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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well-watered garden

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"A Well-Watered Garden"

"The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).

Our garden is well-watered right now due to recent heavy downpours in our area.  Across the road from our home you can practically see right before your eyes the field of wheat whitening for harvest. Yesterday I took the above photo on a beautiful Amish farm in Eastern Lancaster County. As I observed the lush and verdant garden the Lord laid the daily verse on my heart.  In Isaiah the illustration is given that as God's children we are like a "well-watered garden" in a "sun-scorched land.

A friend told us about a strategy ranchers use to keep steers together out on the Great Plains. He explained that you can either build fences to keep them in or you can provide a deep watering hole with sufficient water that will continually draw them near the source of life -giving water.  He shared this as an analogy concerning our outlook toward ministry. As we view our service for Christ and our spiritual impact on others we can either focus on building fences or digging wells.

Some churches and Christian organizations use a great amount of resources to build fences rather than dig deep wells to provide spiritual living water.  As a result other churches and similar ministries are seen as competition and a threat to their existing work. Sadly, a great percentage of time, energy, and expense is expended in merely building and maintaining fences.

A much more Christ-honoring outlook is that we dig wells and freely give of the life-giving water that people so desperately need in the spiritually "sun-scorched land" we live in. That's how Brooksyne and I want our life and ministry to be and we encourage you likewise regardless of what type of ministry you have. If we are a "well-watered garden" we will draw others in and make the impact upon them that God has called us to do.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, in this age of competition and egocentricity help us to resist the mindset of the world.  We're tempted to focus on big numbers, large budgets, expensive buildings, newest resources, impressive staff and other worldly comparisons of those who share in this calling to minister to our lost and dying world.  When our focus is narrowed to imitating or competing with other ministry groups we lose sight of the One to whom we are honoring and our priorities become misaligned.  You have called each one of us to lift up Your name and You will draw people to Yourself.  As we seek You above all else You will be our daily guide and out of our hearts will flow abundant springs of living water that will not run dry even in a drought stricken land. Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  I can picture in my mind an oasis in the dry and hot desert land when I read our text today from Isaiah.  I can also see those who've been searching their entire lives for answers that will only come from having a personal relationship with Jesus.  Because God has redeemed us from a life of utter hopelessness we are like that oasis in the desert.  May we be His hand extended reaching toward those needing a drink from the "springs of living water" where the supply is inexhaustible and it is available to all who will drink.

What a blessing it is for many of us who give a spiritual drink to children through Vacation Bible School in the summer months.  We're concluding our VBS this evening and I've been delighted to teach five memory verses to the classes this week.   As noted before in the Daily Encouragement I often teach Scriptures by putting them to song.  This week has been no exception so we've been doing lots of singing and the children have really been enjoying it, as have I.  In fact they sing all throughout the building during the down times and it does my heart good.

A couple of the children are slow learners and this method really makes it attainable for them to memorize as I hum the tune or sing softly with them.  Some of the quick learners catch on after a couple times of singing the verses and I enjoy their enthusiasm as they immediately volunteer to quote the new verse.  But my heart is most especially drawn to these children who struggle to fit in and memorization is a major challenge so I'm absolutely delighted when they meet the challenge.    Tonight the children will receive Bibles to take home with these memory verses highlighted.  It is my fervent prayer that these familiar memorized passages will be like well watered flowers in the garden of God's Holy Word.  May they be as springs of living water to their souls!

Some suggested music along today's theme (audio files):
Streams of Living Water
Let Your Living Waters Flow
Living Water

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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