Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

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The Path of Perseverance

Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

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

Strong to the End

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. – (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

 

The promised strength and covering of Christ is given not because we are somehow “good enough“, but rather because He is faithful. As we choose to place our trust in Him, the Lord leads us out of our lives of sin, and looks at us through the lens of His Son. Though not one of us are blameless before Him, we are forgiven, and seen as spotless because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. More than that, we are welcomed into an eternal fellowship with Christ, from the moment we first believe. The Creator of all, whom we despised and rejected, now calls us His children; His friends. May we go forth in His strength, as we recognize the faithfulness of He who calls us His own.

 

Those who have answered,Faith for Forever

we’ve been welcomed in;

Christ’s own fellowship,

those set free from sin.

He grants us His strength,

to stand strong in Him;

to remain blameless,

led by Christ within.

He calls us His own,

kids of Christ the King;

despite our failures,

to hope we may cling.

For what He’s promised,

will always be true;

the Lord is faithful,

what He says, He’ll do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, and You grant us strength and cover us, making us blameless before You. Thank You that You welcome us into fellowship with You and consider us Your own. Forgive us for not trusting You enough, or for doubting Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, even when we see no evidence of Your presence. Make us strong and blameless before You, so that we may go forth in truth. Help us to live and love in such a way, that those around us see You clearly. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness and follow You with all that we are. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Live in Light

image by MamaOwlPhoto

image by MamaOwlPhoto

We were once lost in darkness,

now are lavished in His light;

therefore live as His children,

steer clear of the deeds of night.

Focus on the fruit of day,

full of good and truth and right;

expose the deeds of darkness,

get caught not in evil’s plight.

Everything that is hidden,

will be visible one day;

so we need be wise in life,

and use care with what we say.

Make the most of each new day,

and understand the Lord’s will;

don’t give in to drunkenness,

instead, seek His Spirit’s fill.

Speak to each other, sweet words,

that encourage weary hearts;

sing and make music to God,

for our everyday fresh start.

(Responding to Ephesians 5:8-20)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your loving light comes and dwells in us, not when we are “good enough”, but whenever we choose to invite You in.  Thank You that You do not call the “qualified”, but You qualify the called. (all who trust in You!)  Forgive us for allowing our focus anywhere other than You, and help us to expose anything hidden in our hearts so that You may bring healing.  Help us to heed the wisdom and warnings You provide, and may we make the most of each moment we are given.  May our words and deeds demonstrate Your great love to those who are lacking, and may many come to live in Your light as a result.  All glory and honor to You, God.  Amen.

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

See also, Let it Shine