Pay Back With Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God had called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, ERV)

 

We are called to respond in the opposite spirit when we are hurt by the words or actions of another. Though this contradicts the very nature within us, when we choose to bless when we want to curse, extend kindness when we’d rather kick, and offer hope where we’d rather return harm, so often the situation turns around and we are blessed by the outcome. Even when we are not, we can go forward knowing that we have walked in obedience with a clear conscience, rather than agonizing over what we should or should not have said or done. The ultimate outcome is in God’s hands, so we need not worry when blessing seems to do nothing to help. A prime place where this practice plays out in my life is in the classroom. When a student behaves poorly and I try to redirect with kindness and calm, identifying their strengths and abilities, often it is enough to get them to snap out of their funk and return to what is appropriate. We all have days where we choose poorly or are less than kind, and the very things that help us to reset and choose better are the blessings that come through the kindness of those around us. May we ever choose to extend blessings, even to those who wrong us, as God has chosen to give abundant blessings unto us.

 

Don’t repay evil, Aquiring Armor

With more of the same;

Firing back insults,

Or pointing out blame.

Instead, give blessings,

To all whom you meet;

This is our calling,

Mission to complete.

As we choose to bless,

We become blessed too;

Because we’ve obeyed,

As we’re called to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and blessings unto us. Thank You that You direct and instruct us to steer clear of retaliating for the harm that people bring our way, and that instead, You arm us with strength to bless those who insult or do wrong against us. Forgive us for the times that we have repaid wrong with wrong, or returned insults instead of extending blessings. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and heed Your instruction as to how we can bless when we feel wronged, and give grace instead of retaliation. Show us how to love sincerely, even those who insult us or irritate us, as each is Your treasured creation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to bless those who bring us pain. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

The Race Marked Out for Us

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1)

 

Each and every one of us has our own race that we are called to run. Our race is not a sprint, but rather it is a lifelong marathon. We are called to run a race full of obstacles and challenges that we must take on with trust in Him, in order to keep moving according to the course He has set before us. The great cloud of witnesses that surround us, are those who have gone before us and successfully run their own race. They too had to keep running, regardless of weather, terrain, or how they felt. The things that hinder us, are those burdens that weigh us down and make moving unbearable. God wants us to travel light. His intent is not for us to run our race weighted with an extra-heavy load, but rather for one that is custom crafted and appropriate and proportionate for us. Additionally, as we run, there are many temptations that attempt to steer us off course. Our charge is to stay the course, and not allow such sin to entangle, as they easily trip us up and steal the security of our footing. May we rise up ready each day and keep running with perseverance, the race marked out before us, throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

 

This wearying road,Break Camp and Move Out

has been run before;

despite obstacles,

from mountain to shore.

The very same God,

from the days of old;

will walk alongside,

give strength to uphold.

Let not the burdens,

keep us from our race;

His hands are outstretched,

He died in our place.

Beware of the sin,

that attempts ensnare;

diverting our eyes,

from Him, over there.

Instead, let us keep,

our hearts ever near;

dependent on Christ,

let us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there are so many examples of those who have run their race with perseverance before us, and successfully finished fighting the good fight of faith. Thank You that You invite us to throw off everything that hinders us, warn us of those things that would attempt to entangle us, and strengthen us to persevere all the while. Forgive us for allowing our baggage to weigh us down, the things around us to divert our attention away from You, or our trust to simply sag, where it needs to rise up and run strong. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things, and that we will be well-equipped to run our race with perseverance, daily. Lead us to love others consistently and generously, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Withholding Wayward Words

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Our words matter. The thoughts that we choose give a voice have the capacity to cut or to heal those who are around us. Typically, because words are of such great worth in my world, I choose quite carefully. However, when pressed and pushed from every direction, I had a moment the other day, where discernment went out the window, and I went off. My words were not life-giving, but rather they were reactive and ugly, without looking at the potential for their lasting impact. Throughout the day, the Holy Spirit showed me where I went wrong, and how I might repent and bring reparation for what should not have been given “voice”. That evening, after the apology and appropriate words for the situation were extended, communication that had been strained, somehow became much more bearable. Words of repentance followed by kind words of encouragement, lifted the weight of ugliness that had been lurking between our exchanges. Since then, our conversations have been kinder and gentler, with more consideration for one another. Healing does happen when wisdom is used through our words. May we choose wisely each word we give voice today, so that what comes from our mouth and heart bring healing, rather than hurt.

 

Reckless words bring pain,Constructive Permission

they cut like a sword;

wounding tender hearts,

when angst is outpoured.

The tongue of the wise,

brings healing and life;

it builds others up,

the ender of strife.

So let us choose well,

the words we give voice;

in wisdom, speak love,

obedient choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are life-giving and that Your word brings healing and wisdom to all who seek to hear and know the truth. Thank You that when we trust in You, Your Holy Spirit will guide us in the words we speak, if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for our reckless words, and please bring healing and restoration to all whom our ill-spoken words have injured. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent before You and listen well, before we ever give voice to what may cause contention. Help us to speak the truth in love, so that others may receive what is said without being wounded, but rather by being encouraged to draw still nearer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we silence the reckless words waiting to escape, and instead, give voice to the wise words that extend Your healing and Your hope. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

When Anger Arises

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

Anger can be a tricky topic. Just as any other emotion, there are times when anger is an appropriate response to a given situation. That being said, it is always a matter of how we handle our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness, or running on the road to ruin. Bottling builds bitterness, and outburts wreak havoc, yet Paul says to deal with anger immediately. Ideally, our objective ought to be to approach the offender in love, with the intent of reconciliation, not retaliation. If a resolution is not readily available, we can, at the very least, submit the situation to our Savior in prayer. As we speak out the words of anger, hurt and frustration openly and honestly before Him, there comes a softening, and He equips us with the capacity to pray for the very person or people that inspired the onset of anger. Through prayer and seeking to set things right, the devil has no hold on the destruction that was originally intended. When anger rises, may we seek to set things right.

 

When fury rises,When Anger Arises

don’t fold and give in;

let not the sun set,

in anger, don’t sin.

Give not the devil,

a foothold to take;

seek to reconcile,

and hatred shall break.

Pray for the people,

who wrong or do harm;

go and confront them,

grace through outstretched arms.

Seek to extend peace,

where chaos has reigned;

love as Jesus loved,

let truth be proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that anger is not all bad, provided we do not sin when it rises up within us. Thank You that Jesus modeled what righteous anger looked like, when merchants were preventing people from worshiping You and You cleared the temple courts so that they could again enter the space to focus their attention toward You. Forgive us for the times that we have sinned in our anger – for thoughtlessly venting, for bottling it up and becoming bitter – and help us to seek You first so that we act according to Your will, when anger arises. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might respond in righteousness, regardless of the situation or circumstance. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know the saving grace that is available in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we act appropriately when anger arises. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5