Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty-Five

"The voice of the LORD is over the waters;

The God of glory thunders;

The LORD is over many waters.

The voice of the LORD is powerful;

The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

Psalm 29:3-4


Good day! Let's begin with prayer....

"Holy Father, I want to thank You for this day and for Your glory. You alone are the God Most High. You alone gave us the gift of the Living Water and washed me pure.
I seek forgiveness of my sins because I know I have put myself ahead of You lately. I pray that You will forgive me of my selfishness and cleanse me with Your word this day. I pray that You will give me wisdom liberally.
I also pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will go to her and speak to her new things. I pray that You will encourage her and give her a heart that is willing to obey Your words.
In Jesus' name............amen."


John 4: 41

"And many more believed because of His own word."

The word of God is powerful. It cuts deeply and changes the hearts of men. Here in this verse we see that now the people of Sychar, having seen Jesus and having heard His words, believed because of Him.

The Samaritan woman's witness was effective in getting the people to Jesus. They believed her and came to see "a man" who could be the Christ. As Jesus spoke to them for two days, we are told that many believed.

Please read:

Luke 4:31-32

From the beginning, Jesus was able to persuage men with just His words. For His word had authority.

John 6:63

His very words are LIFE to us. As we have read before, Peter understood this:

John 6:68

The words of Jesus are eternal life.

John 17:17

They are TRUTH.

Col 3:16

And they should dwell in us deeply.

Heb 1:1-4

And that is how God spoke to His people and to us know: Through Jesus.

Rom 10: 16-17

It is God who opens ears to hear the words of Christ. Just as He opened the ears of the Samaritan people around Jesus, He opened our ears as well and now we can read the Word and hear it and be changed.

Jesus' words changed the Samaritan woman. They gave her new life....a new purpose. She left her waterpot: her old ways, her old purpose in life...and began a new journey. The Lord promised her He would give her that Living Water that would finally quench her thirst forever.


How did God's voice (His word) change others in scripture?

Please read:

Gen 1:3

Gen 3:9-10

Gen 3:13

Gen 4:6-7

Gen 6:7-13

Gen 7:1

Gen 9:8

God's words convicted men of sin, spoke to them of His covenant, encouraged man to worship Him. God's words are important. We were created in His image, so it makes sense that our words are important as well.

Gen 11:1-9

The word "Babel" means confusion. It is also translated as Babylon. Man took language for granted, so how did God punish His people? By taking away their one language and confusing them. Words are very important to the Lord. They should be important to us.

Gal 3:8

God rewarded Abraham for believing God's words.

Deut 17:18

His words should instill fear on His people.

Deut 18:17

God's words were put into Jesus' mouth.

Deut 18:20-22 False prophets shall be judged for the words they say in God's name.

I think it is safe to say that God's words are LIFE and TRUTH to us. We would be wise to take them seriously. We would be wise to read them daily and have fear of God because of His words. He keeps His promises.....He keeps His word.

Praise God today for His word. Praise Him that He did not leave us here alone without any knowledge of Him. He is merciful and His voice is indeed full of majesty.


Life Application

"...because of His own word."

Some believed because of the Samaritan woman, and now we read that many more believed because of Jesus' own word.

Please read:

Jer 23:9-10

Here we read how the holy words of God given to the prophet were not heeded and the whole of creation suffered. Do we heed those words today? Does creation still suffer because of our sin of disobedience?

Jesus' own word is what saves us. He died to save us from His wrath and that is why He is exalted by His death. His life and death were perfect. And now He is exalted. Because of His perfect words, we have life. We have been saved from that curse.

2 Tim 3:16

All scripture...every profitable and it equips us for every good work of the Lord. That is why we must stay near the Lord. Like the people of Sychar, we must "urge" Him to stay with us so we can hear His words....His own word and be healed, cleansed, saved, transformed.

Stay in the Word! I know life gets hectic and time gets away from us. Before you know it, the day is half over. Find time to be alone with the Lord each day. Use these studies to be in the Word. I have given you much scripture to read in this study. Stay in the near God's Word, learn it, memorize it and tell others what you have learned.

That way we can abide in Jesus and He will abide in us.


Until next time......

"It troubles alot of people that Christ died to exalt Christ. Boiled down to its essence, 2 Corinthians 5:15 says Christ died for us that we might live for him. In other words, he died for us so that we make much of him. Bluntly, Christ died for Christ. Now that is true. It's not a word trick. The very essence of sin is that we have failed to glorify God- which included failing to glorify his Son (Romans 3:23). But Christ died to bear that sin and to free us from it. So he died to bear the dishonor that we had heaped on him by our sin. He died to turn this around. Christ died for the glory of Christ."

-John Piper (The Passion of the Christ, 2004, p. 82)



Running the Good Race


I had a "date" night with my husband on Friday: we ran 6 miles together along the canal bank. It was so cool out and the sunset was fantastic!

We set out to do 5 miles, but realized that, after an hour, we had run 6. We felt good, but I was hurting the next day!

Saturday was a rest day and Sunday was pilates.

I plan on running 5 miles tomorrow....we'll see!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty-Four

"And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be-
'The LORD is one,'
And His name one."
Zechariah 14: 8-9
Hello...let's pray...
"Father, God, in heaven. I thank You for these verse in Zechariah in which You describe to us what the day of the Lord will be like. Your presence will bring streams of water. Those waters will bring healing. You alone are God.
I pray that You will forgive me of my sins this day. I know that I have often put myself ahead of my family and ahead of You. I know this is sin. I pray that You will wash me clean with Your word and fill me with Your Spirit.
I pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray that she will earnestly seek Your face today in prayer and in Your word. I pray that she will turn to You for guidance and patiently wait for You. I pray for peace in her home and obedience in her heart.
In Jesus' name............amen."
As we come to the end of our study, we will look at the incredible results of the woman's testimony on the people of this Samaritan city.
John 4: 40
"So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days."
The reaction of the people to the Lord's presence is quite a contrast to the Jewish leaders' reaction to Jesus at that time. The people of Sychar were so eager to hear Jesus talk and to be with Him that they urged Him to stay with them.
Just imagine the reaction of Jesus as He stood among the people of this Gentile city where Jacob's well was planted. Here He is, the Christ Himself, there in the midst of this old city of the scriptures.
But we know that not all people will receive Jesus:
Please read:
Luke 9:51-56
Here Jesus sends messengers to Samaritan villagers in order to prepare them for Jesus' presence but they did not receive Him. So Jesus went to another village because He acknowledged that not everyone will be saved.
Luke 19:1-9
Zacchaeus, the tax collector, received Jesus into his house and was saved.
As we read in the New Testament about the many times Jesus was rejected or received, we can be sure that not all those who will come in contact with Jesus in us or with His word will receive Him or be saved. But those who hear His words....they shall be saved:
John 5:24
Hearing the words of the woman brought the people to Jesus. But soon they would hear the words of Jesus Himself. Jesus opens the ears of His own sheep so they hear His voice.
So, that is why it is so wonderful and encouraging to us to see what happened with the Samaritan woman. She, a sinner, was sought by the Christ. She was changed by the words of Jesus. She was given that Living Water when she was told how to worship the One True God who is spirit.
Then she was used by Jesus to bring others to Him.
That fact should encourage all of us to take our testimonies and be bold witnesses for Christ.
Life Application
"...and He stayed there two days."
One thing about the Lord is that He keeps His promises. He had promised that He will never leave or forsake us in His word.
Please read:
Heb 13:5
Gen 28:15
Deut 31:6, 8
Josh 1:5
He has promised that if we keep His commandments, He will abide with us:
1 John 2:24-25
1 John 3:24
Jesus stayed with the Samaritan people for two days.....but He promises us that He will abide with us: that is more permanent. He will actually dwell with us forever.
The word "abide" means to dwell. It is as if I would say that I would come to your house and live there with you. Fellowship, on the other hand, is more temporary. Jesus had fellowship with the people of Samaria. He only stayed temporarily......but to dwell, or abide with someone is more permanent.
When Jesus says that He abides with us and we with Him, He means it on a more personal and permanent way. If we obey His commandments.....we have permanent dwelling with Him and He in us. How much more special is that than staying with us a mere two days??
That is what I used to tell the inmates at the prison. I knew they had been rejected and left by people all their lives. But for them to hear that God....the GOD who created them and loved them....actually promises to dwell with them forever, never to leave them or forsake them, well that was something they could truly grasp onto.
God says that He will never leave us (that's a temporary leaving where someone will be back soon) nor forsake us (that is a more permanent leaving as though someone will never return much like in death or abandonment).
All of us have been there. We have either had someone close to us leave us or even forsake us. But God says He will do neither. Soon those living waters will flow from Jerusalem and we will be there to see it with Him. And we will dwell with Him forever.
How wonderful is that?? God is wonderful. Praise Him today.
Until next time.........
" Let us further consider that our following the example of Christ in the work of the ministry is the way to enjoy the sensible joyful presence of Christ with us. The disciples had the comfort of Christ's presence and conversation by following Him and going where He went. When we cease to follow Him, He will go from us, and we shall soon lose sight of Him."
-Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
(Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 198)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty-Three

"And in that day you will say:

O, LORD You were angry with me,

Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.

Behold, God is my salvation,

I will trust and not be afraid;

'For YAH, the Lord, is my strength and song;

He also has become my salvation.

Therefore with joy you will draw water

From the wells of salvation.'"

Isaiah 12:1-3


Let's seek the Lord today in prayer......

"Father, You are our strength and our song. You alone are our salvation. Say to our souls everyday that You are my salvation. Let me draw water from the wells of salvation.

I come to You in prayer this day to seek forgiveness of my sins. Forgive me for not submitting to You. Forgive me for putting my needs above others'. Forgive me for having anxiety about the future when I know that everything is in Your hands.

I pray for each woman reading this study that she will know that You are her salvation. I pray that she will know that You are her strength and her song. Help her to know that she is not alone. Speak to her soul today.

In Jesus' name...........amen."


John 4:39

"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all that I ever did.'"

Here the scriptures say why the people came to Jesus....because of the woman's testimony.

We tend to forget the power of our testimony. Like Paul, we should use it to tell others about the love of Christ.

Please read:

Acts 17: 1-4

Acts 18:1-4

Acts 20:17-37

Acts 22:1-29

Paul used his conversion to spread the Gospel message. Sometimes he spoke about how Jesus took him from Saul of Tarsus and made him into Paul the Apostle of Christ.

Gal 1: 13-17

Phil 3:4-11

Like Paul, we can use our testimonies to help bring people to Jesus. Our testimonies were given to us by Jesus. Mine is about sexual sin and the consequences of it, Paul's was about persecuting Christians.

Whatever your testimony is, use it to the glory of God.


Life Application

"...because of the word of the woman..."

Knowing how important it is for us to spread the Gospel message, we should always be ready to give the reason for our hope and faith.

Please read:

1 Pet 3:15-17

"Be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you..."

Whether we are asked by a friend or co-worker or someone as important as a King, we should always be ready to defend the Gospel:

Ps 119:46

And what is that hope? What is that message?

Titus 3:4-7

Rom 3:23

Rom 6:23

John 3:3

I have often felt called by God to use my testimony as a way to share the Gospel with young women who may have strayed from the Lord or who may not know the Lord. That is why I feel compelled to go on a mission trip to Slovakia next year and maybe Romania the following year to take the Gospel message to these young women.

It isn't easy to share our stories. Some of you have shared your stories with me and I know it is painful for you to go back and think about those times before the Lord saved you. Devote time to prayer and ask the Lord to remove the shame, guilt, and pain from your testimony so that you can share it with others. I also felt shame and guilt whenever I thought on my past, but I did pray and ask the Lord to remove that shame and guilt so that when I shared my testimony, I was able to focus on what the Lord had done for me and not what I had done in the flesh.

He has answered my prayer and I know He will answer yours. Reading Paul's words comforts me tremendously since his past was so shameful, yet the Lord brought Paul out of that bondage and used him in mighty ways.

He can use you too.


Until next time.......

"God has given to each one of us a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3), and He expects us to use our faith to overcome our fear. Why is this important? Because fear is always a component of adversity. A degree of fear is part of what makes a situation an adversity instead of just another experience. Fear is part of the negative dimension of an adversity.....Faith tells us the opposite story. Faith says that God is in control and when He is in control, all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). Faith says that we will recover and that our final state will be better than anything we have experienced or been thus far. Faith says that whatever Satan steals from us, he must restore, and in virutally all cases, he must restore more than what he stole."

-Charles Stanley (Advancing Through Adversity, 1996, p. 68)



Running the Good Race


I ran 4 miles today at about 10:45am. It was 86 degrees out and breezy! But I had forgotten to eat breaksfast, so my legs were heavy. They felt like they weighed 100 lbs. each. It was not a good run.

Next time I will remember to eat!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty-Two

"Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,

And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
'He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock,'
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he,
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the LORD-
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
And they shall sorrow no more at all."
Jeremiah 31: 10-12

Hello again, let's seek the Lord........

"Father, may You be blessed this day for all that You have done for Your people. We are unfaithful to You, but You are faithful. You have taken us like a shepherd and gathered us together to Your bosom where we are safe. I praise You and thank You for providing us with a well-watered garden where we will have no more sorrow at all.

I seek forgiveness of my sins because I know that I have sinned against You. I have turned to my own ways more times than not and have had anxieties when I should have trusted in You. I pray You will forgive me and cleanse me of my sins.
I pray for each woman reading this study. I pray that she will seek Your face this day and surrender her life to You daily. I pray for her children and her husband that they may see that she had been with You today. I pray for a peace in her home and the Holy Spirit to be welcome there.
in Jesus' name............amen."

John 4:38

"I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

In our last lesson, we looked at how the Lord uses us to reap the harvest. He includes us in His works here on earth. We cannot convert anyone to Christianity, but God can and does. It is not of man who wills it, but of the Lord's mercy.
Here, Jesus is explaining to His disciples that they are about to enter into a field ripe for harvest in which they did not labor.....the woman at the well and Jesus labored together in this field. The words of Jesus sowed seeds and the woman took those words and sowed somemore. As a result, the disciples were witnessing how the woman took Christ's words and her testimony to bring others to Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the prophets were often sent ahead to prepare the people for the coming Messiah.

Please read:

Is 26
Is 28:16-19
Is 32:1-8
Prophets were sent to warn the people to heed the word of the LORD:
Jer 44:1-30
Here we have the word of the Lord coming through Jeremiah to the Israelites who were worshiping other gods and disobeying the Lord. The men of the city were being overtaken by their wives. It was feminism all over!
Jer 44:15-16
They bluntly told the Lord they would not listen to Him. So, of course, the Lord punished them.
In the New Testament, we have John the Baptist coming before Jesus to prepare the way for people to receive the Messiah:
John 3:1-36
Now we have Jesus in John 4 preparing Samaria to receive Him. He mercifully delivered the Samaritan woman from the "bitter waters of the curse" and released her from her bondage. Then He prepared her for her ministry by telling her how to worship God and who worships God. Finally, He reveals Himself to her and she is forever changed.
Now, the disciples were about to step into that field to harvest, but the Lord wanted them to know that they were not in this alone. They were going to partake of the joy and splendor of seeing souls come to Jesus, but others labored in this field: Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

Life Application

"...others have labored...."

Rarely does any person come to a knowledge of Jesus by a single person's labor alone. Most conversions happen after hearing the Gospel message many times before they ever surrendered to Jesus as their Savior. Usually, there were many obstacles that were overcome and much prayer time invested in a person's conversion.
Let's look at a situation in the Gospel of Luke in which a man was brought to Jesus for healing:
Please read:

Luke 5:17-26

"Then, behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst of before Jesus."
The man was paralyzed, therefore he was dead weight. I don't know if any of you have ever lifted a person who was paralyzed or was dead weight, I haven't, but from talking to people who have, it is quite a task! My mother, a nurse, has had several hernias in her nursing career just from lifting patients alone. It isn't easy to lift someone, yet these men brought the man in his bed to the Lord.
Imagine how hard it was to do this task.
When they could not bring in the man because of all the people in the house, they went up on the roof with the man in his bed and found a way to lower him in to lay before Jesus. hard this was to do.
As Christians, we know non-believers whom we pray for daily. Sometimes it seems like such a task to lift these people up in prayer day after day. But stop and think for a minute those who actually bring non-believers to Jesus for healing all the time. They overcome obstacles, like crowds or rooftops, to get these sinners to Jesus for healing because they understand what it means: deliverance from God's wrath.
We see sin as a "free will" issue in our day. But in Jesus' time, they saw any affliction at all as a punishment from God for their sins. They had a great fear of God. They had not heard from Him for generations....and now this Man had come and was doing things that they had read about in scriptures: healing and forgiving.
These men brought the paralyzed man to Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins:
Luke 5:20
"When He saw their faith, He said to him, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.'"
When He saw their faith. Jesus didn't comment on the man's condition.....He saw the faith of his friends and what they went through to get their friend to Him because they knew....they just KNEW Jesus would forgive there friend.
Luke 5:25-
"Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God..."
Let us never forget that sometimes bringing others to Christ is WORK. It is inconvenient and laborous. But it is always rewarding no matter what happens.
I once took it upon myself to help a woman I had met in the prison after she was released. I helped collect donated clothing for her so she could find a job. I would pick her up and take her to church. I would help her run her errands. I would counsel her for hours. I helped her get a job at our church at the time. It was hard work to do all this and at many times inconvenient.
Yet I wasn't doing it for her at all. I was doing it for the Lord. That made it all worth it.
I labored. I did not receive any reward for that labor. Yet I know, I will receive my reward when I see Jesus.
Do the work of the Lord. Overcome obstacles to bring sinners to Jesus.
Remember, there were many people praying, and working, and overcoming obstacles for you to come to Jesus......
Until next time....
"This righteousness of Christ imputed to men is like that tree of life (Revelation 22:2) which bore various manners of fruit, and that every month, and whose leaves were for the healing of the nations. This tree of life is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by His merit and Spirit, converts heathens into saints, and makes saints bring forth the saving fruits of righteousness."
-Obadiah Grew (1607-1689)
(The Lord Our Righteousness, 2005, p. 100)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty-one

"Stretch out Your hand from above;

Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,

From the hand of foreigners,

Whose mouth speaks empty worthless words,

And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to You, O God;

on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You..."

Psalm 144:7-9


Let's begin with prayer....

"Father, O God, You have given us Your holy word and You teach us how to pray to You. I thank You this day for giving us Your word. Thank You for the passages of scripture that teaches us how to approach You, for You are holy above all and I am sinful and depraved without You.

I seek the forgiveness of sins this day, O Lord. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins of my mind and my heart. Search me this day and purge me of these sins against You. Wash me. Renew me. And keep me from sinning against You.

I pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray that she will seek Your forgiveness of her sins. I also pray for her ministry inside her home that she will dedicate each day to serving You. I pray that she will elevate You above her wants and needs and above her family. I pray that You will go to her and encourage her this day.

In Jesus' name..........amen."


John 4:37

"For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.'"

Remember how we looked at the concept of one sowing and one reaping?

Please read:

1 Cor 3:5-8

Here Paul wants to make sure none of the Apostles are taking credit for any conversions. He wants us to know that it is always of God and not of man.

Rom 9:16

So many times I have come across people who ache for their loved ones who are not saved. One time, a friend was near tears because her son was still not a believer though he was in his 40's and attended church regularly. She felt it was her "duty" to make sure he was saved. She went on to tell me how often she told him the gospel message and yet he still did not believe.

Can you imagine if a person's salvation was up to us?? No one would ever be saved! Thank the Lord that one's salvation is of the Lord and not of us. I tried to explain to my friend that her son has heard the gospel message and that is all she can do. It is not of her, but of God. If her son truly is one of God's elect, then before he leaves this earth he will surrender to Christ. It is that simple.

So, I hope she felt some relief from the pressure of trying to "rescue" or save her son from hell. By putting the task on the Lord, it releases us from that pressure. Jesus did not command us to go and "save" people....only He can do that. We are commanded to go and preach the gospel. It is the gospel that turns hearts of stone into flesh.

Dr. Mark Dever explains:

"Therefore, our job in evangelism is to pray for conversions, and work for them by regularly and faithfully sharing the Gospel as well as we can. Work on your own understanding of the Gospel. Think carefully about ways you may be able to improve in sharing can't make sure someone becomes a Christian, But you can make sure they've heard the Gospel" (Tabletalk Magazine, 2007, p. 10).

My friend regularly told her son the Gospel message. Now it was up to God to change this young man's heart.

John 10:22-30

"If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Notice how they said, "if"? These were not believers. For they heard the words of Christ, but they did not "hear" His words because Jesus did not open their ears. He was not their Shepherd.

But the Samaritan woman heard the words of Jesus and she believed. Her eyes, ears, and her heart was opened by Jesus alone.

In our openeing verse, David wrote of how God had delivered him from his enemies. David knew about sowing and reaping:

1 Sam 16:11-13

David had the Spirit of the Lord upon him. He had seen how Saul had not known the Lord nor did the Lord's work.

2 Sam 7: 12-15

Yet David ended up sowing iniquity and reaping the pain of iniquity tenfold:

2 Sam 11:1-27

We can learn alot by studying David's life in contrast to Paul's:

Acts 9: 1-9

Paul, as Saul, was sowing seeds of hate and murder and reaped the consequences of those seeds. But Jesus used Paul as He used David.

He can use whomever He choses to use because it is not of us who wills but of God who has mercy.


Life Application

"One sows another reaps....."

So many times we get caught up in our own selffishness and we forget that our sins affect others. If we sow the flesh, we reap corruption....but are we the only ones who suffer?

Rom 6:23

What we "earn" by sinning is death. It doesn't say the wages of our sins is our death. It clearly states that the wages of sin is DEATH. All death is a result of all sin.

We must remember this and take it into consideration daily. If we love Jesus, we will not disobey His commandments.

If we sow seeds of iniquity....another reaps that iniquity and it all equals DEATH. Remember that.

Rom 6:16

It is best to be a slave to righteousness than a slave to sin leading to death.

Rom 6: 12

Remember what Jesus did for the Samaritan woman. He freed her from the curse she was under:

Num 5:11-31

The Samaritan woman was not with her husband. She had 5 husbands. She was cursed according to Jewish law for being unfaithful.

Num 5:17-18

Bitter water that brings a curse....

Num 5:20-22

Jesus knew this law as He spoke to this woman. Yet He was there to free her from the curse of bitter water and to remove that curse. He would give her the promise of Living Water that will quench her thirst forever and cleanse her.

He did this for us as well. Take the time today to praise Him for removing that bitter water that brings a curse upon you for your sins.

Only Jesus can do this......and only He will.


Until next time.....

"The measure of God's love for us is shown by two things. One is the degree of his sacrifice in saving us from the penalty of our sin. The other is the degree of unworthiness that we had when he saved us. We can hear the measure of his sacrifice in the words, 'He gave his only son' (John 3:16).....there is only one explanation for God's sacrifice for us. It is not us. It is 'the riches of his grace' (Ephesians 1:7). It is all free. It is not a response to our worth. It is the overflow of his infinite worth. In fact, that is what divine love is in the end: a passion to enthrall undeserving sinners, at great cost, with what will make us supremely happy forever, namely, infinite beauty."

-John Piper

(The Passion of Jesus Christ, 2004, pp. 28-29)



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Running the Good Race


Much cooler air out today! I think Summer is over here in Phoenix. Thank the Lord.

I ran 4.5 miles this evening and felt great. The cooler air makes a HUGE difference. I could have ran longer, but the sun was going down and I didn't want to be out in the dark.

My knees were great. Had a little ankle pain at first and a bloody sock afterwards, but other than that, it was a great run.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Thirty

"He sent from above, He took me;

He drew me out of many waters.

He delivered me from my strong enemy,

From those who hated me,

For they were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

But the LORD was my support.

He also brought me out into a broad place;

He delivered me because He delighted in me."

Psalm 18:16-19


Good day, let's start our study with prayer.......

"Father, You alone are worthy of our worship because it is You alone who has delivered me from my sins and Your wrath. I thank You for drawing me out of many waters and from an enemy who is too strong for me. You alone did this and I praise You.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins. Forgive me for turning to others for comfort and strength when I know I should turn to You. Forgive me for looking toward myself for the answers instead of turning to You. I pray for Your cleansing this day.

I pray for each woman reading this study. I pray that You will meet her where she is in her time of need. I pray that she will earnestly seek You at all times and not turn to her own ways or the ways of the world. Comfort her. Be her strength. Draw her out of many waters.

In Jesus' name............amen."


John 4:36

"And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."

We have looked at how, in these last verses, Jesus is watching as the Samaritan woman approaches Him with the people of the city whom she went to and spoke to about the things of Christ.

Now, as He watches with His disciples, He tells them that not only is the "harvest white for harvest" but now He hints that those who sow and those who reap may share in the rewards of the harvest.

Jesus was telling them that they now are the workers of the harvest. The Samaritan woman was bringing the harvest to them. She had done her part well. Jesus had sown the seeds beginning with her and now the time to reap was NOW.

The disciples could be part of that gathering of fruit for eternity and earn their reward. How gracious of Jesus to include them when they really did nothing. Jesus was giving them an example to follow: forget the resentments between people and do good not matter what. For our reward is coming.

Please read:

Gal 6:9

James 5:7-9

Rom 6:22-23

The Lord Jesus was reminding them of God's commandments:

Lev 23:22

During the Feast of Weeks, the Lord commanded the people to remember the poor, the strangers of the land. He wanted them to be generous to those who were not His people. Instead, they had become hardened and exclusive.

In the New Covenant, the strangers of the land would now take part in the "harvest" and the feast of the Lord through His mercy.

Praise God that we are now part of that harvest!

Matt 6: 26


Life Application

"...that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."

Please read:

Psalm 107: 35-38

Jesus wants us, His followers, to know that those who sow and those who reap will rejoice together one day in heaven when we all look at the harvest of the Lord. The message, or gospel of God, must first be preached then it is watered with prayers of the believers. Finally, when it comes time to harvest, all who have had a part in the work rejoice together.

Remember in earlier lessons we looked at the uses of water in scripture:

drinking, watering, washing, moistening, irrigating, growing crops, and the dividing of the lands.

Irrigating the crops is a gentle way to water the fields. The water slowly fills the fields and moistens the roots. Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman were like that slow water irrigating the fields. He could have shouted at her and confounded her, but instead He asked her questions and drew her to Him in a stern but gentle way.

Psalm 18: 16-19

As our opening verse says, He took her, drew her out, and delivered her from her sins as well as from the people of the city. They were a strong enemy, they confronted her. But Jesus delivered her because He was delighted in her.

Friends, our Savior knew us from the foundations of the world. He delivered us because He, too, was delighted with us. He could see all the good works we would do once we were delivered and cleansed.

Eph 5:26-27

John 5:2-3

He saw us there in our fallen state and moved the waters, the Holy Spirit, and drew us to Him.

By using our testimonies, like the woman at the well, we can sow and reap the harvest. We can partake of that hard work and rejoice together with others who did the work also.

Take time today to glory in God for all that He has done for you.


Until next time.........

"We can choose to keep our relationship with the Spirit kindled. Any person who has ever camped or had a wood-burning fire place knows that it's easier to keep a fire burning than it is to build a fire. Maintain your ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. Talk to Him daily, just as you might pray to God the Father. Recognize His presence. Ask for His help. Invite Him to lead and guide you into right paths and right directions. When you sin, be quick to respond to His convicting nudges in your life. Confess your sin immediately, and repent of it, turning back to the way that you know God desires for you to walk."

-Charles Stanley (Relying on the Holy Spirit, 1996, p. 56)



Running the Good Race


Ran 2.5 miles with my husband last night in the cooler air. We ran fast because we were hungry for dinner! But it was a good run.

Today I had to go up to Prescott, so I won't be able to run. Will do pilates for stretching and a longer run tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Running the Good Race


I ran 5 miles tonight in 60 minutes. It took longer because of where I ran. I had several stop lights to wait for, but other than that it was a great run.

Thank the Lord for cooler air!! It was a beautiful evening run. My legs felt strong and no knee pain at all. The shoes are working great.

I sub the little guys tomorrow (1st grade) so I have to make sure I wash my hands and use sanitizer all day to avoid getting sick. I do not need a head cold right now. Training is going so well.

The Living Water: Lesson Twenty-Nine

"Be ashamed, you farmers,

Wail, you vinedressers,

For the wheat and the barley;

Because the harvest of the field has perished.

The vine has dried up,

And the fig tree has withered;

The pomegranate tree,

The palm tree also,

And the apple tree-

All the trees of the field are withered;

Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men."

Joel 1: 11-12


Let's see the Lord this day.......

"Father, I thank You for today's lesson about your people and how You adopted the Gentiles into Your family. I praise You for sending Your Son to die for us all that we might know You and live.

I ask forgiveness of my sins this day. I know I have not done the work You have for me to do. I know I have let the harvest sit as I was busy doing other things of the world. I pray that You will forgive me of this sin and cleanse me.

I pray for each lady reading this study wherever she is, I pray that You will go to her and speak to her through Your word this day. I pray that she will take what she learns and teach her children or grandchildren Your precepts. I pray that she will be close to You and seek Your face each day.

in Jesus' name............amen."


John 4: 35

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!'"

Still on the topic of earthly food, the Lord uses the time of harvest to make His point to His disciples. In scripture, blessings of the Lord are often seen as agricultural. When the Lord brought rain, the people rejoiced because the land was harsh to farm and the sun cruel. When the harvest came, it was seen as a sign of the Lord's blessings:

Please read:

Deut 8:1-20

Notice in verses 7 & 8 is says:

"For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; and of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pemegranates, a land of olive oil and honey..."

Now, re-read our opening verse above (Joel 1:11-12)-

So, we see harvest as a time of the Lord's blessings on obedience and we see the withering of the harvest and trees as a sign of the Lord's wrath on disobedience.

Ez 34:25-30

So why is Jesus saying here that the popular saying among the Jews was "Four months between seed time and harvest" ?

Because He knows that the sin of the Jewish people had made God turn to the Gentiles to provoke His people to jealousy:

Rom 2:5-11

Rom 10: 19-20

Deut 32:2

Rom 11:11

Jesus knows that the time of harvest is the busy time for the people of the land. They depend on the land for their lives. Their is an appointed time to reap the harvest and to miss it meant possible starvation through the harsh months.

Jesus is hinting to His disciples in a language that they would understand: the harvest time.

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?'"

God, in His grace, promises the harvest every year. He has appointed the time down to weeks! Farmers know when to expect it and they prepare.

Sometimes it floods and the crops are ruined. Sometimes a tornado comes and the crops are ruined.....and sometimes the weather is perfect and a large crop is harvested. But the appointed time to reap the harvest never changes. The anticipation is great. For those of you who know farm life, the reaping of the harvest required great work, but also a time for celebration when the harvest was successful. The people used to pray in church and thank the Lord for the harvest because they knew it came from Him.

When we lived in North Carolina, we lived in a very small town that had a Harvest Festival every fall. There was a parade down mainstreet with floats followed by a chili cook-off. It was great fun to see all the people celebrate the harvest time even though the town was not a farm town. Yet the traditions had been passed down from generation to generation so that the time of harvest was still respected, still greatly anticipated. I know of many towns all across the world that still celebrate this way. But fewer and fewer take the time to praise and thank God for the successful harvest.

"Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!"

But Jesus, in His excitement as the Samaritan woman approaches with the townspeople, exclaims that the fields are already white for harvest and He knows the time for reaping is NOW otherwise the opportunity is missed.

The Jewish people had forgotten the purpose of the Law that God had given them. They were using it to oppress the people or they were not using it at all. They had not heard from God for 400 years. They were not anticipating the coming Messiah as the woman at the well was, but instead their hearts were hardened.

Like the disciples, they were more interested in their own needs. "Eat!" the disciples said to Jesus, but He tells them He has work to do: reaping the Harvest of the Lord!

Lift up your eyes and look at the fields!!


Life Application

"All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men."

Joel lamented the sins of the people and the wrath of God on the lands. God knows we need the land to survive, He created it for that purpose. That is why He will wreak havoc on the land in the end times because we tend to worship the land instead of the Creator of that land:

Rev 16: 1-21

Notice the judgments:

the sea will become blood

the rivers and springs will become blood

the sun will scorch man

darkness will cover the land

demons will haunt the land

the air will be full of lightnings and thunderings


islands and mountains are gone

great hail pounds the earth

The earth that we depend so greatly upon will no longer be a refuge for us as God pours His wrath upon it. No more harvest more excitement and celebration. Is it no wonder we rely on bottled or filtered water so much? Sign of the times, I suppose........God sees this and will hit the rivers and springs we rely upon with His wrath.

We are the ones who forget that it is God who gives us the harvest......and it is God who takes it away.

"Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men."

Jesus' excitement should convict us of our loss of excitement and anticipation of lost souls being harvested to Him. Our joy comes from the Lord, so if it has "withered away" then that means we are far away from the Lord:

Heb 12:1-2

If that joy is gone, ask the Lord for it to return:

Rom 15:13

Rom 14:17

Gal 5:22-25

1 Thess 2:19-20

1 Pet 1:7-9

Ps 16:11

Ps 30:5

Ps 43:4

The joy and excitement of Jesus as He spotted the Samaritan woman coming with the townspeople should be contagious. Let us not become withered like the trees of the forgotten harvest. Let us lift up our eyes from the things of this world: work, cleaning house, changing diapers, paying bills, eating, drinking.....striving.

And let us look at the whitened fields before us: our homes, our children, our husbands, our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our neigbors.....

And let us work alongside the Lord to reap the harvest!


Until next time.........

"What is the reason that many Christians are so unfixed in their thoughts of themselves and their conditions, and are at such ebbs and flows in their opinion of their estates, but because their eye is more upon what is in them and what is done by them than what is in Christ, and what He did for them; it is good to look at home, but not to rest here. Many men would partner with Christ's righteousness and God's free grace for their peace and comfort, but this is to have one foot on the firm ground and another in a boat, which is bad standing.....Christ's righteousness founded on free grace is the rock whereon we must build that peace which the rain and winds cannot overturn."

-Obadiah Grew (1607-1689)

(The Lord Our Righteousness, 2005, pp. 40-41)



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Twenty-Eight

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,

And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.

For with You is the fountain of life;

In Your light we see light."

Psalm 36:7-9


Hello again, let's seek the Lord..........

"Thank You, Father, for being our Light that we may see light. Bless Your Holy name for Your lovingkindness toward us. I praise You for being that fountain of life that I may partake of and live.

Lord, I know that I have sinned against You so I come today to seek the forgiveness of my sins. I pray that You will cleanse me and purge me of these sins against You. I pray that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit to overflowing.

I pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will show her new and exciting things in Your word. I pray that she will earnestly seek You daily. I pray that You will say to her soul that You are her salvation.

In Jesus' name............amen."


John 4: 34

"Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.'"

Jesus again turns the attention from the material to the spiritual. Is Jesus saying that He doesn't need food? No, He is saying that spiritual things are what His work is all about: the will of God.

Please read:

Matt 7:21

Matt 21:28-31

John 5:30

John 6:38-40

The will of the Father is that "everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life..." The work that Jesus had to do on earth was great indeed, both in sheer size as well as in endeavor.

He wanted to share the wealth by appointing some to help Him with the labor of the harvest.

Rom 12:1-2

Phil 2:13

Col 1:9-10

Heb 13:20-21

We are here to do the will of the Father now. Jesus is preparing us constantly for this good work through trials and tribulations:

James 1:2-4

Rom 5:1-5

"...we also glory in tribulations..."

Suffering is the hardest part of being a Christian. Paul understood why he was suffering. We are to know why we suffer as well: because tribulation produces. What does it produce?

perseverance (endurance)



Rom 5:6

We once were without strength, but now we have that strength through Christ:

Phil 4:12-13

So, we are equipped to do the works of the Lord. The Lord promises us that we will be satisfied with the fullness of His house and we will drink from the river of His pleasures. Just as the Lord equipped the Samaritan woman and was working on the disciples in this verse....He is working on equipping us as well:

Eph 4:11-12

For with Jesus is the fountain of life and in His light we see light.
As an artist, the one thing I can't stand is when people lean over my shoulder to look at my work in progress and make judgments on it when it isn't finished yet. But it is different when a teacher looks at the unfinished work.
When I was at ASU West, I was in a painting class where our teacher would walk around and critique our paintings. Each time he came to a student and made comments (usually negative comments) about their paintings, the student would instantly say, "It isn't finished yet..." as a way to avoid the criticisms. But I, as a 20 yr. art student, knew that those criticisms by a gifted art teacher were needed in order for me to improve as an artist. I joked that we should have had t-shirts printed up that said, "It isn't finished yet" since that was the class mantra!
The hard times and testing that we face are only perfecting us and making us pure as Jesus was pure. We are works in progress......God isn't finished with us yet!


Life Application

"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me...."

The will of God. So many sermons and lessons have been written about this subject. Whenever I listened to Christian talk radio, most people call in to ask "what is the will of God?" So many people seek this yet the answer is right before them:

1 Thess 4:3-4

The will of God should be as important to us as the food we eat and the water we drink:

Job 23:12

Do we treasure the word of God more than the food we eat or the water we drink?? I am one who has failed this test from time to time. I am the type of person who needs a Bible study to attend or write, otherwise I would not be in the Bible daily. There, I admitted it. I feel better!

"...and to finish His work."

In order to do God's work, I have to know God's word. I have to treasure it always otherwise I am not doing the will of God. He will do His work with or without me.....just as Jesus did without the disciples....but I would rather have Him do His work through me that I might be blessed as the Samaritan woman was blessed. Either way, His work will be done:

Is 28:21-22

Is 28:26 & 29

Will you be there to do the work of God?


Until next time.........

"The Lord has made no provision for any of us to stop at some point in our growth toward full wholeness as human beings. We may never fully arrive at the perfection of Christ Jesus, but we are always to be growing more like Him. We must never become complacent about who we are or be satisfied that we have developed all the character that is necessary. Character building and spiritual maturity are both lifelong processes.

When we become complacent, the Lord may permit adversity to come our way in order to jostle us forward in our spiritual walk. God doesn't merely seek to get the attention of sinners; He also desires to have the full attention of those who love Him."

-Charles Stanley

(Advancing Through Adversity, 1996, p. 39)



Monday, September 17, 2007

The Living Water: Lesson Twenty-Seven

"The generous soul
will be made rich,
And he who waters will also
be watered himself."

Proverbs 11:25


Good day, let's seek the Lord......

"Father God our Lord in heaven, we worship Your Holy and mighty name above all names. I pray before You, Lord, and seek Your face this day that I might be renewed and refreshed. Thank, You, Father for the promises of Your word. I pray that I can learn to be a more generous soul.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins today that I may be cleansed and made whole again. I pray that You will wash me through the reading of Your word today.

I pray for each lady here reading this prayer, that she may seek Your face early today. I pray that she would read Your word today and be renewed. I pray for her family, marriage, and children that she would minister to them through You. I pray that You will give her strength to get through all the issues of the day with grace and peace.

in Jesus' name...........amen."


John 4:33

"Therefore the disciples said to one another, 'Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?'"

When the disciples hand Jesus food to eat, He explains to them that He has no need for their food because He has spiritual food that He is enjoying at that precise moment.

The look of satisfaction and joy on the Lord's face must have been amazing because the disciples thought that their Master had already eaten!

Remember the map of their journey: click on it for a larger view.

Jesus and His disciples were obviously weary from their long walk. They needed food and water. Yet here is Jesus, more concerned with the woman at the well than feeding His body.

The joy and happiness that Jesus was experiencing lifted Him up higher than mere food could ever do.

Please read:

Gal 2: 20-21

Paul learned about this joy and satisfaction that comes from serving the Lord.

Gal 5: 1

That liberty in Christ is far more rewarding than anything of this world.

Gal 6:16-17

Walking in the Spirit is far better than following the flesh.

Gal 6:8-10

Paul understood that if we are more caught up in satisfying our flesh, then we will reap corruption. Sowing to the Spirit of God is far better because it leads to everlasting life.

That is what Jesus was seeing: the Samaritan woman was bringing city people to come see Jesus and hear Him. She had let go of the flesh and was embracing the Spirit.....Jesus knew what she would reap. How could He not smile or look satisfied??

Phil 3:7-11


Life Application

The Apostle Paul knew what suffering was for he had his share of it while on earth. He was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and stoned all for Christ's sake. Yet he knew that joy that Jesus had on His face ....that joy of seeing the lost souls come to the knowledge of Jesus as their savior.

2 Cor 12:7-10

2 Cor 12:15

Phil 4:11-13

How many of us know that look of joy from seeing one who was lost come to the knowledge of just who Jesus really is?

I know I use my time in the prison ministry alot here on this blog, but that experience made such an impact on my Christian walk.

We teachers would ask the inmates weekly for prayer requests. I will always remember one young woman, Christy, who weekly would ask us to pray that her husband would bring her children to visit her. She was in prison here in Phoenix for drug crimes, but he was back in Utah with their children refusing to come see her. He was a devout Mormon and her actions brought embarrassment and humiliation to him and his family. It seemed like a lost cause. I didn't want to get her excited, but I did promise her that we would pray for her.

Each week, I would ask her if she heard from her husband or her children and with a sad look, she would answer, "No." She had become a born again Christian since beginning our Bible study, so she knew that by leaving the LDS church she was sure not to ever see her children again. But I told her that her Lord was very powerful and could change men's hearts from stone to flesh.

So, weeks went by and still no news from her family. I couldn't imagine not seeing my son for so long. I knew she was heartbroken, yet each week she appeared with a smile on her face happy to see us.

Finally, one week she ran up to us as we approached the prison courtyard exclaiming that she had seen her children just that past Saturday. I hugged her (which we weren't supposed to do, but how could I not??) and told her how happy I was for her. She told me that her husband had arrived with their 3 children at visitor's day. Her 12 yr. old daughter did not want to come over to her, which she understood and did not force, but she was able to hug and kiss her 2 younger children for the whole time. Her husband was still very angry, but she said it was a miracle that he would bring them to see her. I just loved seeing the look on her face as she told us all about her children. I will never forget that look of joy, happiness, and just plain satisfaction.

It was great to see the Lord honor this young woman's prayers. We saw so many answered prayers while we went into the prison. It left me with such hope and joy. We were watered each time we went.

Phil 4:6-7

That peace of God that passes all understanding does guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The disciples would soon learn this. They would soon learn to be generous and water those around them with the gospel....then they would receive that water themselves. But for now, they stood and watched Jesus as He watched the Samaritan woman water the people of the city. His satisfaction was in the things of God.

So should be ours.


Until next time.......

"Good fruit is beautiful to behold- it is almost irresistible. Good fruit is also sound; it isn't damaged by disease or bruising. Good fruit bears within it healthy seeds that produce new life. In spiritual terms, good fruit draws others to Christ and is not tainted by sin. Such fruit has within it something that will last forever or that will produce everlasting results. Only the work of the Holy Spirit is truly good, for only His work is eternal, completely without blemish, and compels others to accept Christ Jesus as their Savior."

-Charles Stanley

(Relying on the Holy Spirit, 1996, p. 68)