Louise, a poorly dressed woman, with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries.
She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work. They had seven children and they needed food.
John, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store. Knowing her families need, she said, "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." However, John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.
Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.
The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?" Louise replied, "Yes sir." "Okay" he said, "Put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."
Louise hesitated a moment with a bowed head. Then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully, with her head still bowed.
The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scale went down and stayed down. The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it!" The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales.
The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. The grocer stood there in disgust.
Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list at all! It was instead a prayer which said, "Dear Lord, you know my needs, so I am leaving this in your hands."
The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, "It was worth every penny of it!"
In yesterday's blog, I talked about being "sold out" to Jesus, and I asked the question, "Are we Crucified with Christ?" or "Are we Custom fitting Christ?"
It is only when we are crucified and dead to self, that we are truly "sold out," and we are allowing Jesus Christ to live fully in and through us!
I have had several people tell me that they just couldn't commit, to becoming a Christian because they didn't want to change their lifestyle. I must say, I have more respect for these people, than those who claim to be Christian, and yet their lifestyle reflects anything but Christ.
Christianity does implore sacrifice, and that sacrifice began when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Salvation may be free to us, but it was not cheap, God's son Jesus, was condemned at the age of 33 to the death penalty.
At the time crucifixion was the "worst" death and only the worst criminals were condemned to be crucified. Jesus was to be nailed to the cross by His hand and feet. Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long and was driven into his wrists, not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist that the tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breath.
Both of His feet were nailed together, thus He was forced to support himself on a single nail that impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back, then using His legs, just to continue to breathe. Imagine, for a moment, the struggle, the pain, the suffering and the courage it took for Jesus to endure this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of suffering?
A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring out water from His wounds. From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side... but do we realize His wounds were actually made in His body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and even a large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear.
But before the nails, before the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His face was torn and His beard ripped from His face. The crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have endured this torture.
All this and then Jesus had to carry His own cross for almost (about 1.25 miles) while the crowd spat in His face and threw stones at Him. The cross that He carried was approximately 35 pounds only for the upper part where His hands were nailed.
Jesus endured all of this, so that we could have "free access to God," and He did it out of His LOVE, so that ALL of our sins could be "washed away" by His blood.
Knowing what Jesus endured, how can we desire to be anything less, then what He is in us? How does a dirty movie, a sleazy television show or a filthy picture hold more weight? What about foul language, immodest dress, or gossip?
We are all capable of these things and much more... but why? Yes, we all have a sin nature, but we also have the Spirit of God living within us!
Have you ever heard someone say, "Give them your hand and they'll take your arm!" I think this has happened in Christianity, and everyday we go a bit further down the road of destruction. I will say that I am just as guilty as the next person, however, I can see the damage being done and I know it's time to seek God!
The next question is: Will we "stand for truth" (God's Truth) or will we "fall for lies?" (Satan's Lies)
Oh... and just so you know... the above story was true. Louise Redden was the woman and John Longhouse was the grocer. And it was sometime later, that John, the grocer, discovered the scales were broken; therefore only God knows how much a prayer weighs.