Saturday and Sunday, May 2 & 3, 2009, "Forever Changed"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
By: Teresa Criswell

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."
~ Isaiah 61:3 ~

From yesterday's devotional, I ponder the woman that encountered Jesus as she received her pardon from the sentence of death by stoning. I would like to wonder what became of her?

The touch of His gentle, strong hands, by The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Was she grateful beyond her wildest imaginations?

I imagine that as He held her close to his chest she was forever changed. Wiping the dirt from her tear stained cheeks as she uncontrollably wept. Experiencing His unbelievable, indescribable mercy, He looked at her with those piercing eyes of love placing his hands gently under her chin as He lifted her downward head that for most of her life had only een the ground as she walked in shame. I would love to imagine that He said, "I am the lifter of your head, you go and love others the way I have displayed My love towards you."

With the cloak of Christ that was wrapped around her; hiding her frail, naked body, I believe from that day on she had a different walk. She saw the path before her. It was all new to her. It was as though she saw for the first time. The market filled with vivacious colors of the fruit and vegetables on display the sky beautifully revealing the majestic, glory of God.

I imagine this scene the day after her encounter with Jesus:

Morning came, she awoke yet no one was beside her this time. There was no man sleeping by her side to fulfill the void within her heart.

She was awake, this time with a smile of gratefulness. Inhaling and exhaling on purpose, no longer holding her breath in shame. She rises up from her bed imagining she would have a new garment to wear. As she turns she notices something. She places her hand on her mouth in shock as she sees a beautiful white dress carefully draped over the stone chair. She was stunned, for the only garment that she ever worn was a heavy black, sadly worn dress. A dress that reminded her of her life of mourning. Yet today her garment was different.

She ran to the stone chair and hurriedly placed the new dress on herself. She giggled. She was taken back by the sound of her giggle. Wow, to hear laughter ringing in her ears was a refreshingly yet foreign, delightful sound that came from her own voice.

Her heart leads her mind to the thoughts of yesterday. She thinks about this amazing man. A man like no other she had ever encountered. Her Jesus, who forever changed her life in history. She thought to herself, "No one had lifted my head like that before. I know what that word means now, the Word called Love. That's Him, He is love!"

She dared with boldness to open that door to the world outside her house. She was ok, no matter what they would say or do, she experienced His love this is all that mattered to her anymore.

As she stepped foot into the world outside her house, she noticed the beautiful creation around her. She remembers almost seeing things in a gray tone before her encounter with Him. But today she sees everything in 'technicolor'. The colors are so beautiful and breathtaking.

As she walks by the people in her village, she hears them snicker and whisper with sarcasm and jealousy, "That's her, she's the one who deserved to die and that Jesus who calls Himself the Son of God, let her live. Look how she walks now. I can't believe she can lift her head so high. She is a whore, yet she acts like she is a virgin. I wonder who got her that dress?" As they laugh making fun of her.

I believe at that moment, she looked at them with eyes of love even in that moment. Like the Man she encountered, she smiled at them with compassion. They were shocked and insulted realizing that shame had no chance.

I would have to think that there were others who would look from side to side to see if anyone was watching as they ran to her in fear, yet they had to know as they asked her in desperation, "Why are you different?" And her getting the opportunity to share as she might have said, "I had an encounter with my Lord, He freed me from my death sentence..."

As she shared her encounter with Him, those that knew of her, wanted what she had. They had to have it, no matter what the cost.

This leads me to ask, "Lord, do they know that I have encountered You? Have I continued to lift my head, when You lifted it the first day I met you? Do I still walk in shame? Or do I walk in Your freedom that You so lovingly provided? I want to be grateful as I display your love Lord, not just by my actions but also by my words of love. Help me Father God, let me walk in daily rememberance the day I encountered you.

Will the world run to Jesus by running to me as I display the freedom I have in Him? Or will they run from Jesus by running from me as I display my shame in who I am, not revealing my encounter with Him?

I desire to be like her after her encounter with Jesus.


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