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by Michele Sparks

In today's world we often hear people err on one side or the other of things advocating for more love and grace or more adherence to standards, principles and truth. I implore you to consider however whether it really has to be one or the other. What would Jesus Himself say about the issue of grace versus truth?

In John 4:1-42 Jesus meets a woman at the well just focused on drawing her water for the day's events. Instead of embarrassing her or shouting her down with judgments about her escapades with the 5 men (aka husbands) she has had he becomes part of her story in a grace-filled way. However, the story does not end with tolerance and approval of unholy behavior. Jesus recognizes her issues but nonetheless interacts with her. Grace becomes real in action. The sinless Spirit led existence of Christ accepts water held by the Samaritan woman. Heaven touches the real , the ordinary. This is true discipleship in action. Grace does not stop there . Jesus adds truth . He tells the Samaritan woman those who worship God must do so in Spirit and truth. The reality of the Gospel always requires something form us- a sort of re-evaluation of our position. Are we lined up with the Gospel or are there any areas in which we need to change or repent and go in a different direction?

When grace and truth are married something happens. It is something very beautiful indeed. This incident went beyond the basic interchange between Jesus and the Samaritan lady- just two people standing by a well fetching water. I verse 28 we see a response that only grace and truth could have produced. "And the Samaritan woman left her water jar there and went to the town. " Next we here how her encounter with grace demanded a response. She stated to the townspeople, "come see a woman who told me everything I have ever done. This man must be the Messiah." We see the ultimate result: "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed because of that woman's testimony. So many of them encouraged Jesus to stay with them and he stayed two days. And because of Jesus' words many more became believers."

Grace and truth always cause a stir, a chain reaction of sorts. They are two ingredients like in a recipe that are inseparable. Nowhere are they better mirrored than at the cross- the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The grace of Jesus is apparent from having compassion for the Romans soldier who disciple Peter attacked with a sword. Even while the soldier reaches to arrest Jesus our Savior heals the soldier's ear. Grace continues when Jesus looks out at the screaming people voting for Barabus, a known thief, to be set free in exchange for Jesus' death. Jesus dies for those same ones. Grace again is composed and confidently assured in the Holy Spirit when facing Pontious Pilate by not defending and causing an uproar but instead letting his actions of the soon coming resurrection speak for themselves. Grace continues on the cross through excruciating pain "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Grace continues accepting repentance from a sinner on a cross nearby even in his dying breath.

Jesu' death and resurrection, however, are not just about grace but also about truth. We see in action the truth lived out that "there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friend." (John 15:13) We see our High Priest who is familiar with every temptation and struggles in life overcome by going the path we should have gone (see Hebrews 14).

So next time you are tempted to think is it more grace or more truth remember the above. Grace and truth are an inseparable mix of the very heart of God. Let us all pray that we be in Christ filled with grace but that we also have an initiate relationship with the Holy Spirt, God's presence as the Spirit of truth.

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All that glitters is not Gold” is an aphorism stating that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so or situation or anyone that seems to have extrinsic good or attractive qualities is actually good after all. In other words, the proof of the pudding is in the eating meaning to say that you can only know whether something, situation or somebody is good or bad after having been evaluated or tasted. However, I would like to make a slight modification to this expression to be some to be ‘’All That Glitters is not Always Gold’’ because these might be some rare exceptions to this well-known phrase.

Right from thee inception of creation to this present day, mankind has been known to be grappling with one form of sin or the other, greed inclusive. Christians are therefore, biblically enjoined to shun worldliness as clearly contained, amongst others, in the book of I John 2:15-17. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, if any man love the world the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father, but is of the world.

And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abide forever’’ it is of utmost importance in loving God in our decision-making process to avoid flaws and disappointments. Christians should always endeavour to allow God direct their actions for divine results. Often times, we do think we can always do things our own way.

Greed is the instrument of destruction according to the scripture; He that is greedy of gain trouble his own house, but he that hate gift shall live. – Proverbs 15:27, 1 Timothy 3:3,8.

Using Adam and Eve as the first case study, their fall was borne out of disobedience through greed. Eve, having been deceived by the serpent and demonstrated a compulsive desire to eat of the forbidden fruit caused by his tantalizing appearance, decided to eat of it and give some to her husband. Almost immediately, their lifestyle changed to a state of despondency. That singular development marked the fall and anguish to mankind even till this date.

On God’s instruction to Samuel to anoint David King in the stead of King Saul after his disobedience and rejection by God, Samuel had wanted to anoint the first son of Jesse King because of his fine physical features. But God said he sees other ways around a man by looking at the heart and not the physical appearance. 1 Sam. 16:6-8, 12

May God take out the spirit of greediness and filled you with the Holy Spirit.

The Mind Of The Lord Ministries Apostle Emmanuel Okang +233-245858103

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All too often when people contact us for help it is because the hurts, pains and stresses of life have become almost unbearable. They are searching, seeking and feel like they have been left without a sense of direction. They have tried many journeys already but ones which have not brought hope and healing.

When any of us is in pain regardless of the source we can be so eager to get to the place of reprieve, rest, renewal. "Just make it better" seems to be the cry of the wounded heart. When our lesson comes from Scripture and the life of Jesus Christ we learn that there is no place of newness without a dying out of something. Perhaps it is old ineffective habits that need to die out. Maybe toxic thought patterns or problematic behavior choices need to be changed. We must come to the pace of realizing that things aren't working the way we tried. Self only produces emotional death. Our souls groan for so much more.

What our souls are really longing for is what only the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ can provide. That resurrection place is possible as we submit to God's personal journey for each of us. Even Jesus had to go through a death and burial before a resurrection. Likewise, God wants us effective to wholeheartedly face head on with victory what lies ahead. This can only happen through surrender to the methods He desires.

We are here to walk alongside you in this journey toward the better place you have been longing for. While none of us can bypass God's process we are committed to standing with you through the process with all its ups and downs. If you are interested in learning more please contact us at (380) 213-9909.

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