Promises Seen

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV) 

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE) 

 

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to dedicate Him to God, they met a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for a promise to come to pass. God had spoken to Simeon that he would see with his own eyes, the promised salvation for all people. For Simeon, this was the fulfillment of a promise long awaited; for Mary and Joseph, it was more to ponder in awe and wonder as they sought the Lord to raise this precious gift properly. This passage is a powerful reminder that what God promises, He will do. Simeon had been waiting and trusting that what God had said, He would do. His faith was met by him holding the Son of God in his own arms, as He dedicated Jesus to the Father. Not only did Simeon see the Savior, but he held Him and faithfully fulfilled his role in the temple as he dedicated Jesus to the Lord. God followed through on His promise to Simeon in an extraordinary way. Not only did Simeon see Him with his own eyes, but he held the Son of God, and proclaimed truth about Jesus and what was yet to come. A long-awaited promise was answered faithfully, and in a way that went beyond simply seeing. May we ever trust the Lord that His promises are true, and wait patiently for the fulfillment, as it is always worth the wait.  

 

When the time had come, Simeons Story

His parents, they knew; 

Go to the temple, 

To give God what’s due. 

Dedicate this child, 

To the Lord on High; 

And trust in His grace, 

For all of their lives. 

When the three arrived, 

They set to the task; 

Of honoring God, 

Just as He had asked. 

Simeon met them, 

And burst into praise; 

For soon in his arms, 

The Savior was laid. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise fulfiller and faithful Father to all who seek You. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask of us, and that Your promises are true. Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between a promise and its fulfillment. Teach us to trust that what You say, You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort in chaos and peace in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our faithful Father forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

It is Grace that Saves

In this fast-paced world with its ever growing demands, it is easy to lose perspective. Within almost every avenue we navigate, there are performance expectations attached to each step of the way. At times, the pressure is so great, motivation to perform is entirely fear-based. Thankfully, we serve a God who is nothing like that. Our salvation is a gift that is given to ALL who believe and choose to receive. We do not have to achieve a certain level of holiness to be considered righteous before Him, but rather it is His grace alone that saves us.

 

This point had to be driven home by Peter before the council in Jerusalem, as the Jewish believers were arguing that Gentile believers needed to do certain things to be saved. His response was with words that ought to still resonate with us today: No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. – (Acts 15:11) May we embrace the grace that has set us free from sin and shame, and walk forward in obedience to Him who has called us according to His purpose.

 

Though pressure is great,It is Grace that Saves

to always perform;

in Christ we need not,

let fear be the norm.

We are saved by grace,

gift granted in love;

with no strings attached,

salvation for us.

The strength of His love,

compels us to rise;

to love others well,

and serve with our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are saved by Your loving and generous grace, and not by our ability to follow a series of rules and regulations. Thank You that when we believe and receive new life in You, You grant us Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for trying to earn favor or perform somehow, rather than simply being obedient to all that You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will do all that You ask without hesitation. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in the grace that You so generously have given. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Watching for Wisdom

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

External Appearance

God’s economy is not the same as that of man.  Where people may look at position or possessions, God looks directly at the heart.  He will use the least of us to do great things, for His glory, if we are only willing.  A humble heart that is ready to serve, is far more valuable to God, than one with much amassed wealth or a position of power.

“As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me.  God does not judge by external appearance – those men added nothing to my message.” – (Galatians 2:6) Paul spoke these words before the apostles and other leaders, as he was sharing his call to preach the gospel before the Gentiles, as there had been some in power positions attempting to burden new believers with the yoke of circumcision, when they were not even Jewish.  God had shown him that He looked at the heart condition, not the outward appearance.  It is our hearts that need to prepare to come before the Lord, not our bodies.

With a heart to serve,External Appearance

may we humbly come;

offer hands and heart,

to the Holy One.

With all that we are,

let our whole lives be;

willful submission,

for the Lord’s glory.

Seek not position,

nor power nor fame;

seek only Jesus,

the truth we can claim.

The Lord will receive,

whatever we bring;

as He sees our heart,

through our offering.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by external appearances, but rather by the condition of our heart.  Thank You that as we come to You and give our heart to You, You cleanse and make our heart holy and acceptable before You.  Thank You that it is by Your grace, and not by anything that we can or cannot do in our own strength.  Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough, when really, YOU ALONE, ARE ENOUGH.  Teach us to trust You with our whole heart, soul, mind, strength and life, so that all we do, is in and unto You.  Lead us and guide us by Your lavish and unending love, so that we may love others in a way that leads them straight to You.  Be magnified through every move we make.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, … the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

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

Sharing His Story

Paul and companions

sailed still further on.

To share the good news

where no one had gone.

On Sabbath they went –

synagogue gathered.

Spoke to the people,

image by UNK

image by UNK

told of what mattered.

They met each of them,

sharing common ground,

then pointed to Christ,

so they might be found.

The laws, they were good,

there was absent space,

for they knew not of

His redeeming grace.

Barnabas and Paul

boldly spoke this news,

and many Gentiles

soon valued these views.

The Jews were jealous

and acted in rage,

rejecting the hope,

to redeem their days.

They stirred up the crowds,

ran them out of town.

Disciples with joy,

left with victor’s crown.

For the men, they knew,

that if one is saved,

all heavens rejoice,

for the King is praised.

(Responding to Acts 13:13-52)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us such great examples of how to share the great new that we have in You.  Thank You that we do not have to be eloquent speakers, nor trained preachers, but we can simply be willing vessels that come beside those we care about, and share life.  As we hear the hearts of others, may we learn where they are at and love well.  Teach us to trust You to provide both the opportunities and the words, so that it is not forced, nor uncomfortable.  Forgive us for the fear that holds us back, and grant us new boldness as we seek to serve You well.  Lead us to live lives of love that show many who are lost, the way home to You.  Amen.

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