Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

A Heart that is Willing

When one of the teachers of the law came and asked Jesus which of the commandments was most important, His response is what clearly guided His every day on earth, and likewise should do the same for us. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no command greater than these.” – (Mark 12:29-31)

 

Jesus not only modeled His commitment to love God and love people with His days, for He did also, unto His death. When praying in the garden, prior to His path to the cross, Jesus prayed the following: “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” – (Mark 14:36)

 

Jesus was willing to walk the hard and painful road unto the cross, to bear the brunt of all of our sin and shame. In Christ’s most difficult hours, He demonstrated His love and devotion to God and to all of us, despite His knowing the suffering He’d have to endure. His entire heart, soul, mind and strength were pelted with the pain of people who were steeped in the ugliness of sin. Jesus willingly took it all upon Himself so that we could have new life in Him. May we receive all that He has granted, and go forth loving God and loving people, with all that we are.

 

His heart was willing,Peace He Brings

to walk the hard road;

to endure all things,

that had been foretold.

For Jesus, He knew,

the price He would pay;

yet because He loved,

He chose anyway.

Christ showed us what love,

really ought to be;

our heart, soul and mind,

committed, set free.

For when we love God,

and our neighbors too;

Christ’s love is made known,

as His hope shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Jesus, thank You that You came to show us how to live life loving God and loving people. Thank You that You modeled the ultimate life of obedience unto the Lord. Thank You that we need only look to Your word to understand how we are meant to follow after Your own heart. Forgive us for not loving God or loving people as You intended for us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might love with abandon – unhindered by fear. Lead us to pour into the lives of those around us, as You so generously pour into ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we too are willing to love You and love people, with all that You have created us to be. Amen.

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

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

The Road Less Traveled

There are times in our Christian walk when the road less traveled is not the easy path to take. In fact, there are times when following Christ is downright difficult. However, any difficulty that we endure now, is well worth our eternal gain. Jesus is our ultimate example as to how we are to handle the hard. On the night on which He was betrayed and was praying in the garden, the following was His prayer. “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” – (Mark 14:36)

 

Jesus asked that His Father take the trial before Him away, yet if not, He was willing and ready to obey. Christ’s obedience on that very night, is the reason that we are able to traverse the more difficult road to which we may be called. His Spirit, which dwells in us, empowers us to continue, even over the seemingly impossible terrain. God is not offended if we ask Him to take away the difficulties, yet we too, must be willing to continue pressing in, even if our trials remain. He is good, and His love remains forever. Christ uses our obstacles to demonstrate His strength. May His power be clearly present in the places where pressures are the greatest.

 

The long, winding road,Prepare the Way

that has not been paved;

where we’re asked to walk,

so truth may be raised.

Let every step,

be made with intent;

to honor the One,

by Whom we are sent.

Help us to endure,

the trials that come;

not in our own strength,

but through Christ the Son.

Let all those who see,

what we may endure;

know it’s Christ in us,

that makes us secure.

What’s impossible,

for humanity;

is “yes” and “amen”,

through Jesus in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son.  Jesus, thank You for enduring so much suffering for the sake of our sins. Thank You for taking our place, so that we could have life in You. Thank You that what is impossible for us, is possible through Your strength. Forgive us for seeking to serve our own will, rather than Yours. Help us to trust You more so that we too, may pray, not what I will, but what You will. Teach us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of Who You are, as they see Your power at work in our lives. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to follow Your will for our lives. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11