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    Wood in the Water

    Have you ever packed the suitcase full of hope to follow God’s call on your life and ended up not receiving the very thing you had travelled for? The Israelites know how you feel. In Exodus 15 they followed Moses for three days {33 miles to be exact} without water and then spotted their need…but it was bitter.

    Maybe you trekked all the way through the desert to discover fresh water and found disappointment being born in unmet expectation at that moment.

    The place where:

    • disappointment gives birth and hope gets killed
    • you can see it but you can’t taste it
    • even though it’s tangible it isn’t accessible
    • You came for water.

    • You found water.

    • But you can’t have the water.

    “What can we drink?” (v24) the people asked Moses and he eagerly asked God for a solution instead of focusing on the problem.

    We learn that when we set our mind on what God is about to do, we won’t be focused on what He hasn’t done.

    “And God showed him a tree.” (v25)

    If we taste what God hasn’t touched, it will kill us.

    The Lord is showing the people that they came for the wrong thing. They came for water but He wanted to give them living water! Finding water in the wilderness wasn’t hard. It was restoring the bitter waters to something the people could drink that required God’s mercy. So what about your life?

    Did those desert days produce water that terminated your thirst? Has bitterness swept over your thoughts? Take your wood and throw it in the water. Let the cross take a swim in your veins until it pumps sweetness to every acidic thought process that’s taken place. One look at the cross turns our situation sweet. As Matthew Henry states, “He will render the bitterest trial tolerable.”

    So there I was, finding out that I was not a fit for what I thought God called me to and I was given a choice in that moment to drink the waters of bitterness or drink the living water. It was a choice of listening to satan tell me that because I don’t fit, I didn’t belong, therefore inheriting an orphan spirit full of insecurity and doubt. I  could’ve easily swallowed the questions of why: Was this a test? Was I even called? Feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, hurt, disconnected, broken, & feeling factionless (for all of you Divergent fans out there, haha).

    But instead I chose to ignore every lie that told me that I wasn’t good enough. I faced the facts: It’s all about embracing a place but what happens when the place doesn’t embrace you? It stings. It hurts. I cried and art journaled. But in the mess, I let God find me. Instead of glazing over the pain, Jesus’ sweet soft whisper rushed in to heal the hurt. I didn’t let it keep me down, I let God lift me back up. I remembered He is always working things for my good, so there was no way to stay upset. Bitterness’ poison could be healed by the touch of the tree. The one who died to set me free.

    “and there He tested them.” (v25) Your true nature is revealed in testing. Marah was a place of bitterness and testing, but because Israel endured, they genuinely gained from their time at Marah. It was at this place I learned:

    • to partner with the will of God even when it didn’t match mine
    • self-distrust
    • to celebrate others receiving the prize
    • a deeper level of submission
    • a satisfaction in serving
    • a fuller belief in His promises.

    “bitter waters were made sweet.” (v25)

    There is one who came to earth for 33 years and looked up to God and asked what shall I drink? God pointed to the cross and Jesus obediently drank the cup of suffering so that the water could become sweet for you and I. “Buckingham explains that the chemicals in the sap of the broken limb drew the mineral content down to the bottom of the pools, and left only good water on top.” Christ is the broken limb who died and took our sin to the bottom of hell and rose us up from the grave! The tree also left minerals that cleaned out their systems from disease just as Christ gave us Holy Spirit to cleanse us from the inside out!

    “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the water.” (v27)

    Though you have camped at the bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be your home. Jesus took our bitter and turned it into sweet.

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    the fig

    imageHealing seems much easier when we don’t have to pick off the scab and realize we just re-opened a wound that’s still bleeding. But its in that moment we find it is a perfect time to throw out the welcome mat and let Christ have His work within the doors of our heart.

    Oh no! Christ is coming over? A panic sets in that screams, “I’ve got to clean the house and remove the clutter so He doesn’t trip or think it’s completely disgusting that I haven’t dusted in months!” We fall into the curse of hiding that Adam and Eve stood behind so long ago. Grab some fig leaves y’all, we can’t let Him or anyone see us like this! We mustn’t be exposed in frailty and shattered in our shame.

    But love comes walking through the garden of our hearts and calls out, “Where are you?” There’s been a loss of connection from our heart to His so He comes to find us hidden in the darkest spot we could find and tags, “You’re it!”

    Once we let the love of God find us in our worst, most ugly moments, we let the light in and can run to find someone else to share how He found us in the depths of our darkness. He didn’t leave us there and He’ll never leave us again. The best part is God loved us so much, He took separation out of the vocabulary of those who accept Jesus into their broken places and chooses to heal us.

    In Mark 11:12-14, Jesus sees a fig tree full of leaves but without fruit. He was hungry and looking to eat so He withered the tree and cursed it to never live again. Just like that tree, we gathered our shame and hid but through the cross He withers the fig leaves that we held up to hide our hurting hearts. He melts away the false pretensions and navigates through our darkest night. He wants to eliminate shame from our lives and bring the deepest healing that only He can provide.

    We were made for love. Have we received it? Maybe we’ve received a false expectation, or catastrophic devastation from the way life was meant to be in our eyes. Experiences can easily shape our definition of who God is in our lives but who He is will not change. The more we receive the love we were made for, the less we strive to fix the problems we are facing ourselves and start receiving the solution, which is Jesus.

    As we reflect, I want us to ask ourselves these two questions:

    What scar tissue do I have that makes me hesitant to fully trust God as my Father?

    What leaves of shame can I let Jesus wither in order to receive healing?

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    Ruffled Feathers

     “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

    -1 John 3:3


    “Don’t get your feathers so ruffled!” has always been a term related to stressed out people, but after studying bird behavior, I have learned from this process. It is necessary to their survival. The ruffling of feathers is how birds keep clean, waterproof, and in flying condition. They bother their feathers in order to remove the debris after every bath and meal.

    A powder forms as they break apart each feather, keeping them warm when the cold comes. Then they shake off the dust, forming a cloud of debris to leave behind.

    As a child of God, I bathe in His presence and eat of His goodness but do I bother some places in my heart in order to remove the debris? If birds aren’t ruffling their feathers, they will be extremely ill or uncomfortable in there living situation. How often do I become like that tattered bird who has stopped the process and need to see my situation with new eyes? Without this process of examining my own heart, I cannot be lifted higher than my circumstances or be waterproof when the waves of life arise.

    Birds shake their tail feathers to release tension and I wonder what am I storing up? Is bitterness, resentment and discouragement hiding beneath my actions? It leaves me asking myself one question, “What’s ruffling my feathers?”


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