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

In One Accord

lighted pathThough his friends pleaded,

begged him to not go;

Paul knew he was called,

no pain he’d forgo.

All knew what waited,

in Jerusalem;

they wept at the thought,

of losing their friend.

Paul answered, “Why weep?

You’re breaking my heart.

I’m ready for this,

I will do my part.”

When his friends did see,

he could not be swayed;

they at last gave up,

blessed him on his way.

Imagine knowing,

such trials await;

would we still go forth,

or would we debate?

His boldness a gift.

His spirit, assured;

for all of his trust,

and hope was secured.

All that was in him,

relied on the Lord;

so too his actions,

aligned in accord.

(Responding to Acts 21:10-14)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, Whom You sent to dwell in us as our Counselor and Friend. Thank You that Your words for us are whispered within, through Your Spirit, and are always available for us to hear if we are willing to slow down and silence ourselves before You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted on what we have heard, and help us to overcome the fears that create the barriers preventing us from becoming all that You are calling us to be. Strengthen our hearts and minds, while keeping us truly tender towards others. Let us love as You love – giving generously of ourselves – our time, talents, and resources, shared in love, just as You so lavishly have poured into each of us. May many come to know You, personally, as a result of our outpouring. Amen.

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