Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Cling to Christ

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. – (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins. – (1 Timothy 1:19, ERV)

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. – (1 Timothy 1:19, TLB)

 

To cling tightly to our faith in Christ, we must walk in His way and do His will. This is made possible through trust and keeping our own conscience clear. One of the greatest obstacles to doing right is the tendency to hold onto unforgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. When we harbor bitterness toward others, there is no love to give. Our charge is to release offenses to Him and choose to forgive. That does not mean that we neglect nor ignore harm, but rather allow vindication to be His. When there is a grievance that demands intervention – be it the law, a pastor, a leader, parent or person who can intervene, then we ought to access the appropriate channels to allow the authority over them to determine what is just. For us, we need to seek the Lord to reach a space where we release the wrong and pray for their ultimate good. With offenses, much of the time there is no intent to cause harm. Rather, it is the “offender” caught up in their own “stuff”, completely unaware that they have caused some sort of turmoil in the recipient. A great way to combat being easily offended is to assume positive intent. Often a mere glimpse of what is going on leads to ugly assumptions, rather than recognition that there is far more to the story, and nothing that is done in our direction is intended for harm.  May we be unoffendable with the small stuff, and quick to seek understanding when it is something that we struggle to release. Let us depend on the Lord for wisdom and strength so that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

 

Let us above all, The Favor of Forgiveness

Cling to Christ, our Lord;

Trust in His wisdom,

And grace He affords.

For we are each called,

To love and forgive;

Depend on the Lord,

And strength that He gives.

Just as we forgive,

God will forgive us;

Let’s lavish with grace,

Granted by Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to cling to You and Your word. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in all things, if only we willingly seek You. Thank You that You call us to keep short accounts, as releasing offenses prevents barriers from being built – both in our heart and between us and others. Forgive us for the times that we have not clung to our faith and have allowed the words or actions of others to offend us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would assume positive intent when it is small, and wisdom to know what do when it is something that causes harm. Show us how to love and forgive those around us, so that they too may come to understand Your glorious grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to our faith and keep our conscience clear by coming before You with all things first. Amen.

 

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

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8

Worry’s Weight

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. – (Proverbs 12:25, MSG)

 

The weight of worry can become crippling if we allow it to take root in our heart. Though worry can be explained away as common concern caused by everything around us, our peace does not need to be determined by our circumstances. As we are invested in the community to which we have been called, God graciously utilizes another to offer a cheerful or encouraging word in the midst of one’s worry, completely disarming the weight that’s attempting to drag us down. Let us cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) His word for us is good, and His promises never end. May we be mindful of where worry dwells, and be quick to offer cheerful words to those around us.

 

When worry finds weight,

Small boy with heavy load.

image by Gisle

Let not our hearts hold;

Burdens too heavy,

To remain untold.

We’re called to release,

All that is too much;

To trust in the Lord,

Let Him be enough.

May all of our words,

That we give a voice;

Be cheerful and kind,

A Spirit-led choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not intend for worry to weigh us down. Thank You too, that You place in us Your words for one another that build and lift up. Forgive us for dwelling on the weight of this world, and allowing it to suck us in. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give our every worry unto You, and allow You to show us the hope and help that You have for us. Lead us to love others well, just as You love us. May we offer cheerful words that bring light and life to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our worries and take words of encouragement to share with those around us. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

Forge Forward in Faith

The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21