Archive for September, 2018

Grace Dispensers

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The Pharisees try to trick Jesus with a woman caught in the act of adultery. They tried to discredit Christ by making Him side with the Law and appear to be uncaring, or breaking the Law of Moses and siding with the woman.

As usual, Jesus exceeded all expectations. (In baseball terms, He hit the ball out of the park.)

Take a look at the passage from the New Living Translation:

 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11

When describing this scene, my pastor said, “The Pharisees threw this woman down with the Law, and Jesus raised her up with Grace.”

Sometimes I think of this woman as needing His grace. I mean–caught in the act? I’ve never been caught in the act. But if I believe all Scripture is inspired by God, then I have to believe that when Jesus spoke in Matthew 5 about being guilty for just thinking about it—in His eyes, well, I might have a problem. You might too. In fact, I’m pretty sure of it.

But the fact is, I tend to categorize people.

I look at them and have thoughts like, How could they make such bad choices? I would never have done that! Can’t they get their lives together?

I throw the Law down.

But then I realize that my life has been pretty good. My parents provided for me as a child, didn’t abuse me, and even liked each other. They encouraged me to attend school and assumed I would go to college.

Many don’t have that. And by the way, why was I born in the United States? I could have been born in Nigeria or Iraq.

It is all grace. All of it. All undeserved and unearned.

The God of the universe dispensed grace and forgiveness to this woman. He did the same with me. The Law threw me down and Jesus raised me up.

That is Amazing Grace.

Let’s be grace dispensers like our Lord.

How can you do that this week? Tell me about it.

 

Love Generously

Here is the daily devotional I wrote for CBN.com
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“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)

Recently, I heard a sermon by J. D. Greear about the book of Ecclesiastes. Not an easy read, not an easy sermon to preach. He spoke a lot about “hevel.” It is one of the most-used words in the book. Some translations use vanity, some use futility.

He used the illustration of passing through a cloud on an airplane. It appears mighty and full of substance, but it is just a vapor. Solomon compares it to all of life.

A vapor.

I saw my grandson this weekend. He is now three. I remember the day he was born. My husband Tom and I waited in the lobby with our in-laws for our grandchild’s birth. We knew the sex … we knew the name … but we did not know him.

Yet.

Three years later, he has quite the personality. I hadn’t seen him in a few months and his vocabulary skills have improved dramatically. Usually, I begin each morning with a song. I began, “Good morning, to you. Good morning to you. Good morning, dear Silas, Good morning to you.”

“I don’t like that,” he stated quite clearly.

Yet, when I left, upon being told he had graduated from nursery into the three-year-old-class, he cried and said, “I don’t want to go to church. I nervous.” About his Nana and Papa leaving, he added, “I sad.”

I was, too. And I cried on my way out of six lanes of traffic in Atlanta.

Life is full of joys, sorrows, ups, downs. You can’t quite put your finger on it. It is a vapor. I find great joy in it, but know it is not eternal. From past experience, before I know it, I’ll be attending his high school graduation.

Because that is how life is.

But because of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ I know that there is more than this hevel under the sun. There is eternity above the sun with the Son. The above verse says that He became poor so I could become rich. Inherit eternity. Forever. And ever.

The vapor-like life we lead has substance when we view it through the eyes of eternity.

And then we invest in it.

That does not mean that I ignore my sweet grandson. It means I invest in praying for him. When I am with him, I pray with him and tell him about Jesus.

I give my money for eternal things and do not hoard it. Knowing that my brothers and sisters in other countries sit in dark cells away from their families because they taught a Bible study, or gave someone a Bible, I pray for them like they were my family and send money to them generously because they are my family—my eternal family.

1 Corinthians 2: 9 says this:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared  for those who love him.” (NLT)

I am rich. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are rich.

Let’s live like it.