Monday, July 31, 2017


Submitted by Lara Cook
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:2

As I worked outside yesterday in the yard, the sky began a gentle rumbling in the distance.  I could see the clouds but so many times at our house, the rain starts off down in the valley and sweeps past our house without even a sprinkle.  I could see the rain start and move slowly across our land until eventually it was raining a slow, steady, gentle rain.  I didn’t bother to go in because I was enjoying the soft and gentle on my skin and the smell was incredible.  I realized that I had probably not been outside voluntarily in the rain since I was a kid.  It brought back a flood of memories of playing in the rain as a child.  I sat down on the warm wet sidewalk and just relished everything. The sight of the bright green fields against the blue gray sky, the feel of the rain, and smell of the wet earth. 
The sky cleared up and the rain moved out as quickly as it came in, barely making a difference in the parched ground.  I went back to work and soon I looked up and noticed that the sky on the other side of the house was looking stormy.  Again, I really didn’t think anything would come of it besides the threatening sound of thunder.  But again, the thunder rumbled and this time there was a different feel.  The wind was different as it shifted and the air became cooler.  Not uncomfortable, but different.  It was blustery, blowing stuff here and there.  It felt stormy, but not dangerous.  Stormy enough that I felt like something was happening, but did not feel in danger.  The sky was becoming darker and then the rain came again, this time it was much more sudden and the drops were big.  It was not a gentle rain, but a stinging rain.  A cleansing rain.  A purifying rain. It was the kind of rain that makes a difference. 
Two rainstorms - one hour.  One gentle – tenderly cleansing dirt from my skin and my soul.  One stinging and pelting, scrubbing my skin and my soul.  Cleansing, cleaning.  It made me think of the beautiful cleansing grace and forgiveness of God, how He sweeps over our souls like a gentle rain, washing all the sin away.  The second rain reminded me of His cleansing power and how we just need it over and over again.  Every day and sometimes more than once a day.  It felt so good to just stand there, letting it strike my skin.  It made me feel alive and like something was happening.  I was getting washed off.  I wasn’t just getting wet like I had from the previous gentle rain.  It was a wonderful feeling – a feeling I had forgotten.  I could have stayed there all day, but eventually my poor, confused husband tapped on the window, gesturing to me to come in.
The rain felt so good to me because I felt so dirty.  It felt so good because I wanted to be washed, but not just my skin, I wanted my heart washed.  Jesus will wash our hearts anytime we ask.  This I know, but that experience was just what I needed.  I needed to really feel that rain on my skin and in that moment, I felt the cleansing power of Jesus’ grace and it was amazing.  He knew I needed that example to make me remember because honestly, lately I have felt like I cannot get away from the sins of my past.  Sins that He has forgiven, but I have not let go of.  That rain was a gentle, but strong reminder of His cleansing grace, and it was also a reminder for me of how refreshing and good that feeling is. 

Things get dirty.  People get dirty – over and over again.  We need cleansing - over and over again.  I am so thankful for the time I spent that day remembering.  I am thankful that I did not go running in to get away from the rain.  I would not have that strong reminder of God’s grace and goodness, and oh how I needed it. 
Scripture to Claim:
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
Psalm 51:7

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trusting in the Word You’ve Heard

Genesis 27:1-23
People have a tendency to trust in what they can see, touch, taste, smell, etc. but the one thing God has given us that can be trusted above our faculties, no matter the situation or the circumstance, is the eternal Word of God.
I.      Isaac Trusted in What He Could See.
·    What you see is not always what you get.
·    What you see is not always what it appears to be.
·    Faith is not blind; it just chooses to see what unbelief never will.

II.     Isaac Trusted in What He Could Feel.
·  Just because something feels right doesn’t mean that it is right.
·  Feelings make a great caboose but a horrible engine.
·  Even the most noble of feelings can be wrong.

III.   Isaac Trusted in What He Thought.
·  What you think comes from the heart.
·  You do not need to follow your heart, you need to lead it.
·  One of the biggest hindrances to Christian people is preconceived ideas.

IV.  The Only Thing Isaac Didn’t Do Was Trust the Word That He Heard.
·  It is the Word of God that will help keep you from being deceived by what things look like and feel like.
·  Putting the Word of God into practice will help keep you from deceiving yourself.

·  If you will trust in what you hear from the Word, it will change your perspective on everything else.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Contentment from Living Water

(Pastor Van)
And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."  John 4:4-14
The encounter of Jesus with The Woman at the Well has been discussed and written about countless times.  There is so much to learn here about the person of Christ and the hungers of men.  There is the sadness of this woman having to come at an inopportune time because she has been labeled by the people as below their class.  There is the issue of race and politics that are brought into play as this Jew speaks to a Samaritan.  There are issues in religion as to whether a Rabbi should be in conversation with such a woman. 
But the real issue of this story is the search for contentment and satisfaction.  Jesus brings up the issue of finding something that would satisfy forever.  He goes on the passage to share the fruitless search the woman has been on through five husbands.  In His conversation he casually states the present status of the woman with her live-in boyfriend which startles her. 
Was Jesus preaching a doctrine? No. There was no doctrine. The only thing He did was point to Himself, as if to say, "Well, if you know who He is, you will ask of Him at once, and He will give you living water, that you may never thirst again." Have you seen this? The whole question is who Jesus of Nazareth is.
What did Jesus say to a Samaritan woman there? "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again" (v. 13).  It is so sad to watch people sell their souls for the world’s options to satisfy.  Fame, fortune, fineries, power, pleasure and any number of passions are fed daily in an attempt to be content.  But, they thirst again and even more than before.
How do you quench this thirst? The Lord Jesus said, "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever" (v. 14). An amazing fact is that no other religious leader ever said such a thing. The teachings of Confucius only tell you to be content and to abide in your poverty.  The person Confucius or any other religious figure has nothing to do with your contentment. However, the person Jesus has a great deal to do with your thirst being quenched.
What is required is that you know who Jesus is.  "The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet" (v. 19).  He corrected her and stated that He was the long-awaited Messiah.  The first thing that a sinner needs to do is not to repent and change his behavior, but to realize who Jesus is.  All will be well if he realizes who Jesus is.  Once we have Jesus, we will have real satisfaction; we will be filled with the sense of having acquired everything.

Scripture to Claim
"Come, see a man who told me all that I have done. Is this not the Christ?" John 4:29

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