Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Living Water

John 4:13-15

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

John said Jesus had to go through Samaria. There was another route, but He had to go that way. The Holy Spirit had a most unlikely appointment for Him. The Samaritans were descended from Jews that had intermarried with other nations. They had their own version of the books of Moses. The Jews looked down on them as an inferior and polluted people.

At noon, Jesus stopped at a well. He was physically tired from the journey. The disciples went on to a place where they could buy some food. While Jesus was resting, a woman came to the well. This was not the normal hour to come for water, for it was the heat of the day. She was avoiding running into other women. Jesus asked for a drink of water. She was shocked. Jews never use the same jars that Samaritans use for fear of defilement. “You are a Jew, and you want to drink from my pot?” He told her she should be asking Him for living water. She asked Him how He was going to get the water without a pot. Jesus answered with the verses above. Read them again.

Israel is a dry and mostly barren land. Water means life to it. Jesus had turned the physical into an analogy for the spiritual. He has life giving water for the spirit of mankind. We are dry and barren without the water of life, but if we will receive it from Him, it will become a spring that wells up to eternal life.

As through most of the Book of John, we see the person misunderstanding the spiritual reality. She wanted the gift so she didn’t have to come and face the embarrassment of seeing other women at the well. She had a bad reputation. Jesus told her He knew her sin. She then tried to turn the subject into a religious debate, but Jesus went right to her heart with truth. Her testimony led many in her town to Jesus. He refused to buy into the prejudice of His culture Samaritans, women, and even about her moral condition. She was a soul that was in a drought and thirsting for a different life.

Consider: How do you see the people around you?

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Could It Be God’s Discipline?

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11 NIV).

Today is probably not going to be one of your favorite devotions. It most likely will not be one you print out and stick on the refrigerator, but let’s tackle it together anyway.Why do bad things happen? There is no easy answer. Is it God’s discipline, the devil’s deception? Or the result of living in a degenerate fallen world? Each one of these is a viable option. Today we’re going to look at the one that makes us cringe…but remember, we’re friends and we can tackle the tough questions together.

King David experienced God’s discipline when he disobeyed God and counted his fighting men when he knew it was not something that he should do (1 Chronicles 21:1). As soon as the last man was numbered, David knew that he had displeased God and asked for forgiveness. God did forgive David, but David also had to suffer the consequences—the discipline of God.“This is what the LORD says: ‘Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD—days of plague in the land with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel’.” (1 Samuel 21:11-12).

We don’t usually get to choose our discipline with God, but be assured my friend, “whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.”When Miriam gossiped about her brother Moses, and tried to usurp his authority, God struck her with leprosy and halted the progress of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land for three days (Numbers 12:1-15). When Saul disobeyed and made himself a priest, God took his kingdom away (1 Samuel13:13).When Ananias and Sapphira lied about the amount of offering they had given the church, God struck them dead (Acts 5:1-10). The writer of Hebrews explains: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11).

No good parent disciplines a child without explaining why. And so it is with our Heavenly Father. He’s a good parent—the best. He will always make it clear.

Dear Father, I don’t like discipline. I didn’t like it as a child and I don’t really like it as an adult. However, I do know that just as I disciplined my niece and nephew because I love them, You discipline me because You love me. Help me to recognize Your discipline when it occurs, receive it with a grateful heart, and change what needs to be changed.

Describe a time when you had to discipline your child. How did you feel? How do you think God feels when He has to discipline His children?

When is a time that you have been disciplined by God?What changes did you make in your life?

Please share your answers in the comment session.

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Faith To Move Mountains

Jesus said, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

True belief clearly implies a willingness to obediently follow.The gift of eternal life is given to those who have faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin. This precious gift is never linked to a specific amount of faith; rather, the only requirement of the gospel is that our faith be genuine. In fact, Jesus stated that a small amount of faith can accomplish more than we can imagine.

Matthew 17:20 “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”This is amazing! Jesus used the example of a mustard seed because it was the smallest seed known. A few chapters later He made a similar statement; “If you have faith and do not doubt…you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done” (Matthew 21:21).

If you are a child of God then you have already been given sufficient faith by Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). There is therefore NO obstacle which cannot be cast aside! Of course, genuine faith also implies an alignment with the will of God. Jesus even said, “He can do only what He sees His Father doing” (John 5:19). This is why we don’t see individuals moving physical mountains today – it’s not in the will of God. However, it is most definitely in God’s will that we move all mountains which threaten to block our path toward Him or hinder His plan for our life.

If we really believe, we ought to be living our life according to His truth and the faith we have been given! Though we may face mountains in our job, relationships, finances, health, children or parents; though we may face temptations or addictions which appear impossible to conquer; though we may battle a low self esteem which says we can’t or are unworthy, we must believe the Word of God is true! “With God ALL things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Though we may not understand, we must believe, in faith, that God is infinitely greater than the bounds of our understanding. We are not walking alone and NO problem is beyond His ability to direct.

If we desire to live the full life God intends – the life that honors Him with every move and even every breath – then God’s Word must become our foundation. Whatever problems we face, we must fall on our knees with humble submission to His will and seek His face in prayer. Then we must rise up and step forward without doubt, and, in His strength, believe we have been given the faith to move mountains.

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Time To Speak

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. Ephesians 4:15

Sometimes all it takes to make a difference in this world is for someone to take a stand. Silence often means agreement. I believe it is time for Christians to stop being the silent minority and start speaking up. Jesus did.Jesus drove the moneychangers out of His Father’s temple. I imagine He had a few words of correction for them as they fled.

Jesus confronted the Pharisees about their sinful behaviour and about being bad shepherds of God’s people. The heart of Jesus was always compelled to take care of His sheep. Jesus often told forgiven sinners to go in peace … but to sin no more. He described Himself as gentle and humble in heart. Jesus spoke the truth gently more times than not, but He always spoke the truth. We need to do the same.

Father, I want to grow up in Christ. Please help me learn how to speak the truth in love. Give me the courage to confront wrong, but to do it in a way that honors You and promotes peace.

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The Light

John 3:19-21 (NIV) 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

God is a just God. He will deal with men according to the revelation of the truth they have seen. John the Beloved told us in the first chapter that everyone sees the light of God. Some would personally witness His miraculous life or hear about it from those who did. We have had a revelation of the light of reality through the message passed down to us in the Gospels. Some of us have had a personal revelation of the Light. Then comes the choice of what we will do with what we have seen and heard. If there was no revealing of light, we would not be accountable, but that is not the case.

The revelation of Light will have one of two affects. The light always draws you to the truth. Then we either desire it or hate it. That is usually evident in the lifestyle we choose. If we cling to self and our own ways, we will avoid the Light. When the Light comes to visit via believers, those who love darkness are repulsed by it. They will find excuses to hate the bearer. That is why lovers of darkness will find friends who love it, and those who love the light will gather with others who love light.

Those who love the Light continue to come to the Light. They do not want to be deceived and go on in the darkness of their own ways. Instead, they want to be certain that what they do is done through God, so they are continually coming to the Light. Do we really come to the Light of in His word, prayer, and fellowship to discern if what you’re doing is of selfish origin or of God?

Remember: The Light makes everything plain. Therefore let us walk in the Light.

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God Is Always In Control

Reference Scripture: Isaiah 45:5-7

I admit that I often don’t understand why bad things happen. Even so, I believe that God has a purpose for everything He does or permits. My faith is rooted in the biblical principle that says the Lord is sovereign (Psalm 22:28). He is in absolute control of the universe.When we are in the midst of a trial, it is hard to resist crying out, “God, Why is this happening?” Sometimes we get the answer and sometimes we don’t.

What we can be sure of is that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. He has a purpose for even our most painful experiences. Moreover, we have His promise to “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28). Seeing in advance how the Lord will work evil or hurt for our benefit is very difficult, if not impossible.

My limited human perspective doesn’t allow me to grasp His greater plan. However, I can confirm the truth of this biblical promise because the Father’s good handiwork appears all through my pain, hardship, and loss. I have experienced Him turn mourning into gladness and have seen Him reap bountiful blessings and benefits from my darkest hours.

As believers, we must accept that God won’t always make sense to us. Isaiah teaches that His ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:9). He sees the beautifully completed big picture. We can rely on the fact that God is in control, no matter how wildly our world seems to spin.

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