20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” – John 4:20
We might think it strange that the woman is concerned about where is the proper place to worship, but in her time and situation, it was a very important issue. Under the law, there were specific feasts and celebrations that could only be carried out in Jerusalem. She wanted to know how this would affect her worship. So, if we wanted to update this issue to now, we might ask Jesus, “How is this going to affect my lifestyle?” Jesus answers her question by introducing a whole new concept. The time is coming and it is actually here now that you will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He sent us the Holy Spirit, Now that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, we can worship God anywhere and anytime. This is true for individual worship. The answer for corporate worship is a little more complicated.
24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.—Hebrews 10:24,25 (NCV)
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you. — Isaiah 43:2 NLT
These are not idle words with no meaning or no power to back them up. In fact, in the past, the Israelis walked through the Red Sea and across the Jordan without even getting their feet wet. Elijah and Elisha would one day cross the Jordan on dry ground and Elisha would cross back over the Jordan on dry ground.
2 Kings 2:7-13
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would one day walk in a fiery furnace and come out alive, unburned and without even the smell of the smoke on their clothes.
Anything that our God promises, He is able to bring to pass. Just because we know the stories of these miracles and the miracles in the New Testament well, they should not become so familiar to us that they lose their meaning. Every time we read them or hear them, it should be a reminder that we serve a loving and a faithful God. The One and Only God who is able to do exactly what He says He will do in His own timing. He has proved His love for us over and over with the ultimate proof being that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. He has proven over and over that anytime He asks anyone to do something for the Kingdom, He supplies eveything they need to accomplish the task. The next time and every time that we feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit asking us to speak or act, our hearts should jump with joy that God has chosen us. Our minds and our bodies should jump to the task. If we are obedient in taking the first step of faith, we can be assured that God will finish the work. He has never failed and He never will. No other human or so-called god has predicted, promised or performed without failing.
The Lord, our God, is one God and He alone is worthy to be praised!
17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18 For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19 For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.—1 Cor. 7:17-19 NLT
When we are called by the Holy Spirit and we accept Jesus as our Savior, there most likely won’t be any great or significant changes in our appearance or our vocations. There probably won’t be any changes in the personality that God gave us when we were born. God is not too concerned with our outward appearance. Our outward appearance and situation have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. What God does expect is a change of the heart. If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our desires will change. We will want to follow God’s commandments simply because we love Him too much not to do so. He takes out the old stony heart and replaces it with a heart that desires His presence.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.—Ezekiel 36:26,27 NLT