Seek Not Approval of Men

One of my least favorite parts of being an educator is the process of being observed and evaluated. I know the intent is good, and it is a way to identify strengths and areas to improve, yet, for me, as one who desires to please, and do things well, it is a painful process, regardless of the kindness of the observer. My own microscope of my craft is far more critical than that by which anyone else may utilize. Each day, my responsibility to God, not men, is to do my best for the kids in my care. This morning, I will be observed as I teach. As I was reading my devotions, the following passage may as well have been the only passage on the page, as it served as a neon sign, reminding me of what matters most. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

Though these words were Paul’s to the Galatians in regards to works verses grace, they serve as an excellent reminder for me this morning. It takes courage to remember that my priority is to please God, not men. If I am serving and honoring God by doing the job that He has called me to do to the best of my ability, then that will be enough. It is not about me, but rather Christ in me, that will be evident anyway. May we each go forth this day in courage, allowing His light to shine brightly before all men, seeking God’s approval, not man’s.

 

Seek not approval,Seek Not the Approval of Men

from our fellow man;

but rather seek God,

to do what we can.

Look to honor Christ,

in all that we do;

give glory to God,

and point to the truth.

Let our hearts be set,

on pleasing the Lord;

not allowing truth,

set aside, ignored.

May we all rise up,

as servants of God;

remaining steadfast,

inspired and awed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we need only seek to serve You. Thank You that Your grace is enough. Thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You meet us where we are and do the miraculous through our willing hearts. Forgive us for trying to please men, and help us to fix our eyes on You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may do all things as unto You. May many see our heart for You as light and life and love that they have not known before. Let many be led unto You as we seek to honor You in all that we do. Be glorified, O God, as we serve You with our lives. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Who May Dwell?

“Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary?  Who may live on Your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things will never be shaken.” – (Psalm 15)

My initial reaction is, “I am hosed.”  Then I remember that I am not expected to be blameless in my own strength.  My source and supply, my hope and my help, are all firmly established in the Lord.  On my own, I would never measure up.  However, in Christ, He sees me as blameless before Him, as I earnestly seek Him, and do my best to walk upright before Him.  By faith, I become a bit more equipped each day, to do as He calls me to do.

To do what is righteous, is to do the right thing, even when no one is looking.  God sees, and He honors the heart that longs to do His will.

Speaking the truth from the heart is not always easy, but it is what we are called to do.  It does not mean speaking unkindly, nor casting judgment upon others, but it is a call to speak the truth in love, always.

Slander is the poison that pricks the hearts of both the speaker and the hearer.  Unkind words about another passed on, perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

If the greatest command is to love God and love others, then how could we do wrong to our neighbors or slur our fellow man?

To despise a vile man and honor those who fear the Lord, seems to mean honor those worthy of recognition in God’s eyes, not in the sight of what’s popular.  Certainly a paradigm shift from what is popular in much of the media today.

Keeping an oath even when it hurts, is keeping our promises, no matter what.  If we give our word, we must be men and women of integrity in order to represent well, our Redeemer.

Lending money without usury, is a matter of choosing to be generous with our resources.  If we have the means to lend money, we should do so with open hands, without looking for an exorbitant return.  The purpose of lending is to assist, not devastate our fellow man.

Accepting a bribe against the innocent, seems to explain itself.  Bribes are bad.  The innocent are meant to be protected.  End of story.

Lord, who may dwell,Who May Dwell

in Your holy house?

Those unto You,

the faithful, devout.

Speakers of truth,

who speak not the lies;

wrong not others,

vile men, despise.

Those who honor,

the ones who fear You;

who keep their word,

forever, stay true.

Those who will lend,

to others in need;

without taking,

for those who’ve been freed.

All who will choose,

to live unto You;

won’t be shaken,

for You make us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are able to live upright before You.  Thank You that our righteousness is not dependent on our ability or strength, but rather on our trust in Yours.  Forgive us for failing to trust You completely in the times where we have failed and fallen short, and help us to be quick to repent and return to You.  Thank You that You receive us each time that we call on Your Name, and that You are patient and loving as You instruct us in the ways we are meant to go.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we might more clearly reflect Your character in all that we say and do.  May many come to know You as their Savior and Redeemer, as we live in the light of Your love.  Be glorified, our loving and gracious Father.  Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

United in Purpose

image by Tim Dumas

image by Tim Dumas

When we’re united,

in purpose in Christ;

Spirit fellowship,

He in us, will rise.

Comfort in His love,

sweet with compassion;

setting self aside,

serving with passion.

Joy is made complete,

when we work as one;

give for His purpose,

not selfishly done.

Consider others,

offer helping hand;

look not for reward,

hope for fellow man.

Look to the model,

Jesus gave to us;

let His Spirit lead,

all one in purpose.

(Responding to Philippians 2:1-5)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans and purposes for us are not as islands, but as part of a body, united in purpose – so that we might strengthen and encourage one another as we seek and serve You with all that we are.  Forgive us for the areas of need that we have neglected, and help us to hear and obey You well.  Unite us as one in purpose in Your power, so that many may come to know the compassion and care that comes closer still, when we have a personal relationship with You, the Redeemer of our soul.  Unite us in Your purpose, I pray.  Amen.

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