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

Advertisements

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

To Be Wise With Our Words

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV)

Thoughtless words cut deeply like a thrusting sword, but the speech of the wise is a healing balm. – (Proverbs 12:18, VOICE)

 

Words have power. They have the capacity to offer life and hope and healing, or they bring heartache, death and destruction of dreams. What we say and how it is spoken matters immensely. Thoughtless words spoken cannot be revoked nor erased from the mind and heart of the recipient. Yes, there is forgiveness and healing, but it is far better to think before we speak and seek the Lord for wisdom as to what we are meant to say. No, not one of us gets this right all of the time, and He is the God of grace; but it is far better to pursue a path where we become people who offer peace and healing and health with the words that we speak to those around us. If our mode of operation is using wise words, then, even when we extend words of correction or redirection, they will be received well, as the intent behind what we do and say will have already been clearly established. May our lips be sealed to thoughtless words spoken, and that which we say bring healing to the broken.

 

O Lord, guard our hearts, The Power of the Tongue

From words without thought;

For they can destroy,

When intent was naught.

Help us stop and think,

Seek You and be wise;

So our words speak life,

Healing realized.

For just as we’ve seen,

How much this is true;

Lead us to be wise,

So we speak like You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You model life and healing and hope for us in Your every word. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for speaking without thinking, as our words can cause much harm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your wisdom for the words we are meant to say to offer life and health and hope and healing to all whom we encounter. Show us how to love well with our words, and back them up with our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stop ourselves from speaking without thinking, and choose to be wise with our words. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Test Your Heart

Just as we are acutely aware of our physical health, we ought to also be equally mindful of our spiritual well-being. Paul advises the people of Corinth this way: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’ – (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 

We are meant to check ourselves to make sure that we are solid in our faith. Are we moving forward toward God, grateful for all that He has done, or are we drifting in the wrong direction, frighteningly unaware of His faithfulness? To be in the faith, is to be in an ongoing and growing relationship with our Redeemer. Christ lives in the hearts of all who have invited Him in, yet do our lives reflect His presence? By checking ourselves regularly, we are more readily available to correction and redirection as it is needed. For our physical bodies, we have doctors and dentists, trainers and teammates to stay healthy physically. Likewise, for our spiritual health we have pastors and small groups, prayer teams, and dear friends traveling the same direction on this leg of life’s journey, to keep our hearts right and minds renewed.

 

Test your heart often,Test Your Heart

to see where you stand;

are you seeking God,

or on sinking sand?

The very same God,

who’s living in You;

will give direction,

show you what to do.

Know He is faithful,

His presence secure;

when You call on Him,

you’ll find He’s right here.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell in us, and give us the capacity to check ourselves to determine whether or not we are following the path of faith You have laid out before us or not. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and minds, whispering reminders of what we should and should not do. Forgive us for ignoring Your still small voice, or for neglecting our own need to redirect our attention on what You ask. Help us to have ears to hear You, and hearts that are quick and willing to obey. Lead us to listen well, and help us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they see Your faithfulness at work in us. Be exalted O God, in all that we do and say. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23