Devotions

3 Ways to Simplify the Holiday Season

November 10, 2017
“The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” John 7:38 (HCSB)
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“Women live like a cup tipped over on its side. They give and give and pour out everything they have until there’s nothing left,” my friend said.

As I absorbed her words, I imagined my proverbial cup of life. Empty — or at least on my last drop.

I want to love more, do more and give more, but eventually I run dry.

In today’s key verse (John 7:38), Jesus says, “The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”

When I read this, I sometimes wonder if I’m missing something. I believe in Jesus, but my life sure doesn’t seem to yield these streams of living water all the time.

Could this really be a statement of fact? Surely these streams of living water that flow from deep within are reserved for only a few people. People in a much slower season of life.

But that’s not what Jesus says. He says the only prerequisite to streams of living water flowing deep from within is to believe in Him. If we believe in Jesus, yet still feel like a cup tipped over, maybe we just need to unclog our stream.

As the holiday season knocks on the door, to-do lists grow and threaten to tip the cup of our souls on its side. To keep our souls from running dry, we have to frequent the Source of our streams regularly.

In the hustle and bustle it can be hard to find these soul stops, so I want to share three things I’ve found that help keep my soul steady.

Look for short stops. One way I keep my focus on God and His plans even on the busiest days is to set aside 3-5 minutes throughout the day to literally drop to my knees and talk to God. It redirects my worry and keeps my thoughts on Him — even in the midst of chaos.

Pay attention. As you set your soul on the mission to fill up and stay filled, ask God to get your attention. Look for Him at work in the simplest ways — a text from a friend at just the right time, a song in your heart, or a giggle with a young child that refreshes your spirit.

Set limits. Pick a time your distractions begin, and tell them when they end. During those hours, do the phone thing and computer thing and every other thing that you pour your soul into, but when those hours tick to an end, shut it down. Determine to save time at the end of your day or beginning of your day (or better yet, both!) for nothing other than soul-filling time with your Savior.

Our souls rely on one Source: fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus. Any substitute may take us a few miles further on our journey, but it will not last and could even cause damage.

Dear Jesus, I believe Your words, and I want desperately for these streams of living water to flow from deep within me into the world around me. Give me a soul that thirsts for You. And as I fill up with Your living water, let me be a source of refreshment for others who need it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 42:1, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” (ESV)

John 4:14, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (NLT)

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

It's the people in your life who can make you feel right at home during the holidays. Whether you're with your family or you feel lonely in a new town this season, our new holiday products will help you spend time with the people God has placed in your life. Click here to learn more and shop our holiday products!

When nothing seems to be within your control, when you're weak with worry and driving yourself crazy trying to fix everything — meet with Jesus in the Gospel of Mark during the next First 5 study. You can download the First 5 app for free and pre-order your Experience Guide to dive even deeper into the study with daily questions, maps and illustrations. The study starts Nov. 27!

CONNECT:

Stop by Katy McCown’s blog today for more encouragement and a free gift of Pacing Your Schedule to His Purposes to help you live focused when you’re trying to do it all.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

Which one of the three suggestions above will you focus on this week? Which one do you struggle with the most?

Make a plan to begin adding these practices to your daily life. Your plan could include setting timers on your phone to remind you to take a short stop and pray. Or pick 1-2 times a day when you will respond to emails and stick to those times. Start today, and invite a friend to join you!

© 2017 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.

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