Category Archives: History

Looking Beyond

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can You get this living water?’” John 4:10-11

Despite this woman’s ignorance to the truth Jesus was trying to share with her, she recognized the well was deep. How soon she would find out just how deep. Let’s explore a little further for some interesting and healing lessons on perspective we can apply to our own lives.

We should first understand the significance of the woman being Samaritan and Jesus being a Jew. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. It was rather scandalous for Jesus to ask this woman for a drink, because Jews held a belief that Samaritans were unclean, and they themselves become ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan. However, our Jesus knew better. He wasn’t interested in judging her for her lineage. He was interested in healing her heart and bringing her into the Kingdom, where the only label she will have is “Loved.” 

The first perspective is about whose eyes we are seeing through. Jesus doesn’t view people the way the world does. In Jesus’ eyes, He sees only the heart of someone and what can be. Of course He’s aware of our past and present but, with the power of God at work in our hearts, that doesn’t dictate our future. This is vitally important, so lean in a little.

You are not your sin.

You are not your past bad choices. You’re not even your present bad choices. When God looks at you, He sees only who you are in Him. He sees the potential He knit within you when you were in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Can you receive mercy and see yourself in this light? Can you show mercy and see others around you in this light? It’s not always easy, but we all make mistakes, and Jesus tells us we will all be judged in the same way we choose to judge others – that the same measure we use will be measured to us (Matthew 7:1-2). Today seems like a good day to start looking at people a little differently, doesn’t it?

Our second perspective has to do with how we inventory our resources. In the Scripture above, the woman told Jesus He had nothing to draw the water out with. Just like the Samaritan women, we look at our own situations and believe God can’t or won’t help us because the answer we seek requires something we don’t have. Our perspective needs to change to account for two things. The first is the answer we want may not be the answer God knows is best. The second is He has what we can’t see. God has everything and anything at His disposal the moment He needs it. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t be there in His perfect timing.

This leads us to our third perspective. What we see may not always be what we’re getting. If you take anything away from this reading, I pray it’s this. When the Samaritan woman asked about the living water, she understood this to be water used to quench her physical thirst. What she was unaware of in that moment, was that it wasn’t the well water He wanted to give her, but the gift of salvation. I wonder how often we’re handed something from God, only to miss the deeper and more meaningful picture.

When Jesus told her what her current life’s condition was, He didn’t condemn her. He gave her hope and the assurance of a new life in Him. He was more concerned about who she could be than who she was. The expression Jesus used to describe the “welling up” of eternal life is a vigorous one. Commentaries say it has a meaning like “leaping up.” Jesus was speaking of vigorous, abundant life. The life he offered to this Samaritan woman is the same life He offers to you and me.

Look beyond the things right in front of you to see the bigger picture. Seek out understanding and a greater wisdom for the things of this world God uses to teach you about the things of His Kingdom.

Interesting factoid: The well mentioned in the Scripture above is commonly referred to as Jacob’s well. It’s located in Shechem, a city in ancient Israel, north of Judea. Christian sources as early as the fourth century mention a well in this area that was over 100 feet deep. In 1935, there was a well cleaned out, believed to be this very well, and it did, in fact, go down 138 feet.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Thieves in the Temple

“Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’’” Luke 19:45-46

There are so many beautiful teachings and parallels that are buried within God’s Word, just waiting to be uncovered. Jesus often used parables when teaching the crowds to explain things that had a much deeper meaning. On the surface, what we read is a very practical application of living the life and exhibiting the behaviors God is asking of us. However, at the heart of these applications is usually a treasure much more valuable and life breathing. We only need to dig past the surface to find it. God plainly tells us if we seek Him, we’ll find Him (Proverbs 8:17).

In Luke 19:28-44, we read of the Triumphal Entry. This is the point in Jesus’ ministry when He enters Jerusalem, openly affirming He is the Messiah. Up until this point, Jesus allowed His actions to dictate what others knew and believed of Him. But now, it was time for a much bigger plan to unfold, at the beginning of which, was making known His true identity in God. He knew proclaiming Himself as the Messiah would anger the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, ultimately putting the plan of His very death into motion.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He wept over it. He prophesied there would come a time when their enemies would build an embankment around them and their children to completely destroy them. His heart was grieved because He knew they wouldn’t recognize God Himself was coming to them to save them. It was then Jesus entered the temple area and saw the people using it as a market place to sell and make money. Jesus was furious over the desecration of His Father’s house and, in righteous anger, began driving the sellers out of the temple.

Pause with me here, for we’re about to uncover our parallel. On the surface, we can easily relate to the reasons Jesus may have been angered by what was happening in His Father’s house. It was intended as a place of prayer and intimacy with God, not a marketplace filled with greed and ill intentions. However, I think there’s more here. Jesus was protecting the integrity of a physical location, but I think we can use this as an example of the need to protect the integrity of our hearts. We need to overturn the thieves we place within our hearts that rob God of our intimacy with Him.

God desires to be the very center of our being. The Word tells us Christ dwells in our hearts, and that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). As imperfect people who sin, we allow desecration of the temple, today, by allowing idols that are not of God to steal precious priority within our hearts. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He gave Moses the command that we shall have no other gods before Him. When we hold things precious that don’t give glory to God, we’re allowing things into our hearts that take on the very nature of what Jesus drove out of the temple thousands of years ago.

Is there anything in your life that would make Jesus angry enough to want to overturn it?

I hope you’re encouraged to examine your heart and drive out the things competing with your heart for God. I sure am. This has to do with more than just our time with God, but the character He desires to build within us. 

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Be blessed,
C.K.

The Witnesses

Slowly, they walked up the hill at Golgotha, trying desperately to function beyond their feelings of dread. Golgotha. It was aptly named. In Aramaic, this was known as “place of the skull.” It was known for death. Breathing deeply with every step forward, they assembled there. Storm clouds formed in the sky and the wind picked up around them. They pulled their cloaks tighter and looked amongst each other nervously as darkness fell across the land. Hours went by. They were watching. Waiting. Wondering what this would mean. Fearing what this would mean. Everyone was silent. Everyone but Him who was laid bare on the tree.

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with grief. The tremors shot terror through the hearts of those standing witness, and pulsed furiously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split …. When the centurion and those with Him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:51,54

Grief. Confusion. Anger. A complete and total loss of words. For the Apostles, the world as they know it just came crashing down on top of them. The hope they held out seemed like a distant memory and the One they called Master was now a lifeless body hanging before their eyes. Walking away from Golgotha was longer and harder than walking to it. They wondered what all of this was for now. Their mission. Would they even still have one? They wondered if all those things Jesus told them were even real. Nothing made sense anymore. Nothing.

* * *

Swiftly, the angels assembled, ready to bear witness to the most significant moment there ever was and ever would be in the history of both the kingdom of man and of God. Even the very earth was astir, its clouds rolling and wind sweeping, unable to contain its anticipation. They were watching. Waiting. But they were not wondering. They all knew what was to come. It would be hard to watch, but they knew He did it for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). A hush fell over them as every sin that ever was and ever would be committed laid on the shoulders of the One who came to save them. The Hope of all Hopes gave up His last obedient breath…

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with the joy of celebration. The tremors pulsed victoriously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them …. Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 7:25,27

Joy. Faith. Celebration. Songs of praise and worship. For all of Heaven knew the veil had been torn, no longer separating man from God, but creating a bridge to the Holy of Holies. Hope was now alive. As alive as their Lord and Savior. All the hard work was validated and the prophesy about Jesus fulfilled. It was the new reality for all of mankind. Everything made sense now. Everything.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Exponential Impacts

Do you wonder what kind of an impact you’re making? Do you get discouraged when it seems like what’s going on around you might be taking you farther from the goal? When God’s in control, never underestimate the impacts. You may not see them right in front of you, but they are there. Let’s look at an incredible example of this – one that continually blows my mind every time I really think about it.

“…and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.”

Romans 1:10-11

In 60 A.D., Rome was estimated to have more than four million people. In comparison, it would be like taking the city of Green Bay, WI and multiplying that forty times over. It would take fifty Lambeau Field stadiums to hold everyone! Paul had been hearing reports on the faith growing among the people and expressed his longing to visit them. Simply put, he was stoked to walk into this great imperial city and put on his preacher show at the Colosseum. It was the city center amphitheater which dreams were made of. Paul made it to Rome alright. But it wasn’t the colosseum he sat in. It was a prison cell. He landed himself on house arrest as a result of freeing a slave girl from a demon (Acts 16:16-24).

For the next two years, the only people Paul saw were the Roman guard and any visitors allowed to him. Can you imagine the discouragement he must have battled, feeling so far from the goal? Hardly a colosseum of people. But he made the most of his time preaching to his captive audience. He also did something quite extraordinary. During his time in prison, Paul wrote four books of the New Testament – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Now let’s get to the really cool part.

Statistically, the Bible is recorded to be the best selling book of all time, with over five billion Bibles in circulation. Combine this with all of the Bible apps, like YouVersion, that people can download for free. Now add in every person who’s ever listened to a message from one of these four books. I don’t know if I even know how to do the math correctly to come up with that number. All I know is, it’s staggering. That’s as scientific as I’ll get on one cup of coffee.

Paul expected to preach to a colosseum of people in Rome, but God had a much bigger plan in mind. The impact from the writings he did there were completely exponential to what he would have ever imagined, and those numbers grow daily! It’s mind blowing, really. Is Paul sitting in heaven feeling disappointed now? I think not.

If you’re working toward the things God laid on your heart, be confident the impacts will be both exponential and eternal, in His timing. If you expect Him to do immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20), He’ll never disappoint you.

Be blessed,
C.K.