Great read, we all need to grow in our acceptance and giving of grace.
This morning, my devotional was from Luke and the Study book on Luke by Michael Card. The passage was on "The Good Samaritan." Jesus tells us what I need to remind myself regularly. It is not enough to know God's Word. I must live it!
The Preist and the Levite were very learned religious people. They both passed by the injured and dying man. They were so focussed on the rituals of cleanliness (SELF making them clean), that they refused to help someone in need.
The book of Hosea Chapter 6 says this to our attempts to make our selves clean through ceremonies or our knowledge:
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Jesus says a similar thing in the book of Matthew chapter 9:
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Our attepts to worship or know God become empty if we neglect the command to show mercy. I am certainly not saying that God does not desire our worship, our sacrifice and our spending time with Him to know Him, but all these things are meant to prepare us to share God's mercy with a world around us that deperately need it.
Jesus agrees with the man who asks what the greatest commandment is:
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Go and LIVE mercy!
There is a song out by an Artist name Jason Gray called "I Am New". It speaks about our identity as Christians. It has been a personal struggle of mine, especially dealing with my addictions. It is so easy to see yourself as your failures and we have an enemy who is quick to remind us if we forget (For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night Rev. 12:10).
One of the impacting parts of the song is the second verse:
Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be I had to give them both up Cause neither were willing To ever believe
We are torn between our struggle with who we were (and sometimes stumble and are) and the perfect person we think we have to be. God's grace reminds us that He loves us "where we are" even as His Spirit is remaking us into what HE wants us to be, broken people who live in His grace and offer that grace to others without condition.
Below is a YouTube link to the song and a list desctibing our identity that we have as God's children, not because we "feel" that way but because HE says that is what we are.
Not who I was
Dead to the old man
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
BELIEVE the truth of this and you will be blessed, and a blessing to others!
Job 1:21 b says
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Those words always amazed me. How can Job feel thius way on loss? It was a mystery!
Recently, my life crashed. A wonderful woman that I had been seeing for 4 months was suddenly exposed to my "secret world" of alcholosism. This was the third time I had not been hoest about a problem in my life and it hit her full force when she called me up and I was drunk out of my mind. She has since forgiven me, but our relationship has been severely damaged.
We have been e-mailing during my recovery, and I got a message saying she would see me Saturday. I was confused and wrote back, saying "you mean I can call you, right?" NO, she meant she was coming to see me! (She lives a couple of states away). My personal demons had sabotaged her two previous trips here, so this was like a miracle. She said she was not doing this for herself, but that God was directing her.
I called her up and we talked for half an hour. She wanted to meet face to face and we could talk and spend a day together. I was so happy I cried. We had a very good conversation. About twenty minutes later I got an e-mail that said that she was not coming. She had already made a reservation (her 3rd), but that she felt that our talk had accomplished what God desired most. She wished me well in my recovery and wanted me to continue to let her know how I was doing. We have never closed the door on our future, but I know I need to get better for now, and she is leaving me to do that.
I went to bed with a feeling of loss, but felt God telling me it would be OK. I most certainly not aggree with Him, but had no choice but to trust. I woke in the middle of the night with this verse from Job, and while I am still not happy, I do trust the Lord to do what is best for me and her. Another verse that springs to mind (a favorite) is Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
I am learning that Job was a MUCH wiser man than me.
"Nothing that is impure will enter the city."
This verse always worried me. Would I have enough time to fix my life and be pure before God by then? Now I understand that by GOD'S grace and HIS righteousness, I am clean NOW. When I receive my new body, ALL of the old me that used to give in to sin will have been stripped away. I will stand before my Father and He will welcome me with open arms.
A beautiful story exclaiming the great power of God to use the least likely! Be blessed.
This is a letter I just sent a friend in response to her letter!
4 Points of Affirmation
1) Your last email had Phil. 4:13 in it. I was writing this verse in my recovery notebook before the meeting tonight. What was the mainscripture that the group leader used?? It started with Phil. 4:11-13, then went back to v. 8-9 (plaque on your wall), and finally went back to v. 4-7 (another of my favorites).
2) You just shared this from Isaiah
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
This afternoon on radio, they shared Isaiah 40:28-31, and that was the other verse I was writing in my recovery notebook before the meeting tonight.
3) The person that you had lunch with that is coming to the Bridge (my church) is part of the PAIS Project. One of their main speakers was at the Bridge about a month ago (actually, the first service I attended) and I was moved to donate to them and have received sermon messages from them to listen to.
4) "The second one was no big deal--just on the way to school this morning--and it simply read: "Smile, GOD loves you."" (a quote from your letter)
WRONG!!!! HUGE DEAL!!!
In tonights meeting, someone shared that they were "not where they want to be, but where they NEEDED to be". I am not where I want to be, but I am where I need to be. It is OK to be where I am (NOT staying here - stagnation), as this is just a place on the road I am walking. The point is, I can have contentment with this place here and now in my journey, so I CAN LOVE ME here and now, even if I don't love the place I am in, Especially since GOD LOVES ME.
There are no coincidences, just times that God speaks that we do not recognize the voice!
When false hope is stripped away, all that remains is the truth. Jesus is the only truth that can always be trusted and His grace is always sufficient.
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