circa 2015 - 2019
There is an interesting story behind this chapter.
A lady who lived in Las Vegas was going through a very sad divorce, very much due to her problems with drugs and alcohol addiction. Her husband, a devoted Christian, gave up on her after years of trying to help her. She was despondent and desperate about losing her husband and son.
On board the plane, on the way to visit my good friend Kelly, a beautiful Links of London bracelet in the catalogue caught my eye. It had a beautiful red, pulsating heart charm on it (like my heart the Lord had shown me many years ago) and I was tempted to buy it for myself.
But the Lord said, “It is not for you, but for Lisa .” (Name changed for privacy reasons)
“Buy it, give it to her and ask her to declare –
“Hallelujah, I am a sinner!”
When I gave Lisa the beautiful bracelet at Kelly’s home in Vegas, she fell apart with great big sobs. I explained the meaning of God’s grace and His love for her, and led her to declare over and over, in between her sobs, stronger and clearer each time, “Hallelujah, I am a sinner!”
Then I saw it – a big fat blob of a demon on her shoulders, staring at me, fell off and rolled away. Lisa finally stopped weeping and arose. She looked like a totally different woman – no longer wrinkled and worn out. She looked years younger, a striking woman with a beautiful face. She was all smiles. When I told her about the demon that left her, she said she felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders, her neck felt a lot looser and she was able to stand tall and smile, ready to face the world again.
Today, she is as beautiful as ever.
She had tasted God’s grace.
Grace – the Differentiator
Grace, a Bishop taught us many years ago, is the fundamental and only difference between Christianity and any other religion.
Pardon for our sins cost us nothing but it cost God everything – the sacrifice of His one and only Beloved Son.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. John 3:16, New International Version (NIV)
We are all sinners and we cannot overcome sin. We cannot earn our way to righteousness and favour with God.
But we can say Hallelujah to our sins!
Because we are all saved by grace,
Unmerited and undeserving, yet God still extends His love and His favour upon us.
Some preachers are very hard on those who sin and cannot break free. But God says it is precisely because we are hopeless sinners who cannot help ourselves, that we need saving.
And only God can save us. He extends His hand of grace to say: “I know, that is why I sent my beloved Son to die for you and pay for what you cannot do on your own.”
Grace, defined as “unmerited favour” from God, is liberating and wonderful but however, I feel I need to make some qualifications.
In my opinion, there are two types of people who cannot enjoy God’s grace:
I hope we are not foolish enough to be one of those.
Sin displeases God. It kills us. God is merciful in pardoning our sins and gracious in granting us eternal life in spite of them, through the sacrifice of Jesus, His one and only beloved Son. When Jesus rescued the adulterous woman from being stoned to death, He did say to her “Go and sin no more”, didn’t He?
Simply be honest with God
You see, it is all about our attitude towards our sin - acknowledging that we have sinned and humbling ourselves before God for having fallen short of His Glory that matters, even though we cannot help ourselves or when circumstances in life have caused us to make poor choices and bad actions.
Lisa was set free because she was broken and contrite over her failures. She did not try to defend, deny or justify her sins and weaknesses. She still has to grapple with her demons but I am sure things will get better and easier for her with this demon of self-condemnation off her shoulders.
We simply have to be honest with God about our shortcomings and failures. He already knows everything about us anyway. He also knows we cannot possibly overcome them in our own strength.
Then, and only then, can we proudly declare – Hallelujah! I am a sinner!
And in that instant, His grace sets us free!
How marvellous and inexplicable is that?
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