“Accept God’s Forgiveness!”

“…Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” John 8:11

 Guilty or not guilty, that is the question?  Early one morning Jesus was in the temple teaching His followers a lesson or two.  Suddenly, there arose a commotion in the crowds.  Religious leaders began to furiously push their way to the front of those assembled there that day.  As they broke through the crowd, they pushed in the midst of all a woman.

This woman was no ordinary woman.  She was not considered as everyone else.  She was a woman of ill-repute.  She was an adulterous woman and there she stood, broken in spirit.  Her eyes were down knowing that if she looked up she would see her shame in the angry faces glaring back at her.  So there she stands, in the midst of her mess, knowing this time she has gone too far.  This time there is no way out.  Nobody here would dare to give her second chance.  Why should they?  She is just an adulteress, not worthy of anything from anybody.  She was guilty.

As she continues to stand she can hear all the murmuring going on against her.  She can feel the heat of people staring at her as her shame is displayed before all that are present.  Her time has come to a close as she hears the gathering of stones that are sure to end her story today.  Silent tears begin to roll down her face as she remembers every mistake she has ever committed.  She begins to remember every failure, every time she didn’t measure up.  Those same silent tears begin to flow a little harder – the pang of guilt is too much to bear.

All the angry voices are yelling at her.  They are shouting all the reasons she should be convicted.  More people gather close carrying with them, even more, stones.  The noise is rising higher as everyone seems to be emotionally charged with great anger.  Feeling faint with her own emotions, barely holding on, she glances at the one writing on the ground.  Then, with her guilt pressing all the more on her she lowers her head again.  The shame is too much to bear.

A shuffling coming from where the Teacher was stooped.  Perhaps He will be the one to cast the first stone at her.  She’d heard others speak of this man.  Some called Him the Son of God.  Surely her demise is at hand for she will not find a pardon here.  But, as He stood, the unimaginable happened.  He spoke, but not to her.  He lectured those who had gathered against her, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8:7).

In shock, she lifted her tear-stained face to see eyes that could penetrate a marred soul.  But, those eyes, they were looking at the others.  Just as before, He stooped once again.  Behind her, she heard not a murmur – not a mumbling word.  What she did hear amazed her.  Thumps!  Thump-thump; thump-thump.  The very stones that were ready to take her life lay motionless on the ground.  The crowd dispersed.

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” (John 8:10-11).  She didn’t question Jesus but she accepted the forgiveness He offered and went.  Jesus didn’t justify what she did but He forgave her.  Let me make this very clear, God will never, ever condone our sin or pat us on the back for it, but we can be free from them.  Like that woman, we could be standing in the midst of our mess but He is ready, holding the keys to your release.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).   Turn to Him in all humility of heart, confess and accept it today!

Today, if you are not born again and you want to be free and experience what Jesus is offering to this woman, I urge you to turn to Him immediately.  Above, I quoted 1 John 1:9 which was written to a church of believers who already knew Christ as their Savior and were being encouraged in their faith against false teaching.  If you want your confession to work you must be born again, then like the woman we too can find release and forgiveness.  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3:5).  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 2:38).  Be blessed, turn to Him and accept His forgiveness today!


What Would It Have Been Like? – “To See Dead Bones Live!”

ezekiel 37 3-001

“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army,” Ezekiel 37:10, NKJV

If looking at a valley of dead bones isn’t enough to shake you, then what follows would have blown my mind!  God does some pretty amazing things in the Bible and this by far has to be one of my favorite stories that display His sovereignty.  It’s one thing to hear of people being brought back from the dead and it’s quite another to see the process with the naked eye.  Think about it, what would it have been like?

Can you imagine being there with God and Him turning to you to ask what is supposedly a simple but not so simple question?  “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV).  “What?  Did I hear Him right?” is what Ezekiel must have thought.  “Can these bones live?” the question just rolled through his mind dumbfounding him.  Awestruck, his response was as I believe mine would have been, “O Lord GOD, You know,” (Ez. 37:3, NKJV), while shrugging my shoulders all kinds of ways.  At that point I believe Ezekiel was starting to realize in a whole new way the magnitude of God.  Looking out over the valley and seeing the waste of what was once life and trying to imagine them alive, his response was to appeal to the sovereignty of God – “You know!”

God does know but he wants us to know that He knows.  Right?  It sounds like some teenage gibberish but God puts these questions out there to see where our belief lies.  To see if we really see Him as being in control of everything including those things that appear dead.

I don’t know personally how it must have looked but I can imagine the scene in my head.  Sitting on the edge of a cliff and looking down and then out to see nothing but human remains.  Sitting stock still in horror, I would have started pondering all the “what’s, who’s, why’s and how’s” this all came to pass.  What battle took place?  Who was involved?  Why did it have to come to this?  How is it that there were none left to bury the dead?  There, just a mass of unanswered questions covering a sea of death.

What would have been like?  The appearance of body upon body stacked and scattered throughout would have been too much for me.  It reminds me of the scene in The Lion King where a young Simba goes to the Elephant Graveyard.  Nothing existed there.  Just death and shadows; coldness and loneliness.  Nothing to cheer about, nothing to hope for if it were not for that question that came from the Lord.  “Can these bones live?”

Death in reverse is what God was stating.  Taking an impossible act of nature and reenacting the process on rewind.  If the question wasn’t enough, how about the command.  “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!'”(Ez. 37:5, NKJV).  Standing reverently but in utter stupefaction, Ezekiel knew that he was at a point of no return in his ministry.  God was drawing him into the process.  “I don’t know about this,” would have been what most were thinking as they did as He commanded.    “I’m still reeling from the sight and I am not sure I am quite ready for the process. “

But that’s the real question God was asking him.  Not if they can live but is he ready to be a part of the process.  Surely, by now Ezekiel had known the answer of what God can do, but was he sure of what God can do through him?  Are you sure of what God can do through you?

What would it have been like?  At the spoken command to hear before you see an unsettling sound.  A noise permeated the air.  Rattling overshadowed the quiet of the valley.  In a place that knew only demise and decay was now going to be re-identified as something miraculous.  The rattle was with purpose.  It meant things were moving into their proper place.  It meant brokenness was being made whole.  It was the start of a brand new life where there was none before.  This was incredible to not only witness but to be a part of!

After the re-attachment of limbs and other skeletal remains.  After heads rolled back to the top of their owners then the real stuff transpired.  It’s one thing for bones to find their host bodies and reattached themselves.  It’s quite another to witness those very bones, the nothingness that was left, begin to take on a new life.  Sinews and flesh began recover the bleached parched surfaces (Eww!).  All the while, Ezekiel just watches.  What would you do?  Like a train wreck, as horrible as it may seem you can’t tear your eyes away from it.  Under the ribs organs began to reform and the life supply of veins maneuvered their way throughout, spreading the possibility for more.  My personal opinion is that the flesh and sinews had to cover them first because all that underneath stuff was just too vomitrocious to witness – I’m just saying!

Did I say stupefaction?  Yes, I did because at this point my mind would have been utterly blown away by all that transpired thus far.  But God was not done.  He was truly reversing the life process.  The bodies were now formed and covered “but there was no breath in them,” (Ez. 37:8, NKJV).  God gave him a new command, ‘Prophesy to the breath . . . Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live,” (Ez. 37:9, NKJV).  Ezekiel had no problem doing as was commanded of him, “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army,” (Ez. 37:10, NKJV).  Before they stood did they gasp at the feel of air entering their lungs once again?  When they stood, did they turn to each other recognizing the “what was” and processing the “what is now?”

What would their future look like now?  Or, is this just all a vision?

To see dead bones live in this fashion would have been an awesome and beautiful thing to see.  Think about it.  God took an impossible situation and did a complete 360.  It’s as if He had His finger on the hands of some big cosmic spiritual clock and purposefully began to rotate it backwards.  Spinning it and spinning it until all of death had to let go and life came to the forefront once again.  What would it have been like to witness this?

Don’t you know?  We may have not been bones but what remained of us of what the world stripped away was given a new command in the valley.  The valley, our lowest point of life, was shaken and rattled until it stood at the command of God.  Our lifelessness was renewed when His spirit breathed in us freshness untold.  Before He had a vision of us we were surrounded by spiritual death but then there arose potential out of nothingness.  Captured by grace and loved on by His mercy we received in us His gift of a second chance.

There’s a lot of things in that particular valley that would have left me unsettled but I only had to turn to the One who was commanding the change in me and see the love in His eyes for me.  I only had to look and believe as He did that there is something alive here, there is something that can be raised up for me.  We have been in that valley.  Vision or no, we have been to the place of impossibility just to see Him make it possible.

To see those bones rise to new life and live would have been amazingly awesome but to see what He has done in me is far better.  I don’t know what it would have been like there but I know what it is like here.  “Therefore we were buried with Him through  baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness if life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” (Romans 6:5-6, NKJV).  Because of Christ I got a chance to experience life outside of the valley.  What about you?  God can do amazing things through you, too.  Get ready for the process to see dead bones live!

Dirty Undies

Did you put on the right garments today? Read this and see if you are wearing “Dirty Undies!”

Lessons by Heart

Mama said, “Put on clean underwear. You wouldn’t want to be in an accident and have dirty ones on, would you?” Sorry, Mom, but I’m old enough to know that in an accident, the undies are the first things to go!

But I don’t want to talk about boxers, briefs, panties or thongs today, but rather to discuss mental “undies.”

Some mornings I get up feeling like 150 pounds of sin on a Popsicle stick. My mind is filled with the things I’ve done to hurt others and myself. Scenes of my yesterdays stream across the screen of my mind.

I was so foolish. What was I thinking? How could I have done such horrible things?

Days like this, I don’t bother to put on any other “clothes,” but run around with my “dirty undies” hanging out for all to see, and stinking to high heaven. If those I encounter don’t notice…

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If you were to ask the Lord what His chosen name would be for you, what do you think it would be? And what is the meaning behind it. I love this post because here is a woman who, in prayer, asked that question of God and the answer was astounding. Read it and be encouraged.