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The Lord is my Shepherd

Don’t miss the meaning

Most people have at least heard of the 23rd Psalm. Many Christians can quote it. It is the Psalm where David says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It is a Psalm that comforts and calms our souls. Often it is read at funerals. President Bush read it to America after 9/11.

However, because of it’s popularity, we can miss it’s meaning. It is somewhat like singing the old hymns in church. We sing them, but we don’t really often stop to take in the depth of their meaning. When I used to lead music in my dad’s church, I could look out at the congregation and the mouths were moving but the words of the songs were often not connecting with their hearts. Can we say we’ve truly worshiped if we just remotely sing? Or would it more appropriately be called “lip service”?

Let’s break down the meaning that the Lord is my Shepherd and see it with new eyes that connect the meaning with our hearts.

The Psalm from the author’s eyes

King David is the author of this Psalm. In our world today, the majority of us don’t get the full meaning of this beautiful psalm because we fail to understand the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd of the Bible. But David knew it well. He was a shepherd before he was a king. In fact, when God sent the prophet, Samuel, to anoint David as king, David was out tending the sheep. So if we really want to understand the beautiful message of this psalm, we need to see it as David did. He knew what it means to shepherd sheep and when he became king of Israel, he learned what it meant to shepherd God’s sheep – the nation of Israel.

All we like sheep

The Bible refers to us as sheep nearly two hundred times. However, it is not usually a compliment because sheep are smelly, stubborn, and prone to wander. They also are not the brightest animal on the block. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6). Like sheep, we are smelly with the filth and stench of sin in our lives. We turn our own way because we stubbornly think we know better than God. So we wander away from God and try to do life our way but then when we make a mess out of life we bleat like a lost sheep looking for the Shepherd to rescue us out of our mess.

The Nutshell Take-away

If we were to sum up this Psalm in just one sentence it would be this: You can’t fully know and understand the Shepherd unless you are one of His sheep. Only once you enter into and have a relationship with the Shepherd can you understand that He provides, protects, and preserves His sheep. In the first three verses of Psalm 23, we find five things the Shepherd provides for His sheep.

If we summed up Psalm 23 into just one sentence, it would be this: You can’t fully know and understand the Shepherd unless you are one of His sheep.

The Shepherd Provides a Relationship

In verse 1, it says, “The Lord is my Shepherd. That’s a relationship. “The Lord” is the Hebrew word, “Yahweh” and it was first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14 which is where Moses has his encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses asked, “Who should I say sent me.” God replied, “Tell them “I AM [Yahweh] has sent you.” So David is saying here, that “I AM” is “my” shepherd.

Verb tense makes a difference

Notice that the verb “is” is present tense, not past or future. It is right now in this moment that God is our shepherd – and you can say that in every moment of life.

Jesus is my only Shepherd

In Israel, shepherding wasn’t the job career that everyone signed up for. It was the lowest, unpleasant job. Sheep require a 24/7 shepherd. They couldn’t be left alone. So they’re had to be a shepherd on duty every moment, in every season, and in every kind of weather. Jesus is just that kind of Shepherd. He never goes off duty. In fact, He never clocks out and trades off with another Shepherd. So not only is He my Shepherd, He’s my only Shepherd.

In Exodus 20:3, we find the very first of the Ten Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me” and in verse 5 God says we are to have no other gods before Him because He is a jealous God. He will not share His place with anyone or anything else. If He is our Lord, there can only be one Lord on the throne and only one Shepherd of our hearts. So, if Jesus is your Savior, He is also your Shepherd – present tense, in every moment of life.

Pronoun choice creates a personal relationship

Let’s also not read too quickly past the pronoun choice David uses. He says that the Lord is my Shepherd. “My” is a possessive personal pronoun. Our Shepherd offers a personal relationship with Him. In the entirety of Psalm 23, David uses “my,” “me,” and “I” 17 times. Because He is with me 24/7 and because I am His creation, He knows me by name. He knows what tends to make me wander and where I can get off track. He knows when I’m hurt, wounded, or in trouble. My Shepherd knows when I’m spiritually hungry and thirsty. He knows when I’m anxious or fearful. And He knows when I need rest and peace. He is my Shepherd and He knows me personally. It’s a relationship.

The Lord, Yahweh, I AM, is my Shepherd. “Is” is a present tense verb, so He is my Shepherd right now in this moment. And “my” is a possessive personal pronoun. He is my Shepherd and He knows me personally. It’s a relationship.

The Shepherd provides Replenishment

Whenever we wander away from the Shepherd we are wandering away from the Bread of Life and the Living Water. We become spiritually hungry. Also, the further away we wander, the more tired we become and we need rest. But sometimes we can be right with the Shepherd and busy doing whatever the Shepherd asks of us and get tired too. Sometimes we are so busy pouring into other people that we need to take a moment, like Mary did, and sit at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to pour into us.

Whenever we wander away from the Shepherd we are wandering away from the Bread of Life and the Living water.

The second part of verse 1 says, “I shall not want.” That is the words of person who has been fully replenished by the Shepherd. If sheep are left to themselves, they can’t even find grass to eat or water to drink. They need a shepherd to lead them. They also need a shepherd to watch over them, because they really are not smart enough to sense when danger is near.

Our Shepherd is also called the Bread of Life and the Living Water. In other Psalms, David calls Him a fortress and strong tower. And in another Psalm David talks about hiding in the shelter of His wings. So our Shepherd replenishes our spiritual hunger and thirst and He provides protection when we can’t see the danger traps that Satan would set out to ensnare us with. So if we’re feeling spiritually hungry and thirsty, we might be wandering too far from the shepherd. Or if we’re feeling anxious and afraid, we may have wandered too far from the Shepherd.

If we’re feeling spiritually hungry and thirsty, we might be wandering too far from the shepherd. Or if we’re feeling anxious and afraid, we may have wandered too far from the Shepherd.

The Shepherd provides Rest

Verse 2 of Psalm 23 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Us stubborn sheep often refuse to rest when we need to. We think we have to keep pushing – keep getting ahead – keep serving God – keep on, and on, and on like the Energizer Bunny. But even the Bunny’s batteries run out eventually.

In the New Testament, Jesus empowered the disciples and sent them out to do ministry in His name. They returned excited, but also weary. In fact, they had been doing so much ministry that they hadn’t even had time to eat. Jesus said, “Come away with me to a deserted place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31) Our Shepherd knows when we need rest.

My Shepherd makes me lie down

Again, let’s point out the choice of verbs that David used in verse 2 of Psalm 23. The Shepherd didn’t invite the sheep to rest. The verse says, “He makes.” We are so stubborn that sometimes we have to be forced to slow down and rest. There are many us that for a while now have needed a slower pace in life. In 2020, when we were “social distancing” and “together at home,” we were forced into a time of a slower pace of life. If you’ve been needing some rest, maybe the Shepherd is making you to lie down in green pastures for a while.

My Shepherd makes me lie down in green pastures

If we are going to rest, then there are two things we need: a sense of safety and a comfortable place to lie down. Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down to sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” When a world-wide pandemic is around, it’s easy to become fearful, anxious, worried. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of sound mind. Fear comes from Satan and it keeps us bound up so that we are not effective for the Kingdom of God. But 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.”

Our Shepherd is sovereign. He’s in control. We can trust Him with every single part of our lives. When we trust the Shepherd, we have no need of fear or anxiety. Whenever there is fear or anxiety in our lives, that’s an area where you have wandered away from the Shepherd.

The other thing we need is a comfortable place to lie down. The Shepherd didn’t makes the sheep lie down on a hard, rocky place. He took them to a soft meadow of green grass. It is kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. When she decided she needed a nap, she laid down on Papa Bear’s bed and it was too hard. Momma Bear’s bed was too soft. But Baby Bear’s bed was just right and so she fell fast asleep and slept so soundly she didn’t hear the bear family return home. The Shepherd will make us rest, but He knows we need the soft, green meadow that is just right – not too hard and not too soft.

My Shepherd leads me

Once again, I want to point out the choice of verbs that David uses. I find it interesting that David said the Shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures, but He leads us beside still waters. So I meditated on these two verbs and asked why are we made to lie down in green pastures, but led to still waters.

Sheep need water as much, if not more so, as rest. So with a little googling, I learned that sheep are afraid of moving water and they will not drink from it. So the Shepherd leads them to a still, quiet pool so they will drink. The Shepherd also has to make sure that the water they drink is safe to drink – that it isn’t polluted and full of parasites. How often do we wander away from the Shepherd and drink from waters polluted with the parasites of sin? We need the Shepherd to lead us so that the water we are drinking from is the pure water that comes from the Living Water.

My Shepherd leads me beside still waters

I don’t know about you, but when I sleep, I need “white noise.” Some people like to go to sleep with the sounds of nature, such as a rain storm or gurgling brook, or the ebb and flow of the waves of the ocean. I’ve tried all of those and I just end up getting up and down with trips to the bathroom. I’m also of an age where I have “personal summers” or “power surges” whatever you want to call it and so I sleep with a fan on. I also have an app on my phone called Abide where I can choose Bedtime Meditation stories based on Scripture.

Without these two things, I have a hard time getting to sleep. My mind is constantly planning the next post, or planning the next ministry opportunity, or creating the next idea, or the next chapter in the next book. So these “background noises” help me focus my mind on Christ, my Shepherd, and He leads me beside the calm, still waters so that I can drift off to sleep.

The Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures when we need rest but he leads us beside the still waters. We need to be led to the pure water of the Living Water so we are not drinking from water polluted by sin.

The Shepherd provides Restoration and makes us New

Sheep are careless, curious, and cantankerous. The are often in need of being restored. So we find in verse three that the Shepherd “restores my soul.” If we restore an antique piece of furniture, we bring it back to what it was originally like when it was first created. We revive it to it’s former state and renew it so it looks like new. When David wrote about restoring His soul, he was talking about repentance. Who else would understand the need of repentance more than a King who had been guilty of both adultery and murder? It is through repentance of our careless, curious, and cantankerous sins that we find restoration with the Shepherd and we are renewed and revived spiritually. But our shepherd takes our restoration a step farther. He restores us into a relationship with Himself.

Because of sin, we were separated from God. But our shepherd tenderly and lovingly paid the price for our sins and when we accept by faith His free gift of salvation offered by his grace, he doesn’t just restore us, He makes us a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Who else would understand the need of repentance more than a King who was guilty of both adultery and murder? It is through repentance of our careless, curious, and cantankerous sins that we find restoration with the Shepherd.

The Shepherd provides Refuge and Protection

Also, because sheep are prone to wander, they can easily become lost or find themselves in danger. They can fall or become a victim to a predator. Sometimes a sheep will roll over on its back, feet flailing in the air, and they are not able to roll back over again. This is called being “cast down.” When this happens gas builds up inside of them, cutting off their circulation in their legs, and they die within just a matter of hours. When the Shepherd finds a sheep that is cast down, he rolls it back over and lifts it up to its feet. He then straddles the sheep and begins rubbing it’s legs to restore circulation, while talking to it gently to try to calm it from its panicked state.

The Shepherd Is Tenderly Calling

When we wander from our Shepherd and are rolling around in our sin, cast down, the Shepherd tenderly calls out our name. He picks us up and sets us back on our feet and restores us to the fold once more. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed. A heart of repentance is all that’s needed to bring about restoration. And then, back in the fold, you’ll once again enjoy the personal relationship with the Shepherd, be replenished, find rest for your weary soul and the restoration of His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Is He tenderly calling for you today?

The Shepherd tenderly calls us whenever we wander. A heart of repentance will bring about restoration so we can enjoy the personal relationship with the Shepherd, be replenished, and find rest. Is He tenderly calling for you today?

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Out of my heart flows Living Water

When talking to the woman at the well, Jesus says he is the living water. Then in chapter 7, Jesus says that if we are thirsty we are to come to him. But just what does it mean? Jesus isn’t taking about physical thirst, but spiritual thirst. And when we are spiritually thirsty, we need to come to Jesus, who is the living water.

In order to understand John 7:38, we need to look at the verses before and after it. In verse 37, we find that it is the last day of a feast and Jesus stood up and cried out to the people, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” At times, God brings seasons of spiritual hunger and thirst as a way to draw us closer to Him. Just as when we are physically hungry or thirsty, we seek out food and water, if we are spiritually hungry and thirsty, we should seek out Jesus.

Experiencing spiritual thirst

Certainly, when we neglect to spend time in prayer, Bible study, and worship, we will experience a spiritual hunger and thirst. Other times, we might be reading out Bible every day, praying, and going to church every week, but we still feel some spiritual hunger and thirst. In some ways, the spiritual thirst for Christ should never really be quenched while we are living on earth.

When we experience spiritual hunger and thirst, we come to Jesus with a desire to know Him more. The more we know Him, the more we understand His deep, unfailing, unending, reckless love for us – a love that cost Him His life. The more we understand His love for us, the more we love Him. And the more we love Him, the more we want to get to know Him – and the cycle continues. So if you are experiencing a spiritual thirst, come to Jesus and He will give you living water.

Finding Rivers of Living Water

In verse 38, Jesus continues speaking to the people and says, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” If we are to believe in Jesus as the Scripture said, there are some questions we must ask ourselves and determine how we will answer them. We will look at how the Bible answers these questions, but each one of us must determine how we will answer them.

Who is Jesus? 

Jesus is fully God and He was fully man. In John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” In the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14), Moses asked God, “Who should I say sent me?” God replied, “Tell them I AM sent you.” So in John 8:58, when Jesus said, “I am” He was saying He was God. John 1:1 says, “the Word was God” and in John 1:14, it says, “the Word became flesh.” This indicates that Jesus was God…in the flesh.

Jesus came to earth as a baby, born to the virgin Mary, grew into a man and lived here on earth just as any of us do, but without any sin. Jesus felt hunger, thirst, anger, sadness, pain, compassion. He had friends, family, and enemies. Jesus is also the Son of God. In Matthew 3:17, God, speaking out of heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Even the demons that encounter Jesus understood that Jesus was God’s son. In Mark 5:7, a demon said to Jesus: “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” In Mark 8:29, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah. Today, Jesus is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?”

In Mark 8:29, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah. Today, Jesus is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?” 

What was the need for Jesus to come to earth? 

From the very first sin committed by Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and every human other than Jesus has sinned. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While God created humans to have a relationship with Him, sin keeps us separated from a righteous, holy God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you.”

Not only does sin separate us from God, but there is a penalty for sin. Romans 6:23 says that the wages we earned for our sin is death. It was because of our sin that Jesus needed to come to earth. He was sent here to pay the penalty in our place for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

How did Jesus meet this need?

Hebrews 9:22 tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” If the wages of sin is death, then it was Jesus’ blood shed on the cross that cleanses us from sin. 1 John 1:7 tells us that “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Because Jesus lived a sinless life, He was the only one who could provide the payment for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” Jesus met the sin debt of our sin by his sacrificial death on the cross and then conquered death through His resurrection.

Where is Jesus today? 

If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then his sacrificial death would not be enough. If he was still in tomb then he would be no different than Mohammad or Buddha. Luke 24:50-51 says, “Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. And while He was blessing them, He left them and was carried up into heaven. Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:12 tell us, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,”

Why did Jesus do this for me?

There is only one reason that Jesus would sacrificially give His life in my place as payment for my sin – Love. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love is the only reason that Jesus offered His life in my place to pay my sin debt. When you think about it, before God created Adam and Eve, He knew they would sin and Jesus would have to pay their debt. Before He created you or me, He knew we would sin and Jesus would have to pay our debt. But he created us anyway. Why? Because God is love. And He loves you and me.

When did I realize I am a sinner?

In order to receive the living water that Jesus offered, we all must come to the realization that we are sinners, lost without Jesus, and have a need for Him to save us form our sins.

What must I do to receive living water? 

First we must admit that we are sinners and need a Savior. Second we must believe in our heart by faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lives a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried for three days, and then rose again. Third, we must confess our sin to God, asking Him to forgive us. Then we receive the free gift of God’s salvation by faith as we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” There is absolutely nothing you can do on your own to be saved. You can’t earn it. You can’t live “good enough.” You can’t buy you way into heaven. It is only by faith in Jesus that you receive God’s gracious and free gift of salvation. 

Only the Children on God can receive Living Water

Only as children of God are we able to receive the river of living water that flows out of the heart the Jesus mentioned in John 7:38. And in verse 39, we find that the living water Jesus was talking about is the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, teaching us, guiding us, correcting us, encouraging us, and drawing us ever closer to God as we live our lives.


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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
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Destination: The Well

The story about the Woman at the Well is one of my favorites. Imagine with me for a moment….

It’s in the middle of the day…the hottest part of the day…and a lone woman lifts a clay jar and sets it on her shoulder and heads for the well to draw water. The time of day is important because usually the women came in the early morning, when it was cooler. Also, all the women in a village would go to the well together; laughing, telling stories, catching up with each other, gaining advice and wisdom from older women. But not this woman. She was the outcast in the village and she avoided the other women. Perhaps they turned their nose up at her or maybe they called her names. Her life was different than theirs and she didn’t fit in. But her life is about to change!

A Devine Appointment at a Well

Not too far off a group of men were on their way to Galilee and their leader says, “I must go through Samaria.” The twelve men with him all suddenly stop and look at each other. “Master, through Samaria? Are you sure?”

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You see, the Jews had nothing to do with the Samaritans. Long-standing religious differences created racial divides to the degree that the Jews would consider themselves unclean if they associated with a Samaritan. The disciples could not understand why Jesus wanted to go through Samaria. But look again at the verse in John 4:4. It wasn’t that it was a quicker route or one easier to travel. He had to go. Why? Because he had a divine appointment with an outcast woman on her way to the well to draw water and he was going to give her living water that never runs dry.

Jesus has a divine appointment with you

Is your life feeling a little dirty or dry? Thirsty? Maybe your life is being talked about to the degree that you want to avoid other people. If so, Jesus has a divine appointment with you right now as you are reading. For just a few moments, can I take your hand and lead you to the well that never runs dry?

Maybe you have already given your life to Christ, but you’re still feeling dry and thirsty. If so, can you honestly say you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all our mind (Luke 10:27)? The Bible also says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34). When we treasure something (or someone), we spend time with it, we show it off, we talk about it, we post pictures on Facebook, we tweet about it, our face lights up when the person walks in the room.

How much time are you spending with God? Just enough to grant you fire insurance to save you from the pit of hell? Where are your priorities? What do you spend the majority of your time doing? This will give you a good indication of where your treasure and your heart is. If you are already a Christian, and still feeling dry then perhaps you need to come back to the well and recommit your life to Christ and begin growing an intimate relationship with Him.

See the Unfailing Love of Christ at the Well

If you have not ever had that moment of discovering Christ’s love for you, then let’s look back at the woman at the well and see the unfailing love of Christ.

As the woman approaches the well, Jesus had already sent his disciples into town to buy food and he says to the woman, “Give Me a drink.” Remember the animosity between Jews and Samaritans? His request must have startled her and she replied, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” In his human body, Jesus probably was thirsty after walking from Judea to Samaria. However, his reply was “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”

Can you see the confusion on her face? She looked at his empty hands, then down at the ground, and on the ledge of the well and said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’?

At a Well without a Bucket

Am I the only one that notices she doesn’t get hung up on the idea of “living water” and she is only concerned that he doesn’t have a bucket? Regardless, Jesus used the reason she had come to the well to draw her towards belief in Him. In verse 13-14, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”

She still doesn’t get it. In her mind she must have thought, “Wow…if I never get thirsty again, I will never have to come to this well again and lug this heavy pot of water back home. I will never have to come here in the heat of the day to avoid the other women.” Listen to her reply in verse 15. “Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”

Confronted at the Well

Jesus then goes to the deepest shame in her life. He says to her: “Go call your husband, and come back here.”

 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered.

“You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said.  “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

So here is a man, a Jew, whom she never met before and he knows about her past husbands and that she is living with a man to whom she is not married. Isn’t this the reason she came to the well in the heat of the day? To avoid these accusations? The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to the five husbands, but maybe after being married five times she felt like, “What’s the point? I’ll just live with a man.” In our world today, there isn’t much thought given to men and women living together outside of marriage, but in Bible times, it was not acceptable.

Changing the subject

So again, imagine her astonishment and her hurt that her messy life is so well known that a stranger just stopping at the well for a drink of water knows all her business. She tries to change the subject and surmises that he must be a prophet to know so much about her. She says: “Sir, I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

How often are we like this woman and want to change the conversation when our faults are being set out for display? Jesus addresses this religious debate but also uses it to get to the point. Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

She must have still been confused or else just didn’t like his answer because she answered him saying, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

I Am He

He gets to the whole reason he was here….to introduce her to himself. He says, “I am He, the One speaking to you.”

Her response was to drop her water pot and run back to the village and say, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” As a result the entire town came to meet Jesus…and because of her story, this unnamed woman is still brining people to Jesus today.

You see, Jesus cared for this one Samaritan woman enough to go to the “taboo” Samaria and meet her at the well. He introduced her to himself so that she could, would, and does have living water which is eternal life that we have once we place our faith and trust in Him. Where can Jesus meet you at today so He can offer you living water, and will you accept?

Jesus sought out the Woman at the Well and He seeks you too

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Yes, this is one of my favorite stories in all the Bible…because even knowing ALL the sins of this woman, Jesus still sought her out…and even knowing all my sins he sought me out. He still went to the cross. He still spent three days in a borrowed tomb. Jesus still rose from the grave. He still conquered death, sin, and the grave. And he loved the woman at the well enough that he would have done it even if she had been the only sinner on earth.

Just as he would have if I were the only sinner on earth. And just as he would have if you were the only sinner on earth. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” My sweet friend, the good news is that you (no matter your sins) are included in that word “all.”

Come to the well of Living Water

Come to the well. Jesus is waiting for you. Are you ready to drink from His living water? There are no magic words to use, just three basic steps:

  1. Admit that you are sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” None of us could ever live a perfect life or do anything to “earn” eternal life. The good news is that Jesus has already done the work for us through his life, death, and resurrection. The only thing we have to do is…
  2. Believe. We must believe Jesus is the sinless, only son of God who was born of a virgin and as such, he is both fully 100% God and 100% man. As a man he was tempted just as you and I are, but he never sinned. Because he was sinless he was the sacrifice that shed His blood in our place when he was beaten and nailed to a cross. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Wages…its what we earn. Our sins have earned us death. But, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He willingly laid down His life in our place, taking our wages upon Himself, so that we could have eternal life….even knowing all our sins. All you have to do to accept his free (unearned, unmerited) gift is to reach out and take it by….
  3. Confessing. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession is simply acknowledging what God already knows to be true.

Prayer of Salvation

If you are ready, you can pray this prayer, or one similar on your own.

Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that you are the only son of God who came to earth as both God and man, lived a sinless life and offered your life as payment for my sins and that you died, was buried, and rose on the 3rd day and are now seated on the throne in Heaven. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for meeting me and giving me living water that never runs dry. Thank you for loving me and showing all the things I have done and introducing yourself to me. Help me to grow in you and learn to serve you.

If you prayed that prayer, your next step is to find a local evangelical church to join and talk with the pastor about being baptized.


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Our freedoms come from the sacrifice of many. Memorial day is the day we remember and honor those who sacrificed. It’s also a good time to come together as a nation and pray for God to Bless the USA.

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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

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ISO: The People of God

Where are the people of God?

Where are the people of God? If you are a people of God, would you stand up right now? Or raise your hand, wave, hit the like button? Would you stand up? Hello there people of God! I’m so glad you’re here. It’s great to meet you!

Do you ever feel as if you’re the only “people of God” left in this world? I do! So, I’m so excited that I’m not the only people of God left. But I have a question for you – for all of you that stood up, raised your hand, waved, or hit the like button.

If all of us are people of God, then why is our nation and our world in the shape it’s in?

God is asking: “Where are my people?”

Sometimes, I feel as if God is looking down on America and saying, “Where are my people?” I wonder if God looks down on planet earth and says, “Where are my people?” If God chose to use social media today, He would put out an ISO post: “ISO my people!” (Now for those who are not versed in social media jargon, ISO means “in search of.”)

Because if we are all God’s people, then we have lost the Godly influence that Jesus commanded us to have in this world. You know that’s why you’re here… right? There is so much emphasis placed on knowing your purpose — or in the “church world” it’s known as knowing God’s will for your life. The answer is simple and we can find it in Matthew 5:13-16.

The Purpose of the People of God

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Who is “You”?

So, this passage starts out with the word “you.” Who is the “you” Jesus was talking to? To answer that, we need to go back up to verse one. Now Matthew Chapter 5 is the beginning of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” Verses 2-11 are the well known “Beatitudes.” But don’t overlook verse one. Because verse one tells us to whom Jesus is talking. Verse one says:

 “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

Who came to Jesus on the mountain? His disciples came to him. The “you” Jesus is talking to are his disciples. So, then Jesus is saying “You disciples are the salt of the earth.” “You disciples are the light of the world.” But Jesus wasn’t talking to just the 12 disciples. He is speaking to every disciple throughout time – the people who are called by His name – He’s talking to those of you who stood up and said, “I’m a people of God!”

The People of God are failing in our mission

This is our purpose. This is God’s will for His people. We are to be salt and light so that God is glorified. Do you think God is glorified in our nation right now? No? Then we….God’s people….are failing in the mission God gave us. We are salt that has lost its saltiness. We are a light hidden under a basket.

So, let’s look at these two ideas of being salt and light in the world and the significance it has on the world.

Salt that has lost its Saltiness

Has anyone here had salt that wasn’t salty? I have never experienced unsalty salt. So, then I started asking how does salt lose its saltiness? Well, I did some very “scientific” research in the land of Google and learned that salt is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl (Sodium Chloride). These two ions are great friends and they like being joined together. They are BFFs. They are very tight. Or in our “church world” we could say the “two became one” and they are very happy about becoming one. They are inseparable.

So, the only way for salt to lose its saltiness is for a chemical reaction to occur that would pull these ions apart. Its physical composition, then, would have to either be diluted in water because it is non-reactive in its crystalline form, or electricity would have to be introduced to force the sodium chloride into its separate ionic components and thereby change its chemical composition. Either way – it isn’t salt anymore and therefore it isn’t salty.

How God’s People lose their Saltiness

It’s important to understand the scientific way that salt loses its saltiness if we are going to understand how God’s people lose their saltiness. So, remember that the two ways salt loses its saltiness is by being diluted or shocked. We – God’s People – lose our saltiness when we dilute the gospel message or by being skeptics that acts like an electric shock to the gospel. First, we’ll look at 8 ways we dilute the gospel message.

1. God’s people lose their saltiness when we altar the Word of God

The Christian with diluted salt is the one who has diluted the Gospel in his or her life. We dilute the gospel when we alter any part of God’s Word. For example, the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” A gift ceases to be a gift if it is earned or bought.  If we try to earn our way to heaven or buy our way in – you’ll find yourself turned away at the gate and you’ll never gain entrance.

Salvation only occurs when we receive Christ’s free gift of salvation that He extends to us through His grace and turn away from sin and surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ. That can only be done by faith. Without God’s grace and gift – there is no salvation. Without our faith in God’s grace and gift there is no salvation. To say that salvation occurs in any other way dilutes the gospel and we’ve lost our saltiness.

2. God’s people lose their saltiness when we mix in false doctrine

Another way we dilute the gospel is to mix in false doctrines. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like from all the myriad of doctrines, ideologies, and teachings in the world and come up with one that suits us. Jesus warned us that there would be false teachers that would try to deceive us. And if we are not in the Word of God, knowing what it says, we will never recognize when false teachers are creeping in to dilute the gospel. When we fall for these false teachings, we’ve lost our saltiness. If we preach or teach false doctrines to others, we demonstrate our loss of saltiness with a diluted gospel and we cause other Christians to lose their saltiness.

3. God’s people lose their saltiness when create a rosy view of the gospel

We also dilute the gospel when we take one part of the Bible and ignore the rest so that we create a rosy view of the gospel. For example, the Bible tells us that God is love…and He is. He loves us so much that he doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that everyone would have everlasting life. But He is also a God that is holy and righteous. He is a God who abhors sin and the wages of sin is death. But even while we were His enemy as a sinner, He still loved us enough to send Jesus to die for our sin – to take our place and pay our sin debt for us.

We can’t stop the gospel message with “God is love.” We must also talk about the wages of sin. Creating a rosy view of the gospel dilutes it’s message and we lose our saltiness.

4. God’s people lose their saltiness when we refuse to repent.

The gospel also includes repentance. When salvation occurs, the result is repentance. When we repent, we turn around and go a different direction. We don’t keep on down the same path. If we try to say that you can be saved without having repentance, then the gospel has been diluted and we lose our saltiness to the world.

5. God’s people lose their saltiness when we create alternate routes to salvation

Another way the gospel has been watered down is by creating alternate routes to salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me.” (John 14:6). He didn’t say he was one of the ways to get to the Father – He is the only way.

We create alternate routes to salvation when we believe that baptism will save you, or partaking of the Lord’s Supper will save you. You can be baptized so many times that every tadpole from sea to shining sea has friended you on social media, but you’ll still be lost in your sin if you have not come to Jesus by faith, acknowledging Him as God’s only Son who paid the price for you sin on the cross through his sacrificial death and then rose again and ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to be your Savior. Baptism is an outward statement of what you’ve already done in your heart. It is a testimony to the world that you have died to your sin and then rose to a new life in Christ. But baptism will not grant you entrance into heaven.

Likewise, the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance done as a reminder of what Christ did on the cross but the bread and grape juice (or wine, depending on your church) doesn’t save you. At the last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” No where in the Bible does it say that the Lord’s Supper will get you into heaven, nor does it teach that partaking of the bread and wine become the life and blood of Jesus within you. To teach that these things will save you is diluting the gospel message and we lose our saltiness.

6. God’s people lose their saltiness when we make sin a lesser evil than it is in God’s eyes.

We can also dilute the message when we attempt to make sin less than it really is or give it a name other than sin. You can call it being “culturally sensitive” or “politically correct” or any other name you want – but God still calls it sin. It’s time we tell people about how God views sin and stop glossing it over! You can say you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings but would you rather them spend eternity in hell because you couldn’t call sin, sin? We’re talking about their eternity and if you’re not salty with them, they may end up in hell for eternity. Can they afford for you to not be salty?

7. God’s people lose their saltiness when we become complacent in our mission

We also become diluted when we become complacent. It’s like we have our entrance ticket into heaven so all is good. We go to church on Sunday and get our 30-minute fill-up and we raise our hands in the worship songs and leave saying, “It was good to be in the house of the Lord.” But we never truly worshiped while we were there. Or we stay within the walls of our churches and pay no attention to the world outside that is on its way to hell. Then we stare in confusion and horror at the news and wonder how the world got so bad. People of God – go look in the mirror to find the answer. We’ve lost our saltiness in our complacency.

8. God’s people lose their saltiness when we dilute the consequences of sin

The last thing I thought about in diluting the gospel message occurs when we dilute the consequences of sin. God made it very clear that the wages of sin is death – eternal death, in the lake of fire where the worm never dies, and the flame is never quenched. The place of torment we call hell.

If we truly understood how horrible hell is, we would not have to beg people to share the gospel. We would want to make sure no one ended up there. Let me tell you – there is no working your way out of hell once you’re there. No one can pray you out once you’re there. If you end up in hell – you’re there for all eternity. The only way to not end up in hell is salvation through faith – and that must be done in this life. Once you breathe your last breath and wake up in eternity – it’s too late to decide. We can’t dilute the consequences of sin because to do so, dilutes the gospel message. The lost need the people of God to be salty.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The People of God lose their saltiness when they become skeptics

So, we said that salt loses its saltiness by being diluted or shocked. When we talk about the gospel, skepticism is like an electric shock. The skeptic Christian will “split hairs” over doctrine – and often split churches in the process.

The skeptic Christian might acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son, but they still want to keep living their life the way they want to, so they find reasons to say, “The Bible says…. But…..” For example, the Bible says that sex out of marriage is sin. The skeptic Christian would say, “But does that apply in 2021?”

The Skeptic Christ might acknowledge that the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” But then argue, “But a fetus isn’t human yet, so we’re not guilty of murder.”

The Bible says, “Thou shalt not lie.” The skeptic would say, “But it’s ok to lie on my taxes.” Or they might say, “It was just a ‘white’ lie.”

The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. The skeptic would argue that same-sex marriage should be acceptable.

The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination to God. The skeptic would say that God created them that way (which He did not create anyone to be an abomination to Him!).

Skepticism makes us lose our saltiness because instead of planting seeds of faith, it sows doubt that keeps us separated from God with a canyon was wide as the Grand Canyon. The less faith we have, the less salty we are.

The result of God’s People not being salty

So, we’ve looked at how we can be diluted or shocked into losing our saltiness. The result of not being salty is we don’t bring people to Jesus. The ramifications on the world are grave. Not only do people die without knowing Jesus, but our world is lost in chaos and sin. It causes division, riots, murder, hate, racism, and all the things we see happening in our world.

The Son of God Had a Divine Appointment to be Salty

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the Samaritan woman at the well. We’ll find the story in John 4:1-42. In this story, we find that Jesus has a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman. To fully understand the significance of this, you have to understand the culture of the day. First, the Jews and the Samaritans did not get along. The Jews looked at the Samaritans as “unclean” and would have nothing to do with them. It was also not culturally correct for a man to speak to a woman that was not his wife or family. But these were culturally set boundaries – not Godly set boundaries and the Son of God knew she would be at the well and he was going to bring salt and light to not only her, but her whole village.

Jesus had to go through Samaria

Because of how the Jews felt about the Samaritans, they would walk miles out of their way so that they did not have to walk through Samaria. Jesus had been in Judea but left to go to Galilee and we find in John 4 that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria.” The King James says he “must” pass through Samaria. He had a divinely scheduled appointment at a well – so he had to go through Samaria. When he arrives, he sits by the well and as the Samaritan woman approaches, we find that it is about the sixth hour.

Timing is everything

The timing is important too. Naturally, if Jesus arrived later, he would have missed this woman at the well. But more importantly, the timing of the woman’s arrival at the well gives us our first glimpse about this woman who is coming to draw water at this time of day. It was typically the woman’s job to draw water, but usually all the women would go to the well at the cool of the day and they would go together. It was a time to catch up with one another and share time with friends. But this woman comes at a time when all the other women of the village would not be there. She comes alone. She’s an outcast. We find later in the story the reason. She’s had seven husbands and the man she is living with now is not her husband.

The woman at the well encounters Living Water

When she arrives at the well, Jesus asks her for a drink of water. Because of cultural rules, she is shocked and asks him why he, being a man and Jew, would speak to her. Jesus replies, “If you new 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. Eventually, the woman leaves the well, goes back to the village and brings the entire village to Jesus. She met the Living Water and was changed. She became salt.

Salty Christians are distributors of Living Water

The thing about salt is it makes you thirsty. And when we are salt to the world, we bring the world to the Living Water. Jesus wants us to sprinkle salt wherever we go, making the world thirsty for the Living Water. Salty Christians are distributors of Living Water. How salty are you? Who are you bringing to the Living Water?

The People of God are the light of the world

Jesus said that we are the salt of the world. He also said we are the light of the world. How do we become light to the world? In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” God’s people have the light of Christ living in them and we are to shine His light into the darkness of the world so that the world will see Jesus in us.  Wherever there is light, there can be no darkness. Light cancels out darkness. But when we hide our light under a basket, the world doesn’t see the light of Jesus. As a result, the people stay lost in darkness.

We Shine the Light of Jesus so that Jesus is Glorified

As children we used to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” And we’re fine with shining our light at church, among other Christians. But we don’t want to let it shine in the world. Jesus wants our light to shine before men so that it will glorify God. Jesus wants our lights to shine before men so that mankind will come to know God.

If you are a People of God, will you please stand up?

So, as we look at our nation today and the world around us, are we shocked and amazed by what we see? Or have we become so numb to the grotesque, sinful state of the world that we aren’t even shocked anymore? If so, then where are the people of God? Where are the salt and light? We’ve lost our saltiness long enough! We’ve hidden our light for far too long. It’s time for God’s people – those called by His name – the Christians – to humbly bow before God acknowledging our fault in not being salt and light to the world. It’s time for God’s people to seek His face and turn from our sins. It is time for the people of God to stand up.

If you are a people of God, will you please stand up? Our nation desperately needs your salt and light.


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God’s Starting Point

What’s the impossible in your life? In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” When you reach the point of impossible – that’s where God starts.

Impossible is God’s starting point

Here are some of our favorite designs

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

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Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore,