Friday, April 24, 2015

Invitation to the Thirsty


The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let
him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty,
let him come; and whoever wishes, let him
take the free gift of the water of life.
                             Revelation 22:17 NIV 

     Tired!  Dry mouth! Clammy skin! Aching head! No tears! Your body needs water—immediately! And without water the land becomes baked, arid, dehydrated and turns into a desert. Without adequate water, life ceases to exist.

     Last summer my husband and I planted tomatoes. The first tomatoes were large, red and juicy. However, by the time the second batch of blooms covered the plants, the summer sun baked the blossoms causing them to fall off without producing fruit. Living in the south central part of Texas means less than adequate rainfall, and for the past few years we have been in draught conditions. Although we watered from the chlorinated water supply that comes from our home, there was no fresh rainwater and the plants suffered.

     Our spirits face a similar dilemma. In John chapter four, Jesus explained to a woman coming to draw well water that “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again…”

     The well of life can leave you thirsting for something more. Fear, anxiety, stress, depression, grief and the grind of daily living can chase you to the brink of emotional dehydration and leave you feeling frustrated, angry and useless as circumstances clamor for more of your time, money and mental acuity.

     But Jesus offered the answer for the dehydrated soul; “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

     The living water, offered to the woman at the well, still flows for you and me today. It is pure, refreshing, life-giving water and the invitation to drink is extended to all through the Holy Spirit and the Church—the Bride of Christ. It is the gift of the water of life, and it is freely offered.

     Revelation 22:17 explains that if you have already taken a drink from the water of life, it is your responsibility to offer the invitation to come to those who are dying of thirst. Will you extend the invitation to the thirsty around you?

© Joyce Powell 

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Redeemer Lives


I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God.
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
                          Job 19:25-27 NIV

     Job certainly needed a redeemer; a deliverer. After the loss of his children, cattle, possessions, you might wonder why his faith in God remained strong. Unaware of the conversation in heaven between satan and God, Job must have thought that God had brought all these disasters into his life. Yet right in the middle of his loss and heartache, Job gave a remarkable response to his friend’s accusations inferring Job’s troubles were brought on because of his sin.

     When I get to heaven, I want to see the replay of Bildad’s face as Job looked him in the eye and stated emphatically, I know that my Redeemer lives! I know that in the end He will stand upon the earth! I know that when I die, I will see God! I will see Him with my own eyes! Then Job confirmed to Bildad what you and I surely feel from time to time—“How my heart yearns within me!”

     Does your heart yearn to see God—to bow before Him and cry Holy, Holy, Holy? Are there days when you long to sit at the feet of Jesus—to be in His presence and bask in the warmth of seeing Him with your eyes and not your heart only? Do you long for the day when God becomes sight—not with spiritual eyes alone but with physical eyes?

     Do you sometimes feel you stand at the portal of the reality of the spiritual realm and are waiting for the breath of the Holy Spirit to blow against your back gently moving you from this veiled world of sin and into the presence of God? Just a breath away! That is the distance between now and a face-to-face encounter with The Creator!

     Tough times come and I might be tempted to lose hope! Loss comes and I might be tempted to lose faith! Death comes and I might be tempted to lose joy! Sorrow and heartache and hard times come to us all, but there is no reason to despair. Why? Repeat after me—I know my Redeemer lives!

One day, I will see Him face to face! I know my Redeemer lives!

© Joyce Powell

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Focus



Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.


              Deuteronomy 32:3 NIV
              
Over the past few days refreshing rains watered our dry Texas soil. For the moment, we are surrounded by green grass, spring flowers and leafing trees. The landscape shouts one message; spring is here. 

The bucks have dropped their antlers and doe after doe shows signs of soon-coming babies that will speckle the landscape with tiny white tails and spotted bodies resting in safe places; spring is here. Everywhere we look God’s creation is focused on the rituals of spring. We expect them. We look forward to them. We know the cycle and the focus of each season.
 
Our words also have seasons. With loving words, we can warm the heart of the disenfranchised or with words of anger we can send a blast of coldness from which the hearer may never recover. Our words can shower seasons of delight or moments of misery. Our words can shout forgiveness and reconciliation or un-forgiveness and shame.
 
In Matthew 22:37-39, we find a prescription for life that will encourage us to focus our words in a positive direction:
 
 “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
 
Living life loving God and loving each other should develop in each of us the desire to focus our words on the season of spring. Refreshing. Life-giving. Showers of blessing.
 
Before you speak: Focus!

 

© Joyce Powell

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PRESS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Author of two inspirational devotionals releases a Bible Study for busy women!

 
ROAD SIGNS FOR LIVING: In an Ever-Changing World with a Never-Changing God!
BY JOYCE POWELL
 
Canyon Lake, TX-2015Joyce Powell has touched many hearts and souls through her books of inspiration and encouragement based on Biblical truths expressed in daily living. Her newest and perhaps most exciting book, “Road Signs for Living”, will take you on a spiritual journey that will encourage you to know a never-changing God while living in this ever-changing world.  If you think you are too busy to seek direction for life through the study of God’s Word, this book is a MUST read.
 
Road Signs for Living, designed as a personal study, will inspire you to pay attention to the signs you pass along the road and apply those road signs to spiritual living. STOP. YIELD. ROAD WORK AHEAD. ONE WAY. Each sign directs you to draw closer to God.
 
At chapter’s end, you will find a section called “Fifteen Minutes with My Father” designed to help you stop and contemplate how the previous chapter might apply to you. The last item for each week is a focused personalized prayer, making it applicable to your needs as seen in the following quote from a reader:
 
“Joyce Powell superbly exposits how heeding God’s road signs, both practically and spiritually in our travels through life with Him will produce security and peace, and that ignoring them may result in highway wreckage! Joyce is a master at capturing the reader’s heart with stories of childhood and humorous anecdotes, and animates points with captivating personal experiences  and detailed historical events from scripture…Plus her personal demeanor found me sitting side by side with Joyce on a couch, as I searched my own heart on how I might better love and serve God.” Jeanne Pricer, Captain, U.S. Navy Reserves
 
Joyce has ministered in a variety of settings from small group women ministries all the way to men’s death row in Huntsville, Texas. She has spoken the gospel in word through teaching, sung the gospel in music ministry and written the gospel in poetry, blog, book, and lyric form through her award winning songwriting. Along with conference speaking, she is currently Women’s Ministry Director at her local church in south Texas. For more information about Road Signs for Living, please visit: www.roadsignsforliving.blogspot.com. You can also email: roadsignsforliving@gmail.com.

Available at Amazon.com
 
 





 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Grace to be Me


For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my
mother’s womb.
                  Psalm 139:13 ESV    

     In years past a woman might have to make a trip to her doctor to confirm her pregnancy. Today she can go to the store, buy a test kit and know in a few minutes—pregnant or not pregnant. Suppositions begin about whether the child growing inside her womb is a boy or girl and name choosing becomes the activity of choice.
 
     But thousands of years before the invention of the pregnancy test, King David knew the secret of life. He got it! David knew that just as God had scooped the dust of the earth and formed Adam, as he had shaped and molded him and then breathed the breath of life into his body and soul, God had also formed David in his mother’s womb.

     Psalm 139:16 confirms David’s assurance of God’s power to create and to know one’s life when he writes, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (ESV)

     Although scientific understanding has exploded over past decades, scientists still cannot predict our future. A scientist cannot say with certainty what you or I will do to make a living, whom or if we will marry or when our last breath will leave this body of clay. But God knows!

     Therefore I must ask, why do you and I work so hard at fitting in—doing what other’s expect of us, trying to make the people in our lives happy while we remain miserable because we are not being the person that God has created us to be? Even in the responsibilities of belonging to a family, a church family and a community and society at large, you and I can remain faithful to God’s plan for our lives.

     Do not think that God does not have a plan for your life. He does! Do not think that you are of little worth to God. God values you! Do not think that you can accomplish nothing for God. You have the ability to accomplish everything He calls you to do. He designed and created you for a purpose and gives you the ability to fulfill the purpose for which you are created. You are unlike any other human being. You are special! God loves you! I am so grateful that  God gives the grace to be me!

©Joyce Powell

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Praise Unlocks the Bars to Your Heart

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God, and the other
prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly
there was such a violent earthquake that the
foundations of the prison were shaken…
                             Acts 16:25:26 (NIV)

I have been in prison where iron gates clang closed and locked, confined between walls of bars with no way out except by the approval of a prison guard and walked a hallway marked with an overhead sign which read, “You are now entering Death Row”. I sat among murderers, rapists, drug addicts, thieves and prison gang members—men in white.

In the chapel, wooden pews worn smooth by use stood as a testament to those who sought sanctuary over the years. This Do in Remembrance of Me, carved into the front of a large wooden table, hid a bathtub which served as the baptistery for those whose lives were changed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, while the French doors that opened onto a long tiled hallway with yellow stripes painted eighteen inches from the wall were a constant reminder of incarceration—men in white.
 
My heart ached as I watched brothers, sons, fathers, cousins, uncles and grand-fathers gathered inside the fifteen-foot high chain-link fence topped by razor wire and guarded by men standing in a high tower and holding automatic weapons —men in white.

Many had been found guilty in a court of law. Some had cut a deal for a better sentence. A few possibly were innocent; unjustly accused, traumatized—men in white.

I, along with the rest of our Southern Gospel quartet, stood on the small stage in the chapel, and we began to sing; at first some of the old hymns familiar to most of the men. Amazing Grace! The Old Rugged Cross! I’ll Fly Away (their personal favorite)! Amazed, I watched as the crowd in white uniforms began raising their hands toward heaven; tears flowing as they lifted their voices in genuine praise.

In the physical, there was no violent earthquake and the foundations of the prison were not shaken. In the spiritual, the rafters raised, the walls vibrated, and the floors reverberated as the Holy Spirit of God filled that room to capacity! I saw Acts sixteen in action.

During that visit, and many visits after, Jesus walked among the men in white seated in a small chapel and unlocked the bars heart by heart, man by man, life by life as they lifted their voices in praise to our Heavenly Father.

I thought about how often those outside of prison may not be locked away in a physical sense but rather an emotional prison; holding onto hurts and fears, allowing them to grow larger and larger, creating a prison of emotional pain, walking around appearing to be free but having a heart locked in an iron cage.

If you find yourself in that condition, sing! Praise God! Allow Him the joy, in the midst of your trials, of unlocking the bars to your heart. Then you too can be free—just like my beloved men in white.

 
©Joyce Powell

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It is Easter

"Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."

1Peter 1:18-21 ESV