Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spiritual Skeet Shooting

Skeet shooting at a women's retreat? Oh yeah! Though at first I was hesitant, thinking:

#1 I should be preparing for my speaking session
#2 I can't hit a moving target

But, what did I have to lose? I needed to step out of my comfort zone and not be afraid.

After a gun safety session, I climbed into a van with other willing souls and headed out to the skeet range.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creatively Expressed

We're taking a quick break from our I AM series this week while I am speaking at a women's retreat.
Welcome back my friend and guest, Laurie Kinkaid. I love her impressions, brought through an artist's lens. Laurie's mind and heart are beautifully expressed through her creative ways of seeing life...

EXCELLENCE makes me cry.  Friends know that about me. Not-yet-friends learn it quickly.

Meanness angers me and self-assigned victimization just ticks me off, but EXCELLENCE in art, sports, music, engineering, most any field of worthy endeavor, makes me cry.

I’m getting better at keeping my tears in check (or wearing sunglasses) in public, but my visit to the exhibit of Marc Chagall’s works posed quite a challenge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I AM the Light of the World

This week, we think about all that Jesus has done for us. I can't imagine what he went through. He saw His disciples scatter. He was betrayed by a friend. He was illegally tried under the cloak of darkness. And Good Friday, we remember His death on a cross.

My good friend, Pam Palagyi brings us Jesus's next I AM statement this week. He says, I AM the LIGHT. I am so glad she is my guest today.

Image courtesy of
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Are You Thirsty? I AM

In my last post, I began a series looking at the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus. We looked at His statement in John 6:35—I AM the BREAD. Today we will continue in this same conversation where Jesus tells us we can access Living Water for our thirst.

Stepping off the elliptical, I gulped from my water bottle. I admit, I need to drink more water than I do. I can go hours without a sip, but when I’m thirsty, I can’t get enough.

Thirst signals the brain to tell us we’re low—time to replenish our body with much needed moisture.

The body is composed mostly of water. Our cells need it to function. Our brain needs it to think clearly. The heart needs it to pump blood. Our skin, the largest organ of our body needs water to combat dry skin and wrinkles. Water cleanses and purifies.
As much as our body thrives on water, our spirit needs to be drenched too. We need to be refreshed from the well of Living Water and Jesus is the source.
Jesus uses familiar metaphors. He relates the physical with the spiritual with terms we can understand. Hunger and thirst are two we can all relate to. Last time we talked about manna—daily bread provided from God. He also provided water when the Israelites were thirsty.
When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, it didn’t take long for them to grumble about their thirst (Exodus 15). It makes me think of when my children were young. Whenever bedtime rolled around, everyone was thirsty. Part of that thirst was a delay tactic to grab a few more minutes before needing to go to sleep. At that moment that’s all they could focus on—their thirst.
Then in Exodus 17, God told Moses to strike the rock and when he did, out came fresh water for the thousands of Israelites to quench their thirst. They also learned a deeper lesson. God would provide, whether it was the manna and quail to eat or water from a rock. They needed to know He was the source of everything they needed.

He is our source also. He teaches us to ask, “Give us this day our daily bread” and to respond to His call to “Come all who are thirsty.” He is a God who sees our need and provides for us.

So as water is necessary for our survival physically, Living Water is a must for our spirit. We can’t survive on cloudy, stagnant puddle water. We need fresh flowing water from a spring. Jesus provides daily refreshment for our thirsty soul through His Holy Spirit within us.

Refresh your soul with daily doses of what Jesus gives:

Wordle: Daily Bread 2
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How have you been refreshed with His Living Water?  I'd love to hear from you!

NOTE: The name, I AM, goes back to Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God how the people would know who sent him. God replies, "tell them I Am that I Am, has sent you."  

Jesus gets some attention with this calling card in John 8:58.

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Max Lucado's resources encourage us to draw near to the well of Living Water: 


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I AM Jesus

On any given day I hear someone say:
 I am…

I am the champion.
I am an Olympic gold medalist.
I am the winner of American Idol.
I am the boss.
I am someone…

I look to this phrase, I am, with expectation. I trust that this is someone who knows. They have the authority and experience so I need to take notice.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus mentions seven ‘I AM’ statements. He tells us,

I AM the Bread (6:35)

I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (14:6)

I AM the Vine (15:5)

NOTE: The name, I AM, goes back to Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God how the people would know who sent him. God replies, "tell them I Am that I Am, has sent you."  

Jesus gets some attention with this calling card in John 8:58.

Here at The Stream’s Edge we will look at each of these identities over the coming weeks. Each holds a truth to His identity. Every name helps us to trust Him more.  First, He calls Himself the Bread of Life. He also tells anyone who is thirsty to come for His living water.

Bread has long been the staple of our diet. During war time food shortages, bread lines formed to provide the much needed nutrition—yet there was never enough. Those who arrived too late were disappointed.

My grandmother experienced the food rationing earlier in the last century. And, it seventy years later it wasn’t unusual for her to cut the edges off the bread where one of the grandchildren nibbled to save what was left. Habits of conserving food are not easily left behind just because the grocery store shelves have plenty.

Lack of bread has caused people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, stealing food to survive.

Jean Valjean went to prison for stealing bread in Les Miserables.

Without bread children go to bed hungry.

Without enough, a mother gives to her children what little she has while the gnawing in her belly grows louder.

All over the world, news graphically portrays the effects of hunger because of the need for daily bread.

When Jesus calls Himself the bread of life, He’s telling us He is the source of our sustenance. He is what we need to live and only He will satisfy our inner hunger. He is also called The Word--and we are to live on every word that comes from God.

In John chapter six Jesus reminds the people of the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness. Fresh wafer-like bread covered the ground every morning. The people were to gather just what they needed to eat for that day. If they tried to gather more than they needed it would spoil. And, if hoarded until the next day it was full of worms. The only exception, they were told to gather a double portion on the eve of the Sabbath—and that extra portion didn’t spoil. It fed them on their day of rest.

This powerful object lesson of God’s faithful provision needed to be taught to former slaves who didn’t trust anyone. Their belief and trust in God had been beaten out of them during their 400 years of captivity in Egypt.

Like the Israelites, we also need to learn that He is the provider of all our needs—our daily bread. Jesus says, “I AM the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry…” John 6:35

How has He provided your daily needs? I’d love to hear your thoughts about Jesus, the Bread.
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Join me next time when we’ll talk about the Source of Living Water....Jesus.
Warren Wiersbe's book, Jesus in the Present is a wonderful resource for more about the I AM statements of Jesus: