October 2022 Conchshell Chronicles
Water Water Everywhere
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
The Rime of the Ancient Marnier Samuel Coleridge 1798
Hurricane Ian crossed Florida on Wednesday September 28th as a Category 4+storm (150 mph) coming ashore near Ft Meyers on the Gulf Coast, crossing directly over Sebring, and curving east to pass just north of Vero Beach. We all were surprised at the strength of this storm that caused 137 fatalities and over $67 Billion in wind and flood damages to homes, boats, cars, airplanes, and other property. We lost a sign from our Vero Beach Downtown Rio Coco Café and a tree fell against our house, with fortunately no damage.
On Oct 9th, Hurricane Julia came hit Nicaragua, passing south of our school district, crossing to the Pacific side of Nicaragua, with much rain that flooded many communities along the Coco River, as well as other parts of Honduras and Nicaragua. Many homes destroyed, cattle killed, and the usual chaos from these storms in third world countries.
As the same time, we have been experiencing leaks in the concrete foundation of our home here in Vero Beach- water coming up in our garage, bathroom, kitchen and dining room. Our wet vac has become our most favored appliance. But this is minor compared to what our friends in Central America and the Gulf coast of Florida are experiencing.
Good water is essential to our life- we cannot live without it. Too much water brings damage, hardship, and often death. God’s rainbow is a promise that water will never again be used to destroy mankind.
I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. Genesis 9:13
I caught this photo after a rain storm on the Dead Sea a few years ago.
There is another water that is essential to our lives- it is that Living Water that Jesus says will spring forth from all of his followers and refresh not only ourselves but those around us.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; John 7:37-39
Jesus was referring to a prophetic word given by Isaiah 500 years before:
‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants; Isaiah 44:3
This Living Water is the Flow of God’s Spirit into and through us. When we first experience it, everything changes. We recognize the reality and necessity of God in our lives. His presence is essential. We simply cannot continue living our lives without Him.
Jesus shared this with a Samaritan woman who was drawing water at a well near Sychar one afternoon.
The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:9-14
Jesus offered this Samaritan woman what He offers to each of us:
- refreshment from the travails of this life,
- healing the hurts, the pains, the hardships, and
- overcoming the fear of death.
It all comes from a connection with Him, allowing a flow of His Life into ours. The knowledge that He is in control, that nothing will happen outside his knowledge and care for us; that He promises that He will be with us and make those hardships cause deep character growth; that He will cause a love for others to grow within us; that we will be transformed into His Sons and Daughters, looking and acting more like Him; that we will escape death and spend eternity with Him in a purposeful life as it was originally designed to be. A life filled with this Living Water is far above anything that this life offers- more than fame, success, pleasure, achievement, status, and wealth.
It is a life of the Ultimate Adventure.
The great 20th century English writer and wit Malcolm Muggeridge wrote:
“I might pass for being a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets – that’s fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Inland Revenue (British Income Tax) – that’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame, even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions – that’s pleasure. It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time – that’s fulfillment.
Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing – less thank nothing, a positive impediment – measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are. What, I ask myself, does life hold, what is there in the works of time, in the past, now and to come, which could possibly be put in the balance against the refreshment of drinking that water?” From Jesus Rediscovered
We all have to decide if we want to drink from this fountain of Living Water. Most of the time our natural instincts do not want to give up control of our lives- its often a constant battle. We have many distractions that keep us away from the Fountain. Yet like Malcomb, once we taste this Living Water, there will never be anything else that will quench our spiritual thirst.
God desires to give each of us this “river of living water”, yet the reality is that there are many blockages to the flow of this spring in our lives.
Our life experience here on Earth often results in unforgiveness, hurts that are not healed, and beliefs that fall outside of God’s principles for living. In addition, generational issues and outright demonic oppression reduce the flow of “Living Water”.
As a disciple of Jesus, we should be sensitive to these blockages of that “perpetual spring” and be diligent to “keep the spring clean and flowing”.
Think back on your own journey.
- What was the effect of those times when you chose to hold on to an offense, rather than forgive?
- How were you affected by often careless but sometimes purposed words spoken that resulted in hurt feelings?
- How has your belief system changed as you compared your own “natural thinking” to the principles in God’s Word?
- Have you noticed behavioral patterns in your own life that reflect behavior in your parents and grandparents?
- Are you being blessed in areas of your life that have nothing to do with your “merit”?
- When was the last time you came under spiritual attack? How did you respond?
Jesus calls us to constantly grow in our relationship with him, and to become spiritually mature. In The Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus says six times “You have heard it said…but I say…” and teaches us about angry words and broken relationships, adultery, divorce, honesty in our words, revenge, and how we treat all people. He finishes this portion by saying:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
The Greek word translated “perfect” is “teleios” which according to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages can mean “perfect”, “genuine”, or “complete” but in this passage means “mature in one’s behavior”. Becoming more mature in our behavior only happens after spending time with the Master.
Intimacy and maturity are synonymous. Intimacy with Him will result in forgiveness given to others, hurts healed, changed hearts and thinking, and awareness of those generational issues. This is spiritual maturity.
Jesus speaks about removing these obstacles to the flow of His life through ours in Matthew 7:
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
When we find ourselves judging others, it is an indicator that the issues that are annoying us may in fact be our issues as well. The standard that we apply to others will be applied to us.
“Specks” can be easily washed away. It is the “logs” that jam up the flow. We should be first concerned about “un-jamming” our flow of that Living Water, so that we may be free and understanding God’s perspective on our issues. “Seeing Clearly” with compassion enables us to help others remove the obstacles from their flow.
It is essential that in this process of removing the logs and specks, we treat others as we would want them to treat us in the same situation. This is a lifestyle of considering others before ourselves.
In our fast pace society, it is easy to overlook so much of the process that God is attempting to work out in our own hearts to make us more effective in our walk in this world. We ought to be a living spring naturally overflowing unto many lives and provoking many along the way to come to partake of Christ in us. This is the lifestyle of a true disciple.
A few years ago, we spent a few days in the Negev Desert, in the southern part of Israel. We were near the Red Sea, in a very remote spot, for a time of reflection after a busy two months of travel and study. We trekked for three days in the Negev with five camels and nine friends along with our guides Shaiya and Yael.
The desert is a good place to go to listen to God. There is an absence of modern noise, and life gets down to the basics. It’s just you, your camel, the rocks and sand, and God’s creation. We slept under the stars, made bread, cooked over an open fire, and even had a wolf invade our camp one night and carry off three bags.
One of the places we stopped was a waterfall. Yes, it does rain in the Negev- about an inch a year on the average. Some years it rains more, and when it does, rivers form in the wadis. This particular wadi (riverbed), called the Wadi Isaron, has a 150 foot drop- to a natural pool/cistern below.
We were at this same “waterfall” in September a few years earlier, and there was water below in the pool. This time in March, at the end of the rainy season, the cistern was dry. I asked our guide why, and he gave me an explanation that has deep spiritual significance.
Shaiya told me that the annual evaporation rate in the desert is 4.5 meters or about 14 feet a year. That means that if you have a standing pool of water 14 feet deep, after a year of no rainfall, all the water will naturally evaporate and the pool will be empty. The Bedouins, the desert people of Israel, know this, and they annually would come to this pool, and clean it out, removing all the rocks and sand, which can naturally fill it, so that it’s depth would be at least 5 to 8 meters (16-25 feet deep). This way, when it did rain, and the river formed, and the waterfall suddenly came to life, water would fill the cistern, and there would be water all year in the pool. The Bedouins could then count on having a secure place to come for water. This is a very important factor in desert life.
The key is keeping the cistern clean. If you didn’t, the pool would become shallow due to sand and rock filling it, and even though the pool would be filled during the rain time, water would quickly evaporate. After a few months, the pool would be dry.
Shaiya explained that a Bedouin family who lived to the east in Moab would cross into Israel each year and clean this pool, so that they would have a secure place of water in their yearly grazing and wanderings. Due to the political problems, and closed borders, this tribe had not come to the pool for the past few years, and the pool/cistern had filled with sand and rocks. Even though there had been plenty of rain, there was no place to “catch and hold” the water.
As I thought about this, suddenly I realized a spiritual principle. God has made me to be a “container” for His Living Water.
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Is 64:8
He wants to continually fill our container with His Holy Spirit- The Living Water.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. Eph 5:18
However, often my “container” gets filled with other things. What things? Me, My Desires, Things that the world system tells me I should be doing or desiring, Distractions, Emotions that have nothing to do with God, Schedules filled with activities that have no spiritual significance; Many things actually fill my “container”. Think about what things will naturally fill your container. Simply turn on a television, or go to the internet, and watch how suddenly your “container” gets filled with “junk”.
The result is that there is little room for the Holy Spirit in my container. Even when I do get a “filling” at church, or in a private worship or prayer time, or through a rich reading of the Word time, my cistern is so crowded with other “stuff” that I don’t get enough to last me. It naturally evaporates over the next few days, and once again I find myself dry and thirsty, looking for refreshment.
The Bedouins knew that if they kept their cisterns clean, there would always be water there to refresh then, even during the driest times.
There is a lesson here for me, which I meditated on during the next few days as we walked around the Negev. I determined that I would keep my spiritual cistern, my “vessel”, clean, and always have more than what would naturally evaporate.
Then I got on the airliner for the flight back to Florida. After a 30-hour journey with literally two days of no sleep, I was so tired that my spiritual disciplines evaporated. My schedule began to fill up with meetings and household chores. I found myself reacting to situations with strong emotions, taking offense needlessly. I caught myself watching mindless television programs late at night (since I was still on Israel time). I began eating junk food robotically. Suddenly I realized that my cistern was full of “stuff”. There was little room for the Holy Spirit.
After a few weeks, I came to a breaking point and I determined to clean out my cistern. I got to bed at decent hours. I began eating healthy. I dedicated time daily for reading the Word, and talking with God. I sat and talked with my children, and my beautiful wife. I was more focused on hearing God speak.
Keeping the cistern clean is a life-long task. It’s like cutting grass in the lawn- you have to do it on a regular basis. Often I don’t, and that’s when there are problems.
It’s essential that we Children of God keep our vessels clean, so that He may fill them with Living Water up to overflowing. If that happens, then there is a lot of Spiritual Fruit in our lives, because we have an abundant amount of the Holy Spirit with us, even in those troubled moments. We won’t react according to our human nature to circumstances, but continue to walk through life as God intends us to by loving Him, and those He places around us. Michael
From the beginning of time, Our Creator fashioned Companionship In the human race by design and purpose. No other Creation was formed with this level of mind, body and spirit. None.
A Being created to Love, be loved and to give Love. We were designed for that purpose and for this purpose we will return to which we chose on this earth to live for. We were born to have relationship with the One who gives us Life and with those He fashioned to be in our midst. The only two things we will take into eternity with us. Relationships.
The One we continually form with our Creator Boss Being that will always have the first and last say and controls everything in between and the one we develop with those fellow humans around us. God is Love and in Him there is no darkness. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We have a built in Seeker that longs for that Truth, that Purpose, that Way, that filling up which no person, place or thing can satisfy. Depth of satisfaction is what we each seek. We long to be gratified and lifted up.
We have obstacles in keeping The Relationship in its proper place which is:
“There is but One King, Boss, Heavenly Father, Creator who knows all, sees all and has literally all the answers and does not flinch at all that is happening In the world today. I am who I am”, says GOD. He is not shaken or distracted from the purposes of his Design.
He knows, cares and can do something about it all and is and will in His way and in His timing. The Creator always has the first and last word.
God wants to relate to us but like all relationships we choose whether or not to respond. Free will. We were born with it by design. The freedom to choose Light or Dark. The Relationship we were created for or all the other distractions here set ever before us all day every day. We have the daily freedom to relate to the other Beings placed alongside of us for this brief journey upon this planet.
I have been mourning the loss of a couple of our long time husband and wife friends and ministry partners of over 30 years. Truman and Mirna Cunningham (who just left for heaven a few weeks ago) Truman was Michael’s age and Mirna was about my age. Our own Mortality becomes more real with each passing . I have not stopped thinking about my own mother on a daily basis after her passing 7 years ago.
Our friend and ministry partner who asked Michael to help start Project Ezra, Agosto Vicente went to heaven after Truman left while Mirna was still with us. Both suffered with sickness before departing.
The sweetness of relationship with those we do have with us here becomes more vibrant and present .My dad is currently going in and out of the hospital and has been slowly fading away getting ever so ready for his next phase in heaven .
The reality is it’s all temporal and unless we choose The Reason for our being we will flounder in our existence .
We are all doomed for emptiness unless we actively choose Love … to give, receive and live for Love …. Love our Maker and Love one another.
Amidst all that is happening in our lives and the world at large, there is safety in the arms of that One Perfect Creator that knows us Intimately and loves us. He has proven to be such a stellar Entity to know and love.
All of my other relationships surrounding me become fuller and more meaningful.
The very foundations of Life are being shaken up. The house is divided . Every moment we get to choose who we stand on and live for and with. I got a word the other day in a struggle I was experiencing, “Cling to Me. Let me hold you steady and still. Everything is going to be alright.”
There is no fear in Love. Perfect Love casts out all fear. Love therefore and seek out what hinders that love from being fully experienced. Starts with a question. For me I asked the question “are YOU really there ?”
My 45 years has been full of answers of getting to know my God Eternal. Laura
We invite you to join us this month in helping those on the Coco River through our educational project. Perhaps you want to support one of the Seek The Lamb ministry team.
Here is the link to our giving page. Please consider a gift this month. Thanks
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We just received some of the smoothest coffee we have ever roasted.
Dutch farmers brought coffee to the island of Java in the 17th century, and began importing this coffee to Europe. As a result, the geographical name "Java" has become a synonym for coffee.
Like many Indonesian coffees, our Silky Java has deep rich tones, low acidity, and a very, very smooth flow over the palate. We all are impressed with the silkiness of this coffee- in fact two of our roasters here at our Vero Beach Roastery when asked for an adjective to describe this Javanese coffee replied "silky". Thus we now are very happy to offer you Silky Java coffee.
I looked for an image to bring this adjective to life on the label. After a few moment of searching though my extensive photographic library, I suddenly realized that there was only one image that would convey the feeling of this Java coffee on the palate.
It is a photo of the President of Rio Coco, Laura Uyeda Bagby, which was taken a few years ago aboard the MV Century during a study tour cruise in the Mediterranean, where we visited many Biblical sites in Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Laura's personality, her athletic abilities, her dancing, and her simple movements around the café and our home exemplify this concept of "Silky" and this photo puts its all into focus.
Your purchase of all Rio Coco Beans coffee sends a contribution to our school project in Nicaragua.
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