Learn to Do Good

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – (Isaiah 1:17, NLT)

Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. – (Isaiah 1:17, MSG)

 

There are many practical and tangible ways that we can love people. A true testament of learning to love as Christ loves us, is when we choose to do for those who can do nothing for us in return. The choice to do good and help those who are unable to help themselves is an act of love that expects nothing in return. Orphans and widows are among those mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, indicating that they are a priority to the very heart of God. Sadly, we need not look far to discover people who would benefit from tangible and practical acts of love done on their behalf. It does not require great quantities of cash, or public platforms to make a difference in the lives of those around us. When we open our eyes to needs nearby, we are able to see small things that matter and can then step up and do to offer comfort and care to those who are hurting. May we go forth this day with eyes and hearts open, so that we are able to see and know what we can do practically and tangibly to extend good into the lives of those who need it most.

 

With heart wide open,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

I suddenly see;

Not only the needs,

But answers through me.

Small acts of kindness,

Extended in love;

God uses for good,

His grace shines above.

Choose to seek justice,

Give help to oppressed;

Defend defenseless,

For God’s way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do good on our behalf. Thank You that You provide help to the oppressed, You defend the orphans and the widows. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for thinking that we are unable to do anything to help those in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the circumstances of those around us through Your eyes, and the possible solutions and care that we can offer. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways so that those in need would know Your love is real. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek justice, help those in need, defend those who are unable to defend themselves, and learn to do the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

The Next Right Thing

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

We are not all charged to do everything, but we are each called to do something. Each of the needs mentioned in the verses above exist both globally and locally. There are orphans, kids in foster care, there are poor, imprisoned, there are those who are in need, and many trapped in the hands of the wicked and unable to set themselves free. We are called to walk through life with our eyes, ears and hearts open. When we do, we are willing to hear the Lord’s call, and answer however He asks. Sometimes, it is in a way that seems small and insignificant to us, yet our willingness to respond will mean the world to the recipient.

 

Welcome Boxes 1A few days ago, I had the joy of working with some ladies from my church to put together welcome boxes for kids being pulled from their homes by CPS and placed in foster care. Some of these kiddos barely have the opportunity to pack even a change of clothes, so these boxes are a special way to offer comfort in the midst of crisis. Each box contains encouraging notes, gifts and toiletries, to remind the child that there are people who do care, despite the chaos that is currently surrounding them. If it weren’t for the obedience and listening ear of one of my friends, none of us would have been aware of the need, nor would we have gathered to do a small thing that we each could do. May we each go forth this day, with eyes, ears and hearts open, ready to hear how the Lord might call us to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, or how we can help rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked.

 

Welcome Boxes 2

To find out more about making Welcome Boxes, please contact: JenniferJoyKeener@gmail.com

Lord help me to walk,

with eyes open wide;

aware of the needs,

that others may hide.

Let me be Your hands,

where I can go serve;

show me how to love,

as the lost deserve.

Help me see the need,

and then show me how;

to do what You ask,

not later, right now.

Each day, may I rise,

ready to go be;

Your heart and Your hands,

to set captives free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Defender and Rescuer. Thank You that You saved us from all of our ugliness and delivered us from the calamity that was to come. Thank You that You call us to be a part of moving beside You in defending those who cannot defend themselves, helping those in need, and rescuing those who are stuck in situations that are too great for them to get out of on their own. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to need, or for standing still as we allow the great need to overwhelm us, rather than simply listen to Your call and how we can do the next right thing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and be ready to do each next thing that You ask of us. Lead us to love with all that we are, just as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do each next right thing. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Standing Firm in the Storm

Paul, more than most, understood what it was to stand firm, even in the face of a long and raging storm. Several times, he was imprisoned for his faith, yet each time Paul utilized his time in chains as an opportunity to stand firm, and share with others, the foundation of the faith on which he stood. After two years of imprisonment, Festus brought Paul before himself and the accusers from Jerusalem. Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” – (Acts 25:8) As the hearing continued, Paul made it clear that he had no fear of death if he deserved to die; however, knowing that he was innocent, Paul made his appeal to be heard before Caesar as a Roman citizen. After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” – (Acts 25:12)

 

Because Paul knew he was innocent and knew his rights as a Roman citizen, he was able to seek Rome’s protection. Also, Rome was a destination that Paul had hoped to go to preach the gospel, and this appeal would provide the opportunity – prisoner or not. Paul was standing firm in his faith in Christ’s strength, faithfulness, and provision, as he knew that though the path he was taking to get to Rome was not ideal, it was a way for Paul to arrive in Rome sooner than he might have otherwise. He did not bow down in despair as he remained a prisoner, rather he recognized the upcoming opportunity to share the good news with those who had not yet heard.

 

How can we do likewise? How can God use our circumstances to be light in the midst of darkness? When we remain grounded in Christ, regardless of what is going on around us, there is something magnetic that draws others in. Whether it is wonder or awe, people cannot help but draw near to a space of peace in a storm. May we stand firm in our faith, no matter what storm rages around us.

 

When mighty winds blow,Standing Firm in the Storm

and nothing is still;

depend on the Lord,

Who’s present to fill.

He will grant us strength,

when we have run out;

He’ll love us to life,

show us the safe route.

At times He will lead,

us right through the storm;

where we have to trust,

know He’ll keep us warm.

No matter what comes,

the promise remains;

His grace is enough,

to remove each chain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us with Your life. Thank You Jesus, that as You stood secure through the storm of the cross and took our every sin upon Yourself, You conquered death and brought new life to all who choose to believe. Thank You that when we stand firm in You, You see us through our every storm. Thank You that You remain present, and You provide the strength and support that is needed to either ride out the storm, or find a way out. Forgive us for failing to stand firm when storms seem too strong for us to face, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love well all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in You, through every storm that blows our way. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Pressed for a Purpose

We pick up again

with imprisoned Paul.

Festus’ arrival –

Jews press for trial.

Oh transfer him please,

they asked him in power.

New plot to ambush,

destroy righteous tower.

Plot that was evil,

was quickly denied.

God-given wisdom,

was Paul’s steady guide.

He knew Jewish law,

and his Roman rights.

To Caesar appealed,

in his freedom fight.

Festus and council,

all stood and agreed.

If Caesar you want,

to Caesar indeed!

A few days later,

the king and his queen,

arrived in that place,

agreed to be seen.

For Festus had shared

the woes of the man,

brought by this Roman,

left too, in his hands.

Elders and chief priests

all stood and accused.

Not the expected,

image by RTI

image by RTI

but of their faith views.

Jerusalem asked,

and swiftly denied.

“To Caesar, please, Sir.”

It was in his right.

The king was intrigued,

and wanted to meet,

this man who stood strong,

wouldn’t accept defeat.

King and queen entered,

with much pomp and show.

Paul shared of the truth,

so they too might know.

(Responding to Acts 25)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your ongoing examples of people who press on, despite tremendous pressure.  Thank You that though there was the threat of losing his life, Paul’s concern was with sharing Your truth before those who knew You not.  Oh to have our priorities aligned accordingly all the time…  Father, thank You that Your Son, Jesus, showed us the ultimate example of selflessness and continued to present Your truth, even as He was hanging on the cross and being mocked by a criminal hanging beside Him.  He found the strength to share His hope with the one who was ready to hear.  Lord, I was to love like that, all the time, unhindered by circumstances – with all that I am.  Forgive us for fixing our eyes on anything other than You.  Empower and equip us to stand strong, even in the storm, so that we may share our hope with those who are starting to sink.  Use us as Your lifelines of truth, so many may come to trust You.  Amen.

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