Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. 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

Generous and Gracious Love

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – (Matthew 5:47-48, NLT)

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:47-48, MSG)

 

We who have invested our hearts and lives in Christ, are called to live differently. Anyone can be kind to those who extend kindness to them, however, it takes God’s grace to extend kindness to those who have treated us poorly, slandered our character, or devalued who we are. As children of God, that is exactly what we are called to do – to pray for those who persecute us, to be kind to those who are unkind toward us, and to extend love to those who are anything but loving to us and those around us. While we were yet enemies of God, He loved us. He gave His only Son so that we could come to know Him and have life everlasting. There is no greater example of how to love than this. May we rise up and embrace our role as children of the King, and go forth extending love and grace to all we encounter – especially those who are most in need, as their current state is a lost and loveless place.

 

Whom shall we choose love?Healed Hands Reach Out

Just those who love us?

For we have been called,

to love like Jesus.

He loved the sinners,

all who were unkind;

even the haters,

who were still yet blind.

It was by His love,

that minds could conceive;

a grace that gives life,

when we choose believe.

We too have been called,

to love like Christ did;

so all may come know,

how they might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what it is to love and live generously to all those around us – even those who are unkind or cruel. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, but You equip and empower us to love and give grace, just as we have been graciously given by You. Forgive us for being selective about whom we show kindness to, and help us to extend Your love and grace to ALL whom we encounter – regardless of how they behave toward us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow Your Spirit within us to speak through us, the words that You would have us say. Show us how to live generously and graciously toward all others, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You love 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

Love Your Enemies

Love is an act of the will, not a feeling of affection. We always have a choice as to whether or not we choose to love. With those who love us and are kind toward us, love is an easy decision. However, to those who mistreat us, who speak poorly of us, or are downright unkind to all whom they encounter – those are the individuals that we are specifically called to love. But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – (Luke 6:27-28)

 

In Jesus’ day, the Romans oppressed the Jews. Jesus told them to love anyway. He was not speaking of affection for their enemies, but rather He was talking about making an intentional effort to act in their best interest, in spite of their unkindness. We can pray for those who persecute, and we can extend grace to the gruff. God’s goodness transcends our guilt, so we are called to extend His love to ALL. Jesus loved all of us, despite our sinfulness. He chose to take all of our guilt and shame upon Himself, in love. May we choose to love, even those who are the most difficult for us to love.

 

An act of the will,Love Your Enemies

is our choice to love;

not something we feel,

but modeled above.

For Christ came to show,

that love is a choice;

an act of the will,

not vain empty noise.

Love chooses to act,

to pray and serve well;

it fends off the hate,

sent forth straight from hell.

May we choose to bless,

even the unkind;

so they too may know,

His glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not simply ask us to do the seemingly impossible in our own strength, but rather You sent Your Son, Jesus, who modeled a life of loving His enemies, doing good to those who hated Him, blessing those who cursed Him, and praying for those who mistreated Him. Thank You Jesus for sending Your Holy Spirit to equip and empower us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we do not act in love, but rather react in our own hurt. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response will be the choice to love, even when we are hated, cursed or mistreated. Show us how we can love, bless, pray for and do good to those whom we might struggle to love. Let Your love be what is evident in me. May many come to know You, as a result of our choosing to love. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love those who are most challenging to love. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

The Reason for Reliance

image by AquaSonus

image by AquaSonus

In my times of distress,

I will call on the Lord.

Be it morning or night,

His help always outpoured.

He ransoms me safely,

through wages of war.

He hears my distress cry,

and brings peace to my core.

God’s forever enthroned,

all justice, His to serve.

The fearless and sinful,

will get what is deserved.

Cast your cares on the Lord,

for He always sustains,

He won’t let righteous fall,

His truth always remains.

Regardless of chaos,

or evil that surrounds,

I will trust in You, Lord;

in You, safely I’m found.

(Responding to Psalm 55:16-23)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hiding place – our space of safety and security, regardless of what surrounds.  Thank You that You hear our every cry for Your help, and that You are answering, even when we don’t see the evidence.  Forgive us for wanting to play judge and jury for those who hurt us, and help us to remember that You alone are the Judge.  May we pray for those who persecute us, and bless those who curse us.  Teach us to live and love like You.  May our loving ways lead many to bring You praise, as they come to call You King.  Amen.

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

On the Road to Damascus

Journey on Damascus road.

image by David Bane

image by David Bane

Heart full of a vengeful load.

Saul met Light that did explode.

He fell to the ground that day.

“Why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you Lord? I can’t see.”

“Jesus, God eternally.”

“Get up now, be on your way.”

Companions stood there speechless.

As his sight was now reachless.

They led him off, the teachless.

To Damascus for three days.

God spoke to Ananias.

“But Lord, he wants to fry us!”

“Go heal and teach of Jesus.

And he’ll turn and change his ways.”

In obedience he went.

Saul knew he was heaven sent.

With healing he did repent.

And then gave God all his praise.

WIth the scales gone from his eyes,

he was baptized, turned from lies.

God equipped him to be wise.

To God, his whole life he raised.

(Responding to Acts 9:1-19)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You interrupted our space of being stuck to show us Your grace.  Thank You that it is Your love that lights our path and pulls us out of the miry muck.  Forgive us for forgetting or taking for granted the gifts of grace and guidance You give to us.  Please help us to hear Your heart, and be quick to do as You ask.  Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times.  May our obedient movement make room for many to come to know You as Hope and Healer.  Amen.

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