Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God is With You

Most of this post is included in my earlier essays but I needed to hear it again this morning and if I did, maybe you do too. 

As you know, 2015 was hell for me. I experienced a darkness that I wish to never experience again. 

But what I learned is this, even in those dark times He is with you. 
He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t left you. He sees and knows all it. 
When it seemed all had abandoned me, I was at the end of myself and after all the dust settled, I found out that He was still with me. 
And He is with you today. 
Maybe some of you know that already. Maybe some of you forgot. 
It’s easy to forget when things get difficult in life. 
But today I want to remind that you have not been forgotten and that you are not alone.

I wanna share a story with you out of John 8:1-11.

I remember reading this one and point blank asked God, “What does it mean to ‘go and sin no more.'  
So I started researching the definition of sin 
I think most people translate it as ‘you’re doing wrong, now stop it and start doing right.’  
But it’s deeper than that. Our behavior is always a truth teller of what’s going on on the inside. Our mouths almost always give it away. In Matt 12:34 and Luke 6:45 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

The Hebrew word for sin is chata’ (khaw-taw) definition of sin is - to miss, miss the mark, miss the way or path, make a mistake, an error, fail to find or have, to be absent.  
The root word for sin means forgetfulness. 
Shakeach means forget, forgetful, to be oblivious. 
It’s an unconscious state.

So what do I think Jesus was exactly telling her to do?  
I think He was telling her to remember.  
Now to remember is to be conscious.  
To be aware.  
I think He was telling her to remember this moment. 
Remember that He didn’t condemn her. 
Remember that she was no longer bound to what she had done.  
Remember that He set her free.  
Set her free from what the religious leaders said about her and set free from what the law of Moses said. 
And set her free from public opinion.  
His opinion was the only opinion that mattered. 
Remember. 

The story of Zacchaeus is one of my favorite stories in the bible. It's a story that recognizes the depravity in man, this man, in you and in me. But despite that depravity, God's love is greater, more accepting, more forgiving and for that I'm grateful. 

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

Zacchaeus was a man that was hated by his own townsmen and yet Jesus called his name and wanted to spend time with him at his house. 
Zacchaeus was changed immediately by this love. 
He wanted to pay restitution from the things he had done wrong. 
But this wasn’t a requirement of Jesus. 
He didn’t say before I come to your house you need to do this, this and this…No Jesus just called his name and told him I wanna hang out with you just as you are. This love that He had for him is what changed him. Not fear of punishment. Not Threats. Just I love you exactly as you are.

If you feel far away from Him, if you feel you’ve seen or done too much, that He couldn’t possibly love you or accept you, that’s not the case! 

Listen His eye is always on you. 
You couldn’t run far enough away that He wouldn’t be there. 
Psalm 139:7-8 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.” 
The message bible says, “You’d find me in a minute-You’re already there waiting!”

Just like Jesus called the most hated man in town, He knew the exact spot Zaaahaeus was going to be in and called out to him.

He calls out to you today. Just as you are. No need to clean up, His arms are wide open here and now. 
I want you to bask in the fact that you are loved with a love greater than your minds can comprehend. No matter where you are in life His mercy and love covers you today. 

“God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done.” ~Timothy Keller


Peace & An Immense Amount of Love for You All, 
Julie