Friday, June 29, 2012

L.A.W.: For She Loved Much

L.A.W. stands for Living According to the Word (Psalm 119:9)

From Luke 7 (NKJV)

A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” 
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Lord Jesus,
You know perfectly well what manner of woman I am.  I have always been "moral" or "good"--always kept "on the straight and narrow" as-it-were.  At least in the eyes of the world, I've never done anything morally reprehensible.  Only You know the secret sins of my heart and how much I have been forgiven.  I know it is an expression of Your love and mercy towards me, and I thank You for it, yet I can't help but wish that I had "more" to be forgiven of, so that I might love You more for forgiving me.
However...I have been forgiven much, for sin (even the "smallest" sin) is not against mere mortal man, but an offence against an infinitely holy God and therefore deserving of infinite punishment.  Lord, cause me to realize the magnitude of sin...ALL sin...especially my own.  Cause me to understand the gravity and the weight of it--that God the Father should have to crush His own Son in order to save us from the penalty of it.  Cause me to understand how much I have been forgiven, so that I might love You as I ought to.  May I remember the woman whose eyes were opened to her sin and who fell at Your feet and who found mercy there, because by turning to the One who could save her, she showed who it was she loved--You, Lord.  Amen.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

L.A.W.: None of These Things Move Me

L.A.W. stands for Living According to the Word (Psalm 119:9)

From Acts 20 (NKJV) I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 
...I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood
32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak...

Lord Jesus,
It is an honour to be a part of Your Body--Your Bride--the Church.  It is a double honour to serve her.  I pray for those in positions of authority--our leaders and overseers--that they would declare the whole counsel of God with boldness and courage.  I pray that they would be built up by Your great grace to shepherd the church of God which You purchased with Your own blood.  I pray that I would be moved by the love and grace of God and not by threat of tribulation and trouble.  I pray that I would be made strong so that I may support the weak, remembering that You are my Strong Man who bore the wrath of God on my behalf when I was weak.  May I finish my race with joy, dear Lord, testifying to all of the amazing grace of God.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Single? - Part V: Be About His Work

This is the fifth post in a series on being a Proverbs 31 Single. Read the other posts in the series by clicking their respective links: Part IPart IIPart III, and Part IV.

Proverbs 31 is about the virtuous wife, and we are the Bride of Christ. I want to challenge my single sisters (and brothers) to see themselves as the Church and see Christ as their Bridegroom. He is our Sovereign; He is our Lord; He is our Master. When He speaks, we are silent. When He commands, we obey. We submit to His authority.

Part V: Be About His Work

She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
- Proverbs 31:16, NKJV

Many women think that the ideal wife stays at home all day cleaning house and cooking dinner. While these are definitely domestic tasks which can fall within a woman's role as being in charge of the home, a virtuous wife is very industrious. She is also frugal and shrewd. We can learn much from her.

1. The shrewd Church

Didn't Jesus say that the children of the world were more shrewd with their money than the children of God? Those who are unsaved know better how to use money and wealth than the children of Heaven. We are to be wise as serpents yet as harmless as doves. We are to be good stewards of the resources God gives us and put them to work for Him. We are to be honest, yet wary. Not easily taken-advantage-of. We are to be innocent of sin, but not so naive that we can't spot a crook when we see one. We are to be wise and discerning just as the virtuous wife shrewdly considers a field and buys it. If she had dealt with a crook, she would not have had money left over to plant a vineyard. If we give our money to crooks, we will have none to give to the work of God.

2. The purposeful Church

She buys a field and has enough money left over to plant a vineyard there. From her thoughtful consideration of the field, one may assume that she planned out her purposes for buying the field before she purchased it. She is a planner. She is purposeful in her activity.

3.  The Church about God's work

God is in the business of planting vineyards. Jesus said that He was the true Vine. All other vines are pictures of Him--just as marriages are pictures of the marriage of Christ and His Church. If we see here the Church planting a vineyard, where she intends fruit to grow, then Jesus Himself says that God the Father is the Husbandman who cares for the vine and causes it to grow. All those who are in the vine will bear fruit according to the will of the Husbandman. It is the work of the Church to be planting vineyards around the world and bringing those into the vine of Christ who were not previously there.