A Stone’s Throw Away

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Click here to read John 8 :1-6…

As I read the story of the woman caught in adultery, I wondered what she must have been thinking.  Had she heard of “this” Jesus as she stood a stone’s throw away from impending death?

Caught in the very act of adultery, she was taken to the temple and forced to stand in the middle of the crowd, most likely facing Jesus.

Jesus never failed to respect the law. Nor did He fail to be merciful, stating “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

Was her heart beating wildly as she waited, just a stone’s throw away for…wait, did He just say, “let him (who is without sin) be the first to throw a stone at (me)?”  The woman knew that she was surrounded by her accusers, but what she didn’t know was that she was also a stone’s throw away from her only Hope—the Man who would restore her dignity among the crowd and inside her very heart.

Now read John 8:8-11…

What are you a stone’s throw a way from right now?  Are you the one seemingly standing alone in the crowd—guilty as charged OR maybe wrongly charged—but there you stand? Outside of Jesus Christ, we all stand guilty in the crowd, and most importantly, guilty before God.  For some reason, we, as the accusers did, want to look upon another’s sin as worse than our own, condemning them.

Our God offers the same forgiveness and mercy today. Don’t let the “stone,” any stone stand in your way. Our God does not condemn you (as the world…and oftentimes the very people of God).

Oh, Dear Heart, you have not run too far or out sinned God’s forgiveness.  Return to your first Love today by asking forgiveness and living obediently to Him. Not a Christ-follower but want to become one? Go to www.findithere.com, and become a Christ-follower today!

Here’s to y(our) spiritual health!

~Shelly

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Comfort from the Great Comforter

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“I relieved his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from carrying the basket…” Psalm 81:6, HCSB

Have you ever cried out to God with such a need for Him to comfort you in that exact moment? You’re in such distress and despair that only our Almighty Father can calm the demons tormenting you? It is in those moments, when we realize how badly we need a Savior, that Christ comes to our aide.

A little while ago, I was driving home from work and my mind was in utter chaos. I was overwhelmed by many things that had happened and were going to happen in the near future. As I was driving, I asked God to send the right songs on the radio so I could be comforted and have restored peace. I kid you not, AS I WAS PRAYING THE PRAYER, Jeremy Camp’s “Word of Life” begins playing on the radio. The very first line is, “Word of life, speak to my weary heart…” and I instantly thanked the Lord for sending this upbeat worship song my way. After the song, I changed the radio to another Christian station and THEY INSTANTLY BEGAN PLAYING Casting Crowns’ “Oh My Soul.” Well at this point, I have lost it. I am bawling, crying out to God, giving my burdens over to the One who hears my cries! It was a well-needed worship service in my 15 minute commute home. Dear sisters, The Great Comforter WILL comfort us. He will free our hands “from carrying the basket.” He will relieve our shoulders “from the burden.”

After my grand worship service, I went home and opened up my Bible. The very first verse I saw was Psalm 81:6. I am so thankful that the Lord hears us and comforts us. He knows every burden. He catches every tear we cry. He is faithful and WILL protect us from the evil one. All we need to do is trust in Him. I praise You Father for comforting us in our time of need, for loving us and telling us you love us when we need it most. I love You Lord! In Christ I pray, Amen.

~Lauren Ray

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Pack Light

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In the next month, I have the privilege of flying to Las Vegas, Orlando and Puerta Vallarta.  Being the OCD-list maker-packing professional that I am, I have already begun my list of what I will need to pack.  I will be going the carry-on route for these trips, so I am trying to pack as efficiently (and light) as I can.  The lighter I pack, the easier it will be navigating through the airport and less money I have to spend on those crazy baggage fees

It is amazing that we work so hard to lighten our load when traveling, but we want to hang on to our “baggage” as long as possible.  We keep filling our suitcase with unforgiveness and bitterness, willing to add more bags if necessary.  The weight that we carry and the cost we have to pay is way too high.

When we can’t or won’t forgive, we are packing our suitcase with items too heavy to carry.  We become so laden down with unforgiveness and bitterness that we can’t run the race to win, we can barely walk through our day.

Forgiveness is not:

  • Saying the offense is ok
  • Proceeding without boundaries
  • Instantaneous
  • For the benefit of the offender
  • Only given when an apology has been offered

Forgiveness is:

  • A choice of obedience
  • A process
  • For your benefit
  • Sometimes given even when the offender hasn’t apologized

Jesus tells us we are to forgive 70 x 7.  Sometimes that doesn’t mean 490 offenses, it means forgiving someone 490 times for one offense that The Enemy wants to use to keep us carrying the baggage of bitterness.  When Jesus died for our sins, he died to cover sins we hadn’t even committed yet, therefore hadn’t pleaded for forgiveness.

Jesus set the perfect example of forgiveness through obedience.

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is necessary and worth it.  Lighten your load and become free of the excess baggage that weighs you down and keeps you from fully enjoying the freedom that can be found in Christ.

Choosing to Forgive,

Lisa

Posted in Christian Living, Ministers' Wives, Moms | 1 Response

He Hears Your Voice

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Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

The theme for Psalm 116 is worshiping as a thankful response, not as a repayment for what God has done. (NLT Life Application Study Bible)

The writer of this Psalm was conveying a wonderful message of how the Lord remembers His children. We sometimes feel like He doesn’t hear our prayers, see our broken lives, or even feel our disappointments. We oftentimes wonder, “Do I ever cross His mind?”

I can declare today, “YES!” He hears, sees and thinks about you! The greatest tactic of Satan is to put you in a position of feeling all alone. If you feel deserted by God then Satan has you where he wants you.

You can feel the love this writer has for God. It is a love that has grown with each answered prayer!

Maybe you have felt unheard, unloved, pushed to the side. Please, dear sister or brother in Christ, know that according to Psalm 116, the Lord hears your voice. He even bends down to listen. So what do you do from here?

You pray for as long as you have breath!

 

Till next time!

~Shana

 

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | 1 Response

Super Saturday: a mini-spiritual spa day

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The count down to the final Super Saturday has begun.  Super Saturday Louisville is just days away!  It’s the same event as years past but with a NEW, abbreviated schedule.

Are you a leader who longs to connect with other leaders in your specialty area? Need new ideas for your ministry area? Want to have your heart massaged as you connect with God and other leaders for half a day? Perhaps a time of spiritual renewal at Super Saturday Louisville is just the experience that you need!

Super Saturday Louisville will be held at Highview Baptist Church, 7711 Fegenbush Lane, Louisville, KY, and there is still room for YOU!

When I think of Super Saturday, the phrase “iron sharpens iron” comes to mind.  Proverbs 27:17 shares what happens when God’s people (Christ followers) do things such as fellowship, pray, encourage each other, and study His Word together: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” In ministry and life, we become sharper and more useful in and for His service.

Super Saturday is only half a day but packed with tons of refreshing ideas to provide just the mini-spiritual-spa day that YOU need!

Register today and tell a friend!  Simply go to www.kybaptist.org/supersaturday!

Here’s to our spiritual health!

~Shelly

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There is Peace in the Eye of the Hurricane

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I just listened to a powerful reflection regarding the “Eye of the Hurricane” by Danita Harris, a news reporter who loves the Lord. Her message speaks volumes and something we all can take into consideration. She makes note that in the eye of the hurricane there is less wind; more peace. It is what surrounds the eye that causes havic. She equates those surroundings to the difficulties we face and the need to turn to and trust God through the midst of our storms.

We are praying for those in the line of the the hurricane.  We are praying that God moves in a mighty way and redirect.   This is God’s work and a display of his Almighty power.   In the midst of this we must keep our faith in Him and not let fear overpower or overwhelm us.

What ever you are going through remember there is peace in the eye of the storm. God is our eye of the storm. He sees and He knows how much we can handle. He is in control. He wants a relationship not rituals. He said, “If you seek me, you will find me if you seek me with your whole heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

In the midst of the storm, whatever we may be going through, remember strength comes as we go through our storm. Know God wants us to be more diligent in seeking Him, trusting Him and letting Him lead, guide and direct us in the midst of the storm.

I am including the link to Danita Harris reflection.  May it minister to you as it ministered to me.
https://www.facebook.com/vera.thomas.779/posts/10209771308543940?notif_t=share_wall_create&notif_id=1504925753316453#

Posted in Christian Living, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Responses

Roosters and Redemption

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Recently, I had a conversation with my sons about what it means to deny Jesus.  My 11-year-old told my youngest the story of Peter denying Jesus the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I think that is the image we think of: to deny Jesus means we blatantly say we don’t know him.  But honestly, it’s more than that.  We deny Jesus in so many other ways.

 

We deny Jesus when we don’t put Him first in our lives. It’s sad to say, but we do this multiple times per day in a variety of ways…..

 

Social media is put before bible study.

Our need to relax and soak up the sun on the lake is more important than our need to soak in His Word through regular Sunday school and church attendance.

We rub elbows with the right coaches to get our kids on the most competitive ball team instead of introducing our children to their Sunday School teachers who will strengthen their Christian walk.

Dirty jokes and gossip pour from our lips instead of praise, thankfulness, and encouragement.

When we place our worldly desires above Christ, we are denying Him.  Then, we hear the rooster crow.  We realize we missed the opportunity to witness to a hurting soul because we were too busy spreading rumors.  We realize our relationships are failing because we haven’t focused on the relationship by which all others are created.  We realize our lives are frazzled and off track because we haven’t allowed Him to lead and guide us.

 

But there’s this…..

 

Later in scripture, Peter was redeemed. We can be too!  After the resurrection, Jesus told Peter to take care of His sheep. When we cry out to God, He forgives us and wraps His loving arms around us. Although Peter failed in his Christian walk, God redeemed him and put Peter to work. Scripture is full of examples of those who have failed God in some way, yet were still useful to Him.  We have that same hope.  When we hear that rooster crow, we can be sure that God can redeem us.

 

My prayer for you today is that whatever failures you are holding on to, that you will lay them at the cross and ask God to forgive you, to redeem you, to use you for His glory.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Is God Good ALL The Time?

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I recently received some good news from our doctor about our current pregnancy that was quite the opposite of what the doctor had told us just 2 weeks prior.  The news clearly revealed God’s hand in performing a miraculous work.  Even the doctor was scratching his head at the findings.

Because we are sharing our journey with friends, we posted the latest news on Facebook for everyone to stay up to date.  We love sharing how God has been faithful in our lives and pointing others to His goodness.  That Facebook post had 463 likes and 108 comments.  Most every comment was of friends joining in our excitement for miraculous news and many stated just how good God was at the hearing of the details.

I am so grateful for our friends and family that encourage and celebrate with us when we are certain that God intervened in our situation.  Even among the celebrations and encouragements, though, I thought to myself, “But isn’t God good all the time?

My husband and I have been seeing the doctors every couple weeks since we found out we were pregnant (just a little bit more often than before we got pregnant).  We have prepared our hearts for the worst case scenario each time, and each time have heard more things to be concerned about as we progress with this baby girl.  However, in prayer and through talking with my family and close friends, I have been reminded that not only was God there with me when I’ve been on a mountain top, but He remains by my side when walking through the valleys.  Scripture has been quoted to me, but none more often than Jeremiah 29:11 that tells me that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I believe these truths.  I have lived them in the past and even counseled others to cling to these promises as well.  But, do I really live like God is ALWAYS good?

In the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, do I believe that God is good?  While watching a friend battle disease, will I trust in His goodness?  In waiting for God to reveal His plan for my life, will my patience display His goodness?  If we didn’t have good news to celebrate from the doctor about our baby girl, would I still proclaim that God is good?

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:5

The truth is that God is always good.  No matter my circumstances and not regarding my feelings, God remains good.  He is always faithful.  When my faith can demonstrate this Truth without regards to my current situation, more people will be shown the goodness of God than in a miraculous work or unexplainable feat.  When I can rejoice in His goodness whether or not I consider my circumstance to be good, God will be glorified.

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Moms, Single Women, Women's Ministry | 1 Response

Perfection?

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We sometimes get so caught up in perfecting the presentation of our ministry, we lose focus on the purpose of it!

How many times have we missed opportunities to minster while being consumed with perfecting how our message will be presented? What difference does it make how good it looks if we haven’t conveyed our message?

If we prepare a beautiful women’s event with no ministry substance, it’s just a pretty party!  It can have a fabulous setting, amazing decorations, delicious food, wonderful entertainment, charming speaker…but if ministry isn’t the primary focus, it’s just a social affair.

If our church’s women’s group has a social media outreach through FaceBook, Twitter, email, etc., but God’s Word and the Gospel are not at the forefront, it’s just another social media site. The site may look current and appealing, but it’s not ministry!

If we choose a new Bible study because it’s the new popular “in” topic, but it doesn’t address the needs of the women in our church, we may be victims of peer pressure and wanting to look good among our peers rather than seeking to minster to the women around us.

We’ve become a society thinking everything must look perfect…which can easily become superficial. Yes, we should always present our very best unto the Lord. He is worthy of our excellence in all we do.  The dilemma comes when more of our focus, time, and energy is devoted to making our ministry look good, rather than carrying out the work of the Lord!

May we be found always giving our best to the Lord and not fall victim to the need for everything looking perfect!  May we keep our focus on Him and His ministry!

Donna Coffey

Posted in Devotional, Leadership | 1 Response

How do we move forward when we can’t stop looking back?

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Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

In this life we will have disappointments and hurts. We find ourselves living life as usual, waiting at a red light when all of the sudden our minds take us back. We’re in that place again, the pictures are vivid and sometimes we can even smell the memory like we’re right there again. Maybe it was a spoken or yelled word. Or even an act that broke our trust forever.

It could be that you were sick, and the pain you went through has left you scarred. Maybe you were the one that did an act you can’t wrap your mind around. Who was that woman or girl that did those things back then? How do we move forward when we can’t stop looking back?

If anyone knew how to look forward and not look back, it was Paul. His past could have easily overshadowed his future. Instead, he chose to let the Lord have what he did in the past and he clung to the hope of what he would be in Christ.

It’s the same for us. Our hope is in Christ and what He did for us. When we open our Bibles we find Him there. We see His heart for us through the cross. Then, as we read about Him, our hearts begin to see things we never saw before.

Till next time!
~Shana

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | 1 Response