The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

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)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. 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 tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

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

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

Trust in the Turmoil

Ananias called to strike,

image by My Biblical Guidance

image by My Biblical Guidance

the mouth of faithful Paul.

He said to him, “You’ll be struck,

by God, you white-washed wall!”

“Seated judging by the laws,

yet command me be struck?”

The people called back to him,

“he is the high priest, you schmuck.”

Paul recognized his error,

and quoted from God’s word,

“speak no evil of rulers,”

truth spoken, now was heard.

Paul knew the crowd divided,

with varying beliefs.

Pharisees and Sadducees,

dispute brought Paul relief.

The fight became so violent,

commander was afraid,

Paul’d be torn to pieces,

by troops way had to be made.

The next night in the barracks,

in guarded custody,

the Lord came and stood near Paul,

to uplift his ministry.

Those jealous Jews were schemers,

oath for murderous plot.

More than forty men involved,

Paul’s nephew, their plan caught.

He brought word to his uncle,

who took him at his word.

Boy then went to commander,

to tell what he had heard.

The evil plot prevented,

and Paul safely to Rome.

More leaders to hear God’s truth,

and Paul was going home. (sort of)

(Responding to Acts 23)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You yet again, for fabulous examples of Your faithfulness, and the faithfulness that You placed in the hearts of those who believed.  Despite the chaos and crowds that had likely shaken Paul a bit the day prior, I imagine any trepidation or turmoil was torn away, when You came and stood beside him.  Forgive us for forgetting that the very same You that stood beside Paul, dwells in the heart of every one of us who believes!  Teach us to trust and realize the strength, power and protection that we have, that is provided in You.  Help our hearts to be ever-listening to hear Your voice, and our will, always ready to be obedient to act.  May many come to know You as Savior and King, as we walk in obedience, loving others as You love us.  Amen.

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