LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

John 4:4 And (Jesus) had to pass through Samaria.

I find it extremely challenging that Jesus intentionally took living water into forbidden territory. He crossed cultural boundaries and risked His reputation so that He could meet the need of a Samaritan woman.

The Samaritan people were despised by Jewish people.  History and DNA studies seem to indicate that when  the Jews were taken captive and removed from Jerusalem in 722 B.C., the Jews who remained in the rural parts of the homeland began marrying the occupying Assyrian people. The result was the Samaritans. They were labeled unfaithful and impure.

Jesus doesn’t care about labels. Love removes labels. Jesus masterfully models for us what love does. Love crosses borders. Love eliminates labels. Love risks reputation and personal safety to meet the spiritual needs of people. Love compels us to set aside our prejudices and serve people we might otherwise reject.

What labels have you placed on people that keep you from intentionally sharing the love of Jesus with them? Those labels will be removed when we realize that the love of Jesus removed the label we wore so that we could be called the children of God.

I wonder how many of the people we label would love a drink of living water?

Pastor John

Living Water

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, June 29, 2020

When I returned home from my fishing trip on Saturday, I noticed the corn field across from my house. It seemed the corn had grown at least a foot in a week. Later that day, after a hot day of sunshine, I noticed the leaves of the corn beginning to curl a little. It’s a built-in drought protection mechanism designed by our marvelous Creator. It reduces the amount of leaf exposure to the sun, slowing the photosynthesis process, and preserving the limited moisture. It is the corn plant’s way of saying, “Give me a drink.”

John 4:5-7  (Jesus) came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

Well, the corn is getting a drink today. Not only the corn, but everything else as well. When I left the house at 5:30 I could see the thunderstorm to the west. By the time I arrived at the office it was pouring. I had to park my car on the sidewalk under the entrance canopy just so I could get into the building. This is more than a drink. But when it’s over, and the heat returns this week, more drinks will be needed.

After asking the woman for a drink, Jesus begins to explain to her that He can provide water that will permanently quench the inner thirst of people. Jesus provides living water.

John 4:13-14  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The world is in crisis. People are thirsty. There is a drought of satisfying water. There is a collective cry for a drink. Please share the Living Water you have with as many as possible.

Pastor John

Vacation Week

Dear Devotional Friend,

I have the wonderful opportunity to spend this week with my brother Paul and my great friend Paul, who we call Bear, on a fishing and golfing trip.

There will be no daily LifeLink Devotionals this week.

Plan to come back on Monday, June 29, as we pick up our continuing study of the Gospel of John in chapter 4.

Pastor John

Teach and Trust

LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, June 18, 2020

As a father and grandfather, I think the following passage of inspired Scripture from the writings of King Solomon challenges me more than any other.

Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

There are two reasons this hits me so hard:

  1. I am responsible to teach and model to my children the wisdom of God:
    1. My words must be the words of God, and I must consistently model that they are my most valued treasure.
    2. I must keep my ears attentive to wisdom and seek understanding of God’s purpose for my life.
    3. My first option for finding answers to life is to call out to God.
    4. I must model the fear of the Lord and that my life is governed by the knowledge of God.

That’s a tall order. It can be overwhelming. But what makes it even harder is the second reason:

  1. My children are responsible for their own decisions.
    1. Solomon uses the word “if” three times. Compliance to our teaching cannot be coerced. Each child has the individual right to listen or not, and each child is individually responsible to God for whether or not they obeyed.

What makes this so hard is that as parents we tend to get some personal value by pointing to how well our children turn out. We must learn the lesson that the only approval we need is from God when He sees us representing His Son to our children. Our value is not found in the product; that’s the child’s choice. The approval of God is found in the faithful process of proclaiming Jesus and trusting Him with the lives of our children.

Pastor John

Don’t Give Up

LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It’s not too late to make a change. Dads sometimes feel like they have wasted too many years of training their children and it’s too late to change. Human psychology tells us that the thought patterns that dictate a child’s behavior may be ingrained by the time they are four years old. Correction and change become a battle rather than a blessing. Many times we give up and stop trying.

The writer of the 78th Psalm, Asaph, gives us hope to keep investing in the lives of our children. The Psalm begins this way –

Psalm 78:1-4  Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

The first principle of good child-rearing is to lay in them the foundation of being in awe of God. We do that by modeling to them that we are in awe of God’s glory, His power, and His wondrous deeds on our behalf.

The second principle of raising great kids is found in the next few verses. It is that we should teach our children to be obedient to God.

Psalm 78:5-7 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;

Then, in a sudden burst of reality, Asaph recognizes that the behaviors of the past were not healthy and need to be changed. The fathers were not modeling to their children a humble spirit of obedience to God. They were, in fact, being rebellious against God by doing things their own way.

Psalm 78:8  …that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Principle number three is this – be the model of self-sacrifice for the sake of God’s glory and the benefit of others.

I challenge you to read the rest of this lengthy Psalm as Asaph describes the types of rebellion that will happen when these three principles are ignored. The consequences are severe. But find hope in this – God is at work to accomplish change in rebellious people. He has provided a Shepherd who loves us, forgives us, and restores us.  (see the end of the Psalm)

Be the representative of the Good Shepherd to your family.

Pastor John

Provoking Words

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

When I take time to reflect on my skills as a father I can become somewhat discouraged. Why is it that our minds are filled with memories of mistakes rather than successes? Every one of my three children is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and is faithfully raising their children to follow Jesus. I am more convinced than ever of the faithfulness of God to accomplish His purpose in the midst of human weakness. His greatness shines best when our weakness is exposed.

One major area of weakness I still seek to correct is that I failed to listen before demanding to be heard. It is this issue that the Apostle Paul address in Colossians 3:21 when he writes,

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Let’s take a look at the word “provoke.” In the original Greek, it means “to stir up, excite, stimulate.” It is used twice in Scripture, once in a positive way and once in a negative way. In the positive, Paul tells the people in Corinth that their zeal for giving resources to help needy people has stirred up others to also give.  In the negative, the verse above states that fathers are capable of provoking (stimulating) their children to anger.

There are many possible ways to stimulate our children, both positively and negatively. On the positive side, we can encourage them, affirm them, and train them. On the negative side, we break their spirits when we shame them with words that belittle them or criticize them. But I think the worst way we provoke them is by not honoring their feelings and viewpoint before we enforce our viewpoint upon them. People of all ages, but especially children, get discouraged when they don’t believe they are being heard. It invalidates not only their viewpoint but attacks their belief in their value. They begin to believe that they must not be important or valued because their viewpoint is not even worthy to be heard.

Dads, this is critical. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Seek to discover how your child reached the conclusion that caused them to choose that behavior before you condemn the behavior. Seek to know the child rather than dictate the behavior of the child.

When we focus on correcting behavior without understanding the person, we provoke children to anger. We stimulate rebellion. We motivate them to not communicate, and worse, to lie about it when they do speak. We instill fear of rejection when we don’t listen first with a sincere desire to understand.

Emotional responses to the stresses of life that are directed at a child’s behavior will cause them to be discouraged. I know it’s hard, but we must set aside our feelings and embrace the Holy Spirit’s fruit of self-control, and put the condition of the child’s heart ahead of our desire to conform their behavior. That’s being a father like our Heavenly Father.

Pastor John


LIFELINK Devotional
Monday, June 15, 2020

We will get back to our study of the Gospel of John next week, but for this week, as we lead up to Father’s Day on Sunday, let’s focus on dads.

Let’s start with the word “honor.” When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, this was number five:

Exodus 20:12. “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Jesus uses this commandment to answer a question the Pharisees asked Him in an attempt to discredit His disciples for not obeying the law. Jesus said, “Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your traditions? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother.”

So what were the religious leaders doing that was considered breaking the commandment? Jesus explains. “You say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.”

Think about this. In the name of religious tradition, the Pharisees were claiming the right to break the law of God. If they declared their resources to be committed to God, they thought they were excluded from honoring their parents by caring for their financial needs. The problem is that these were religious leaders, and they knew they would personally benefit from committing their resources to God. In essence they were giving to themselves and not providing for their parents. Jesus shouts at them. “You hypocrites.” The very people who should be trusted to uphold the law were looking for loopholes in it so they could advance themselves over others. That is not what it means to honor someone.

Honoring others means to place their welfare ahead of your own, and to consider their needs ahead of your own. When you honor someone, you exalt them ahead of yourself. God’s command is to treat our parents that way.

But pastor, you don’t know what my father did. He’s is not worthy of honor. Well let me ask you, your Heavenly Father knows everything you have done, so should he stop honoring you as His son? I don’t see in God’s command, or in Christ’s affirmation of the command, or in the Apostle Paul’s application of the command in Ephesians 6:2, a loophole for dad’s who aren’t worthy of honor. Instead, I see the love of Jesus filling us with the ability to honor those who have acted dishonorably.

If your dad is still alive, honor him, even if he has been dishonorable. Treat him with respect, even if he is disrespectful. Love him, even if he acts unlovingly. That’s how our Heavenly Father treats us.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

June 12, 2020

When I was much younger there was a series of movies that came out starring an also much younger Clint Eastwood. These movies pushed the violence limits of that era. The plot was centered around a detective named Harry Callahan, otherwise known as Dirty Harry.

Each movie featured a one line statement from the detective that became the trademark of the movie. One of the movie’s statements was, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Praise God that does not apply to the presence of the Holy Spirit within those who are born-again in Jesus Christ!

John 3:34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.

There are two understandings here to assist us in our growth of faith.

  1. The words of Jesus can be trusted because they are the fullness of the infinite mind of God through the power of the infinite Spirit of God who fills Jesus without limit.
  2. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit without measure to all who believe in Him and are born again.

Practically speaking, Jesus has no limitations in knowing the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit in us has no limitations to reveal to us the will of the Father for our lives. Our flesh may limit Him, but He has been given to us without measure.

Let that sink in this weekend. The knowledge of God’s truth, and the understanding of His will and purpose for our lives, has not been limited by God, but is only limited by our choices to pursue the flesh rather than the Spirit. We must know our own limitations, but we must never blame them on God. He has given us the infinite, limitless, indwelling, and all-empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, June 11, 2020

How is your study of John 3 going so far this week? Have you spent time meditating on the challenges presented yesterday? Are they accomplishing the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart?

I spent some time yesterday morning focused on the first point – We seek Jesus because He is sovereign, so we can trust Him to be in control.

John 3:31  He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.

As I thought about the fact that Jesus is above all, I was confronted with the connection between my personal understanding of God’s sovereignty and the level of my trust that results in peace. The Holy Spirit directed me to a passage of Scripture that has really helped me.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

These verses took on greater significance for me when I read them in the context of the next two verses.

Isaiah 26:5-6 For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.”

We are living in a time when I believe God is working to lay low the high and mighty. That’s certainly true for every individual in their spiritual life, but it appears to also be true nationally. We struggle to stay balanced in the ever-shifting sands of human wisdom. Yet our belief in the sovereignty of God, that He is above all, will bring us stability and peace because we know He is in control.

I am not in control. Politicians are not in control. Social movements do not have the solutions to injustice. The cause of injustice is unrighteousness, and there is only One who is righteous – Jesus Christ. He is above all. When we fix our hearts and minds on Him, and trust the everlasting rock of our salvation, He promises to keep us in perfect peace.

The world wants peace without God. We must show them the peace of God that comes from peace with God. We must seek Jesus because we believe He is sovereign. We must trust Him because He is in control.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


How many times have you had that happen? I did it recently on Facebook, after a pastor won the Voice competition. I posted congratulations right away, not thinking that some people hadn’t watched the television show live. SORRY!

I’ve had it happen to me with football games that I intend to watch later, and well-meaning people call me to congratulate my team on their win.


You are about to receive the outline for Sunday’s sermon on John 3:31-36. I pray that it does not keep you from coming or watching. I pray the Holy Spirit uses it to challenge your thinking this week. Here are the verses we will cover.

He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32  He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33  Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34  For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35  The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

The title of the sermon will be STAY ON TRACK! It will focus on John the Baptizer pointing everyone to Jesus. As he does that, he gives us several reasons that we should seek Jesus above all else.

  1. We seek Jesus because He is sovereign, so we can trust Him to be in control. (verse 31)
  2. We seek Jesus because He speaks eternal truth, so we can trust what He says. (verse 32-33)
  3. We seek Jesus because He supplies us with the Spirit without measure, so we can trust the fullness of God’s presence at all times. (verse 34)
  4. We seek Jesus because He supervises all things, so we can trust the outcomes to be good and glorious. (verse 35)
  5. We seek Jesus because He is the source of eternal life, so we can trust Him with everything in this life. (verse 36)

Spend some time each day for the rest of the week on one of these points, (two on Saturday)and see how the Holy Spirit transforms your heart so that you are constantly seeking Jesus.

Pastor John