Those Damned Stone Throwers

Those Damned Stone Throwers - Saintintraining.net

It’s an old adage that says when you live in a glass house don’t throw stones. We know Jesus didn’t use that terminology with the scribes and Pharisees but he did say this to them: “He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

Dear hearts, if we as the people of God sincerely receive the teachings of Jesus Christ and follow the example He set before us in His holy word and apply it to our everyday lives then the Fruit of the Spirit, the very nature of our living God, will be manifested among men making us the bright and shining light in a sin-darkened world. If on the other hand we choose to not apply his word we risk taking on the spirit of the scribes and Pharisees and becoming self-righteous, hypocritical and judgmental – children of the devil, and foreigners to God.

According to the law of the time the adulterous woman Jesus was referring to in the opening scripture should have been stoned to death but Jesus showed her mercy and forgiveness not judgment and condemnation. Our Lord’s words still speak to the scribes and Pharisees found in today’s churches. Let there not be such a spirit among us else we too be convicted by our own sinful conscious just as they were.

Oh it’s easy to gossip about the sins of others but what about the sins we have committed since we’ve been saved? Isn’t it amazing how easy it is for us to find fault in others but it seems to be difficult to find the fault within ourselves? I wonder why! It’s puzzling because the only ones who will be held accountable for our sins in the day of God’s righteous Judgment is us!

Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory is the only just judge.

"Neither do I condemn you..."

“Neither do I condemn you…”

Jesus is the only sinless one that ever lived on earth. This is why he was able to tell the adulterous woman “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” John 8:11

Only Jesus could say those precious words to the accused woman without condemning himself! Glory to God!

Does this mean that we are to take sin lightly? Of course not. Jesus has never condoned sin for anyone but He does grant forgiveness of sin for everyone. Our blessed Savior is rich in mercy, compassionate toward all and His love is ever lasting, not because we deserve it but because that’s just who He is.

So let’s examine ourselves before we judge others and acknowledge our own faults before we set out to find fault in others. And let us think before we speak negatively about those who have fallen into sin. Our Heavenly Father knows all things, the seen and unseen of all his blessed children, still He shows mercy and grace toward us.

Should we not do the same?

If we were still living under the law instead of grace I’d be dead! Oh yes I would. Matthew 7:1-5 says:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

May the word of God saturate our hearts with the agape love of Jesus Christ that we may earnestly pray for those who are weak in the faith, considering ourselves, that we too need God’s forgiveness in our lives and the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let’s never forget that God sent His Son into the world not to condemn but to set us free from our sins. We must follow his example, we can do no less. I encourage all the blood washed in Christ Jesus to not be found guilty of being named among those damned stone throwers.

May the blessings of God continue to be upon each of us.

Obedience – an acrostic poem

Obedience - John 14:15 -- Saintintraining.net

Obedience equals love for God.

Observe His word my soul;

Beautiful is a willing heart,

Ever reaching for and seeking,

Delighting in submitting,

Ignoring the pull of the world

Even as the soul’s will dies.

Novice no more, my will is now your

Command – to obey is to live

Eternally in the love of the Father.

© Rebecca C. Wilcox August 2014

Out of Focus? Get in the Word!

This a re-post (with some edits) of an article that was originally posted under the title, “Don’t Distract Me: I’m Living for the Lord!” in April 2012. I happened across this post as I did some general ‘house cleaning’ and I believe it was for a reason and for this season. The seasons of nature come and go each year and it’s so with our spiritual seasons. I pray this blesses and encourages you in this season.
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Out of FocusTime:  it’s that essential but limited element we long for in our lives. We’re ever in need of more of it but can never find enough. Yet, God desires a person who dedicates, not part, not most, but all of one’s life, desires and time to Him. How is such a seemingly impossible task to be completed? How can we ever succeed? Living for the Lord entails a dedicated mind, heart and soul – it’s hard but, with God all things are possible.

“Living for the Lord” it sounds like the title to a song or book doesn’t it? You can almost say it is – for we are living scriptures or as Paul said, “living epistles” being written out before the eyes of the world. How our story ends is determined by how we live.

Jesus said that I come, not to condemn but to give you life, and that more abundantly. An abundant life is a life that is full – plentiful in faith and faithfulness.

God is faithful. In other words, He is a surety, a sure thing, fixed, immutable – unchanging in His thoughts or love. What a God! Man on the other hand is ever changing. We are mercurial by nature, physically and emotionally. In the natural, we grow from infancy to childhood and on to adult hood and then to old age. We change in our opinions and beliefs and affections. In being true to our nature, we are faithless to one another, to ourselves and to God.

David declared, O man, thou art wretched and Paul the apostle despised the wretched man that he was. Yet, one man was a man after God’s own heart and the other He used to evangelize a whole generation of people! One man was faithless to his friend, his wife and country by committing murder while the other was faithful to his faith and the law by laying waste to the church. But they had this in common:  they were always faithful to God.

Let’s look at Paul for an example. This man had a single-minded determination to destroy all that was (in his view) in opposition to God and God’s law. Remember, it was the law that the Jews lived by; it was their connection to God and it was all they knew to be true. Paul did not know of this Jesus whom the traitorous believers of Christ, was proclaiming to be the Messiah. Paul was a zealot. He was zealous for the Law of Moses and God and he was determined to defend the faith: he was focused and would not be distracted from his purpose to cleanse the house of Israel.

But, God had other plans for Paul. He first chastened him then freed him from this mind set and used Paul’s single-mindedness to His advantage. Later, Paul declared that (as a result of his service to God) he’d been beaten, in danger of his life, in danger of the deep, in danger of robbers, naked, hungry, in danger of his country man and of the infidels. And still, he willingly poured out his life as a drink offering to God.

This is a stark contrast to modern day Christians. We, who have greater avenues for learning, enjoy amenities such as running water, electricity and the like, erroneously believe that because we attend church every Sunday or attend Bible study regularly, that we’re living for the Lord! How foolish we are, how childish, how unfocused.

Living for the Lord is not a complex undertaking. Really, it’s not. But, it does take time, a life time in fact. It is a lifetime of dedication to God, which requires the full dedication of the soul, heart and mind to that one purpose. Such dedication is what is difficult because we have a tendency to rely on our flesh (the carnal man) in our attempts to produce spiritual fruit. It’s like trying to demolish a skyscraper with a hammer! It can’t be done!

An illustration of the disparity between focused and unfocused living can be found in a closer examination of our approach to knowing scripture. It is the Word of God and yet I have known many people in my life (Christians all) who have uttered these words, “I may not be able to quote scriptures but I know the Lord,” or “I don’t know the Bible like I should but I’m walking with the Lord.” These are paradoxical statements to be sure. We cannot know the Lord or walk with Him if we don’t know His word.

The Word is Life! -  Saintintraining.netThe Bible proclaims that, “In the beginning was the word and the word was God” further it reads, “and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men” – this is found in St. John, the first chapter. I didn’t have to look in a Bible to know this because I’ve read and studied the scripture so many times, it’s ingrained. Can I tell you every verse, chapter and quote verbatim all the time? No. But, “the Word I have hidden in my heart”. Beloved it’s what we know that determines how we’ll live.

If the Word of God is not planted in our hearts, how do we know how to live? How can we share our faith? How can we fight the flesh demons, the mind demons and Satan who come to destroy us if we don’t know the Word of God? We can’t. We could tread water at best but sooner or later we’d tire, sink and drown.

God said, “My people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge.” This is why it’s important for us to study our Bibles daily. Spot reading a verse here or there is an excellent way to begin the habit of picking up our Bible every day, however, it won’t be enough to fight and defeat the adversary of our souls. Satan isn’t going to pick on us a little and leave us alone, he hates us as much as he hates God and he wants us dead!

If a thief came into your home at night and attacked you unaware and you knew it was fight or death, wouldn’t you fight him with all of your might? Beloved, Satan is a thief and a liar, he’s not playing games. He’s playing for keeps. He knows that his time is at hand and he wants to destroy us. We’ve got to turn off the TV, leave off the games, vacate the computer chair and get focused!

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Where our time is spent most that is where our hearts lie. Let’s study the Word of God as if our lives depends on it – because it does.

My quotes are not verbatim in this post and I did not provide the book(s), chapter and verse because I set my self the task of using the Word I’ve come to know without physically referring to the Book. It is possible to saturate yourself in the Word of God by simply reading it (or hearing it) daily. As a result, I know when someone approaches me with an untruth because I know the truth of God’s word. I can share my faith without fear that I’m saying the wrong thing. I can stand on the Word of God when the tempter comes to attack my mind – and you better believe he comes. When I need comfort the Word of God is there, when I need strength, He’s there, when I need to hear His voice – beloved, He’s there! God is His Word, the Word is God and it is alive. We must know it to live.

Jesus fought Satan in the wilderness with the Word of God. He did not quote scripture, author, date or time, he simply said, “It is written…” That’s enough. We’ve got to know that it is written, what’s written and hold on to it. This is one way we can begin to effectively live for the Lord.

Beloved I promise this, if you focus on Him, you’ll come to know God in ways you never knew was possible.