Caught

Thanks for stopping by. This is a repost from a series I wrote at Messy Life Praying Wife.

Today, we are looking into the dramatic story of the woman caught in adultery. What does this story hold for us? Even if we’re not committing adultery, what can we glean from this passage of scripture?

The religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus and trick Him into breaking the Law. In the synagogue, where Jesus was teaching the crowd, the Pharisees brought before Him the woman caught in sin. They made her stand before Him…before everyone, exposed for all to see.

“In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. 5-6

In their zeal to trap and ensnare Christ, these leaders exposed the sin of another with no regard to their own. With their jealous, misguided fury against the Lord, they pretended to inquire of His judgment, but really they were accusing and judging Him.

In His silence, Jesus allowed their questions to hang in the air…unanswered, perhaps exposing more than they realized.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 6-8

Jesus is always more interested in the dignity of the person than the judgment of the sin. After all, mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). Jesus, as Divine judge, was more concerned with repentance than punishment.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”10-11

We discover through this story, that we can often classify the sinner with their sin, leaving little to no room for freedom, but Jesus came to cover, protect, and liberate those stuck in sin. He came to set the captives free. The woman caught in adultery was held captive by her accusers until Jesus, in His quiet and profound way, turned what was meant for evil to good, and into something beautiful: redemption and salvation.

Read the following verses: Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2: 1-10, and Galatians 3: 26-28. What do these verses say about us? What do they say about Jesus? How does knowing these things help when you are struggling with sin? Or when someone else is struggling with sin?

As men and women of the word, let’s be merciful, caring for the dignity of the other person. Let’s be more concerned with our own sin before being willing to expose that of someone else. Like Christ, let’s bend down and offer grace and truth to those who need it.

~Melissa

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Jesus Saw Her and Called Her Forward

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On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Luke 13: 10-13

Life is hard. Period. There are periods of ease, but the majority of life is just. Plain. Hard. Yeah, yeah, I know…you thought this was a blog to encourage you right? Well, it is, but let’s be honest.  I’m not going to wear my halo and put on my Christianese and claim all things bright and perfect over here in Jesus land! Not only would that be a lie, but also a great…

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Born to Love

D0A53A7A-5CA8-4558-A6F9-4DFF905C0B3E.pngAnd when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Luke 19: 5-7

The story of Zacchaeus is familiar to us, but as I read it this past week, one line struck me anew. “But when they saw it, they all complained…” What had they seen? Who were “they”? Where had they come from?

Reading the Word of God in context is vital to understanding the whole of the scripture I am studying. So as I back up to chapter 18 in Luke, I discover much that opened my eyes to not only the “THEY” in this story, but also the “ME” in this story.

Zacchaeus was not just a tax collector, but the chief tax collector…head honcho. Hated and despised; tax collectors were greatly distrusted and poorly regarded. Because of dishonest dealings and deceitful practices, people did not associate with them.

So, back to my questions.

The “they” in the above scripture are referring to the people who had been walking with Jesus. They had heard Him preach, perform a miracle, and tell the rich young ruler that it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven. Ironically, Jesus also preached about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other{Pharisee}, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18: 13-14

Even after witnessing all this, they complained when Jesus brought Zacchaeus into His fold. I’m sure Zacchaeus could hear them complaining. He could feel the stares. He knew what they thought of him, but they didn’t know his heart.

He wasn’t with anyone before he climbed up the tree. – Isolation is often the price for riches.

Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus and declared before all, his true and honest intentions of restitution and repentance. We know it is genuine, because Jesus declared, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19: 9-10.

Wait! Did you catch that? Jesus just accomplished the impossible! Zacchaeus, a very rich man, just received salvation! He was willing to do what the rich young ruler was not…follow Christ at all cost!

And yet, they complained!

How like me to disregard miracles that go against my preconceived notions and judgments! I put more stock in my idea of a person than in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the miracle of salvation! I allow what I think of a person to determine how I see their walk with the Lord. Instead of rejoicing, I complain about their past sins, real or imagined. I can get caught up in the crowd and allow their judgments to lead me.

As a Christian this should not be!

I am called to shine the light of Christ to the world around me. How can I do that if I am proudly shutting out the very people Christ has brought to me to love and serve?

In the wise words of my daughter, “If we don’t love them and show them the love of Christ, Mom, who will?”
So today, I choose to be brave. I choose to lay down my complaints, judgments, and preconceived notions of people and trust the Lord to lead, guide, and protect me and my family. May I joyfully receive that which He came to save…the lost, the unlovable, sinners…just like me.

Until Next Time
~ Melissa

I Am Seen

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Life was busy with two little kids, teaching, ministry, and marriage. Who had time to deal with septic problems? Not only were the issues prohibitively expensive, they were quite disruptive to our daily lives. So, my husband and I did like we always did – trudged on. Keith, being amazingly smart and thankfully not bothered by septic smells, fixed the issues. Life got back to normal, but it wasn’t long before the issues were back.

If you have never experienced a backed up septic problem, get on your knees right now and shout out a big, “HALLELUJAH!!! Thank you JESUS!!!” At first, we could laugh. We are blessed with potty humor, but as the issue got bigger, we stopped laughing. It wasn’t funny. Struggling financially, the cost to fix the issue might as well have been a million dollars.

It seemed impossible. The hardest part through this whole process was…

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{Worth} Worth in the Rubble Part 2

Rahab had determined to hide the Hebrew spies and keep her end of the bargain…this promise that would save her and her family from the coming destruction by the army of Israel. I love that God uses the least of these to accomplish great things. A woman…a prostitute…an adulteress. Shocking!

But the very things that label and trap us can be used for good. In Joshua 2, we learn that the king of Jericho had discovered that the men of Israel had come to search out the land. He inquired of Rahab. The two spies held their breath as she wove her tale. The soldiers listened to her. They believed her, and pursued the spies where Rahab had suggested. I can only imagine why the king would know her so well. Perhaps she was good at her job and had the king in her good graces.

Let’s be real…she knew men. She had to. Rahab served and catered to men. The very label that tried to define her was turned, to be used for her good and God’s glory. She feared the Lord God of Israel, as we discussed last time, and decided to take a risk on Him. We call that faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

The very labels that threaten to strangle and pull us down can be used for noble causes. Whether these labels are warranted or not, God is big enough to turn our ashes to beauty. He can take something defiled and make it clean. He brings life to what was dead. He is God after all. Rahab understood this and acted upon it. Perhaps ignorance is bliss…maybe she didn’t know how much prostitutes were looked down upon. More likely, though, she knew…we all know and carry shame from past choices.

Sweet friends, may I ask you to dig deep…to really believe that the very thing, the very label you are trying to remove or run from could be what God will use for good. Will you take the risk and believe God can take what made you “dirty” and small and use it for good, glory, and beauty? All the lessons learned…the empathy you feel for others in similar situations, your perspective is of great value in God’s kingdom. There are many who need to hear your story, because maybe, they share the same label.

We are not passive in this game of life. Like Rahab, we have a choice in the midst of our biggest battles – to melt in fear or march forward on God’s side. We can choose to let past choices direct our future or choose to let God use our past for good. We can choose to wear our labels and let them define us, or we can learn all we can from them and use those lessons to bless others.

“Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.” Joshua 4: 17

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1: 4

What will you choose?

Until next time,
Melissa

 

Day 7 – Armor of God

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In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6: 16

The shield is a defensive piece of armor, usually made from leather and bronze. It was strapped to the soldier’s arm, so he could defend the enemy’s blows or deflect arrows. Shields were solid, heavy, and large enough to cover the soldier with protection.
Likewise, faith in Christ and His blood covers us from attacks of the enemy.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…Ephesians 2: 8
Faith is a gift from God…but what is it?

Click here to read more at the Messy Life Praying Wife.

 

 

Day 6 – Armor of God

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…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  Ephesians 6: 15

Welcome back sweet friends! Thanks for joining me again as we look at the armor of God. Today, we discuss the feet and the importance of good preparation and care.

When my husband was in the Marine Corps, he and his unit would go for long hikes. Miles and miles of marching with heavy gear loaded on their backs. If they did not take care of their boots and their feet, those marches were miserable. And, they could only march as fast as the slowest man, so if one person was not well prepared, the whole group suffered.
Paul encourages us to fit our feet…to prepare and to be ready to go with the gospel of peace. So, what does this mean?

To read more, join me at Messy Life Praying Wife…Click here ❤