We must mirror God’s love in the midst of a world full of hatred. We are the mirrrors of God’s love, so we may show Jesus by our lives.”
Corrie ten Boom
Corrie ten Boom and her family managed to save an estimated 800 lives during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. During the War, her profound faith and belief in God’s plans gave her the bravery and resourcefulness to make it through situations worthy of a spy story.
She survived Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, the largest camp for women in German-controlled territories. The prisoners were used for forced labor in farm projects and armament factories. Thousands of women were executed there.
But it was after the war that she achieved her greatest accomplishment – forgiving her former enemies and teaching the world to do the same.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11-12 NIV
So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
“Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” Psalm 25:6-7 NIV
Easter reminds me that because Jesus paid the penalty for my sins, I am free from guilt and shame. Have you ever felt such deep guilt that you couldn’t get over it? Most people probably haven’t done anything terrible enough to bring on that kind of deep shame.
For those who have, love for Jesus runs very deep because it changes your life in a very tangible way. It can’t be explained to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Maybe you could imagine what it would be like when you hear the hymn, Amazing Grace, written by John Newton, a slave ship captain who experienced God’s merciful forgiveness.
Another example is a woman known only as “the sinful woman” found in Luke 7:36-50
This woman came to see Jesus while he dined with some religious leaders. The passage only tells us the bare bones of the story, but we can imagine what might have taken place. I have often wondered, what she was doing at the party?
“But it was acceptable in Jesus’ day for people to come to a party to watch and listen to the conversation. They were not allowed to eat, but they could observe. She was not interested in eating.” (Never Thirsty Ministry)
She was interested in seeing and hearing Jesus.
I have no idea what Jesus and the Pharisees talked about. Maybe Jesus talked about forgiveness of sins. Maybe, as she listened, she believed He was the Christ and she experienced the joy of receiving forgiveness.
Maybe Jesus quoted Old Testament Scriptures such as Isaiah 1:18.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Maybe He quoted Psalm 103:12.
“… as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
And maybe, He looked right in her eyes as he did, not at the Pharisees, but only at her, and maybe that is why she cried so hard that she could actually wash His feet with her tears.
Verse 44 tells us that Jesus turned toward the woman and said to Simon,
“… her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Imagine how she felt, knowing He was talking about her.
She probably thought no one would pay any attention to her that evening. But Jesus looked right at her and spoke the words she longed to hear:
“Her many sins have been forgiven.”
Easter means forgiveness and cleansing to me. Anyone carrying around guilt can be set free from that heavy load, just like I was. Only believe.
Luke 7:36-50 Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 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.
39 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.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:8-10 NIV
One morning, God stopped me in the middle of something (I thought) was very important and gave me a lesson in discipline. This is what happened:
I was studying my Bible to prepare a lesson for the Women’s Bible Study when the phone rang. The church secretary informed me that the room I had reserved for the Bible Study would not be available because someone else needed it.
I thought: What?! Are you kidding me? So what?
(Little did I know, the Lord was getting ready to take me down a completely different path than the one I was on.)
It was hard to continue preparing my Bible lesson when I was so angry. I thought: They can’t just take my room! This is ridiculous! Who do they think they are? That’s not fair!
I knew my attitude was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. I felt justified.
Then a Scripture came to my mind.
“Above all else, guard your heart,”came the still small voice. (Proverbs 4:23)
Honestly, I didn’t really want to, but I listened. Then another Scripture came to my mind. “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought.” (Romans 12:3) and“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
Then, God said to me, “Forgive”.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
As an act of my will, I forgave. But I still felt really annoyed. Then the Lord brought another Scripture to my mind. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up.” Hebrews 12:15
To forgive is a decision, but I knew that if I kept rehearsing this over and over in my mind, bitterness would take root. I needed God’s grace.
Thank God we can “Come boldly to the throne of grace … and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
What is our time of need? It is when we are too weak to do something in our own strength. The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient, …. for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Hebrews 13:9 says, “It is good to be strengthened by God’s grace.”
Oh how we need to rely on God’s grace to serve Him!
“Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28 KJV
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
God was teaching me that I can easily justify a selfish attitude. But if I want others to see the love of God through me, I must walk in His ways.
It wasn’t the circumstances in question that were important. The real issue was – would I guard my heart? He taught me to rely on Him because His grace is sufficient.
If you need God’s grace today, go boldly to the Throne of Grace.
Today’s post isn’t for everyone. If you grew up in church and lived life on the straight and narrow, this post may not interest you. But if you made major detours from the right path like I did, this is for you. Or if you know someone who thinks their sin is too great for God to forgive, pass this on.
In your past, did you commit a sin that haunts you? You may have asked Jesus to forgive you, but you can’t forgive yourself. I’m not talking about some little thing. I’m talking about something big, something that you can’t believe you were capable of.
Let God’s Words speak to your heart today:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:8-13
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18
All of us are capable of doing things that we would like to forget (usually done to save ourselves from pain or trouble). We justify our behavior in our mind. “I had to do it. There was no other way. I needed this.”
King David committed adultery and murder. Yes, a man “after God’s own heart” did this! In Psalm 51:14-17 David wrote,
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Dear Lord, I stand in awe of your great love. You forgive my sins and remember them no more. Great is your love, O God. Who can understand your great mercy? Without it surely I would die in anguish, but your forgiveness and mercy washed over me and made me clean.
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT
No matter how great your sin, God will forgive you. God isn’t waiting to judge you. He isn’t waiting to condemn you. He wants to receive you – with mercy, with love, with open arms.
Once there was a very popular preacher. So many people crowded into his church services, the church had to be enlarged. He frequently preached at other churches, as is often the case with popular ministers.
The preacher wrote beautiful Christian songs, that were also popular with churchgoers. Soon be began a series of weekly prayer meetings in addition to regular services.
What made this preacher so special? I believe it was his life journey.
All the experiences in our past have shaped us into the person we are today. This preacher, at one time, was a vile sinner, cruel and having a hardened heart; a man without compassion or mercy.
Is it possible for such a person to have a complete turnaround? Can a hardened sinner become a saint? Can a depraved evildoer become a man (or woman) of God?
Ask the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, anointing them with costly perfume. When an indignant Pharisee questioned Jesus about allowing this sinful woman (probably a prostitute) to touch him, Jesus said this:
“I tell you that her many sins are forgiven, so she showed great love. But the person who is forgiven only a little will love only a little.” Luke 7:47
Have you guessed the identity of the preacher, yet? You won’t find him on YouTube or TV. He was born in 1725.
Before he gave his life to Christ, he was the captain of slave ships. I can only imagine the horror of such ships, but it is well documented that slave ships provided such wretched accommodations that many men, women, and children died before arriving at their intended destination. In the words of a former slave, Olaudah Equiano, “The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying rendered the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable.”
Who was this forgiven reprobate turned preacher-songwriter?
His name is John Newton and he wrote these famous words: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
This celebrated hymn touches my soul because I know that what God’s grace and mercy did for John Newton, He did for me.
As you listen to Amazing Grace, thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. The more we have been forgiven, the more we love Him. That’s what Jesus said.
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 KJV
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5 NIV
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
“Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 TLB
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?