Fire & Water

The tests

and the trials

 

are fire

and they are water

 

threatening to overtake

exposing

hurting

invading

 

but…

 

My GOD, too,

is FIRE and WATER

 

An unquenchable Flame

A never-ending Stream

 

of power

and healing

and love

 

and He is fierce

 

So, as I am lead into fiery trial

He stands in Divine authority beside me

 

As the floods threaten to drown

He provides my net, my calm

 

His presence burns vibrantly

His Spirit refreshes completely

 

 

And I know the God of fierce Fire

and I know the God of Living Water

 

is refining through the process

 

He takes my right hand

and

stands

with

me

 

Alone is a word I never use

 

for my Savior

has a tight grip

 

on me

 

– Susie Stewart

 

For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver…
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

– Psalm 66:10-12 (NIV)

 

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

– Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)

 

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

– Revelation 22:1 (NLT)

 

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.

– Exodus 3:2 9NLT)

 

The Eternal went on ahead to guide them during the day in a cloud shaped like a pillar; at night He appeared to them in a fire shaped like a pillar to light their way. So they were able to travel by day and by night.

– Exodus 13:21 (VOICE)

 

The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, believers) say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take and drink the water of life without cost.

– Revelation 22:17 (AMP)

 

 As evening came, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”  So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey Him!”

– Mark 4:35-41 (NLT)

 

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and He won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God Himself is Fire!

– Hebrews 12:28,29 (MSG)

 

You make Your messengers like the winds; the breeze whispers Your words, Your servants are like the fire and flame.

– Psalm 104:4 (VOICE)

Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?
– Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT)
With joy in each step, you will drink deeply from the springs of salvation.
–  Isaiah 12:3 (VOICE)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God,come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

– Daniel 3:16-29 (NIV)

 

 

Surgery day today to remove cancer of the uterus.

Rain

Rain down on us

sweet Jesus

 

Living Water, flood us

with Your love

 

We long for Your refreshment

in a dry and weary land

 

Cover us

Drench us

 

With Your kindness

Your forgiveness

Your acceptance

Your joy

Your Light

 

With YOU

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

A song of David while in the wilderness of Judah. O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence.

– Psalm 63:1 (VOICE)

 

Skies above, open up and let the clouds rain down righteousness! Let the earth below sprout triumph and justice. For I, the Eternal, have created them.

– Isaiah 45:8 (VOICE)

 

His voice thunders through the heavens, and the waters gush from the sky; He summons the clouds to build up over the earth. As the rain falls, the lightning flashes at His command; the wind rushes in from where He alone can store it.

– Jeremiah 10:13 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

Immersed

You will hear lies

coming from within

and from the outside

 

And it is infinitely important

that you immerse yourself

in Truth

 

For if you hear the lies

about you

or God

or life

and you can’t recall Truth

 

You just might believe

those lies

 

So immerse

saturate

drown yourself

in Truth

 

It’s about life or death

for your mind

for your heart

for your soul

– Susie Stewart

 

…Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

– 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)

 

Let the words from the book of the law be always on your lips. Meditate on them day and night so that you may be careful to live by all that is written in it. If you do, as you make your way through this world, you will prosper and always find success.

– Joshua 1:8 (VOICE)

 

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

– Psalm 119:14-16 (MSG)

 

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

– Psalm 19:4 (NLT)

 

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

– Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Sinking

Sink into His love today

up over your head

deep

deep

deep

 

Let the weightlessness

take your worry

your pain

your heaviness

 

Let the quiet

take all that speaks loud

and shouts at you

and distracts

 

Let the Living Water

refresh

and cleanse

and hydrate parched places

 

His love is a vast ocean

of hope and grace

 

Let go

and be enveloped

 

Sink not into despair

but into His love

– Susie Stewart

 

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…with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.

– Ephesians 3:18,19 (VOICE)

 

Photos taken by Susie Stewart

 

All I Want

Psalm 23

You brought it to me afresh this morning, Lord.

Your Word is alive, and breathing, and pulsing with light and voice and power.

How many times have I read this passage since I was young?

And the more I know You, Lord, the more precious these words become.

I allow these words to sit, and take root, and fill.

I allow them in deep, and I echo them back to You.

 

My Shepherd, You provide everything I need.  Only You.  May I not want for anything outside of what You desire to give, or outside of Your wise counsel.  I have contentment in You.

 

My Shepherd, You let me rest.  This world knows little of rest.  But in You I rest in green meadows, in my mind, in my heart.  That is where I find you, my God of restoration.

 

My Shepherd, You take my hand and lead me beside the peaceful streams.  The sound and motion are healing to my soul.  You have taken me there because I need it.

 

My Shepherd, You make me strong again when I succumb to weakness.  Just by You being there I feel strengthened for the next leg of the journey.  Your words bring energy.

 

My Shepherd, You guide me along the wise path.  Following Your guidance in doing the right thing brings honor to You, and that is what I want.  Help me not to wander.

 

My Shepherd, there are some very dark times, when I am low, when I am suffering, when death shadows over me.  I need not fear because You never leave my side.  I am comforted and strengthened by Your presence.  You breathe life and light into me.

 

My Shepherd, You carry a rod and a staff.  Even though they are used to guide and discipline me, I am comforted because I know You will keep me safe from consequences and pain.  You are seeking to protect me from having to deal with the aftermath of bad choices.

 

My Shepherd, You are bold and Your parental love for me does not let my enemies gloat over me.  You lift my head and You feed me the best of what You have in the company of those who would harm me.  I am not intimidated by them.

 

My Shepherd, You actually honor me with anointing oil.  I am humbled as You serve me with a gentle and humble heart.  You anoint, and intercede, and bless. A sacred understanding passes between us.

 

My Shepherd, my life and heart overflow with Your graciousness to me.  You never tire of blessing me.  It’s as if I’m holding a cup and You’ve forgotten to stop pouring into it, and all manner of glory flows over the sides and onto the path I am taking.

 

My Shepherd, I know You pursue me with Your goodness and Your love that never fails.  May I always feel the warmth of Your presence behind me, because my pace allows You to catch up with me.  There is not a day that goes by that You are not pursuing me.

 

My Shepherd, You are here with me on earth and You have prepared a place for me in Heaven.  You dwell inside of me here and I will dwell with you there, beautifully for always.

 

And You, My Shepherd, will have lead me on the path, and by way of the meadow, and beside the stream, into eternity.

 

My Shepherd, You are all I want.

– Susie Stewart

____________________________________________________

 

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for You are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

(NLT)

Katy

 

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I thought of my friend Katy as I read through these verses this morning.  Katy is a college student and has been working through college to pay for her education.  She is dependent on herself and no one else.  Back up.  It would appear that she is dependent on herself, but her hope for her future and for funds comes from a deep trust in God.  It’s not always easy to trust, though.  Jesus even says at the end of the above passage that each day has “trouble”. Katy struggles to know if she will be able to pay the bills, what she will do when she graduates soon, whether she can pay her school loans….

This very-familiar passage above intrigues me.  As I put the words of Scripture into my own words on paper, I asked Jesus, the one who said these things, “What do you mean by this?  You say ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.’  Those are kind of essential things.  We need to eat.  We need to drink water.  We need to cover up.  Can’t get much more basic than that.  Seems like people should be concerned with those kinds of things…”  Jesus points out that He feeds the birds and “clothes” the flowers beautifully.  He says, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  So, Lord, we are valuable to You.  This I believe deeply.  We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and You “knit us together”.  We have value because of the value You placed on us.  Not because of anything we did or hope to do.  But here I go, off into a side subject.  Back to worry.  I don’t believe Jesus’ point is “who cares about whether you eat or drink or wear clothes or pay your bills or get a good job…”  His main point seems to be right at the end of this passage in verse 33.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Jesus understands.  He not only made us, so He knows what our thoughts and emotions are regarding the stresses of life, but He also experienced them while here on earth.  If you jump ahead to Matthew 8:20 you see that He didn’t even have a bed to call His own.

Katy works hard to provide for herself and to get an education.  Money is tight, but her eyes are focused where they should be, on Jehovah-Jireh.  That’s Hebrew for “God our Provider”. That’s why she asks me to pray for her needs.

Some of you may be thinking, “Americans are the richest people in the world!  What do they have to worry about?”  Well, it’s our tendency as humans from any walk of life to worry when things don’t look so promising.  Even when things DO look promising, we can gravitate toward worry.  But I’ve seen Africans with virtually nothing lean into God’s loving arms of providence for their daily bread.  They are seeking Him first.  He provides.  I’ve witnessed wealthy people who are completely bankrupt emotionally and spiritually because they chose to seek wealth first, instead of God.  We all need to remember that it could all be gone instantly.  None of it is worth holding in a tight fist.

I encourage those of us who know God to make our relationship with Him priority over our stuff and even over our needs.  “All these things will be added to you.”  And how about we all make ourselves available to be used of God to help others who need food, water, shelter?  Being used of God is a blessing and a joy.  Ask Him what you should do to help.  He’ll show you.

Love you, Katy!  I’m proud of you.  ❤

– Susie Stewart