Casting Stones Through A Different Lens

22 Apr

pebbles, rocks, shapes

You’ve heard the story of the adulterous woman before. But for just a moment, take a second look. You’ll see stone casting through a different lens.

It was early morning. People gathered in the temple to hear Jesus teach. The lesson began. In came scribes and Pharisees with a woman taken in the act of adultery. The men had a plan and probably thought to themselves, we’ll stone two people in one setting. We can trap Jesus with His own words, stoning His character, and simultaneously publicly stone this adulterous woman because of her sin.

Let’s focus on hitting Jesus first. “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say? (John 8:4-5 NIV). They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him(6).”

Instead of throwing the stone back at the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus caught the stone and was probably thrilled. This was great timing! What might have been seen as an interruption during a teaching session had actually provided an awesome opportunity to demonstrate a lesson to the students using these men, this woman, and stones.

Jesus began to write on the ground, ignoring the men’s question. What do you have to say about this Jesus? The accusers wanted an answer and repeated the question until Jesus spoke. Jesus invited the accusers to now stone the woman. “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. Again, Jesus stooped down to write.

““And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”‭‭(John‬ ‭8:9-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

Here’s the new angle! Think of the stones that have been coming your way lately. What are the hard things being thrown at you? Follow the Leader. Jesus was not moved by the accusers. He used the stones to demonstrate love, kindness and forgiveness. How can you use the stones that have been coming your way? Instead of retaliating or becoming fearful, seize the stones. Demonstrate great love, great faith, great forgiveness, and that you serve a Great Lord who fights for you!
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. ”‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

Educate Yourself!

11 Apr

Available as a PRINT

A very wise woman told me about a conversation she had with someone from another country who constantly sought higher education. The woman asked the man about his ongoing pursuit of learning.

The man’s answer was profound. He said, “if I don’t continuously educate myself, someone else will tell me who I am.”

Like that man, we who follow Jesus are from another country (Philippians 3:20). We are citizens of the kingdom of God. If we don’t continuously educate ourselves ( Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship/church attendance), someone else, Satan to be exact, will tell us who we are. (Hebrews 10:25). He even attempted to cause Jesus to doubt His deity (Matthew 4:3,6).

Satan will tell us that we have not been redeemed. He will tell us that we haven’t changed and change is impossible. He tells us that we will never get over our past failures. He tells us that surely God is not concerned with the minor details of our lives and there are things that we should try to fix ourselves. But there is one thing he will never say. Satan won’t tell you that he’s the father of lies, because that is the truth!

You have been redeemed (Galatians 3:13, Psalm 107:2). You are a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away, all things have become new (II Corinthians 5:17). Jesus has set you free (John 8:32,36). “Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you”. (I Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22). “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”(‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭Message Bible)

Child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, don’t allow Satan to tell you who you are. Believe God’s truth and reject Satan’s lies. Educate yourself. Do you know who you are?

What’s That You’re Wearing?

21 Feb

Imagine that you, yes you have the answer to many of today’s maladies. Within you lies the way, the truth and the hope of real life (Colossians 1:27). You have the answer to depression, fear, anxiety, addiction, violence and much more.

But how do you let others know that you have the answers? I’m so glad you asked. It starts with wearing the right necklace.

Proverbs 3:3 (AMP) states “Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” This necklace of mercy/kindness and truth does more than complement your outfits, it draws others to Jesus who is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).

Mother Theresa said “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” As you live, extending mercy (kindness), favorable doors will open, proving opportunities for you to share the truth of Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

The life that Jesus delivers casts out fear, brings peace, joy, hope and true love, ridding mankind of every sort of oppression, depression, and captivity, healing the broken heart (1John 4:18, Isaiah 61).

So what’s that you’re wearing? Is it self righteousness, pride and judgment? Let’s remove all of those heavy chains and put on the beautiful necklace of mercy and truth. In so doing, we will draw others to Jesus and even gain favor with God and man (Proverbs 3:4).

Don’t Let Them In!

22 Jan

Discouragement knocks on everyone’s door from time to time. The problem is, he’s usually accompanied by his best friend, Doubt.

Once Doubt is on the scene, he’s very likely to invite Defeat over. Doing your best not to be rude, you find yourself entertaining Discouragement, Doubt and Defeat. The party is on. But it’s a pity party!

It all began with Discouragement. You forgot that he’ s usually accompanied by Doubt who often invites Defeat.

The next time Discouragement knocks on your door, be rude. Tell him point blank that Faith and Victory have moved in and there’s no sitting room for him and his friends, not even for a quick visit. Don’t let them in!

The Bible cautions us to be alert because Satan goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But sometimes he comes in subtly, gently as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14). When he comes in the form of discouragement, he charms us into thinking that this feeling is normal. When we are discouraged, defeat and doubt can easily slither on in.

We would do well to remember who we are, and more importantly Whose we are (Galatians 3:26, Romans 8:31-39). We belong to the Creator who makes all things possible if we would by faith, believe (Mark 9:23). What does God say about our situation? Let’s connect our faith with the word of God in the Bible and experience certain victory.

Today!

3 Jan

I live in an area that has alternate side parking. Vehicles are ticketed by the city when parked on the side designated for street cleaning on specific days of the week.

Since I was blessed to travel during this holiday season, alternate side parking was definitely on my mind. The week before I left, I constantly reminded myself that I had to leave the car parked on the Tuesday side of the street in order to avoid getting a parking ticket while I was away.

Ironically, I was so consumed with parking on the correct side of the street before going away, that I forgot to park on the correct side before my vacation started. I received a ticket the day before my vacation began.

Instead of being annoyed with the city, or myself, I grabbed hold of the lesson learned through this experience. Sometimes we can be so consumed with tomorrow until we actually miss the gift of today.

How can we apply this lesson within this New Year? It’s wise to begin by being thankful that God has blessed us and brought us through one year and into another. We do not, and can not give ourselves life, only God can (Genesis 2:7, Acts 17:25). Let’s be thankful for all of our yesterday’s (Psalm 107:1).

Secondly, may we become so conscious of now, of today, this gift of the present, that we thoroughly enjoy every moment of it. Of course we should always plan wisely for the future. But Lord help us not to be soooo consumed with the future, that we relinquish the the benefits the Lord loads us with each day (Psalm 68:19). Those benefits include family, friends, and even the responsibilities of TODAY!
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Lights On!

25 Dec

Other holidays pale in comparison to the beauty found in the lights so wonderfully displayed as we celebrate Christmas. I have been most fascinated by the countless dazzling lights seen flashing over homes that have no apparent wiring attached.

Upon visiting a friend’s home recently, I finally located the point of origin of these mysterious, intriguing light displays. Planted in the ground was a tiny device spinning and reflecting hundreds of colored lights over the house. I was delighted. I had found the source!

Seasons come and go. But the question is, does your light so shine before people year round that it causes curiosity about your source (Matthew 5:16)?

As children of the Lord, we respond to people and pressure in a manner that compels us to shine. The Bible states, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

Does your behavior/ light so reflect love (God is Love) that people are curious about your source? If not yesterday is gone, and today is a new day. Become more rooted and grounded in Jesus, (Ephesians 3:17) and you will reflect the light that brings about the question, what’s your source?

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭60:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬ http://bible.com/114/isa.60.1-2.nkjv

Missed Oppor-tune-in-ities

16 Dec

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little world. There are bills to pay, children to care for, work, who’s on Facebook, what’s on Twitter, and a million other activities that that distract us from one super important task. That’s the task of seizing oppor-TUNE-IN-ties to minister to this dying world.

Oh you might say, I m not a minister. While it’s true that the word minister can refer to church clergy. But according to Vocabulary.com, minister also means “to attend to the wants and needs of others”.

Nevertheless, proper titles aren’t necessary when “TUNING-IN” to help someone. Way back in Bible days, a priest (a man of God) saw a wounded man lying on the ground and passed by on the other side. Next, a Levite, another “servant of God” saw the man and passed by on the other side (Luke 10:25-37).

Although these servants of God had the proper titles, they were so focused upon their own agendas that they missed the oppor-TUNE-IN-i-ty to serve God by helping someone else.

Just in case you’re thinking to yourself, I would never do that – STOP. Take an honest moment to examine yourself. You’ll probably find that you have also missed opportunities to serve the Lord as you busily focused upon your own plans. I certainly have.

Perhaps it was the time you rode the elevator with someone who looked as though they were having a terrible day. You wondered why they looked so upset but didn’t bother to ask. Later you discovered that their family had experienced a crisis. Maybe it was the little old lady that you quickly passed as she slowly crossed the street with her overloaded shopping cart. After she fell, you realized that you should have helped her cross. Another missed opportunity.

Or just maybe it was the incident with your child. In anger, you disciplined him/her openly as his/her friends watched instead of using the opportunity to take him aside to teach him/her how to exercise self control. Yes, even disciplining your children can become an oppor-TUNE-In-ty to help your child and simultaneously honor the Lord.

As we TUNE-IN (draw near to) the Lord, may He quicken our spirits, helping us to seize every opportunity that He provides to honor Him by helping others. Help us Lord!

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:37-40‬ ‭KJV‬‬ http://bible.com/1/mat.25.37-40.kjv