Showing posts from August, 2021

Worship Now

  Ezekiel 12-14; Revelations 5   “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!’” Revelation 5:13 One day all of creation will worship our Creator with all that we have. Our privilege is to join that worship now and give God praise, honor, glory, and power, now, as a free-will offering. This worship of the living God is opposed by Satan and his forces. We live in the age of grace where God’s glory and power are all around us, yet few choose to worship him. Despite all power and eternal glory, God doesn’t force worship. His leadership is one of self-sacrifice and pursuing love. His throne is above all other thrones; yet God still extends free will and choice to his rebellious creation. The enemy mocks him for this, as weak and impotent; yet God’s mercy and love are extended to all, freely, while there is time

Heart Surgery

Ezekiel 8-11; Revelations 4   “…I will gather you from the nations and bring you back…They will return to it and remove all vile images and detestable idols…I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh…They will be my people and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:17-20 Idols and vile images grieve God. They capture our heart’s devotion and worship. They rob God of his glory and they harden our hearts into stone. Hearts of stone don’t respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Stony hearts aren’t moved by the needs of others. Stony hearts are hard and heavy. However, God is very interested in the transformation of our stony hearts into soft, responsive hearts of flesh. Repentance means that we agree that our hearts are hard, and we agree that our idols and the vile images we have worshipped have hardened our hearts. Repentance involves removing the idols, throwing them away, and returning t

Jesus’ Pursuing Love

  Ezekiel 4-7; Revelations 3   “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne…” Revelation 3:19-21 Discipline is an indicator of God’s love for us, not his opposition to us. Our response indicates whether we are receiving God’s love. If we sincerely repent, then God’s loving discipline produces good fruit in our lives. If we resist God’s discipline, we forfeit further intimacy with him. To eat with Jesus is to be satisfied in our inner being by his love and God’s Word. This experience of being confronted, convicted by our sin, repenting, and then restored to fellowship with Jesus, is an ongoing cycle in the lives of Christ’s followers. Those who value their fellowship with Jesus through his Spirit, more than the pleasures of sin, are known as overcomers. Our

First Love

Ezekiel 1-3; Revelations 2   “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life…” Revelation 2:4, 5, 7 To know and walk with God in life is more than right believing; it is loving and being loved. First love is devoted, passionate, sacrificial, and surrendered. Do we love God that way? Or do we just love our jobs, entertainment, and vacations in that way? If we have never experienced first love for God, there is nothing to go back to. We must have a beginning. If we have tasted of this intimacy, now is the time to return. Remember what intimacy was like, time meant nothing. All we had we gave willingly, worship was intimate and personal. Repent of what have become rival lovers – entertainment, alcohol, work, and self-indulgence. Return to a lifestyle of surrender, worship, intimacy, and obedience to the Spirit o

A Strengthened Spirit

  Jeremiah 52; Revelations 1; Psalms 143, 144   “…my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed…Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails…I have put my trust in you…to you I lift up my soul…I hide myself in you…may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:4, 7-10 Where do we go when our spirit feels faint within us, like lights that grow dim and begin flickering? In David’s case it was his jealous father-in-law, Saul, who was hunting for him with the intent to kill him. While our circumstances might not be that extreme, God allows suffering in the lives of his children to develop perseverance, character, and hope, (Romans 5:1-5). David’s response was to call out to the Lord, and to worship and declare that God’s Spirit was his guide. When our spirit grows weak, we need the empowerment and strength of God’s Spirit. We access that strength through prayer, worship, and by simply asking God’s Spirit to fill and empower us. A strong spirit enabled David to fac

Building or Eroding Christ’s Church?

Jeremiah 50-51; 3 John   “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.” 3 John 9, 10 What happens when pride and jealousy gain a foothold in the heart of a leader? They abuse their authority in ways that advance their own interests and they undermine the authority of others. This letter was written to Gaius, a wealthy businessman and church elder in Ephesus. Perhaps Diotrephes was also an elder in Ephesus who was hosting a house church meeting in his home. However, Diotrephes was abusing his authority by dividing the church of Ephesus. John was both an apostle and later the pastor of the church of Ephesus. Despite being imprisoned and many miles away, John confronts the sin of this unhealthy leader. Our speech, our hosp

The Path of Love

  Jeremiah 37-39; Psalms 79; 2 John   “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 6 The life of a follower of Jesus Christ should look more and more like the life of our leader, Jesus. Following Jesus in the daily choices of loving, forgiving, obeying, and supporting, is evidence that we are God’s children. When faith becomes an intellectual exercise and we fight over doctrines at the expense of love and humility, we have lost our way. The pathway of Jesus is love and obedience.   Are we walking this path? Are the words we speak and our daily habits a witness of the love of Jesus within us to those who are closest to us, as well as to our neighbors?   Does our obedience to Christ’s commands and God’s Word come from love? Is love motivating all that we do? This is the pathway of Jesus and the path of his disciples. “Lord Jesus, thank you for your love. Fill me with love so that I can li

Loving God

Jeremiah 33-34; Psalms 74; 1 John 5   “This is how we know that we love the children of God; by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4 It’s interesting that the way we know we love the children of God is by loving God and obeying his commands. You would think we know we love God’s children because of our acts of kindness toward them, or our prayers for them. But John writes clearly that our love for God and his ways, his words, and his commands marks us as overcomers and God’s children. We must be God’s children first before the natural, loving acts that flow out of being filled with God’s love, occur through our life. This life of loving and obeying God’s Spirit and Word is not a heavy, works and righteousness obligation; but rather, it is the natural outworking of a life fully y

God’s Covenant-Keeping Nature

Jeremiah 31-32; 1 John 4   “‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord.   ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people…’ This is what the Lord says, ‘he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night…Only if these decrees vanish from my sight…will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.’” Jeremiah 31:33, 3536 We serve a covenant-keeping God. Even as God declared that he would make a new covenant with his people, a covenant established by Jesus Christ and his shed blood, God declared that he had not rejected Israel as a nation. To underline his point, God pointed to the laws he had established in the universe to govern planetary movement. Only if these laws governing the sun, moon, and stars ceased to exist, would God reject Israel as a nation. Amazing! After two thousand years, the re-establishment of Israel

Living in God

Jeremiah 28-30; 1 John 3   “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers…Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:14, 24 Knowing God in relationship is much different than knowing about God. Those who know God are filled with his Spirit and filled with his love. God’s love for us and in us makes us choose to live in ways that please God. We love to obey God’s Word and his Spirit’s promptings. The Holy Spirit within disciples those who belong to God. We cannot choose what is sinful because God within us convicts us of sin and delivers us from temptation. When we sin, we will be quick to repent because we choose to walk in love toward God and others. Knowing we are part of God’s family is primarily about behavior and God’s experiential presence in our lives, rather than intellectual concepts to which we give mental assent. “Lord Jesus, thank you for

Spiritual Fathers

  Jeremiah 21, 24, 27; Psalms 118; 1 John 2     “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning…Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:13, 15-17 Spiritual fathers know God and his love. They have chosen eternal values and live by God’s ways rather that the desires of the world which pass away. The pull of immediate gratification through the lust for things and pleasure, and the pride of accomplishments, status, and accumulating things, is known by spiritual fathers; however, they recognize that the love of this world will not last. Spiritual fathers raise children in God’s kingdom because they are full of the life of God

Blessed to be a Blessing

Jeremiah 48-49; Ps 67; 1 John 1 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” Psalm 67:1, 2 It is God’s presence in our lives that illustrates and adds credence to the gospel. As recipients of God’s grace, his love, and his favor through salvation, our very lives testify that God’s saving power is real and available to all. We have been blessed to be a blessing. The nations need to both hear and see a visible witness of God’s salvation and ways. How will that happen unless God’s people, with his face shining upon them, live among the least reached nations who have not heard of God’s glory or his saving gospel? Our God has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ, and he continues to reveal Jesus and his ways through the Holy Spirit to all who seek him. “Lord Jesus, thank you for pursuing me and blessing me with your presence. I have been blessed to be a blessing that the nations might know

Do You Love Me?

Jeremiah 45-47; Psalms 105; John 21   “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’…” John 21:15, 16 Why did Jesus keep asking Simon if he loved him? The first time was meant to gently expose Peter’s prideful declaration that even if every other disciple abandoned Jesus, he would not. Peter’s denial of Jesus three times is forgiven in this exchange with Jesus and he is both humbled and restored. In all three responses, Jesus called Peter to minister to others, “Feed my lambs [and]…sheep.” This, I believe, is the main point of Jesus’ questions to Peter. Ministry that is motivated by anything other than a deep love for Jesus is self-serving ministry. The greatest compassion for starving, dying, broken people, or lost sheep, if not motivated by the love of Jesus, is still a self-s

Obeying God’s Word

Jeremiah 26, 35, 36; John 20 Jonadab son of Recab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.” Jeremiah 35:14 Why is obedience to God’s Word so important to his kingdom? The story of the Recabites was a living example of the power of obedience to a set of lifestyle commands that shaped every aspect of the Recabite clan. Samuel said, “…To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams,” (1 Samuel 15:22).   Obedience to God’s Word shapes our hearts and our minds in ways that sacrificial acts could never do. Obedience to God’s Word is a pathway of discipleship that we choose to walk throughout our life, not just give lip service in religious ceremonies. What has God called us to do that we are struggling with today? What transformation in our lifestyle would obedience to God’s Word b

Costly Words

Jeremiah 23, 25; John 19   “…My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble…because of the Lord and his holy words… ‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ ‘Therefore,’ declares the Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me.’” Jeremiah 23:9, 29, 30 It is blasphemy to misuse God’s Word by communicating our own words and then adding, “The Lord declares,” with the intent of undermining the true Word of the Lord. God’s Word convicts and calls us back to faithfulness and full surrender of our lives to him. When leaders avoid confronting sin, or they enable sin, they value a false peace that is self-serving. The fire and hammer of God’s Word must first consume and soften the hearts of God’s servants before they share it with others. When we steal words from each other, we value the approval and acceptance of other leaders more than God. We steal from each other because we are avoiding the

God’s Blessing

  2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalms 112; John 18   “…Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land…Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright…Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear…” Psalm 112:1-8 The heritage of those who walk with God is amazing. Their children have a source of inner strength and favor with others that gives them influence. The wealth of righteousness and favor is upon those who steward their possessions with integrity and generosity. Living at peace with God fills our hearts with love and strength because our lives are in the hands of the most powerful, loving, and just

God’s Home Makeover

Jeremiah 18-20; Psalms 93; John 17 “Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.” Psalm 93:5 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them, I sanctify myself that they too may be truly sanctified.” John 17:17-19 Christ’s mission was to bring glory to the Father by following the Father’s will and kingdom plan to bring salvation to the world. Christ’s disciples, who both witnessed and personally experienced Christ’s saving power, now carry on that same mission. The sanctification of the messenger adds credence (affirmation and authenticity) to the message. Jesus sanctified himself, chose to say “no” to sin, and “yes” to the will of the Father for the sake of those he was leading and serving, for the glory of his Father. Are we willing to pursue life-long sanctification unto the will of our Father for the same missional purpose? God has decorated his house with holiness. That’s hi

God’s Saving Judgment

Jeremiah 16-17; Psalms 96; John 16 “O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods…Therefore I will teach them – this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.’” Jeremiah 16:19, 21 “Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns’…he will judge the peoples with equity…he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.” Psalm 96:10, 13 God’s judgment of nations throughout history is based on the redemptive purpose of revealing his name, his power, his might, his righteousness, and his truth. God’s heart is that none would perish, but that all might be saved by a salvation that is not based on self-righteousness, or the slavish devotion to idols we create. It is salvation based on God’s righteousness, given and received as a gift in the form of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, th

Which Way Will We Turn?

Jeremiah 13-15; John 15   “…If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.” Jeremiah 15:19 God’s presence in our lives is the most valuable resource we have. When we agree with sin, we grieve God and we lose our usefulness to him. Repentance means that we agree with God’s perspective once again, and we turn away from sin and walk in God’s ways. Which way will we turn? Turning toward worldly ways and the sins of those we are trying to reach, puts us off side with God. Turning toward God, sometimes puts us off side with the people around us. God desires that we live and communicate his words and ways. He is looking for spokes-people in every community and every generation - spokes-people who live for God’s glory and not their own - spokes-people who value God’s perspective, will, and words, more than the approval of those around them.   Which way will

Running Well

  Jeremiah 10-12; John 14   “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”   Jeremiah 12:5 God is continually developing our capacity and our endurance so he can assign greater assignments to us. The seemingly insignificant tests of life are preparation for a greater purpose as God expands our capacity, and strengthens our character and resolve. Racing against men rather than against horses is a significantly different exercise. God’s desire is to promote, advance, and grow our impact and our inheritance in his kingdom. When we understand that our tests of forgiveness, temptation, or faithfulness are connected to God’s broader development plan for our lives, they gain new meaning and significance. Paul reminds us to “run in such a way as to win the race of faith”. It’s worth it! “Lord Jesus, thank you for your amazing example of running the race marked o

Knowing God and His Ways

Jeremiah 7-9; John 13 “This what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24 Why do we boast (in a subtle, socially acceptable way) about our accomplishments, wealth, or status? One reason could be that we are trying to feel good about our choices and about ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others sometimes makes us feel better. The Lord of heaven and earth invites us to make him our reference point. He values kindness, justice, and righteousness; those who truly know God, value and live the same priorities. Knowing God in a relationship indicates our willingness to allow him to shape our perspectives and priorities in life. Without that transforming process to become perfect and hol

A Cross or a Crowd?

  Jeremiah 5-6; John 12 “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast…‘Sir…we would like to see Jesus.’…Jesus replied…‘unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds…Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered…” John 12:20-24, 28, 29 At the height of his popularity with people from other countries who were eager to speak with him, Jesus focused on the inner dialogue he had with his Father. Jesus was communicating with the Father, even as he was communicating with curious and insistent crowds. Rather than cater to the crowds, Jesus communicated his call to the cross - and our call to die to self so that others might find life. Could pleasing and cross-dying go in opposite directions? Which direction are we going? Who are we trying to please today? “Father Go

Plowed, Circumcised Hearts

Jeremiah 3-4; John 11 “…Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem…” Jeremiah 4:3, 4 What does it mean to “break up” the unplowed ground of our hearts and lives? We use shovels, hoes, or plows to do that kind of “breaking up” work. God uses his Spirit and his Word to soften and convict our hearts of sin and “hard places”. God uses repentance in our lives to “turn over” the soil of our hearts. Our free will must cooperate with the conviction of God’s Spirit for a turning over to occur. Circumcision was the sign of the first covenant with Abraham. God cut the symbol, or source, from which new life came, to signify that life now comes from him, and not our own selfish pleasures and lusts. To circumcise our hearts is to say the same thing. Our life comes from God. He is our primary focus of affection. Our surrendered, plowed, repentant hearts belong to him. His Word is plante

Called for a Purpose

  Jeremiah 1-2; John 10   “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” Jeremiah 1:4, 5 We were created by God for a purpose to which he has called us. For us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, we must know that calling, and know the One who has called and appointed us for his purposes. God has formed us. He knows us. He has set us apart for his purposes and appointed us with his authority. Why then do we fear? Why then do we live self-centered lives that lack eternal purpose and impact? We were created to live on mission with God and to live God’s mission purposes for our lives; this will always include his love for the world. When our lives are connected to God’s larger mission story, we live with larger purpose, and with significance and with destiny. What are we waiting for? It’s time to really live and to live more abundantly. “Lord Jesu

Spiritually Blind

  Zephaniah 1-3; John 9   “’While I am in the word, I am the light of the world.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.’ ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?...You have now seen him…’” John 9:5, 16, 35, 37 The healing of a man born blind on the Sabbath brought both physical and spiritual sight to his life. This healing on the Sabbath also exposed the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees. Pride blinds us to our need for Jesus and keeps us judgmental and critical of others. Acknowledging our blindness and crying out to Jesus for healing and sight requires humility. Are we prepared to allow Jesus to challenge the security of what we trust in, so that our eyes become open? Where are we currently blind and unaware of our need for Jesus? “Lord Jesus, you are light and you are life. Expose my blindness and deliver me of pride that I might see you and your glory.”

Freedom from Condemnation

Habakkuk 1-3; John 8   “…‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” John 8:10, 11 God’s kindness and mercy is what leads us to repentance. He desires that we live in freedom from repetitive sin, not just in forgiveness. In saying “leave your life of sin,” Jesus was declaring to the woman caught in adultery that sin will no longer be her master. The call to leave the mastery of sin and submit to Jesus and his ways is an invitation that Jesus extends to all of us. Condemnation is the tape in our minds produced by sin. Jesus offers us kindness and freedom. Which master do we want to serve? “Lord Jesus, you have set me free to serve and live for you. I repent for thinking in any way that sin will give me life or freedom. I choose you Jesus.”

Motivation in Ministry

  2 Kings 23; 2 Chronicles 35; John 7   “…My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone who chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:16-18 The motivation for ministry affects everything done in ministry. If ministry is about serving others or alleviating poverty or even working through our own pain in life, our ministry will at many levels be self-serving. We serve our agenda (even as it relates to poverty, human misery, or spiritual need), rather than the will of the Father. The will of God always involves surrender, death to self, and the pursuit of God’s glory, not our own. Jesus had his motives challenged and his authority challenged.   Jesus response was to point to the Father. Are we able to do the same? “Lord Jesus, yo

Life-Giving Food

2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34; John 6   “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing…” John 6:27, 35, 63 What are we working for? What motivates us to get up every day? What life are we finding in what we’ve given ourselves to? Do the fruits of our labor endure? Will any of them endure after we are gone? The life of the Spirit was what Jesus came to bring. His offer of food that endures, and food that really satisfies is unique. This food goes to our deepest being and satisfies our soul. Living within that place of contentment in God is what we were created for. It might be time to change our food (diet). “Lord Jesus, you are my life. Thank you for satisfying my soul. I repent for feeding on food that spoils. Fill me with your Spirit again this day.”

The Life Giver

  Nahum 1-3; John 5   “…whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life…You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you have eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:24, 39, 40 Where are we looking for life? Jesus calls us to find our life in him. We can look for life in worship, good preaching, missions, and even prayer, but not find the life-giving presence of Jesus. It is Jesus alone who gives life, eternal life that begins the moment we receive his gift of salvation by faith and surrender our life (our sin and our will) to him. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We can be religious and not know Jesus, or not have his Spirit within us testifying to our life in him. Jesus still invites us to come to him for life. “Lord Jesus, you are my life. I give all I have to you again today, for your glory and pr

Christ’s Revelation

  2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33; John 4   “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” John 4:25, 26 Jesus revealed himself to the Samaritan woman with a bold declaration that he was the long awaited Messiah. The religious Jews didn’t hear these words; neither did Jesus’ closest friends or family. Why this woman, and why this early in his ministry when he remained hidden from others? Jesus was responding to a seeker, not a casual inquirer or someone looking for a miracle. The woman’s relational thirst and empty life needed to be filled by the living presence of God. She proved to be the gateway through which the gospel entered Sychar – and probably many other Samaritan towns and cities.   When Jesus speaks to us this clearly through our own life experiences, what do we do about it? Our only valid response is to surrender our life and will to him and worship him. “Lord