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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stones


Image result for stones 
 
Mistake is made
Which way to turn
Judged and battered
Bruised and torn
 
 What got her here?
Can anybody tell?
Or will you just join
And throw stones as well?
 
Does anyone here
Know her heart?
Why she was weak?
Why she fell apart?
 
You’d rather assume
Make a judgment call
Any of you standing
Beware lest you fall
 
You expose others
Yet hidden you remain
How quick you forget
I see all sin the same…
 

The teachers of the law throw a woman caught in the act of adultery at Jesus’ feet saying, “The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” Jesus stoops to the ground, writes in the sand, and tells them, “He without sin, go ahead and throw the first stone at her.” The men walk away one by one.  Jesus says to the woman, “Where are your accusers?  Didn’t even one condemn you?  Neither do I.  Go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-12)
 
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We may read this passage and marvel at God’s mercy.   We picture ourselves in this broken woman’s shoes and the relief she must have felt having her life miraculously spared.   We look at the “accusers” and are disgusted at how heartless they were, how devastating a public display of sin must have felt like, and feel a sense of thankfulness that “nowadays” is not like that anymore.
 
As I read these passages again, I find myself zooming in on the “accusers” once again, but in a much different light.  Could it be that we are falling into the same religious trap as these men as we share on social media, text gossip, or for us extra spiritual  people, send out “prayer requests” for someone's disgraceful sin?  Merciless, like the Pharisees; we parade around in our adornment of juicy details with a sole desire to make a public display of others’ wrongs.
 
Is it really that different than it was that day in the temple yard? With technology today, within a day’s time a global gossip network has been formed; fully armed with stones in hand. Overnight – you become a leader of “sowing discord among the brethren” – leading others, many in whom you do not even know, into abomination.
 
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Jesus is saying the same to us.  Are any of you without sin?  If not, then drop the stones. Stop behaving like Satan, the accuser of the brethren.  If you love Me, walk as I walked.  Walk in love.  Stop causing strife and divisions.(Rev. 12:10, 1 John 2:6)

We are called to a higher level; to be like Him.  The Christian life is about being transformed daily into His image, His likeness, His way of doing things.  With that said, let’s look again at the opening passage of Scripture.  He without sin, cast the first stone.”  Notice – Jesus, 100% sin free, yet you never see Him pick up a stone!  He didn’t come to crush what was already broken.  He came to restore it. (John 3:17) 
 
“If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” (Galatians 6:1)
 
Prayer:
 
Lord, may our hearts break for the hurting, for their reconciliation to You.  May we never use another’s brokenness as a sick form of entertainment or to give us a false sense of righteousness.  It is not Your desire that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance. We want that heart.  We want a heart that is broken for the lost and for our fellow brethren who have entangled themselves in the affairs of another path.
 
We know that bad company corrupts good habits, so Lord, help us remove ourselves from those who choose to gossip and slander, from those who pull us away from doing Your will, from those who keep us flesh conscious rather than spirit conscious. We want to be promoters of unity, not sowers of discord. 
 
Forgive us for the damage we have caused others when we have not used our tongue to bring life.
 
(Rom. 1:29, 2 Peter 3:9, 2 Cor. 5:20, Prov. 20:19, 2 Thess. 3:11, 1 Cor. 15:33, Psalm 133:1, Prov. 6:14, Psalm 34:13, Prov. 18:21)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spills

Image result for cleaning coffee spill on carpet
 
"I need ALL of you," the Lord spoke. 
 
The good.  The bad.  The ugly.  The pain.  The struggles.  The frustrations.  The questions.
 
 ALL. 
 
Notice He didn't say He "wants."  Though He does, in order to work in us, He NEEDS us.  He needs our cooperation.
 
Image result for stop sweeping things under the rugSweeping things under the rug has to stop.  It's impossible to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, body, and strength, if we don't give Him all of it.   Secrets in any relationship destroy intimacy.  Even with God.  We need to expose to Him the things He already sees.  This will open our ears to hear Him more clearly to what He is saying to us.   This grants Him permission to begin to heal and adjust our mindsets that don’t align with His.  He won't pull His love from us.  He won’t ignore us.  He won’t mistreat us when we become vulnerable to Him.  We can trust Him.
 
What remains hidden can’t be fixed.  When a spill is not dealt with or is carelessly spot cleaned, damage is done.  In order to fix the "spills" in our lives, we have to confront them head on by allowing God to shine His healing presence on our condition.  When our "free will" chooses to let God in, He then has something to work with.  
 
Image result for god will use pain to get us in our purposeWe need to trust that whatever He tells us is for our benefit and the benefit of others.  Trust Him that even if what He tells us is painful at the moment, it is always for our greater good.  He may require you to rip out the flooring to get to the damage.  You will be working alongside the Carpenter of your soul to tear out and restore a messy foundation.  Not an easy task.  It will be uncomfortable.  It will be ugly.   It will hurt.   It may cause every fiber of your being to want to give up and start sweeping again.   BUT NO MORE SWEEPING! 
 
I challenge myself - I challenge you - to surrender your ALL.  Work with God as He works in you.  Expect Him to do some rearranging because He will.   He won't always do what we are comfortable with because His ways are different than our ways, but they are the right way.   His purpose is always to get you to the side of His will for you.  The process isn't always a quick work, but anything rushed is rarely done well.
 
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Quiet yourself.  Wait on Him.  His voice is calling out, "I need ALL of you."
 
 
 
(Matthew 22:37, Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 139:23, Psalm 51:10-12, Isaiah 53:4-5, Psalm 30:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 18:4)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Peace

 A cycle of confusion, so constant, that contentment can never take root.  Band-Aids don’t heal and time never cures.   You’re surviving, but you’re far from living.  Your day becomes about holding it together, but inside you are crumbling. 


Maybe it's pain inflicted upon you by another.  Your heart is unsafe.  You long for true acceptance and unconditional love.  Your level of peace is being constantly aware and managing your actions, denying your own desires if needed, or even talking about them.  You try and you try until you realize that even if perfection were possible, it wouldn’t be enough.  Callous words leave your heart numb, and yet somehow you still feel the pain.  Every time.
 
Maybe you’re at war with yourself.  Choices in life have left you devastated, guilty, or full of shame.  Or you have something going on inside of you.  It doesn’t have a name or a known reason for being there.  It’s sad.  It’s angry.  It’s depressed.  It’s stressed.  It’s hopeless.  So… you enlist.  You enlist in a losing battle plan of addiction, self harm, or abusing others.

Only the One who made us can restore us back to wholeness. In the midst of your raging storm, I pray you look to Him ~ where your release and your peace is found.


Peace
 Crashing waves
Bruise my shore
Howling winds
 Blow in once more

Torrential rains
Pelt my skin
Lightning bolts
Come again
 
Turbulent waters
Staggered stance
Cycle repeated
In this dying dance
 
Trembling knees
Strike the ground
Eyes glance up
To where help is found
 
An instant hush
The storm to cease
All at once
A soul at peace…
 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be Still



 

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Burdened by life's challenges.  Overwhelmed by surrounding pressures.  Moments of anxiety convincing you that "down" is the only direction your life will spiral...  

"Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10
 
This Scripture, so simple and yet so difficult.  It's hard for us to wrap our minds around surrendering what appears insurmountable to someone else.  Our worry gives us a twisted sense of control and we can't fathom victory in our lives apart from our own efforts. I mean after all this is BIG stuff we're faced with, but all of the stress and loss of sleep isn't quite working for us, is it?

Be still. 
 
Image result for let go
Part of the literal translation is "to let drop, let go, cease from striving, release."  We need to drop our hands from fruitless, fleshly efforts, let go of the worry that torments our minds, tune out the other voices, and just release it to Him.  KNOWING that He is God takes the pressure off of our shoulders to be in control, and allows Him to take over supernaturally.   We need to get ourselves out of the way; lay back in His arms and know He's got this taken care of; that He only wants what's best for His child.  

Yes, the giants in our life are big, but our Daddy is bigger!  

Be still...