Calling for Counsel

Acts 15, for me, has two terrific take-aways.  The first, is when there is a question or dispute about what is right according to God’s will, seek the word and the wisdom of godly counsel.  Second, if there is a point of disagreement that seemingly has no resolution that is not foundational in our faith – agree to disagree and move on.

It was brought to the attention of Paul and Barnabas, that some men from Judea and Antioch were teaching in such a way, that they were attempting to place the yoke of the old law upon the necks of Gentile believers, rather than recognizing that the inner working of the Holy Spirit in their lives was more than enough.  “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.  So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” – (Acts 15:2) After meeting with the counsel of elders, who examined the scriptures, they recognized that there was no longer a need to place the former regulations required for Jewish believers upon the neck of the Gentiles who had come to Christ.  Instead, they were given a few simple instructions to follow that were to protect their physical and spiritual well-being.

Paul and Barnabas were great friends and brothers in Christ.  They had traveled many miles together, and shared miraculous moments that the Lord had provided both through them and in them along the way.  After they had met with the counsel, the two men disagreed about whom they should bring along on the next leg of their journey.  Ultimately, they parted company and each took a new traveling companion, thus doubling the ministry teams that were sent out.  Both men had very effective ministries, that were eventually reunited and ultimately combined (as the point of contention had been over bringing Mark along, and Mark later became a vital part of Paul’s ministry).

When things are unclear,Calling for Cousel

seek that which is true;

first God, then the word,

then wise counsel, too.

If disputes arise,

try first to resolve;

let not opinions,

true friendships dissolve.

For there will be times,

when it will be best;

let disagreements,

lay down, put to rest.

If we truly love,

then we’ll be okay;

if not eye to eye,

in every way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace.  Thank You that You provide us with Your wisdom through Your Holy Spirit and through Your word.  Thank You too, that there are godly men and women around us whom we can seek together, when questions arise, or answers seem unclear.  Thank You that You create us for community so that we may learn and grow with one another.  Thank You too, that as humans, it is okay to disagree on some things.  Forgive us for attempting to make snap decisions without seeking You and further counsel when necessary, and also for not being okay with others having opinions that differ form our own.  Please grant us the wisdom to know to always seek You first, and to know when we are meant to seek further counsel.  Help us to know when it is okay to agree to disagree.  May we live in the light of Your love, so that those who know You not, might come to see the goodness and grace that is available through a relationship with You.  May many choose to live for You.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Miracles in the Desert

Though the Israelites were notorious for their grumbling in the desert, there was a time, early on, when they really got it right.  After the Lord had saved them from the hands of the Egyptians by parting the sea until each of them had safely passed through, and then covered all of the Egyptians with the great wall of water that led to their untimely demise.  After such a mighty display of unbridled power, the Israelites not only feared the Lord, but they placed their trust in Him, and in Moses, whom God had appointed to lead them.

Their response was one of worship, as they say a song unto the Lord.  Among the lines that stand out, is “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” – (Exodus 15:2)  Because they were in the midst of wandering in the desert, recording things in writing was not such a viable option.  However, reciting the remarkable in song, was a wonderful way to give thanks to the Lord, and to pass down the historical happenings of the people, as they celebrated the victory that God had granted.

All of us have seasons of wandering through the desert.  We must choose to either look for and celebrate the miraculous moments, despite the desolation around us; or we are left grumbling, perhaps missing out on the miracles, as our eyes and hearts are averted inward, rather than looking up.  When our hearts are set to worship the One who is with us, be it in the desert or in the lush valley, our awareness of what He is doing, tends to increase.  May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him, and let words of praise be ever-present on our lips.

Our strength and our song,Miracles in the Desert

in famine or feast;

the Lord God on high,

our hope to increase.

Present in dry lands,

He quenches our thirst;

with us in plenty,

as we seek Him first.

Let our hearts hold praise,

regardless of way;

trusting His goodness,

is with us to stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our surroundings.  Thank You that often the most miraculous moments come as we are wandering through the driest deserts.  Forgive us for our grumbling when we are uncomfortable, or have to persevere longer than we think we ought to, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You.  Grant us the ability to keep our eyes up and our hearts on You, so that we do not miss out on the miraculous that You are doing all around us.  May we be available to love as You love us, and please use us to touch hearts and show those who are looking, the way unto You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do, our mighty, miraculous God.  Amen.

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

Our Perfect Priest

Our Perfect Priest

What formerly was,

can be no longer;

let go of the law,

there is One stronger.

Though former priests died,

only One remains;

He who is righteous,

Remover of stains.

Because He sinned not,

He is our High Priest;

our Portion always,

Love will never cease.

He saves completely,

those who come to God;

holy and blameless,

Thy staff and Thy rod.

No longer by law,

but by perfect oath;

He sinned not and saves,

our eternal hope.

We’re far from perfect,

but Jesus, He is;

intercedes for us,

so we now may live.

(Responding to Hebrews 7:18-28)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all. Thank You that not only was the sacrifice enough to call those who come to You clean, but He is now seated beside You, interceding on our behalf. Thank You that the oath appointing Jesus as our high priest, will forever remain. Forgive us for acting as if anything other than total surrender to You, will save. Teach us to trust You completely – in all things and at all times. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, (Isaiah 55:9) and that You are aware and attentive to all. Help us to live accordingly. May our surrender and trust show many the way to salvation in You. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Amen.

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