Lifting Up Those Who Lead

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior to pray for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, TPT)

 

The charge we are given in this passage is clear, we are meant to pray for people – for blessings, provisions, and with gratitude; especially for those who are in leadership positions. It does not qualify the call to pray based on whether or not we like or agree with the person in the position. Rather, we are called to pray with purpose so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. In the wake of being flooded by campaigns that brought out the worst in people, I cannot think of a more important call. Our political views ought not determine our obedience to that which we are asked. Every person who has been placed in a position of authority will need wisdom and grace to lead well. Whether I agree with elected officials or not, I am called to pray. Imagine what the nation could be like if our first thought was to pray for our leaders, rather than to criticize? This is not to say that we ought to stand idly by when there is injustice or wrong-doing, but in the day-to-day, we need to pray for each person who is in a position that represents the people for the people. May we look to the Lord and present our petitions before Him, seeking Him for wisdom and blessing so that we may live in peace.

 

We are called to pray, All Together for Good

For everyone;

The people who lead,

Let us seek the Son.

His wisdom and grace,

Are needed by all;

And provide the peace,

His love does install.

Let us choose to pray,

For all those who lead;

May wisdom find way,

And fulfill each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for people not only around us, but those who are chosen to represent us in leadership – be it in our city, state or our nation. Forgive us for forgetting the very thing that we are called to do, as prayer leads to peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift up our leaders, asking You to bless them with wisdom to lead well. Show us how to love those around us well, so that those who are in positions of authority over us feel supported and encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Please bless those who rise to lead with Your wisdom and strength. Be glorified O God, as we lift up people and leaders before You, asking that You bless them with wisdom and strength, trusting that You will answer and grant us peace. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

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

Justified, Not Qualified

Clean up your act – the way you live, the things you do – so I can make my home with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, MSG)

This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, CEB)

 

God gave this warning to Jeremiah to deliver to the people of Israel, as they were not following the path that He had placed before them according to His will. Thankfully, today, we do not have to clean up our act or the way we live to come to Jesus, but rather when we come before Him and invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us and shows us how to clean up our conduct and do right by Him. The tables were turned and the process flipped upside down, when heaven came down and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with our Redeemer. I am so grateful for the mercy and grace that we have been granted to come before our King as we are, and then He cleans us up and shows us how to live right, according to His good and perfect will. May we embrace the grace that He has freely given, and seek our Savior to show us the ways in which we are meant to move.

 

It’s not on our own,Refreshment Through Repentance

That we get things done;

But rather by grace,

As we seek the Son.

Though there was a time,

Needed qualify;

That all changed in Christ,

His life justified.

Now we’re called to come,

To God each new day;

Where He makes us clean,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, who changed everything. Thank You that we no longer have to clean up our act and the way we live to somehow convince You to draw near, but rather we can come before You with a humble heart, seeking change, and You will cleanse us of our sin and shame, and show us the way to a new life in You. Forgive us for not seeking Your direction when we are uncertain which way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, as You gave everything so that we could be in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and generosity, just as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You again and again, allowing You access to all so that we might live right by You. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Chosen Representatives

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. – (1 Peter 2:9-10, MSG)

 

If we are followers of Christ, we are among those considered His chosen people. Those who are chosen, are also now called. Our calling is to be representatives of Christ – to be His instruments of peace, telling others of all that He has done in us and for us. Both our words and our deeds should demonstrate the dramatic difference that an identity in Christ makes in how we navigate. May we represent well the wonders of the work of His hands, so that many may come to know Him.

 

For we are chosen,Forgiveness is Free

To represent well;

A life changed by God,

Our story to tell.

In all that we do,

And words that we say;

May His light be seen,

As we walk His way.

Once we were nothing,

Headed for demise;

Then God made the way,

And loved us to life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You call us Your own. Thank You that You choose us to be Your instruments of peace, to represent You to those around us. Thank You that You qualify and equip us to do so. Forgive us for staying silent when we have so much to say about all that You have done in us and for us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be bold on Your behalf. Show us how to love others where they are, so that they may seek to find the Source of our love too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do and say the things You call us to on Your behalf, allowing us to represent You well. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Right by Faith

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. – (Romans 3:22, NLT)

God makes people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. He does this for all who believe in Christ. Everyone is the same. – (Romans 3:22, ERV)

 

God made the way for people to be right with Him again when He sent His Son. Jesus came to restore what had been fractured in the garden. As He took all of our sin and shame upon Himself, He covered each of us who chooses to believe by faith, and opened eternity’s door. By faith, we are seen as righteous before God – not for what we have or have not done, but rather because we are His, and we choose to embrace the grace He gives. This glorious grace is not limited to those who have lived a certain way, or abide by a set of predetermined standards to “qualify“. God gives to ALL who seek Him by faith and trust that what He says is true. There is no sinner vs. Saint, but rather, each of us who choose to receive what He offers, have been redeemed by His mercy and grace, and are called His own. May we place our faith in Jesus, and trust in Him; for He is merciful and full of grace, ready to restore what is fractured within us.

 

For God made the way,Being Made New

the way to restore;

all that was broken,

through Him we adore.

When He sent His Son,

He opened the way;

for mercy and grace,

to enter each day.

We need not perform,

nor rise and excel;

He wants us to trust,

that He fends off hell.

It is through our faith,

that we are made right;

our past is the past,

we’re now His delight.

His love runs so deep,

that He chose to give;

His very own Son,

so we all might live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made right before You by placing our faith in Christ. Thank You that this is true for everyone everywhere. Thank You that there are no qualifications of being “good enough” or “doing enough” to somehow earn Your favor. Thank You that it is a matter of trusting You. Forgive us for our lack of faith at times, and help us to completely trust in You. Teach us to place all that we are in Your hands, for You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love others with a love that leads them to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our faith in You, because You are good and loving, and You restore all that is broken within us and make us whole. 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

The Works Required

Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – (John 6:28-29)

 

God does not have a laundry list of works that we must perform in order to qualify to come to Him. The only “requirement” that He has, is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be saved. When we know Christ, we invest in our relationship with Him. As we grow in His wisdom and grace, we are compelled to serve Him. More than anything else, God wants our hearts. He longs for us to seek Him with all that we are, trusting that He is who He says He is. When we believe, we are doing the work that He requires. May we go forth in boldness, confident in the truth that our lives profess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Oh Lord, here I am,Confidence in Christ

I humbly ask;

what do You require?

Lead me to the task.

All that the Lord wants,

a heart that is true;

that believes in Him,

faithful to pursue.

One that seeks His face,

all throughout the day;

who trusts He is Lord,

the Truth, Light and Way.

Help me be faithful,

in all that I do;

with my heart and mind,

fixed wholly on You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not require us to do enough nor be enough to somehow qualify for Your kingdom. Thank You that You receive us as we come, when we believe. Thank You that faith is not something that we can muster on our own, but rather is a gift that You grow within us as we pursue You and trust You more. Forgive us for attempting to earn Your favor, or feeling like we somehow need to work for that which You freely give. Help set our hearts right so that the works we do are out of a heart of gratitude, not out of obligation. Lead us to love well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship this season with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our gifts of gratitude unto You. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19