Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

Flourishing!

by Anthony Goddard
First let me ask you, what comes to your mind when I say the word “flourishing”? Perhaps you think of synonyms such as thriving, abundant, plentiful, fruitful...

I think we all want to flourish and not just battle for survival. So what do we need to flourish? Many will tell you the basics we need just to survive are: oxygen, water, food, shelter, a sense of love/belonging, safety, and sleep; and that’s just to survive! But what does it take to thrive?

Maybe we need all the “survival” things plus the right circumstances. Maybe to thrive we need all the basics plus a Starbucks each morning, a word of encouragement from that special person, a pat on the back from your employer at work, a bonus from your boss, a calm evening doing your favorite pastime, and perhaps a relaxing foot massage at the end of the day.

Let me share some verses with you that have been changing my perspective on this.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

A couple of quick thoughts:

The man who trusts in the flesh:
1. Is cursed (verse 5)
2. Whoever trusts in man (himself included) will not flourish. (verse 5)
3. He won’t grow (verse 6 “like a heath (bush) in the desert”)
3. He won’t see when good comes into his life (Verse 6)
4. He will always be surviving instead of thriving (verse 6 he’ll be “like a heath in the desert”)
5. He will not have access to life-giving water (verse 6 “inhabit parched places”)

The man who trusts in the Lord:
1. Is blessed (verse 7)
2. Has a constant, unending supply of life-giving water (verse 8)
3. He’s secure and has deep roots (verse 8)
4. He’s unaffected by bad circumstances (verse 8 he “shall not see when heat cometh”)
5. He is healthy (spiritually) (verse 8 “her leaf shall be green”)
6. Can thrive during long seasons of drought and hardships (verse 8 “shall not be careful in the year of drought”)
7. Will not stop bearing fruit (verse 8 “shall not cease from bearing fruit”

So there’s a Disney song that asks the question “When will my life begin?” And I believe that’s a question that we should be asking too. I think many of us are waiting for this covid-19 business to end in order for our lives to begin again. But is returning to a state of normalcy and comfort really the goal? Or maybe we should ask this question. “Is achieving all of our goals and plans a good source of hope and life?” If it is, I’m afraid none of us will ever experience it. This life is too full of twists, turns, and disappointments for us to put our trust in circumstances.

What do we do now?

So we see that the goal is not a return to normalcy or a fast-track to fulfill all of our plans, but to a deeper-rooted dependence on our Lord, the giver of unconditional, unending, overflowing life (John 4:14).

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
True life comes from The Vine. If we’re connected to Him, we’ll have a constant, unending supply of life that will feed us through the greatest drought. No matter the crisis we face, He’ll be there filling us with life.  Life is available NOW! “So when will our lives begin?” It begins as soon as we spread our roots wide and deep into Him, the source of all life!

John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
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