The Dust we bring in with us 

By: Carole L. Haines 

In reading a very familiar Scriptural story this morning, I noticed something I had never noticed in it before. This story unfolds like a true-life crime drama. 
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:1-11) 

 I love to watch mysteries as the detective solves the crime. I am fascinated with all the clues and leads. We all leave clues for why we do what we do. In the story above, the Scribes and Pharisees entrap a woman in an adulterous situation so that they can bring her before Christ and try to entrap Him with His response. All of this was obviously premeditated. They planned to catch her. Perhaps one of them even set her up and was the man who was in the adulterous situation. We are not given his identity.  

But their motive is clear, the woman is the sacrifice used “so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.” Jesus’ response to this is to stoop down and write on the ground. The NLT version says this, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.” That is what struck me, where did the dust come from? They were in the temple, so the dust was carried in on the feet of the very people who were accusing her. Jesus was writing in their dust on the ground. There were also no rocks in the temple, so they brought those in with them too. 

I believe the dust represents our sin and the rocks represent our tendency to judge others. Jesus may have been writing the sins of the accusers on the ground in their own dust, as a reminder to us about how fallen we all are. God’s Word tells us this. 

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” 
 (Romans 3:23) 

O Precious Believer, I speak this to myself far more than I speak it to you. How many times do we accuse others and Jesus has to remind us of our own sin? He stoops and writes them in the dust we carried in with us? How many times do we carry rocks with us to throw at others in judgment? 

O Holy Jesus, make us Holy like yourself. Cleanse us from all that is not of You and not upbuilding in The Body of Christ. I, Lord, am foremost of all Sinners, even as the Apostle Paul declared about himself. 

 “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 Timothy 1:15) 
Lord, I hear You speaking clearly, yet tenderly about these things. Thank You for loving me too much to let me stay as I am. Transform me from glory to glory for Your honor and praise. Amen! 

The Lord is able to make me stand

CLH

By: Carole L. Haines 

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:1&4) 

“I am a grateful Believer in Jesus Christ!” How many of us answer that way when asked who we are? Well, if you have been going to Celebrate Recovery for any length of time, you have heard this answer many times. Before I started in CR, as it is called by most of us, I would answer with my name, my role, such as mother, wife, friend; or perhaps my occupation which was Preschool Teacher and is now a Writer. But the deeper in I get with CR, the more I can see why so many there answer with, “I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ.”  

The journey inward is a frightening and difficult one, like meandering through a Cavern without knowing its destination. But Jesus is our destination, and our Shepherd and Guide through the cavernous journey of self. I was afraid to take this journey at first because so much of my Christian walk, I was only getting half the story, which was: 

 “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) 

Why would I want to embark on a journey with someone who was deceived and desperately sick?  But God revealed to me the other half of the story about 20 years ago, which is: 

18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. (1 John 3:18-20) Two truths emerge from these two passages.

1) God is greater than my heart. I don’t need to be afraid to journey with Him down into it. He already knows what is lurking there and wants to set me free from all that still binds me to old ways.

2) My heart is deceitful and desperately sick, I should not follow my heart. I need to follow God into my heart, only journeying with Him into its depths. Only He is the way, the truth and the life of this journey (John 14:6) That’s what this whole Blog is about, inviting you to go on that journey with me. Perhaps if I am vulnerable about my desperate need for transformation, it may help a few of you not to be afraid to embark on it too. Freedom is its reward. 

I have found that Celebrate Recovery provides a place for broken people to safely take this journey. We are all broken because of sin, not one of us is untouched by it’s piercing talons. God has set me free from so much, but the cavern is still deeper. As long as I have breath and want to experience more and more freedom I will stay on this journey of transformation in Christ. Freedom truly is its reward. I want to help others find what is already ours in Christ. I will share more on this as time goes on, but for now, prayerfully consider embarking on that journey with me, and let’s seek His face together. Find a safe group of Believers to journey with. If you need one, try a Celebrate Recovery Group near you. Be Blessed.  

The Red Chair 

Photo by: Meg Haines

By: Carole L. Haines 

There’s a comedy show that Bruce and I watch that has a segment at the end involving a Red Chair. The premise is hilarious, basically audience members sit in the red chair and begin to tell a story. If the Host and his guests get bored with it too quickly, they pull a lever and the chair falls backwards, taking the bedazed storyteller with it. Now on the show, it’s all in jest and the participants know it’s coming. Some even tell great stories and are allowed to walk off, but they want the plunge because it’s so hilarious.  -This all got me thinking about just how often do I pull the lever on people’s stories within my own life. Do I tune them out while they are still talking, or do I lean in deeper and listen to their heart? I must admit, I do both; and I feel very convicted about that this morning. I run short on the compassion of Jesus, He would never pull the Lever on a person’s story, not ever. Jesus walked into people’s stories constantly, even as He walks into ours. He invited people into His Story for their lives, His Story for all the World. He invited Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), restored the Woman at the Well (John 4). He answered Nicodemus in his bewildered curiosity (John 3). Jesus protected the woman entrapped in adultery by self-righteous people. (John 8:1-11).  

I don’t enter people’s stories the way Jesus does, but I want to learn to do that, to enter with Grace and truth into the lives of others. And I’m not very good at inviting people into mine, but I want to learn. I sense Jesus calling me out, calling me into His Story, calling me into other people’s stories. Is He calling you too? 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:9-14) Jesus, King of Grace and Truth, help me to love as You love. Holy Spirit, fill me with Your grace and love for others. Remove all self-righteousness, judgment and any critical spirit that is within me. I need You Jesus, Holy Spirit, My Father, to love others through me. Nothing is impossible with You, God, so I know You will transform me from being a woman alone who loves small, to a woman of God who loves others well. Teach me to love as You do. Thank You, My Jesus, I trust You to accomplish all that concerns me. Amen 

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