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Our lesson today is by Gwen Smith of the "Girlfriends In God Ministries":
Are Happy Endings Really Possible?
"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him" (Psalm 32:2, NIV).
Friend to FriendI love a good story. I love stories filled with drama, mystery, action, honesty, hope, grit, tension, release, passion, tenderness, love, restoration, and redemption. My favorite stories, however, combine many of these elements and finish with a happy-ending. My heart beats for happy-ending stories.
There have been days in my life that have been heavy on the tension and light on the release. Moments when I’ve felt deep pain and longed for deep peace. Weeks when hope evaded my heart because I had chosen to turn from God’s way and defiantly chose Gwen’s way. Season’s when I felt like I had messed up so bad that a happy-ending for my life was simply impossible.
Have you ever felt that way? Like there was a great chasm between your life and a happy-ending? Have you ever felt like you were in a situation, a relationship or a condition that was un-healable, un-helpable, and un-redeemable? I sure have. I think we all have.
Luke 7 introduces us to a woman who endured her shattered, jagged life publicly. I bet she probably felt like there could never be a happy-ending for her life. Like hope and healing were for other people, not for her.
She was guilty of something, though we are never told what. She is simply described as a woman "who had lived a sinful life." Though she is nameless to you and me, the people of her town surely knew her name. The Pharisees knew enough to condemn her with judgmental thoughts.
Her sin was public, not private. Yet the public disgrace of this broken, sinful woman became the perfect canvas for Jesus Christ to paint a beautiful picture of extravagant grace.
"Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." (Luke 7:36-38, NIV)
Imagine what a scandalous moment this must have been. I’m sure the host was wondering how this uninvited woman managed to get into his home. We know his mind was racing, because the next few verses tell us so:
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you.""Tell me, teacher," he said."Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.""You have judged correctly," Jesus said.Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (Luke 7:39-48).
Imagine the freedom that flooded her soul when this woman looked up, through tear-filled eyes, into the face of grace for the very first time. Jesus looked beyond her reputation to her regret. Then He forgave her. Not because she had earned forgiveness, but because Jesus loved her.
She was forgiven much, so she loved Him much. Oh, how I can relate to this sinful woman. The love that resides in my heart is so great because the sins I’ve been forgiven of are so many.
Jesus still loves to extend grace, and I am so thankful. Grace! What none of us deserves, but each of us longs for. In his book, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, Philip Yancey wrote:
Grace does not excuse sin, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.
In his book 3:16, The Numbers of Hope, Max Lucado writes, "The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16." It’s the verse you’ve more than likely heard since you were a child. The verse that is scribbled on cardboard signs and held up at sporting events. The verse that gives hope to each and every one of us: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Why would He lay down His life for you, for me, and for all humanity? In one word: love. Perfect, unconditional, doesn’t-matter-who-you-are-or-where-you’ve-been-or-what-you’ve-done love. God made a new and living way through the blood shed by Jesus Christ so our wounded hearts could be restored...so that everyone of us could experience deep peace, love, forgiveness, and hope. Welcome to your happy-ending story. It’s available to each of us who turn our hearts to Him. What does that look like in your life? Confess your sins to God, ask Him for forgiveness, believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive the gift of God’s grace. Then "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always" (Psalm 105:4).
Thus begins your happy ending. The End.
Heavenly Father, You are above all and beyond all! You are mighty to save, gracious to forgive, and merciful to forget all that I’ve done wrong. I praise You for who You are, and thank You for the grace that is at work in my heart and in my life. Help me to cast aside everything that keeps me from You today, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Grannyfay back: Little GD has a new tee shirt that says: "I'm to die for: just ask Jesus."
And that says it all! He thought we were worthy of His death--what love--what grace--what mercy! Thank You, Jesus!
Here is the link to the weekend PC:
I'm going to check it out and will be praying!
I've been in my chair most of the day. I think that trip yesterday messed me up. :(
Connie, hope you're having a great time at the cottage--and not getting too hot? Weather guy said the excessive heat is returning in some places. :( Our humidity is up there (air you can wear) so it wouldn't take much for ours to get excessive again. :(
Patty, praying for your friend James to come to know the Lord! And praying for your elbow--for the pain to be gone. Hope your shower gets done quickly. DD's has turned into more work--it seems that the toilet was put in wrong so that has to be redone. In fact, all the plumbing will probably have to be redone. :( Not what she needed to hear at all.
Lu, praying against that headache! Darling, you're under SO much stress, that's probably the root of it. Praying for yours and Chris' appointments and the decisions you're having to make. Gentle hugs!
Lynnette, little GD got part of her school supplies, too. Their school starts about Aug. 3, we think. So not too much longer. It seems like a short summer.
Deb, glad Mason isn't "bored with you yet". LOL Kids are so cute! Praying for your friend and her coworker to have open hearts--sounds as if God is already working there. And praying for you as you drive to minister to them! Also, praying for you about sitting with your sister. Please don't over-do, Darlin'. You're not well either. Hugs!
Now I hope I haven't missed anyone? I am praying for All of you and for those on your hearts.
God Bless! Nite!
Thanks for posting the lesson Fay.
I MUST find that t-shirt.!!
John and Mason went go-carting. They had to wait until the sun went down. Way too hot. I am putting my feet up.
Deb, I want one of those shirts, too. I'm not sure if she got it through her Church of if her Dad may have gotten it for her. Here is a link to show you what it looks like but I'm going to look for it locally b/c I'm hoping it will be cheaper.
Fay, thank you for the lesson, loved the tee shirt, so cute. Praying for the plumbing in DD's new home to not have any major problems & thanking God that things can get fixed. I hope the guys come tomorrow instead of thurs. to take out the wood that rotted, there isn't much But! They still haven't given me an estimate for the other br's closet, the dry wall has to be taken out by the shower & replaced so we can put it back together, 2 br's & they are both messed up but mine new shower will be pretty. Wish we could have replaced the sink & cabinet but we can only do so much.
Deb, congrats to Carson's team, hope Mason is having fun. Hoping you get a good rest tonight.
It just rained pretty hard a few minutes ago, that was nice to see & hear.
Praying for you all, love & hugs,
I love you all Sisters in Christ!
I'm thankful we are on this path together.
May God bless and keep you.
Trying to take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Counting every blessing...
Giving thanks in all things. (Is it ok to be honest here and say "ouch.")
Sometimes things in life I just don't understand.
I'm so glad God does!
(PSALM 27) I could read this verse all day and keep squeezing more out of it each time!
God is faithful.
Good Morning Everyone.
Ahhhh.....I woke up with no headache. Thank you, Jesus! And thank you everyone for praying!
Fay, Thank you for the great lesson. I must get a tee shirt like the one you mentioned.
I will be holding all of you close to my heart and in my prayers as I go through my day.
Hugs & Love to All,
Good morning friends. I feel like I have been absent from here a bit. Just getting a bit lazy perhaps!
We went over to the cottage Saturday night because we knew Sunday was going to be sunny and hot. Managed to sneak in nine holes of golf very early Sunday morning, and spent the afternoon floating in the cool water. Today it's back to work for Dave and I'm going to stay inside where it's cool!
I am giggling about Fay's comment on humid air. . . "air you can wear." Funny but oh so true.
Guess what? Dave bought me a week long pass to next year's Christian music festival I told you about. This was the first year I've gone, and loved the two nights that I was able to go. Very grateful to have won the two free day passes. Next year I can be there every day! We stopped buying birthday presents for each other, and instead try to come up with some kind of experience or event.
Praying for each of my sisters this morning. May you feel God's presence and know that you are loved!!
GM dear ones. This is the week of mom's big move so I'm asking for excused abscences. Tomorrow and Wed for sure.
Off to catch up.
Have to get going and start the day. Praying for all your needs.
CJ, there are LOTS of things in life I don't understand. Just don't understand at all! Keep reminding myself that God is in control and it's not necessary for me to understand.
Connie, I like your idea of giving an experience....I need help! John's 60th birthday is coming up next Tuesday (the week of the wedding). His love language is gifts....and he has high expectations. I freeze coming up with ideas. He did say he wants a retreat, and I'm looking at options of places to stay. But that can't be for awhile because his birthday lands in a very busy week. And I know he will want a special celebration...only August and his parents will be around on his birthday...and then when everyone else arrives we'll be busy with wedding festivities. I'm thinking about asking a few friends to show up at his favorite ice cream place and buying them all ice cream to celebrate together. I know my house will be a mess...there will be baby toys and diapers all over the place..And the sad thing is that John is such a workaholic that he's let any close friendships slip away...I'd say his closest male friend was Randy, and he died...so please, pray for wisdom and ideas for me...and suggestions are always accepted. I also need something for him to open. Even if he's getting that retreat, he can't actually open it on his birthday. I swear, he may be turning 60, but when it comes to gifts, he's still a little boy.
Randy, I'm praying that the move goes smoothly, and that your mom adjusts easily...and makes a friend. Now, if I recall, this place will be a lot closer for you, won't it? That will be heavenly.
I told Mason he could sleep in today. He's still snoozing. Actually, I like that he's sleeping in. It has afforded me plenty of time for my quiet time. I have some early riser grandkids, and that always throws me off.
Have a good Monday!
CJ, holding you up in prayer.
Connie, sounds like you had a fun day yesterday, how nice to get tickets for the festival, they used to have one in PA but I never went.
Randy, keeping you all up in prayer for the move for your mom, praying it goes smoothly & w/o regrets but only happiness.
Deb, praying for the Lord to give you an idea for a gift for John that would knock his socks off, an ice cream party sounds fun.
Lu, glad to hear the head ache is gone, Ken had one yesterday too, I think it was from the weather.
The guys came this morning at 8:20 and I only fell asleep at 4:30, but I am glad they came They replaced the rotted wood in my shower & put up a new dry wall where it got wet & mildewed in the other br. Anytime now the tiler is supposed to come & pour the drain pan & mold it & let it dry then the tiling can begin---YEA!
I need to go & finish getting lunch on the table before the guys get here.
not oving the sin, but treasuring the sinner! that is a very good way to look at it!
Wow! School starts really early in some areas! I guess around here they have figured out that if it refuses to be consistently warm and dry before June, that the kids would rather have more of the actual summer free from school!
Praying for broken and problem bathroom issues to be resolved. We have one bathroom that is going to need a remodel soon.....
Cookjoy, the encourager! Love your biblical advice!
Lu, no headache!!! Yay!! Connie, love your idea about the creative gift giving! My sister has started doing that!
Randy, praying for your week!!
Deb, I think your idea is wonderful! Then you can give him a card that says you will be going on whatever retreat you decide to do and when! Win/Win!! like those now and later candies!
Patty, I am so happy you are getting your bathroom worked on!
God bless each of you today!!!
I am going to be grocery shopping. I think Rick thinks that I think any kind of spending money is fun. There are more fun ways (but not more practical) to spend money.....
Holding you all close in my heart... (((((((PC)))))))
Praying you see God's provision in EVERYTHING.
Especially the ones we sometimes take for granted.
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