Condemned No More

Condemned No More

The woman accused in John 8:1-11 was in trouble; there was no question of her guilt. She was caught in the very act of her sin and she stood before Jesus condemned by the religious leaders.

John 8:3: “As he [Jesus] was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.”

She had been caught. There was no question that her behavior was sinful. Her actions were disobedient to the Law of God and were, therefore, sinful and worthy of punishment.

But Jesus is always more concerned with our state of being, who we are, rather than what we have done. The act of sin can be forgiven, but the sinner must first be transformed!

Imagine the scene:

Jesus is teaching. He is surrounded by His followers who are learning and nodding in agreement. There are those who don’t believe, but they can’t stop listening. There’s just something about this man they can’t deny.

Suddenly, here come the religious leaders of the day. I imagine them stomping up the stairs of the Temple Mount, angry, dragging this woman and hurling her at the feet of Jesus, pointing and shouting her sin for all to hear.

Those in the crowd are instantly afraid. They know the power these leaders have. They know the consequences of disobedience. They may feel sympathy for the woman, but more likely they are a little relieved to learn that the wrath of the Pharisees is not directed at them. They silently wait and watch the scene unfold before them, careful not to draw attention to themselves.

The woman is disgraced, ashamed and now put in the center of the crowd. These are people she knows. Today, this would be the people she goes to church with, their kids play on the same little league teams, they have worshiped, prayed, laughed and cried together. Those accusing her are her pastor and elders of her church. She knows who they are and they know her.

Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

This is a public humiliation, a show of power as the religious leaders try to cause Jesus to stumble. They don’t care about the woman, and they most likely don’t really care about her sin. They simply want to trap Jesus into saying something they can use against Him.

Jesus always knows what is in a person’s heart. I love that in this moment, Jesus calmly begins to write in the dust. I can just see the leaders start to glance around, palms raised, questioning looks—“What is He doing?” they must have wondered. I wonder if the woman dared to look up or if she was too afraid to move. I hope she stared at the feet of Jesus feeling His power, love and mercy!

Jesus knew what the woman had done. He knew her sin, and He knew the sin of every person there. He even knew their future sins! But, in His love and compassion, He doesn’t begin loudly calling them out. He doesn’t further shame the woman by shouting all her sins. He writes in the sand.

Maybe He starts to list the sins the Pharisees have committed, sinful thoughts and acts they think no one knows, their deepest, most shameful secrets. Maybe Jesus even starts writing the names of their girlfriends!

But He does it quietly, solemnly, revealing their sin to their hearts without publicly shaming them.

We don’t know what Jesus wrote, but the Bible tells us what He said: “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”

Wow! Jesus doesn’t excuse the sin or the punishment, but His words bring light to the fact that each and every person there is just as guilty as the woman; each and every person deserves the punishment of death.

Knowing their own sin, the accusers slowly, one by one, turn and walk away. The woman must have begun to look up by now. If she hadn’t already been staring at Jesus, I feel certain that she was now.

With tears streaming down her face, clothes torn, dirt covering her body, the depth of the love of Jesus must have begun to flood her heart. As she stared up at Him and He held her in His gaze, she began to know true peace.

In the center of the crowd, the accusers all gone, only Jesus and the woman remained. In that moment, the people, the crowd, the world had faded away. No one mattered to the woman but Jesus.

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“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”’

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Who are you in this story? Right now, where do you see yourself in this story?

~Are you in the crowd? A witness to something amazing that Jesus is doing? Share it! You must be a bold witness and give your eyewitness account of how God is working in the world today.

~Are you playing the role of a religious leader? Are you accusing and sitting in judgment over someone when you have unconfessed, unrepented sin in your life? Leave the crowd and get to a quiet place with Jesus. Let Him cleanse you and make you new. Then, and only then, in private, in love and in truth, can you begin to have a conversation with your brother or sister.

~Are you the woman, living in sin, hiding a shameful secret? Are there behaviors in your life that you know are sin, thoughts and actions that are dishonoring to God, and yet you justify them or ignore them?

Jesus doesn’t want to shame you. He wants to take your brokenness and sinfulness and create beauty and glory in you. Decide today, right now, to stop the sin. Ask God for the strength to repent, turn from the sin, and replace it with praise to Your Father in heaven.

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Just like the Pharisees, the woman, and the crowd, we are all sinners–each and every one of us. Our individual sins may be different, but our hearts and thoughts still lead to sinful behavior.

They were all guilty. We are all guilty. But the redeeming blood of Jesus washes us clean! In Him, we are redeemed, renewed, and made new.

Jesus is the way to forgiveness. He is hope. He is peace. He is life.

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In Christ, we are no longer condemned and there is no need for shame. Though we are guilty, we are forgiven. We are cleansed and made new as if we had never sinned!

Are you a new creation in Christ? The old is gone. Your past has no power over you and there is no shame or condemnation. Leave it behind and find the new thing God is doing in you. Praise Him, rejoice, and share that transforming, redeeming love with someone else.

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“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

 

 

Move From Worry To a Place of Expectation

A Place of Expectation

Are you in a difficult situation? Are worry, fear and doubt preoccupying your mind and creating turmoil in your heart?

God is offering you peace in this moment.

Wait on God, expect Him to act, and trust Him for His answer. In His timing, In His way, He will come through for you. It may be in an unexpected way, but it will most assuredly be the best way! God’s answer will be the path that brings Him glory, and also works out for your best!

 

How do you move from fear to peace, worry to expectation?

  • Choose to believe and trust God, and decide right now that you accept His Word as truth. Intentionally choose to believe Him regardless of your attitude or emotions. When doubts come–and they always do–remember, He is faithful!
  • Make a list of at least 5 Bible verses that relate to your current situation. Write them out on note cards or put them in your phone. When doubt and fear begin to rise, read them, speak them, pray them over and over and over until the peace of God floods your mind and begins to transform your thoughts.
  • Replace the worry-filled question, “What’s going to happen?” with the peace-filled, “What’s God going to do?”

 

You can overcome worry! You can stop fretting and learn to enjoy your place of expectation. Praise God while you wait, and look forward to His amazing, glory-filled answer! Waiting is hard, but keep looking to Your Father in heaven for His plan and remember His promises–you will not only get through this time, you will be victorious!

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Trust God and release your worry! Pray the following prayer and begin to enjoy your current place of expectation. Whatever you’re hoping for…God has something even better!

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Father in heaven, I trust You. You know my heart, my thoughts, and my need, and I know You already have the perfect answer. I will praise You while I wait for Your direction. I will follow You even if I can’t see the next step. I will trust You in all things, at all times, no matter what. I am excited to see what You are going to do in me and through me and I will not fear. I pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen!

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

Happy Holidays…

Are you celebrating this holiday season? Do you have special traditions in place to gather with family and celebrate something special? I hope you do! I hope you can reconnect with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while, laugh, celebrate, and enjoy the festivities of this season as well as remember those who are gone.

The holiday season comes once a year and is meant to be a time of joy. It has become a season of trees, lights, gifts and laughter, but every attempt has been made to commercialize, sanitize and equalize it to generic, all-inclusive terms that don’t offend anyone or leave anyone out.

I used to be bothered by the removal of the word “Christmas” because this Holy Day has become a secular holiday.

I wasn’t just bothered for myself. Every “Holy Day” being left out and stuffed under the “Happy Holidays” umbrella was being ignored and being called offensive to someone. I’ve never been bothered by someone else’s celebration or tradition. I just want the freedom and ability to rejoice in my own- the Savior’s birth!

This year, though, is different. Happy Holidays doesn’t bother me. It is simply a worldly expression for worldly traditions. There’s nothing wrong with that except that there is so much more! We’re not saved by a holiday or redeemed by tradition. Life, salvation and joy come from Jesus.

As many are gathering around their Holiday Trees, singing Holiday songs and buying Holiday gifts, I’m reminded of some amazing, life-changing, world-changing things…and I can rejoice!

~The shepherds weren’t concerned with decorations or tradition. They simply dropped everything and found their Savior.

~Joseph wasn’t scurrying around buying presents or hanging lights. He was proudly enjoying the growth of his family because of his Savior.

~Mary wasn’t panicked over the amount of cookies she had to bake or cleaning her house for guests. She simply held and loved her baby Son, her Savior.

~The angels weren’t arguing over the politically correct way to proclaim the Good News to all. They simply lit up the night sky and sang about His goodness.

~Baby Jesus wasn’t afraid. He was becoming one of us so He could save us! 

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That’s Christmas! The beautiful, glorious reminder of a perfect God joining His broken creation to offer a path back to glory.

So, what are you celebrating this time of year? Is it a tradition with trees, lights and music? Happy Holidays! Whatever your tradition, I hope you have a wonderful time with family and enjoy this season of festivities! But please know there is more.

Infinitely, eternally more important, I pray you know the salvation, forgiveness, acceptance and love of the Savior who was born long ago. He left heaven to join His creation and show us the way home.

The Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, has come!

Merry-Christmas

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I have a Christmas tree. There is a wreath on my door and lights around my house. If you wish me a “Happy Holiday” I won’t be offended. I will warmly smile and accept your well wishes for a happy holiday time with a grateful heart.

But please don’t be offended when I respond by wishing you a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas.  I enjoy the festivities and celebration, but I rejoice at the birth of my Savior and I pray you know Him too!

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Lord, as we gather and celebrate this time of year with those we love, remind us of the magnitude of Your sacrifice. Help us focus on Your gifts of love, grace, peace and mercy. As so many battle over words and ideas, teach Your followers to love Your Word, Your truth, and to obey Your command to love others. Help us not be offended or drawn into meaningless arguments over meaningless things. Focus our thoughts on eternal things and may we shine Your love onto a hurting, dying world. Thank You Jesus for coming to earth. Thank You Jesus for saving us. May those who don’t yet know You find You this Christmas season. We pray in Your name, Amen!

Dwell in His Shelter

Dwell in His Shelter

Whatever you are facing, whatever this day may hold, remember Jesus has already overcome the world. In God, you are sheltered, protected, and you have a safe refuge in Him. Rely on His strength, rest in His shadow, and He will guide you through.

Dwell in His Shelter~*~

Lord, You are my refuge, my fortress, and I trust Your Word. You are help when I am in need, You are peace when I am anxious, and You are strength when I am weak. As I face the day ahead, turn my thoughts to You and guide me to do Your will. Thank You for Your help and protection as I dwell in Your shelter and rest in Your shadow. Whatever this day holds, I know You are with me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

In His Word: Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

For devotions and encouragement, visit us online at www.faithtosoar.com 

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Find Your Purpose

Find your purpose.

You, beloved, are so special! Your Father in heaven has created you, chosen you, and gifted you for a very special purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He knows the perfect plans He has for your life. Your Father wants to bless you, strengthen you, and He wants to use you for His Kingdom.

Through every moment, every struggle, every joy, He is equipping you. He is always with you–leading you, guiding you, and preparing you to fulfill your purpose in Him.

Oh what indescribable joy when we are living in His will! Invite His presence into your situation. Welcome His power into your life. Repent of all sin and run wholeheartedly for the God who loves you enough to die for you.

What is He preparing you to do? What is He asking of you? What does He want to accomplish in You?

Beloved, spend time with Him today and let Him reveal His plan for you. Let Him work in you today. If you follow Him, obey Him, and trust Him, He will reveal every step in His perfect timing. He will amaze you with wonders you can’t even imagine. Let Him overwhelm you!

Follow Him, obey Him, trust Him and He will reveal every step in His perfect timing…let Him amaze you!

I can’t tell you it will be easy, but I can promise you it will be worth it! Don’t trust me though–trust Him! Go to the Source of life and the Author and Perfecter of your faith, let Him speak to you and reveal wondrous things!

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Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd, of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may He equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Abundant blessings,

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This post is linked with some fabulously uplifting blogs. I hope you will go visit and be encouraged: Motivation Monday, A Life in BalanceInspire Me Monday, Just Another MomA Proverbs 31 WifeMonday Musings, What Joy is MineCornerstone Confessions, Titus 2 Tuesday;

You Are Loved

You are loved.

Do you know that?  I mean, do you really, truly, deep down, when you’re all alone and life is hard…do you know you are loved?

You are!  And, dear one, you are never truly alone.  El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God is with you!  He is holding you, protecting you, and guiding you, even when you can’t feel His presence.

You are never left to face the trials and struggles of this life without help.  El Sali, God of my strength is with you.  You have the power of the living God in you and He never leaves you!

You are loved by Immanuel, God with us…God with you!

You are cherished.  You are chosen.  You are part of a “royal priesthood”.  You are loved.

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Whatever you are facing in life, whatever your struggle, never forget you are not alone and you are not forgotten.  You are highly regarded in heaven and you are loved by the Creator of the universe.  He has a plan for you and He will guide your steps.  Follow Him, trust Him, and rest in Him~ He will never leave you and He will never forsake you!

Be Still, Psalm 46:10

Father, thank You for Your unending, perfect love.  Thank You for Your Son Jesus. Thank You that in the darkest, hardest, most difficult times, You are with me. Strengthen me to slow down, to be still and know You are God, and to know the depth of Your love for me.  And teach me to love others in the same way.  In the name of Jesus, Amen!

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I pray you are filled to overflowing with God’s love and grace!

Love and Blessings,

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A Time to Persevere

A Time to Persevere

Do you feel unimportant? Are you wondering if what you’re doing even matters? Are you questioning, “Is it worth it?”

First, I would ask, “Did God call you to it?”

If He did, then I can promise you, without hesitation or doubt, that yes, it is important, special, and definitely worth it.

Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t quit. You may not see the value right now, you may not see the benefit for some time, but God sees a much bigger picture, the whole picture from beginning to end, and He will use the actions of His people to change the world~one at a time or thousands is up to Him.

You can make a difference in someone’s life, right now, today. Whatever God is calling you to do…do it! And do it with love, mercy, integrity, and joy.

Your obedience to God is all He requires. He will take care of the rest according to His perfect will.

Don’t quit…persevere and leave the results to Him.

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Father, I ask for discernment to hear from You clearly, wisdom to understand, and strength to obey immediately. Whatever You call me to do, may I be delighted to do Your will. Help me produce fruit that shares Your love to those around me. Use me for Your will in Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Love and Blessings in our Lord Jesus,

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Life in The Light

Life in The Light

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:3-4).

Life can get dark. Whether it’s struggles and circumstances, or negative emotions and anxious thoughts, life can be difficult, and, yes, life can get dark.

In those difficult times, remember who God is. Focus on Him and on His power, remember His love, and meditate on His goodness. He has not left you alone to face this life, and He does not intend you to be overwhelmed, overcome, or defeated.

Find strength in Him and in His mighty power for victory over oppressive thoughts, depressive emotions, and negative attitudes. Trust His protection and strength over every circumstance of life.

He is always with You. Always. And He fights for you, He sings over you, and He will never, ever leave you! Stay in His light and watch the darkness flee!

abundant grace and love
The abundant love and grace of Christ changes everything!

Daily Prayer~

Lord, You are light. In You, there is no darkness at all. Fill me with Your presence and power, separate me from darkness in every way, and help me walk with joy in Your brilliant light.  Father, declare ‘let there be light” over me and over every area of my life. In Your might and for Your glory, equip me to live with strength and victory in every situation. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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You can find Faith to Soar on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.  I pray this prayer has blessed you and encouraged you! If it has, please share it!

May you be blessed abundantly with hope, peace, and most of all, God’s love!

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Perfect Peace~Anxious for Nothing

Perfect Peace in Christ~

God’s Word tells us to “be anxious for nothing”. That means we can have complete freedom from anxiety. We don’t need to fret over details or worry about any aspect of life. In Christ, we can have perfect peace~the peace of Jesus!

Perfect peace is a gift when our minds are focused on Christ. Even in the deepest, darkest pit, the peace of God reigns!

When your thoughts are consumed by things of this world, take time to be still in His presence, refocus your thoughts, pray, and remember you are guarded by the peace of God in Christ Jesus. You are a child of the King with a higher calling, important purpose, and He has given you grander things to think about~focus on Him!

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Daily Prayer~

Father, I am in constant need of Your perfect peace. Help me focus my thoughts and daily commit myself to You. When my thoughts wander and I begin to worry or fear, teach me to focus on You. Help me remember I have nothing to fear from things of this world. I hope confidently in You, and in Your mighty power. It is You and You alone who saves me, and only in You do I trust. Lord, guard my heart and mind, take my doubts, worries, and fears, and replace them with Your perfect peace and love. In the name of Jesus, Amen!

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Are you struggling with anxiety, fear, or other negative emotions? Do you need peace in your life? My eBook, Jesus Peace: Finding Peace in His Presence is 31 days of prayer and devotion seeking the perfect peace of Jesus. It is available on Amazon.com and other online retailers, and will help you find joy and peace even when life is hard.

“Peace has nothing to do with our circumstances. It is not about an easy life, a clean home, or a problem-free day…Peace, true, lasting, perfect peace is all about Jesus!”

With love and prayer for abundant blessings of hope, peace, joy, and all the amazing fullness of Christ!

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Glimpses of Glory

Glimpses of Glory

We are surrounded by the incredible, the wondrous, the beautiful creation of God. He has given us glimpses of glory, His glory, detailed throughout His creation, but, in our hurried, busy lives, we too often miss it…in our rush to get everything done, we miss Him. But when we pause, take time to see, really see, the beauty around us, we will see glimpses of glory. We will always find God when we seek Him for He never leaves us. He is always with us and always loves us~always!

God wants to touch your life today. He is calling to you and desires to bless you with His presence, His love, His peace, and His goodness. I know you’re busy. I know your schedule is full and there isn’t enough time to get it all done.

But in God’s strength, and filled with His love, refreshed in His grace, you will find renewal. Somehow, miraculously, if you make Him the priority, give Him your devotion and time, He will not only encourage you, He will equip you to accomplish His plan for you.

Spend time with God today and be renewed, refreshed, and encouraged~get a glimpse of His glory… You won’t regret a single moment!

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Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. (Psalm 24:8, 10)

Prayer at His feet~

Lord, You are glorious and Your glory surrounds me. Help me not rush through my day and miss the beauty and majesty of You. Help me not be so consumed with my plans that I miss out on Yours. Show me what it means to follow You and devote myself to You. Teach me a deeper understanding of Your love, and strengthen me to share Your love with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Time in His Word: Psalm 24

Has God ever given you a glimpse of His glory? Where were you?

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I pray this prayer has blessed you and encouraged you, and I hope you will share it with someone else!

May you be blessed abundantly with hope, peace, and most of all, God’s love!

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