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You are a spring in the garden, a fountain of pure water, and a refreshing stream from Mount Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:15 (CEV)

Stagnant water.

Just reading those words conjure up the rancid odor, the slimy film, the repulsiveness of it. It could have been on a walk through the woods on a stifling summer day or while cleaning up some deserted lot full of tires and other ‘water catching’ containers.

Stagnant water breeds disease. Stagnant water squelches life. Stagnant water pushes us away. Stagnant water never satisfies. Stagnant water puts within us a desire to find fresh water.

Sometimes life can be like that stagnant pool we try to avoid. You can’t put your finger on it really, the source that is. You just feel flat. For a writer or speaker it can be those times when you stare at the computer screen or paper for what seems like hours wondering what comes next.

Stagnancy of the spirit. It’s tough. It takes away your creativity. It can make you irritable, impatient, restless. Stagnancy of the heart drives us to look for more in our relationships, more in our job contentment, more in our spiritual walk. At its worst, stagnancy of the heart can drive us to lose the will to live at all.

You rarely see condominiums built next to an ugly bog, or see people gather to take pictures in front of a swamp. On the other hand, people yearn for the freshness of a mountain stream, a shooting fountain or a waterfall plummeting over a cliff. These are signs of life, of beauty, of freshness!

In one of the greatest loves stories of all time, the ‘beloved’ is described as a spring in a garden, a fountain of purity, a refreshing stream from the loftiest mountain. As one scholar wrote, Though the fountain is lowly, the source is lofty; fed by the perpetual snows of Lebanon, refreshingly cool, fertilizing the gardens of Damascus. It springs upon earth; its source is heaven. It is now not “sealed,” but open “streams”.

It’s easy, during those ‘stagnant times’ of our walk to forget the source of our vitality. The follower of Jesus Christ need never fret those times of occasional stagnancy for we know that the freshness of our souls, the vitality of our hearts, doesn’t rest on our own abilities or on the environment we live in.

May we always be the conduit of freshness from heaven. May our hearts overflow with the fresh water of God’s Holy Spirit. May others see in us a fresh mountain stream with its source in heaven and not a stagnant pond intent on focusing on ourselves.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that there are times in my life when I allow the cares of life to cause me to be stagnant. Fill me to overflowing with the freshness of your Spirit so that I can feel revived and others can benefit from your love. Amen.


“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

We’ve all heard the old saying. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” In most of life, the saying is full of truth, unfortunately. The relationship you found is amazing. He/she does everything you ever expected. You pinch yourself and say ‘It’s too good to be true’, and a few weeks later the relationship ends when the real person emerges and you hear the small voice inside say “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t’.

You look for a house where you can raise your family. As you are moving in you fight off the visions of watching your grandchildren swinging from the tree in the backyard. Never mind the fact that you are expecting your first child. Years from now the dream will come true. You are sure of it. Until the promising job you have ends abruptly and you lose the house. As you are moving your young family into a too-small apartment the vision of the back yard swing comes back and you hear the voice, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.’

Life is full of dreams and hopes and anticipation, but all too often that anticipation turns to discouragement because people, careers, finances and health fails us. We watch television shows about the rich and famous and wonder what it would be like to have all the money in the world. To see something you want and get it without a thought of how it will affect the electric bill at the end of month.

I can give you an idea of what it is like. Not because I’ve ever been there of course. I have little hope of ever being in that lifestyle. But I can tell you based on what I’ve read and heard. The suicide rate and drug use rate and divorce rate is amazingly high for many of those who ‘have it all.’

Perhaps the wealthiest man in all of history put it in his own words. “I had it all,” Solomon said, “I had women, and money and power. If I wanted something, I got it. Know what I found? It couldn’t buy my happiness and contentment. It was meaningless and worthless.” (Read the book of Ecclesiastes for the real story.)

The only source of true fulfillment and contentment is found in our Heavenly Father. The only way to find true and meaningful peace is through the God of creation who promises us that he will take from his wealth and his storehouses to give us all we need to be content.

An unending supply of money will provide you with all your physical needs, but the needs of the heart will only be met through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need to fill that hole in your soul. And best of all, it’s all free for the asking.


Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. If he doesn’t take pity on them, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17 (NIRV)

We live in difficult times. The rate of divorce is skyrocketing to the point where nearly ¾ of our children live in single-parent or blended families. The ‘American Dream’ of owning a home, which used to be ‘normal’, is fast becoming a luxury. In some major cities entire housing developments sit empty because the families that once played in their streets have been displaced.

Those discouraging facts are just a few of the travesties in our own nation. They don’t begin to talk about the starvation, political unrest, human rights violations and religious persecution seen in nations around the world.

It’s not hard to find someone in need. The hard part is finding a way to help. Most of us have enough struggles of our own to contend with. We feel inadequate or unable to really offer any meaningful help that will make a difference in the world. We can become so focused on the things we can’t do that we forget about the things we can do. We see the world problems and forget about our neighbor or the kid at school that gets picked on all the time. Or the teenager who finds herself pregnant…again.

Max Lucado, in his book “He Still Moves Stones”, tells the story of Leo Tolstoy, a great Russian writer. It seems Tolstoy was walking down the street one day and saw a beggar. Tolstoy was moved to give the man something but upon looking through his pockets found he had nothing to give the man. He reached out and put his hand on the man’s shoulder and said “Brother, I’m so sorry but I have nothing to give you.”

The beggar looked Tolstoy in the eyes. A smile crossed his face and he said, “You have given me more than I asked for, for you have called me brother.”

It doesn’t take a lot to change someone’s life, even if it’s just for a day. It may be a smile, a kind word, an encouragement. It may be choosing not to make a judgment based on the obvious. You can make a difference in your world. It doesn’t take riches or gifts or abilities. It takes love, caring and compassion. It takes realizing that you too have faults and weaknesses and, in God’s eyes, are no different than the person in the physical, spiritual or emotional gutter.

Show the love of Jesus in your world today. Show it to the person you come across who least expects it…and least deserves it. Showing the love of Jesus to others may only be a smile or a word to you, but to them it just may make their day the best day they’ve had in a long time.

PRAYER: Father God, when I look around me at all the bad stuff going on in the world I’m made aware that even in the midst of my own crisis’ I am truly blessed. I struggle with sin. I am in debt so far I may never see the light of day. I’m living under the consequences of my own failure. Still, I have something to give because I have your love within me. Show me someone today who needs your touch. Empower me with your Spirit to touch them with your love. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

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