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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - JESUS CHANGES LIVES. Part 1.

"If I had my life to live over again, I would live it to change the lives of people. Because you have not changed anything until you have changed the lives of people." -- Warren Webster.

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" - John 4:29. Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." - John 4:39.

A man from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, "Billy, go get mother." - Source Unknown.

When we take a good look around us, we see the world and our own private world is changing. The quote, “Nothing stays the same!” is true. We are in a constant state of change, and we may not like it, and we may do everything we can not to change, but the fact remains that things are changing. Changes are being made in every conceivable area imaginable, especially in the areas of Science, Technology, Medicine, yes, and even the church, it is all changing. Even though we may like things just the way they are, the reality is, it is all changing.

Looking at the ministry of Jesus, He was never satisfied with a Status Quo” ministry. Jesus changed lives, and still does to this day. The changes that He wanted to make were in people. Jesus was not satisfied with changing the “Status Quo,” unless it changed the hearts and lives of men, women, and children. I believe that we have a “principle of change” here, and that Jesus used it as He touched the lives of people. It is the principle that we must use as an extension of Christ Himself, as we minister to the lost.

Some people will change when they see the light. Others change only when they feel the heat. – Source unknown.

In John 4:4-42, Jesus puts this principle into action, as He changes the life of a Woman, His Disciples and a Town full of People. These verses are incredibly powerful, for they speak to us as individuals, and as universal body of believers, that we too must be in the ministry of change, a ministry that changes the lives of people.

HOW JESUS CHANGED THE WOMAN
Jesus said that He had to pass through Samaria, and by doing so He would change those hated by the Jews and vice versa. To change people’s lives, means there must be change coming from us; we simply cannot expect people to change, without first changing ourselves.

Jesus Risked His Reputation
Jesus risked His reputation as a Jewish Teacher, and Leader, when he spoke to this woman at the well. She was a woman, and Rabbis were not allowed to speak to women publicly, it was viewed as indecent and immoral. She was a Samaritan woman, and the Jews were not allowed to associate with the Samaritans. She had a bad history of marriage, five husbands, and she was now living with a man outside of marriage.

This woman and her lifestyle, represent all those sinners who do not measure up to our standards. The important point to see is that Jesus went to her, she did not come to Jesus! If we want to see change in people's lives, we must be willing to go to them, but in order to do that, we must we willing to believe that the Gospel, the “Good News” is for everyone, no matter what race, social position, or past sins.

Jesus risked His reputation, in order to bridge the cultural, and communication gap between this woman and Himself. He was putting into practice that principle of change... “If you don't change people, you really haven't changed anything.” Are we willing to risk our reputations to change people for the better? This is not a question of semantics; it needs to go straight to the heart.

During the early days of the Salvation Army, William Booth and his associates were bitterly attacked in the press by religious leaders and government leaders alike. Whenever his son, Bramwell, showed Booth a newspaper attack, the General would reply, "Bramwell, fifty years hence it will matter very little indeed how these people treated us; it will matter a great deal how we dealt with the work of God." - W. Wiersbe.

It is difficult for us to break out of our traditional Christian, and social customs, it is difficult to change our methods, formulas, programmes, in order to change people, but we must imitate Jesus, who risked His reputation, to change the traditions and customs of His day, in order to bring one woman to Salvation.

But, she is no ordinary woman, no, this is a woman whose life was dramatically changed by Jesus, and she brought a whole Town to Jesus for Salvation! Hallelujah! What an awesome God we serve!

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. - Phil 2:5-8.

Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image to stop smoking. But there's no hidden message in the National Research Council's verdict on such techniques. The Council's report, released in September 1992, concludes that subliminal messages simply don't work. They don't deliver the life-transforming power they promise. - Today in the Word.

Jesus risked His reputation, and we must do likewise, in order for others to change!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to risk my reputation, and be ready to change my life, that I may be instrumental in changing other people’s lives, that they may be won for Jesus, and His Kingdom! In His wonderful name I ask this. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tomorrow in Part 2 of JESUS CHANGES LIVES... JESUS ANSWERED HER QUESTIONS.

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