Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

When Dreams May Come

Joseph, son of Jacob, had a clear call upon his life from an early age.  He was given dreams that spoke to his heart, and made him aware that greater things were yet to come.  When he attempted to share what he had seen with his brothers, their jealousy got the best of them, and they plotted to kill him.  Fortunately, among them was a voice of reason, and they were instead, convinced to sell him to a band of merchants traveling past where they were watching their flocks.  (Genesis 37) 

Many of us, at that point, would have questioned the call we had heard on our lives, and perhaps would have sat down in defeat.  Not Joseph.  When he was purchased and placed in the home of Potiphar, an Egyptian official, Joseph served both household and home, as unto the Lord.  “Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.  Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” (Genesis 39:4) God had blessed Joseph and given him success.  However, again, envy placed Joseph in a situation he did not deserve.  Potiphar’s promiscuous wife made advances toward Joseph, yet each time he refused.  Ultimately, she found way to accuse Joseph and get him sent to jail, despite his innocence.

Again, life’s circumstances could have stolen Joseph’s will to walk in the way of the Lord.  Not even prison deterred him.  Before long, Joseph had found favor in the eyes of the prison warden, and was made responsible for all that was done there.  God continued to prove Himself faithful, even in seemingly unfortunate circumstance.

God continued to bless Joseph’s faithfulness, and granted him the interpretation of dreams.  Ultimately, his ability to hear God, granted him the second highest position in all of Egypt.  Though it had been a long and weary road, the Lord had been faithful to remain present, and Joseph never doubted nor questioned His presence. (Genesis 40 and 41)

When dreams come to light,When Dreams May Come

let heart not be swayed;

His promise remains,

no matter delay.

Trust He is faithful,

despite where you are;

for He is present,

even when life’s hard.

Hold onto the hope,

that shall come to pass;

for what He has said,

will forever last.

Always He is good,

even when life’s not;

forge forward in faith,

with all that you’ve got.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples that You have given us in Your word.  Thank You that despite overwhelming circumstances – situations that would have broken most of us – You show us how You are forever faithful; that we must remain steadfast in our trust in You.  Thank You that You alone can take something so terrible as an individual sold into slavery by his own brothers, and turn it into a man of mighty faith who leads a nation in how to overcome a horrendous famine successfully.  Thank You that You can work ALL things for good for those who love You, even when it appears there is no possible good to be found.  Forgive us for our fears and our lack of long-suffering, and help us to faithfully endure all things, trusting above all – that You are with us and You are good.  May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know the saving grace that only You can give.  Let lives be changed and hearts be made new in You.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

No Condemnation in Christ

Condemnation is to judge and deem one guilty. To feel condemned, whether guilty or not, is a bit unbearable. Once, when I was likely in late elementary school, my mom, sister and I, had stopped at a grocery store in a not-so-nice neighborhood. I was carrying a small purse, and for some reason, my sister and I had wandered to a separate aisle from my mom. Gum and lip gloss were the only elements to grace my petite purse, and Megan asked me for some gum. Without regard for our location, I opened my purse and pulled out a stick of gum for her. Before I could zip my little bag closed again, a store worker came up to me with a very angry look on his face, and accused me of stealing from his store. Either my look of sheer horror at his suggestion, or my offer for him to search my immediately outstretched belongings, either way, suddenly his judgment was repealed and he turned and walked away; leaving two girls who had not even entertained such a thought, shaking in their shoes.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – (Romans 8:1)

Though I was not guilty then, and was accused, every day of my existence I fall short and am deserving of His judgment. However, because Christ lives in me, I am seen through His covering, and called clean; not guilty, and set free from the death that I deserve. I cannot even begin to fathom what it would be like to face our final day on our own. Without Christ, the penalty is death. In Christ, we have eternal hope, and the promise of His presence, always.

In Christ we’ll stand,No Condemnation in Christ

for we are free;

He paid the price,

we’ve been redeemed.

No more condemned,

the verdict’s clear;

death is no more,

in Christ a fear.

For He is ours,

and we are His;

covered children,

His righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are deemed NOT GUILTY, as You took all of our guilt upon Yourself and already paid the price. Thank You that in You, we are freed from sin and death, and have the power of Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Forgive us for submitting to sin, and help us to be more than conquerors in You. Teach us how to trust in Your power living in us, to help us overcome any temptation that comes our way. Help us to live out lives of love that give grace that guides many unto You. Let those who are looking, find eternal hope in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The Saga of that Somber Day

Agony

Withdrawal

Prayer

Disappointment

Prayer

Frustration

Submission

Betrayal

Healing

Denied, denied, denied

Mocked

Beaten

Insulted

Questioned.  Answered.

Accused

Questioned.  Replied.

Justified

Slandered

Sent away

Questioned

Accused

Ridiculed

Robed

Returned

Presented

Exchanged

Sentenced

Surrendered

Burdened

Crucified

Mocked

Defended

Believed

Accepted

Taunted

Forgave

Darkness

Torn

Committed

Received

Finished.

(Responding to Luke 22:47-23:46)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Son for us.  Jesus, thank You for enduring the excruciating

image by 123rf.com

image by 123rf.com

separation and the weight of the world’s sin, for our sake.  Thank You that the story does not end in darkness and death, but we look forward to Sunday, knowing that You alone defeated death and rose again, so that we might come to know new life.  May we recognize the gravity of this day, yet not lose sight of the joy and hope held in You, our overcoming One.  May many come to know You this week, as so many are willing to walk into church and will hear Your word.  Let Your love, light and hope be heard, held and received.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present