Let the one without sin cast the first stone…


 

“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Christ’s statement to the scribes and Pharisees that presented an anonymous female adulteress before him in the temple.
The guilt and shame this woman must have felt, the anxiety she must have experienced.  She was probably well aware of the penalty for adultery – death by stoning.  A public and barbaric display to make an example out of the sinner.
Christ was being tested to see if he would uphold the law and condemn the woman.  Christ advocated for the truth and challenged those that judged her to look at the condition of their hearts, souls and the sin that existed in their own lives.
He did not pass judgment on her, as easy and common as that is today.  It is far easier to judge and place distance between ourselves and those whose appearance, clothes, homes, income level and tattoos we don’t like and don’t even begin to understand.
It requires that precious resource of time that we guard with an iron grip and are far too many times selfish with.  What do people want as much as anything in this life…….to be accepted for who and what they are in spite of their shortcomings.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC
Author of Incomplete
shawnlarueorg.wordpress.com
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Streets, Paths, and Roads—Golden Streets


And the street of the city was pure gold.
Revelation 21:21

South of Cairo, travelers can walk about seven miles to a harbor on Lake Qarun. This little stretch of roadway has the distinction of being the oldest paved road in the world. People have been treading it for 4,600 years. It’s one of several ancient roads that still exist and conjure up feelings of wonder. Think of the Silk Road that traversed Asia, the Appian Way outside Rome, and the Inca Road system that linked South America and created an empire. Civilization needs roadways, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful and even enchanting.

But none of these roads are as beautiful, enduring, breathtaking, or dazzling as the golden boulevard that links the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:18, we’re told that the entire city is constructed of “pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

Those are visual terms, and the Lord revealed this information so we can begin to picture heaven in advance and anticipate its glories. If you’re taking to the road today, look at that black asphalt beneath your tires and compare it with the glory to be revealed. Your heart will glisten.

What wonderful visions of beauty, what glorious scenes shall unfold; / And what dazzling splendors surround me, when I walk up the streets of gold.
From the anonymous hymn “When I Walk Up the Streets of Gold

 

Welcome Home


My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD.
Psalm 84:2

Joe Beam described what he thought his first moments in heaven might be like. “I’ll see angels of all kinds, godly people singing, and the Loving Light streaming from the throne. Somewhere, sometime, in that introduction to the home of God, I expect to hear an angel call my name. He’ll know me, though I won’t yet know him. ‘Joe. Good to see you here. Welcome home.’”

When we study the biblical descriptions of heaven, we realize such a scene isn’t far-fetched, and Joe’s eagerness for heaven is healthy. Heaven is a precious place, and we should anticipate it to the utmost. On weary days, it can energize us. Amid anxiety, it can console us. In sickness, it provides an anchor of hope. In poverty, it reminds us of our coming wealth.

The Bible tells us to look forward to His coming (2 Peter 3:14) and to long for His courts (Psalm 84:2). One day, we’ll hear an angel call our name and say—“Good to see you here. Welcome home!”

I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
Martin Luther

Abide in me.


 

Christ is the true vine.  God the Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear even more fruit.  Abide in me and I will abide in you.  Those that abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
Christ is the source of life, the source of eternal life, the source of the spirit.  That spirit tells us that we are far more than flesh and blood.  It tells us that we are beautifully and wonderfully made.  It gnaws within us, telling us to in things of eternity.
The battle within our mind and on the spiritual battlefield is waged every day.  We make choices every day.  To choose things of earth or eternity and convenience or Christ.  It is only when we abide in Christ that the battle is won.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC
Author of Incomplete
shawnlarueorg.wordpress.com

What Will You Remember?


I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Psalm 77:11

We are a forgetful people. In the heat of an argument, we forget a friend’s kindness and focus on their faults. When the devastation of a financial loss occurs, we forget God’s previous provision. Worry crowds out trust because they cannot co-exist. The way to shrink our worry is to meditate on God’s character and truth.

What we allow our minds to ruminate on affects our thoughts, actions, and emotions. We are creatures of habit, and cycles of worry are difficult to break. One of the best antidotes to worry is a journal. Whether your journal is a list of ways God has provided for you or a rant over the concern crowding your mind, the worry antidote occurs when you read back over your journal—months or even years later. God’s sustenance of you through the valleys and mountain peaks of your days will become evident. There is nothing more powerful than meditating on His Word and promises and seeing them fulfilled in our lives. Pray that He gives us the eyes to see and the mind to remember all He has done for us.

We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as an invitation to prayer.
John Ortberg