Today’s Truth

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).

Friend to Friend

The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew and showcases more drama than a Hallmark movie. The book starts off with a genealogy trail that leads from Abraham to the birth of Jesus. This list of names might make you yawn, but it’s actually really important – and even exciting. (Yes. You read that right!) It’s fascinating because it gives evidence to a family line that shows Jesus was a descendant of both Abraham and King David, thus fulfilling what the Old Testament predicted about the lineage of the Messiah.

Scandal steps onto the page in verse three of Matthew chapter one when a woman’s name shows up. (Traditionally, only the names of men appeared in these family lineages.) But this wasn’t just any woman, it’s one from the shady side of the family tree … Tamar. She had a past, and any Jewish scholar worth their salt would know about it. She was used and abused by men that should’ve loved, protected, and provided for her. Once scorned, she schemed for revenge and ended up having twins with her father-in-law. One of the twins, Perez, is an ancestor to King David.

As the list goes on, we see a few more eyebrow-raising names…

Rahab’s name is listed. Remember her? She was the prostitute who “turned good” when she helped Joshua and the Israelites capture Jericho. Bathsheba’s on the list too, but they don’t even mention her by name. She’s recorded this way, “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” (Matthew 1:6) Nice. Archived as the woman who had an affair with King David while she was married to a soldier named Uriah.

All three of these women were known, but not necessarily for cleaned up good things.

Seeing these women listed among the relatives of Jesus seems very… messy. It seems to me that historians would want to hide those names, not put them out there for everyone to see! But that’s not God’s way. He doesn’t sweep things under the rug and pretend they aren’t there.

And strangely enough, I’m encouraged by the presence of these women in the lineage of Jesus. Why? Because they are powerful displays of His grace. They are proof that God does not require perfection from us in order for His will to be done through us. The apostle Paul summed it up nicely in his second letter to the church of Corinth. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

So you have a past. So did Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba. I do too. Who doesn’t?

So you have a few people in your family with rusty reputations. So do I. So did Jesus.

So you have some shame or pain regarding things that were done to you… things that were or are beyond your control. You’re not alone.

God’s mercy reaches beyond the muck and mire of our pasts to recreate us in the grace and love of Jesus. He lifts fallen heads, purifies rebellious hearts, and places slippery feet on solid ground.

Nothing about having a “past” or “complicated associations” can keep you from walking out the freedom and hope of Jesus. It’s time to move forward, friend. God always uses the broken to showcase His beauty.

Believe it.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for grace… for not holding my past against me… for declaring me a new creation in Christ. Please help me to trust you with my past, my present and my future.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What does today’s message tell you about God? Where do you sense He is leading you today?

Talk to Him. Seek His help, healing and direction. Let’s pray together today. Meet us in the comments section to share your heart and pray for one another.

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9 Responses to “So You Have a Past”

  1. Past experiences says:

    Dear Gwen, how awesome is it the God still uses us, our experience our story to brig forth glory in His name. I continue to be in awe of Hiis love, grace and mercy. I worship His Holy name and goodness. Thank you for continually using the gifts that He has blessed you with. Blessings Traci

  2. Cheri says:

    Once again a message JUST FOR ME! I stand amazed but shouldn’t because His all knowing power sends me the words I need just when I need them most. I am guilty of questioning my worthiness due to past choices. I keep putting those dirty rags back on although I know that He loves me and has forgiven me. Today I forgive myself. Thank you and thank God!

  3. cho says:

    I have been mulling about how to respond to a dear friend’s belief in abortion. This weighs heavy in my heart for I know she has faith in God. Her position comes from compassion with women who were abused and as a result, got pregnant.

    The devotion today points me to how to best approach showing my friend how a painful and shameful circumstance can be entrusted to God and let His healing power cover and guide us through it.

  4. Cindy says:

    Just what I needed. My daughter is in jail AGAIN.
    My pride is shattered.

  5. Lois says:

    Dear Gwen,
    Your message spoke directly to my heart this morning. I have been graciously and wonderfully forgiven of my sins in 1989 when he rose me from two death beds from liver cirrhosis. He came in like a flood with hope and love as I healed slowly from the impossible. My medical team said they have done all they could for me but I can attest to his grace and the blood of Jesus. Why did he save me when I lost my dear friend to the same disease at the same time? He saw something in me and gave me another chance. 32 years later I am a master level counselor working with my own people within the spiritual healing realm, He is the true healer. I am the living proof he does redeem us from the pits, I was totally disgraced by chronic alcoholism which stemmed from childhood trauma/abuse history. There is nothing impossible with our Jesus. He raised me up from the death beds to do his work today at age 72, I am going strong. I belong to him. Thank you. My mantra is 2 Corinthinians 5:17 and Romans 8:1, my saving grace.

  6. Juliette says:

    I know that God has forgiven my infidelity just as He forgave those in scripture. Can anyone share how those women moved forward in their lives when there were consequences as the result of their indiscretions ? How does one deal with ongoing hurtful reminders of their sins? Forgiven however not forgotten by others.

  7. Tiffany says:

    This might not sound super spiritual, but God just gets cooler and cooler to me when I’m reminded of that verse. He just keeps on bringing the good, the holy, and the righteous. I love it.

  8. Joan says:

    To Juliette. Your words could’ve been mine. I have often asked the same question as I too was not true to my marriage vows. It was a long road to believe I could be forgiven because of the aftermath I caused to the people I love the most. I know I was forgiven by his grace eventually as I have had more than one confirmation happen that he is still with me. Unfortunately the people around me still see me as that person I once was and constantly remind me of how they were hurt. I feel like that one indiscretion will follow me to my grave.

  9. Eva says:

    Lois – you are a testimony to God’s grace!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8