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

His Kindness

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – (Psalm 145:8, NIV)

The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. – (Psalm 145:8, ERV)

You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail You. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 145:8, TPT)

 

I am so grateful that these attributes of God are true, as He does not place conditions on His love for us. It is a very good thing, as I know that I have not been the best version of myself lately, for pain and exhaustion do not breed patience in me. In spaces where I have gone in expecting the worst simply because of my own shortcomings, God has provided His loving kindness in unexpected ways. He has granted patience that I have not deserved and flooded me with His kindness in moments that I needed it most. May we ever turn in trust to He who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

 

Even at our worst, Possibilities

His kindness prevails;

For the love of God,

Will not ever fail.

He’s patient and kind,

Full of mercy too;

Slow to get angry,

His grace gets us through.

With great compassion,

He gives love away;

Though undeserving,

He floods us with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us whether we deserve it or not. Thank You that You are patient and full of love. Thank You that You flood us with Your kindness and love, even when we fail You miserably. Forgive us for our lack of faith that gets us in a frenzy over our circumstances, rather than keeping our eyes and hearts securely set on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to hope and trust in You no matter what we see or are experiencing in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives grace, compassion and kindness where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your kindness, faithfulness and love for us at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

To Find Favor

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV)

 

Though God’s word has been carved in the corners of my heart, this is the time of year that love threatens to leave me and my faithfulness falters when facing the ongoing adversity of the end of the year. There are days that school feels more like a combat zone than a place of teaching and learning, and I question my calling to this career. I manage, by the grace of God, to keep my responses calm, but internally, that which is bound around my neck and nearly choking me, is not necessarily the most loving. This week, I was granted favor that was not deserved on two occasions that made all of the difference in the moments in which they occurred. Part of my investment in such early rising, is to prepare my heart and mind for whatever may come my way each day. Without time to quietly reflect on the goodness of God, His love and faithfulness would likely feel out of reach for me. I need reminders often for things to resonate and remain at rest within me. God is good, even when our circumstances are frustrating or trying, and He loves us more than we can fathom. May we let His love and faithfulness be what we display, and allow His truth to take hold of our hearts; for favor and a good name in the sight of God and man come through walking in His ways.

 

Let God’s faithfulness,Delivering Dreams

And love remain near;

Write truth on our hearts,

So His way is clear.

As we choose follow,

Walk right and obey;

We gain the favor,

Of those on our way.

To have a good name,

Before God and man;

What faithful love does,

It’s part of God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love and faithfulness never leave us, and that as we bind them around our neck and write them upon our heart, You use them to grant us favor and a good name in Your sight and the sight of others. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to hijack our emotions, rather than running to You for strength and help and hope when the burden is too heavy to bear. Teach us how to seek You in all situations, so that love and faithfulness never leave us. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we bind Your love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablets of our hearts. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31