Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. 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

Watching for Wisdom

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Risk to Reward

Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13)

 

Eighteen years of crippling pain. Eighteen years of torment that hunched her body over to the point that she could not stand up straight… One moment, on one hope-filled Sabbath, her life was forever changed. Though she was a lowly crippled woman (as viewed through the lens of society at the time), Jesus noticed her. Not only did He notice, but He called her forward, individually. Imagine the internal angst that she must have wrestled with in going forward. Fear of public exposure and ridicule, yet hope of healing by this man about whom she had heard. When she arrived within His reach, Jesus spoke to her and told her she was set free from her infirmity. However, it was what happened next that transformed her body, heart and mind. Jesus touched. He placed His healing hands on what was crippled and bound, and in an instant, she was free! Upright and able to move for the first time in eighteen long years, the woman praised God immediately. Imagine the sight and sound in the middle of the stuffy synagogue, as this dear woman had been set free…

 

What is binding us where we are, and are we willing to obey what He asks in order to be set free? A moment’s risk often reaps an eternal reward. We must listen for His voice and make the choice, to go forward in faith, wherever He calls us to move. He is faithful to meet us if we choose to operate in obedience to that which He asks. May we go forth in faith, trusting Him in all things, ever aware of the miraculous that transpires all around us.

 

The gentle whisper,Risk to Reward

that calls unto us;

says, “Come unto me,”

the voice of Jesus.

As we walk in faith,

miracles are seen;

for Christ is faithful,

as He makes us clean.

Cleansed from the sinful,

freed from the binding;

loved in brokenness,

His hope reminding.

May our response be,

one of endless praise;

let our hearts reply,

with thanks all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us and know us, and call us by name. Thank You that You call us out to help and heal us, and that You come close and touch. Forgive us for the times that our immediate response to You has been anything other than praise, for You are so very good to us. Help us to be ever aware of Your presence and Your promises, so that we may hold fast to Your hope, even on the more difficult days. Teach us to walk with unwavering faith, so that we may love others as You so generously love us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in faith. Amen.

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

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

Give Ear to Hear

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” – (Acts 11:3)  Though this may not sound like much to us today, at the time, the Jewish believers were shocked and confused at the potential scandal that Peter would dare enter the home of one who was considered unclean.  Far worse, he had not only gone into the home, but he had eaten there – which was a huge cultural faux pas at that particular point in history.

That being said, the early followers of Christ did something very right – they chose to hear him out – to truly listen to what he had to say first, before they began throwing stones.  As Peter shared with them, all that God had shown him, they were in awe and realized that God had sent His Holy Spirit and the message of salvation for all people, not just the Jews.  “When they had heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

What if all people in the church were given the same opportunity to share their story?  Imagine the misinterpretations that would become clear, and the skewed perspectives that might be seen through His lens rather than our own…  Perhaps the solution can begin with each of us.  If we are uncertain about something that another says or does, we can go directly to the source and ask for clarity with kindness.  Humbly, we can seek to understand.  Beyond that, we are meant to extend grace to one another.  Each of us are in the process of being made more like Him.  However, not one of us has yet arrived.  Some days will be better than others, and on those “other” days, grace is the best gift that can be given.

Give ear to hear,Give Ear to Hear

what the heart does hold;

the unspoken,

the truth to behold.

Only by grace,

will story be known;

in the safety,

where kindness is shown.

Let our hearts hear,

what others need speak;

so truth is told,

when answers, we seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and that no matter what we have done, we can always seek Your throne.  Thank You that You receive us as Your children, covered and cleansed, the moment we turn away from our sin and toward You.  Forgive us for not extending grace to others, as You extend it to us, and teach us to ask if we have questions, and to give grace and listen.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move as You call us to move.  Help us to lavishly love and extend grace in such a way, that others are pointed directly unto You.  May many come to know You as Redeemer and King.  In Your mighty Name, Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Love Over Law

Often, it seems, Jesus spent the Sabbath teaching in synagogues.  Word of His teaching, must have been spreading like wildfire, for everywhere He went, there were both those in need, and those who hoped to trap Him in some sort of violation of the law.  In Luke chapter thirteen, verses ten through seventeen, there is an account of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years.  “When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’  Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” – (vs. 12-13) 

The synagogue ruler had his undergarments in a bunch, and was outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath.  “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites!  Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – (vs. 15-16) His opponents were left without words to respond, for there was no arguing with such profound truth.  All who had seen the miraculous, marveled at the wonderful things that He was doing.

When we see someone in need, do we respond immediately, or do we rationalize reason to not respond?

Though there are times and places that genuinely prevent us from physically getting out of the car and moving in the direction of the need, can’t we at the very least, lift up a prayer on their behalf?  We cannot always do something tangible to be of help, but we can always pray.  God knows each need far better than we do, and when we pause to pray, we give Him opportunity to speak to us as well.  Perhaps there is something specific that we are meant to do, but unless we stop to listen, we miss the miraculous that He had intended.  Sometimes the miracle is meant for another, yet, at times, it may be something new, moving within our hearts.

When we see a need,Love Over Law

let us stop and pray;

show us what to do,

Lord, You lead the way.

A touch or a gift,

a smile, or prayer;

every need known,

God, You are aware.

Please make known to us,

what we’re meant to do;

to show Your great love,

so we honor You.

Let hearts found in need,

know their needs are met;

by You alone, God,

not one You’d forget.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to prioritize people.  Thank You Jesus, that touching lives trumped man-made rules and regulations every time.  Thank You that above all – You loved, and continue to love.  Forgive us for having hearts that resemble the synagogue ruler, who set limits as to when and what could be done.  Help us to recognize that with You, there is no limit – for You are our Source and Supply.  Whatever You call us to do, You will also equip and empower us to complete.  Our part, is to step forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more.  May we live and move and do all things out of our love for You, and may many come to see Your heart for them as a result.  Let lives be changed and hearts turned toward You.  Be glorified God.  Amen.

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