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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Answered Prayer

Snow fills the valleys. Trees are laden with the white fluffiness of their intruders. Branches sag under the weight. A Cardinal, dressed in his bright red suit, sits on a snow-covered branch and chirps out his song for all to hear.

Nearby, a rabbit sticks his small black nose out from under a snow laden bush and peers out. Seeing nothing of danger he cautiously steps out onto the snow and hops a few feet, then stops. Leaving small prints in the white covering he ventures a little farther.

In the distance, A Man walks briskly while having to maneuver the large snow shoes his feet are anchored to. His heavy coat is buttoned tightly and His fur hat has sprinkles of snow embedded in the fur. His beard is dusted with white flakes.

What the rabbit doesn’t see is several yards behind the bush he was hiding in is a woman lying in the cold snow. She has been walking to get help when her car broke down  a mile back on the snow-covered road.

Her last words, before collapsing into darkness, “Jesus, help me.”

The Man kneels down beside her.

She’s unaware.

He places His hand over her heart.

It isn’t beating.

He looks heavenward and says a few words in Hebrew. The thump, thump, thump within her chest suddenly rings loud and clear.

When she opens her eyes, she finds herself safely within her car. The motor is running and heat has filled the car. Through the radio speakers the soft words, “Love lifted me, Love lifted me” are being sung.

She blinks several times, looks around, and wonders if she has had  a miraculous encounter with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

(Sue’s version) Psalm 17:6, 102:17

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True Freedom

The roar of helicopters fill the air over the jungles as soldiers stomp through the marshes. Their lives are at stake and yet they continue to move forward protecting those within their country.

The sacrifice, they say, is well worth it, as they crawl among the trees and brush. Bullets whiz past and they return fire. So far none in their squadron has been hit this morning. They lift up silent prayers that they achieve what others are unwilling to do.

Back home their families make due on the little the government gives them. Mom’s hold the household together and pray fervently that their loved one will come home safe while others are screaming, cussing, and protesting.

The battle field is treacherous and as one soldier dives towards his  fox hole a bullet rips through his body and he falls bleeding in the dirt and mud.

“Dear God, oh Jesus, help me,” he whispers as his life blood stains the dirt. A Man steps down into the fox hole and kneels beside the soldier. The soldier looks at him through the sweat and dirt on his face. “Who are you?” the soldier whispers.

“I am the I Am.”

The soldier whispers, “I give you my soul,” and slowly closes his eyes. The darkness turns to a brilliant light engulfing him in a peaceful dimension of pure love. The Man holds his hand and looks up to heaven.

(Sue’s version) Psalm 31:5

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Stand Strong

The Man travels from city to city checking on His children. He sees a child playing in the park and the sound of her laughter fills the air.  He kneels down and gently cups her cheek. “You are so loved, little one,” He states and moves on.

In the next town He sees statues. One of a Civil War veteran that had called out to Him with his last dying breath. On down the street He sees a woman sitting on a bench eating her noon meal. She glances up at Him, smiles, and waves. He knows the pain she’s hiding.

Walking into the area known as the ghetto He sees poverty. Children playing stick ball in the trash strewn streets. Mothers peeking out the dirty window of an apartment filled with cock roaches. He shakes His head sadly.

Moving uptown with the tall buildings, traffic noise, and aroma’s of various street vendors, people are rushing, bumping into each other and curses are heard from passing taxi cabs. No one notices Him.

He travels to a rural area where a church is being built. It’s almost completed. He sees the pastor and approaches. “A beautiful church,” the Man states.

The Pastor turns and states, “Yeah and you wouldn’t believe the trouble we’ve had in building it.”

“What do you mean?” The Man asks, knowing full well the obstacles they have encountered.

“First the county said they didn’t want another church. Then a bunch of non-believers started picketing. We had to fight tooth and nail to finally get the permits. I was ready to give up!”

“But you didn’t. The Father heard your prayers. What are you going to call it?”

The Pastor rubs his chin and grins and then states, “You won’t believe this and we’re going to really have a fight on our hands when we put up the sign, but the Lord spoke to me in a dream and said to call it the ‘Christ’s True Gospel Church.'”

“Why do you think there will be a fight?” The Man asks.

“Are you kidding? We aren’t allowed to make any reference to Christianity or  make any reference to Jesus!” The Pastor exclaims.

The Man walks to the building and looking inside He sees a large cross on the front wall of the sanctuary. “That’s a beautiful cross.” The Man states, pleased.

“Yes, it is. One of the locals made that cross from one of his trees on his property. An atheist group saw it being carried into the building and filed a lawsuit stating its offensive and has to come down. We have one for the roof, too and they’re really having a fit over that one. But we just keep praying for God’s divine intervention.”

The Man turns to the Pastor and places His hand on his shoulder. Looking directly into the Pastor’s eyes the Man states, “I am the Great I Am and your prayers will be answered.”

(Sue’s version) 1Thes. 5:16-18

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Are We Attentive to God’s Needs?

The desert is hot and humid. The sun beats down on a lone tree. It’s arms reaching out as though seeking the moisture that kisses its leaves.

The heat is oppressing but the dew from the night still lingers. The strong gnarled trunk stands majestically holding up the arms of time.

Beneath the shade of the old tree at an old rock kneels a Man. His head bowed and drops of sweat drip down His cheeks. His silent prayer becomes agonizing as His sweat turns to blood and drips down forever staining the rock.

“Take this cup” His anguished voice pleads.

Men that He has called friends slouch a few yards away, asleep. They hear not the anguished cry of their friend, the Man they called friend.

Tears stream, blood red sweat pours as the Man kneels with His head hanging low. “Not My will but Thine,” He finally whispers as  His friends snore.

After some time He slowly, painfully, rises. He walks toward His friends and sees they are sound asleep. He stands silently looking down at them.

Slowly the closed eyes of His friends begin to open and they look up at the Man and make no apology as they rub their calloused hands across their eyes and beards.

“So you could not watch with Me an hour?”* The Man states.

His friends say nothing.

The Man waits a moment.

Silence.

The Man finally turns and walks slowly away leaving his friends,  slouched and yawning.

*Matthew 26:36-56

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Are we Christians gutless wonders?

I have been reading a book that has stopped me in my tracks as different issues are being brought out. It has practically caused me headaches in that it has made me think so hard about what we as Christians have allowed to take place in our society.

Even though the book is a novel, parts are backed up with scripture, it has touched on areas that cause me to suck in my breath, stop reading, and meditate on. There are some areas that we as Christians have not only allowed to happen but continue to allow and to grow. It makes me think of the years when I was growing up. How it was so much more simple than what we adults face today and what our children face and will face in the future.

As Christians we are supposed to be Christ followers. Not “religious,” not “pew warmers,” not Easter and Christmas Christians. We are to follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are to pass those teachings on to others. Okay, some do. But on a whole do we speak out and stand up for what is right in the eyes of God? I don’t think so!

Before you start screaming at me think about how it was when you were growing up. Particularly if you’re over 50. With our hand over our heart we stood before the American flag and said the Pledge of Allegiance before school classes began. Now, it’s a legal battle to be able to do that in our schools today. Why? Because we did not stand up to those organizations that declared it was wrong!

Think about prayer. Back then we could pray wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and as loud as we wanted, and many times others would join in on our prayers. Laws are being passed by the dozens now that we cannot pray in school, Christian groups are being banned from being a school activity, if a prayer group is organized in a nursing home by the elderly the A.C.L.U. is there threatening lawsuits. A child is not allowed to talk or write about their belief in Jesus Christ and many Christmas programs are being cancelled because of the name of Jesus. The old “church versus state” garbage! Read the constitution! We’re being deceived and we’re keeping quiet about it!

Schools have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” on their marquis signs. Instead of “Christmas break” its now called “Winter Break.” Nativity scenes aren’t allowed on various properties and stores have become “politically correct” by refraining from displaying “Merry Christmas” or playing Christmas music through their P.A. systems. They say they, “don’t want to offend anyone.” Well folks, they are offending 86% * of Americans!  Why are they getting away with it? Because we Christians have sat back, shut our mouths, and let them!

Pastors are now being threatened and as a result some are toning back on their sermons. They’re afraid of being sued or the government coming after them. I won’t say they are compromising the truth, they are just scared to tell it all. It’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than rattle their cages with a bit of confrontation about their sins.

What about the news media? We have allowed the radio stations, T.V. stations, and newspapers (what’s left of them) to spout the rhetoric of government bull to change what we always thought was right to what is now absolutely and totally wrong in God’s eyes. Christian programs have been cancelled, sex scenes, dope smoking and same-sex kissing, vulgarity has replaced the wholesome movies we used to be able to view. Why? Because we changed the channel instead of screaming bloody murder. Now we complain that there’s nothing decent on T.V. anymore.

We Christians have sat back and allowed, not only our government, but the media, Hollywood, to tell us, and convince many, that homosexual “marriage” and homosexual behavior is okay. Not only that but we’re called “homophobic” if we disagree! We’re attacked and called  “insensitive”  so we’ve stepped back and allowed what God calls “an abomination” (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Duet. 22;5)  “A perversion,” (Ro.1:26-27, Lev. 18:22) and “detestable” (Lev.20:13-16) to become acceptable and legal in several states.

Businesses are being sued because their Christian owners will not forsake their Christian beliefs. They refuse to compromise the Word of God. Good for them! At least some of us has a back bone!

We have allowed 3.3 % *of the American population, the homosexual population, to dictate what is wrong in God’s eyes to what is being pushed as acceptable and “normal” across this land. Yet 86%*of the American population profess to be Christians.  A mere 14% of Americans, non-believers, are dictating what we Christians should be standing up and speaking out and pressing in against! Why aren’t we?

What about abortion? We sat silent when Roe versus Wade was passed into law and now we’re still silent while we sit on our couches and thousands upon thousands of babies are murdered and we continue to groan quietly. One woman started that ball rolling! Think what would have happened if the conglomerate of the church had stood together against it.

We’ve elected a president that advocates those things the Lord our God abhors! Don’t tell me it was all non-believers who voted in this man! Christians lined the polls anxious for “change.” Well we got it brothers and sisters. And its our own fault! Now we’re paying for selective abortions, premeditated murder, whether we want to or not! Now pastors are being sued if they refuse to “marry” a same sex couple or quote scripture about homosexuality.

I could go on for another book-length list of what we Christians have allowed because we have become complacent. We can blame the Democrats. We can blame the Republicans. We can blame the presidents and Congress, Senate, etc. But the blame lays solely and squarely in our own laps!

We have sat back with our holier than thou attitudes and professed to be Christ followers as we moan and groan about what’s happening in our world instead of standing up, shouting to the world that we are not going to follow the dictates of a self-serving, power-hungry government or the likes of those who advocate what is against God’s Word.

God is not happy with His church! How do I know that? REPENT, REPENT, REPENT. That is what Christ has been calling us to do for generations and now so much more than probably ever before.

I am not advocating that all the problems in America are due to complacent Christians but there are many areas that we as the church can stand against and have a huge influence on. 86% of Americans have a voice so we need to stop groaning and trying to be “politically correct,” and stand up for what the Lord’s teachings are.

How can we do that? We can elect officials that are Bible believing people and seek God’s wisdom. We can confront the manager of the store that refuses to display “Merry Christmas” or insists their employees greet with “Happy Holiday.” Mom’s and grandma’s and teacher’s can confront the schools principles or board of education about the constitutional rights of our students. If our rights as a Christian is being denied we have Christian organizations that will help us defend those rights.  And above all, pray, pray, pray.

We are called to be light unto the world and if we sit back and say or do nothing out of fear of reprisal from those who are atheists, “gay rights,” “pro-choice” groups, the movie industry, or biased media we are just as much to blame for the downfall of our country as they are. In fact we are even more to blame because “Greater is He who is in you than He that is in the world.”

~~~~~

“He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that He may judge His people.” Ps. 50:4

*Statistics Portal percentages for 2013

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