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“Take Refuge” Women’s Day Notes

First, set your minds by reading these two Psalms:

Psalm 91:1-4
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge

Psalm 71:1-7
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. 5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. 7 I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge.

 

God is a rock of refuge to which I may continually come, and under His wings is where I will find rest for my soul. God is consistent, He is always there to be our rock, our refuge, we just need to stop and remember He is there waiting for us. He wants to protect us.  Our hope is that you will be moved to dwell, rest, and take refuge in God. That He will be YOUR rock of refuge! That you will let Him “ cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” as it says in Ruth and in the Psalms we read.

Florence:
This makes me picture a mother hen protecting her babies under her wings! God desires to protect us! For those of us that just went through the study on Ruth, we watched God work His plan and how He protected and provided for Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. To those around them it looked like a bleak situation. Our prayer is that this can help you to hide in Him NOT from Him. Run to Him not away. Fight with Him not against Him, and really allow God to be where you TAKE REFUGE! Allowing Him to write the story He has planned for your life.

La Micia:
The first thing we wanted to discuss is about being “Seen & Valued”. I want to set this scene for you and show you just how these simple verses that we just read say so much about Jesus. Although the road through Samaria was the shortest route from Jerusalem to Galilee, many Jews often avoided it because there was a deep distrust and dislike between many of the Jewish people and the Samaritans.

For Jesus to go through Samaria he was literally taking the route less traveled and not only does he enter a town that was despised and avoided but he also asks a Samaritan woman for a drink! This wasn’t the norm either because By tradition, a rabbi would not even speak with a woman in public, not even with his own wife.

This was very unusual for a Jewish person of that time to ask a favor or accept a drink from a Samaritan’s cup. So you can imagine this request genuinely surprises her! And what I see is Jesus immediately acknowledging her presence. I love that there’s no hesitation, he’s ready for a relationship with her and in the same way he’s ready for a relationship with us. This speaks volumes to her because he’s making a very bold statement here by doing this he’s saying despite who you are, I see you and you matter to me

In the world today we have to prove our value, we have to prove that we’re worthy of love before someone truly loves us and we often can feel judged because of our past experiences or our differences, but this is not so with Jesus, thank God!

Today with all the social injustice, or even what we’ve seen in this past election. There were two parties fighting one another, putting the other one down, devaluing the other party and we’ve seen just how these differences strain our personal relationships with our families, our friends and even within our church. But this wasn’t what Jeus was about, he takes the invaluable to us and makes us valuable and worthy of his love!

He wants you to know that you are so important to him no matter what anyone else says and he’ll go to great lengths to prove that to you, just like he did here with this samaritan woman.

Florence:
I love how we can see Jesus’ humanity! He is tired from His journey and just wants some refreshment! We can all relate to that. Our journey’s can tire us out as well and we can crave refreshment! And Jesus can offer that to us, but here He needed HIS thirst quenched!! A Simple request, a drink of water.

This is Interesting to me since He could have just commanded the water to come up the well straight to His lips. That would have been a really cool miracle, instead He asks the woman, why??

Right away we get to see Jesus in action, I want you to know I am different, I don’t see you like others may see you or treat you. I see the real you. I am sure she is surprised that he isn’t angry at her, nasty to her, Jesus doesn’t throw out some racial slur to her, He doesn’t look down on her, He engages her. SHE actually focuses on the differences.

We are at opposite ends of the spectrum a Jewish rabbi vs Samaritan, half breed woman (the equivalent of being interracial today) We have nothing in common. So, What do I see and learn here? Jesus is accepting! No judgement, just a simple request that broke through some very real barriers. He was saying, I want to connect with you, you are of value. This woman I am sure had felt devalued after so many relationships, maybe she thought Jesus and I are too different? Maybe she had trust issues, maybe she just wanted to be left alone.

What was YOUR initial interaction with Jesus like? Have you had one? Do you know how much He wants to connect with you? How much he values you? Or maybe you focus on the difference between you and Jesus? Have you lost touch with Jesus? Has everything going on distracted you from Him and he is feeling distant?

When I think of my initial interaction, I think of how overwhelmed I was to learn He loved me unconditionally. That Jesus had watched all I had been involved with and the things in my heart and did not define me by any of it!

When I first got to know Jesus in the scriptures, I felt like I met Him in person and that I couldn’t hide anymore, I didn’t WANT to hide anymore. He offered me forgiveness, and a clear conscience, a way out from myself! He offered me that cold drink of water , refreshment on a journey that had been void of Him. He filled an emptiness that nothing else could fill. The challenge for me is to keep that initial interaction clear and to keep building on it. Deepening that relationship, fighting for a closeness to Him, not relying on past feelings or devotion but present ones.

La Micia:
I remember one of the reasons why I kept running away from God was because I didn’t feel worthy of him, I thought that I was damaged goods too far gone and that I couldn’t change. Once I gave him a try and started to study his word I realized that was so far from the truth and that I was right where he needed me to be.

He knew I wasn’t perfect and that was completely ok for him and he took me as I was and saw who I could be and that feeling fired me up because I had never felt that kind of love before, I was special to him.

Florence:
So let’s continue this story, in John 4:10-15.

The second thing we’d like to discuss is Jesus has the Right Water. I love how Jesus works this conversation! If only you knew!! You don’t know me and you need to, aren’t you intrigued by now woman? Don’t you want to get to know me? The woman focuses on the physical and what she can see and then her family history to try to figure this out! She also focuses on what could make her life easier.

Verse 13
“Sir give me this water so I don’t have to keep coming here to draw water” Could you make my life easier Jesus?? That is something I am interested in? Wouldn’t we all like life to be easier? Jesus isn’t about making life easier, but about having a relationship with us that will bring us through the hard times.

But Jesus is trying to get her to go deeper, think deeper. He is trying to engage her heart. You don’t have the right water. Your well will run dry, you will continue to thirst for more always. But mine says Jesus, will allow you to never thirst again. It is an everlasting fountain that will NEVER dry out. Your drinking from the wrong well! Don’t you want what I have to offer? I have The right water, I am living water!

So, How do we drink from the wrong well? Where do we go to quench our thirst instead of God? So easy at times to go to other sources to get our fulfillment. So easy to hide behind the busyness of life or to hide behind our circumstances, our situation, hide behind our families, hide behind fill in the blank. We can go back to old patterns, old weaknesses. We can lean on people instead of God, and people disappoint. We can quench our thirst with hobbies, children, careers, but these don’t last forever or offer eternal life!

For me, I love time with people, I love my children and it can be easy to get satisfied by them instead of drinking from the well of Jesus and making Him always my FIRST source of strength, going to the well that will never dry out! My hiding place! My refuge. Let’s think about what’s quenching our thirst instead of Jesus, where are you going to drink?

LaMicia:
So what does it look like practically to thirst for God? For me personally I go to my knees in prayer, I have a conversation with him just to let him know what’s going on with me, where I need him to help me, I ask him how I can get closer to him. This can be praying while walking, maybe in nature or praying in my bedroom. I’ve prayed on the floor, I even pray while talking to people sometimes, anywhere to find this living water!

I also listen to Christian songs that speak to me, music speaks to my emotions when sometimes I don’t know what I feel. It’s as if the words are God speaking directly to me. And last but not least, I go to his word! My time in the word is my personal meeting with God, without that I will thirst for other things you better believe it. This is what I have to do to make Jesus my refuge, he’s the well I can always go to that’ll never dry out.

If you’re here wanting Jesus to become your refuge but you don’t know how or where to even start, reach out to the person who invited you and ask them to study the Bible. Studying the Bible with other women really helped me to start to develop my own personal relationship with God. And as I continued to study, my thirst for God increased and my thirst for other things decreased, which let me tell you was only the power of God because I couldn’t do it on my own. I tried, it didn’t work. So I want to encourage you that you can find fulfillment in God alone, maybe you just need someone to show you how.

Or maybe you’ve already made Jesus your refuge, but you’ve gotten distant with him and even other people, maybe you’ve gotten discouraged, emotionally disengaged, isolated over the years, God can and wants to give you new inspiration, new hope! The first step is acknowledging where you are and the next step is praying for God to point you back in the right direction, to people who can help you come back to God, because sometimes we just get off track, but It’s never too late to re engage.

Let’s continue with John 4 in verses 16-26.

The last thing we’d like to talk about is being “Fully Exposed”. Here Jesus asked her to go call her husband because he knew that there was much more to her story but he wanted to draw it out of her. He was calling her to come out from her hiding place of sin and Jesus could see right through it anyway.

I think Jesus has different doors he uses to enter into our souls, the deepest parts of us that we hide from him and other people. We put up walls out of shame or embarrassment but Jesus loves to come right through the door even when you want to keep him out, because he wants you to trust him and draw you closer to his loving arms!

For the Samaritan woman he came through the door of her conscience to convict her of her sin which I’m sure made her feel embarrassed and ashamed. He lays it all out in front of her right he says in vs. 17 “you’re right when you say you have no husband, in fact you’ve had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband” Jesus brings up this really embarrassing issue but why, what was the point? To make her feel bad?

No, it was because her sinful life had to be confronted and she had to decide which one she loved more: Her sin or the Messiah? I want to talk about what you’re hiding behind, is it sin, is it your phone, social media, a relationship, is it your comfort zone? Whatever it is, Jesus already knows the answer to that and he’s calling you to face it and to confront it today. To trust him and come out from behind that wall. To decide which one you love more, those things or Him.

Which will you choose?

Allow Jesus to tear down your walls let him walk right through that door. So he can deliver you, because those things that aren’t Jesus are holding you captive!

Florence:
We all have the power to make choices, it’s just who will direct our choices? The conversation here between the woman and Jesus at one point turns into a religious debate because the woman is deflecting. She puts up a wall to turn the conversation away from herself. Jesus doesn’t back down and wants her to see, you don’t know why you worship! You need to re evaluate! Your worship obviously isn’t working because your on guy #6, this is about you, not what you want it to be about.

Jesus brings full exposure to our lives. He wants us to worship in spirit and truth. He wants us to take down the walls, stop deflecting, come out of hiding because He knows who we are inside and out. He wants to help us see ourselves and expose where we have taken refuge instead of him. Have you been fully exposed? Can you recall those times when Jesus exposed you?

Now let’s go back to John 4 because the story doesn’t end here, we’re going to read verses, 28-30 and then we’re going to jump down to vs. 39-42

After the Samaritan women’s exposure look at the incredible impact she had on her town. She goes back and shares with her village that this man Jesus has told her everything she had done and many come to believe in him. The result of letting Jesus draw her out of her hiding place bore good fruit and it will do the same for you because, honestly the truth is we ALL have walls that Jesus is trying to break down, we’re not alone! And through you, you’re affording others the opportunity to have Jesus be their refuge, so that they too can experience the fulfillment that you’ve felt from Jesus’ living water.

Florence:

The words opportunity, fulfillment, bearing fruit, making an impact, stand out to me. So faith building. I can’t help but notice that the woman leaves behind the very jar she came to fill. Jesus changed her direction, her purpose, she had hope, we all need hope. This initial interaction the woman had with Jesus, hearing about the right water and then being fully exposed caused her to make a bigger impact than she could ever imagine. She can’t wait to share her life being exposed to her village and that maybe this was really the Savior they had all been waiting for.

Our decisions, our breakthroughs’ our coming out of hiding can potentially impact whole towns. Taking refuge in Him and allowing Him to be who we run to will impact this world. “They believed in Him because of the women’s testimony”

So, Who is believing in Jesus because of your testimony? What is your testimony? We can’t hide what we know, what we have and who we know- Jesus. We must continue letting Jesus expose our hearts and share it, we can’t hide from Him but we must hide in Him, our refuge! He is our protection, He is our refuge, our fortress, He is our Hiding place!

As it said in Psalm 91:4:
“He will cover you with his feather, and under his wings and ONLY His wings you will find refuge”

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