Salty Streams

Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? 2 Chronicles 13:5 NIV

I recently enjoyed a sweet time with Jesus in this very spot. Beautiful, isn’t it? I always somehow feel especially close to Him by the sea.

And this particular morning, a gentle but steady breeze blew the hair from my face while the sun cast its warmth upon it. I couldn’t help but close my eyes and lift my face toward heaven.

Blessings of praise soared from my lips to God’s ears, followed by fervent intercession. You may not have realized it at the time, but you were there with me. Unseen faces filled my thoughts with urgent need.

God means to awaken His church, dear one. And you and I are the church.

Something occurred to me as I sat there with Jesus inviting Him to merge my heart with His. You see, while I cried out to Him for you and His kingdom purpose, tears fell. Many tears.

Eventually I tasted them. And a new thought emerged about what’s found in them.


“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13

Jesus declared that you and I are salt, dear one. And He cared a great deal about whether we reveal and display our saltiness. In fact without saltiness, He said we have no use except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Are you feeling trampled, beloved? Perhaps it’s symptomatic of an absence of salt.

I wonder. Have you and I become the salt Jesus described? What if one way we’ve lost our saltiness is that our hearts don’t feel what God feels?

It occurred to me that day by the sea that our tears—or lack of them—might indicate our level of saltiness.

I’m not talking about the tears we cry for ourselves. Most of us can easily shed a tear over our own losses and disappointments. But what about shedding tears for our brothers and sisters in Christ? What about feeling another’s pain so intensely that our own heart hurts? Or what about anguish over a stranger’s poor choices that makes salty tears fall?

It sounds crazy, I know. But it’s Jesus. He offered a prime example of it as He looked out over the city sheltering the mob that would crucify Him.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42 NIV

The words strike me every time I read them. Jesus knew exactly what the people of Jerusalem were about to do to Him. Yet He wept for them, because He knew their rejection of Him would cost them dearly. And He loved them.

You see, that’s what God’s heart does, dear one. It loves. Deeply. Sacrificially.

And that’s the salt He means to put in you and me, beloved. Love. That’s what makes us different from everyone else, what keeps us from tasting just like the world.

Love is the salt Jesus wants in you and me. Love keeps us from tasting like the world. Matt 5:13 Click To Tweet

Jesus feels. He weeps when people suffer and celebrates their blessings. He calls us to do the same.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

You and I are supposed to cry when others experience pain. We’re supposed to long to see blessings released in the lives of people around us so we can rejoice with them.

But often rejoicing isn’t what we do when we see blessing poured out on someone else, is it? Bitterness more readily rears its head. After all, how can we rejoice for them if we lack what they received? And we can’t be expected to weep over someone else’s sorrow when we have so much of our own.

I’m going to tell you the truth, beloved. Those responses reflect a calloused heart. A heart centered on self instead of others. One that doesn’t resemble God’s.

But here’s the good news. Hard hearts happen to be God’s specialty. We just need to offer it to Jesus—no strings attached—and invite Him to make it like His. That is, after all, why He went to the cross.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

Perhaps that’s how you and I become the salt of the earth, dear one. We repent of our self-centeredness and allow Jesus to give us that new heart. We invite Him to make us feel what He feels and start letting His tears flow through us.

There’s nothing to fear, dear one. I’d rather taste a few salty tears than find myself useless to Jesus and trampled underfoot. Wouldn’t you?


Love in Action

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 

It’s time we awaken, dear ones.

Prosperity has lulled the western church into a false sense of security. We visit our beautiful buildings on Sundays to hear a message from the pulpit and to thank God for His provision. Then we return to our homes where we work diligently to build our own kingdoms.

And all around us evil surfaces. People are beheaded. Women are sold. Children bear children. It doesn’t touch us personally, so we pause in indignation at the news and then return to what matters in our own lives.

Meanwhile, Jesus’ call rings forth, carried on the breath of His Spirit.

“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

Where is the prevailing church of Jesus Christ?

I fear she has been sleeping. And if she continues to sleep, evil will soon find its way to our own doors.

Jesus calls us to wake, beloved.

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” Revelation 3:1-2

Will you wake with me before it’s too late, dear one? Will you rise in love that acts?

Today I share Ann Voskamp’s words from a recent post after visiting Iraq. As you read them, I ask you to open your heart and seek God’s face. It’s time we feel what He feels and start doing what He would do.

Blessings, dear one.

What the News Isn’t Telling You and Why We Can’t Afford to Pretend it’s Not Happening

The Marks of Spiritual Thirst

. . . my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13

The people of God are parched. Dry. Thirsty.

But there’s an even bigger problem. I fear we don’t recognize the severity of our condition. The desert has become so familiar we’ve stopped believing God for the Promised Land.

So it sits, just beyond the horizon. The river of life flows within it, but we don’t drink. We’ve stopped believing it exists. Instead, we just keep trying to draw from the same old broken cisterns.

A Samaritan woman experienced a similar thirst. Seeking water from an earthly well, she didn’t recognize her true need. Jesus pursued her, going out of His way to awaken her to her lack.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Her response reveals the first mark of spiritual thirst.

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” John 4:11-12

Spiritually thirsty people don’t believe Jesus can do the impossible.

Jesus offered her living water, and she didn’t see how He could possibly provide it. Her faith had become limited to what she could see and rationalize with her mind.

What about you, dear one? Do you believe Jesus can do the impossible in your life? Or have you given up hope that your circumstances could ever change?

You see, that’s what spiritual thirst does, beloved. It causes us to lose hope and puts limits around our faith.

Her lack of faith didn’t deter Jesus. He just kept speaking truth to her.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

His words reveal the second mark of spiritual thirst.

Spiritually thirsty people have no overflow to offer others.

When God’s people drink from His flow of living water, it becomes a spring of life within us. That spring will well up and flow out, offering life to those around us.

When we don’t drink from His presence, our spring can’t flow. We remain parched ourselves, so we have nothing to give. When we try to give, our giving will lack joy and will not result in life.

Is life welling up inside you, beloved? Does it flow out? If not, it’s time to drink from the fountain. Run to Jesus and declare your thirst.

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3

He who promised is faithful, dear one. He longs to pour out life. You and I just need to stop seeking it elsewhere and ask. The woman at the well finally did.

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 4:15

But before Jesus could provide it, she had to acknowledge the broken cistern she had been running to in an attempt to quench her thirst.

 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” John 4:16-18

Spiritually thirsty people are prone to sexual sin.

An emptiness looms deep within, driving us toward relationships with a desperate need to fill it. God created that place to house His Spirit, the source of living water. When we don’t drink from Him to fill that place, we will invariably go elsewhere.

But instead of quenching that thirst, dear one, our relationships will make us all the more aware of our lack. Instead of filling us, they will empty us. And we will blame the people in our lives for their inability to meet our need, moving from one to the next in search of satisfaction.

But we won’t find it. Because in reality, the problem lies within us. The people in our lives are incapable of filling our empty place.

You see, they—like us—are broken cisterns that can’t hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).

Beloved, only Jesus can satisfy. Perhaps it’s time we believed Him and ran to Him to quench our thirst.

The Seed of Power

Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech . . . you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come. Isaiah 32:9-10 ESV

I find it interesting that this passage speaks specifically to women. The warning? If women are complacent, the harvest will fail.

I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ declaration in John 15:5, 8.

I am the vine; you are the branches . . . By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Rise up, complacent daughters, or the fruit harvest will not come.

On Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. We set apart that day to honor women, applauding the influence we have in raising up the next generation.

But I’d like to take this time to speak to all women. And, if you’re willing to listen, to the men who have the potential to either encourage or repress.

You, precious daughter, have a significant role to play in reaping the Kingdom harvest.

The enemy knows it. And he wants to suppress it.

Perhaps you have believed his propaganda declaring that women have a lesser role. Jesus did, after all choose twelve men as His Disciples. And I can’t find anywhere that the names of the women who loved and served Jesus will be inscribed on the foundations of the New Jerusalem.

Yes. Satan easily convinces us that even God Himself holds women in a lesser regard.

This might be a good place to remind us that only together can man and woman fully reveal God’s image.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. . . . and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:27, 31

In fact, the only place that God used the words not good in the creation story was Genesis 2:18.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Yep. Man without woman: Not Good.

Yet the message resounding throughout almost every culture and religion translates a little differently —woman: not as good. Veiled faces and withheld rights proclaim it. Our own nation’s history reveals it. And even today, women are regarded as property, sold as slaves.

Have you ever considered where it all comes from, dear one? I’ll give you a hint. The prince of this world sets its agenda, manipulating hearts and minds. But why would he direct so much attention toward devaluing women?

Consider God’s words in Genesis 3:15, spoken to Satan at the time of the fall.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

In case you’re wondering, enmity is hatred or hostility. Notice that man is excluded from God’s prophecy. That’s because earthly man would have nothing do with the deliverance God promised to bring. God Himself stepped into that role.

But He did use a woman.

This is why Satan has worked throughout history to crush women, beloved. He hates us, because God told him that He would bring deliverance through us.

And He kept His promise. From the womb of a virgin, a Deliverer emerged. God’s own Son crushed the serpent’s head. The serpent has not forgiven us.

But I think his hatred is also rooted in fear. You see, God’s Word is eternal and never returns void. So it’s still true, dear one. What God will birth from His seed planted within a woman still holds the power to crush the enemy’s head. He may bruise her heel, but the seed within her ensures her victory.

So you see, the enemy must convince woman she does not hold the power she wields. Otherwise, she will crush him.

Will you believe, dear one? Will you believe that Jesus sees eternal value in you that perhaps you cannot? Would you believe He has purposed great victories through you by the seed of His Word implanted within you?

Jesus spent His earthly life countering the enemy’s message that women have lesser value. He stood alone to rescue a condemned adulteress from being stoned, counting her life precious. He proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah for the first time to a woman—a woman considered an outcast in her town. And He revealed Himself after His resurrection first to Mary Magdalene, who happened to be in a garden.

That particular scene brings tears when I think of the whispers I entertained before stepping out in ministry—whispers that said, “Women have no place proclaiming Truth. That job belongs to the men.”

Jesus saw things differently. You see, Mary hadn’t been alone that day visiting the empty tomb. Peter and John had run there ahead of her. The disciples left when they found it empty, but Mary remained, weeping.

It strikes me that Jesus waited for Peter and John to leave before revealing Himself to Mary.

No, God didn’t say that Mary’s name would be inscribed on the foundations of the New Jerusalem. But Jesus loved her, and He chose to meet her in her grief. Then He gave her a job.

Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:17-18

It seems the Apostles received a Word from Jesus through a woman.

Don’t let the enemy rob you of your value, dear one. Know whose you are, and that you are accepted in the Beloved.

Yes, men of God hold great value. But so do you.