Short & Sweet: She Sinned

Short and Sweet Nourishment for the Soul
Short and Sweet Nourishment for the Soul

2  … all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  …  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst … “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

She sinned. She was caught in the very act. Given the nature of her sin, she did not sin alone, yet she stood alone before the crowd in the temple. Was her lover in the crowd? The scribes and Pharisees were using her as a sacrificial lamb to trap the Lamb of God. With rocks in hand, the Pharisees interrogate Jesus about the law. Ironic isn’t it … questioning The Word about the Word.
Why did scribes and Pharisees think Jesus would give another answer rather than stone her? Perhaps the fact He ate dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes got around town. At any rate, the Pharisees were willing to sacrifice the woman in order to get to Jesus. After all, she sinned.
Jesus’ answer is brilliant. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Silence.
Memories. Regret.
A single stone hits the ground.
Rocks drop one by one. Fists unclench. A hailstorm of rocks fall to the dust.
Stones … stone tablets of commandments broken … the stone rolls away from the tomb … the Rock of Ages, the Stone which the builders rejected offers grace. The One who was without sin, the only One who could throw a rock, throws her a lifeline. She is left standing, boldly before the throne of grace. She sinned.
Her story starts with a man and ends with a Man; one a sinner, one a Savior. Grace comes and crushes her guilt, sin, and shame. And she is free. She sinned no more.

Action Points:

  1. Take your sin to Jesus. Tell Him what you have done and accept His grace. Tell Him now.
  2. Talk to Jesus. Like the woman caught in adultery, leave your accusers to Jesus. Notice the only person the woman talked to was Jesus. She did not fight, argue, or defend herself to the crowds. What do you need to do to spend more time with Jesus?
  3. Turn and sin no more. Whatever it takes … new friends … new job … new habits … sin no more.  Change requires change. What will you change today to change your life?

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: She Gave

Short and Sweet Nourishment for the Soul

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.

Mark 12:41-44
She gave everything.
Many would say the widow’s story is one of generosity. Undoubtedly, the nameless widow was generous. But I think more than generosity, the widow’s story is about faith; not faith in the church or faith in neighbors, but faith in the Savior. Her faith was big, so her gift was big. Even when giving something meant giving everything, she gave. Her bank account was small, but her faith beyond measure.
Widow, by the Greek definition, refers to elderly “widows” whom the synagogue supports. Note to reader: the poor widow had two mites (3/8 of a cent) to live on.  Makes one wonder about synagogue support. However, the widow gave everything to a synagogue who gave her, by all appearances, nothing. Ironically, Jesus praises her gift, but lets slide the gifts of the rich. She gave … they made contributions. There’s a difference. Giving: gut level stuff – blood, sweat and tears. Contributions: skin deep – neat, tidy, and easy.
Rich/poor … wealthy/widows … millions/mites.
Isn’t it wonderful that the widow’s greatest gift came during the season of her greatest need?  And her Savior saw. He knew her need and her gift. He was right there, within reach when she gave her gift. Did she know? … did her heart burn inside her as she gave her gift?
Why do we give anything? … or better yet, why don’t we give everything? Because our faith is small. The widow’s gift gives us great hope that we can give out of our poverty and smallness. I have given something, I have given nothing, but I have never given everything. Maybe it is only when we are deeply needy that we truly give.

Action Points:

  1. What is God calling you to give?
  2. What have you already given, but still need to give more …  everything?
  3. Pray for God to give you the courage to give your two small coins. Ask Him to multiply them and use them for His kingdom.

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: Keep Calm and Carry On, by Mary Kane

Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1

It’s everywhere: Keep Calm and Carry On. This famous British slogan from World War II, is currently emblazoned on T-shirts, billboards, magazines, and advertisements.

During World War II, the British government issued many morale-boosting posters. According to keepcalmandcarryon.com, “The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public.” The rest of the story is history.DoNOT

God also wants us to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Why? Because He is our sovereign Father, who knows what we need before we even ask Him. How do we keep calm? By continuing to believe Him, despite our circumstances.

If you have lost your job … keep calm and carry on.

If you are facing the thing you feared would come … keep calm and carry on.

If the hardship has come upon you which you said you could never survive … keep calm and carry on.

If in the face of your greatest heartbreak, loss, or hardship … keep calm and carry on.

Until Jesus comes back or calls you home … keep calm and carry on.

Action Points:

  1. Name an action you will take today to show God you trust Him.
  2. Every time you start to worry today (America’s favorite pastime), replace worry with prayer.
  3. Speak a Bible verses instead of anxious words.

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: Let it Go! Let it Go! by Mary Kane

Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Why has Christ set us free? So we can be free.  God does not want us to be enslaved to any sin or habit. The chains of sin  prevent us from walking with Christ.  If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we have the power, at any moment, to let it (sin) go.

Anger … let it go. Wrath … let it go. Bitterness … let it go.  Jealousy, hatred, envy, vengeance … let it go. When we let these injurious things go, we will be able to receive God’s healing and blessing.

As our verse states, freedom requires work. We must stand firm and not let ourselves be burdened again with sinful thoughts, attitudes and habits. We have been freed so we can set these things free. Let them go and let Him fill us up.

Action Points:

1. Name one thing you need to let go.

2. If you let it go, how will your life change?

3. What will you do in place of the item you let go?

 

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: The Rod, by Mary Kane

Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Isaiah 11:1
Jesus is called by many names: The Bright and Morning Star, The Word, The Lamb of God, Living Water and The Bread of Life. Each name reveals something about His character and our relationship with Him. Isaiah 11:1 names Jesus as a Rod from the stem of Jesse. The Living Water, and Bread of Life are understandable, but what does Rod mean? To gain understanding, we must go back to the original language. Please consider the following definitions:
Rod: in Hebrew, choter, which means a branch or rod
Stem: in Hebrew, geza, which translates as the trunk of a felled tree or a newly planted tree, putting forth new roots.
Branch: in Hebrew, netser, which descends from the root word natsar, which means to defend, to guard, to keep a covenant (emphasis mine).
Putting it all together: From the family of Jesse, God was bringing to pass something new – a new covenant. This new covenant would be established by Jesus, the Rod from the family tree of Jesse.
To close today’s study time, please read one more verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24
The success of the next generation depends upon us sharing with them the Good News of Jesus, the Rod of Jesse. Let’s be faithful to God’s calling.
Action Points:
    1. How can you help your children have more Jesus?
    2. What do you need to do to deepen your own relationship with Him?

Life is Sweet.

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