Cling to Christ

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. – (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins. – (1 Timothy 1:19, ERV)

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. – (1 Timothy 1:19, TLB)

 

To cling tightly to our faith in Christ, we must walk in His way and do His will. This is made possible through trust and keeping our own conscience clear. One of the greatest obstacles to doing right is the tendency to hold onto unforgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. When we harbor bitterness toward others, there is no love to give. Our charge is to release offenses to Him and choose to forgive. That does not mean that we neglect nor ignore harm, but rather allow vindication to be His. When there is a grievance that demands intervention – be it the law, a pastor, a leader, parent or person who can intervene, then we ought to access the appropriate channels to allow the authority over them to determine what is just. For us, we need to seek the Lord to reach a space where we release the wrong and pray for their ultimate good. With offenses, much of the time there is no intent to cause harm. Rather, it is the “offender” caught up in their own “stuff”, completely unaware that they have caused some sort of turmoil in the recipient. A great way to combat being easily offended is to assume positive intent. Often a mere glimpse of what is going on leads to ugly assumptions, rather than recognition that there is far more to the story, and nothing that is done in our direction is intended for harm.  May we be unoffendable with the small stuff, and quick to seek understanding when it is something that we struggle to release. Let us depend on the Lord for wisdom and strength so that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

 

Let us above all, The Favor of Forgiveness

Cling to Christ, our Lord;

Trust in His wisdom,

And grace He affords.

For we are each called,

To love and forgive;

Depend on the Lord,

And strength that He gives.

Just as we forgive,

God will forgive us;

Let’s lavish with grace,

Granted by Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to cling to You and Your word. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in all things, if only we willingly seek You. Thank You that You call us to keep short accounts, as releasing offenses prevents barriers from being built – both in our heart and between us and others. Forgive us for the times that we have not clung to our faith and have allowed the words or actions of others to offend us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would assume positive intent when it is small, and wisdom to know what do when it is something that causes harm. Show us how to love and forgive those around us, so that they too may come to understand Your glorious grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to our faith and keep our conscience clear by coming before You with all things first. Amen.

 

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

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Be Kind

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

It is easy to be kind, gentle and sensitive to those who are kind, gentle and sensitive toward us, but what about those who are not? We are called to follow the example set before us by Christ. Jesus showed kindness to those who did not deserve it, was merciful to those who had not shown mercy to others, and forgave, even the very ones who had hung Him on the cross to die. That is some serious grace in a place where wrath and anger, or at least frustration, might be expected. We are called to live by the same standard. When people offend us, we are meant to forgive, even if they do not ask to be forgiven. Our egos are not more important than their souls seeing God’s goodness. No, God does not ask us to be foolish and remain in harmful, dangerous or toxic spaces, however, He does expect us to forgive even the worst of those who have hurt our hearts or ruined relationships. God’s love is greater, and by His grace, we can love and be kind because we have been forgiven too. May we ever seek our Savior who has forgiven much, so that we may go forth and do likewise in love.

 

The Lord God is kind,Faith and Hope in Action

Our sins, He forgives;

And beyond His grace,

He loves as we live.

Because of His love,

We’re called to the same;

Forgive offenses,

Be kind in His Name.

For as we choose love,

Show mercy and grace;

We’re being a light,

To walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us of so much. Thank You that You are kind, tenderhearted and loving toward us, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for the times that we have not forgiven others as we are forgiven by You, or for withholding kindness where we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, just as You are of us. Show us how to walk this out in love with all whom we encounter in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do unto others as You have done so lovingly and generously unto us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Forgiving Offenses

Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kindness. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE)

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, NLT)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

 

We, as humans, are fallen and flawed, and fail to be offense-free forever. No matter how hard we try, nor how much grace we give, eventually we will offend and become offended. What we do with our offenses makes all the difference. The feelings that follow are our own, but what we do in response is a matter of our choosing to trust God and forgive, or rely on our own brokenness and lash out. We are called to forgive because we have been forgiven. Kindness has been given time and time again; though we deserved it not. Though others will wrong us, and we will likewise wrong others, may we ever seek the Lord for strength to go forth in forgiveness, so that His heart may be made known through our love. When we offend others, may we also be quick to repent and remedy the relational strain.

 

O Lord let Your light,Faith and Hope in Action

Be made known through us;

As we choose forgive,

Like Your Son, Jesus.

For we all offend,

As we have been wronged;

We must choose let go,

Trust, rise; carry on.

Don’t let us fixate,

On faults of others;

For we all fall short,

But Your love covers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us, and because we are forgiven, we can go and do likewise. Thank You that Your grace covers every fault found within us. Forgive us for not extending the same grace to others when we are offended or hurt by those around us. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You suffered every offense known to man, and You forgave anyway. Help us to forgive and love like You. Show us how to extend Your loving kindness to all those whom we encounter, so that they might gain glimpses of who You are and how deeply You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forgive the faults and offenses of those around us, and operate our lives in the loving kindness that You have granted unto us. 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

The Price for Free

I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free. – (Isaiah 44:22, NLT)

 

Christ came to grant us freedom from our sin and shame. Great men and women throughout history, have come to know the value of such freedom, and have gone on to fight injustices that prevented people from living in the freedom that was intended. God does not have favorites, but views us all as equals in His sight. If our Creator sees us each with infinite worth, then it is our responsibility to seek to do likewise. Martin Luther King Jr., and all who have fought before him, beside him and continue to fight for equality for all, are the champions of choosing to make our world a better place where the dream Dr. King spoke of aligns with the call of Christ – for us to be one body – united, rather than many parts divided. May we rise up and remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus, hand-crafted and called to freely walk out the purpose that He has placed before us.

 

For we are all called,mlk

To live in His light;

No more in darkness,

Injustice, we fight.

Just as we’ve each been,

Redeemed and set free;

We must view others,

With equality.

For God loves us all,

Sisters and brothers;

Let’s rise united,

Lifting each other.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek Your forgiveness, You wipe away our offenses and set us free. Thank You that You have raised up leaders throughout the ages to rise up and stand against injustices that treat any group of people as less than another. Forgive us for our offenses, for even complacency is fueling the flames of injustice. Teach us how to hear Your direction as to what our part is meant to be. Show us above all, how to love all people as we are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your love transforms hearts and changes perspectives. 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

In honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a few beautiful quotes:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – MLK

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – MLK

 

 

Owning Our Iniquities

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – (1 John 1:9, NLT)

But if we own up to our sins, God shows us that He is faithful and just by forgiving all of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to forgive, if we are willing to come before Him and confess that which we have said, thought or done that does not bring honor to His Name. Every unkind thought, every reckless word uttered, and every decision that we make that is not based on loving God and loving people well – He will forgive, if we will choose to own our offenses before the Lord. Not only does He forgive, but Christ deems us righteous before Him, as we are purified from the pollution of our ruptured relationship. May we choose to confess our sins before Him, and trust in His faithfulness to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, so that we may exercise our existence covered in His goodness and grace.

 

If we will confess,Beside Still Waters

all that we have done;

before Jesus Christ,

the battle is won.

For in His Great Name,

we‘ll be forgiven;

if we go to God,

for our wrong living.

He takes all our sin,

and washes us clean;

impurities gone,

and His love is seen.

When we choose stay near,

in step with the Lord;

light and life made plain,

as grace is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we confess our sins before You, You are faithful and just to forgive us all of our unrighteousness – not because we deserve it, but because You love. Forgive us for not owning our iniquities to confess before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your still small voice and be quick to confess all that we think, say and do that does not give glory to You. Show us how to walk in forgiveness with others, just as we are forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the goodness that comes from a life lived in You. Be glorified O God, as we confess all of our sins before You and walk out our days free and forgiven from all that would keep us from honoring You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

An Appropriate Answer to Anger

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – (Proverbs 29:11)

 

Considering the multitude of injustices taking place in the world around us, it is easy to become angered at the outrage. However, when we are in Christ, we are called to handle ourselves in such a way, that the world sees a difference – even when we are angry. This does not mean we are to sweep offenses that need attention under the rug, but rather we are to approach them in the opposite spirit, with the intent to bring healing and wholeness to the offender as God provides opportunity.

 

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

“The Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan an opportunity to divide us. Are you angry right now? What can you do to resolve your differences? Don’t let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

There are times when reconciliation is neither possible, nor wise. In such cases, all that we can do is continually give our anger to God, and trust Him bring about His justice. Despite what we see in the here and now, all will have to one day answer for what we have or have not done. May His wisdom grant us control, so that we may properly deal with anger.

 

Be not a fool,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

that rages in sin;

choose His control,

Christ’s peace from within.

Allow it not,

to fester and grow;

go deal quickly,

don’t grant a foothold.

God’s great wisdom,

will show us the way;

to make amends,

and forgive each day.

Vengeance is not,

for us to decide;

pray for a change,

His justice preside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace, yet You show us time and time again throughout Your word, that vengeance is Yours. Thank You too, for helping us to understand that anger in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rather it is what we do with our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness. Thank You that if we choose to listen to You and follow what You ask, we need not sin in our anger. Forgive us for our outbursts and for the times that we have stayed silent and harbored anger in our hearts. Teach us to trust You enough to act according to Your good and perfect will for us – even as anger arises. Thank You that anger is a call to action. May we answer the call and act accordingly. Let us love when those who have offended expect spite, and may they come to know that You are the reason for our love. Let the lost find You. Be glorified God, even as we act on what has angered us. Amen.

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

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