“Don’t Quarrel on the Way!”

 

 

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Watering:

Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

 

And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Exodus 17:7

 

Watching:

Quarreling draws the line and says, “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

Quarreling leaves the Creator out of the picture altogether, and forgets that He is listening.

Quarreling births empty words – ripe with hurt – and leads to confusion and doubt.

 

We are not instructed to agree.

… we are instructed to shut up and stop quarreling!

Wondering:

If I don’t take captive every word, before it exits my mouth,

If I don’t wrestle it, hog tie it and walk away,

If I don’t first take my complaint to God and place all my ‘rightness’ on the altar

… then quite simply I have failed. Sinned.

 

The enemy is looking for us to fall flat on our faces – cheering us on to “speak our minds”

Arguing which “side” is right,

Arguing which anointing is real,

Arguing which truth is more true…

But ultimately, at the heart of it all, our quarrel is not with man at all but with God.

 

“Is the Lord among us or not?”

 

This question is not inherently wrong – no question is – when asked with sincerity and humility and brought straight to the God of all truth and comfort and love.

But, on the flip side, I can take this question – with all its impatience and arrogance reeking to high heaven – and spit it out to the world. In the end, all that is accomplished is testing God with sarcasm, doubt and misguided truth.

I have a choice.

 

Waiting:

Lord, help shut my mouth. Change my heart and forgive me. You are so above any stupid quarrel or point of argument. If I cannot speak the Truth in love that is real and grounded in relationship, then I better shut up.

 It is never about being right…

it is always about love wrapped in grace and mercy.

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Noticing

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Watering:

 

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

 

Watching:

We will always find what we are looking at…

If we are looking at things to worry about,

or thundering Goliaths to cower under,

or a world going to hell in a hand basket… they will fill our view.

But the Truth is:

the whole earth is filled with his wonders.

The Truth is:

these wonders deserve our awe.

 The Truth is:

from the first peak of sunshine to its last, God calls for Joy to be sung.

 

Wondering:

The goodness of Life is smack in front of my nose. It is my choice whether I see it or not, whether I pay attention to it or bury it under all the “disses” of the enemy

distractions

disillusionments

discouragements

disappointments

 

It takes work to see each day as brand new.

It takes guts to see beyond the subtle despair and focus on the beauty and abundance of every day life.

It takes eyes to see and ears to hear… that

 

God is good.

He is loving, all knowing and kind.

He is not rattled by my foolishness, nor “put off” by my questions.

He is merciful and faithful

and keeps his word in each turning of this planet.

 

Everyday he whispers.

Everyday he waits.

And every. single. day… he creates joy

orchestrating its song to be sung…

 

Will I listen?

Will I sing?

 

Waiting:

Lord, today, I will remind myself that You are good. All the time.

Today, Jesus, I will awaken the dawn.  I will leave behind my grave clothes, and let you drape your robe and your rightness on me…

I will listen

and I will sing your song of Joy.

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watchful eyes

 

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Watering:

 

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there.  All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

1 Samuel 22:1-2

 

Watching:

David left. He boogied. Exit stage left… He fled.

He didn’t take anything with him.

He wasn’t trying to build an army, or make a case for his “cause.” He was escaping. Into a cave… and people around him were watching.

Here was a once great and mighty king

now in distress,

unable to be content or at peace where he was

… like them.

Someone who could see life from their side of the lens.

This man, they were willing to follow.

 

Wondering:

When life is hard, escape has its place and its purpose… and God has his.

 

I wonder,

how many people are looking toward me when hard times come – hoping for a glimpse of what life, when it’s tough, looks like for someone who claims the ear of God?

 

I wonder,

if all of David’s trials weren’t mainly for those waiting, watching, hoping with every cell of their being, that his God could be real for them as well?

 

Waiting:

Lord, don’t let me ever think that this is all about me. Give me an eye and a heart for those “in distress, in debt or discontent” … Let my life lead them to the One who never leaves. Never forsakes. Always loves.

 

Watering Today

Prov 26; ps 26, 126, 1 Samuel 22; 1 Kings 10,11;  Acts 26

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Not Coated in Chocolate

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Watering:

 

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

Exodus 17:7

And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

 

Watching:

Meribah means quarreling.

Massah means testing.

The people of Israel had seen the Lord work – up close and personal. They had witnessed their enemy routed. They had stood on dry ground between the walls of a mighty sea.

They had seen

… and just as quickly had forgotten.

Or worse, maybe they were just never satisfied.

Maybe they had let themselves become the spoiled kid who whines for a gift but is satisfied only at its giving – soon discarded, when another ‘want’ comes within view. Gimme gimme!

 

“Do not harden your heart as you did that day when you tested me asking, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

 

Our hearts are left as pillars of salt when we look back with longing at the gift,

instead of ahead with trust in the Giver.

 

Wondering:

Don’t let your heart get hard.

Don’t let it get cold.

I look across my classroom, across the air waves, and interwoven on the web, and it is so easy to feel the finger of wickedness infiltrating its frigid despair.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold
Matthew 24:12

So, exactly how do we keep our hearts warm when death and destruction circle around like a hungry pack of wolves? How do we keep our hearts soft when doubt and despair tighten their grip like a long and hard winter?

… How do we keep the love from growing cold?

Yet here are the directions, as clear as the sun rising beyond my window:

Don’t quarrel.

Don’t test God with hoops to jump through or complaints to cure.

Don’t question the faithfulness of his presence saying,“Is the Lord is among us or not?” This is a question we should ask of ourselves – to water our mustard seeds –not a question to wag a finger in doubt.

We are reminded to daily

forget not all his benefits … and trust.

The truest trust.

 

Simple.

Not easy.

 

Needful.

Not candy-coated.

 

Waiting:

Jesus, let repentance keep soft my heart.

Let thankfulness keep humble my thoughts.

Let your Truth keep strong my spirit.

 

 

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You Have Stayed Long Enough

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Watering:

 The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”

Watching:

The children of Israel have been wandering.

In a desert.

For a long time.

And now, finally, it’s time to get off the mountain.

It’s time to go face their enemy and grab their inheritance.

It’s time to come down from the mountain and get to work.

God is making it quite clear,

“You’ve been here long enough… I’ve taught you. Now, go.”

 

Wondering:

I love mountains.

I love mountain climbing.

I love the hope of a mountain’s peak.

Few ventures so closely mirror the struggles of Life, and the triumph of Grace.

… which makes the mountaintop a very hard place to leave!

But Life isn’t lived on the summit. It’s lived in the valleys, along the rivers, and on the flats. And like the child being pulled to leave a toy store, we can leave a mountain kicking and screaming and end up disintegrating into a lot of unpleasantness if we have forgotten why we went in the first place:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

… He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.

Prayer:

Jesus. I love your mountain tops. I love learning from you where my heart can stretch its wings and soar… Help me remember and embrace the valleys where I get to practice everything you’ve taught.

 

More Word to Water

 

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It’s time for joy!

 

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Watering:

 

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

Watching:

Life.

Creation.

Goodwill to all men.

This whole earth was always meant to be filled with wonder.

Love spoke

and it was.

From the moment the sun peaks his head above the horizon

to its setting,

Wrapping His world in a shield of Light and a blanket of stars, His voice calls out:

“Let there be joy.”

 

Wondering:

I walked the neighborhood this evening, and passed a driveway lined with bright and colorful wind catchers: daisies – like a child would draw – spinning in the breeze. Simple, a little gaudy, but I couldn’t help but smile. They made me happy. They “called forth” and twirled their way into simple joy.

 

The sunrise does that – if we’re listening.

Brand new possibilities wrapped in Hope. A chance to start again: forgiving, loving, making better not bitter, seeing hope beyond the passing night. A small still voice wrapped in the twirling of this crazy, sometimes gaudy, world calls out each morning:

 

Lazurus come forth…

It’s time for joy!

 

Waiting:

Jesus, your faithfulness, your goodness, kindness, mercy, grace – your love – is so much higher than I could ever reach, and so much closer than I could ever deny. Today, I will awaken the dawn with thankfulness for everything you are.

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Watering Today

Psalm 65:8

Weak-kneed and Powerful

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Watering: No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

***

“Be strong and very courageous… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Watching:

Joshua was stepping into very big shoes. He had been Moses’ faithful follower and a great student. In all ways, he had learned to put his faith in God Almighty and not the arm of man. But now God tells him it’s to be his arm and he’s the man; the playing field is changing and he’s being “promoted.”

 

How weak-kneed he must have felt.

 

I love that God answers the prayers of his heart before they are even uttered. I love that He cuts through any seedlings of bravado and brings the Truth straight to the need:

“Be strong.” Joshua must have felt weak.

“Take courage.” Joshua must have felt scared and discouraged.

“Be very courageous.” Joshua must not have thought he heard correctly!

“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” Joshua obviously needed reassurance.

I can just hear the heart of God talking gently to Joshua:

I’ve got this, Josh. Really. And in case you are not quite sure about all this, here, listen to those I’ve asked you to lead. They are my echo to you:

“Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses…Only be strong and courageous!

But honestly, what I love most is God never asks Joshua to be like Moses, and he never says,”Get out of your comfort zone.”

No, instead, the God of all comfort, speaks life and hope to Joshua. He speaks strength to his weakness, peace to his fear and assurance to his doubt. God doesn’t ask Joshua to leave the safety of his comfort, rather, he asks him to walk into it:

“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. Follow me.”

Comfort is found

walking beside the Comforter.

 

Wondering:

So how does this story fit into my spiritual wardrobe? How do I learn from Joshua’s lesson?

I can be scared and weak-kneed

and yet

oh so powerful in Him.

Jesus has given me everything I need for this God-given life.

He will not lead where his spirit has not gone before or does not guard from behind.

He sees, understands and fathers my need.

I can step forward into the God of all comfort, who gently coaches from behind, “This is the way you should go,”

I can follow behind the Good Shepherd who leads and never leaves.

I am known

– and loved –

by the One who calls into being

the things that are not.

“Be strong” Bam! There is strength.

“Be courageous!” Bam! He brings courage.

“Don’t be afraid.” Bam! Fear is gone.

“Don’t be discouraged!” Bam! Discouragement must leave.

I am not loved by a god who says, “I am with you only if you go here, or don’t stumble there, or only take that next step, or else…”

No, I am loved by a risen, living, hugging kind of Savior who says,

“I am with you wherever you go.”

Bam!

I have all the comfort I will ever. possibly. need.

Waiting:

Lord, today, I will listen to your words to Joshua, to me.

Today, I will awaken this dawn with thankfulness for your love and faithfulness that are. so. sure.

Today, Jesus, help me be your encouragement for others, “shoving” them only by prayer into the zone of your comfort.

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