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

Love Lights the Way

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NLT)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

 

As always, it all boils down to love. If we are loving those around us according to God’s good and perfect will, we will be living in His light and will not lead others astray. True love, God’s love, points people in the right direction and helps others do good according to His will and His ways. For me, the more I am loved well, the more I am compelled to do the same. Love fuels love, and the overflow is light and life and the good that God intended all along. May we ever invest in our time with the Lord, who is love, so that we are filled and equipped to go forth and love those around us in His light.

 

Brothers and sisters;

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Let us choose to love,

For as we invest,

Good shall rise above.

If our choice is love,

For one and for all;

His light will be spread,

Answer to His call.

A love that is pure,

Will point all to good;

As we love like God,

Grace is understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and light into our darkness. Thank You that You call us to be the same to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love, as love leads to the good You intend. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love like You, allowing Your light to illuminate dark places and soften the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in Your love so that we may love others as You love us. Amen.

 

 

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

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Both For Our Benefit

On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted. – (Ecclesiastes 7:14, MSG)

 

Everyone has good days and bad days. A bad day does not mean a bad life. If Christ is in our hearts and lives, then we are blessed to know Him. On our best days, we are aware of His abundant blessings, as there seems to be an overflow of goodness and grace that we are given. Conversely, on our most difficult days, everything feels like a battle. However, even in the throes of the fight, when the Lord is our light, we have help and hope; the blessed assurance that things will get better, and God’s presence and strength in the meantime. May we embrace His grace on good days and bad, and rest assured that He is with us and will use every experience to refine us further into who we are meant to become.

 

On good days and bad,Answers As We Ask

Let us each embrace;

What we’re meant to learn,

In light of His grace.

He gives help and hope,

When our days are tough;

His strength and His peace,

Are always enough.

When all things go well,

And the blessings flow;

Give thanks to the Lord,

For what He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we experience both good and bad days, so that we can truly appreciate the benefit of each. On the good days, we praise You for the blessings that You pour out upon us, and on the bad, we thank You for Your grace and Your presence that see us through. Forgive us for our grumbling, as no one enjoys the days that are a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You in all things and at all times, with thanks for all that You show us and teach us in every circumstance. Show us how to love others through their best and worst days, so that they may come to a place where they long to give You praise. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we thank You for every experience that we walk through, knowing that You will use each one for our benefit. 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

Do the Good

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – (James 4:17, NIV)

If you fail to do what you know is right, you are sinning. – (James 4:17, ERV)

 

Each one of us has an inner voice that directs us in the way in which we are meant to go. Some call this a conscience, others liken it to an internal compass; while those who place their trust in Christ, come to know that this is actually the very voice of God. His Spirit who dwells in us, whispers to our hearts – that which we are meant to do, and that which we are not. So often we think of sin as a long list of “Thou shall nots“, instead of the reality of truly listening and obeying the still small voice within. I imagine few of us have ever gone out and murdered anyone, (though we each have likely harbored unkind thoughts about another) yet how many of us have neglected a need of another that is near us?

 

Yesterday evening, my boys and I were at the gas station and I had just finished filling my car. An elderly gentleman caught my attention and politely asked if I had a few dollars I could spare, as he seemed to be in a bit of a panic, claiming that he must have dropped his card and needed to get a bit of gas to travel home. For some reason, I reached in my wallet, grabbed out the few dollars that I had folded in there, and handed it to him. He graciously and gratefully accepted my small offering. As we drove away, it sparked a great conversation with my boys. Usually, when approached for money in a parking lot, I am able to honestly answer that I do not carry cash. Yesterday, however, felt different. For some reason, I had just a few dollars, and I felt like I should give it to him. After explaining to the boys that sometimes, you just have to trust that you are doing the right thing. Out loud, in front of the boys, I simply prayed for the man to be able to purchase enough gas to take him safely home. May we choose well to do the right which we are called to do, as we listen carefully to the still small voice within.

 

Sin is not only,Compassion in Confrontations

when we choose do wrong;

but when we neglect,

live out our life’s song.

If we’re called to love,

and we opt love not;

then we’re choosing sin,

in selfish snares caught.

If we will listen,

for His still small voice;

and act on His call,

we’ll make the right choice.

When we act in love,

allow the Lord lead;

broken can be healed,

through Him, we meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continually show us what we are meant to do; through Your word, through those who have gone before us, and through the still small voice of Your Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Thank You that if we are willing to listen, we will hear You. Forgive us for the times that we did not do the good that we should have done, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will be ready and willing to act in obedience the next time You present the opportunity for us to do good on Your behalf. Lead us to love others in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do the good that You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Unity, Liberty and Love

Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas. – (Romans 14:1, ERV)

 

There will always be differences of opinion among believers, as there are things that the Bible does not deem right nor wrong; and therefore each are a matter to be taken up individually, between God and man, personally. What is acceptable for one, may be off limits for another. Our charge is not to dispute our differing views, but rather to be accepted and handled with love. If each of us is acting according to our conscience (the leading of the Holy Spirit), then we are doing right in the eyes of the Lord – even if it is not the same as our sister or brother. “Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 14:1)

 

What the Bible clearly establishes, these are non-negotiables. The things that have not been clearly laid out nor established, for these we must trust each to walk in the wisdom and counsel that the Lord provides, so that we may maintain united as a body of believers. In all things, whether we stand in agreement or not, we are called to operate in love. May we accept one another in love, choosing our conversations with wisdom and grace. Let the Lord be our guide and example as to how we are to operate in unity, liberty and love.

 

For the Lord calls us,Intended for Obedience

to accept in love;

any uncertain,

of His law above.

For some things it’s clear,

God’s way is laid out;

yet still there are some,

we must pray about.

We’re not to argue,

with differing views;

in love, just listen,

God’s voice will ring true.

What is yes for one,

not for another;

we’re not meant to judge,

sisters and brothers.

Stand firm in the truth,

liberty in grey;

all things done in love,

is walking God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and know us individually. Thank You that what may be acceptable and safe for one, can be a resounding “NO” for another, because of Your love and protection for us individually. Thank You that You know our hearts and minds, and You determine what will lead us down a path of destruction, and what will not bring harm at all. Forgive us for either assuming that Your answer should be one way or another for those around us, or for not listening well to the answer that You are clearly offering before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we may be united in the essentials, grant liberty in the nonessentials, and in all things, operate in love. Lead us to love with Your wisdom and grace, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are united as a body, and gracious and loving to all. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8