When All Seemed Silent

But He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. – (Acts 14:17, NLT)

 

When Paul and Barnabas were sharing the good news in Lystra, and the people began to be misguided and were not recognizing and giving credit where credit was due, Paul reminded them of the great things that God had done for them in the past, and how He was continuing to make His presence known. The same still holds true today. Every blessing and good and perfect gift, comes from our Father above. Though not one of us particularly enjoy seasons of struggle, they tend to help us recognize and appreciate all the more, the glorious gifts and boundless blessings that God so generously gives to us. As we sit for a moment in silence on this Saturday, when so many years ago they were celebrating a most somber Sabbath, we can give thanks, for we know the hope that tomorrow holds. The grave could not contain Christ. Blessing beyond what anyone could have fathomed was on the way, and oh the joy that all would know in but one more day! May we all take pause to recognize the blessings that God has given us; our family and friends, our surroundings, freedoms, employment, homes, hope, health, and more than anything, the promise of eternal life with Him.

 

As I look around,Hope in What is Unseen

It is plain to see;

Evidence of God,

And His love for me.

He’s given me life,

Hope, faith, love and joy;

All things that I need,

And two baby boys.

Even in heartache,

His presence stays near;

His peace gives me hope,

And chases off fear.

Wherever I go,

I can’t help but see;

The glory of God,

In all before me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us evidence of Yourself everywhere we go. Thank You that we can see You in the beauty of Your creation around us, as well as in the eyes of the people that You place in our lives. Thank You for the love, peace and joy that You give, as we come to grasp the glory of our hope in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distract us from the hope we know, or keep us from giving You glory for all of the good that we know in You. Teach us to trust You more, for just as all seemed silent on that Sabbath, the very next day – You rose and nothing was ever the same again! Show us how to love in a way that offers hope and peace and joy to those who cannot see any. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the evidence of Your goodness everywhere we go. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

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

Evidence is Everywhere

Despite all of the horrendous happenings in the world today, there is still overwhelming evidence of a good and loving Creator.  Each morning, we question not whether the sun will rise, and we know too, that it shall set again each evening.  Mighty mountains and vast oceans reflect the radiance of our remarkable Redeemer.

In Acts, when Paul was speaking to a crowd that had attempted to honor he and Barnabas as if they were gods in human form, Paul spent time clearing the air and making certain that all the hearers were clear that they were mere men, serving the living God.  “Men, why are you doing this?  We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.  In the past, He let all nations go their own way.  Yet He has not left Himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – (Acts 14:15-17)

Though the evidence of a Creator is overwhelmingly clear, the greatest gift we will ever know, only becomes known to those who are given the opportunity to hear.  Jesus came so that ALL might have life and trust in Him.  Our charge is to share the truth of His great love with the world around us, so that all might have the opportunity to come to know of the saving grace that is available through our great and loving Lord.  May we go forth in peace and make His love known to all mankind.

Go forth in peace,Evidence is Everywhere

tell of His great love;

trust in His grace,

point hearts to above.

Let His light shine,

through the way we live;

His glory shown,

as our life, we give.

Direct credit,

unto Jesus Christ;

honor to Him,

paid redemption price.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who have gone before us, faithfully following You.  Thank You for the gift that their obedience brought, as the truth of Christ was made known to us.  Thank You that it was not anything that they did in their own strength, but that You equipped and empowered their willing hearts to do that which You had called them to do.  Forgive us for being fearful to step out in faith, or for staying silent, when we are meant to speak.  Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that if You call us to it, You will bring us through it.  May our faithful obedience be an instrument to deliver the truth of Your love to those who have been lacking it for so long.  May many come to know Your saving grace, as we step out wherever we are called.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, … the rising sun will come to us from heaven. 

– Luke 1:78

A Wonderous Way to Walk

Paul and Barnabas

image by David Bane

image by David Bane

moved forward to preach.

For many lost souls,

were waiting to reach.

Effective in speech,

the men boldly spoke.

Spirit empowered,

the truth to evoke.

Jews who opposed them,

stirred up much dissent.

Divided people,

murderous plot bent.

They found out and fled,

to neighboring towns,

where they kept preaching,

more lost were soon found.

Wondrous healings,

then misguided praise.

They thought they were gods,

the truth quickly raised.

Tearing their clothing,

the apostles said,

“We are men like you.”

Some wanted them dead.

They spoke of the signs,

provided by God,

that prove that He Is,

genuine, no fraud.

Though many were won,

the rumblings had grown.

They dragged Paul outside,

began slinging stones.

They left him for dead,

but God had much more,

faithful around him,

and he was restored.

(Responding to Acts 14:1-20)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are equipped and empowered to do whatever You ask of us.  Forgive us for lacking the courage to always act on that which You are asking.  Please teach us to trust You more deeply in all things and at all times, and may we walk courageously, as so many before us have done.  Thank You for such bold examples of men and women who were completely sold out for You.  Teach us to give You our whole lives with the same sort of fervor.  May we be used as Your instruments to carry Your light, love and truth to those who need to know it, so that they may find their way into a secure and lasting relationship with You.  Amen.

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

Sharing His Story

Paul and companions

sailed still further on.

To share the good news

where no one had gone.

On Sabbath they went –

synagogue gathered.

Spoke to the people,

image by UNK

image by UNK

told of what mattered.

They met each of them,

sharing common ground,

then pointed to Christ,

so they might be found.

The laws, they were good,

there was absent space,

for they knew not of

His redeeming grace.

Barnabas and Paul

boldly spoke this news,

and many Gentiles

soon valued these views.

The Jews were jealous

and acted in rage,

rejecting the hope,

to redeem their days.

They stirred up the crowds,

ran them out of town.

Disciples with joy,

left with victor’s crown.

For the men, they knew,

that if one is saved,

all heavens rejoice,

for the King is praised.

(Responding to Acts 13:13-52)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us such great examples of how to share the great new that we have in You.  Thank You that we do not have to be eloquent speakers, nor trained preachers, but we can simply be willing vessels that come beside those we care about, and share life.  As we hear the hearts of others, may we learn where they are at and love well.  Teach us to trust You to provide both the opportunities and the words, so that it is not forced, nor uncomfortable.  Forgive us for the fear that holds us back, and grant us new boldness as we seek to serve You well.  Lead us to live lives of love that show many who are lost, the way home to You.  Amen.

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