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 – “Sweet Aroma”

 

The child stands at the edge of heaven. She’s curious about what goes on below and stands quietly while pondering all that she sees.

Waves of strife waffle up to her, streaks of stress zip past, anger thunders through the clouds, and as she is about to turn and walk away The Man appears beside her.

She looks up at His face and with furrowed brows and crinkle nose asks, “Is there no love there?” He kneels down beside her and places His arm around her small shoulders. She nuzzles up closer to Him.

“Listen with your heart,” He tells her. She cocks her head a little and scrunches up her face as though that helps her to tune into her heart.

“I don’t hear anything” she finally states.

“Close out the sounds of anger, hate, and dissension.” He whispers.

She tries again.

A sweet aroma engulfs her and she suddenly jumps away from Him and excitedly shouts, “I hear it. I feel it, I can smell love!”

“When we focus on God’s aroma we will escape the foul smell of sin.”

He leans over and gently kisses her on the cheek.

***

2 Cor.2:15- “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

***

To walk through a garden in the spring and breathe in the sweet aroma of roses, petunia’s, Azaleas, and so many other wonderful smells fills our hearts and brings a peace that we cherish. It is the same way with Christ. Only the sweet aroma He cherishes is the aroma of our prayers and thanksgiving. Our worship fills His heart. Those of us that are Christians know the peace that can come from spending time with our Lord and Savior, but what about those who do not believe? Many non-believers find Christianity a stench in their nostrils. They ridicule, make fun of, and try to convince others their faith is fantasy. God, through His Son, finds this as stench in His nostrils for the wages of sin is death and as we all know a dead corpse is not a pleasing aroma. Our prayers are sweet in God’s nostrils and our sins are stench. When we treat others as Christ would have us do and love one another as He loves us is the sweetest of His aromas. Through repentance and forgiveness our stench will turn to the sweet aroma that only Christ can give.

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “Hard Lessons”

Hard Lessons

Four young men stand gaping up at the mountain. One is determined to climb while the others try to talk him out of it, telling him he is inexperienced and will never make it.

The young man takes a deep breath and states, “I’ll go alone if you aren’t coming!” and hikes up the heavy backpack onto his back and heads determinedly toward a narrow path that leads part way up the mountain. I can do this myself. I don’t need them! He thinks.

The others watch while shaking their heads. “He has a real death wish,” one boy states.

The young fellow climbs and climbs, and before long he looks to be a small speck on the side of the mountain to those watching below.

He grabs at the crags in the rocks. He slowly pulls himself up another inch or two. Sweat drips down his face. His hands are already bloody and blisters form on his fingers.

Another six inches and he stops, breathing hard. His backpack feels fifty pounds heavier.

He finds a narrow ledge just wide enough for him to sit down and rest. He slides the backpack off his back and it suddenly drops over the edge falling hundreds of feet until the lad can no longer see it or hear its crash.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees movement and quickly twists his head to see what it is. Much to his surprise a Man appears at the other end of the ledge.

Clinging to the ledge, breathing hard and scared out of his wits, he yells, “Can you help me, Mister?”

The Man slowly makes His way to the young fellow and sits down beside him. He offers him some water from His water bottle and the boy thanks Him, and then takes a long gulping drink.

The young fellow swipes his arm across his mouth and hands the now empty water bottle back to the Man. He scoots back a fraction of an inch to press closer to the rock wall.

“We all have mountains to climb,” the Man states. “But we don’t have to climb them alone.”

The boy looks at Him and asks, “Who are you, and how’d you get up here?”

“I am the I Am and mountains are my specialty.”

“Huh?” The boy replies.

“There are mountains and there are valleys. Lessons are learned in both. It’s how well you traverse both and how well those lessons are learned that will determine your journey.”

The young fellow slowly slides his back up the rocky wall and stands cautiously. “Well, I’ll climb this one!”

His foot slips sending loose rock over the ledge.

The Man grabs him.

“You have much to learn.” The Man states, and helps the young man to the next ledge.

***

Prov. 29:23 – “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

***

I remember an incident where I was talking to a friend and his reply to what I was telling him was, “You need to pray about that.” My mouth flew open and the words, “I don’t need to pray about that, I can do it!” spilled out of my mouth.

So many times we lean on our own strength, knowledge, or human wisdom when in fact the Lord says, “we can do nothing without Him.” Pride is an ugly thing and something the Lord detests.  It hinders us from God’s help, wisdom, and guidance. We suddenly become our own god by rejecting His promises to lead us, guide us, to give us all we need to do whatever it is He calls us to do. In pride we cut Him out of the picture and He will let us. Our pride will stand as a wall between Him and us if we do not repent of it and ask for forgiveness. It’s easy to slip into our humanness and do things on our own but it becomes so much easier when we have the Lord helping us.

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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 – “Man’s Free Will”

 

The wind howls through the mountain pass. Dark clouds roll across the sky. The Man looks up as He takes hold of the long gnarled branch He’s using as a walking stick. He grips it more tightly. The path is narrow and treacherous.

Walking carefully across the rocky path He stops for just a moment and glances up. He sees an eagle off in the distance. His majestic wings spread wide and as though floating on the currents, the eagle glides with the wind.

The Man walks a little further and stops again when He hears the screech of a hawk. He smiles as He watches the bird flutter to a stop at the top of a tree.

Rain begins to suddenly pour from the sky and He lifts His face allowing the large drops to pelt His bearded face. His hair is soon soaked, His beard drips, and squinting His eyes closed He sticks His tongue out to catch the drops of rain.

“Oh Father, what a beautiful and glorious sight,” He whispers. Rain pelts His head, His shoulders, and His back. Soon He is dripping wet. It doesn’t bother Him as He continues to follow the narrow path.

He comes across a man sitting on a stump under the protective arms of a large Oak tree. He walks to Him and says hello. The stranger looks tired but says nothing. The Man offers him His canteen of water and says, “Here, drink. It’s living water.”

The stranger hesitates and snarls, “What’s the difference, water is water?” He suddenly snatches the canteen from the Man’s hand and gulps thirstily.

“I am the Living Water.” The Man replies. “Whoever drinks of My water will never thirst.” The man hands the now empty canteen back to the Man; grunts, swipes a hand across his mouth and beard and stands.

“Thanks for the water,” he states gruffly as he tugs at his pants waist, stretches, and without another word walks on down the narrow path. The Man watches as the stranger approaches a Y in the path. He stops and looks to the narrow path, then the wider path. He runs his hand through his long wet hair as though trying to decide which path to take. He glances back at the Man watching him.

“Father, help him to choose the right path.” The Man whispers. Continuing to watch the stranger, the Man lowers His head, blinks back tears, as the other man steps onto the wide path and walks away.

***

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. ‘Because’ narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

***

God is not a dictator as some seem to think He is. He has given each one of us free will. We are free to choose the path that we will follow through this journey called life. In life there are many paths that we have walked. If the path is narrow and treacherous we naturally tend to avoid it and take the wider paved road because it is so much easier to traverse. But the Lord says it is that wider path that leads to destruction. Why? Following Christ in our walk with Him is not always easy. He leads us in ways of righteousness where the enemy of God, the devil, leads us to hell. It is easy to do what we want to do and more difficult to be obedient to that which the Lord calls us to do; love our neighbors as ourselves, don’t gossip, give of ourselves to others, love your wife as Christ loves the church, obey your parents, and the list goes on. The reward to following the narrow path leads us to forgiveness and His assurance of an eternal home with our Lord and Savior.

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Tears of a Saint

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My heart hurts. The tears flow. I don’t know how to stop the evil in our world. I have begun to doubt that God is really in control. How can He be when the most innocent of innocent are slaughtered at the hands of the most evil and vile of what is known as human beings? How can the Highest of Highest stand by and allow these monsters called intelligent beings rip from the womb the most innocent of His?

My heart cries and there seems to be no answers. I scream, “Come Lord Jesus, come and stop this madness!” Yet I see Him not on the clouds of heaven racing toward earth to save us from the insanity that has crossed this land.

Is He in control? I have to remind myself through faith because He died on the cross to save us. I have to hang  onto the faith that He has instilled within me through His Holy Spirit and the trials and tribulations that He has brought me through. I have to hang on to His promises.

Can I finish this race with confidence that I will see Him in Paradise? Can I rest assured that He will greet me with open arms because my thoughts are so confused and the enemy invades. The doubts, the fears, the anger, and the hope, are all  intermingled with the tears streaming down my cheeks.

There is a Rock and a Life line that I must cling to or drown in this sea of evil, pure unadulterated evil! Can I make it that long? Can I hang on long enough to hear the trumpet sound?

I hope so.

I have to.

I will!

***

Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

***

In every Christian’s life there will be times when we just cannot understand what is taking place within our world. Doubts can and will arise and it is then that the enemy will invade and convince us, or try to convince us, that all we have believed is wrong. That we have been fed a pack of lies and we can no longer trust what is truth. If we allow those thoughts to take root we will lose all hope. We will lose the strength and perseverance that the Lord gives us. We must cling to the Word of God and cling to His promises. Don’t allow a lack of understanding to squelch the truth of God and all that He is and all of Who He is. Stand strong on the faith that has been instilled through the Holy Spirit and lean not on your own understanding.

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The Heavens are Angry

Jan. 24, 2019 11:37 a.m.

The heavens are angry and My wrath shall be poured out. My children are crying, their hearts are ripped apart. For good reason!

Listen up My children for the day of redemption is very near. Pray as you have never prayed before, for the enemy has taken control of those who serve him.

Listen not to human reasoning for the human mind is corrupt. Proof of this is in the latest of laws in your country and My wrath shall be as no one has ever seen.

Take heed you heathens from hell for your days are numbered. You think you have conquered Me but you have seen nothing. Laugh and rejoice at your evil attempts to control what is mine. You shall see the fires of hell in a split second so beware of what you have done.

Your time on earth will soon close and all of eternity faces you. Pray My children. My little ones will be with Me but for now let the tears flow and your hearts will be healed.

Thus sayeth the Lord.

 

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