June 15, 2009 yet again!
Yesterday afternoon as I was doing my "daily readings" I left my book marks sticking up at John 4 and Ephesians 3, for I felt that You had more to say to me from these passages. So let me look at them again...
John 4.... Father, I pray that You will give me boundless amounts of Your living water... and that I can pass it on to others so they will grow and become as strong and beautiful as You see them in Jesus, and that they will be a sweet scent and savour both to You and to all the world around them, and that in turn they will bring Your living water to so many others! Oh dear Jesus, Your water, please! I thirst! They thirst! Like the little lawn and garden in my yard that has, over a hard winter, become yellowed and scruffy and barren... and yet slowly, as I have trimmed, and watered (over and over) and raked and dug, and gathered and tossed the piles of fallen tree seed pods that were burying the grass, and added some fertilizer to the garden (thanks, Dan and Lily, it really has been a team effort!), and planted seeds in it... slowly but surely the bare spots in the lawn are filling in, and there is getting to be more green than yellow. And the dusty gray of the garden soil which seemed before to attract only cats (their smelly neighborhood litter box! yuck!) and a very few scraggly weeds, now has neat rows of lettuce, radishes, spinach, chives, parsley, tomato plants, strawberry plants... small, not yet ready for the harvest, but looking more beautiful and healthy day by day, in their rich black soil amendment added by Dan and Lily!
But, boy oh boy, in our dry, hot climate, if I don't keep watering, it could all go back to that yellow, patchy, dusty, dying mess (even with digging, cleaning, fertilizing, raking...). Water, Lord! You! Living water, Father, Jesus, Sarayu! Pour it on, Lord! On me, on us (hubby and me), on my children and grandchildren and their families, on Your church, on the people I'm getting to know out on the streets... on all mankind! On Jason (Oh Father, heal his body, too), and C___ (use him,Father, to proclaim Your Word and share Your love, as he longs to do) and Jennifer (bless her for her kindness and friendliness and sweetness - she calls me "sweetie" but she's the one who has blessed me, really... help me bless her, too) and Tim (Father, he went to treatment for 90 days, but came back in about 9... oh dear God, he needs Your living water so much), and Pastors J and P and C (pour Your living water into them, and then out of them, bringing life and refreshment and growth and greening and ripening harvest, just like the cold refreshing water that pours out of my garden hose onto my little lawn and garden...
Oh! I see! The "little" things You have me doing are like the "little" lawn and garden (postage stamp size, as they say), that I have here in my little yard, and that, even as small as it is, I have so much pleasure and joy and excitement watching them grow and green up and develop (every day, sometimes several times a day, I run outside to take another look! And to do a bit more work, add some more water, rearrange all those twigs in the garden so the cats don't come in a dig it all up) - wow, just like You look down on Your little garden here in Penticton with love and joy and care and anticipation, and You keep on gently weeding and digging, and especially, watering with Your living water! And wonder of wonders, maybe my "little job" is being the garden hose, or the rake perhaps, or the garden fork, or even the little kitchen spoon I used to make rows for the seeds... these tools don't seem very exciting or important, each one on its own, but they are all working together to transform a dusty, yellowed, dying landscape, very slowly but very surely into a beautiful green, growing, soon-ready-to-be-harvested garden - a small corner of a vision of a little paradise-to-be, imperfect as it still is (I can't affford professional gardeners and landscapers to come in and make it instantly perfect, and anyway, that would take away all the joy and anticipation... and participation... and reality!)... as imperfect as it may always be, this side of eternity, but a joy nonetheless! Thank You!
(Oh my goodness - all that after reading just John 4:1-10??!! Wow! You are amazing, Father! Thank You! (No one has commented on my blog for ages... and then, just a few days ago, someone pointed me to the woman at the well: confirmation again!)
John 4:38 "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into that labor." That's how I feel about where I am at right now - entering into the labor of those who have already labored long and hard (always, of course, including You, Papa, number One, with Your graciousness in allowing others to help, to participate, to journey with You! Wow!), and now You're allowing, inviting, guiding me into doing my small part... a cup of cold water in Your name - no matter how small or simple, it's important, eternally valuable in Your eyes! And perhaps even the joy of helping to reap, to bring in the harvest! Yes! Thank You! It all seems so worthwhile now that You are showing me what You see, what You plan and purpose, what YOU dream and envision... and WILL - have already, from eternity! - bring to pass! Thank You! Yay! Amen! Praise God! Hallelujah!
John 4:46-54 The official implored Jesus to heal his dying son... and believed Jesus when He said, "Go, your son lives"... and then he saw that the healing took place right then... (v53) "So the father... himself believed and his whole household." Make me a believer, Lord, and a pray-er - an implorer! - that others may see Your answers, Your miracles, Your love - and also believe! Please! Yes... "Be strong and courageous... for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!" (Josh 1:9).
Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord!" Yes! So much to rejoice for... starting with YOUR words, YOUR answers, right here, in my comfy chair on the front porch, right now, this morning! Thank You, Lord! Amen!
There it is again - Your purposes vs "my dreams and plans": "we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh!" (v3)
"7. But whatever things were gain to me (my big dreams, my hopes, my plans, recognition of myself), these thing I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8. More than that, I count all things to be loss (even if I seem to have "nothing" to respond to the question, "But what are you doing?" - "seem" because we do not see what You see!) in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ 9. and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousnes which comes from God on the basis of faith, so that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (oh my goodness: we so avoid that! We don't want it! We don't believe it! We pray to be kept from it! We just want happy, happy,joy, joy, "success!" But it is basic to "being like Christ" - it is joy itself! Yes! Forget the goals and big numbers and success ratings and fame and wealth and health and prosperity!), being conformed to His death, 11. in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead. 12. I PRESS ON SO THAT I MAY LAY HOLD OF THAT FOR WHICH ALSO I WAS LAID HOLD OF BY CHRIST JESUS!" (Jesus laid hold of me! Amazing grace and mercy! And He never lets go! I am His child, forever and ever with Him! Oh dear God, help me to long for this great good news, this reality, this eternal blessedness and joy for all others - for You do indeed love all Your created children and long that none should perish but that all should come to repentance! (2 Peter 3:9).
"...forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus... living by that same standard to which we have attained (Phil 3:13-14, 16).