Thirst No More

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give… will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give… will become… a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NIV

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. You drink and drink from the well of life, but you are still dehydrated; you are still dry as dust. You say to yourself: “Why can’t I feel full, feel satisfied.” And then you pray:

God, I thirst for success, for completion, for accomplishments, for a job well done—but in my heart, I know I am not there yet. Help.

God, I thirst for a mission that can really make a difference in people’s lives. I thirst to be like you Jesus, yet I sadly go away because my behavior fills me with doubts and shame. How can I ever expect to be like you? Help.

I thirst for peace, for no confrontations, for no worries or anxieties. O God, I thirst for extended rest and relaxation. I thirst for that special rest; that eternal rest that only you can provide; that peace beyond understanding.

Yes, God, I seek that spiritual rest; that rest that only you can provide.  I am looking for that ever lasting water that Jesus promises.

Jesus, please give me water from the well; so I too, like the woman at the well, will never have that empty feeling, that “spiritual drought” again. Amen.

 

Praise The Lord

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150.6)

I will praise the Lord with my whole heart. God you are so great and wonderful. It is no wonder that I praise you. You help my limited vision of possibilities and give me the big picture of something better. You give me hope, you strengthen my faith, you answer my prayers and you always give me your best. But God, I am not finished yet.

God, I want the world to know that it is good to praise you; and that through faith we can praise and trust you even through your silence and through our doubts.

You see God; I have no choice, but to praise you. You are my help, my strength and my comfort. You promised to be my shepherd that I shall not want; but more, importantly God; you promised to be with me to the end of my time. It is because of your promises that I have learned to praise you in good times and bad times. And I pray God, when my life is over all will know I praised you from the womb to the grave.

So let the people praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,  praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Psalm 150:1-6; NIV.

God’s Love

Long enough, God—you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, so no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. Psalm 13:1-4 (The Message).

You want a more traditional version of this Psalm—check your King James Version, or New International Version or better yet, maybe the New Living Translation or the New American Standard Bible. Guess what, they all say the same thing. Can it get any worse, let’s see? I will use a more traditional scripture interpretation.

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Psalm 22:1-2 (New Living Translation).

Have you ever doubted God’s love for you? According to Richard H. Schmidt (2005), “most of us feel forsaken by God from time to time. We feel either that God is real but has turned his back on us, or that the God we had thought was real is actually an illusion.” (p. 44). Those words in Psalm 22 were quoted by Jesus on the cross. He too felt abandoned by the One he had trusted; the one that God loves; God’s only begotten son.

Can I ask you again? Have you ever doubted God’s love for you? If so, revisit your life to see how faithful God has been to you, how he has blessed you, how he had protected you and how even today God continues to communicate with you. Are you surprised that he met your needs, not your wants, but your needs? Are you surprised to feel His presence among your friends and within your heart? Are your life renewed with optimism and hope.

Yes, we will feel abandoned again, but remember Jesus was one of us and he was there in that forsaken place. But according to Schmidt (2005), Jesus is also God and therefore, God knows what it is like to feel abandoned. Yes, this knowledge takes faith, but I pray that through your study of holy readings, prayers, your circumstances and fellowship with your faith community that God’s love for you will be revealed. So I say trust God and I pray today that we never forget God’s loves for us.

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The Lord Is My Shepherd

While stressing over life woes for several months, the following bible verse continually came to me. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Many of you will recognize Psalm 23:1 (KJV). Listen to others biblical interpretations:

  • The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want (NIV).
  • The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need (NLT).
  • God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing (the Message).

 I get it. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Yes, I finally get it. Nothing else matters; not material possessions or even human relationships; what matter is my relationship with God. This is my purpose in life—to love my God with all my heart, mind and soul.

I need to believe this. Can I live this?  God, this frightens me, but I understand now that even if I lose all that I have, like Job, you will still be there and you will provide. So God, help me to believe this, to be content with my current reality and not worry about my future. Help me to live and truly believe that I have everything I need in you. Amen.

When God Calls Your Name

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).

Last week I published an essay on Upward Edge (www.upwardedge.com) entitled “Factors to Consider When Deciding to Lead.” After publishing the essay and receiving a comment from one of my loyal followers, I began to meditate. Although my words are in the first person, I strongly believe that my words are genuine to all hopeful and called leaders.

God it is evident that it is time to grow. God help me to see the cues and to use every opportunity to seek you out, to serve you and to demonstrate your love to others.

God help me to be always faithful; even during dark times. Give me the faith of Paul; the courage of David and the resiliency of Job.

God I pray that I can, through your divine spirit, truly motivate with my words, model through my deeds and heal with my touch. I pray that I will live the truth and be a good steward of your trust in me. Amen

Has God called your name? What has God impressed upon your heart to do? If all the factors are in place (see www.upwardedge.com); then you are able to repeat Isaiah’s words: “Here am I. Send me!”

Just In The Nick Of Time

“When I call, give me answers… I’m in trouble again: grace me! Hear me…Look at this: look who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him” (Psalm 4:1, 3 The Message).

How often does this happen to you? God answers you in the nick of time. Of course the nick of time is relative. The nick of time for me is now or least at the end of the day. However, it seems that God takes His good old time. Isn’t that right Job? The bottom line though; is that God does answer prayers.

The scripture made me think about all the things I want now or hope to have in the future. If I just had a little more money, a better car or if work wasn’t so stressful or if I could win the lottery, life would be better for me and all my family and friends. When we do this (dwell on worries and wants) we forget about our present blessings and the blessings that God has bestowed upon us in the past.

Richard H. Schmidt writes that “the present moment usually contains many blessings, but if we think only of what is unpleasant in the present or about what we want done in the future, we can’t enjoy anything” (Praises Prayers & Curses, 2005). So be thankful for today and you will be surprised to realize the miracles of just in the nick of time.

 Let’s pray:

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God help us learn the lesson of just in time. God sometimes we need to have a just in time episode so that we recognize the miracles of life. God help us to see and realize the miracles of our everyday lives. Help us, each and every day to be tuned into all that you do for us. We thank you now for our recognized and unrecognized blessings. Amen

Are Our Dreams Realized In Heaven

Some may think this is corny; others may think this is so unrealistic; a pipe dream. But I say it is a hopeful optimism—are our dreams realized in heaven? Can what is not accomplished here on earth, for whatever reason, be realized in heaven?

Can what we started here on earth continue in heaven? Can evil at every stop block what God has ordained? I am wishful, but more hopeful that the God’s spirit in us is bigger than the evil in this world.

Some may say, take your head out of the sand and you can make heaven here on earth. Isn’t that’s what the Lord’s Prayer is about-“thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What are you doing now to make God’s kingdom here on earth.

Oh, I don’t know. I am just a dreamer. I see so many dreams here on earth perish because of ignorance, poverty, hatred and prejudice. I am just hoping—just hoping that our dreams lost here on earth are realized in heaven; that the good in our hearts that would have helped millions on earth will be realized in heaven.

Here’s hoping that our dreams; our unfinished or incomplete projects are realized in heaven. Amen.

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 This short essay was inspired by the writings of Cornel West in his book, “Brother West Living and Loving Out Loud” and is dedicated to my brother Calvin. Calvin, I hope you are inspired and I pray that you are now living your dreams.

Thoughts On Transforming Lives

To make a difference in people lives; to transform lives, you must not be fearful to lend a hand, to take risks. Remember that “The Lord is [your] shepherd; [you] shall not be in want” Psalm 23:1.

To make a difference in people lives; to transform lives, you must have patience. You must have patience in God’s timing. Patience gives time for preparation, learning in all forms and through all means, books, people and circumstances.

To make a difference in people lives; to transform lives, you must be assured of victory. “This is the victory that conquers the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4.

Faith is the key to transforming lives because God’s faith takes away our fear, it gives us patience, but above all it motivates us because God’s faith assures us the victory.

The Single Most Important Thing Leaders Should Do Is Pray

Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David. Isaiah 55:3-4 NLT

God, I have forgotten how to pray. Oh yes, I bow my head and say a few words; but God the intensity of the prayer is not there; the connection to you is not there; my yearning to wait and listen is missing. I have not the time to meditate; to wait and listen; to hear that inner voice.

God, teach me how to pray; help me to understand the importance of prayer. God, teach me to hear with discernment and how to be genuine with my requests.

I pray that my requests to you will not be in vain. I pray that my asking will be worthy of your ears, your blessings and my realities.

God, teach me to hear you and to be faithful to what you are calling me to do and to be.

God, I pray today for….

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 How often have you prayed to God and you hear nothing, feel nothing? Well, you are not alone. You have company throughout history. Mother Teresa confessed this in her journal, but she continued to do God’s work. Read the Psalms and see how often King David mourned for God’s presence. Yet, David was a man after God’s own heart.

So I say to you today don’t be discouraged. God loves you and I believe even during the silence, God hears you. So be faithful, don’t forget God’s promises and continue to do the things that God has called you to do. Amen