Are Happy Endings Really Possible?

Are Happy Endings Really Possible?
Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him" (Psalm 32:2, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I love a good story. I love stories filled with drama, mystery, action, honesty, hope, grit, tension, release, passion, tenderness, love, restoration, and redemption. My favorite stories, however, combine many of these elements and finish with a happy-ending. My heart beats for stories with a happy ending.

There have been days in my life that have been heavy on the tension and light on the release; moments when I've felt deep pain and longed for deep peace; weeks when hope evaded my heart because I had chosen to turn from God's way and defiantly chose Gwen's way and season's when I felt like I had messed up so badly that a happy ending for my life was simply impossible.

Have you ever felt that way? Like there was a great chasm between your life and a happy ending? Have you ever felt like you were in a situation, a relationship or a condition that was un-healable, un-helpable, and un-redeemable? I sure have. I think we all have.

Luke 7 introduces us to a woman who endured her shattered, jagged life publicly. I bet she probably felt like there could never be a happy ending for her life - like hope and healing were for other people, not for her.

She was guilty of something, though we are never told what. She is simply described as a woman "who had lived a sinful life." Though she is nameless to you and me, the people of her town surely knew her name. The Pharisees knew enough to condemn her with judgmental thoughts.

Her sin was public, not private. Yet the public disgrace of this broken, sinful woman became the perfect canvas on which Jesus Christ would paint a beautiful picture of extravagant grace.

"Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." (Luke 7:36-38, NIV)

Imagine what a scandalous moment this must have been. I'm sure the host was wondering how this uninvited woman managed to get into his home. We know his mind was racing because the next few verses tell us s

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."

"Tell me, teacher," he said.

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:39-48).

Imagine the freedom that flooded her soul when this woman looked up, through tear-filled eyes, into the face of grace for the very first time. Jesus looked beyond her reputation to her regret. Then He forgave her. Not because she had earned forgiveness, but because Jesus loved her.

She was forgiven much, so she loved Him much. Oh, how I can relate to this sinful woman. The love that resides in my heart is so great because the sins I've been forgiven of are so many.

Jesus still loves to extend grace, and I am so thankful. Grace! What none of us deserves, but each of us longs for. In his book, What's So Amazing about Grace? Philip Yancey wrote:

Grace does not excuse sin, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today's AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus' day.

In his book 3:16, The Numbers of Hope, Max Lucado writes, "The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God's treatment is prescribed in John 3:16." It's the verse you've more than likely heard since you were a child. The verse scribbled on cardboard signs and held up at sporting events. The verse that gives hope to each and every one of us: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Why would He lay down His life for you, for me, and for all humanity? In one word: love; perfect, unconditional and doesn't-matter-who-you-are-or-where-you've-been-or-what-you've-done love. God made a new and living way through the blood shed by Jesus Christ so our wounded hearts could be that everyone of us could experience deep peace, love, forgiveness, and hope. Welcome to your happy-ending story. It's available to each of us who turn our hearts to Him.

The End.

Let's Pray
Heavenly Father, You are above all and beyond all! You are mighty to save, gracious to forgive, and merciful to forget all that I've done wrong. I praise You for who You are, and thank You for the grace that is at work in my heart and in my life. Help me to cast aside everything that keeps me from You today, Lord.

In Jesus' Name, I pray.


Now It's Your Turn
What came to your mind as you read today's devotion? Grab your journal and write about it.

Have you experienced the wonder of grace at work in your life? In what ways? Do you extend that same grace to others? Spend a few moments in prayer. Thank God for His grace.

Print or write out this verse: "Those who look on him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" (Psalm 34:5). Memorize it and allow it to serve as a reminder that in Christ you are a new creation, and viewed as radiant by our holy Lord.

Seeking God? Click here to find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

A Divine Guarantee
Dr. Charles Stanley

Matthew 6: 31-34: "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things ; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "So do not worry about tomorrow ; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Today's passage contains one of the most amazing promises in all of Scripture. If we truly believed it and lived accordingly, our lives would be transformed, and worry would lose its grip on us. Yet if we keep seeking our security in the things the world values—bank accounts, stable jobs, and a strong national and global economy—we will be filled with anxiety at every fluctuation.

Instead, why not take God up on His guarantee in Matthew 6:33? Make Him your number one priority, seeking both His kingdom (His rule over you) and His righteousness (His transformation of you). What that means is obeying His instructions and submitting to whatever He uses to transform your character, whether it be hardship, suffering, or ease. What I'm talking about is not a sinless life but, rather, the desire to live in God's will and become increasingly like Christ.

When we make a commitment toward that goal, the Lord promises to take full responsibility for providing whatever we need. Now, this doesn't mean that He will give us everything we ask for, but aren't you grateful that He doesn't? Just think back to some of the foolish things you've requested in the past. He alone knows what our true needs are.

The spiritual benefits of living in God's will are amazing, but our loving Father doesn't stop there—He commits to provide for our physical needs as well. So even though each day has its own trouble (v. 34), you can rest in the faithfulness of the Father and trust Him to keep His Word.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

Seeing God
Dr. R.C. Sproull

"Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18, KJV). We hear this verse quoted frequently in order that we may be inspired and challenged to move with intensity toward a future goal. We applaud the leader who is a visionary, one who can paint a picture of a better future and show us the way to attain it. We are a goal-oriented society. We need a dream, a target to aim for if we are to get our adrenaline moving and our passions stirred.

Every goal, every short-range vision must be measured against the supreme and final norm of all future Christian visions. We must keep before us the ultimate vision of the people of God. We cannot see God because He is holy and we are not. I have never seen God. I have felt His presence and reasoned through His existence. I have read His Word and heard of dazzling displays of His glory. But I have never seen Him. He is invisible. Not only have I never seen Him face to face, but no one else has seen Him either. The creation heralds His majesty; the stars declare His handiwork. We can view the work of the Artist, but the Artist Himself remains unseen.

Why can't we see God? It is not because He is a spirit, nor is it because He is not present. He is here; there is no question about that. We live in a world of real entities that we cannot see with the naked eye. What is invisible to our eyes can have dramatic effects on us.

The forces of electricity and nuclear power affect our daily lives though we do not see them. Our bodies may be invaded at any moment by life-threatening microorganisms. The sophisticated instruments of telescopes and microscopes reveal a dimension of reality that escapes our naked glance.

There is no microscope powerful enough, though, to penetrate the veil that covers the face of God. There is no lens capable of magnifying our weak eyesight to the level of seeing God. Our problem is not a weakness of visual strength. It is not the optic nerve that is deficient. The deficiency is in our hearts, not our eyes. We cannot see God because He is holy and we are not. It is because of sin that we are told, "No man can see God and live."

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Read and compare the visions of God seen by Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-5) and John (Rev. 1).

For Further Study

Isaiah 6:1-3: "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!'"

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit or call them at 800-435-4343.© R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

And When The Saints,
Go Marching In,
I Want To Be One Of Them

lord i have a heavy burden of all i've seen and know
it's more than I can handle
but your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and i can’t let it go

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

i think of paul and silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

and when the Saints go marching in
i want to be one of them

lord it's all that i can't carry and cannot leave behind
it all can overwhelm me
but when i think of all who've gone before and lived a faithful life
their courage compels me

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

i think of paul and silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
i see the shepherd moses in the pharaohs court
i hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

chorus x2

i see the long quiet walk along the underground railroad
i see the slave awakening to the value of her soul
i see the young missionary and the angry spear
i see his family returning with no trace of fear
i see the long hard shadows of calcutta nights
i see the sister standing by the dying man’s side
i see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
i see the man with a passion come kicking down that door

i see the man of sorrow and his long troubled road
i see the world on his shoulders and my easy load


Drums – Steve Brewster
Percussion – Marc Anderson, Zach Miller, Troy Groves
Bass – Matt Pierson
Piano – Blair Masters
Acoustic Guitar – Scott Dente
Electric Guitar – Jerry McPherson
Keys – Blair Masters
BGV’s –
Additional engineering – Wayne Thomas, Aaron Sternke

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