Gracefully Truthful

Called,Christ,church,Discipleship,Family,Follow,Freedom

Read His Words Before Ours!

Luke 8:1-3
Acts 17:30-34
2 John 1:1-6
Psalm 103:11-14

Suzanna
My tears are still flowing. Overwhelmed by the release of the weight I’ve borne, I fall to the ground in thankfulness and worship. 

Though I have just met her, Mary joins me, holds me. Finally, she stands and helps me up. Her smile is genuine and kind. I have not received kindness in so very long; I feel a kinship with her. I look toward the others. The women have smiles on their faces and their arms open in welcome. I am healed. I am home. 

Joanna
“Joanna!” 

I am summoned as I enter my home. I toss my wrap aside, willing my heart to stop racing. I lean against the doorframe, covering my eyes with my arm. I cannot let my husband, Chuza, employee of King Herod, see I’ve been crying. I try to hide the dusty hem of my dress as well. He has never paid attention to those details before, but today he absolutely must not. 

“Where have you been?” 

“I have a headache. I thought a walk would help clear it, my lord.” Covering my actions with lies has become normal for me. Self-preservation is necessary.
“You went without your maid?”

“Yes.” I sigh. “I am quite weary. The fresh air did nothing. I’m going to lie down,” I add as I turn away.

My headache is very real the next morning. It is quite easy to stay in my chamber grieving. (Mark 15:40-41) From the cupboard, I remove a small chest and carefully transfer its spices into a jar. The aroma is soothing and heartbreaking at the same time. I put the chest back in the cupboard and lock it. Now, I wait.

It’s been three days. Sabbath, the Jewish day of enforced rest, and waiting, is over. Rising before the servants, I dress quickly and simply. I put on my cloak, hiding my face and my unspeakable sadness within its deep hood. I take the precious gift from its hiding place and quietly leave, making my way to meet the other women. (Luke 24:1-12)

Damaris
Traveling in the litter with my husband, my nerves are on edge. I am eager to hear what this man has to say. The runners have hardly spoken of anything except this man, Paul. 

The streets are crowded today, yet high social position has its advantages: we face no obstacles in our journey to the Areopagus, and secure seats near where Paul will speak. 

So curious. This man, a Jew, thoroughly knows our Gentile culture. He knows about our gods, but he seems set apart from them. I am intrigued and fascinated.

I glance around me; most spectators aren’t favorable to Paul’s message. 

Despite his lack of outward appeal, something in his voice insists on my attention. He is speaking about our statue of the unknown god. (Acts 17:22-29) I’ve always wondered about this god; how can there be a god unknown to us? No one has ever been able to answer me. . . until today.

Tears spring to my eyes. I turn away from my husband, so he doesn’t see. This man’s words are piercing my heart. 

Christ’s Bride; the Church
I am full of the broken-made-whole,
repentant and redeemed humanity.  

The beautiful truth is that despite their flawed humanity, each of these women described above have a seat at God’s table. But the story is grander than just theirs, as a place is held for all who draw breath if they surrender lordship of their hearts to our Head, Christ Jesus.

Sadducee, Pharisee, tax-collector, bruised, hungry, thirsty, lonely:
all have sinned and come short of God’s glory,
making us all recipients of sin’s consequence: death. (Romans 3:23-24)

Amazingly, in lavish love, our desperate need qualifies us for a gift
only the holy, humble God could offer: forgiveness. (Matthew 26:28)
 
In His grand love, God pursues each of us, kindly waiting for our hearts to authentically say “Yes” to His invitation to follow Him.

Yes, to believing they are loved unconditionally. 
Yes, to facing the truth that they are sinners in need of a Savior.  
Yes to the invitation, “If you are hungry, weary, or thirsty…come.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)  

The Elect Lady
My last message from John came so long ago. (2 John 1) I pray daily for him and for the work here in our gathering of local believers, but I sometimes fall prey to distraction from the most important work as anxieties and fear taunt me.

I must heed John’s words from the Living God, and pray for discernment as I follow Christ’s commission to walk faithfully in love and obedience, even if I don’t see the outcome or my work seems ineffective.
So many need to hear of Christ’s love!

We must remain true to His teachings and alert to the insinuation of false teachers and deceitful doctrine. God, guide me in this ministry You’ve raised up in my home! May I be faithful to build your kingdom, not mine, as I surrender to You!

Carol’s Story: Seeking to Satisfied
A cardboard testimony from the author

I too was once seeking and hungry: seeking approval, hungry for affirmation.
I thought of myself as a “good girl,” yet I was a sinner.

In my seeking, there were those who befriended me. They didn’t preach to me, but they showed up and showed me true friendship. Instead of judging me, they sowed seeds of welcome, seeds of friendship, and eventually seeds of Truth. 

I will be forever grateful to those who found me and introduced me to the One who satisfies my soul-deep hunger. 

My dear sisters, have you fully surrendered to the One who loves you enough to give His life for you? (John 3:16-17) He took your shame, your past, and your sins and ransomed His life for yours. 

“As far as the east is from the west
so far has He removed 
our transgressions from us.”
 
(Psalm 103:12)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 
(1 John 1:9)

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