bible verse, Christian, devotion, Uncategorized

God is the Ultimate Artist

“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.”-Isaiah 64:8

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.-Ephesians 4:20-24

 When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at a young age, I truly believed God was magnificent and was the ultimate creative Genius. I mean, He made this world and the galaxies right? I remember getting my first pair of glasses and being completely blown away by the detail and the beauty He created in this world.  I remember in particular seeing a tree in a complete new way. I was totally blind before to all the leaves on the tree and how the wind made them sway in the light.  Before, when I did not have glasses, the tree was just one big fuzzy blob.  Of course if I held a leaf close to my eyes I could see the beauty and detail, but seeing it all together far away was a different story.  When God begins to transform us, we see the little obvious things, but are often blind to the whole picture.  We need the word of God to help us see and understand His will.  The Bible is like my new pair of glasses.  To all of you who have good vision, when you think of a leaf on a tree, do you think of a realistic detailed tree covered in leaves or a big fuzzy blob that sort of resembles a tree?  Maybe that is how some Christians view being resurrected in Christ,  they know the basics, that they should turn from their sin and repent.  They focus on the painful part, the part they immediately feel and see.  But they forget the beautiful masterpiece they will become.  When they think of the whole picture they see the fuzzy blob, not the beautiful detailed tree God created that is like a fingerprint, different and unique in the way it was created.  It takes time, patience, and faith when you let God transform you.  He makes us face our sins and turn away from them, which is painful.  We begin to lose hope and forget He is making us new.  The more you surrender and become like Christ, the more you become the beautiful masterpiece He created you to be.   God is the Creator of you and me, the world, the galaxies, the sun and stars, and infinitely so much more. God has quite the imagination, in the best possible ways. I will forever be in awe of that!

The reason I am bringing up how awesome and creative God is because I think a lot of people think of God the wrong way. Some may think God is boring and is trying to suck all of the joy out of our lives when He transforms us. Or at least, a lot of Christians act that way. We walk around, miserable because we don’t know how to have fun or enjoy the life He has given us because we were born and raised in the world.  We only knew how to have “fun” and enjoy life from the worlds perspective. The world and even churches are putting God in a box. Why!? What is wrong with dancing if it is done for the glory of God? What is wrong with eating certain kinds of food if done for the Glory of God?  We should find joy in the new life He has given us.  Our God is not boring!  “Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.”-Psalm 149:3   “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.”-1 Corinthians 10:31

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.-Proverbs 17:22

I could go on because I know there are Christians who are out there that are miserable and do not have the joy of the Lord because they forget the joy life brings. Yes, we are sinful, and we must no longer live in sin, but God created laughter! He created joy, happiness, music, art, and every good thing ever created. We just can’t pervert these things, we can’t use them in the way God never created them to be used. For example we should not enjoy hurting others, and we should not degrade beautiful women in music that brings out lust. We also should not eat to the point we almost kill ourselves.  The world has perverted a lot of things God intended for good.

“The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body,it is raised a spiritual body.”-1 Corinthians 15:41-44

I hope this verse brings Christ followers comfort and joy when they read this passage. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, and in this chapter he was explaining to the Corinthian Christians the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers though Him. They had gotten through the first step, professing and believing Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He conquered death when He rose from the dead. But they couldn’t seem to understand how those who believe could also be risen from the dead and die to their own sins. I think a lot of Christians today feel that same way, I know I did. What does it mean to be fully transformed and made alive in Christ?

When we ask Christ into our hearts, prepare for a transformation. Prepare to be made alive! When you are made alive, that is when you experience true joy, love, peace the way they were created to be experienced. All while you are walking in a sweet fellowship with God.  That means we do not get transformed into cold, miserable, Christians that all look and act alike. That is what I started to dread as I grew older, that I would be turned into something I’m not and would lose my imagination and the things that make me who I am as a person. To me, it seemed everyone was trying to be something they weren’t, and I didn’t want to be like them. Man, how I used to be deceived. We should trust God and really get to know how awesome He is. (We find out more about Him by praying, reading His word, and having fellowship)  When He transforms us through Christ, we become alive and more into what He wants us to be. And that is not into a boring and miserable person. God didn’t make a black and white world did He? Didn’t He create all the different sunsets and all the colors on the rainbow? Imagine what He wants to do with you! We are the masterpiece and He is the Artist! So no, He does not want cookie cutter Christians, He wants you to be who He created you to be. He doesn’t want us to look like each other, but like Him.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”-Genesis 1:27

God is infinitely beautiful, so when we start to look like Him, we will have different gifts and ways of showing love.  We will be beautiful in different ways.  But the one thing we will have in common is Christ.  Also, our “fruits” will be the same, because they are given to us by the Holy Spirit who dwells in those made new in Christ.  Christ is our rock, and we must ALL be deeply rooted in Him.  Let God transform your mind to be like Christ’s, and allow Him to raise you from the dead.   Turn from the sin, follow Christ, and let His love and light fill you. Let Him make you beautiful in His own eyes, and be prepared to be blown away.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.-Psalm 139:14″

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.-Ephesians 2:10

bible verse, Christian, devotion, Uncategorized

The Faith that Heals

“So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”-Mark 5:24-29

Can I just say I really think this passage powerful.  I chose to share this passage because in many ways, I can relate to this woman. And believe it or not, I bet a lot of you can relate also.  Through personal experience and from hearing other people’s stories, I realized there is a lot of suffering in the world. Actually, that fact is pretty much a no brainer.  There are the obvious ones, usually physical, that come to my mind. There is homelessness, addictions, abuse, starvation, and so on.   I can see that some people in the world are doing all they can to help pull people out of these situations, whether it be someone in another country or whether it be a loved one.   But a lot of times what we do not realize ourselves is that we too are suffering, even the people who seem to have perfect lives. There too many people suffering from depression, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, anger, and so on. These things have the power to get so big that they consume our lives. We try everything we can to get rid of these things, because we KNOW they cause us suffering and pain. We try exercising, meditating, focusing on our goals, even medication.  We do all we can to free ourselves from our suffering. And here is the problem, it isn’t working. And sometimes these “cures” may help temporarily (just like money), but the suffering always comes back around. Another issue is how can we help pull others out of suffering when we can’t even pull ourselves out of our own suffering?

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered, “and yet you can ask,’Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”- Mark 5:30-34

This part made me want to cry my eyes out.  What was the cure for this woman’s suffering?  It wasn’t good works, money, or medication.  It was her faith in Jesus.  All those twelve years she had been putting her faith into the wrong things.  She was so desperate that she didn’t even wait to ask Jesus to heal her, she just went to Him and had the faith that if she just touched His clothes, she would be healed.  And guess what?  She was FREED from her suffering.  If we just have faith that Jesus is who He said He is, the Son of God, and we put our trust in Him and give Him our everything, how much suffering and bondage will we be freed from.  Praise God, because in Christ we have found the ultimate cure.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” -John 8:36

“‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.”-1 Peter 2:24

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”.-Psalm 103:2-5

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30

Christian, devotion

Introducing “Planted by Streams of Water”

Hello!  My name is Ally Poole, and welcome to my blog Planted by Streams of Water.  I am 22 years old, originally from North Carolina, and have recently come back home from traveling for 8 months. It is actually funny how I got this blog started, as in originally I was going to dedicate it to my travel adventures.  I think God had other plans though, because instead of writing about my crazy adventures,  I found myself writing about some of the incredible passages in the bible I would come across in times of trouble or during my devotion.   Even though traveling was absolutely incredible, it didn’t get rid of the troubles and questions that would constantly bother me.  The more I saw and experienced, the more questions I would have.  During my traveling, that is where I discovered I actually enjoyed writing.  When I write, it is the best time for reflection, and helps me layout my thoughts in a helpful way.  What was most interesting of all was that though traveling didn’t bring the answers I was looking for,  the word of God did.

I figured blogging my devotions was a way to keep up with my adventures in Christ.  My main goal is to inspire others to read God’s word, as reading it has transformed my life and my relationship with Christ.  Most of the things I will be posting will probably be inspired by my devotions, and I would love to share them with you.  I got the inspiration for the name of my blog from my favorite passage in the bible, Psalm 1.  Here is a little piece of it,

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields fruit in every season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers. “

-Psalm 1:1-3

I really love this passage!  I think it really shows that reading God’s word is absolutely vital when you are a follower of Christ.  His word is what keeps you spiritually alive and healthy.  Also it is a great way to get to know God and let Him speak to you.  I hope the passages I blog about are as encouraging and life changing for you as they are for me.  Or at least something that makes your day a little better.  Please feel free to ask questions or share scripture in the comment section; I would really appreciate it!

“For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  -Hebrews 4:12

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”-Psalm 119:105

Christian, devotion, Life, Uncategorized

Jesus Calms the Storm

Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke Him saying, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”  He replied,  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked,  “What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”     Matthew 8:23-27

When I read this, words can’t describe how much I was comforted.  See, when I read this, there was a storm going on in my head.  Sometimes I find that my mind is overwhelmed with thoughts, questions, doubts, reflections, desires and so on.  You wonder (me at least), “Why can’t I just understand whats going on?  Why can’t I get my thoughts straight?”  It is the most frustrating and scary thing when there is a furious storm going on in your mind.  It is when you lose control.  When the waves start crashing over the boat, you began to think that it will sink.

What I find most interesting about this passage is the fact Jesus was sleeping.   The disciples were scared for their lives, so of course they woke Jesus and asked Him to save them.  When He asks,  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”, I felt He was asking me the same exact question.  I think that anytime believers doubt and become afraid, He asks us this question.  Why are we so afraid?  Maybe we realize that we no longer have control, and that is when we have to put our faith in God.  The key thing we must learn is that it is always God that must be in control, not us.  Because really, if you think about it,  what can we do when we lose control?  What do we do when suddenly a furious storm approaches?

After Jesus asks this question He gets up and rebukes the wind and the waves.  What man can do this?  Only God can.  Then after rebuking the storm, there was a complete calm.  After reading this passage I found an answer!  What do you do when there is a storm going on in your mind or in your life?  Trust in God because He is the calm to your storm.  He is the only one that will calm it and bring peace to your mind and life.   I hope this passage can help you as much as it has helped and comforted me:)



Boasting about Tomorrow

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes.  All such boasting is evil.  If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”-James 4:13-17

To be honest, this is one of the biggest things I have been struggling with of the late.  Making all of these plans for my future and leaving God out.  It is something that came about sometime in high school, when everyone starts to shove career choices and colleges into your face.  Now I know this is all done for our better “good” because who in the world wants to be working at minimum wage after high school ends with no future life goals in mind?  It does sound pretty hopeless.  Once high school ends, it is like reality slaps you in the face.  It says, “No more games, what ever choice you make determines the rest of your life.” At least, from personal experience, that was how it felt to me.  And if my plan didn’t go my way, it literally felt like the world ended.  What can I say?  I can be pretty dramatic!  I would make these big plans for myself, and time after time I would watch them crumble at my feet.  Why?  Because God wasn’t at the base of them.

I wish that I could give you some life changing advice learned from my personal experiences, but unfortunately I do not think I have gotten there yet.  All I can give you is what God has given me, this verse.  If you are like me, where many times the door to a certain future gets slammed in your face, just know you are not alone.  And not all hope is lost!  Stay strong, and submit your plans to the lordship of Christ, because in the end, that is all that matters.  I have decided to break the habit of literally planning out my life step by step, and letting God take control.  But that is easier said than done.  Just keep this in mind, “I can do everything though Him who gives me strength.”-Philippians 4:13


A Glimpse of my past- My “Most important Day” paper

Crystal Ally Poole

Mrs. Robertson

English 111

September 6, 2014

The Most Important Day

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”(1 John4:18) Sitting at my Grandma’s kitchen table, with the bible laying right in front of me, I had never read something that had impacted me in such a way. Reading the verse over and over again, I tried to find its underlying meaning. Trying to fully grasp it, I could hear it in the back of my mind, repeating its self over and over again, making its way through every part of me until it reached its destination, my heart. This had been the answer I had been looking for. After reading 1 John 4:18, it transformed the way I thought, made me realize my fears, and most importantly made me realize who God truly is.

November 26, 2011 was the day that I first felt hope. Sitting at my grandma’s wooden kitchen table, bored out of my mind, I decided to grab the Bible sitting on a bookshelf right across from me and opened it. Flipping through the thin pages, I just started reading whatever caught my eye. Finally my eyes landed on the book of 1 John. It spoke of love and God. Growing up in a dysfunctional family and never quite feeling truly loved, I was unsatisfied with my life, and felt like there wasn’t much for me to live for. Looking back now, I know even then I was loved, but my child mind didn’t fully understand what love was. It was a complete mystery to me. Like a freshly planted flower craves water, my heart craved a supernatural kind of love.

“Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” I used to struggle with a lot of fears and even to this day I still do.Growing up, I had always been a scared little kid. First I had the typical fears; I was terrified of ghosts, the dark, getting bad grades, etc.Eventually I grew out of these. Then there came the deeper fears, the ones that are harder to get rid of. I was scared I was going to end being someone I had no desire to be, scared I wasn’t ever going to amount too much in the future, scared of rejection, and most of all was scared that there was nothing outside of this universe. The last fear was the one that got me the most. It may sound crazy, but I desperately wanted there to be more than this life we all live. Sometimes life is wonderful, but sometimes it stinks. Have you ever wondered if there was something even greater and mysterious out there? Somehow, the Bible quote gave me an answer.

In school I learned all about evolution, but the funny thing is, it never sat well with me. For me to believe in evolution meant that I had to accept the fact that everything was an accident, which meant I was just simply here for absolutely no reason except to reproduce. But my soul wanted there to be so much more! I wanted to be here for a reason and I wanted to have a purpose. I wanted to be created by a Creator and be loved by Him. The verse comforted me to know that there is a God who is in control of everything, who made everything for a reason. I had been struggling with many questions of who I was and what was the truth. Everyone out there had his or her own beliefs and it was as if I just couldn’t find the answer I was looking for. After reading this verse, words can’t describe how I felt. For once I had hope and found something that I truly believed in. Even to this day I can’t explain exactly why I was so blown away by this verse and why it changed my life so much. I felt almost as if God had reached down and pointed that particular verse out to me, because He knew what I was searching for. That is what makes that day even more special to me.

That day, my family left my grandma’s house to head home. Sitting in the car I looked out the window thinking of everything that had happened. Looking up, my eye caught on a billboard and I felt my mouth drop. It was all black except for the words that were displayed in the middle. It said these exact words, “Perfect Love drives out fear. God is Love.” Now many people would have thought it was just a coincidence, but I no longer believed in coincidences and accidents. I believe that billboard had a purpose, and it was served in my life. I knew right then and there, I had nothing to fear.

At that very moment I was able to take that first step on the path of freedom. I was so bound up by my silly and serious fears;finally I was able to take a step forward and look back and see the things that were holding me down. I no longer needed to worry about the future because I knew I was in good hands. Rejection still hurt, but at least I know I was not the only one who dealt with it. Some things happen that will end up hurting us, but it will make us stronger. I understood that life could be pretty tough sometimes, but in the end it was a life that is worth living because it was given to us for a reason so we all have a place in the future. I felt like I had received the love that casts out all fear.