Friday, August 13, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A Life Lesson Learned from Muddy Water

Muddy Water
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” –Proverbs 25:26 (ESV)

McKinley Morganfield was born in April 1913 in Mississippi. His grandmother said that he liked to play in the water of Deer Creek that ran near their home. He always came home muddy, so she started to call him Muddy.

The nickname stuck. Muddy became a proficient, self-taught musician and pioneered a genre of music called Chicago Blues. He added Waters to his moniker as he became more famous.

I suspect that the songs that Muddy Waters wrote and performed were the fruit of agitated, murky, possibly impure and painful life experiences. The Blues. In the Bible, the phrase “muddy water” is an analogy to confusing, unstable, polluted, or disconnected circumstances and the result of turning against God’s revealed will. I believe such actions result in us having “the blues”.

Recently, when I read Proverbs 25:26 (ESV), I was reminded of Muddy Waters. The text says: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” This picture doesn’t seem very hopeful. 

However, the Bible doesn’t leave us without hope. His name is Jesus. As “The Good Shepherd”, Jesus Christ leads us “beside still waters”. He leads us beside the still water so that we can drink, be refreshed, and rest in harmonious and pleasant situations.

While we can’t control every experience of our lives, when we reflect upon them, our attitudes can make the difference between a blues song and a praise party. Our positive attitudes can purify our streams of consciousness. Our positive attitudes may change the environment in which we live, work and worship. Let’s not bow before the wicked.

Let’s stand in the love, truth and power of the will and word of God.

In so doing, we might make muddy water clean again.

Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for this day. As we got out into our own little worlds, help us not to be muddy water. Help us to be refreshing streams of grace. Use us to brighten darkness, clarify opacity, lighten loads and inspire smiles. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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