February 15, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Messenger from Heaven
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17 NIV).
My new friend, Katie, lay in her bed trying not to think about the pain in her abdomen. For years, she had taken care of many patients as she nursed the sick back to health. Now she was the patient. Just four weeks had passed since her doctor said those words that kept echoing in her mind.
"Katie, it isn't an ulcer, like we originally thought. It's cancer - pancreatic cancer. And it has already spread to your liver and your lungs."
"How long do I have?" she questioned.
"I'd say about three to six months," he replied.
Three to six months. She replayed her past fifty years on the stage of her mind. Her thoughts were filled with frantic questions. "How did this happen? What went wrong? How did I get to this point?"
Katie had accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was a young child. But that seemed like a lifetime ago, and in a way, it was. Now her thoughts were filled with shame, regret, and guilt. The verses of the woman at the well came to mind. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman and said, "Woman, where is your husband?"
She answered and said, "I have no husband."
Jesus replied, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands and the one who you now have is not your husband."
"Lord, you know all that I've done," Katie prayed. "How I've fallen away from following You. I've been married twice and the man I'm living with now is not my husband. Is that why this is happening to me? Am I being punished? People have told me that You still love me, but I feel so alone. Have you left me too, like all the other men in my life?"
Katie reached for her Bible and it fell open to Luke 3 where John was baptizing Jesus. "And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven saying. 'Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased.'"
Tears ran down Katie's dry cheeks like streams in the desert. "Where are you Lord? Please don't desert me."
Katie turned her head to look out at the sun glistening over the tranquil lake in her backyard. Suddenly, as though he emerged from the pages of Luke 3, a dove fluttered to her window sill and perched on its ledge.
Katie hugged her Bible to her chest as she and the dove locked eyes. He seemed to say, "Yes Katie. I do love you. You may have strayed away from the path that I had marked out for you, but that hasn't changed My love. I never left you and I'll stay right here by your side until the day I come to take you home."
The dove stayed on the window sill for quite some time, and Katie thanked the Lord for sending His messenger, like the one from long ago. An indescribable warmth fell over Katie's body as she realized that God did indeed still love her.
Three months later, that dove came again to my friend, Katie. Only this time, when he soared back toward heaven, Katie's spirit went with him.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, Thank you that there is no sin so great that Your grace will not forgive, no place so far that Your love cannot reach down and save, no heart so cold that Your mercy cannot melt. Thank you for saving me - for taking my filthy rags and giving me robe of righteousness, for taking my sinful nature, making me into a new creation, for taking my sorrow and giving me Your joy. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Write down any sin in your life that is greater than God's grace.
Write down any sin in your life that God cannot forgive.
Write down any sin in your life where what Christ did on the cross is not enough.
Dear sister, I do hope that you paper is without mark. If there is something that you feel God would not forgive, I invite you to email me at Sharon@proverbs31.org.
Can you relate to Katie in this devotion? If so, how?
What would you have said to Katie had you been by her bedside during her last days?
"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him" (Romans 4:7 NIV)
"Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little" (Luke 7:44-43 NIV).
"Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven'" (Luke 7:48 NIV).
"Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43 NIV) (Jesus said this to the thief on the cross.)
Ultimate Makeover: Becoming Spiritually Beautiful in Christ by Sharon Jaynes
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Dreams of a Woman: God's Plans for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Thursday, 17 February 2005.