November 20

Today's Bible Reading
     I Chronicles 15
     James 2
     Amos 9
     Luke 4
''For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."  
(James 2: 10)
            The Supreme Court of the United States has reviewed a law that California and a few other states had enacted. The law is called ''Three Strikes and You're Out.''  It simply meant that if a person came before the courts with three criminal acts, they would be put away for life in prison.  That law was certainly not criminal-friendly to say the least.
            The moral law set forth in the Word of God is not sinner-friendly either. The moral law does not consider our weaknesses as human beings; in fact,it does not take into account our heredity or infirmities. It simply demands that we be absolutely moral. Moral law never changes, either for the highest of society or for the weakest in the world. It is enduring and eternally the same. This moral law ordained by God does not make itself weak to the weak by excusing our shortcomings. It remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we are not aware of this, it is because we are less than alive. Once we realize it, our life immediately becomes a fatal tragedy. ''I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." (Romans 7:9) 
           This truth brings conviction of sin, and conviction of sin alwaysbrings a fearful, confining sense of the law that makes a person hopeless - sold under sin. (Romans 7: 14)
            As a guilty sinner, I can never work to get right with God - it is impossible. There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to have perfection, the kind of perfection He demands?
            We only begin to realize the power of the moral law once we see that it comes with a condition and promise, but God never coerces us. Sometimes we wish He would make us be obedientand other times we wish He would leave us alone. Whenever God's will is in complete control, He removes all pressure. When we deliberately choose to obey Him, He will reach to the remotest star and to the ends of the earth to assist us with all of His Almighty power. Thank God that we here in the Family of Faith are no longer under the unforgiving, unbending nature of the moral law.  Now we are under grace. 
How do we experience that grace?
            In Psalms 51, David expressed his deep sense of guilt and his desperate need for God 's forgiveness and cleansing. Even the King was under the unbending rule of the moral law. As David grieved over his sin, he came to the Lord ''with the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart." When David thought about God's love, mercy, and grace, he was filled with gratitude and praise.
            When you experience the moral law, you experience justice. Justiceis getting what you deserve; mercyis not getting what you deserve; grace, on the other hand, is getting what you do not deserve. As we consider what Jesus did for us on the Cross, taking the full punishment for our sins, then we will be overwhelmed with the wonder of grace. If it is grace, it has to be amazing. When you come to Him with a broken and contrite heart, He will not give you the moral law that you must obey. He will give you His grace which is free and full pardon for all those times you 've broken the moral law.
What a blessing we can settle out of court at the Cross!
            One of the most difficult groups to reach is the largely Muslim Somali, Harari, and Afar regions in the eastern region of Ethiopia.  Indigenous Christians are few and there are no churches. The political and religious tensions are numerous and any form of Christian outreach is difficult. Many Somalis live in refugee camps in the desert.  Pray for the many barriers to be removed and the evangelical witness to be successful in this very difficult place. Pray also for the protection of believers who serve in this dangerous and difficult place.
            ''A Christian should not be a question mark for God, but an exclamation point!''
Vance Havner