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SOFT WITH SHOWERS

"You water its ridges abundantly, you settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, you bless its growth." Psalm 65:9-13 (v.10)

Hard ridges in sun-baked furrows of dry ground are hard on the feet of the sower. God sends Spring rains. April showers softens the soil. The seed is sown and God makes it grow.

Sowers, partners with their Creator, sing in the rain, sink their toes in the mud. Showers of blessing create songs and paint visions of an overflow harvest in the soul.

Poets and artists are inspired by the cycle of sowing and reaping as man and God work together. Faith for the future abounds. Hope bursts in full bloom. The sower becomes a prophet who dreams about the day when showers bring flowers and fruit and seed for tomorrow.

The old hymn, "Showers of Blessing" is a prayer for outpoured grace to saturate us, fill us to overflow. Streams in the desert pour through the hard ridges of our dried-up souls and over the shards of our broken hearts. Let the showers come, even when they blow hard and harsh, some with the sting of death and bitter tears.

SING IN THE RAIN: God waters, softens and blesses, yes, blesses, to make you grow. Showers are not storms sent to destroy, but sudden showers, outbursts of the unexpected, sent to be replaced with deeper intimacy as God comes closer to you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, water the ridges, the hard ridges, of my soul. Soften me with showers. May seeds of faith planted in earlier times of my life sprout and grow strong for this harsh season. I trust you, Jesus, for you are Lord of the harvest. Control what grows within with softening showers. Amen



LAUGH WITH GOD

"And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying," This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

The very thought of Jesus causes the Father to smile. He is pleased by the Son's obedience. Jesus' water baptism pleased Father God. He had planned it all and was eager to get all the joy possible out of it. Since whatever pleased the Father, pleased His Son, it was mutual pleasure. Joyous!

Imagine the Father's happy thoughts as Jesus submits to John the Baptist. The Son yields to extended arms ready to support him as He bends. He let's go, yields. The river gurgles with the joy of the Son.. He is over His head with happiness. The sky opens into a radiant smile to create a brilliant entry for the Spirit. John and Jesus shout, happy young men. Father smiles, creation laughs.

Joyfully react to good things that happen in your life. It pleases Father God. Don't miss the big moment and rob God and yourself of the sheer pleasure and huge thrill of what is going on. It is not inappropriate to laugh with God and His children.

Enjoy God's generosity! Does His grace really amaze you? We disappoint our Father when we pout with fake unworthiness or sulk under self-condemnation while He blesses us! When we fail to share His happiness in all we receive, we cheat ourselves.

There is a pleasure built into every obedience to God's Word and will. Both the believer and his God enjoy it together. They are meant to smile and laugh with joy unspeakable and full of glory! God shares with us a delightful inner enjoyment.

REMEMBER: IT IS HIS PLEASURE TO SHARE THE THRILL WHEN YOU ENJOY HIS WILL. He laughs with you, enjoys your laughter. Whatever delights you, pleases Him. Share the joy!

God the Father rejoices when you are happy. This is true especially when we express our gratitude with genuine joy and pleasure. Be a happy child of God. Feel good about yourself. It blesses your God who is happy to see you happy. Bless the Lord with joy!

PRAYER: Father God, I can ruin the pleasure of it all when I either question whether I deserve to be happy or not, or when I fail to see my blessing as something You have provided. May my joy over things You do for me, cause us to laugh together. Amen


 


THE FLOW OF SAVING POWER

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." I Cor. 1:18

It has been said, "I have been saved, I am being saved, I will be saved." What does that mean? It means once you enter salvation, that is accept Christ as your personal Savior, you are on the way to salvation in salvation!

Salvation is not just a one off personal experience; something that happened on a certain time at a certain location, at a specific time. That is a good starting point, but it is just the beginning. Salvation flows like a river. It is not a frozen lake.

The message of the cross, the call to salvation, demands a definite, personal decision. But once that decision is made, salvation streams as a constant flow of God's power within us. We are saved into eternal life, not into an eternal state. God's infinite plan for each of His children is so vast, it will take all eternity to reveal it. His inexhaustible grace towards us will never run out.

JUST THINK OF IT! Today you are saved, and tomorrow you will know the same saving goodness of God. Grace is at work in you. It saves you from perishing. The outer destructive forces that threaten you are not greater than the power of God that works in you, saving you, keeping you day by day.

PRAYER: I thank you, Lord, that when you saved me, you did not leave me on my own. I know my life flows within the river of eternal life forever. Praise God. Jesus, You live in me and I live in You. Your power dwells within. Amen

 

 


FAMILIAR, YET UNFAMILIAR

"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection...." Philippians 3:10

After His resurrection, Jesus visited His disciples various times in various places. He just showed up!..There He was, His dear familiar self.

Familiar, yet unfamiliar. The Twelve knew how He had died, had been placed in a tomb that was sealed. Yet He had suddenly appeared alive before them; a reality that made Him strangely unfamiliar. Everything was different. The disciples had no prior experience with a resurrected Master. Before the cross, He had been one of them. Now, He was Another, different, yet the same. How should they relate with a Teacher risen from the dead? They fumbled, awkward in their reactions.

Jesus understood. So He appeared in familiar places in familiar ways. He shared bread with them, talked to them, touched them, taught them. He eased them into an expanded knowledge of Himself.

When He finally had to leave them and go to His Father, He offered them a Tutor, someone who knew Him intimately. The Blessed Holy Spirit would take over. He would continue to teach them. They would learn more about Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

Reach Beyond: As 21st century followers of Christ we go beyond the open tomb to discover more about our risen Lord. He lingers to share bread with us, talk to us about an intimate relationship with the dear Holy Spirit, the Father's Gift to all who love His Son.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for the cross where Jesus died. Your power raised Him from the dead.That same power quickens and fills my life today. Holy Spirit, teach me. I want to know more about Jesus than I have ever known before. Amen



A WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me."Psalm 23:4

There is a childhood prayer I recall. " Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

Child-like faith expressed in that prayer is often sadly lost in growing up, unless the adult holds on to it. If faith is maintained, the fear of death is replaced by the comfort of the expectation of heaven.

A psychiatrist said, "I have never seen a case of senile psychosis in the aged when they have faith in God and are free from the fear of death."

The fear of death is usually wrapped up in the fear of old age. When such fears are surrendered in the hands of God, faith rises for an exciting adventure in old age and at the time of death.

When we are young we live like we will never die. As we age, we begin to think about where we will spend eternity. Sometimes the death of a loved one will prompt serious thoughts about our own mortality. Inner fears cannot be concealed. They show, even when one pretends they are not there.God sees what is in our hearts. Does fear show through our attempts of bravado? 

Ask Jesus: To walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. He faced and defeated the power of death and the fear of it. He renamed the valley after Himself, "The Way."

PRAYER: Lord, when the time comes for me to go into eternity, I will not walk alone You have promised to be with me all the way. If fear attacks, You will ward it off by your resurrection power. You are The Way. Thank you Jesus! Amen