A garland of grace and a crown of beauty. Proverbs 4:9
Throughout His word, God illustrates that He is reaching for everyone. Like a powerful river, He is breaking through the desert rock where hope has been lost.
Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air….my justice will become a light to the nations. My mercy and justice are coming soon (promised to us before Jesus). My salvation is on the way (found in Jesus). My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm… Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults… My salvation will continue from generation to generation… Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness… For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the Lord of Heaven’s armies. And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. -Isaiah 51: A call to trust the Lord
Even the wildnerness and desert WILL be glad in those days. The wasteland WILL rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display His GLORY, the splendor of our God. With this news, STRENGTHEN those who have tired hands! [Who is tired in your life that God has made the connection through you to reach?] Encourage those who have weak knees [What people in your life have grown weak in the situations they are facing?]. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong and do not fear (take Heart) for your God IS COMING TO DESTROY YOUR ENEMIES! HE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU! And when He comes, He WILL open the eyes of the blind, and He WILL unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame WILL leap like deer, and those who cannot speak WILL sing for joy! Springs WILL gush forth in the wilderness and streams WILL water the wasteland. The parched ground WILL become a pool, and springs WILL satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds WILL FLOURISH where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness…Those who have been ransomed by Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
Where in these promises by God to ALL His people does it say that God will just hold your hand and watch as the victorious plans He had for your life fall away? Where in God’s word does it say that Jesus came to destroy only part of the works of the enemy? Where in God’s word does it say that God takes pleasure in sending his children hardships and trials to grow them in holiness? No where… God said, He is coming to SAVE YOU through Jesus Christ himself. By the power of His Holy Spirit, your life will be full of His glory.
The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil….We know that real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money (or any part of THE BLESSING: healing, peace, joy, freedom, etc) to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion (doesn’t release/give)- how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions…For God is greater than our feelings and He knows everything. 1 John 3:8-20
Many christians quote James 1:2-4, but they have been taught to take it out of context, leaving out James 1:12-18. Let’s read it as one, not isolating one from the other so that light can flood our understanding for what He is wanting to do in this world.
Dear Brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing…God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death (barren/ desert land). So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good, pleasing, and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting a shadow. He chose us to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession!
Isn’t that incredible! We know that we are His prized possession! Who would send sickness, lack, trouble to their prized possession? Do you as a mother or father want to send those types of things to train your children? God said these trials and troubles would come because He is giving you the enemy’s playbook. He is showing you the “plays/ tactics” that the enemy uses to try to take us out on this earth, BUT GOD! God says, He is with us and when we choose to partner with Him and receive the fullness of His love and salvation through Jesus we can endure and grow for the glory ahead- because God already ruled that we have the victory ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who CREATED them. Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. Gather the nations together! Assemble the peoples of the world!..I am the Lord, your Holy One, your creator and King. I am the Lord who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea… But forget that because it is nothing in comparison to what I am going to do (in and through Jesus). For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will CREATE rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will even thank me for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. -Isaiah 43: The Savior of Israel and The Lord’s Promisee of Victory
This is God’s will for your life! These are the plans He created you for, to be vessels of His living water reaching the whole earth!
People are thirsty, they are literally dying! The Bible says, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Do the people in your life know that God made a way for them to be healed from common diseases or even the audacity of cancer?! From migraines? From fear! From lack! Do the people in your life know what the Bible actually explains God’s will for their lives entails!? That God’s will is actually not a mystery! Just because something happens, doesn’t mean it’s God’s will. ALL Believers need to know that!
But Sara, my brother died when friends and family prayed fervently for hours.. I don’t have the answer as to why that happened, but I do know what God said and He cannot lie. We know that we live in a world full of death and decay where the enemy rules over the “waterless land”.
In Isaiah 7: 7-9, God explained that even though the outcome looked bad, that disaster would never happen, but the king was full of more fear of man and what it looked like on earth than he was full of awe and trust for what the God of Heaven’s armies said to him. God went on to say, “unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm”. The king had a choice to make. His actions chose fear of man..
“We know that we fight against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against the mighty powers in the dark world, and against heavenly places. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, every piece, so that when the day of evil comes against you, you will be able to firmly stand your ground doing everything you can to stand.” Ephesians 6: 12-13
This is powerful! Refuse to let the weight of your faith go on your shoulders. God didn’t just give us a covenant of FAITH alone, the other major part of His covenant to us is GRACE. It’s so incredibly easy for us as Christians, to strive to have faith and be weighted down with what was meant to be a gift. God’s gift of this measure of faith is not meant to wear you out “ trying to let all the water out at once” to save everyone in your life or to be the “solution to everyone’s issues”. Jesus is the solution, Jesus is the water, you are simply the “channel” who allows His living water to reach and saturate others so that they can flourish.
Jesus is the solution, Jesus is the water, you are simply the channel who allows His living water to reach and saturate others so that they can flourish.
“But when Jesus heard about [Lazaraus being very sick], he said, ‘Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.’…. Jesus knew the fact that Lazarus had died, but Jesus also knew the truth that he would wake up alive on earth. “Jesus told Martha, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha agreed with, ‘Yes, he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.’ (This is what a lot of us settle for while we are praying… eventhough this is true and full of peace for sure, this wasn’t the will of God for Lazarus to remain dead.) Even Mary was upset and settling with the fact that her brother had died, BUT “Jesus responded, ‘ Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?’ So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to Heaven and said, ‘Father Thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it outloud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.’ Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in gravecloths, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, ‘Unwrap him and let him go!’
Wow! How many times does a friend come to you about a prayer request? Do you respond with “oh bless your little heart, I will be praying for you. I don’t know God’s will for all this but I hope you get better”… Hold my trashcan full of throw up! Now, I’m not saying that to be harsh, but I’m saying this with compassion! What was the point of Jesus?! God sent His children to carry the light of the world in Jesus Christ, who is the very word of God in flesh, to everyone! We know His will is all things good!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may OVERFLOW WITH HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
So if we are to overflow with this living water of Hope to others, what is this hope we are giving to them? I have had friends, family, and patients respond and look at me with uncertainty and even offense that I dare say what God has said about the impossible made possible even leading up to the last hours of someone’s life on earth. What did God say? We are to be rooted in Him, to stand firm on God’s will for others’ life even when they are literally staring at death. I know what God has done for me and for so many others through out time. I know that prayer isn’t supposed to just be this check the box phrase or even praying from a place of uncertainty (ex: Maybe God’s will is for Joe to have cancer… uhh the answer is no, Nancy, it’s not.) Again everything that is good is from God. Good is from God, bad is from satan. God can turn everything that was meant for bad INTO SOMETHING GREATER FOR HIS GOOD! So someone’s diagnosis or someone’s death IS NOT the good thing that God turned their life into?!
Jesus spoke. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED EVEN BEFORE YOU ASK HIM! Matthew 6:7-8
God knows the plans He has for you- they are good and not for disaster. His plans are to give you a future and a hope. When you pray He will listen and IF you look for HIM wholeheartedly, you will find HIM, spoken in Jeremiah 29:11-13. Ephesians 1 and 2, we know that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” “God blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be Holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. THIS IS WHAT HE WANTED TO DO AND IT GAVE HIM GREAT PLEASURE.”
God says we have all been given the same measure of faith in Romans 12:3. Do you ask yourself “why then, does Sue demonstrate so much more faith than I do? She obviously has more faith than I do. I want to have her kind of faith!” You do! If you have enough faith to believe in God without seeing Him, then you have enough faith to believe everything He has said in His word to you.
Its all or nothing, it’s not picking and choosing. The deception of our minds says “well I can have faith for that house, but I just don’t know if I can have faith for the healing in my body. “ If He said it, it became yours the day you believed He is your Lord who took all your sin and defeated every curse on the cross! Jesus paid the price for THE BLESSING IN YOUR LIFE with His own blood! Your salvation and baptism declares to the world that you belong to Jesus! You includes all of you, not just a portion of your life and not only some times! Its you! All of You! Every day!
Today I ask you, are you going to say that the magnitude of what Jesus did for you isn’t enough? You more than likely wont ever “say” that, but what do your beliefs and actions reveal? I’ve asked my girls, what are your actions saying to Jesus right now? I think too often, we are fooled into thinking that just because I didn’t actually say it, it’s ok. It’s not, guys, because out of the heart, the mouth will eventually speak. And if you think you have a situation that cant be fixed, then you more than likely wont be saying anything God said to get you out of it.
Is this not crazy, how our actions and inward thoughts literally tell Jesus “what you did for me on the cross wasn’t enough.” This literally makes me sick and breaks my heart for Jesus! Take a moment and try to imagine EVERYTHING about the day Jesus was crucified for you. He endured it all with the joy knowing everyone one of us would be set free if only we chose to believe! He was physically, mentally, and spiritually beaten beyond recognition because he literally took on every curse! He bore our griefs and sorrows that day, He was separated from God, himself! We can’t even begin to imagine this in it’s entirety! But He did it, He did it for you because He loves you!
How can we begin to show him that same kind of love? The answer is by simply choosing to believe Him when Jesus said, you are healed, I have come to not only bring you life, but life at it’s fullest! Every weapon the enemy forms against you CANNOT prosper if you choose to believe me because I am in you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in genuine faith.. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? 2 Corinthians 13:5
So that same measure of faith is there IN YOU! The well of living water IS IN YOU. We know that the measure of your faith is endless, and overflowing.
For the scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from His heart”. When Jesus said “living water”, He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him after He has entered into His glory. John 7: 38-39
Well I don’t know how to envision that Sara? What really is “the measure of faith” anyway and how does that relate to a river of living water?
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot YET see. Faith involves confident action in response to what God has spoken to you.
So I envision this initiation of faith, as someone initiating the movement of water. Something has to get the water moving for it flow, right? That something for us is Jesus. God started the motion, the flow of the water in and through Jesus. Jesus is the the water, His word to you is the current and that current of water is powered by His Holy Spirit. The new covenant made it easy for us to live a faith-filled life! We get to choose daily to simply receive and live a life based on the word He speaks to us! Every morning, He looks at us with mercy and unwavering love through Jesus.
So if you are still struggling to envision this. Imagine the scene from Finding Nemo, when Dory and Marlin were picked up and set in the current of the ocean by Crush, the sea turtle. None of them were doing the swimming right, the current was doing all the work carrying them to their destination quicker than they could have in their strength alone. The new covenant is the same way! So we get “to travel” through life experiencing the promises of God by this limitless supply of faith He has given to us!
So another way to envision this, is some people talk themselves OUT of this current. It’s actually hard to get out of a current of water, right, but that’s what we in our culture tend to. We take steps out of this source of life either by choices we make or by weights that pull us out. The weight of fear is heavy. That’s why so many people today struggle with letting go of fear, it’s hard in their own strength, they can’t do it alone. They need the chain breaker in their life. They need to see Jesus for who He is.
This is what the Lord says: Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But BLESSED are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:5-8
The difference is that some people have their faith released and some have their faith restricted like a dam.
My question is do you believe God can do these things He has promised? Is there something holding you back from believing that HE WILL DO these things?
Even the enemy and his army know that God will do the things He promised. So why would we want to operate on a lower level than them? The New Testament gives numerous examples of demons, trembling, falling, and running away from Jesus.
Jesus explained “when an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes to the desert (seeks WATERLESS places) to gain back its strength” in Matthew 12:33. So if demons know they have no power, no strength, no authority in the presence of Jesus (where the river of living water flows), why do we not know/ believe this? We cannot allow the enemy’s army ANY of the waterless land in our lives to regain strength or operate in. The only way for thirsty people in this waterless wasteland to get on the great, flourishing road that God spoke of in Isaiah 35, is by the river of faith that God placed inside of us. Where is our faith at? Are we living in a way that resembles only a little stream of “this water” to flow.
What is the measure of how small the river is on one the left side of the dam? Do you see how VAST and MIGHTY the source of water is on the other side of the dam? Many christians don’t even realize the measure of faith God put inside of them.
What believers are living with a dam up in their lives? Holding back all that GOD WANTS TO DO through their life? Think of all the people in your life that God can reach through your life and change their circumstances.
We know that everywhere the river of life flows there is salvation from sin, disease, and destruction. God’s word contains the very faithfulness of God. For every believer has been given the same measure of faith.
So open up the dam and let His word flow out of you to save not only your family, but all those along your river. Are there people in your life that need you to bring God’s powerful word to the them?
Much love, Sara