It is always so wonderful to me when I hear good news “from a far country.” Sometimes, the distance really isn’t that far, but just far enough. If you ask some of the people we know, asking them to travel to the Pasadena area from their homes seems like we are asking them to travel to a far country! LOL!! Really….20 minutes? In SoCal, that’s a quick trip! If you aren’t from this area, I’m sure I will bewilder you when I tell you that in order to visit my sweet niece, her husband, and their three beautiful daughters, it takes an hour AND 7 freeways to get there…yes, I said SEVEN! But it’s always worth it!
We have friends & family from all over the country…great places to visit…Montana, Tennessee, Washington, Kentucky, Virginia, Florida, Texas…just to name a few. At this point in time, the most “far country” person in my life is our middle daughter who lives in Kona, HI. And soon she will be ministering with YWAM in an area in Southeast Asia…that’s REALLY REALLY FAR! I’m so beyond thankful for technology that allows us to keep in contact so easily. Our oldest daughter used to live in Seattle and many times that seemed like a far away country. And with our youngest still at home, I think she sometimes feels like high school is a foreign country! 🙂
When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher was a darling little woman from the Philippines. We learned very quickly, however, not to underestimate her authority in the classroom. Small but mighty is a great description for her! At that time in the L.A. area, the public school systems were beginning to severely decline in their organization. These poor teachers wouldn’t find out what grade they were teaching for the year until practically the day before school began. Surprise surprise that the first 4-6 weeks of school, we didn’t have the books or curriculum that we needed. But with Mrs. Hidalgo in charge, our little class did not suffer from “nothing to do” syndrome. We were learning about foreign countries, and she taught us how to write our first research paper. I remember I was given the country of Venezuela and I think I still have that report somewhere ~ I was quite proud of it! After we were done with that, we all received our new pen pal (through a national service that matched 6th graders with other students the same age in foreign countries). Christl from Belgium became my new pen pal friend ~ and although it’s not 1-2 letters a week that we would send/receive from each other back in the day, we still exchange Christmas cards all these years later! I even had the privilege of meeting her in person about seventeen years ago. It was so amazing to hang out in Ghent with her and see where she lived.
So how do these stories play into the theme for today? Here’s the verse that I read in Proverbs 25:25, “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” I don’t know about you but on a hot day, or a day that I haven’t had enough water, drinking a nice cool glass of water has a remarkable affect on me. The taste of it on your tongue immediately begins to quench that thirst, then the flow of the water just hits you as swallow and you can feel it going down, refreshing all parts of your body. Now, I am not a doctor, but I do know that the water doesn’t actually travel into all parts of your body like it’s filling up a water balloon. But the EFFECTS of that cool water nourishes your entire system from the top of your head to the tip of your toes!! Okay, I’ll wait…go get a glass of water and then come back!
I am continually amazed by the healing properties of water ~ so of course the Lord would use water in so many analogies and parables throughout His ministry. Water into wine (John 2), the Woman at the Well, (John 4), the commandment of the water’s power (Luke 8), and being baptized by John the Baptist as He began His ministry on earth (Matthew 3), just to name a few.
Water is remarkable ~ it brings life, it nourishes, it refreshes, it cleanses, it is powerful, it is gentle, it is perfect and cannot be duplicated. Sound like Someone else I know ~ Jesus has all of these attributes and more. And more importantly, Jesus cannot be duplicated. I would like to challenge you to look at areas of your life where you are seeking to fill your life with things (or people) that cannot truly fill you.
John 7:37-38 provides a beautiful picture of how truly simple it is to receive the Lord and the blessings He intends to give us ~ “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Isaiah 12:3 prophesied with these words, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
And the promises that will be fulfilled in God’s perfect timing, found in Revelation, are some of the most beautiful words in all of scripture to me ~
Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 21:6, “And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”
Revelation 22:1-2, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree werefor the healing of the nations.”
Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
Throughout my life as I have served the Lord, as I have had seasons of drought, seasons of plenty, times of doubt and thankfully more times of trust, the promises of the Lord my God have remained true and steady. Praise the Lord that my faithLESSness doesn’t weaken His faithFULLness! *I know I spelled that wrong…but wanted to highlight the best part of God’s fullness in my life!* He showed how faithful He is to give me what I need just last night on the eve of my birthday. (Yep! Today is the big day….and I am proud to say that I am 47 now!). The enemy was working over-time, trying to make me feel inadequate because I had (again!) not accomplished all that I had thought I would in this past year since my last birthday. I was beginning to go down that dark road of doubt and sadness…I could literally feel the joy of the day being choked out of my heart. Had I done ANYTHING worth it in this past year? Yes! By God’s grace…YES! Had I failed at some things and not come close to completion on a few others, you bet. But did that make me less deserving of God’s grace and unconditional love? No way!! God has given me a most amazing husband who is such a tower of strength and encouragement ~ he doesn’t let the self-pity thing go very far, reminding me that he loves me no matter what. And more importantly, reminds me that God loves me despite my failures. It is in those times of failure and disillusionment that I need to not just turn to the Lord, I need to break out full speed ahead and RUN to my Savior!
Jeremiah 31:12, “They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.”
I want to be like a well watered garden and no longer languish through life! I want to flourish with joy and contentment in all areas of my life, trusting that God has good things planned for me! And I want that for YOU too!!
My first “Happy Birthday” message came from my Kona girl at 1:18am. I woke to the sweet sounds of my husband and two girls at home singing “Happy Birthday” to me. I have received more texts and and humbly abundance of well-wishes and blessings from friends and family near and far. I have had “Good News” from far-away places. And I live in a place today knowing that the Living Water from my Lord sustains me like no other. I am a Daughter of the King and He is radiant over me with His goodness. I can function from a mind-set where I know that I have salvation that I cannot earn or purchase, but an eternal life that I have been given through the price Christ paid on the Cross. I can declare the truths and promises about me and for me, that the Lord has set forth ~ I do not have to walk on that dark path of doubt. God has a plan and path for me ~ and for YOU ~ and guess what….Satan cannot walk on that path with us. He can’t! He’s not allowed. He can only stand on the sidelines and try to lure us away, tripping us up with his lies and deceit. He cannot dwell in the same place as the Lord. Because you are HIS, you are safe. I am in His strong and mighty hands.
These sweet words in Isaiah are like water to my soul and joy to my heart ~ I have a long way to go until I have reached “old age” but I have the fantastic knowledge that God will be there with me each step of the way. He will guide me, carry me, bear my burdens with me, and save me for Himself.
My birthday wish to you ~ that you allow the Lord to bring you His good news of salvation and grace. He’s waiting right there for you and will never turn away from you. Trust me ~ I know that I wouldn’t have made it to my 47th birthday without the strength I have received over and over and over again from the Lord. HE is my greatest gift and I know my Father loves me. He loves you like crazy too!!
Bonus note ~ just as I was writing this blog, I received some “Good news from a far country” ~ Savannah called to say “Happy Birthday!” What a joy! Oh, and these photos (with the scripture on them) are from the gorgeous drives I was blessed to take with my friend Jenn in Montana last week.
**All scripture references can be easily found on http://www.biblegateway.com