Standing Firm

By standing firm you will gain life. – (Luke 21:19)

 

Though seemingly simple, this is a tall order in the face of persecution, devastation and destruction. To stand firm, we must first be certain in Whom we are placing all of our trust. The more we know and better we understand the heart of our Heavenly Father, the more certain we become in the security of our firm foundation, and are better able to take a solid stand upon it in the face of adversity. Christ assures us that in Him, we will gain eternal life, regardless of what happens in our present circumstance. Despite possible persecution or worse, we know that anything that is endured in this life is merely temporary, and the joy that is yet to come, is eternal. May we stand firm in You, Lord, as we gain Your grace and understand the hope that is ours, as we hold fast to the life everlasting, that we are granted in You.

 

Trust in the Lord,Do Everything in Love

with all that You are;

the path to life,

is nearby, not far.

Reach out to Christ,

He’ll show us the way;

planted in Him,

in His fold to stay.

Choose to stand firm,

no matter what comes;

life shall be gained,

through our Righteous One.

His grace sustains,

His strength shall uphold;

our hearts and minds,

so we may be bold.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invest our hearts and lives in You, You teach us how to stand firm in our faith and grant us eternal life. Forgive us for the times that we have not stood firm in our convictions, and help us to learn from each of those moments, so that we may choose better the next time we are faced with something similar. Teach us to trust You more, so that we stand firm in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as You so completely love us, so that many may come to gain life in You as well. Be exalted, Lord God, as we stand firm in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

The Presence of His Power

Mere man is no match for the power of the living God. Three times in Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadducees, (the most educated minds of the day) attempted to trap Jesus with their questions. Each time an attempt was made, the people were amazed at the power and authority with which Jesus answered. Jesus knew their evil intent, and was able to expose it each time. “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” – (Matthew 22:46)

 

The power of God at work in Christ, granting wisdom and knowledge, power and strength, is available to all who believe. We too, have access to answers when challenged with difficult questions. When we seek Him, we will find Him, if we seek Him with all of our heart. Jesus was intentional to take time alone to be with the Father to pray. He modeled for us, what is needed to access the very same power that dwells within the hearts of all who have invited Him in. Christ is present and available, and willing to be our help and our hope.

 

The power of God,The Presence of His Power

is alive and free;

I need only ask,

it’s given to me.

Wisdom and knowledge,

power and the strength;

to withstand struggles,

and traverse great lengths.

Greater is the One,

whose dwelling in me;

than all who challenge,

cause adversity.

His presence is found,

as I choose to seek;

He is my true strength,

when I’m feeling weak.

All that is needed,

is found in the Lord;

there’s no other name,

my shield and my sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that was in Jesus that granted Him wisdom and power to face all who opposed Him, is alive and available to us. Thank You that we too, can move in wisdom and power as You have commissioned us, if we place our trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely, in the mighty power that dwells within us. Make us strong to trust You as we move in faith, and help many come to know the fullness of a life lived in Your love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may we move mightily in Your strength today. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Unfettered Forgiveness

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21:22)

 

During that time, rabbis taught the people that they ought to forgive others three times. So when Peter suggested seven times, he likely thought the “perfect” number was more than sufficient. However, Jesus did not concur. Seventy-seven times or seventy times seven, (depending on which verse we read) is a matter not of actual numbers, but rather of a number so high that a person would not actually keep a record of faults and foibles forgiven.

 

This is not necessarily an easy task, and often, the repeated steps of forgiving occur for one single action. There are times when we have to forgive again and again for one isolated incident. On Saturday, I wrote of a childhood friend who lost her seventeen-year-old son in a tragic car accident. He was doing nothing wrong, yet was t-boned by a speeding, and possibly intoxicated driver, at 7:00am. Not once since that tragic day, have I seen a single statement by her that has condemned the other driver. However, I imagine that each time she pictures her sweet son, she has to stop and forgive the other driver, as she is left wondering why her son was taken so soon. She is a woman of unflappable faith, and I know it is only by His grace, that she is able to choose to forgive.

 

All of us have contributed to a comparable atrocity against Christ. Though He was without sin, He was killed for our sake, because of our sin. However, He chose to allow our actions that grieved the very heart of God, to be placed on Him, so that we could be forgiven. EVERY. SINGLE. SIN. As He willingly bore the cross, He declared, “It is finished,” so that we could be forgiven, and likewise we could go forth and forgive others.

 

Count not the times,Unfettered Forgiveness

we have to forgive;

for Christ counts not,

forgiveness He gives.

Let His love lead,

when it’s hard to love;

He is our strength,

all grace from above.

Despite the deed,

the pain to our heart;

we must forgive,

and grant a fresh start.

Just as our sin,

was worn on that cross;

we must let go,

trust God with each loss.

All in His hands,

be it large or small;

help to forgive,

He’s covered it all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us for all of our sin, the moment we come to You and confess. Thank You that You do not hold things over our heads, but rather once You have forgiven, You have chosen to forget and let it go. Thank You that as we come to You and seek You, You help us find forgiveness, even in the face of great adversity, grief, and anger. Forgive us for our unforgiveness, and make us acutely aware of things that we are holding that need be released. Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May we be gracious and kind, abounding in Your love. Let others see Your goodness and grace in us, and may that be what draws them unto a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we extend Your forgiveness and grace to those who grieve our hearts. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – I Corinthians 3:5

 

 

Worry Versus Concern

Though my daily reading plan does not coincide with the events surrounding our celebration of Easter, I cannot help but recognize within each reading, how the words must have moved the hearts of the various men and women who were present at the events leading up to the cross, and beyond. This morning is no exception.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – (Matthew 6:27)

 

The NIV footnotes explain that “worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” Clearly Christ was concerned for our well-being, as He moved forward to suffer for our sake. Additionally, I think of the disciples who deserted Him in His hour of need. Clearly they worried about their well-being, as each of them scattered in the face of adversity. However, there were those who were clearly concerned, rather than worried. Concern compelled Joseph of Arimathea to risk his reputation and ask to take Jesus’ body to the tomb. Likewise, concern moved Mary Magdalene and many other faithful women to be present at the foot of the cross.

 

Worry kept Pilate from standing strong in his convictions that Christ was indeed innocent. Though he knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, Pilate allowed the worry of his reputation to dictate death for One undeserving, simply because the crowd was calling for it. Can you imagine what the remainder of Pilate’s days must have been like, after the events that occurred from the cross to the empty tomb?  Surely Pilate heard the news…

 

Let not worry,Worry Versus Concern

seize your heart with fear;

for no good comes,

when panic is near.

Concern compels,

wills us to action;

trusts Christ to lead,

faithful transaction.

Don’t let worry,

come immobilize;

instead, let faith,

sink in, globalize.

Rise up, dear ones,

release pending doom;

on that third day,

stood the empty tomb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry when our trust is in You. Thank You that You who provide for the grass of the fields and the birds of the air, even more abundantly provide for Your people. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for allowing fear to seep in and freeze us up from moving forward. Grow in us an unshakable faith, that is compelled to action by concerns, and that carries out Your will rather than our own. May we love others as You love us, and honor You in all that we say and do. May many come to know the help and hope available in You, because of what You did for us during this Easter season. All glory and honor unto You, our perfect Prince of Peace. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19