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The Woman at the Well – Part 2

(John 4:27-30, 39-45)

In the last post we looked at the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. We saw the interactions between them and there were lessons that are useful to understand today coming from that discussion. As we continue to look at this situation there is still more to be understood. So now we will pick up from when the disciples returned and when the woman left them to return into the town.

The Woman’s Joy

When the disciples returned they were amazed at the conversation going on between Jesus and the woman. They probably suffered the same prejudices of the Jews at that time who did not have anything to do with Samaritans, and that may have added to their surprise. However they did not say anything or interrupt but just looked on.

The woman though had discovered the Messiah. She knew he was to come for she said as much, and when Jesus told her that He was the Messiah or the Christ, she must have been amazed and ecstatic with joy.

This is the second article in a two part series written by John over at The Bible As I See It.  If you missed part one, you can find it here. We can indeed learn much from the woman at the well and her interaction with Jesus. We can also learn more from her interaction with her people and what happened when she went back to them after speaking with Jesus.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://freegiftfromgod.com/blog/2012/07/the-woman-at-the-well-part-2/
While you are there, why not check out the rest of John’s site, let him know something he wrote blessed you.

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Struggling with Addictions

Opium poppies
(Photo credit Wikipedia)

Have you ever had an addiction? Maybe you find yourself struggling with one even now. For those who have never been addicted to something, they cannot possibly begin to understand what it is like.

An addiction is horrible; it is like dragging a lead weight around that you cannot be rid of. Even if you want to be rid of your addiction, you find that you are drawn right back to it again. Often though, people are addicted to things, and will not admit it or do not seem to care.

I was addicted to many things. At one time I used drugs for a while in my life. Not a good thing drugs. I was even more addicted to alcohol and cigarettes.

The list of addictions I could write would fill pages up! People are addicted to social media, television, music, drugs, porn, movies, blogging, and many more. If you have to have it, or have to do it all the time, it is an addiction!

When I drank it was every day. No exceptions, every single day no matter what. It did not matter if there was an appointment that day, company was coming; nothing mattered enough that it would prevent me from drinking. This is the nature of addictions; an addiction is not something you can just stop whenever you want to. I knew I drank too much; I was not interested in stopping this behavior most of the time.

Addictions are a way of self-medicating because people have problems. Lets face it life is not easy for anyone. If I as a person do not posses a solid foundation on which to stand, I will turn to what helps me…often with disastrous results. The other problem is that if the addiction produces a “high”, some type of pleasurable feeling, then the person becomes addicted to the very feeling and continuously desires more. It is a very vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to get away from.

I had become a follower of the Lord, but had not given up alcohol yet. Despite what some would say, you can be a Believer and still be doing things you really should not be. People do not become Believers and then just like that all things are nice and tidy in their lives…it does not work like that. One has only to look at King David to see the truth of what I am saying, and yet many a person would disagree with me here.

I am one of the exceedingly lucky ones; God Himself took away the desire to drink from me…I could not stop. For reasons unknown to me (I say this because I know people still struggling) the Lord took this awful burden from me. It happened in a very simple way. I was drinking as usual; I was also reading in the Word. It occurred to me that reading and studying the Word of God while guzzling down beer was not right. That was it; I was done right there and then, just like that.

There is hope for addictions, there is healing. Support groups are great; friends are good as well. First and foremost though I would say a relationship with Jesus is the most important thing. Then one needs a real desire to give up the addiction, this is not a game. Addictions are very serious business. Prayer is a key element as well; ask God to help you, keep praying do not stop. If you fall, don’t beat yourself up about it, get back up and keep trying. Success can and does come because of perseverance.

Satan wants you to remain locked in bondage to your addiction; it serves him well. Do not let him fool you; break free with God’s help! You can do this! Be encouraged that addictions can be beaten. In Christ you can do all things.

Online resources and encouragement:

Setting Captives Free
Addiction Tribe

Think In Today

Darrell Creswell

Good Life

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“For We Were Slaves”

I have reposted this entire article as it is rather short. This was written by Deb over at Deb’s Blog. Great poem, hope you enjoy it!
You can see the original post here. While you are there, why not check out the rest of Deb’s blog and let her know something she wrote blessed you.

“For we were slaves.  Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage, but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.”  Ezra 9:9

God did not forsake us in our bondage either.

Lord, thank You for extending mercy to us through Jesus on the cross.  And here’s a simple poem . . .

Unforsaken

source – servantsofthefather.org

Oh what a wonder
Your mercy is to us

reviving, repairing
building us up in Jesus

for we were slaves
stuck in sin’s lair

but unforgotten as Mercy
brought us out of there.

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“You Have a Spiritual Problem”

There is a great deal of rather ignorant talk from some Christians about mental illness. I think everyone has at least heard of, if not actually experienced, Christians who believe that mental ill-health is a spiritual problem rather than a medical one. Such people believe that a Christian must be in emotional good health, and any deviation from that good health means that that person has an unconfessed, unrepented sin in their life, that they have a demon, that they lack the correct mental attitude to Christ and the Christian life, and that that is why they suffer from depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and so on.

I do not believe this. I do believe that sin has a part to play in our mental state – the only reason that mental illness exists is due to our living in a broken, sinful world where things are not “good”, where the original plan of Eden has been broken by sin. So I do believe that mental ill-health, and physical ill-health, are caused by sin, but by corporate sin rather than necessarily individual.

This is a great article about the causes and concerns relating to mental health and bodily health as well. Written by Emma over at Believer’s Brain, this is a good look at the incorrect thinking out there about mental illness among Believers.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://believersbrain.com/2012/07/14/you-have-a-spiritual-problem/. While you are there, why not check out the rest of Emma’s site and let her know something she wrote blessed you.
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Radically Christian

“And before we destroy children’s love and belief in world-saving mission, before they get cynical and become like us, they even think about their future vocation in terms of mission, don’t you see that? They never just say …’I’m probably just going to work in an office somewhere.’

You ever heard that, huh? ‘I’ll be working on a computer, and I’ll be pushing paper around.’ You ever hear a seven year-old say that? No! Even when they say I”m going to be this, or I’m going to be that, [it's] because I’m going to make a difference, I’m going to help people, I’m going to change things! Haven’t you heard of that? They always see their future in terms of mission. There’s a joy there …

I happen to be a part of a … college generation that did its utmost to hold on to that belief in world-saving missions almost into adulthood. Remember those days? … We sang ‘If I had a hammer,’ we went on peace marches and civil rights marches, and we all promised ourselves that we’d never go into business … But we would change the world, we’d bring in love and peace, we’d hammer out justice … What’s happened to us? …

This is a great post by Ash over on is more simpler. When we younger we more fired up! What happened to that fire, do you still have some of that energy?

To finish reading this post, please head over to http://ismoresimpler.com/2012/07/14/radically-christian/. While you are there, why not check out the rest of the site and let Ash know something he wrote blessed you!

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The Woman at the Well – Part 1

(John 4:1-30)

There are several lessons that we learn from this discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. So much so that I have decided to split this post into two parts rather than cover it in one long post.

Jesus taught this woman much that we can learn from today and it is important that we listen to her story

Living Water

This woman was a Samaritan, and that is significant for a number of reasons.

The Samaritans and the Jews did not have dealings with each other. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans and it is evident from several passages in the bible that these two races were at odds with each other.

This woman knew of this tension between the races for she was shocked when Jesus spoke to her to ask for a drink of water. She said, “The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)” (verse 9)

She was amazed that this man sitting at the well, and clearly a Jew, would even consider asking such a request. But Jesus would have been aware of this for apart from the water, he was about to teach her a spiritual truth.

This a great article about the woman at the well written by John over at The Bible As I See It. The insights John presents in this article are really quite good. This is part one of a two part series.

To finish reading this article. please head over to http://freegiftfromgod.com/blog/2012/07/the-woman-at-the-well-part-1/ While you are there, let John know something he wrote blessed you, and check out the rest of his site.

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Do you serve Christ: or expect Him to serve you?

I was listening to a podcast on Solomons Porch Radio recently. This was a very good interview with Peter Guirguis, (Not Ashamed of the Gospel) on what he does in his ministry that is focused on Internet evangelism.

One of the hosts of the show (Mike and Mark) made a comment about serving Christ. The paraphrase of what he said is this; I would serve Christ forever more if He did nothing else for me. That got me to thinking…

Why do we serve Christ, more specifically, why do you the person reading this serve Him??

Do you serve with an expectation of reward, maybe in this lifetime, or assuredly in the next? Or maybe you serve Jesus with no expectations or very few?

What is your motive to serve the Lord? I’m here to tell you, it DOES matter. Lets say that you have a ministry. And lets also say that you do what you do with some expectations that the Lord is going to do some things for you here on this earth because of your service to Him. Or how about this, you are looking for recognition and a name because of what you do for the Lord.

Ever wonder why your ministry just does not seem to prosper? Or that your ministry seems slow to grow, doors do not seem to open? Does the above preceding paragraph describe your ministry, even one that is not yours but you are involved in? When you serve the Lord with these expectations, are you really serving Christ, or are you serving yourself?

The ministries I see growing are those that are not serving themselves, but are in fact serving the needs of others. Let me be clear; I am not talking about the occasional self-serving thought here, we all have those. I am talking about those who have a self-serving agenda wrapped up as service to Christ’s people. I am also unfortunately speaking of the ones who really do want to help God’s people, but yet still have a strong desire for that recognition, self-glorification. This is not in line with God’s will for us.

I will be honest with you; I have struggled with this myself. First we have to admit it, and then we have to do something about it. Take it to the Lord, admit what you have done, and ask Him to help you. Pride comes before the fall, and humility comes before honor.

Serving God should be all about God, not me (me here refers to me personally, but you as the reader as well). Serving God should be done because He cared enough to serve us…long before we even knew He existed.

Keep in mind here that Christ was and is God. I know that you have heard it all before, but again…God stepped out of heaven and became a lowly man. That was a rather large step down was it not? During His time on earth, Jesus gave up His rights to use His Godly power. Jesus did not ever give up His deity…but He did give up His Godly privileges if you will.

During Jesus time here, He served…God served men! Can you imagine sitting in your favorite chair in your living room, and Jesus Christ on His hands and knees before you washing your feet???? Well imagine it! Jesus actually did this for His disciples! Jesus says; give me all your bad things, all your sins, I will take them all…and give you back life in return. In the end, Jesus gave up His life for us.

So, you see my friends that God has done all things for us already even if He does nothing more for us! The Lord God died on a cross for us to have life. We place our faith in Him and serve Him, and we come away with the grand prize.

We are here to serve and glorify the Lord. He made us, and He saved us…we are His bought at a price. Who are we to make demands upon Him?

Prosperity teaching and this feeling of entitlement by some, dare I say many…is just plain wrong. We as Christ’s people are not here to prosper ourselves. We are here to serve Him, and a big way of doing that is in blessing His body. This is and should be a central truth to any ministry. After all, why does any ministry exist? Is it not to serve the body of Christ and in so doing glorify God??? Where do you see self in there?

Do you want to see examples of how to conduct a ministry? Just look around you, look for the ones that do not lift themselves up, look for the ones that are always willing to help. Look for the ones with a humble spirit, a kind word for other ministries. In other words, these ministries will be focused on other people’s problems and helping them find solutions through and in Christ…not on “look how great I am”.

Is your focus on Christ?

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Breaking Free of The Lies – Finding True Identity – Part Two

Choose NOW to not allow what you were called in the past to hold you back from all you could be in the future…

Breaking free may be easier to some and much harder for others…but the key is to START breaking free by starting to believe the truth about yourself.

Below are some action steps crucial to breaking free…

  • Renounce the lie that you are NOT what you were called. Sometimes there are multiple layers of lies you must break through. Renounce the lies as many times as it takes! Say “I reject these lies about myself and choose to believe the truth!”
  • Ask God what the truth is about you – who did HE create you to be (see below for some truths about yourself)

This is the second in a series about labels and lies. Written by Rachel over at rjolson007, I encourage you to read this article. Rachel has a heart to see people set free from bondage to lies they believe about themselves.

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://rjolson007.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/breaking-free-of-the-lies-finding-true-identity-part-two/ Check out the rest of Rachel’s site while you are there, and be sure to let her know something she wrote blessed you.

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Building up Immunities

Philippians 1:29 NKJV

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”

imageAttempting to study, man I love my job.

Today I had planned to give the day to studying and preparing for Sunday, being that the Lord has opened the door for me to teach in English here on Sundays, but it has been a little more difficult to concentrate than I had hoped for. I woke up this morning with what I call “enfermedad de gringo”, in other words my body doesn’t have all the bacteria immunities yet to a lot of the things going around in Cuenca.

I was told the water in Cuenca is the best in South America and you can drink straight from the tap, I still think they were right about that since I have been drinking the water for weeks with no issues. Although I didn’t bring immunities with me to Ecuador I certainly still brought my appetite for food. I feel like what I have been doing for the last 4 or 3 weeks is eating and eating and eating. I think my appetite finally got the best of me.

I went to bed last night with a mild stomach ache and woke up with traveler’s runs and stomach pains. I am thinking that I have a more mild case of it since I had a full dose last time I was here in Cuenca two years ago. I don’t want to make it sound worse than it is, because I have had worse in my life and there are others that have it much, much worse. I am only going to use to teach a lesson, since it is something the Lord is teaching me through it.

My first thought was take some antibiotics that I brought with me for this very purpose, but after thinking about I decided to sit it out as long as I could, in hopes that my immunity system would be stronger because of it. That’s still my plan and it looks like I am going to make it, since as the British say it, I am on the mend. That said God has given me a brain, if I need to use the meds at a later date I’m not too proud to do so, I’m just trying to make a point that a little bit of being sick can be a good thing.

What the Lord reminded me though was that suffering builds immunity for your faith like suffering through traveler’s runs builds immunities for your body. It’s necessary and sometimes you just got to grit your teeth and go through it. I was not without the comfort of others through it though, Maria the house cleaning lady (before you scoff that we have one let me point out the house functions as both the church office and a place of fellowship, as well as a Sunday school and the place where other studies meet. Churches have janitors do they not? If it were not for hiring her we would literally spend all week cleaning up after people and have no time for study and prayer), made me some herbal tea, consisting of a concoction of lime, sugar, oregano, and some other thing that I don’t think translates to English. It actually helped a lot.

After trying to study some more I thought better of it and resorted to a good old fashioned nap. I felt a little bit better after I woke up, just in time to go to a prayer meeting, at which Freddy had prepared another type of tea to which he promised would clean me out. He also jokingly said I would wake up knowing perfect Spanish, which further caused me to wonder at the contents.

While making some toast for dinner (which just so happened to be the same meal I had had for breakfast and lunch as well) I remembered that we had some wine in the fridge that had been accidentally purchased for communion one night by a person who didn’t know there should be a difference. Fed up of the piercing stomach pains and recalling Paul’s advise to Timothy I decided to take it literally and give it a shot (no pun intended).

1 Timothy 5:23 NKJV

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

The fact that Timothy was abstaining from drinking wine and had only been drinking water implies that this practice is the rule for elders, with rare exceptions. Still though I was willing to put the word to the literal test. Being that I just did it ill let you know if it helped or not.

James 1:2-4 NKJV

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have  its  perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Just like my traveler’s runs would produce greater immunity strength in the present, so would trials and testing grow my faith and produce patients. The word for patients in the Greek is Hupomone, and strong’s defines it as;

1. steadfastness, constancy, endurance
a. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
b. patiently, and steadfastly
2. a patient, steadfast waiting for
3. a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance.

So going through trials grows your faith in such a way that endurance and loyalty to God is steadfastly birthed. A faith that says “God got me through this last time and He can do it again”. The faith of David to fight Goliath was birthed in his battles against wolves, lions and bears; the Lord had delivered him from them, what could one Philistine accomplish that a lion could not?

1 Peter 4:12-14 NKJV

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed  are you,  for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

As you can see above we are not to rejoice in when we suffer due to our own wrong doing, although God can still teach a repentant heart through his failures, but the calling to rejoice is for those who have suffered due to directly obeying the will of God. It is to them that know the suffering of obedience which also have a greater understanding of Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith,  being  much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see  Him,  yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of  your  souls.

So you see we are to rejoice in trials, not rejoice about the trial but rejoice in the trial knowing what it will produce for you, a greater faith,  faith that perseveres on to greater and bigger conquest for the Kingdom of God. A faith that is much more refined for the coming of the Lord, a perfect faith that will have no doubt in its assurance of salvation at the return of the Lord.

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Breaking Free of The Lies – Finding True Identity – Part One

I remember distinctly years ago as a teenager and college student of being called a “goody-two shoes”. Perhaps not the worst label to have, but it didn’t exactly give me a warm, gushy feeling inside knowing that I was considered annoyingly good or perfect or whatever. Have you ever been “labeled”

In fact, being labeled can be rather hurtful actually. Have you been called something that hurt your heart?

Some labels can be so hurtful to you – especially if frequently repeated – that they crush your spirit and over time you become exactly what you are called because you started believing that lie. Were you ever called something that negatively impacted you?

Everyone is given a label of some sort or another. And there are all kinds of labels.

There are labels, and then there are labels. This a great article about labels, and how to get free of them. Written by Rachel over at rjolson007. We have all been labeled in some way, many of us with negative labels. These labels carry great power, this power can be broken!

To finish reading this article, please head over to http://rjolson007.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/breaking-free-of-the-lies-finding-true-identity-part-one/. While you are there, check out the rest of Rachel’s site, let her know something she wrote blessed you.

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