Inspirational Quotes and Memes

Inspirational Quotes and Memes

Inspirational quote made into memes and though some are copyrighted, they are free to use as long as they are unaltered.

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Thankful For Fibromyalgia

Thankful for Fibromyalgia

Today I had an epiphany. I felt it in my heart for the first time. I am thankful for having Fibromyalgia.

As Christians we are taught to trust in the lord which means that we gratefully accept the outcome of his divine will. If we say, we are “leaving it in the hands of the lord” we are also saying that it is okay for whatever outcome to happen.

thanks_for_fibroIn my case it has been thirty-one years of Fibromyalgia and numerous other health problems and family health problems that I have been called on to endure and deal with. I am grateful for all of that. Intellectually, I knew it was the Lords will but I have not completely felt it in my heart until today.

There have been countless miracles along the way of my fibro journey for which I am thankful, thankful from the heart.

We can know truth in the mind and we feel truth in the heart, the heart is where the Holy spirit touches the soul.

Today, April 24, 2015 is the day I can say, I truly am thankful for my health problems and especially the leader of the pack, fibromyalgia. I know that it is the will of the Lord for me. I know there are other things to learn about my health and my families health issues, but for now, I know I am where the good Lord wants me to be.

Troy Wagstaff

Four Ways To Use The Gospel In Your Life

Four Ways To Use The Gospel In Your Life

There are four basic ways for Christians to have the strength to carry on in a world of temptation and chaos. These four things that Christian can do will help them in any circumstances they find themselves in.

These are 1. Faith, 2. Prayer, 3. Read/Study the Scriptures and 4. Live the Gospel.

These activities are not designed to convert you to Christianity. It is assumed you are a Christian and are looking for a way to apply your Christian beliefs in a way that will strengthen you and comfort you in life.

Jesus Christ and his teachings that we learn from the Holy Bible can provide both a shelter for protection against the storms of life and a warm blanket to keep you warm in the dark coldness of life.

Let’s look at each one of these things to see how they can make a difference in your life as a Christian.

FAITH

Faith is believing in something unseen, which is true. When you exercise that belief in an unseen Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit gives you good feelings inside which were not there before you started to exercise faith in him.

As you process those wonderful feelings it strengthens your faith and then you believe even more in him and the feelings become greater and then a snow ball effect takes place where you exercise great faith in the Lord because of the wonderful feeling you receive.

Many Christians experience a degree of faith that gives them a warm fuzzy as they find the Savior but this warm feeling is fleeting over time and without the proper nourishment, their faith fades away. It takes continued effort to keep faith alive and to keep it burning in your soul. In fact these four items combined will do just that, keep faith alive and growing.

Having a vibrant faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ gives you internal strength and provides perspective in your life. These aspects of life can give you strength to face adversity that mortality surely will provide you with.

It may seem a little strange to say that using faith will give you more faith but it is true along with adding prayer, bible study and living the gospel daily.

I think it is safe to say that faith is the first and most basic building block of living and Christian life and getting blessed by living that type of life style.

PRAYER

Prayer is the prescribed way of talking to God in the name of Jesus Christ. You can talk to Heavenly Father in a more formal prayer of kneeling down and talking out loud to him. However, since God knows the thoughts of your mind and the intents of your heart, you can talk to him from your mind and heart in a silent prayer.

You should try to get in as many formal prayers to him in a day as you reasonably can. You can pray anytime your mind is awake and able to communicate thoughts. Sometimes blessings are held in reserve until you ask for them as a way to teach us humility knowing that the source of our blessings is God.

In our prayers between us and the Lord you can say anything you want. I would suggest that giving thanks for all your blessings is very important. Gratitude is important in showing that we acknowledge God as the source from which all blessings come from.

We can ask God to bless us for any righteous desires we have. Obviously we would not ask Heavenly Father to help us be successful in robbing the local convenience store or to not get caught cheating on an exam.

We can pray for Gods blessings on those around us as well as ask for good health, strength and protection for ourselves and family. I can’t think of any righteous desire that would be off-limits.

We do need to watch for the answers to our prayers as they may come to us in ways we may not expect.

READ/STUDY SCRIPTURES

We start our lifetime journey with the Lord by exercising faith in him. It becomes our eternal goal to be with him. But it can’t stand on simple faith alone. We need to learn eternal behaviors approved of by the Lord himself. We do this by reading the Holy Bible. Then as we learn new things in the bible we ask Heavenly Father how to apply them to our lives and then we act upon that new information. Which brings us to living the gospel in the last section of this article.

LIVE THE GOSPEL

four_ways_live_gospelWhat does it mean to live the gospel? It means to apply what we learn through faith, prayer and the Bible. We need to apply these teachings to our everyday life. We need to learn to forgive others their trespasses against us. We need to learn what the commandments of God are and live by them. We need to learn about repentance and how the bible teaches us the need to repent.

Faith or simply believing in Jesus Christ isn’t enough for salvation or bettering ourselves before God. We need to change the way we live to conform to Gods ways. We learn these things by daily reading the gospel and then prayerfully determine how to adapt our life to meet with the demands of divinely taught truths of the Bible. As we live our lives by applying the gospel to our every thought and every action we will be richly blessed by Heavenly Father and we will bless the lives of those around us.

Doing all this along with continuing to exercise our faith, pray continuously, read and apply the biblical teachings to our lives along with living our lives according to divinely inspired truth we can receive great spiritual strength and peace that can only come from God.

Troy Wagstaff ©

Do You Trust Jesus Christ?

Do You Trust Jesus?

Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? If you are reading this article then it is very likely you have faith in our Lord and Savior. This devotional is written on the basis that you, the reader, has faith in Christ Jesus.

Now I want to ask you another soul-searching question. Do you trust Jesus?

As Christians we can say without hesitation that we have faith in Jesus and love him, but, again, do we trust Jesus?

Some may say that trust and faith are the same thing or very close to the same thing. Let’s look at the two words “faith” and “trust.”

Faith

Hebrews 11:1 reads “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith, therefore, is believing in something that has no physical evidence of existing.

Trust

Trust is believing that someone will do what they say they will do. When we trust people in our daily life, we generally trust those in authority over us (with exceptions) and we trust people that we have a long-standing relationship with, where they have a proven history of keeping their word.

While the words “faith” and “trust” are very close in meaning and in concept, they should be used in sequence.

do_you_trust_jesusWe believe that Jesus exists. We believe that the Jesus we read about in the New Testament is a resurrected being. We believe that he suffered, bleed and died for us and that he broke the bonds of death and lives again.

For some the gift to believe, comes as a gift by grace. For others, faith is something we acquire over time as we read the teachings of the Savior and pray and do what he teaches. For all, our faith grows as we see things happen as a result of our faith in our Savior. Our faith grows from grace to grace.

After you have experienced faith and after you have seen your faith grow you come to a point in time when you need to ask yourself, “do I trust Jesus?” It would seem like sound reasoning to say “if I have faith in Jesus then of course, I trust him.”

I agree, it does seem like good logic but I don’t think the transition from faith to trust is as clear cut in the real world. I’ve seen many Christians grow as their faith increases but for whatever reason they seem to hit a plateau. Instead of continuing to grow and climb upward, they seem to fizzle in their ascent. They lie stagnate on their plateau.

I would not presume to know all the reasons why this happens to those that are standing on the plateau. There are likely many reasons. But one reason, I think, that puts them on that plateau is that they fail to make the transition from faith to trust in their relationship with their Savior.

My best friend Scot is a good example of someone I trust. I have known him all my life. He will tell me what he will do and then I can go about my endeavors with no doubt that what he said would be done, will be done.

We need to feel like that in our relationship with Jesus. An example would be on the principle of repentance. If we repent of our sins he will forgive us and remember our sins no more.

Can we do our part in the repentance process and then go forward knowing those sins are gone? Do we trust Jesus when he says he will forgive those that repent? Do we repent then go about our life with nagging doubts wondering if we are really forgiven of our sins? If we do then we need to ask ourselves if we trust Jesus. There is a good point to make right here. We are not talking about faith. We’re beyond that. We have demonstrated our faith by repenting of our sins. Now it’s up to us to trust Jesus to forgive us of our sins.

I’ve used my best friend Scot as an example of people I trust. In the case with Scot we have grown up together we lived next door to each other until after high school graduation.

trusting_jesusWe know each others secrets and weaknesses. We’ve been through life together. I’ve known him much longer than my wife Colette of twenty-nine years.

I am blessed to have a forty-eight-year relationship with one person. We’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve long since come to know that Scot is an honorable man and one true to his word. We have a great history together so I can really use the word trust and mean it.

But Scot is just a man like me. He is not perfect. But I trust him. I hope we all can say that we have people in our lives that we can trust. I can trust my wife and I have other people in my life I can trust like my three daughters among others. But none of them are perfect.

People in our lives are not perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect. If we can trust imperfect people in our lives, shouldn’t we be able to trust Jesus Christ who is perfect in every way? We already have faith in him but do we trust what he says he will do? Do we trust his time frame? Do we trust that he will never fail us?

I do. I hope you do to.

Troy Wagstaff © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

He Hath Borne Our Griefs And Carried Our Sorrows

He Hath Borne Our Griefs And Carried Our Sorrows

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)

Our Lord and Savior truly has “borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows” already. When in the Garden of Gethsemane He sweat great drops of blood in agony and on the cross of Calvary He suffered, He bleed and He died for us.

Throughout this whole hideous ordeal He felt the pain of every sin committed by those who have or will have inhabited planet earth. In addition to that, He suffered every sorrow and felt every grief we will ever feel. He knows how to succor us first hand from personal experience.

So I ask ” Why do we insist on bearing our sorrows, grief and other burdens by ourselves?” We don’t have to. We can let go and let God… How do we do that? It’s a simple answer but maybe not so simple in application.

We let our burdens go by realizing we really do have a friend in Jesus and with Heavenly Father. Talk to Heavenly Father in The name of Jesus Christ about our problems, like we would talk to our friends about the problems we might share with them.

Talking to friends usually helps us feel better, especially when they give us empathy. But that’s all they can give is empathy since they can’t have first hand experience as to what or how we feel. We appreciate their empathy.

Our Savior has felt first hand our grief and our sorrows. No one can succor us like He can. So we talk to Heavenly Father about our situation, so that we are on the same page. Then we let go of our troubles and we listen to God and follow the teachings and counsel given us from the Holy Scriptures, having full faith and trust in God to help us out through His Holy Son, our Savior.

As we exercise our trust and confidence in Jesus, our trials, sorrows and grief will be lessened and our spirits will feel lighter and this process will go on until the sun shines brightly on us and we feel the warmth of the sun on our face.

By Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved

Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elisabeth Parents and People

Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elisabeth Parents and People

 

What Can We Learn From the Two Best Sets of Parents in The New Testament? – Joseph and Mary – Zacharias and Elisabeth

What can we learn from the parents of Jesus Christ? What can we learn from the parents of John the Baptist? Surely these two sets of parents are four of Gods greatest children, to be parents of Jesus Christ and John The Baptist.

What Can We Learn From Joseph and Mary?

MARY

Let’s look at the story of Mary, the mother of Emmanuel.

The heavenly angel Gabriel was sent from God to appear to Mary, a virgin, espoused to a good and just man named Joseph, from the house of David.

Gabriel’s salutation to Mary was “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.” Mary thought to herself “why would someone treat me like royalty?”

Sensing her uneasiness, Gabriel said “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God.” He went on to tell her that she would conceive a man child and carry him to full term and when the son was born, she would name him Jesus.

Gabriel went on to say “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Mary replied thinking out loud, how can that possible be since I have not been with Joseph or any man for that matter.

The heavenly messenger explained that “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

To help her understand this was possible, Gabriel told her that her cousin Elisabeth had conceived in her old age a son and was six months into her pregnancy. This is the same Elisabeth that was called barren. “ For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

One of the greatest statements in all of Holy Scripture is thus spoken by Mary to the Angel “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Mary, a virtuous woman, was full of incredible faith to submit herself to Heavenly Father in that fashion. She had no doubts, just strong actionable faith on her part. Very few Biblical story’s equal the kind of faith Mary had!

JOSEPH

Joseph and Mary were espoused to each other which was a legal issue in their day. They were not married but their espousal was a legal arrangement. During this time of engagement Mary would have lived with family or friends. The only means for Mary and Joseph to communicate with each other was with a friend or a go-between. This situation made it difficult, if not impossible for Joseph and Mary to be together physically.

There could be no personal, one on one communication between Joseph and Mary. Joseph found out about her pregnancy through the go-between. He knew nothing about Mary’s very special role in Gods work.

With no information other than Mary was pregnant, he had to make a choice between a public trial or give her a letter of divorcement. If Mary was found guilty in the public trial there would be a good chance that she would be put to death. Joseph would’ve been legally justified in taking that course of action.

Joseph had a second option which was to sever the marriage contract before witnesses and avoid the public spectacle of a trial. We all know that Joseph opted for the second choice because he didn’t want to make a public example of Mary.

This experience teaches us a lot about Joseph, soon to be the stepfather of the Messiah. The Scriptures bear no record of Joseph being bitter or angry. The Scriptures do tell us that he was a just man and so it was natural that he would take advantage of one of the two options to sever their relationship based on her pregnancy.

Once Joseph had decided to put Mary away privily (he had not gone through with the process yet) he was still deep in thought about the whole situation when an angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream. The angel said “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

When Joseph awoke from his revelatory dream he did as he was told by the Angel and took Mary unto him as his wife. They refrained from physical relations until after Jesus was born.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM JOSEPH AND MARY:

What good is it to read and understand the stories and teachings of the Bible if we don’t learn from the people in these inspired stories? We need to ask ourselves what can we learn from that teaching or from that proverb or from that parable or from that teaching?

The first thing that comes to my mind is faith and the second thing that comes to my mind is obedience. Mary’s story and Joseph’s story happened as they did because each of these two figures had great faith to begin with and when their faith was tested, they exercised even greater faith and were obedient to the instructions of the heavenly visitor.

It’s one thing to say I have faith, but it is another thing to actually translate that faith into action. I have heard some people say that faith is a verb, or an action word. One cannot say I have faith and then sit back and do nothing. If Joseph said I have faith that what the Angel told me is true, but went ahead and filed for divorce would he really have shown faith?

If Mary was thinking to herself “I do have faith in God,” while Gabriel was speaking to her but then when he got to the part of her bearing a child that wasn’t from Joseph; if she had turned and ran away from the Angel, would that have been real faith?

For faith to be faith, it has to be followed by obedience. Both Joseph and Mary showed their faith by their works, by acting in obedience to the divine instruction they received.

This story of Joseph and Mary also shows a great love that they had toward one another. Both Joseph and Mary honored their love by being loyal to each other. Either one of them, or both of them, could have easily run away and refuse to take part in this wonderful, earth shattering event.

Imagine what their marriage was like with such a great love toward one another as they had, as well as their great love toward Heavenly Father, manifested by their faith and obedience to Him.

ZACHARIAS AND ELISABETH

Zacharias was a righteous and honorable priest, who was married to a righteous and honorable woman known as Elisabeth. It was said of them “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”

They both had lived their lives’ faithful according to the teachings of the gospel and were considered old and Elisabeth was barren, thus they never had children.

It is fair to assume that they prayed earnestly to have children through the years and as no children came, perhaps they prayed that they might have just one child, but they were not the thus blessed. Even though their righteous desires of children went unheeded by the Lord they remain true and faithful to the teachings and commandments of the gospel. They each endured to the end.

ZACHARIAS

As a priest, Zacharias had a responsibility to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

At the time of this story, Zacharias had gone into the temple to burn incense while a multitude of people were praying outside of the temple during the time of incense.

While Zacharias was in the temple, near the altar of incense, there appeared an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. A righteous man though he was, Zacharias was a little frightened and fear fell upon him.

The angel said unto the Zacharias “fear not for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”

The Angel went on by saying that many of the children of Israel will turn to the Lord their God because of the child Elisabeth would conceive and deliver. The son of Zacharias, who would be called John, would go before the Savior in the spirit and power of Elias preparing the way for the short, three year ministry, of The Messiah.

The Angel said “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

To all this Zacharias said to the heavenly messenger “Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” This must have been said with some doubt or disbelief because the angel’s reply was “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

Meanwhile, outside of the temple, the people that were praying while Zacharias was supposed to be burning incense at the altar started to wonder what was taking him so long in the temple? Is he having a vision some wondered?

Finally, Zacharias came out the temple door and could not speak. He attempted to speak to the crowd gathered outside the temple door but could not.

Zacharias was a very diligent man but tripped up while engaging with Gabriel, the heavenly messenger, which lead to the consequence of being struck dumb or speechless for more than nine months. But even while he was in the “dog house” so to speak, he remained at the temple doing his work until the days of his ministration were over at which point he returned to his own home.

ELISABETH

It was sometime after that event that his dear wife Elisabeth conceived a child in her old age. However, she hid herself for five months after conception. I don’t know why she hid herself for five months; some say maybe she was unsure about her health and age combined with being pregnant. Some suggest maybe she was ashamed to be known to be old and barren and then suddenly pregnant. Others have suggested that it took her some time to adjust to the idea of being pregnant after a life time of being barren. She now had a new identity that she needed to come to terms with. No one knows for sure.

In the context with which the word “reproach” was used, it means shame for being barren or without children. Now at last she was with child and no longer carried with her the associated stigma of being barren. A great blessing for Elisabeth.

MARY AND ELISABETH

Jesus and John The Baptist knew each other in the Spirit World. Before they would be reunited on earth, the met up with each other while they each resided in their mothers’ womb.

Mary went to stay with Elisabeth for a while. When Mary greeted Elisabeth, the baby John leaped within her womb at the presence of the Savior in Mary’s womb. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

While these two elect ladies were talking with each other, Mary expressed her joy to Elisabeth, the one who could understand her situation better than anyone else. She said “my soul doth magnify the Lord.” She went on to say “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”

These statements indicate that Mary was learning and coming to terms with what an important role she was involved with and just how important she was to the biggest event in the history of the earth.

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

Mary stayed with Elisabeth for about three months before returning home. Shortly thereafter, Elisabeth gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It was around this time when Elisabeth’s neighbors and cousins had heard how the Lord had blessed her and Zacharias with this new baby boy. It was truly a time of rejoicing and her neighbors and cousins rejoiced with her.

The custom of the day required that the baby boy be circumcised on the eight day and given a name. During the ceremony they called the baby boy Zacharias, after his father, as was also a custom.

But Elisabeth said objected to naming the boy after his father. She said his name will be John.

It was the custom of the day to use a family name when naming a baby boy. Elisabeth’s objection did not make sense to the crowd.

Keep in mind that Zacharias was still mute but some in the crowd went to him to see what Zacharias wanted to call the boy. Zacharias asked for a writing table and wrote a message saying that the boys name is John! As the crowd was marveling at this event, Zacharias’s mouth opened immediately and his tongue was loosed and he spake and praised the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

All the crowds that saw and heard these things were talking and wondering among themselves, some saying what manner of a child will this be? Others were saying that the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zacharias being filled with the Holy Ghost stood up and started to prophesy saying “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.”

Zacharias went on talking and prophesying a little more before he turned his attention to his son John, when he said “Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

LESSONS LEARNED FROM ZACHARIAS AND ELISABETH

Some of the lessons learned from Zacharias and Elisabeth are very similar to the lessons learned from Joseph and Mary. However there are a few other points worth making as we review the great lessons from Zacharias and Elisabeth.

While Zacharias was in the temple performing his priestly duties, he was visited by Gabriel, a heavenly Angel. Gabriel told Zacharias that the prayers of Zacharias and Elisabeth were going to be answered by Elisabeth conceiving and baring a child and the child’s name would be John.

John expressed a little doubt that this could happen considering how old he and Elisabeth were. This display of doubt resulted in the consequence of Zacharias being stricken speechless. He was told that he would not be able to speak until their baby was born. At this time Elisabeth was not pregnant which implies that Zacharias was mute more than nine months.

Zacharias is an interesting character in the Bible. He was a very righteous man and a man of great faith. When put to a test of his faith, he faltered a little (similar to Peter faltering when walking on the water toward Jesus). What I find interesting about this is that it shows that even good, strong, and righteous people make mistakes. This is something we should all be able to relate to without judging.

Another point worth making about Zacharias was that even though he was struck dumb he continued his service in the temple until the event was over. Even after he was punished for his lack of faith, he didn’t just run away and feel sorry for himself, but rather he took his punishment and continued his Temple service. This is a good lesson for us to understand.

This same issue also points to the fact that Zacharias was a regular guy, a very righteous man, but was subject to mistakes and foibles just like we are. That concept gives me great hope, I make mistakes and I’m far from perfect, but I can be blessed by the Lord, and I can be used by the Lord according to his will.

Zacharias and Elisabeth had prayed to have children throughout their married life, but they never received their righteous desire. Elisabeth was beyond the years of bearing a child, which to us means that she was past menopause. For whatever reasons, Elisabeth felt a sense of shame for being barren throughout her adult life.

For however long they were married they were seeking a righteous desire to have children which were denied them. They were good righteous people, does that seem like a just reward, denying these two good people the blessing of children?

Throughout the Scriptures the same theme is taught over and over that if you ask in faith nothing wavering or if you have righteous desires and pray with faith that you will receive and finally the Scriptures teach that with God all things are possible.

So why didn’t Zacharias and Elisabeth have the children they desired? The moral to the story is that things happen in the Lord’s time frame, not our type frame. When they were allowed to have a child, they were blessed with one of the greatest prophets the earth has ever known. So when we are looking to God for blessings, we need to remember that often the answer will be in His time frame and not ours. We need to ask with faith, nothing wavering and with great patience.

Learning lessons from the lives of Joseph, Mary, Zacharias, and Elisabeth could fill a book with worthwhile teachings and analysis. Don’t let this short paper lead you to believe that that’s all there is to learn from these four great people.

Prayerfully read for yourself, the first chapter of Matthew and the first chapter of Luke, and ask yourself what you can learn from these great stories and consider what you might learn from these experiences that can improve your personal discipleship and increase your faith.

Troy Wagstaff
CallahanWriter

A River Of Life

A River Of Life

Whithersoever The River Shall Come

Throughout the Holy Scriptures water is symbolic. The symbolism of water depends on the parable and how it is used. Water can be symbolic for healing, life, blood, cleaning, Word of God or the gospel. In this instance the symbolism of water deals primarily with the symbolism of life and healing. This imagery comes from Ezekiel 47.

In Ezekiel 43-47 an Angel is showing Ezekiel the plans for a temple or sanctuary for the Lord. The exciting part of this story culminates in chapter 47 where there is a building and from the building issues forth a River. The river measures about one thousand cubits and it flows through the wilderness or desert and then into the Dead Sea healing everything it touches.

The width of the river measures one thousand cubits wide. According to the Hebrews a cubit is a measurement from the tip of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Throughout the history of the ancient Hebrews a cubit could be 17.5 inches or 21.5 inches in length. If we were to consider a cubit to be 17 ½ inches, then one thousand cubits equal 486.1 yards. That means that the width of the river would be four football field lengths plus 86 yards. If we were to use the 21 ½ inch cubits then the width of the river would be 597.2 yards, or essentially the length of six football fields.

Mathematically we can say that the river that flowed from the sacred building through the desert to the Dead Sea was five to six football fields wide. We don’t know how long the river was and it doesn’t matter. What really matter is what the river symbolizes and how that applies to our lives.

river_of_lifeI believe to get the full measure of what the Bible has to teach us we need to liken each verse to ourselves and to our everyday life. Insert your name when applicable into verses and passages of Scripture so that it looks like it was referring to you. Apply the lessons of those passages to your daily life.

Symbolism
To apply the passage of Scripture found in Ezekiel 47 we need to understand the symbolism of the building, the wilderness, the Dead Sea and the river of water that comes from the building as it goes through the wilderness and into the Dead Sea.

The building, is the source of the river of water. The sanctuary could represent the Scriptures, the gospel of Jesus Christ, a temple or prophet etc.

The wilderness or the desert represents our lives and the lives of those around us. The Dead Sea is also symbolic of our lives before the healing gospel message is internalized by us.

In the Scriptures, the water issues forth from the temple going through the wilderness and into the Dead Sea. The angel takes Ezekiel to the river and he walks across the river and it goes up to his ankles. A second time Ezekiel crosses the river and it goes up to his knees. A third time Ezekiel crosses the river and it goes up to his waist. The last time Ezekiel goes to the river, the river is so deep that Ezekiel cannot cross the river unless he swims.

Let’s read a few verses from Ezekiel 47, starting with verse seven “Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, these waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the (dead) sea: which being brought forth into the (dead) sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that everything that liveth, which move with, whithersoever the river shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whether the river cometh… And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”

When you apply water to soil, you can go from a barren ground to a fertile land teaming with all types of plant life. From the plant life comes animal life.

Ezekiel goes back to the bank of this very wide river and sees on both banks of the river a multitude of trees and vegetation. He notices fish living in the healed waters. He notes that these trees have fruit for eating and leaves for medicine. Everything needed to sustain life.

The “river of life” mentioned in this biblical metaphor creates life-sustaining substance from something that is barren.

Compare this to our life. Our lives are spiritually barren until the river of life flows through the barren spirit of our life. If we let the river of the gospel flow through our lives at ankle depth then great things can happen to a barren soul.

If we let the river of life flow through our soul at knee depth, we are blessed even more. The spiritual sides of our lives are transformed. Out of darkness our spirits are filled with the bright light of the gospel. If we let the river of life flow through us up to our waste, as it were, we notice even greater spiritual life welling up within us.

As the river of life that flows through us gets so deep we have to swim then we notice that God is making more of us than we can ever make of ourselves. All we ever had to do was open the floodgate and let the water in.

If we find ourselves swimming in the healing river of the gospel of Jesus Christ, completely submerged in these life-giving waters, we can find ourselves made whole in many different ways. If we have sinned, we can open the floodgate through repentance and be made whole again. If we are suffering trouble through no fault of our own, we can open the floodgate to the healing waters of Jesus Christ. If we need strength for the trials’ we face, we can open the floodgate of the river of life to give us strength for the burdens we face. For all of these blessings, all we have to do is open the floodgate and let the waters flow freely through our life.

Think how wonderful this is, that we can be healed by the rivers of life. Consider another point, not only can we be healed, we can become fruitful with all kinds of trees, vegetation and fish growing and developing within us. This is symbolic of our growing spirituality to becoming a source of spiritual strength and nourishment to others.

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