10 Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.” - John 8:10-11 (WEB)
What an incredible act of forgiveness! The accusers, convicted by their own sins, walked away and left the woman alone with Jesus. Jesus asks her “where are your accusers?” He knows that all have left her and He will not condemn her either. Yet, He does not leave it at that, Jesus adds the statement “From now on, sin no more.”
Forgiveness is not an open act of acceptance of sin, but a chance to repent and change our lives. Forgiveness, by our loving God, means that we are to repent (change) and move from the sinful way of live to the true way of life, by living God's commands.
In a world where sin is so often glorified, Jesus' words are not easy to follow, but with any act of love and forgiveness, we must respond in ways that move us from a sinful life to a life with Christ.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.- James 1:5 (WEB)
It is hard to believe that school is about to start. The kids will be off to class to learn new things. Public education is one of the greatest rights and blessings that we have, as Americans. Many countries, do not have public education and are much poor for it, as we learned in the recent VBS videos.
God tells us to look to him for wisdom, the act of using knowledge. By learning about God and His creation, and using that knowledge, we can be come wise and be better citizens of both the United States and of God's Kingdom. Ask God for that wisdom, today.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; 11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
- Exodus 20:8-11 (WEB)
I hear it all the time from Christian leaders, “I'm so tired!” Pastors and lay people alike, have much to do. The month of July is a busy time in Franklin, starting with the 4th of July celebration , to Vacation Bible School, ending with the FASA Songfest. People have many things to do today and it wears us out. Yet God has an answer, the Sabbath. We MUST take time each week to rest, this is God's command. It is not always easy to find time to just rest, but God knows what is best for each of us and a day of real rest will help our body, mind and spirit. Even Jesus needed to take time to rest (Mark 6:31), so should we.
41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
- Luke 10:41-42 (WEB)
As I write this blog, 2019 Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference is less then a week away. I was looking over the agenda and legislative items and I think most of those items are so routine. Yes, we have some important items about bringing more people into the church, especially the youth, and this year election of delegates for the 2020 General Conference., yet budgets and trustee matters seem so less important.
We can, like Martha, get so caught up in the business of the church that we can forget about why we are here, to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Jesus tells her, and us, that we can be troubled by many things, yet we must never forget to listen and learn from Christ. I hope that all of us can take time this annual conference and every day, from the things that make us anxious and troubled and have the “good part:” listening to our lord Jesus Christ.
7 He said to them, “It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
9 When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing, 11 who also said, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? [“] - Acts 1:7-11a (WEB)
We many times like to remember the “Good Old Days.”. High School reunions and family gatherings also bring out the old stories. Now I do believe that we need to remember the stories and events of yesteryear (I do read a lot of history), but the problem is if we want to live in the past and not today.
The people of Galilee were looking up, probably remembering the good times, with Jesus. It was the “two men” in white, that reminded them that Jesus told them to “witness to me” throughout the world. What are you doing, looking up for Jesus to return and remembering the “good old days”, or going out into the world as a witness to the power and love of Christ.