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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 1:12’

Some of our excursions through town take my husband and me past a fountain called The Muse. In summer, water gently spills from the lovely maiden’s hands while a ring of water-arches play at her feet. But even in winter her graceful form draws attention.

 

 

Downtown a much grander, three-level fountain, Genius of Water, doesn’t just draw attention—the size demands it. In place of the mild flow of The Muse, streams of water plummet from the outstretched hands of a nine-foot woman. Below her, fountains shoot plumes of water upward, and lower yet streams cascade into a pool.

 

 

I love fountains, don’t you? Perhaps it’s the “calming call of splashing water reminding us to relax and breathe amidst our busy days’ distractions” (1).

Perhaps it’s their appeal to four out of five of our senses, beginning with their sound of peaceful, liquid-music. But fountains are usually lovely to behold as well:

 

(Buckingham Fountain in Chicago,

often listed among the most beautiful in the world.)

 

And who can resist wading in a fountain’s pool—if allowed—which includes the sense of touch?

 

(The Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, SC)

 

Sometimes on hikes through state and national parks we’ve discovered cold, natural-spring fountains. Nothing tastes sweeter after a long trek.

 

 

And because of their delights, it’s not surprising that a psalmist turned to fountains for a lovely metaphor:

 

 

Perhaps he chose plural form because we enjoy a constant flow of so many wonders :

  • God’s attributes into our lives—his love, grace, mercy, and goodness
  • Countless gifts—like peace, joy, comfort, and blessings
  • Empowerment from God, including strength to persevere, patience to endure, and the Holy Spirit to guide

All that refreshes is from God.

And then he offers us a gratifying privilege. We get to be revitalizing fountains in the lives of others.

 

 

What might that look like—or in this case, sound like? No doubt, encouragement, comfort, and wisdom should be included.

 

Words of Encouragement

 

“Correction does much,

but encouragement does more.”

–Johann Wolfang von Goethe

 

One day after school, the father of one of our previous students stopped in the classrooms of my fourth grade colleagues and me.  His purpose?  To tell us we were the dream team. His fifth grade son was flourishing and this dad wanted to thank us for the sound preparation the boy had received.

We hung onto his statement from that moment forward. Every time we became overwhelmed, distraught, or discouraged, we’d remind each other: “Wait a minute–we’re the dream team!”

Just four words, but flowing with life.

 

Words of Comfort

 

 

What an honor God’s given us to speak his comfort and contribute to that overcoming Helen Keller spoke of—words such as these:

  • “I am so sorry.”
  • “I wish I knew the perfect words to ease your pain, but please know I hate that you are facing these circumstances.”
  • “You are constantly in my thoughts.”
  • “This is my prayer for you…”

It doesn’t have to be profound; just heartfelt.

 

Words of Wisdom

One time when I hit a rough patch, God brought to mind a friend who’d endured cancer—twice. The words, “Why me?” had never left her lips. Instead she asked, “Why not me?” and trusted God to bring good out of the suffering.

My circumstances didn’t begin to compare with her cancer diagnosis. If M. could trust God through her trial, I could certainly do the same.

 

There’s another phenomenon that occurs as we become fountains of life to others:

 

 

As God pours himself into us, we pour ourselves into others, and he receives honor and praise.

In the end, that’s the greatest satisfaction of fountain-living: to be for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12).

 

Notes:

  1. Matthew Williams, https://ndsmcobserver.com/2017/08/why-are-we-fascinated-by-fountains/
  2. Longfellow quote taken from “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie.”

 

Photo credits:  http://www.flickr.com (3); http://www.maxpixel.net; wwwlflickr.com; http://www.needpix.com (2); http://www.canva.com (2).

 

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freedoms

“Jesus hasn’t brought us into the family of God just to make our dreams come true.

Our dreams are always too small.

We are here to fulfill God’s dream:

That we will bring Him glory through a remarkably abundant life.

That’s how we find our greatest personal fulfillment, now and for eternity.”

–Bruce Wilkinson

(Secrets of the Vine, Multnomah, 2001)

 

No wonder some folks have been dissatisfied. They thought the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10 meant an abundance of enjoyment – free from problems and pain, and a life of plenty – free from want.

God just wasn’t big enough, not big-hearted enough, to make it happen – or so they thought.

Turns out their dreams of personal satisfaction or success are not too big for God to fulfill. They’re too small. He has grander plans for each one of us.

In fact, God has one over-arching vision statement that applies to all his children. Paul explained it like this:

“We who had already fixed our hope on the Messiah might live for his praise and glory” (Ephesians 1:12, ISV).

God wants us to live for the praise and glory of himself. That’s God’s bottom line.

Now someone is going to say, “That sounds rather self-serving to me!”

Truth is, when God created us, he put a craving for himself within us. To know him and be known by him, to experience him is a God-given pleasure that nothing else can satisfy. That’s the gateway to the abundant life–the God-enhanced life.

“OK,” someone else may say. “But spending all day praising God and giving him credit for everything isn’t my idea of abundant living. Where’s the satisfaction, the adventure, the fun in that?”

I’d ask, “Have you tried it?”

Gratitude would be a good place to begin. Gratitude for what God has already done satiates the soul. We start to realize how much we already have.

Gratitude becomes an adventure. How many things can I identify today for which I’m grateful?

Gratitude becomes fun because it fills the heart with joy, which naturally leads to praising him and giving him the credit for everything positive.

His blessings do provide an abundant life:

  • Eternity in heaven (John 14:2-3)
  • Access to God at any time, through prayer (Hebrews 14:6)
  • His loving care through life’s ups and downs (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Wisdom to determine right action from wrong (James 1:5)
  • Joy that is independent of circumstances and defies logic (Psalm 16:11)
  • Freedom from worry and fear (John 14:27)

Of course, that’s only the beginning of a long list.  Each one is a wondrous and precious gift. Our Heavenly Father most certainly deserves continual praise for all he has done.

In addition to gratitude, each of us–no matter who we are, where we live, or what we do–can display the excellencies of our God – his loving kindness, grace, mercy, wisdom and more – to those around us.  Each of us can be obedient to his Word, helpful and generous to others.

And all the while we are giving God the glory–the credit–for who we are becoming and for what we’re able to do. We’re expressing gratitude for all his benefits and praise for all his attributes, which he pours into our lives.

This is how we fulfill God’s dream and, as a natural, God-engineered consequence, we also find great personal fulfillment.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, I do not want my attention side-tracked by small dreams. I want to fulfill your grand dream for me: that I might bring you glory through an abundant life of enthusiastic worship and service. You are majestic, holy, all-powerful, completely trustworthy, good and loving to your people. You are more than worthy of every word of praise and every kind deed accomplished in your name—period. But you grant us deep, satisfying, personal fulfillment as we bring you glory. We stand in awe of your magnificence and grace!

 

(Photo credit: http://www.fromhispresence.com.)

 

 

 

 

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