Change of Heart

Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day five)

“So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?””

The woman at the well had an encounter with Jesus that radically reshaped heart and life. Her priority of getting water was now not as important (left her waterpot) as telling others about Jesus. She began inviting others to investigate Jesus actually being the Christ. Don’t overlook the fact that she was now engaging people that she previously was trying to avoid (came alone in the afternoon). She had a new burden for others to encounter Jesus like she had. She had been set free from the sins that had held her captive and had defined her. They were now a small part of the larger story of the grace and power of Christ. 

Has your heart changed like this?  An encounter with Jesus through the Holy Spirit will cause it. 


Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day four)

In our family, we call it CTS…Change the Subject.  When the conversation starts going a direction you don’t want to go in, you discreetly CTS.  (We always get caught, but we keep trying!)  The Samaritan woman tried it too.  Jesus’ questions about her husbands were not comfortable.  The conversation was getting too personal…let’s CTS!  Jesus was not put off track…He kept the focus of the dialogue on the woman and her relationship with God through Christ.  His persistence resulted in much fruit.

Stay the course…do not be deterred.  When sharing Christ with an unbeliever, don’t be distracted by questions or comments meant to CTS.  It’s the hard questions, that we often avoid, that may lead to the most introspection and result in the most beneficial life change.  Jesus gave us the example of keeping the important things the important thing.  Keep your focus when sharing the gospel.  You never know…a whole city might come to know Christ!


Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day three) 

“Could this be the Christ?”

Sometimes—probably most times—a question carries more power than a statement. A question invites another person into the process of discovery. A question adopts a humble posture, not claiming to have all the answers. Perhaps most important, a question presents an alternative to what one has always accepted as immovable, settled, conventional wisdom. If the woman on her water errand had returned to the village declaring unequivocally that she had found the Christ, the likely responses would have been either disbelief or a tendency to regard her as the gatekeeper of her discovery. Instead, her question prompted the townsfolk to investigate for themselves. In this world, many people claim many things. In the midst of that noise, a well-placed question will invite all true searchers to open a door they might otherwise never notice.


Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day two) 

So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. vs. 6b

Have you recovered yet? This question, more than any other, permeates my post-Christmas at First conversations. People are kind to ask, and somewhat understanding of the energy required to present those services every year. I loved reading this verse during this season. John records a very human Jesus who needed rest. Who traveled far, and was indeed tired. We must remember to rest. We must also recognize the sacred nature of work. It is good to work hard. It is a blessing to feel exhausted from a job well done.

That, however, is not the end of the story. Jesus was never too tired to love someone into the faith. Even in our moments of “unplugging” we must recognize the needs of those around us to receive Jesus. One of the old adages for pastors is to be ready “in season and out.” That also means even when we are resting, vacationing, getting away, etc. Never weary of the gospel. Keep Jesus’ love at the front of your mind as you make plans to rest this season.

The probing of a sinner’s heart

Re:Verse reading–John 4:4-30, 39-42 (day one)

“Go call your husband, and come back.”–v 16.

What memories must have flooded into her mind as Jesus spoke this command.  Early years.  Young love.  Tension, anger and ultimately collapse of the first marriage.  Then other men.  Many.  Social consequences and shame.

Why uncover such painful memories?  Why revisit this shameful subject?  Because the gift of God (up-bubbling fountain of life) comes only on the condition of repentance and faith!  The wound must be lanced and cleansed before healing can come.

We all hide from shame.  Keep secrets.  Try to forget.  The Samaritan is not unique.

He is faithful to remind us.  Nothing that has occurred in our lives has escaped his notice or been simply forgotten.  Healing requires us to face the brokenness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us.”  With stern mercy He probes us so that life-giving water can flow.

Miraculous Birth

Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day seven)

We often talk about Jesus’ miraculous birth this time of year.  Born of a virgin, celebrated by angels, and marked by the stars, Jesus’ birth was unlike any other.  The story is told and celebrated year after year.  Remarkably, there is another miraculous birth we often overlook.

John 3:4 notes the overlooked miraculous birth like this:  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

Your rebirth is a miraculous gift of God.  Sometimes we downplay the life we have in Christ, but to be born of the Spirit is to be born of heaven.  Just as many still have trouble believing Christ was born in a manger, so too Nicodemus could not believe that you have been reborn.  It just isn’t possible.


Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day six)

When do you visit with Jesus? We give Nicodemus a hard time because he came to Jesus under the cover of night to keep his reputation in tact. Jesus was a threat to the establishment, but he also could be the messiah, so Nicodemus thought. Jesus seemed not to be put out by Nicodemus’ timing; he didn’t make a big deal out of it or give him a hard time. No, Jesus didn’t waste one moment with Nicodemus; he pressed him to believe.

So, timing isn’t the issue, nor are the motives. Jesus can make the most of any moment as long as you come to him.

So, let me ask again. When do you visit with Jesus?


 Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day five)

I still remember the words of a college professor, “If you never understand how lost you were, you’ll never appreciate how saved you are.”  Jesus’ words in John 3 sound similar. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:17-18

We are ALL already condemned. Lost. Separated from God. That’s where we start from. A place of non-belief. We don’t move from a neutral  indifferent place in our hearts to God or away from God. We ALL start away from God, already condemned. That’s how lost we were. But when we trust and believe in Jesus, we are no longer condemned. How safe and saved is that?  We should celebrate even more, God’s love, grace, and generous gift.

What Source?

Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day four)

It is probably the best known verse in the Bible…John 3:16.  Many of us memorized it as a child and have repeated it many times since.  John 3:16 is such a simple verse, yet it contains the very essence of the gospel.  It was out of God’s vast love that salvation was offered to us…not because of any merit or deed that man had done.  It is a gift of grace.  God loves us…how can we not return that love?

What is our motivation when we do a good deed?  Is it out of an obligation or strict obedience to a command?  Is it out of an ulterior motive for personal gain?  Following God’s example, we can be guided by love.  By spending extended time with God…by reading His Word daily…and through time invested in prayer, we can know the heart of God…a heart of love! His love is (or should be) the only genuine motivator in our lives.   Let God’s overflowing love direct your every path.


Re:Verse reading–John 3:1-21 (day three)

“Whosoever believeth” 

The most amazing thing about God is not his exclusivity. That’s simply a function of how God designed the universe to operate logically: Two competing truth claims cannot both be correct.  But the most amazing thing about God is his radical inclusivity.  “Whosoever will may come.”  Who gives invitations like that?  Everybody excludes somebody.  You’ve never planned a party for which you’ve said absolutely anybody can attend.  Life eventually breaks it to you that there’s an “A” list out there somewhere that you’re not on.  In the grand old English of the King James translation, we read, “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  And the grand old lyrics of a long-forgotten hymn remind us: “Whosoever Meaneth Me”.  Yes, when Jesus says “whosoever”, that means you.  And if it means you, then it means everybody.