Greetings once again, dearest readers, and welcome to another exciting and heart-motivating edition of “Everyday Jesus.” I am so blessed to introduce you to Amy, a fellow writer and sister in Christ. We are not only friends in the digital world, but real-life friends as well, since we traveled to SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina last year. (And created lots of inside jokes in the process.) I pray that you show Amy the love today both here at 7 Days Time and also over at her place via comments and encouragement.
Are you ready? It’s time to jump in…
Have you ever had a message or a theme seem to just jump on board your life for a period of time? That happened to me recently as I prepared for my annual day apart with God. The theme was water.
I prayed that God would give me a picture to begin this day. He did.
In my picture I was standing on the edge of a high cliff with moving water below. A ball of “stuff” was advancing toward me and I had to decide if I was going to try to keep the stuff from rolling off the edge or if I was going to heed God’s conversation bubble directive to “JUMP”. Looking at the water, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were already in it and were waiting for me to just do that thing.
So, I jumped into the time with God and into cleansing water of confession, praying, listening, and Word soaking for the day.
I was bathed as the plunge freed me from all the surface trappings that call to me for rescue but are actually siren songs of distraction from focusing on Him.
At the conclusion, I had let go of some things I had been trying to finagle. I assumed He was through with getting my attention about some things but Sunday’s sermon on Jesus’ baptism kept the theme afloat.
My pastor incorporated a visual aide that day as he held a large sheet of butcher paper filled with loving words God says about and to His children.
Then he stated things we hear others say to us that erase His words. He proceeded to crumple up the paper. It was a moment earlier when I had allowed a man-word to wash away a God-word. Why, even my own thoughts drown me!
Plop. A tear fell to the opened pages of Luke 3 in my lap:
“As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV).
I let His Word and the pastor’s message wash over me. God is pleased with His own.
What began as letting go for a day apart with God flowed into a culminating spring of tears letting go of hurts.
What about you? Are you overwhelmed by the deluge of real life stuff? Is your sweet little spirit crushed by the weight of unkindness toward you, intentional or not? I so understand that. So does Jesus.
Jesus is in the water that calls us to jump out from the stuff that wants to swallow us in our various seasons and circumstances.
Jesus is in the water that refreshes us as we pray with our mouths and hear with our ears as He speaks to us when we take the time to just be still and listen.
Jesus is in the water of his word that washes us and regenerates us to life as we erase words that don’t hold any water compared to God’s cisterns that hold living water of His truth.
Jesus is in the water of identity where we are cleansed from our sins. Stains of past mistakes are washed cleaner than any of the latest stain lifters could possibly manage.
Encouragement for today:
Sweet reader, won’t you just jump in? The water where Jesus floats is just fine.
Opportunity for response:
What keeps you from jumping?
Amy Dickson Ward lives in Columbus, GA with her husband of 26 years, Rob. They have two adult sons and a daughter-in-love. Amy is real about life’s ups and downs, including her battle with breast cancer in 2010. Amy enjoys blogging at www.amydward.com when she’s not busy leading Bible study, knitting, and using her degree in Home Ec (yep, that’s right) and minor in journalism at home. She has been published in Espresso.