Graceless

Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @

April 30, 2013
 What’s In Your Trash Basket?
 Gwen Smith
 Today’s Truth
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’” (John 8:10, NIV)
 Friend to Friend
 A four-year-old girl was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer, “and forgive us our trash baskets, as we forgive those who pass trash against us.” When I first heard that story, I smiled. Then I thought of a conversation I had had recently with a girlfriend.
 She is a Christian friend. But though she has “emptied her trash basket” of sin before the Lord in sincere repentance, she has not emptied the trash basket of self-condemnation. Not completely. She won’t allow it. She struggles deeply to let go of mistakes she made in her past. She holds the trash basket lid on tightly. To be free of that waste doesn’t seem fair in her mind.
 She is haunted by shame. Haunted by mistakes that are no longer remembered by a holy God. Haunted by sins that have been cast as far as the east is from the west.
 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 103:11-13)
 These memories don’t live in her past. They live in her now. They haunt her regularly like a spine-chilling horror film monster. And as much as she would like to move forward in forgiveness, she just can’t find the courage to scare the monster away.
 In the New Testament book of John, chapter 8, we meet a woman caught in the act of adultery. The legalistic teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought her before Jesus. They publicly humiliated her in front of all the town’s people, saying to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5)
 Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger as they continued to question him. Finally, “He straightened up and said to them, ‘“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground” (John 8:7-8).
 The crowd eventually thinned to nothing. The older, wiser men cleared first. Then the younger ones trickled away. When the adulterous woman and Jesus were the only ones remaining:
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10-12).
 My sister, do you see that our holy Lord delights to show us mercy? He does not condemn us as we deserve. Time and time again, Scripture reveals merciful pictures of forgiveness. The woman in this story was guilty when she was brought to face Jesus, but as she left His presence, her guilt was forgiven. Her trash basket was empty.
 When we turn to face Jesus with repentant hearts, our guilt is forgiven as well.
 TOSS YOUR TRASH
 This account of the adulterous woman teaches us about forgiveness and it also teaches us a valuable lesson about judging and condemning others. But what does this lesson teach us about judging ourselves? My friend that I spoke of earlier carried around a trash basket filled with junk she threw in herself. Sure, it was accompanied by trash from other people to, but the lingering condemnation came from memories of decisions she had made, things she had done, places she had been, and brokenness she has experienced because of her own choices. In her heart, she accepts the forgiveness of Jesus, but she can’t bear to forgive herself. So many women won’t forgive themselves.
 I’ve been that woman.
 I know that woman.
 I know that self-loathing. I’ve lived it. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that forgiving yourself is easy. It’s hard—and, in a lot of ways, it should be! But I can testify that it wasn’t until I prayerfully allowed the stubborn, strong, and unconditional love of Jesus to pry my fingers off the lid of my trash basket and empty the condemning contents, that I experienced true freedom and complete forgiveness.
 Is there something that you have not been able to forgive yourself for?
 My friend, we need to stop beating ourselves up for sins of our past. We need to stop allowing guilt and shame to chain us to unproductive living. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming human, endured an excruciating death, and then defied the grave in His resurrection so that we could be restored to a place of complete healing. Complete healing.
 Second Corinthians 5:21 states that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” If you are in Christ, the Bible says that your guilt was paid for on the cross of Calvary. Jesus carried the sins of the world on His shoulders so that you would not have to carry them on yours.
 If you are holding on to un-confessed sin, the time has come for you to release your grip. God’s Word promises that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
 ACCEPT HIS FORGIVENESS.
 None of us are perfect, just perfectly forgiven in Christ. Take your hand off the lid and allow the Lord to empty your trash basket of every last condemning voice once and for all. Embrace the freedom that Jesus intends for you to live in.
 Let’s Pray
 Holy Father, Your mercy defies logic. I don’t deserve it, and I don’t understand how You could possibly forgive me for all that I have done. Please take my trash basket and empty it. Forgive me today and help me to forgive myself, and others, so I can live freely in Your amazing grace.
 In Jesus’s Name,
 Amen.
 Now It’s Your Turn
 Recite, write, and memorize these verse: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
 Prayerfully forward this email to a friend (or friends) who might need to read this message.
 Journal what God is teaching you. Praise Him for revealing truth to your heart and for His matchless grace.
Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @

I while back I had done a devotional by Beth Moore and she had recited a poem I wanted to share:
 Poem out of the devotional "To Live Is Christ" by Beth Moore

 I took my seat one Sunday on my favorite pew,
 I got comfy on a cushion with a perfect view.
 I could see the Robinson's................ their on the rocks, it's true.
 The Jones were there.............. their boy drinks.
 The Smith's..............they just got sued.
 And there was Old Man Worthyton........more money than the bank,
 But I've watched very carefully........he's never filled the plate.
 The organist filled up her pipes as we stood up to sing a hymn.
 I nudge a friend beside me and said, "Look at what the cat dragged in."
 How dare he darken sacred doors..........some nerve to walk in here.
 My nose rose up to greet him.
 I made sure he saw me sneer.
 The perfect conversation piece.........he was at lunch that day,
 We only stop long enough to bless the food and pray.
 That night, I crawled into bed.........
 I toss and turned until late......
 I reached for my antacids.........it must have been something I ate.
 I fell into a restless sleep............had a dream so real.
 I stood before a mansion in a crimson field..........
 I reach my hand to knock on a door shaped like a cross......
 My eyes fell on a message there on the boost......

 'This is a house that Grace built.
 You are welcome here.
 You'll find no condemnation,
 Enter without fear.'
 The door open before me................I found myself inside,
 It felt so unfamiliar..........I found no place to hide,
 Suddenly, before me were faces I knew!
 The Robinson's, the Smith's, the Jones........just to name a few,
 And there was Old Man Worthyton passing around a plate filled with appetizers many took and ate.
 A gentle hand slipped into mine..........he gave me quite a fright.
 It was that man the cat had dragged in..........but no cat was found inside,
 'So glad you grace our sacred doors,' he said. 'Feel quite at home.'
 Then all rose up to greet me.............
 If only I had known........though he looked a little different........no doubt it was that man.
 But, when he put his arm around me...........I saw nail scars in his hand..........
 When we persecute those that our his, we persecute him. We have received the gift of Grace and that is sufficient enough.
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