Opposition Moved the Message

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. – (Acts 8:1) At first glance, these words seem devastating to a growing and thriving body of believers. However, in just a few verses more, the story continues with: Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. – (Acts 8:4)

 

Though persecution had forced the believers to flee from their homes, with them, went their faith. Rather than squash what was thriving, the message of Christ began to be spread throughout Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

 

“Sometimes we have to become uncomfortable before we’ll move. We may not want to experience it, but discomfort may be the best thing for us because God may be working through our hurts. When you are tempted to complain about uncomfortable or painful circumstances, stop and ask if God might be preparing you for a special task.” – (NIV footnotes for Acts 8:4)

 

When pressure or pain,

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make way on my path;

they may have purpose,

that isn’t God’s wrath.

Often He uses,

discomfort to grow;

prepare and strengthen,

ready us to go.

At times it’s the call,

that we truly need;

to step out in faith,

and obey His lead.

When things are painful,

may we slow and ask;

are You preparing,

for a special task?

Let our hearts rely,

on the Lord’s power;

may we overcome,

through our Strong Tower.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t simply allow us to be uncomfortable for the sake of discomfort, but rather You utilize every challenge for ultimate good. Thank You for the example of the early church – what remarkable faith they had to go and share Christ, even in the face of tremendous persecution. Forgive us Father, for complaining when things are uncomfortable or painful, and help us to ask You how You might be using our circumstances to prepare us for something down the road. Teach us to trust You more, so that our initial response is to run to You. Lead us to love others with the love that You have so abundantly poured out upon each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted Lord God, as we move despite discomfort, and teach us to trust where You are leading. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Trust – No Matter What

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. – (Nahum 1:7)

This verse of promised hope is found in the midst of Nahum’s pronouncement of God’s judgment on Assyria. Despite His despair over the sinfulness of the people who only a century prior, had repented (see story of Jonah), the Lord still assured those who chose Him, that He would be their refuge and care for them. He is indeed good. May we be among those who choose to trust in Him; knowing His goodness and grace, as we receive His care and count on Him to be our refuge when trouble comes.

 

Trust in the Lord,Trust No Matter What
no matter what comes;
He’ll care for us,
’til our days are done.
For He is good,
refuge in the storms;
He’ll remain close,
protection from harm.
Even when hurts,
come and enter in;
He’ll heal our wounds,
restore us again.
Lord, all our trust,
we give unto You;
may we follow,
all You ask us to.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that You are our refuge in times of trouble, and that You care for those who place their trust in You. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and our faith and trust is grown by Your grace. Forgive us for our lack of trust when trouble comes, and help us hold fast to You, who will never leave us nor forsake us. May we love others with the same unrelenting goodness and grace that You grant unto us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we go forth trusting You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Our Righteous Judge

Scornful looks, unkind words – judgments passed, despite the deliberate instructions that we have been given to not judge one another. You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. – (Romans 2:1) Often the very thing that we want to judge in another, is something we dislike in ourselves.

 

Additionally, we will be judged as we judge, and forgiven as we forgive. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2) We must separate the sin from the sinner, and recognize our own propensity for the very same. If we are meant to approach the individual as one who comes along side them to help them escape, it must be done in humility, kindness, and love, extending forgiveness and grace, just as we too, have been granted forgiveness and grace from our Heavenly Father.

 

When an offense,Our Righteous Judge

does happen to you;

how will you respond?

What will you do?

Will you speak out,

with angry retort;

or trust in the Lord,

seek His support?

Though each offense,

hurts our very soul;

we have to trust God,

to make us whole.

When we lash out,

more damage is done;

we get in the way,

of true freedom.

Trust in the Lord,

no matter what comes;

He shall grant wisdom,

His will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Righteous Judge, and that we do not need to fill that role. Thank You that though we are hurt and offended by people, we need not lash out nor pronounce judgment upon them. Thank You that Your grace is far greater than our own, and the very thing that offends us in others, is often that which bothers us most in ourselves. Forgive us for passing judgment on others, and help us to greet everyone with grace and Your love. May each of us come to a place of repentance as You show us the error in our ways, and grant us the grace we need to grow closer in our walk with You. Let those who are looking find a forever faith in You. Teach us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You all of our days. 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

 

 

Go in Grace

Dysfunctional dynamics seem to grace the tables of families as they gather together to celebrate the holidays.  There are always quirks and past hurts that flavor relationships, and how individuals interact with one another.  Every family has their “stuff“, be it external or internal – and it impacts the ebb and flow of how we do life together.  When God’s grace is understood, received, and in turn, extended to others, holiday gatherings are a blessing.  However, without grace, tension runs high and eggshell walking wields weariness as its weapon of war.

Today, as many of us go forth and gather, we have a choice – will we extend grace and love all as they are, or will we hold onto past hurts or our own concept of what ought to be?  How would we respond if Jesus, in the flesh, were seated beside us at the table?  If He is in us, He will be present in an equally tangible way.  It is our responsibility to allow His heart to be seen through our attitudes and actions.

May the God of all grace,Go in Grace

hold onto your hand;

may we truly receive,

trust all He has planned.

May we allow Your heart,

to be what is shown;

let our loving kindness,

make Your heart be known.

“May God our Father Himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!  And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.  May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all His followers.” – (I Thessalonians 3:12 – The Message)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family.  Thank You for the blessings and love that You pour out on us.  Thank You that You are the reason we may gather and give thanks.  Forgive us for any attitude toward others that is not one of love and of grace.  Lead us and guide us as we go forth today, so that we are Your ambassadors to our families and friends.  May Your heart be made known, and Your love be clearly shown through all that we say and do.  Please provide places for those without family to gather and be loved, and show us how we too, are to be Your hands and heart to all those around us.  May many come to know the real reason for giving thanks on this day and always.  Be magnified, our Mighty God.  Amen.

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