Living Water

I wish I had been the guy many years ago who had the idea of bottling water. It’s convenient and fairly simple. I’ve picked up a bottle of water at a gathering to find that it’s bottled with water from a city municipal water supply – aka “the faucet”!  My friend, Chris Cook has a company called Superior Mountain Water. We have those water coolers at the office, with the blue bottle on top, and you can get a really fresh great tasting cup of cool water on demand. I have learned that I like some “brands” of bottled water better than others. My body must have water to live. In fact, most doctors recommend a generous amount of water consumption every day. The water can serve as a cleansing agent to my body.

Jesus, once again calls himself LIVING WATER. John qualifies it a bit more as the living water that He speaks of is the Holy Spirit. Check this out…

37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said, “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLT)

Jesus spoke of giving Living Water to the woman at the well earlier in His ministry. He is not proclaiming this to the crowds. I’m assuming that John is writing this after Jesus had ascended back to heaven.

When I first accepted Jesus and was baptized as a young kid, I had no real tangible ideas or thoughts about the Holy Spirit. I don’t think my young brain could handle the concept or either I wasn’t taught much about it. I’ve since experienced first-hand the Power and the Presence that the Holy Spirit brings to my life. I’ve tasted this Living Water that Jesus speaks of.

The Living Water brings peace.

The Living Water brings healing.

The Living Water brings comfort.

The Living Water bring hope.

The Living Water brings life.

The Living Water brings grace.

I could go on and on about this Living Water (aka The Holy Spirit).  His Presence in me has completely changed my perspective on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my life. The Holy Spirit is the FILTER (aka the glasses) through which I see. My vision is clear. My mission is clear. I’m seeking to honor Him every day in every way possible.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Health Care: Physical & Spiritual

 

Health Care Collage Words Medicine BackgroundIn the last few years much has been made of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obama Care) that was instituted by President Barak Obama in 2010. The idea was to increase the quality and affordability of health care for all Americans. I will let someone else determine the actual impact of this legislation. Some felt it was more than time for the government to help with healthcare, while others were appalled that the government would have so much knowledge about something so personal as our health.

In the Old Testament, the Priest was in charge of the physical health as well as the spiritual health of the nation. The Lord has specific instructions regarding certain health issues and how they were to be examined. The priests were not only in charge different offerings for sin, but they were also responsible for examining physical wellbeing of the people. Check this out…

54 These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, 55 for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, 56 and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, 57 to determine when something is clean or unclean.

These are the regulations for defiling skin diseases and defiling molds. (Leviticus 14:54-57 NIV)

The ceremony for helping someone become “clean” after being infected was pretty elaborate. The Lord cared deeply about a person’s health then and I believe He still cares today. I’ve heard that our inventions and ourselves have brought many of the debilitating sicknesses that we have today on. I talk to the Lord all the time about my health and the health of my family. I know that no one escapes death, but I would like the quantity and quality of life to be good up to the day of death. I also know that eternally our physical health will no longer be an issue. I also believe that this life is preparatory for eternal life. I think it’s totally appropriate to ask the Lord for help with physical issues here and now because it reveals my dependence on Him for everything.

Creator God created me in my mother’s womb. He built me, wired me and He has given me great health. I don’t understand Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and many other debilitating diseases. I only know that I will cling to the Lord no matter how or when I get sick or my family gets sick. He is the Real One Who is in charge of my physical health AND spiritual health.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Infection

 

Child in medicine maskI am not a fan of infection. This can occur in many ways with the human body. A very common way is to eat or drink something that has a harmful organism. We can also get an infection from the air we breathe. Infections are part of our lives and fighting them is a daily experience. There are some infections that are deadly and some that are very mild. There are some common infections that most everyone is susceptible too and some that are pretty rare. Our body hates infections and does everything in its power to kill infection.

The Lord gave Moses some specific instructions about dealing with people with infectious diseases. They were not to come before the Lord having an infectious disease. Check this out…

9 ‘When anyone has a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to the priest. 10 The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean. He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean. (Leviticus 13:9-11 NIV)

My youngest son recently had an accident and has a huge cut on his foot. The doctors stitched it up and gave specific instructions about keeping it clean to avoid infection. They also followed those instructions with antibiotics just in case infection was on the attack.

Sin is like an infection. It can enter our lives in many unique ways and it can be deadly or even mild. It can be inside us for years or it can be eradicated shortly after coming on the scene. I’m thankful for the forgiveness and the ultimate cure for sin that we have in Jesus. He became the Ultimate sacrifice for sin and we can be forever healed from any sin that makes its way into our lives. Because of my sin – sometimes-regular sin and sometimes-sporadic sin, I deserve punishment – instead God gives grace and mercy. I need to be on the lookout for entry points of sin. It can sneak in when I least expect it and wreak havoc on my soul. I need the protection and provision of the Spirit of God to detect the presence of sin. I need the Spirit to do “recon” on the enemy and help me to be prepared. Sin is one infection that has a cure. God made a way for me to be completely healed and forgiven of all my sin. There is no sin too big or too small for His forgiveness. I’m so thankful for this Amazing Grace.

I love this song by Phil Wickham called: “This Is Amazing Grace

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Healing Takes Time

 

Every now and then I have flash backs to a time of sickness or a surgery that I experienced first hand. Just this week, I’ve experienced both as my son had an accident with a machete and cut his foot really bad. He’s on the road to healing now with 13 stitches, bandages, tetanus shot and antibiotics. My wife had surgery and is in the process of healing over the next 6 weeks. Healing takes time, but I’m so thankful that they are healing and it’s noticeable in the first few days.

Moses gave the Israelite people instructions regarding purification after childbirth. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Say to the Israelites: “A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. (Leviticus 12:1-4 NIV)

The Lord was very specific about being clean when people entered into His Presence. There were purification instructions given when dealing with dead animals or even being part of funerals of family. Looking back it seems really cold and hard. When Jesus came this is one of the areas that changed dramatically as well. When Jesus died on behalf of all humanity, there was no longer any need for the priest to go to the Lord on my behalf. I have direct access to God because of Jesus. I no longer have to participate in rituals such a purification ceremonies. I have direct access to the Purifier Himself.

A physical wound can take time to heal, depending on the nature of the injury or trauma. Some physical injuries like a simple cut can heal in days, while some surgeries take weeks or months to heal. An emotional wound can take a long time to heal, depending on the depth of the relationship. I do think that there are proactive steps that I need to take for healing to take place. I have to work at bandaging the wound – physically it may require some medicine while emotionally it may require some wise counsel. A wound that is not cared for can turn into a major event – even death. I would be wise to do my part in preparing for the healing to take place.

Healing does take time, but there are things I can do to help with the healing. I can keep the wound clean and dry. I can protect it from re-injury. I can take antibiotics too. It’s fairly easy to see how emotional healing takes work on my part as well. I must forgive and surrender to the wise counsel of others. I must let go of my agenda and embrace the hope that healing gives. I must be proactive and pursue God’s heart in order to heal my own heart. It’s not a quick fix, but an eternal fix for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiveness

 

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7This is a really big concept in the realm of relationships. I think everyone on the planet has needed forgiveness at one time or another. I think everyone has had to dispense forgiveness as well. Forgiveness carries with it the idea of willfully stop being angry or resentful toward someone for something they’ve done – willfully or accidentally. I believe forgiveness is a huge cornerstone of my faith in God. God has forgiven me so many times and in so many ways I could never keep score. I deserve punishment, but instead I receive forgiveness.

Jacob had really taken advantage of his brother Esau in the past. He had conned Esau out of his birthright and stolen the blessing from his blind, disabled dad. Jacob seemed like the kind of guy that would step on others to get what he wanted. Jacob sent an offering (a peace offering I think) to his brother Esau via some of his servants. Esau decided to come see Jacob. This alarmed Jacob because he knew full well that he had really harmed his brother. Jacob divides his flocks, servants and family into two groups so that if Esau attacks, at least half of his family would have a chance to escape. The moment arrives and Jacob clearly wasn’t expecting what happened next. Check this out…

1 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (Genesis 33:1-4 NIV)

This is a fantastic example of forgiveness. Jacob deserved retaliation, but instead received restoration. I don’t believe that at the first point of contact that restoration was completed, but I believe it the process was started for sure.

I was reminded this morning that forgiveness is a gift I give myself as well as the other person. The opposite of forgiveness is bitterness and seething anger. I heard someone say that bitterness is a pill that I take thinking it will kill the other person, but the opposite is true: it kills me from the inside.

I’ve had to forgive some pretty major hurts over the years. I have had to have the Lord’s help in doing that. The really cool thing is that the Lord reminded me of how much He forgives me when I don’t deserve it. When I look at others who’ve harmed me, I can forgive. I have hurt the Lord far deeper than I’ve ever experienced hurt from another person, yet He is ALWAYS faithful to forgive. He not only erases my past –He redefines my future and restores me to the place of an heir to my inheritance. The depth of His love and the unlimited Grace that He gives blows me away. How can I not forgive when He has forgiven me for so much?

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

Forgiveness is not optional for Christ followers. Forgiveness is a command from the Lord Himself. After having practiced forgiveness, I see the incredible gift it is to me to actually forgive.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Open Wound

Wound childI have had many open wounds in my life. I usually have open wounds that involved a minor cut or scrape. I have accidentally nearly cut my finger off on a table saw before. Open wounds have probably happened to just about everyone. Some open wounds require stitches or staples to pull the skin tissue back together. Other open wounds need to be left open and kept clean because of how deep the injured tissue is. Jeremiah speaks of a different type of open wound. The Lord offers healing for that too. Check this out…

20 “The harvest is past,

    the summer has ended,

    and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;

    I mourn, and horror grips me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead?

    Is there no physician there?

Why then is there no healing

    for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:20-22 NIV)

 

Wounds almost always heal from the inside out. Even though a bandage is placed over the wound, it still usually heals from the inside out. That is also the picture of how the symbolic wounds of my heart heal – from the inside out. I can smile even when I’m hurting inside, because I’m healing from the inside out. When healing begins it is sometimes painful because we have to “clean to wound” and properly dress it.

If a wound heals from the outside to the inside, the scar tissue is much greater. If a wound heals from the inside out, it sometimes appear to take longer. There are so super human medicines to make a deep wound heal – it takes time for the body to rush all the much needed red blood cells to the scene of the cut and start the process of healing.

I don’t believe that the Lord deliberately wounds me, but He sometimes allows it. In my freedom of choice I can make decisions that cause deep wounds on me an on others – it takes time and the salve of love to heal deep wounds. I need the Great Physician every day to help with the healing of my heart, self-inflicted wounds and all other sorts of wounds.

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne