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Are you struggling to get anything to work? Do you feel like you have wronged God too much and feel discouraged and hopeless that He will accept you back? You have found the starting point! God’s grace is just the welcome gift you need to introduce you back to the Father. His grace is full of liberating news about the Father’s love for His children and how He has given his own Son’s life in order to reconcile you back to Him. God has long forgiven your sins, so there’s nothing to fear. Run back into his embrace, where the fullness of His grace abides. Isaiah 43 says, “Forget the former things; Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” The devil would have you believe that all hope is gone— that you are irrevocably broken—but grace breaks through the lie.
Mercy Chazuka’s Grace: The Gospel Basics That Every Christian Should Know is a loving reminder of your Savior’s hope for you. You don’t owe Him anything; Jesus paid your price, and you are now, and always, an adored member of God’s family. It’s time to remember that you are loved. It is never too late to turn back from the bad. Take the first step now, and live your best life forevermore.
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GRACEThe Gospel Basics That Every Christian Should Know
By MERCY CHAZUKA
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Mercy Chazuka
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Showdown
Hosea was furious to the point that he could not sit down. His face was ablaze with vengeful fury. He walked up and down the room, to and fro, took a brief sit and suddenly stood up again and took another walk. He was a husband in shame. His jealousy consumed his bosom and he was bent on showing no mercy to anyone. No compensation or bribe, no matter how big, could quench his scorching anger against his wife, Gomer.
"I'm sick and tired of your adulterous life, woman! For how long will you defile our marriage bed? I gave you life. I gave you freedom. I gave you health. I gave you security and peace. I have given you everything that makes you the woman you are, distinguished and honoured by many. I thought I have been all that a husband should be. You are the envy of all women. What don't you have, tell me what don't you have in this house?"
There was a long pause ...
"Your problem my lord is ..." Gomer groped for a word and found it. "You ask for too much". She almost whispered. She hung her head.
She paused as if to sift for better words and carefully chose the ones suitable enough for the circumstances. This time, she felt she had to take the bull by its horns. She had to say it like it is.
"I can't seem to do anything right. You have too many laws in this house. Do this! Do that! Why hasn't this been done? Sometimes I forget some of the demands of your many laws. And you get angry with me! I can't seem to get anything right in this place. The harder I try is the more I fail. I have to be very careful what I do because I don't know when your anger might burn against me. It seems like what I want to do, I do not do and I do what I don't want to do. I know that nothing good lives in me; nothing at all! I try my lord, I try, but I end up doing the bad I don't want to do. Everything I do is wrong. I can't seem to make you happy Hosea, I don't even know whether you love me or not!" Gomer sobbed. She was desperate.
"Don't argue with me woman!" Hosea stormed. "That doesn't give you the right to go after other men. I told you when I paid the bridal price for you that I intended to live with you all the days of your life; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you. You knew that I despised adultery the most. Although you were adulterous from before I married you, I made it crystal clear to you that you should drop your old ways of life, if you and me have to live together. But no! You carry on with your past practices. You made yourself a public cistern; that anyone thirsty can drink out of. Now listen! Listen very carefully. Although at first you promised to accept my words and store them up within you, you have quickly forgotten your sacred vow that you made on Mount Sinai. You vowed and swore under oath that you will do everything I say. Now let me tell you something woman, you are no longer my wife and I'm no longer your husband!"
Hosea had finally dropped the missile. The room quieted instantaneously. It was over!
Gomer had found refuge and comfort in the exquisite pearl white couch which had luxurious velvet purple complements and bronze legs fashioned like the paws of a lion. Her hair was elegantly coifed, and she sat with both her legs curled to her right side. She sat like a queen in distress, and the purple backdrop on the walls perfected the look. She hugged on to a jumper like a little girl left alone during a stormy night. She was about to lose the life of magnificence and grandeur for a life in a sequestered desert. Hosea spoke on and his words continuously tore her insides. She couldn't help it but sob on, and she sobbed bitterly. Hosea had to let it out, the lump that burned in his chest, so he carried on ...
"It's too late to cry Gomer. It's too late! In fact, remove that adulterous look from your face. Your heart is filled with unfaithfulness. I want you out of my house! Together with your children; the whole lot of you. They're children of adultery. The children conceived in disgrace. I know in your unfaithful heart you are thinking, 'Well, I'll go after my lovers'. Go! Never return. You are not to take anything with you from this house. Not even a piece of bread. No money, not anything that belongs to me!"
The atmosphere in the room was thick. The room already felt like a ruined city. The air in the room was twice as hot as Hosea's chest itself. The three children had hidden in the next room and were all piled in one heap in a corner, seeking comfort from one another as Hosea's anger burned against their mother. Although mother and father used to argue frequently, this one was never like any from before. This one was too hot.
Meanwhile, while Gomer sat sobbing, on the other hand, she planned her next move. Her mind was set on Baal. Baal had found a comfortable dwelling place deep down within the caverns of Gomer's head. He had taken root there and was thriving with each day that passed. He fed on every lobe of her brain.
She was distressed because she was about to leave the glorious riches and security that her husband Hosea had provided for her all this time. She was also somewhat relieved to go away from this 'legalistic' marriage which stopped her from exploring everything the world had to offer. She yearned for independence. She hoped for a better future with the man she was planning to spend the rest of her life with, the carefree Baal. Baal had nothing to offer but somehow, he had so much drawing power towards himself. Men, women and children of every nation, tribe and creed had so much passion for him, although they could not figure out why. To Gomer, Baal meant all the freedom in the world!
Baal had been Gomer's lover for along time. In fact, Baal had many lovers; most of whom were married unfaithful women. Gomer had double-crossed Hosea with Baal for a very long time. She liked him for nothing else other than the reason that he was...well...Baal. The other reason she liked him was because everyone else liked him. The various sensual pleasures that she had experienced in her short and frequent encounters with Baal had appealed to her and overshadowed her mind. She began to envisage life with Baal as better. However, Baal was poor because he was lazy. His life seemed to be centred on the wooden chair one of his lovers had made him a long time ago. Gomer would have to fend for herself if she had to eat.
During her marriage to Hosea, Gomer had sometimes stolen money from her husband to feed Baal. Life would not be easy with Baal because he did absolutely nothing for her and everyone else, and Gomer knew that.
This time Gomer was determined to endure the tough life of hard work and toiling to feed Baal, the children as well as herself. As she looked forward to her 'happy' ever after with Baal, her pain from the breaking down of her marriage seemed to ease off. When Hosea married her, Gomer had been subjected to a lot of abuse and torture by the men she serviced as a prostitute; however, this time she was looking forward to serving Baal and Baal alone.
The grass looked greener from a distance but life in Baal's world was grim. It was a life of drunkenness, prostitution, corruption, hopelessness, debauchery, wickedness, maraud, murder, deceit, thievery, banditry, mockery, arrogance, deception, destruction, rebellion, lies, wailing, bribery, insolence, hostility and shamelessness. Many were lovers of money. However, Gomer's eyes had been blinded by the love for freedom. She saw all these practices as liberating from the requirements of her loving husband—whose love had become overshadowed by his relentless anger every time his many rules were broken.
As she was in deep meditation about what she was going to do next, when Hosea interrupted her thoughts.
"It's time to go. Just rise up and go! It is better to live in a corner of the roof than to share a house with an adulterous wife. It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury. You are to take nothing out of this house. You are to take no spare clothing for you and your children. Leave all the linen costumes I bought you in the days when our love was still youthful. You have forsaken me for another. Maybe if I expose your lewdness and nakedness before him, he will see what a big mistake he has made to take you away from me. Take my advice, there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death. Also take heed that ..." He swallowed. "It's better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." He almost choked on his words.
Hosea's mind was made up. He was jealousy for Gomer because he loved her very much. But this time, he had had enough of her unfaithfulness.
"Jezreel!" Hosea called their first son into the room. The boy dawdled in. His big round eyes were sullen. It was evident that the boy had been crying. Hosea looked away for a moment. He took a deep breath. He needed a word with his son. As the older one of the three, Hosea strongly wanted to let Jezreel know what was going on.
"Kneel!" The bearded Hosea ordered. He spoke with a deep voice that thundered like many waters in the teenage boy's ears. The boy knelt instantly. He was petrified.
"My son, rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife anymore, and I am not her husband. She has been unfaithful to me and the three of you are to go with her to Baal, the man she adores and listens to. But I want you to know that ..."
Hosea battled his tears back; he had to take it like a man. He swallowed another huge lump off his throat. After pausing for what seemed like an eternity to the hopeless boy, Hosea dismissed his son abruptly.
"Now fetch your bother and sister, it's time to go!"
The boy, without any questions, hesitantly and sluggishly rose up and disappeared into the inner room where his two siblings had found refuge from their parents' brawl. They sat in a ball, cowering in fear. Gomer stood up and without taking another glance at her furious husband; went after Jezreel.
This time Hosea's anger seemed to have subsided for a moment. He was sure he had punished his adulterous wife, but inside he felt very hurt. He was losing her. He loved her. She had deceived him. She had rejected him for another, despite all he had done for her. She had chosen Baal, not him. He allowed her the free will to choose the life she wanted. Hosea was a very loving man. Letting her go was another gesture of his love for his wife. If she thought that Baal made her happy, why not let her go! But inside, he groaned!
This is how Gomer left, together with her three children; Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi. She had been discharged to an external school of brokenness where she was to learn a multitude of indispensable lessons. Her glory flew away like a speckled bird of prey as she headed for the sun-scorched land of Baal-Peor. She wandered alone with her three children to the desert like a wild donkey—forlorn. The desert was waiting, its throat open like a grave. As day turned into night and night into day, through marshes and slimy pathways, they trudged on.
The dry desert eventually welcomed them. Through the stifling heat they marched on. The sun-scorched sand cracked their aching heels. The desert swallowed them up; and soon Gomer became like a worthless thing, just like its inhabitants. She and her children ate their unclean food. Her treasures of silver that she had left in Hosea's house were replaced by Baal's thorns and briars. She had consecrated herself to that shameful lover and soon she and her children would become as vile as him. But there was no going back; so she simply hid her head in the hot sand.
Chapter TwoLife in the Sun-Scorched Land of Baal-Peor
In the land of Baal Peor there was no one righteous, not even one. No one sought God. It was a place of condemned souls that lived in torment. All had turned away from God, and they had together become worthless.
The people had deceitful tongues and viper poison dripped on their lips. Their mouths were accustomed to cursing and bitterness. Their feet were swift to shed blood and ruin and misery marked their ways. They knew no peace. In them was hell.
Gomer, now a single mother of three, had to learn very fast the ways of her new world. Daily, she got up very early in the morning to fend for her family. She toiled in order to put a piece of bread on the table. Although she planted much, she harvested disappointment. Her labour was barely enough to fill her family. Her wages vanished like thin air into the wind. Although she expected much from her hard labour, it turned out to be little, the little was sometimes blown away by roaring gales. Still she laboured on.
Her children had to be taken to and collected from school, and no one else could help her. She had to do it herself. Although school was just five minutes walk to where Gomer lived together with Baal, and although the children knew their way home, they still had to be collected from school because of fear of the people of the land. Child molestation and child pornography by malicious paedophiles, men and women alike, was rampant. No child would be seen unaccompanied by a responsible adult in the streets of this land. The laughter of children could not be heard in the streets either. The seed of this land was either terminated before it produced its stalk, or crushed before it sprouted and grew, or worse still, corrupted by stinging thorns before it was ripe enough to produce crop. If it did produce crop, the crop it produced in turn was way bitter. So, Gomer, like a few other parents who still had a tiny grain of tenderness, encapsulated somewhere within their frozen hearts, had to walk for miles from the market where they traded their various goods with the hope of making a living, leaving their busyness for a while in order to collect their children from school.
However, this was not the end of Gomer's day, as she had to return to the market-place immediately and continue trading until the witching hour. This was the routine during weekdays.
Weekends didn't bring rest to Gomer either. Her days started even earlier than her weekdays because weekends witnessed more business than usual. But that didn't bring more harvest to satisfy the hunger of her children. Arrogant tax-collectors would be demanding their dues come Monday.
Gomer's new lifestyle was defined by walking back and forth for miles—each day of the week. On her return home, she would fix a quick meal for the starving children. None of her children would take any responsibility in the house. They had picked up on the habits of the children of this land-disobedience and arrogance!
Gomer's kitchen life was no joy either. Her kitchen had been translated from one that overflowed with milk and honey when she lived with Hosea, to one that was occupied only by dust, during her life with Baal. The cost of living in this land went up anytime and every time without warning. It was beyond the reach of many. Unfortunately for Gomer, she was one of the many residents of the city that had absolutely no decent means to feed their families. There was drought on the labour of her hands. She had lost all her fortunes and she quickly became a reproach to many.
Many sad stories were also heard and told in this land. The story about a visiting man and his young wife was among one of the worst—it took the cup! Rumours had it that a man was visiting this land with his young wife and the men of this land ambushed the place the visitor and his wife were to spend the night, demanding to rape the man. Instead, the man offered his young wife to the men and they rapped her and abused her throughout the night, only to let her go at daybreak. The man only found his wife dead the following morning. In his agony, he took his dead young wife and continued on his journey to his land. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his young wife, limb by limb and posted them all back to the authorities of the sun-scorched land of Baal-Peor and everyone who heard about it, was dumbfounded. Many stories were beyond comprehension, of things that happened in this land—the land of the condemned.
Chapter ThreeWho is Your Neighbour in the Sun-Scorched Land of Baal-Peor?
One day Gomer, on her way home from the market, was arm-bushed by a group of men who, like great lions crouching in cover, robbed her of everything she had earned. In her helplessness, they had beaten her up and left her for dead. They had devoured her as men eat bread. They were like lions hungry for prey. They had entangled her with the cords of death and the torrents of destruction. The snares of death had confronted her and in her distress she had cried out, but no one answered. No one reached out to help her in her day of disaster. No one gave her support out of the dust of the grave. Everyone went about their business.
Excerpted from GRACE by MERCY CHAZUKA Copyright © 2011 by Mercy Chazuka. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Showdown....................7
Chapter 2: Life in the Sun-Scorched Land of Baal-Peor....................13
Chapter 3: Who is Your Neighbour in the Sun-Scorched Land of Baal-Peor....................17
Chapter 4: The Hot Pursuit....................23
Chapter 5: The Restoration....................31
Chapter 6: Love the Lord your God....................39
Chapter 7: Grace Secures Us in God's Eternal Love....................51
Chapter 8: Grace Forgives Our Sins (I)....................63
Chapter 9: Grace Forgives Our Sins (II)....................71
Chapter 10: Grace Seals Us with the Holy Spirit....................83
Chapter 11: Grace Saves Us From the Law of Death....................99
Chapter 12: Grace Restores Us According to God's Will....................111
Chapter 13: Grace Grants Us Righteousness....................121
Chapter 14: Grace Guarantees Our Peace....................141
Chapter 15: Return O Children of Gomer....................165