Girlfriends in God - Mar. 30, 2009

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March 30, 2009 
Forgiven Much 
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth 
“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.”  Psalm 32:2

Friend to Friend 
Luke 7 introduces us to a woman who endured her shame publicly. 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 the.” (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 s

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.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (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. Philip Yancey in his book, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, 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.” You have probably heard this verse since you were a child – the verse 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.

Let’s Pray 
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 cast aside everything that keeps me from You today, Lord. 

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. 
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 
What came to your mind as you read today’s devotion?  Grab your journal and write about it.

Have you experienced the wonder of grace at work in your life?  In what ways?  Do you extend that same grace to others? Spend a few moments in prayer.  Thank God for His grace.

Print or write out this verse: “Those who look on him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5).  Memorize it and allow it to serve as a reminder that in Christ, you are a new creation, and viewed as radiant by our holy Lord.

More from the Girlfriends 
Hey friend.  I thought I would leave today’s devotion with this beautiful blessing from scripture …“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you” 2 Corinthians 13:14 (MSG).

Today's devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith's book, Broken into Beautiful. In Broken into Beautiful, Smith invites you to hear the stories of women with shattered dreams, shameful secrets, and damaged souls...and of the loving heavenly Father who makes them beautiful again.

Are you into Face Book? Check out Gwen's MUSIC PAGE on FaceBook!

Gwen Smith is a worship artist, songwriter, speaker, and author. For more information, visit her website at: www.gwensmith.net

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