Image Provided by iStockPhoto

Image Provided by iStockPhoto

Do you remember being a child, falling down and skinning your knee? Do you remember bringing your wound to your mom or your dad, being comforted, having your tears wiped away and then asked to come into the bathroom where the first aid supplies were brought out? This experience may have been met with not just a little bit of fear and trepidation. Why? Because we knew that our mom or dad intended to clean our wound so we could feel better and avoid infection. But what was sure to happen before it ever felt better?

It would sting.

I believe we have come to that part of our study where our Abba Father calls us to bring Him our wounds. He intends to comfort us with his love, yes. He delights over us with singing! He will wipe our tears if we will let him.

But he also intends to do a deep cleansing of our wounds and this brings pain. This journey can be challenging–especially when we begin to allow him to put that “antiseptic” of the Holy Spirit…that purifying cleansing agent of his holy fire…against our raw, bleeding “skin.”

During our first week of our HEAL – Healthy Eating & Abundant Living – study, we began to see what God says about us in Psalm 139–that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You dared to step into the life and many of you have linked up with an accountability partner to share this leg of your journey. There is still time to do that for the next 4 weeks! Don’t give up on the idea. It will be an invaluable experience to walk side-by-side with someone during the rest of our study.

Last week, we looked some at the mechanics of this journey–

This week, we go deeper, taking steps even closer to the heart of God. Inviting him to show us where we need that cleansing of our wounds, of our sin, of our heartaches. There is great reward for vulnerability, for surrendering to his loving touch, but it doesn’t mean it is easy.

Here is the preview video for this week. Again, if you are an email subscriber, you may have to visit the blog to see the video.

The authors point out that we all have a hunger within that craves to be fed. There is a sanctified ache inside of each of us, placed there by God, that hungers for love. It cries out to be satisfied. The authors call this “love hunger.” We all have this love hunger, but we each get to choose how we will deal with it.

As I mention in the video above, we get to have a look at the story of the woman at the well this week. Again, I urge you to pray that God will make this a fresh experience for you and that your reading of this portion of John 4 will not be diminished by familiarity with this amazing passage. Invite the Holy Spirit to show you this passage afresh and then, perhaps, read it in a translation of the bible that you don’t usually use. Bible Gateway has all kinds of translations you can pick from. I chose the message for this week’s study.

The woman at the well is definitely hungry for something. Coming to the well at mid-day when the heat was the worst and no one else would be likely to be there proves that she was a social outcast. Have you ever felt that way? I have. Jesus meets her in her place of need and asks her some penetrating questions. As you look at this story, note how she deflects his questions. Note what she has done to try to feed her love hunger. Can you identify at all?

The authors ask us this week, “What is your heart hungry for?”

“How has your need for security and significance not been met?”

“How have you responded to this loss?”

“How have you relied on food or a lack of food” (I would add, appearance and perfection) “to comfort you?”

We are challenged with another passage in Psalm 139, verses 23 and 24. Will we boldly invite God to search our hearts and know our thoughts? Will we welcome him to show us what is in our hearts? We know that he has what we need like the children that we are, coming to our good Heavenly Father to get the “medicine” that we need…that will bring healing, but that we know will sting (sometimes, horribly) before it gets better.

Through this discussion in the text, the authors point out three kinds of hunger. Be sure to spend time in this. We will be talking about this at the blog this week. Even if you don’t have the book, you will be able to be encouraged in your journey, so I do hope you will come along!

  • This week, complete the Personal Study portion of Lesson 3.
  • Ask God to continue to show you any lies that you believe and to spend time renewing your mind about these things. If you aren’t sure what that might look like, please post here or ask your accountability partner for ideas. You can also go to Barb’s Blog  and do a search for renewing of the mind material. She does a great job teaching what this means. You have heard me say it before, but I highly recommend Truth Journaling.
  • Do you have a renewing of the mind goal? Would it be helpful for you to develop one or refine or redefine your renewing of the mind goal?
  • Begin to evaluate each time you  consider eating. Ask yourself, “Which type of hunger is demanding to be fed right now? Heart hunger? Head hunger? Or Stomach hunger?”
  • What are some things you can do to feed Heart hunger so that it is being nourished with what it truly needs?
  • What are some things you can do about Head hunger so that it doesn’t lead you to eat when your body doesn’t need food? If you struggle with under-eating, take note of what Allie and Judy say about head hunger being helpful. If you aren’t sure if you fit into that category, ask the Lord. I believe he will show you.

I urge you to bring your wounds to your Abba Father this week. Let him wipe your tears, embrace you with his love, delight over you with singing and, yes, cleanse the wounds you have. It will sting. Even being open with him about the wounds will hurt some. But it is worth it.

What did God show you in your reading of the story in John 4?

Please feel free to share any other responses to the questions in the personal study in Lesson 3. I would love to hear how God is using this material in your life!

Bonus for this week — here is a link to a song at YouTube that I think speaks of what God intends to do.