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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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Dude”

 

THE DUDE

It’s 1864 and the stage coach has just rolled down the dusty street. The horses whinny as the driver on top pulls on the reins and yells, “Whoooo.”

The curtain covered door opens and reveals a lady dressed in a fine black and gold silk dress. Her breasts crest the low bodice and the wide slit up the side reveals her net stocking leg. She carefully steps down out of the coach. Her large black velveteen hat has a soft feathery peacock feather swishing in the breeze. Her black high top boots draws attention to her slender, shapely legs as she stands on the dusty street. Her bags are lowered from on top of the stage-coach and she smiles seductively and thanks the driver.

Stepping out from the saloon doors is an unsavory-looking dude. He smirks and saunters over to the lady, “Here, let me get your bags,” he offers.

Hours later, as raucous laughter fills the smoke-filled room, the lady is passed from hands to hands and laps to laps of the men. The lady has been their entertainment.

The unsavory-looking dude watches with glee for a while but then decides it’s time to claim his prize. He asks her to accompany him outside but she refuses. He grabs her arm and snarls and then drags the lady out the saloon doors while gripping her arm tightly. She’s struggling but cannot break his hold.

A door opens and a Man steps out. He stands watching for a moment as the unsavory dude pushes, yells, and finally slaps the lady. “You’re mine!” He growls and starts to drag the lady down the dusty street toward the hotel.

The Man steps out into the street and faces the unsavory dude. “Let her go.” He states. The unsavory dude is shocked to see the Man but refuses to let her go.

There’s a stand-off in the street, the Man against the unsavory dude. The unsavory dude hisses, spits, and yells insanely. The Man stands, legs spread and His hand posed at His side.

The unsavory dude takes his stance and glares at the Man.

The sidewalk has filled with people lining the street. An ugly fight is expected. “Get him, dude” someone yells. Women stand behind the men peaking around them.

“Loose her!” The Man demands. His Authority fills the air.

The unsavory dude suddenly drops his hold on the lady and turns and runs down the street leaving the town behind him.

The lady runs to the Man and is thanking Him profusely.

The Man looks at her with love in His eyes and gently states, “Go and sin no more.”

The disappointed crowd disperses.

***

John 8:11- “And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

***

This story is a bit different from the one in John 8 in that the woman in that story was caught in adultery. She was to be stoned to death for her transgression. We all sin and there are those of us that are washed in the blood of Christ because we have asked Him to be our Lord and Savior. Our death penalty has been paid when He died on the cross and rose again. Regardless of what sin we may commit Christ will not condemn us when we ask His forgiveness and repent of the sin. The enemy, the “unsavory dude” is the devil and he will stand nearby to entice us. When we refuse his sly invitations he can and will get quite nasty and try to strong-arm us into doing what he wants. We also have a Savior who will step out and rescue us from the strongholds of the enemy. Satan lost at the cross and we Christians need to remember that we who are in Christ there is no condemnation. Go and sin no more.

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”

THE POTTER

As the sun rises announcing a new day to face, the screen door slams as her night guest slips out. Crushing the cigarette into the ashtray and shoving the now empty whiskey glasses aside, the woman shoves her chair back from the table in disgust. She glances around the garbage strewn kitchen and her eyes fill with tears.

Taking a deep breath she walks out to the old shed where her pottery tools lie covered in dust. The kiln sits in the corner with old rags piled high on its lid. Her work table has clumps of dried clay stuck to wood. Her potter’s wheel has cob webs intriguingly stretched across it.

Walking to the shelf she grabs a whisk broom and begins sweeping the cob webs with a vengeance while muttering to herself. She grabs a hand full of rags and furiously dusts off the work table, scraping at the old dried clay.

Once the cob webs are gone, the dust removed, and the rags put on the shelf, she grabs a glob of clay and sits down on the rickety old chair. In almost a frenzied-like state she begins to shape the clay.

She pounds, she rolls, she furiously punches the gray clay and finally a large round ball is formed and with anger she carves out the face; the eyes with tear drops spilling down the gray cheeks. She smashes the nose and reforms it much smaller. The down cast mouth speaks of great pain and sorrow.

She pokes and pulls on the clay as she forms ears. Looking at it, she suddenly smashes them thinking they are too big. The clay face staring back at her is how she sees herself; lost, hopeless, no good, the lowest of lowest.

She doesn’t hear the squeaky door slowly open and a Man steps inside. He stands in the doorway with the sun radiating behind Him watching her. The woman raises her fist and with a loud vehement cry she smashes her fist into the clay figure she has formed.

Her head drops to her chest and her sobs rise from deep within her soul. The Man steps forward and places His hand on her shoulder. With great compassion He speaks softly, “I am the Potter and you are the clay. Here, let me show you.”

He gently pushes her aside and takes the seat. With hands of a Master He reforms the clay and in a short time the woman sees before her a new clay figure. The eyes are sparkling, the nose is pert with a smidgen of freckles, and its mouth is full and smiling. Where there was a ghastly form of death, the clay figure is now filled with life.

The Man scoots the chair back, stands, and smiles at her. Tears are running freely down her cheeks as she stares at the clay form. The Man reaches out and gently runs His thumb across her tears, wiping them from her cheeks.

“I have come to give you life more abundant.” Pointing to the newly formed clay, He softly tells her. “Because you believe in Me you are a new creation.”

The woman throws herself into His arms and hugs Him tightly sobbing out all her hurt, all the pain life has thrown at her. His beard rubs her cheek and withdrawing from Him she places her hand on her cheek where His beard rubbed, savoring the lingering feeling.

She looks back at the clay form as she swipes at her tears and shakes her head in wonder. Turning back to face Him she softly states, “Only the True Potter could make something beautiful out of the mess I’ve made.”

He smiles and quietly slips out into the new day.

~~~

2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

~~~

We are all guilty of committing sins, each and every day. That’s why Christ died on the cross even while we were still sinners. Through His death our sins are washed clean. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior cleanses us and we are made new through His blood and by the renewing of our minds. So many times we see ourselves in the exact opposite way that Christ sees us. As in the story, she saw herself ugly and hopeless and yet Christ sees her, even in her sin, as beautiful and loved. Each one of us is special and greatly loved by the One who created us and He has a special purpose for each of His children. With our permission He will transform us into what He created us to be.

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A Boy’s Prayer

The day has been busy with school, bike riding, playing with the dog, and finally homework and dinner. As the boy towels off after his shower he dons his superman pajamas and crawls into bed.

He pushes back against the headboard waiting for his mother to come and kiss him goodnight and say their nightly prayers. He picks up the Bible Story Book that they had been reading from and opens its pages.

He’s reading about Jesus when his mother steps into the room and walks over to his bed and sits on the edge. She smiles, rustles his damp hair and asks, “What is it saying about Jesus?”

He gives a brief comment and then blurts out, “I want Jesus in my heart, mama.” He’s mentioned it before but would quickly change his mind out of a lack of understanding, so Mom asks him a few questions and they talk for a short time.

“Are you wanting to ask Jesus to be your Savior, to come into your heart now?” his mother asks. A big grin crosses his face and an excited, “yes!” bursts from his lips.

Mom leads him in a prayer thanking God for His forgiveness and for loving him. The boy suddenly states, “I know you are God’s Son and you died for me. Jesus, will you come and live in my heart? Amen.”

Mom can’t help it, tears spill down her cheeks.

In her mind’s eye she sees Jesus standing next to her son. She asks her son if he sees Jesus anywhere in the room. For a long moment he is quiet.

She waits.

He suddenly grins broadly and states, “He’s standing by my shoulder.” She reaches over and hugs her son tightly and then tells him that’s exactly what she saw.

The Man was standing right next to her son as he gave his life to Christ.

(Sue’s version) Romans 10:9

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The Tree

Fred has had a rough life. His childhood was filled with hurt, pain, disappointment, betrayal, and abuse. Mom and Dad didn’t know the Lord and made fun of those “high and mighty do-gooders.”

As the years came and gone he was bullied in school, made lower grades than the other kids, and wore out-of-style clothing. He hid his hurt and anger but never understood why life was just so hard. “Life’s not fair,” others would tell him but it didn’t ease his anger.

As an adult his anger has turned to bitterness. He growls at people in response to their attempts to show him kindness. He pushes others away in his self-imposed prison. The lesson of “trust no-one” runs hot through his veins.

Sitting on a bus bench, waiting for the bus to carry him to his menial job, the pain hits him like a train. He falls off the bench in a crumpled ball groaning and screaming.

In the ambulance he is in and out of consciousness and the scream of the siren sounds far away. He isn’t aware when the gurney speedily rolls him down the halls of the hospital into the operating room.

Slowly his eyes begin to flutter open and he see’s a Man with a white coat, a stethoscope around His neck standing next to his bed. With confusion, blurred vision, and a mouth feeling like cotton, he asks, “Who are you?”

The Man looks at him and replies, “I am the I Am. You’ve just had surgery.”

“Surgery!” He growls. “Surgery for what? What did you do to me?”

Lowering the surgical mask from His face, the Man replies seriously, “You had a huge tree inside you. The roots ran deep. I removed it.”

“What!? What do you mean a tree and roots!?” Fred demands. He tries to sit up in the bed but can’t.

“You have had much hurt and disappointment. You have let your past take control of your life and it became a giant tree of hatred and anger with very deep bitter roots. You forgave no one but now you are free to do so.”

The Man turns and leaves the room leaving Fred shedding tears of understanding and relief.

(Sue’s version) Hebrews 12:15

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Thursday’s Pen Tip # 15

“He who is on high has given His Son for the forgiveness of you! How can others who receive such a wonderful and blessed gift ignore that precious gift and withhold it from others?

Your eternal salvation does not rest on you forgiving others, but by faith in the Almighty Son of God, to forgive as you have been forgiven is walking in the ways of the Lord.

Do not cheat yourself withholding love. For it is His love for you that has set you free from condemnation, unforgiveness and be blessed by He who loves you.

Walk in His peace, with His joy filling your heart. Be as He who loves you would have you be.”

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Thursday’s Pen Tips #9

He who is on high wants only the best for those He created, and He created all.

God Almighty would very much desire to have you as His child. He wishes all to choose Him as their Father. And, yes, it is a choice.

God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, asks you to accept His unconditional love. To accept His eternal salvation. For His grace will set you free.

It is by grace that you have been saved. To accept His grace throughout eternity, you must do the following:

1. Believe in your heart that Jesus died and arose for our sins.

2. That Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

3. Confess with your mouth that you are a sinner.

Did you think that God would make it difficult?

Praise be to God Almighty that He loves all so much He made it as simple as 1-2-3 to become His child. Praise be to God.

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