Welcome friends to another week of praise and encouragement about what God continues doing in my life and the life of those around me. This week, I thought about rising from the ashes, which is a very personal subject for me. Many of you know or may be acquainted with a family member or someone close to you who have disorders or other medical issues. I’d like to tell you how God brought me from shame to an atmosphere of continued love, acceptance, and forgiveness. God did not promise we would live a perfect life. Like Paul, many of us have thorns. I, too, have several thorns. However, it is amazing how God works in our lives. He never reminds us of our past mistakes or failures. However, at times, others may remind me of the past. It is during these occasions; I pray for strength. I know God always supplies my needs. Therefore, I must forge ahead and not give up.
This thorn has been with me since birth; however, God continues pulling me from the ashes of shame, and internal conflict. I still struggle at times; however I know Christ is a prayer away. When we allow Christ to pull us from the ashes of brokenness and pain, into the light of his love, he does. Yes, it becomes challenging to rise above negative events, attitudes, hurt, pride, and unbelief. However, we cannot gain victory over these situations alone. Medications are great, but God heals if it is in his will. Our efforts fail when we try to manage in our own strength. Once we think we are beaten down without hope and purpose, God rescues us. It does not mean we will become perfect or we will not fail. It does mean we will have more victories than failures when we lean on God.
As I thought about myself and others, I began thinking about all those in the Bible who also rose from ashes as well to become great women of God. For Example, Esther, a Jewish peasant, rose to be queen which helped her to save her people. However, my favorite is the woman at the well. The Samarian woman was an underdog. People talked about her behind her back, she was scorned and disliked. While traveling from Judaea on his way to Galilee, Jesus walked through Samaria. After some time, the woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus was thirsty therefore he asked her for a drink of water. As the conversation continued, he exposed her history with men, but never condemned her actions. The word exchange did not stop, during information, Jesus revealed he was the Christ. As the conversation proceeded, Jesus tells her he is the Messiah. (4:26) This woman became overjoyed, which resulted in her leaving her pots and going to the city. Once she reached it, the woman told everyone about Jesus as a result many believed in Jesus.
He offered the woman at the well love and forgiveness, not condemnation, (I relate to this woman’s life.), She was no longer a woman scorned by those around her. He changed her life. (John 4:9-39) Therefore, she could not wait to tell everyone about her experience with Christ. The unnamed woman’s actions were like many of our reactions. Once Jesus comes into our lives, we tell everyone who listens. The stigma of past mistakes disappears and finally, we know real love. We are not perfect and we will mess up from time to time, however, we are no longer doomed for an eternity separated from Christ, once we accept salvation. Some time ago, I listened to the Three Bridges sing a song titled “Count It Victory”. I love this song. It does not matter the situation we are in; we find victory through Christ in every situation we face. The woman at the well-found victory no longer lived in the ashes of her mistakes.
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