To worship in Spirit and in Truth

The Living Water

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 ESV)

Every Bible Commentary* I’ve read concerning Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well focuses on water for drinking, a physical act that temporarily satisfies physical thirst, but never satisfies spiritual thirst. Jesus speaks of “living water” which satisfies spiritual thirst eternally. Physical water satisfies from without, temporarily, whereas living water satisfies from within, permanently.

waterfallThough unmentioned by Jesus in this passage, there was another purpose for drawing water for those who kept the law of Moses concerning ritual washings for cleansing the body and clothing when the people became contaminated. The OT priests also practiced ritual washings to prepare for their temple duties and before entering the tent of meeting. See Exodus 40:30-32, Numbers 19:20, John 2:6, et al. There are about 30 OT scriptures that address the Jewish rite of ritual cleansing.

Even though the Jewish people faithfully observed the Law of Moses and carefully maintained ceremonial cleanliness by washing with water, they still had to be washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14, 22:14, etc.) before they were truly cleansed and were able to enter into the Father’s Kingdom. The practice of washing with water was an external and symbolic act that provided temporary cleansing only. Continue reading

Thanksgiving

The Lord is good. He has blessed me with a loving wife, a comfortable home, health, precious time with my elderly father, the opportunity to give and receive heartfelt love with my mother before taking her home. For a lifetime, God has listened to my concerns and continues to demonstrate His loving kindness toward me and all of those I have lifted in heartfelt prayer. And where I thought He wasn’t acting fast enough, He has been patient with my impatience.

thanksgivingThough I am cognizant of all these things, the continual goodness of God, sometimes it’s the little things that remind me of just how wonderful God is; how closely He watches over and protects me.

Last week, Karen and I went shopping about an hour from where we live. We visited several home goods stores to find accessories to decorate our new home. A few days before, we jumped in the truck to go grocery shopping and found the battery was dead, so we took the car. As soon as we got home with the groceries, I put the battery charger on the truck and gave it a full charge. “Must’ve left the lights on” I reasoned and assumed everything would be OK. Continue reading

Trading your birthright for stew

One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field and said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew–I’m starved!” Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” On oath Esau traded away his rights. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. Esau ate and drank, got up and left. (Genesis 25:29-34, The Message Bible)

bowloflentilstewWe have a wonderful birthright from God in Christ. We are God’s children and heirs, temples in which His Spirit dwells, priests and kings who reign with Christ. Sadly, we are more like Esau than many of us care to admit because we have traded our birthright for even less than a bowl of stew.

Evidence that we have traded away our birthright can be heard in what we say. For example, how often do Christians refer to church buildings as the “house of God” even though the Bible teaches us that we are His temples and “God does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48 and Acts 17:24)? Continue reading

I pledge my marriage to Christ Jesus

This is a follow up to I pledge my head to Christ Jesus (link).

A year ago last October, Karen and I relocated from IL to WA and for several months we attended a small independent country church. Though we intended to go only to meet other believers, we soon found ourselves ensnared by church politics and involved in a number of church programs. The church politics came to us as gossipers and busybodies tried to enlist our support for their church issues. Church programs were something we saw the need for and volunteered while others were at the request of church leaders.

weddedhandsOn several occasions one of us informed the other that we’d have to cancel our personal plans because we’d been “volunteered” for a church job. It seemed like overnight that the peace and contentment we’ve known while involved in home fellowship these last 15 years turned to strife and contention with each other as various church jobs began to trump our time together. Blessed retirement turned to labor; in fact, people used scripture in manipulative ways or pleaded on our emotions to conscript us.

The issue came to a head 1 week before our wedding anniversary Continue reading

Hog Farms and the IC (Institutional Church)

The Lord gave me a prophetic experience one spring that went a long way toward dealing with the guilt I’ve felt over NOT being successful in bringing change to the institutional church I attended for several years

I need to share a little background – I was born and raised in a suburb south of Seattle and lived there for 42 years before the Lord directed me to move to the rural Midwest. The good ol’ boys had themselves quite a time kidding me about being a city boy and I often joked about corn, bugs, stifling heat, and hog farms common to the area. I’ve written song parodies about farm life and sang them for the locals, along with the inspirational and worship music I write.

hog1That spring, my musician friend, David, visited and he’d suffered through enough of my corn and hog jokes and parody songs, that one morning he woke and requested I drive him to a farm so he could have his picture taken with a hog. David must have thought our little town was like “Green Acres” where the pig Arnold roamed Main Street and was included in the population count. Continue reading

I pledge my head to Christ Jesus

When the Lord prompted my wife and I to move to the mid-west from the Seattle area back in 1999, He gave me a dream which I did not understand until after we had left the institutional church the Lord sent us too.

The Dream

I was driving a white 1965 Mercury Monterey convertible with light blue interior. Ahead were the gates of what looked like an old west log fort. The gates swung open and I drove in. The church the Lord sent me to was near the back of the compound. After parking in front of the church, I exited the car and went around to the trunk to collect the gifts I’d brought for the church. From everywhere it seemed, child-like dwarfs emerged and surrounded me. As I began to show the gifts I’d brought, they began snatching them from my hands, treating them with disrespect, grabbing gifts from the trunk and throwing them back after handling them carelessly. Several were letting the air out of the tires and kicking the side panels, while others were jumping up and down on the seats.65monterey

Frantically I was trying to take back the gifts and put them away, while chasing them out of the trunk and car, Continue reading

Big bag of empty

bigbagofempty3 Mom went to be with Jesus in the late spring of 2003. When she had a major stroke the winter of 1999, Dad took care of her ’round the clock, for 3-1/2 years. Several times a year, I flew in from Chicago to visit Mom and Dad and in time, learned to communicate with her, despite Mom being able to speak only in nonsensical phrases. The love and compassion of Jesus taught me to listen for the love in Mom’s voice, the joy in her laughter and to see the pride that twinkled in her eyes.

The last time I spoke to Mom by phone, was especially tender and I enjoyed hearing her laugh, which was musical in my ears. As we said our goodbyes, twice I exclaimed “I love you, Mommy”. As if her old self once again, my Mommy replied “I love you too, Jackie”. It was the first time I’d heard her speak clearly since before her stroke. We ended the call, I hung up, filled with thanks yet wondering to myself “why on earth did I call her Mommy? I haven’t called her Mommy since I was a child”. It was the morning after the next that Dad called me with news of mom’s death during the night. It was then I understood the wonderful gift of grace the Father had given us, for mother and son to say goodbye, for now. Continue reading