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Esau despised his birthright.

Here's the passage:

Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright now." Esau said, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?" Jacob said, "Swear to me now." So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. - Genesis 25:31-34 ESV

What is our birthright as born again children of the kingdom? What would it look like to despise it?

How does our heart swap expedient relief of natural needs for the eternal reward assigned to us at our second birth?

Ponder that and let's talk about it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts,

Ben

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Mull this over with me for a few minutes:

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; - John 17:6

A few weeks back we saw from John 16 that the Holy Spirit gives us everything there is to get via disclosure or revelation. [read about that here]

I have talked much about the wonderful name of Jesus and the names of God – all those magnificent “I AM”s of the Old and New Testaments.

Here in John 17:6 we find that Jesus’ method of discipleship was to walk through life with these boys and manifest – demonstrate – the name of the Father to them. Jesus demonstrated what it looked like to be “in the name.”

The Father’s name – revealed in all those “Jehovah …” statements and Jesus’ name – revealed in all His “I AM” statements paint for us a picture of the character and nature of God. [I AM healer … provider … righteousness … banner … door… way … truth… life … resurrection … vine … door – you get the idea]

But it does not end with seeing the character and nature of God in Christ.

I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. - John 17:6, 11-12 NASB

We are “kept” IN the name.

Jesus demonstrated the name – a full disclosure or revelation.

The revelation of truth by the Spirit makes it ours.

Not only do we now own it – we are drawn into it.

The Name of the Father is given to us as a dwelling place. He abides in us, we abide in Him – and the “how” is by the revelation of His name to our spirit.

As we understand the nature and character of the Father – we live in that truth. We trust in it. We make life choices counting on His character to back us. His name becomes our life collateral.

Then check out the end of it – Jesus says that when He was “keeping them in Your (the Father’s) name – he guarded – protected – covered them.

It turns out that the Father’s name – and by extension the name of Jesus – the name above all names, given to Jesus – the name at which every knee shall bow – that name – is the safest place on earth. [Tweet This]

Father, this day, help me live my life completely in Your great name.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

You are a huge blessing to me.

Ben

 

Well-1

This last Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to preach at Pascack Bible Church, my home church. Prior to preaching my dear sister Sharon Chang presented a reading of "What I Found at the Well."

You can listen on line, or download the sermon and share it with a friend.

PascackBible.org

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Ben

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River of Living Water

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24 NASB)

Did you know that God is looking for something? It is not something that he does not have, but it is something He wants more of.

And this is nothing new. Do you remember this verse out of 2 Chronicles?

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)

Do you see it?

The Father is looking for people who’s hearts are completely His. I love that phrase, completely His.

I expect that many of you, like me, learned this verse in the King James Version where it says whose heart is perfect toward Him. But I love this phrase – heart is completely His.

That is such a perfect description of true worship.

Is your heart completely His?

Maybe your saying to yourself – if I am honest – I was lusting after other stuff yesterday, or earlier today, and my heart was going after this or that.

How bout right now – as you read these words – isn’t your heart crying out to be completely His?

Guess what – that right there – that moment of giving your heart to Jesus completely – that was a moment of worship.

Can you go longer – just a bit longer – in worship – full on desire to love Him more today that you did yesterday?

If you will put your will to work on what you know in your heart and reborn spirit is right, before you know it you will be just the kind of worshipper the Lord is spending considerable effort looking for.

Let today be better than yesterday, and tomorrow we can get after it again.

BenLet’s live a life of ever-increasing worship!

Thank you for stopping by today.

Ben

 

This post originally posted in February of 2013

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River of Living Water

In this encounter with the woman at the well, it takes some time for the woman to catch on that Jesus is not talking about natural things.

When He starts talking about living water she says this.

“Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? (John 4:11 NASB)

I started to ponder this question. What did Jesus have with which to draw. He was talking about a well, or better, a spring of living water. How was He able to draw from this well of living water?

photo credit: las - initially via photopin cc
photo credit: las - initially via photopin cc

To take water from a fountain you would need a bucket of some sort. (For you who like old lingo substitute the word vessel where I use a bucket.) And in the case of a well, you would need a rope to lower and raise your bucket.

Jesus tells us this 'living water' is the Spirit, but how to find a bucket that can hold this living water? The fact is you actually have to become the bucket, be the bucket, man! [Tweet This]

Jesus laid out a detailed plan for this in Matthew 5:3-11. Religious folks call this the Beatitudes, today we will call it the ‘How to be a bucket list.’

  • Poor in spirit - see you need before God
  • Mourn - confess and forsake your own sin
  • Meek - submitted to the heart of the Father
  • Hungry and thirsty for righteousness - walk in a way than shuns sin in your own life.
  • Merciful - tempered by an unwavering mercy, fed by the mercy you have received.
  • Pure in heart - keeping yourself free from guile, seeking His face daily, hourly,  moment by moment
  • Leading men to peace with their Heavenly Father.

This is the path Jesus laid out to truly blessed life - one flowing with living water.

If you want an abundance of this living water, start with step one and get your bucket on.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See. You tomorrow.

Ben

For lots of detail on this ‘How to be a bucket list’ check out my series on the Beatitudes.

This post was originally posted on February 15, 2013

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By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Come see a man who knew all about the things I did,
who knows me inside and out.
Do you think this could be the Messiah?”
John 4:29

What I Found at the Well

Samaritan Woman

I wasn’t always this way: a pariah, an outcast from society, cut off from my children, forgotten by those I once loved. Now, I live day to day. Then, I had a future. Hopes. Dreams.

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of the day when I would be the one in the white dress. I would be the one swept away by the dashing and gentle man. I would be the one celebrated, congratulated. The young girls would sing and dance around me.

I remember when my fortunes began to turn. As a woman in a man’s world, it wasn’t like I had much to say in the matter. My first husband threw me out one day. I know it wasn’t the first time I didn’t have a meal ready for him when he came in, but was that all I was to him? A cook?

He was nearly three times my age. When we married, his forty-six years could have been a hundred to me. He was a butcher, and my father made the match thinking I would not go hungry. At sixteen, I had done some cooking, but our family was large, and I was the youngest girl. I never learned how to manage a kitchen or plan a meal.

The marriage lasted less than two years. Now instead of a silly sixteen-year-old girl, I was a divorced woman with a broken heart at seventeen. He and his new wife kept my baby, my only joy for the last eight months.

My parents let me back in my childhood home, but things were not the same. They looked at me with different eyes. Rather than seeing my pain, they saw the shame I brought them.

My father tried for a couple years to find me a match, but a good man did not want a divorced woman.

That’s when I began to settle. I settled four more times, and each time I found myself back on the street. Now I live with a man, and he’s a brute. He does not have any interest in marrying me; he just wants someone to boss around. I have finally learned to get supper on the table promptly, since the alternative is so painful.

After my second marriage, the women in Sychar began to talk. It got worse and worse, until I just didn’t want to be seen in town anymore. Every time I showed up in the village, my shame burned me. It was like holding my hand over an open flame. When I entered a shop or market, all the talking stopped and the glaring began.

Twice a day—morning and evening—since the day I was first married, it fell to me to fetch the water. A few years back, I stopped going with the rest of the women. As their distaste for me grew, I looked for different times and other places to find water. I began to travel all the way out to Jacob’s well. It was deeper than the one in town, so I needed to bring more rope. It was fifteen minutes farther away, but it was private in the heat of the day.

When I got to the well today, I was a bit surprised to find a man there. Not just a man, but a Jew. I could tell by the locks of hair curling down beside his cheeks and by his Galilean accent. I can’t even imagine how he came to be there.

It was rare to see a Jew in Samaria. They didn’t like us. They didn’t like our animals. They didn’t like our roads. They didn’t like anything about us.

This Jew looked tired, having most likely spent hours traveling, and he had nothing with him—no waterskins, no luggage, no food. Who traveled across this desolate tract without water? But here he was.

I was hesitant to approach. The Jews could get pretty hostile toward Samaritans. The fighting wasn’t of a physical nature, but there was no love lost in our dealings.

Then, out of the blue, He spoke to me.

“Will you give me a drink?”

I looked up. I had not let my eyes meet His. Eye contact was usually painful for me; the scorn or condemnation I found in most eyes drove mine to the ground. But when He spoke it startled me, put me off-balance.

At first I thought I would just ignore Him. This Jew could only have malice in mind. But I could feel His eyes on me. He did not turn away and was not put off by my silence. He just sat there on the edge of the well and watched me. When I finally looked up and met His gaze, something in His eyes said He was there just for me. He didn’t look at me like other men. He was looking at the “little-girl me”—like my father used to when I sat on his lap. There was somehow safety in His gaze.

Still, this could not end well for me, so I took another moment, gathered my wits, and put up my guard.

“You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan, a woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

Then He started talking to me about some living water. At first I didn’t get it. I couldn’t tell if He was flirting with me or making fun of me. But there was something in His tone, in His way, something completely genuine.

Next thing I knew, He told me to call for my husband.

There it was again. Every time I dared to hope for something good, for a new relationship, my past stood like a locked gate before me, an iron barrier between me and life.

I wanted the living water. I wanted eternal life. But who would ever love someone with my past?

“I’m not married,” I mumbled. It was true after a fashion. The man of my house won’t even let my children visit when he’s at home. He would never marry me—love me.

He waited a beat. My heart waited, too. Did He know I was bending the truth?

“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”

How could He know these things? They say Messiah will come, and when He comes He will tell us all things. Could this be Him?

We spoke of other things—of temples and worship, of Mount Gerizim and Jerusalem. But what I wanted to ask Him—Are you the One?—I couldn’t get my tongue to say the words.

Finally I edged up on the question.

“I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”

His answer broke the iron gate, and the floods began to flow. His answer was like living water to my soul.

“I AM He.”

This Man-Jew-Prophet-Messiah-Savior of the World, this Jesus, flooded my soul with living water. He made me a temple, a place of worship to the One True God. And He did it knowing who I was and what I’d done. He knew me—all of me—and loved me.

Today, when I lie down to sleep, it’s not in blankets of shame. The flood within me springs up to life daily.

The acceptance I pined for these forty years, I found at the well.

The cleansing I wept for year after year, I found at the well.

Come! See a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?

~~~

To read the original story, see John 4:1-29.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2015

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

The story above is a chapter from my book Encounters With Jesus, which is a compilation of forty such stories. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.

You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon, or for your Nook at BN.com If you want both you can get the Kindle version for only 99c when you buy the paperback on Amazon.

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By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly. - John 4:18 NASB

Ok – wow Jesus – now your just showing off.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus exposes the obvious sore spot in the Samaritan Woman’s character.

Yes – I get that she had to own her sin in order to gain life – there needed to be a platform for repentance. I get all that. But check this out.

By exposing the full breath of her failure and then offering her life, no one can ever convince her that she is not good enough for God.

When satan comes (and you know he does) and tells her that she is not good enough – “You call yourself a Christian?” “If God knew about your past and the things that tempt you, He never would have offered you eternal life.”

When Jesus exposes all her sin and the full extent of her failure, He takes away any future use of that failure as a weapon against her. [Tweet this] He is demonstrating to her that nothing can separate her from His great love.

How is it with you? You know [I know you do] that Jesus knew every thing about your past and your tendencies, your temper, your weaknesses, your fears and your failures, before He ever chose you. Before He whispered in your ear “come, follow me, my son” or “I have loved you with an everlasting love, my daughter” he forgave you completely.

Don’t let satan have that foothold.

Be free of that today.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Shine

Ben

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By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have been spending a majority of my time in John’s gospel these days. My home church has been working through it for over a year, and now we are in what is likely to be a year long pulpit series trekking through it as well.

I will have the opportunity to preach on the story of the woman at the well in a week and a half, so I am spending some time and attention on her story again. I blogged through this a little passage over a year ago. You can find those posts here.

One thing I noticed in both John 3 and John 4 was this ever-so-promising word – WHOSOEVER. (Well – actually I had to go to my KJV search to find this word – it doesn’t actually appear in many of the modern translations. – ah well – their loss [wink])

Check it out:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:15-16 KJV

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. - John 4:13-14 KJV

There are some serious parallels in these two presentations of the Wonderful News.

What strikes me here is not just the fact that He used the word WHOSOEVER but that He demonstrated “whosoever” in no uncertain terms.

Check out the whosoever we are talking to here.

Nicodemus Woman at the Well
Man Woman (that’s a bigger deal that you may realize)
Rich Poor
Educated Not permitted to learn to read
Memorized the Torah Talmud says better to burn the pages than to let a woman read them.
Jew Samaritan
Good reputation Terrible reputation
Named Un-named
Came to Jesus Jesus came to her
Met at night Met at noon
Believed and kept quiet Believed and told everyone

I am not sure there could be two more different people in that time and place.

I believe one reason John tells us of these two encounters back to back, is to bring our attention to the WHOSOEVERness of the gospel.

He offers both of them in turn access to eternal life.

How great is our God!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Don’t forget to shine.

Ben

2

By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But He needed to go through Samaria. - John 4:4 NKJV

This is a fascinating verse. My standard NASB does not do it justice, at least in my uneducated and non-scholarly opinion.

And He had to pass through Samaria. - John 4:4 NASB

The problem is in the little phrase “had to.”

Other translations give us:

It was necessary for Him to go through Samaria. AMP
And he must needs go through Samaria. KJV
and it was behoving him to go through Samaria. YLT

Honestly, most translations go with “had to” but that is so weak, and does not seem to bring the full import of the idea in the original.

[Standard Disclaimer] Now, I will say what I have said many times before – I am not a scholar – just a student with some resources – and I understand that I don’t understand. I am not expert in original languages. I don’t speak Greek, nor could I tell you how different Greek is from Aramaic. So – buyer beware…. [End Disclaimer]

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[i] has some fascinating definitions for this word.

The one he applies to this text is:

“Necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others toward us.”

But check out some of these other renditions:

“Necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end.”

“Necessity of law and command, of duty, equity”

And here is the one that I love:

“Necessity established by the counsel and decree of God, esp. by that purpose of His which relates to the salvation of men by the intervention of Christ and which is disclosed in the O.T. prophecies.”

As in:

"How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" - Matthew 26:54 NASB

In fact – Thayer points out that there is a Greek synonym for the “necessity” word, which suggests the necessity, arises from circumstance. The word John used here implies “moral obligation which arises from divine appointment.”

TMI? – sorry.

Here’s the thing. Most Jews didn’t go through Samaria to travel between Galilee and Jerusalem. They would take a thirty-mile detour to skirt the region. They would add a day and a half to their journey just to avoid getting Samaritan dust on their sandals. So strong was their prejudice and deep their hatred for the Samaritans they would cross the Jordan twice to avoid contamination. As I understand it by the year 66 AD (about 35 years later) the Jews declared all Samaritans unclean and prohibited them even from the outer courts of the temple, where even the 'gentile dogs' were permitted.

If Jesus were a ‘good Jew’ the text should read, “It was necessary for Him to avoid Samaria.

Why then, was it necessary for Jesus to go through Samaria?

Come back next time and find out.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Walk with the King today.

Ben

 

[i] "Greek Lexicon :: G1163 (NASB)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 1 Jul, 2014. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1163&t=NASB

meadows

I grew up in an era when “testimony” meant a sordid story of evil that turned good. People came and spoke, and gave their testimony. They told us for 20 minutes of their wicked exploits and close with an “I came to Jesus” moment and invitation.

It was encouraging on one level, God cared for the worst of sinners. But, honestly, I felt like I had no testimony of my own. I was a church kid, and never did anything bad. I was, in fact, a good church kid, who didn’t even do the bad stuff that other church kids did.

I want to think for a minute about our girl from the well of Sychar.

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (John 4:39 NASB)

As I said last Friday, there is great power in your testimony. When combined with the Word of God and attentiveness to the Spirit, it makes for unstoppable evangelism.

The woman of Samaria had met Jesus hours, perhaps minutes, before. They had talked, and Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen into her life.

This was her entire experience in Spiritual life.

She went into the city telling everyone about her amazing encounter. Her story, her testimony, began that day.

However, there is a misuse of testimony out there that I want to poke at a bit today. Please hear me – before you read on, please apply grace.

She did not go off and tell of all the evil she had been into, giving lurid details, names, dates, and ‘old life’ photos of all her men summing up with a few short ‘Come to Jesus’ words. The gist of her message was – Come see a man who told me all things – this must be the Messiah.

It is really good to know that Jesus can save to the uttermost those who are terribly lost, and I presume the people of her town did know her past to some extent. But I feel like our testimony begins where God shows up. There is nothing wrong with giving the broad stokes of who you were before.

The power of the woman’s testimony was not in the wretched life she lived before her encounter with Jesus, but in the river of living water that she sensed gushing out of the deepest part of her. That which was dry and parched, was now a source of life for everything in its path.

Turns out I did have a testimony. I was the rich young ruler (all but the rich part.) I had kept the commandments from my youth, but needed to step off the throne of my life and let Jesus be Lord over me.

Our past is an important witnessing tool, and can bring glory to God as a beginning to our stories. But we are called to testify to what we have seen, heard and how Jesus has touched our lives.

Let’s not sensationalize our past. There is a verse in Ezekiel that always gives me pause.

Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 23:19 NASB)

Sometimes when we glorify our evil past, in our lives BC, we actually multiply our transgression!

Let’s glorify God by shining light on our transformation, not on the monster we were before. It’s OK to display how desperately far from God you were, it’s important, so that God receives glory for the full transformation. It’s just a mistake to make that the whole story.

Our girl’s story started the day she met Jesus, and so did mine. That other guy – he is not me, that is the story of a dead man. Now there is life flowing in and through me, and out of me to the world – Hallelujah! Only Jesus could have pulled that off.

Tell someone what the Lord has done in your life today.

BenLet’s talk again soon.

Ben

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