2 Samuel / 12:7-10, 13
- I remember years ago when my Friend, Pete, and I decided we would be Knights of the Roundtable. We grabbed some very sword-like-looking sticks, walked out back, and began hacking away at an old screened-in porch that I heard my Parents complain about for years. The “swords” went through the screens like knives through warm butter. It was awesome! Little did we know that they had plans to renovate it… I awaited the judgement from my Mom’s “wait ’til your Father gets home” warning. Needless to say, I got punished and disciplined as I should have. But, you know what, my Mom and Dad still loved me. They didn’t banish me for the Summer or discourage me. They “course-corrected” me. David, like most in the Bible and like most of us, falls short and makes mistakes. A very big mistake, for sure. But, God, as a loving Father, forgives David and promises him everlasting life. Even after he sends his best Friend away to die in a losing battle to steal his Wife while he’s gone. He would also lose his first born Son with Uriah’s Wife and would never see the Temple of God finished in his earthly lifetime. Ouch. But, he had Grace. What are we holding onto that is so bad that we think that we don’t deserve Grace? What about the man or woman on death row – do they not deserve Grace? Why are we sometimes not willing to accept God’s Grace and dust ourselves and try again?
Psalms / 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
Blessed is the one whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile. R. I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. R. You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round. R. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart. R.
- I have one really big regret in my life that very few people know about. For a lot of years, I carried the guilt of my sin and allowed it to drag me down – literally. This Psalm is all about knowing that no matter what we do in this world to others, God forgives us if we’re willing to accept His Grace. It’s that simple. While I can’t run around doing anything I want to, I can if I “choose” to. By choosing Christ on a daily basis, even through our mistakes, we are preserved in Him for Eternity. Why is it so hard to confess our sins and move forward when we make mistakes? What is making us wallow in our self-pity instead of simply acknowledging our lapse in judgement and accepting Grace? Why not do that with every thing all of the time?
Galatians / 2:16, 19-21
- Justification is the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God. At time, this passage is the sticking point for people who don’t go to Church versus those who go regularly. We are justified by Faith and not by the Law of Moses. The Law is good and is a necessary thing for everyone, but we are not “justified” by it. Like the Old Testament Passages above, we are “saved” by Grace and Grace came through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. No matter how closely we walk to the letter of the Law, if we do so without the agape love of Jesus surrendering to allow Christ flow through us, then we are a resounding gong (1 Corinthians 13:1). If we only love others who love us back, then what kind of love is that? The power of Grace is an incredible thing that produces extraordinary things (Miracles) in ordinary people. A great example of this happened at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, AL in the early 1970’s (I would recommend the movie, “Woodlawn” to anyone). Are we living too much in our Religious Traditions than in our Faith? Are we truly acting with Faith?
John / 4:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. R.
- How many of us would send our Son(s) to die for us? Let that sink in for a minute. December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. Just as the U.S. and the World needed our Sons and Daughters to rise again in World War II and after 9/11, we needed God to send us His only Son, Jesus. We need Him every, single day in every, single thing. So, I ask us again, how many of us would send our Son(s) to die for the rest of us?
Luke / 7:36—8:3
A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
- Faith can save. This woman who had been living a sinful life crashed a celebrity dinner party to meet the King of Kings and worship Him. You never hear about the bouncer at the door or security coming and stopping her from getting to Jesus – curious. Jesus allowed her to serve Him openly at the dinner party. The bigger the sinner, the bigger the “rebound effect”. Meaning, as Jesus was healing people of their sins, He was creating such a tidal wave of emotion around Him that thousands were showing-up to worship Him and hear His words. People were dropping bed-ridden folks through roofs (Mark 2:4), touching the hem of his cloak (Matthew 9:20), and walking on water (Matthew 14:29-32). Faith saved Pastor Don Piper in his infamous book and movie, “90 Minutes in Heaven“. While Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), Faith is the 1st step for us and our door to Grace. Are we focused like Mother Teresa who said, “God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.”? How do we have the Faith of a child (Matthew 18:2-4), but the mind of a man (1 Corinthians 13:11)?