Grace AND Truth

I am reading through the Gospel of John and I came across the story of the woman at the well and I can’t help but see a connection between the way Jesus interacted with her and the way she then interacted with the people in the village.

Had Jesus been hard on her for her past she would not have been so willing to go and tell everyone about the “man who told me everything I have done.” Don’t get me wrong Jesus did not sugar coat it for this woman but even after that she was happy and went and told everyone. The reason, I can only assume, was that Jesus spoke the truth in love. Remember that Jesus is full of grace and truth. Don’t miss that He is full of grace AND truth.

I know a lot of people who are full of it but no one, not even myself, who is full of grace AND truth. Some people are big on grace but no so much on truth. Others are big on truth but not so much on grace. Jesus has this amazing way of being truthful, direct, and honest with us while being graceful and dealing gently with us wayward sons and daughters.

Had Jesus just been truth she might not have gone and told everyone about Him. Had Jesus only been graceful she might have just sat around thinking about it. But because Jesus is both she went and told everyone.

I suppose the question remaining is “Are we close enough to Jesus to be like Him and give people grace AND truth?”

Just a thought,

Mike

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Life can be hard

My week has pretty much lined with the book of Ecclesiastes…

Ecclesiastes is not the most upbeat book in the Bible because it deals with the reality of death, injustice, suffering, foolishness, and other such fun topics. Often times the book carries a very somber tone and if you don’t believe me just read the second verse. The second verse in the book starts out with “Absolute Futility” (HCSB) or “Vanity of vanities” (NKJV) and this should give us insight as to where it is going. My week started out with losing my favorite Bible, a screaming angry child because he was just in bad mood, dozens of conference calls at work, not nearly enough money to make me happy in my bank account, and other general annoyances. I am not complaining but just saying it was one of those weeks that makes you go UG. You know the kind of week where you wonder why you even try because for everything thing that goes right something else goes horribly wrong.

We all have those weeks and sometimes we all have those weeks that turn into that month, it is inevitable. I found it funny that for my morning devotion I was reading Ecclesiastes because it followed quite well. I would like to sit here and tell you that at the end of this week everything turned around and I found myself sitting high on the mountain top. That by the end I found myself feeling and living like more than a conqueror and that I everything turned around. It did improve but not by much but what did change was the way I looked at it.

The last two verses in Ecclesiastes say, “Let us hear the conclusion… Fear God and keep His commandments…For God will bring every work into judgment…Good and Evil.” That is comforting and scary. The main thing I take away from that is that God still reigns and my job is not to weigh my life out by the good and bad days but by following and trusting God. I can rest in the fact that when life is sunshine and rainbows God is still God and when life is thundering and lightning God is still God.

There are hard days, weeks, even months but the fact remains that I cannot see the whole picture but God can. There are no guarantees in life and we are but a vapor but God is still God. That does not make the hard days good but it does remind me this is not the end.

Just a thought,

Mike

Thirsty

I am reading through Judges and I have come to the end of the Samson narrative. As you may be aware Samson is no role model. He was vain, selfish, and did his own thing. As far as judges go he is pretty much the worst. We like him because he was strong and killed the bad guys but he is an anti-hero. He married a Philistine woman, slept with a prostitute, and told a woman who repeatedly tried to have him captured how to defeat him. Samson was no role model. In reality, he was the hero Israel deserved at that time. He does, however, show something very important.

Samson was, at times, doing God’s will even when he was doing as he pleased. In one incident recorded in Chapter 15 of Judges Samson killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey which is pretty impressive. Most hero’s in the Bible would accomplish this feat and name the place after God, Samson names it after the donkey. He then cries out to God for water and God gives him water. Samson then names the place after himself and not God. This sums up Samson pretty well.

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone and named that place Ramath-lehi (High Place of the Jawbone). 18 He became very thirsty and called out to the Lord: “You have accomplished this great victory through Your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 So God split a hollow place in the ground at Lehi, and water came out of it. After Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. That is why he named it En-hakkore, (Spring of the One Who Cried Out) which is in Lehi to this day.

What we can take away from this story is that God is faithful and full of grace for sinners such as us. Samson was no saint and yet God was faithful. God’s faithfulness and abundant grace does not depend on us.

Paul in Ephesians says that we are saved by grace so that we cannot boast. We tend to think of this saving as when we receive God’s forgiveness but Samson was saved from thirst in his time of need. God saves us from things all the time we just need to call out to Him.

What thirst do you have today? What need do you have that requires God to intervene? Call on Him because He is faithful because that is who He is.

Just a thought,

Mike