Luke and the Lost

Many years ago, we attended some seminars taught be some heavy hitters in the church world. One, in particular caught my attention and held it the minute he walked in and shouted, “Welcome, saints!” Everyone gave a hearty welcome back to him. Then, with the same enthusiasm, he shouted, “Welcome, sinners!” The crowd was not quite as joyous in their reply. In fact, they were taken aback by the thought that we all knew but reluctant to express…we are sinners saved only by God’s grace. Most responded with bowed heads in awkwardness. Gotcha!…was just what the speaker was trying to convey to his eager audience of pastors. All are sinners in need of a Savior. ALL.

Jesus tells us a story that describes for us in detail our imperfections resulting in the sin of pride and haughtiness, when we think we have arrived.

Luke 18, The Message
The Story of the Tax Man and the Pharisee
9-12 He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’

13 “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”

14 Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

It’s too hard to be anyone else than the person God created us to be. He doesn’t make mistakes. We do. We need to remember that we are not perfect, but perfectly forgiven…many times. We stand only because Jesus is holding on to us as we hold on to Him.

A little girl, diagnosed with cancer which resulted in the removal of her leg, asked me, “Do you just have to be good to get to heaven?”

“No,” I quickly responded to this six year with honest, pleading eyes with a heart to hear the Truth. No one is “good enough”, it is only about Jesus. We need to believe that Jesus died in our place, took the blame, and the punishment, for all the bad things we have thought about and did in our lives. It is about believing that Jesus will forgive us of those bad things. It is about believing that we are then forgiven…forever…of those bad things called sins. It is about learning more about Him and asking Him to walk with us every day, helping us come closer and closer to Him, so that we know Him more and more. He gives us joy, peace and blessings of His love that knows no limits. We want to become more like HE wants us to be. But good enough? No, that’s not possible. But with Christ we work hard to please Him in all we do and He helps us to be better than just us trying to be good. She got it. This little six year old sincere seeker accepted Christ into her heart.

ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ALL.

potter's hands

Dear Heavenly Father, Continually transform us from sinner to saint by Your daily grace. Mold us with Your gentle hands of mercy. You shape your masterpiece of us as a painter lovingly puts finishing strokes on his work of art. We are sinners saved only by Your Son. Forgive us of our sins. May our messy, but forgiven lives be a testimony of your saving power of transformation for someone else. In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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