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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pond fish
Our backyard fish pond

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"Springs Of Living Water"

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water" (Revelation 7:17).

We have a small fish pond in a flower garden setting behind our house. We've photographed many of our visitors with the colorful flowers and pond in the background.  The previous owner had put it in and at the present time we have two small goldfish that seem to enjoy living at our place.

One of the challenges in maintaining a small fish pond is keeping the water clear.  The algae are persistent and, if you don't stay with it, it soon turns the pond into a thick soupy green which is not at all appealing.  I pump the water through a filter and ultraviolet light. Several days ago I changed the configuration in order to get more water movement and now the filtered water discharges back into the pond at a rather forceful rate. So far this has improved the clarity and the fish seem to like it, being drawn to the specific churning spot where the water pours into the pond directly from the filter.

It was then that Brooksyne and I observed a neat sight. We saw the small 4 inch goldfish jump out of the pond straight up into the stream of water nearly a foot from the pond surface!  Initially the stream was discharged close to the side of the pond and I was afraid the fish would jump all the way out so I moved the stream out further into the pond. The little fish just seem to exhilarate in the churning water as the stream enters. I suppose they like the movement or perhaps the oxygenation.  I wish I could capture the scene in a photo but, of course, they're just too quick and I don’t have the patience that good photographers need for such a shot.

As we watched the fish an old hymn came to mind that I rarely hear anymore called "Springs of Living Water."  In fact as I hear the words of the song play in my mind I think of Pastor Howard and the little church I went to as a young Christian back in Independence, Missouri.

The daily Scripture verse gives us a glimpse of heaven. 

The Lamb (Jesus Christ) is at the center of the throne. This part of the verse really blesses me in my study. I don't recall noticing it before.  The Lamb who died for our sins on the center cross is now at the center of the throne!

He is the Eternal Shepherd.  The first reference to God being our Shepherd is in Genesis where Jacob blesses his son, Joseph, with this testimony: "May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day…" (48:15).   It's a consistent theme through Scripture ending with the daily verse.

He leads to springs of living water.  Although this is a scene in heaven the living water is available right now to all who believe.  Jesus taught, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:38).

Even as our goldfish seem to enjoy the living water from the stream flowing into our garden pond, so we will be refreshed and reinvigorated as we stay focused on the One at the center of the throne. Let us remain in the stream of God's living water and keep the Eternal Shepherd at the center of our attention!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I confess that there are times when my spirit becomes stagnant after I veer off course and am pulled into the murky waters.  Draw me to the cleansing fountain of Your saving blood which flows from the cross of Calvary. It is there that springs of living water quench my thirst and invigorate my spirit so that I am refreshed in the Holy Spirit and renewed in my resolve to follow You all the days of my life.

Rick MasciantonioLast night we had a long time friend stop by for a visit that lasted past midnight.  Rick Masciantonio, along with his wife Elizabeth and their three children, were a part of our church in New England.

He taught Sunday School and periodically preached and has been in a prison ministry for 14 years, rarely missing his weekly Bible Study with the prisoners during that entire time!  He is a very diligent teacher and has been going verse by verse through Romans and is now into chapter 9.  He reminded me of how he got involved in prison ministry through, Floyd Miles, a mutual friend, who worked in the chaplain's office at the time. Floyd is now pastoring in Indianapolis and I will have the opportunity to preach in his church this August.

Rick is now an associate pastor in his church and is down this way for a Banner Of Truth minister's conference at Messiah College.

Several of Rick's sermons are posted on Sermon Audio and here is a streaming version of one of his messages titled, "Come Boldly To The Throne Of Grace" (Audio) Rick is a powerful Bible expositor and his messages aren't for the faint of heart!

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"Drinking At The Springs Of Living Water"  Text with midi  This is the hymn referred to in the message.

"Before The Throne"  Audio

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"

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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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