This was my daily reading today and it made me feel so blessed I wanted to share it.
How wonderful to be alive and able to give an offering of praise and thanks to God today. Some might not have the ability to offer more than that but how sweet a sound in God’s ear such praise will be.
These are photos I took of the river Mawddach as it flows into the sea at Barmouth, Wales. It is such a beautiful place. Serene, peaceful yet full of life. It flows.
The bible speaks of a beautiful river. The river of life which flows from God’s throne.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever”. Revelation 22:1-5
I long to see that heavenly river but the good news is that we don’t have to wait to experience spiritual life in all its fullness until heaven. We can drink of that living water right now and the river of life – the Holy Spirit can fill us and also flow through us to help those around us.
Jesus says that He is the living water. If we drink of Him, we will never thirst again. Not only that but we will be assured of Eternal life. We will live forever with God.
To have that assurance of eternal life, the bible teaches us that it is necessary to repent and confess our sins, accept Jesus as our saviour who has taken our sins on himself and be baptised and follow Jesus.
John the Baptist came with the message of repentance in preparing the way for Jesus. People were convicted of their sins and went to him to be baptised in the River Jordan. Even Jesus who knew no sin went to be baptised by John.
What an amazing experience it is to be baptised. I still remember being baptised at my local church back in 1977 in the baptismal tank just like in this photo. My brother was fortunate to go to Israel and get baptised in the River Jordan…how wonderful that was.
Healing – The river Jordan was also a place of healing for Naaman the leper – we read the story in 2 Kings 5. The prophet Elisha told Naaman to go and wash in the River Jordan which Naaman was not happy about at all.
His ego was hurt because Elisha the prophet did not come out to see him personally and would not take any gifts from him. Naaman thought the River Jordan was dirty and nothing compared to the rivers of Damascus. It wasn’t the river itself in the story that healed Naaman but his obedience to the word of God. God healed him according to the prophet’s word.
My friends, don’t let ego or pride stop you receiving what God has for you whether that is salvation or healing.
I pray that you too will discover the river of life in Christ Jesus and drink of that living water if you have not done so yet.
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” John 7:37-39
There is a scripture that is very precious to me which to me speaks of revival and an outpouring of the Spirit of God with many coming to know Jesus. The Lord has brought these verses back to our fellowship very recently. I pray these verses for these times we live in now. That many will discover God’s love for them and salvation in Christ Jesus. That they will discover the true river of life.
“The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me round the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist.
He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross.
He asked me, ‘Son of man, do you see this?’
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh.
Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds – like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea.
But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’ Ezekiel 47:1-12
I pray the dry valleys in our lives, fellowships, communities and nations will be filled with the river of God and we will allow the river of life to flow through us. That the water in us won’t become stagnant like the salt marshes but will be always be fresh.
As the disciples of Jesus became fishers of men I pray that this is a time for many fishermen to arise and proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is eternal life, a river of living water and it is found in Jesus Christ.
Do you need some joy in your hearts today my friends? A re-discovering of the joy in knowing the love of Jesus that is down deep in our hearts – a deep, deep, deep joy.
I was reminded this week of the deep, deep, deep down joy of the Lord. Have you experienced and can you remember that deep, deep, joy of when you found Jesus as Lord and Saviour. When you realised that you were forgiven, loved, cleaned up, restored, healed, redeemed and part of God’s family.
There is a praise song about that deep, deep, deep joy found in Jesus. It’s a children’s song but the words are so profound we adults can definitely benefit from the reminder that because of Jesus we have a deep, deep, well of joy inside us that we can tap into. It’s rooted deep in our hearts.
When things get tough and we are going through hardships, trials and all sorts of tests we need to dig deep into our faith. The Joy of the Lord is our strength and how precious it is to know that deep down in the reserves of our heart and soul there is that deep, deep, deep joy just waiting to be re-discovered.
If you need a reminder of that joy today (and you might think this is a bit silly) but I encourage you to have a listen to the words of this children’s praise song again – I hope it will have you smiling, tapping your toes and singing along before you realise it. You might even have a dance around the kitchen!! I dare you. Guaranteed joy x.
I am reminded today of this post about experiencing true joy in the really difficult times of life that we go through. If you are going through such a time then please read this post Joy in the hard times and I pray it will encourage and bring fresh hope to you today.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
I want to encourage you today if you are going through hardship and difficulties to take comfort and hope from these verses.
Habakkuk speaks of a time when there was on the face of it nothing to be joyful about. There was no fruit, no food, no oil and it was a time of barrenness and famine. It was the worst of times.
This was the truth of the situation. Sometimes we also need to acknowledge the truth about our situations rather than pretend everything is ok.
There are two very important words in these verses which will help us. THOUGH and YET.
We don’t deny our circumstances (that is the though) but (the yet) we acknowledge that true joy is not in our circumstances but our joy is found in God and His salvation. We praise Him because of who He is and His great mercy and grace towards us. We trust in His goodness to us.
We choose to rejoice and praise regardless of how we feel and regardless of our circumstances. That is the tough choice. It is difficult to choose to praise when you are in the middle of really tough times. To choose to say -Despite what is happening in my life, despite how I feel – “I will rejoice” I choose to rejoice and praise you God.
The promise in these verses is that when we look up from our circumstances to our Father in Heaven, He strengthens us and causes us to rise up. We rise up above our circumstances and we have the strength to overcome our circumstances. We discover that true joy is found only in God.
The joy that these verses speak of is a really exuberant joy. The type of joy that you can’t contain. It makes you dance for joy, it is full of zest and life.
Everything may be wrong in Habakkuk’s world but he is dancing with joy. What a picture. It’s a work of God to enable this to happen in us because it makes no sense. It flies in the face of common sense to be dancing with joy in these circumstances.
A few more encouraging verses about joy:
“Your presence is fullness of joy” Psalm 16:11
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them the oil of joy for mourning” Isaiah 61:3.
This is the divine exchange. God takes our sadness and grief and gives us His joy instead.
Jesus points the way to joy in John 15:11. “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full”. That is the joy that I want to have. Jesus’ joy in me because I am abiding in Him. To experience Christ’s own joy within us.
Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. He looked ahead to the promise. “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame; and has sat down at the right hand of God”. Hebrews 12:2
If Joy is in material things…we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in results..we will be disappointed eventually.
If Joy is in experiences…we will be disappointed eventually.
If our Joy is found in Christ Jesus the rock of our salvation we will never be disappointed.
I was reminded this week of how easy it can be to neglect our worship times with God especially in the current COVID circumstances. I can get distracted by doing life, work and the busyness of doing and then my times of personal worship to God suffer.
The Lord prompted me through a dream not to neglect the former things but to return to the heart of worship. There is a song about this by Matt Redman with beautiful lyrics which say:
“When the music fades All is stripped away And I simply come Longing just to bring Something that’s of worth That will bless Your heart I’ll bring You more than a song For a song in itself Is not what You have required You search much deeper within Through the way things appear You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship And it’s all about You, It’s all about You, Jesus I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it When it’s all about You, It’s all about You, Jesus
King of endless worth No one could express How much You deserve Though I’m weak and poor All I have is Yours Every single breath I’ll bring You more than a song For a song in itself Is not what You have required You search much deeper within Through the way things appear You’re looking into my heart”
Those words really spoke to my heart and as I listened to the song, I realised again how gracious God is when He gently reminds me to check my heart and draws Me back to Him. The source of life and perfect peace.
A glimpse of heaven awaits us in our times of worship. We lift up our eyes to His throne and His glory. Heaven’s seat of might and power. As we worship we see the Lamb of God..His beauty, His power, His glory. Heaven’s darling. We saturate ourselves in His presence through our praise and worship. We get a heavenly perspective of things and clearer revelation to help us be steadfast in faith and overcome things. We ascend those hills of praise and answer His call to come up higher to Him. To ascend the hill of the Lord. Our faith rises up as we gain fresh understanding and revelation of our great God and Jesus. We encounter the refreshing power of His Holy Spirit as we meet with Him.
I encourage myself (and I hope you) to keep the music of heaven and worship alive in our hearts. We exchange the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise and are filled with the joy of our salvation.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” Psalm 42:1