…My cup runs over

Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

This part of the verse has always evoked thoughts of abundance. I always imagined this abundance to be what is bestowed on me by God and rightly so but from the last lesson on ‘…you anoint my head with oil‘ I discovered a unique link between the anointing which represents the Holy Spirit and His power and one’s cup running over. Let me draw the parallel.

When  God anoints us it is with the Holy Spirit and with Power and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the manifestation is as of a river.

“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV

Rivers are not stagnant. They flow. Every river has a source and the river of the Holy Spirit has its source from the presence of God.

Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelations 22:1 Berean Study Bible

In the book of Ezekiel 47, the prophet Ezekiel has a vision of this same river that flows from the presence of God. This river had its source right from the temple of God which represents the presence of God. The more Ezekiel ventured into the river, the deeper it got; from ankle-deep to the point where it was too deep to stand in, too deep to cross.

This is the type of abundance God promises when we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. There will be an overflow in our lives. The caveat is that the more of the Holy Spirit you have, the deeper you will get into this river of God (God’s presence, the knowledge of God, the experience of God) and the greater your overflow. As you may have realized, I am not speaking of overflow and abundance in terms of what you get from God but what pours out of you. Think about the scripture again….my cup runs over. What is inside of you that fills your cup and then pours out to the people around you?

Let’s get back to the analogy of the river in Ezekiel 47.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live… Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47: 6-12 NIV

When this river that flowed into the Dead Sea, it changed the very nature and composition of the water from salty to fresh. Wherever the river flowed there was life; fish, trees, fruits. There was life. So I ask again; what is your cup overflowing with? Do you bring freshness to the saltiness of life around you? Does your presence bring life to those who are dead emotionally, spiritually and even physically? Or do you suck the life out of people when they hang around you?

Now let’s talk fruit. In Ezekiel’s vision, wherever the river flowed it brought with it, fruit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life will be evidenced by the fruit He brings.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control. Gal 5:22-23 ESV

The one thing I just noticed about this scripture is that even though it lists 9 qualities they are all described as one fruit, not fruits! The same spirit that brings love, brings joy and the other 7 fruit with it. So I ask yet again? What is overflowing from your cup? Is it Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self-control?

In Ezekiel’s vision where ever the river went, fruit never failed. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Are you lacking in these fruit that the river of the Holy Spirit brings? Pray to be anointed with more of God’s Spirit; Draw close in relationship with God; Be intentional in spending time in His presence.

It’s the river of God’s spirit that flows from the presence of God which will keep you bearing fruits day after day…month after month… in season and out of season. Then you’ll love everyone in spite of, you’ll have joy in spite of, you’ll have peace in spite of… and demonstrate all the other gifts even in your off seasons.  So for the last time I ask…

WHAT IS FLOWING OUT OF YOUR CUP?

…He leads me beside still waters

referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

One of the most soothing things in nature is the sound of water- a gentle stream, a rushing waterfall, a bubbling brook. This verse about still (quiet) waters evokes thoughts of a calm and peaceful place. There are 3 lessons I’d like to share from this scripture:

The first is our need for water. Our shepherd realizes the need to quench our thirst and He makes provision for this. He draws us to himself because in Him is a fountain of living [life-giving] water. Of the thirsty he says:

… “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega–the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. Revelations 21:6-7 NLT

Of course this is not a physical thirst. It is the thirst for life, the thirst that creates a void and longing in us; a void we are ceaselessly trying to fill with “stuff”. Jesus says, “Drink of the water I give and you’ll stop your meaningless wandering and searching. Drink of the water I give and I’ll give meaning and purpose to your life.” He says, “Drink and not only will your life have meaning, you’ll have eternal life.”

…but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4: 14 NASB

The second lesson is in the word “leads”. The hebrew words for still waters mean restful water. Our Shepherd wants to lead us to the place of rest and of peace. So many times when my life is in turmoil, I try to solve my own problems and bring myself peace and relief from the situations that plaques me. But today the word leads stands out to me. God wants to lead me. He wants me to take my hands off of my life and give Him control and for me that’s a difficult thing! I need to be in control of every situation. I have backup plans for my back up plans. In this moment I am convicted by this song:

Just a whisper of your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I’m strong enough
When you’re the one who made me from the dust
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world
~Natalie Grant (King of the World)

In the world today there are so many ‘leaders’ even though God only asked for followers. God wants to lead us to the ever elusive peace we seek. God wants to bring us to a place of rest and refreshing. Our shepherd wants to still and heal our minds and hearts with His life-giving water.

The third and final lesson is in the word “still”.  I read this online and it is my sentiments exactly:

Our lives are so fast-paced that we battle continual physical and mental exhaustion, trying to keep up with never-ending demands. We’re constantly stimulated by social media, advertising, school programs, church events, and our own inner clamor. This frantic pace is exhausting! Even our “quiet time” is anything but quiet, as we run through one spiritual task after another until we can check it off our list with satisfaction. Our bodies sit but our minds race, and the idea of stillness seems almost alien. There’s so much to do, and so little time. Surely God understands.

But hear what God says about that:

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15 NLT

If we want to experience true intimacy with God, we need to learn to quiet the noise around and within us and enter into His stillness and rest. So what does it really mean to be still before God?

All the scriptures I read about stillness point to having trust and confidence in God. This trust helps me not to fret when others around me seem to be doing better than I am and I am just bidding my time (Psalm 37:37). This trust lets me let go of my backup plans for my backup plans and give God control (Exodus 14:13). Being still means I wait patiently for God to make the next move (Psalm 40:1, Habbakuk 2:1). Sometimes though, being still means I rebuke the voices in my head and say, “Quiet!, Be still!”(Mark 4:39). And other times it means I turn off all distractions like my phone and TV and spend time with God’s word unhindered (Mark 6:31).,.

Stillness is definitely not inactivity or stagnation. Quiet waters are still flowing albeit gently. When we are still before God, that is when He works His salvation and fights for us (because we are not getting in His way!)

Dear reader, as you purpose to be intentional, let the Shepherd lead you to peace and rest… Drink of the water He gives and be still and see the salvation of the LORD ( Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17). The problems, the hurdles, the challenges, the fears, the anxiety, you see today… you’ll never see them again!