I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “Go and Sin no more”

 

Go and Sin No More

The night has been long and sleep has evaded the woman. She has tossed and turned, kicked the blankets, and stuffed the pillow over her head. It was a long day and even though she enjoyed the time with her friend, her actions have haunted her. There were no hurting words, or complaining, or condemnation. Her heart was right but her actions got out of control.

Tossing the blankets back she slowly leaves her bed and flipping on the light, she goes into the kitchen and starts a pot of coffee. A silent prayer is lifted to heaven as tears stream down her face. Grabbing a tissue she swipes at them, takes a deep breath and plops down on a kitchen chair. Head in hands she prays, “Lord forgive me. I think I moved in like a drill sergeant and I ask for your forgiveness. I repent, Lord, help me to ask for my friend’s forgiveness.”

There’s a knock on the door and surprised, she quickly dries her tears and opens the door. A Man is standing there in long white robes and sandals strapped to His feet. He smiles and asks if He may come in.

Stepping back to allow His entrance she is in awe and yet very surprised. She recognizes this Man but never thought He would appear at her door. She finally finds her voice and asks if He’d like some coffee, and He accepts.

Lingering over the hot coffee at the kitchen table, she isn’t sure what to say and suddenly bursts out crying. His love fills the room. “I know for what your tears are,” He states.  “You think you have hurt your friend.”

She nods, while blowing her nose.

“Oh My child, your heart was right. So many times people want to help others in ways that are not necessarily the right way. Bulldozing someone is not the way. Commanding they do this or that only accomplishes heartache. It is the love in one’s heart that speaks louder than any words. It is the life you live, the testimony of what I have done in your life that rings out to others. Shed no more tears for you are forgiven. You’ve learned a valuable lesson. Go in My peace, child, and sin no more.”

The door slowly and quietly clicks closed as the woman’s tears drip onto the table.

***

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

***

We hear people use the phrase, “Beat them over the head with the Bible.” In so many ways we may do that to others without actually wielding a literal Bible. “You just don’t have enough faith!” That’s a blow. It is condemnation and judging where someone else is in their walk with the Lord. “You must have really sinned.” Or, “If you’d go to church more often…” All are beating the person up with the Bible in ways that only hurt, not help. As Christians we are to lift people up. We are to encourage them, not condemn them. Yes, if we see a brother or sister in Christ sinning we are to bring it to their attention but not in a way that beats them down. We do it out of love for them. Notice I didn’t say, “in love.” We sometimes get that messed up, too because we can use that as a means of gossip, condemnation and hurt. “I’m only telling you this because I love you” or “we really need to pray for …. he’s really messed up in the head.” Hurtful words are spilling out of our mouths. The Lord will convict us of those wrongful doings and it is up to us to ask for forgiveness and repent of whatever it was we said or did. He is always there to accept our plea and He will remember it no more.

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Reaching the Finish Line

The road is long and narrow. The sun beats down as a lone runner crests the hill and enters the wide curve. The road stretches out before him.  A white chalk line reaches across the road in front me as I stand at the finish line watching. The race has been long and difficult for him but the finish line is in sight.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1Cor. 9:24

The world offers so many things that can distract us from the long race ahead. Our journey with Christ is as a marathon race. We must persevere, train, stay focused, and persistently reach out for the prize at the end of our journey. If we stumble along the road Christ is there to pick us up. He is there cheering us on and giving us the strength to take yet another step down the long, narrow, and winding road. I think His angels are standing with us encouraging us, “You can make it. Don’t give up!”

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is before us.” Heb. 12:1

My husband was a runner. He ran several marathons, as well as shorter races, and we had the T-shirts to prove it! His training varied depending on the length of the race he would be entering. A marathon is 26.2 miles long. It’s grueling and the preparation seemed to never end. At times he would take a day off from the training. But he never gave up.

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Don’t we feel that way at times? Don’t we get tired of all the preparation? We go to church, we pray, we reach out to others, testify, spout all the “right” things and then sit back and at times wonder if its all worth it. “Is God even hearing my prayers?” The worldly influences begin caving in all around us and like any runner we are tempted to give in, relax, take the easy road, “just this once.”

As I watch the lone runner coming closer I can see there is no sweat. His running shorts are not the ragged and worn shorts he considered his “lucky shorts” and have seen many miles. His “muscle shirt” is fresh and completely dry. His tennis shoes have no scuff marks or dangling shoe strings from pounding the pavement. They’re brand new. His hair, as in other races, isn’t plastered to his head as though he’s run through the shower. He looks fresh. He looks more alive than I’ve ever seen him before!

His focus is intense as his legs stretch out just a little bit farther as he approaches the solid white chalk line. He’s looking straight ahead as his arms reach high above his head in a sign of victory. His right foot raises high above the finish line. He’s right in front of me. He suddenly turns his head and looks straight into my eyes and says, “I made it, Sue-Sue. I crossed the finish line.”

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2Tim. 4:7

As his foot falls toward the other side of the chalk line the vision disappears. I suddenly feel the doctors hand gentle on my shoulder and he’s telling me my husband is gone.

~~~~~

This is a true story. The Lord blessed me with being able to see my husband finish the race he began many years before. It’s something I will never forget for it is encouragement to me to continue to put one spiritual foot in front of the other and to keep my eyes on the finish line.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you to not lose focus. Enjoy the video.

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Blessings to you.