve been there at some point in our own lives.

Fast-forward to your “now.”  Here it is, fourth quarter 2014, and less than four months left in this year; I sincerely ask you…

Are you on track to accomplish your goals for this year?

I know-I know…you’ve had some set-backs, failures, obstacles and opposition.  So have I.  You would not believe the year that I’ve had…but I’m grateful for it all.  Through all of your trials this year alone, kudos to you for still being here, and not just surviving, but thriving.  I know it’s been hard…please know that I can relate, but think of me as your coach today.  This is the last time out in the fourth quarter…get back in the game, you can win!

In the game of football, if a defender interferes with the receiver’s ability to connect with a pass, the referees generally calls a Pass Interference penalty against the defense.  The result of this penalty, in many cases, is a 10-yard advance for the offense.  God is about to advance you as you approach the final push of 2014.  We can’t forget that we are in a battle, and our enemy is real.  He has wreaked so much havock in your life by interfering with the clean reception of all that God has prepared for you, but God has blown the whistle and thrown the flag…Blessing Interference penalty on the enemy.  Your Father is about to stop the assault on your life, so that you can make up precious ground.  According to Joel 2:25, God is able to restore the years that have been damaged and the time that has been lost for whatever reason; our only requirement is to stay connected to Him, and in turn to our purpose.

Receive  that!!!

I encourage you to reconnect to God; reconnect to your plan; and reconnect to your passion.  Remember the reason why you committed to that change in the first place.  If your goal was to lose weight for health reasons, then reconnect with those reasons.  Is it that you want to feel better, look better, and live longer?  Reconnect with that.  If your goal was to be the king/queen of organization, think about that pumped feeling you got every time you thought about accomplishing your goal.  Connect to those feelings, then just do it.  See yourself there over and over again in your mind.  Meditate on it, write a plan, live it out in your imagination.

See it to BE it. 

Even though motivation is a mystery, it is not an impossibility.  You can do this.  It’s fourth and goal, and we’re down to the “2-minute warning.”  You’re too close to let it slip through your fingers.

 

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

You’re almost there!!!  PUSH!!!

 

 

Editor: Jaime Evans

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

BE

Wisdom Wednesday: Domestic Violence with a Twist

In light of the Ray and Janay Rice debacle, once again, the issue of domestic violence has recently earned the title of  “breaking news” in the media.  It’s unfortunate that such a sensitive part of people’s lives can be so readily accessible and publicly splayed for all to dissect.  What’s even more unfortunate is  the average person does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to appropriately discern and distill the totality of truth from the situation. 

Domestic violence is real, and it deserves to be in the spotlight of awareness much more than it has been. 

According to a well-known survey by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives

1.3 women are assaulted by their partner every year

85% of domestic violence reported is against women (key word: reported)

 

These statistics are commonplace among feminists and domestic violence activists and can often be quoted verbatim, but there is an important statistic that rarely surfaces.  According to a survey taken by the CDC in 2010:

40% of the victims of severe, physical, domestic violence are men.

Of course there are many factors that influence this statistic, as with all statistics, but it is worth mentioning.  Often, the focus is on violence against women for various reasons.  Politics, marketing, and ratings often muddy the waters, thus creating a huge disparity between the sexes, in terms of the cases of violence that are actually reported.  Many times, details such as provocation, self-defense, and mental illness surface that later shed more light on domestic violence cases.  As a male, I can most assuredly say that I have never (and will never) hit a woman, although there have been situations where I would have felt totally justified in doing so for the purposes of self-defense (disclaimer: In no way am I referring to my current marriage relationship). 

Am I condoning violence against women in any way?  Of course not.  I reiterate, I have never hit a woman.  In my opinion, there are many alternative measures, other than striking, that men have to defend themselves against violence inflicted by women (which does happen) .  However, I think we all know that some women can be very volatile, and often take advantage of the laws of the land that are in effect (Violence Against Women Act of 1994) where women can easily fill the role of victim, even though many times they are the aggressors.   Of course we can witness this type of behavior whenever we look at reality television.  Although one may argue that all these shows are “scripted,” it doesn’t negate the fact that many of the behaviors seen by these reality stars seep into the psyche of many faithful viewers; and as the old adage goes: Life imitates art far more than art imitates life (Oscar Wilde-The Decay of Lying)

So let’s talk about this:

Is it ever OK for a woman to hit, scratch, bite, spit on, or physically harm a man?

Does a man have the right to defend himself against violence even if it’s by the hands of a woman?

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

Wisdom Wednesday: When Brooks Run Dry

When it is time for young eagles to learn how to fly, the mother eagle begins to engage in a phenomenon known as “stirring the nest.”  This process causes the nest, which was once the eaglet’s primary source of comfort and protection; to become a bed of thorns.  Consequently, the eaglet has nowhere else to go but out of the plush confines of the nest, into the frontier of the firmament, via flight.  At first glance, it seems cruel that the mother eagle would push her young out of the place that she toiled so selflessly to prepare and protect, but for the eaglet “stirring the nest” necessary.  Everything about the eagle screams…FLIGHT!  It was never meant to be confined to the nest.  With an average wing span of 6-8 feet, light-weight bones, and the ability to fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet, the adult eagle was born to soar (see works cited below).  I wish I could say that the journey to perfect flight is a pretty one, but it’s not.  At first, there are many failed attempts at flight, but eventually, the eaglet leaves the nest behind, never to return.   

 As it is with the eagle, so goes the saga of the child of God.  Many times, development is halted due to comfort.  Our lifestyle of ease sometimes whispers a sweet lullaby in our ears, causing our passion for God to drift into a deep, cold sleep.  If necessity is the mother of all invention, according to Plato, then I believe that complacency is its demise.  Our greatest victories are born out of our greatest anguish.  We must never lose sight of the purpose of pain.  Yes…pain is unavoidable and sometimes can be borderline unbearable.  Even though this is true, pain is not a death sentence.  In most cases, it is God’s way of pointing us to a new place of provision and power.  Don’t let the pain paralyze you… 

 

KEEP MOVING!

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah the Tishbite prophesied famine and drought in the land of Israel.  Ironically, he was an inhabitant of Israel at that time as well.  However, because he was a true prophet, God compelled him to go to the Brook Cherith, which was a tributary of the Jordan River.  There, God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah bread and meat twice a day (how about that for delivery).  Although, it wasn’t the best of conditions, compared to the rest of Israel during that time, Elijah had access to a smorgasbord of sorts.  As time passed, however, the inevitable happened.  The nice, fresh brook, that flowed at Elijah’s feet began to dry up because of the drought.   

 

OBEDIENCE UNLOCKS PROVISION

What do you do when the brook dries up?

What do you do when the ravens disappear?

What do you do when what used to be a blessing, now seems more like a curse?

You stand still and know that God is God.

As in Elijah’s case, God redirects us based on provision.  If you are experiencing a drought in any area of your life now, I speak to you, right where you are, and admonish you to never give up.  Every dry place in your life is God’s compass pointing you in the direction of new provision.  Acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).

In the midst of the drought and famine, God directed Elijah to an obscure, little town on the outskirts of Israel called Zarephath.  There, he found a widow gathering sticks for a fire, so that she could bake what would have been the last meal for her and her son.  Does this seem strange to you?  It sure seems strange to me.  If I were God, I would have sent Elijah to one of the richest people in the land.  Surely they would have had enough to spare to feed Elijah until the famine was over. I definitely wouldn’t have chosen a struggling widow.  That’s why I love God.  This particular widow had lost hope and was planning to starve to death after eating this one last meal.  Little did she know that God had other plans.  At the request of the prophet, this woman raised great faith and baked a cake for Elijah first (symbolic of first fruits), then one for her and her son.  According to the word of God that came from Elijah, the widow’s last serving of meal and oil turned into an unending supply that lasted through the end of the famine.  Because of her obedience, she thrived while others died in the same conditions. 

 

GOD NEVER MOVES YOU UNTIL HE PROVES YOU

When the brook dries up, and the meals become irregular, don’t forget who your source is.  You may be looking death in the face, because you’ve used your very last and now you’re out of options; don’t forget who your source is.  God is never limited or intimidated by your necessity.  It may surprise you to know that He is the one who designed it.  Why?  It all boils down to one thing…GLORY.  In spite of the drought, God’s plans for you have not changed.  According to Jeremiah 29:11, He already has a plan to prosper you and give you hope.  He’s proving you now so that He can put you on display for His glory. 

Remember…you were made to SOAR!!! 

Now mount up.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

 Works cited:  www.baldeagleinfo.com

Special thanks to my friend, Joe Torres, for furnishing the photograph used for this post.

 

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

The Demands Of Maturity

According to a recent article I read online, a newborn may lose up to 10 percent of its body weight in the first days of life during the transition from placenta to independent digestion.  From conception to birth, the fetus is environed by the life-sustaining components of his mother’s womb.  Everything from sensory perceptions to nourishment passes directly from mother to child.

Once the baby is born, drastic changes begin to take place in the infant.  There is no more womb, no more placenta, and no more umbilical cord.  All nourishment must pass through the baby’s own digestive system in order to be assimilated and supply life to the body.

During this time, the baby’s metabolism undergoes significant changes.  These changes are not immediately visible, but in time, they become more pronounced.  Weight gain, increased stomach capacity, and the appearance of teeth all indicate one thing…the weaning phase.

Before these subtle changes take place, the infant is usually satisfied with nourishment from nursing or milk from a bottle.  However, as the baby matures, these forms of feeding are no longer sufficient.  Because of the growth that is taking place, the baby’s metabolic rate not only requires more, but demands more.

 

Forsaking The Bottle

In much the same manner, newly born-again Christians should prefer the sincere milk of the Word (1Peter 2:2)   The foundational principles and doctrines that define our faith as believers should be the focus for babes in Christ, because that is what stimulates growth; things such as grace, salvation, baptism, etc.  These things nourish us while our spiritual senses develop.  When we are born again, our capacity for the knowledge of God is limited.  Our understanding and our perception is limited.  We must now learn to process everything through the lenses of God’s word.

As we grow, this creates a greater demand for a deeper understanding of God’s word.  What used to satisfy us, no longer does.  The change happens gradually and is barely noticeable at first.  The sermons that used to excite us no longer satisfy the demand.  The people that used to pique our interest; no longer does it for us.  This could only mean one thing…

It’s time to forsake nursing or the bottle!

 

Maturity Demands Meat

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to descern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:14 KJV).

Solid food is for the spiritually mature.  The entire purpose of digestion is the assimilation of food.  We eat to live.  Metabolism is the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow and heal and to make energy.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the adage: you are what you eat.  This rings true of both physical food and spiritual food.  When it comes to scripture, it’s not about how much you know, but how much you apply to your life.  The world is filled with people who know the scripture, but do not have the desire to yield their lives and hearts to God, to experience true change.  The Bible states in James 1:22, that we should be “doers” of the Word and not just “hearers.”

Wisdom is paramount, but it must be coupled with understanding, according to Proverbs 4:7.  The one distinguishing factor between carnal Christians and spiritual Christians is the amount of scripture that has been assimilated into daily life.  The carnal or immature Christian knows that God loves him, and that’s where it ends.  Immaturity limits the full expression of knowledge due to the lack of wisdom.  The mature Christian not only knows that God loves him…but from a thankful heart; seeks to demonstrate that same love in their daily lives.  The difference is in the application, and you can’t apply what you don’t understand.

 

Hebrews 5 verses 12 through 14 delineate the two degrees of spiritual knowledge; milk and strong meat.  Many Christians never move beyond the milky, simplistic understanding of salvation through Christ.  They never fully experience the exhilarting victory of the new life by placing a demand on God–El Shaddai (The Many-Breasted One)–to supply them with more.  At some point, we should desire more than just a sermon that tickles our ears, but does nothing for our hearts.  At some point, it should pain us, when we hurt others without a cause.  At some point, the scriptures must leave the pages of our Bibles and pierce our hearts; breaking up the stony places therein.

At some point, milk must become meat.

Editor: Jaime Evans

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

Wisdom Wednesday: Anger Is In The Air

 

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26, KJV).

It would seem that this passage allows for the expression of anger, but is this really the case?  Does this scripture imply that it is permisible to express your anger at any time?  

In a recent article about relationships and anger, some very interesting statistics are elucidated:

  • •23% of Americans openly express their anger.
  • •39% say they hold it in or hide it.
  • •23% say they walk away.
  • •23% confess to having hit someone.
  • •17% admit they have destroyed someone’s property out of anger.

(Resource: What’s Good About Anger? by Lynette Hoy and Ted Griffin)

 Recently, I was in a very popular department store in the check out line, and behind me was a parent screaming at her daughter angrily.  As I left the check out line, one of the employees walked by me and attempted to open one of the doors. When she discovered that it was locked, she proceeded to bawl out explitives right there.  As I continued to walk to my car, I thought about the 70’s song, “Love is in the Air,” but instead of love there was anger in the air.  From road rage to Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara shooter-2014) people seem to be incessantly on the verge of boiling over. 

 So why are people so angry?

In his book, Emotional Resilience, David Viscott explicates the different manifestations of pain.  Past pain is called hurt.  Present pain is called anger.  Pain caused by fear of the future is called anxiety.  When pain isn’t managed properly, the end result is what is called emotional debt.  When we factor in daily stressors, past regrets, deadlines, and unresolved losses, people are living in a perpetual state of pain.

Since anger and pain seem to be the milieu in which we live, chances are you have or will come into contact with hostile others.  So let’s talk…

How do you respond to people with bad attitudes or angry dispositions?

If pain causes anger, how does this change your perspective?

How do you manage your own negative emotions including anger?

 

 Feel free to leave a reply below.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

Wisdom From the Web

It was dusk on a Thursday, and as I was preparing to settle down for the night, I decided to enjoy some quiet time alone.  One of my favorite rooms in our house is a sun room with plenty of windows.  A picturesque pink and blue sunset greeted me and provided a welcomed backdrop for meditation.  As I sat down and began to talk to the Father, just then I noticed a spider outside of my window skillfully weaving a web.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of spiders (unless we’re talking about Spiderman).  However, I believe the Father led me to that place and moment just to speak wisdom to me concerning how to trust Him in my daily living.  Please allow me to share with you wisdom from the web.

Spinning The Web

I stood in awe as my spider friend swung from each silky thread like a trapeze artist attaching each thread to the other.  What initially appeared to be random movements turned into an artful display of organized motion.  The longer I watched the spider spin, the more I noticed the pattern of the web emerge.  That’s when God began to speak to my heart.

 

The Perfect Design

In order to understand the efficacy of the spiderweb a few things must be considered.   Let’s begin with the design.  Scientifically speaking, the spiderweb is primarily designed for two things:  capture and rest.  We’re all familiar with how the spiderweb becomes the interface between predator and prey.  When the spider spins a web, at some point an unsuspecting insect becomes dinner for the night.  The sheer design of the spiderweb suits the purpose of gathering food perfectly.  Sticky, net-like, and virtually invisible, it serves as the perfect aerial trap.  You were designed by God to produce the very thing that will provide nourishment and bring success into your life.  You have gifts and talents that give rise to powerful results in your life and the lives of others.

Birds build nests for their young.  Bees build hives.  Beavers build dams.  Spiders build webs.  All of these creatures instinctly build according to their unique purposes.  Even though our actions may look like randomness to other people, we must never get entangled with trying to please everyone.  Just keep constructing your web, and in time it will all make sense.  When Noah was building the ark in Genesis chapter 6, no doubt people were laughing at him and trying to figure out what the heck he was building and why.  Well, needless to say when the rain started, those same people weren’t laughing anymore.  You were designed to reign, but you can’t reign effectively if you are trying to build nests when you were created to weave webs.

 

Location, Location, Location

It would be pointless for a spider to build its web inside a car or any other enclosed space in hopes to capture insects.  Where the spider builds could mean the difference between feast or famine.  I don’t know how long our spider friend waited for food to enter its trap, but I can attest to the fact that the location was prime.  Many times God positions us strategically to bless us.  It’s not just coincidence that you live where you do.  It’s not coincidence that you’re employed where you are.  When you’re in the right place at the right time, God will bring provision and supply directly to you.  Seek Him and His kingdom and everything you need will be added to you Matt. 6:33.

 

The Stealth of Stillness

I continued to watch as the spider put the finishing touches on its silky tapestry.  When it completed the web, the spider nestled into its aerial home and did something really strange.  When there was nothing else left to do, the spider stood completely still in the web and waited.  If only we applied this strategy to our daily lives, I believe we would experience the peace of God as He intended us to.  Psalms 46:10 reminds us to be still and know that God is God.  Sometimes after we have done all that we can do, there is really nothing else left to do but hide in God.  Stillness is the best camouflage.  Many times we draw attention and warfare to ourselves by excessive motion.   You can’t talk to just anyone about what’s going on in your life.  Some things must be hidden until God brings change.  I believe many of the attacks that we experience are intensified because we won’t stand still and let God be God Colossians 3:3.  Trust Him.  He’s sovereign and He wants to show Himself strong in our situations and on our behalf so that He will receive all glory.  Many times we choose to engage in battles that we don’t even need to fight in.  When the enemy surrounds us and the demonic host seems ominous, remember what God said to King Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20:17

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you” (KJV).

 

Your relationship with the Father enhances your uniqueness and intensifies the favor of God and man upon your life.  When you tap into your God-given design, you become unstoppable.  What is God telling you to build?

Go forth and weave your web.

 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

Editor: Jaime Evans

BE