Blot Out Barriers

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. – (Daniel 1:17, NIV)

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

Through all of this, God conferred upon these four young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, VOICE)

 

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen from Judah to be trained to serve in the king of Babylon’s palace. The king ordered for the men to be taught and trained in the language and literature of the Babylonians. As they were trained, they were granted rations of royal food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel, not wanting to defile himself with such things, petitioned for permission to eat only vegetables and water. Because he had found favor with the chief official over him, he agreed to try, despite his concerns about how the meager rations would affect Daniel and company’s appearance. At the end of the trial time, the young men looked healthier than the others, and had won over the official, allowing them to continue their vegetarian diet so that their focus could be on God and the learning that He would give them, rather than on what they would eat or drink at their next meal. God honored their hearts, and the four young men thrived in their learning, far above the others chosen for the same training. My take away from this story is the young men gave up fine delicacies that could distract, in exchange for focus and favor, granted by God. Food was to serve a function, rather than a focus, that way the young learners were able to set their minds on what mattered most. My prayer is that God would show me the things that are unnecessary distractions that I do not need, to set aside so that I may fully focus on what matters most. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, new insight and understanding, setting aside anything that pulls our attention away from our intended purpose.

 

When we set aside,joining-together.png

The things that distract;

The Lord is faithful,

Wisdom He’ll enact.

He’s faithful to hear,

Our heart as we ask;

Sometimes to listen,

Desires must be last.

Help us clear the way,

For all of the new;

Open minds and hearts,

To what You will do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us biblical examples of those who sought You well. Thank You that there are things that we can to do to help make way for You to move. Thank You that if we ask, You are faithful to answer and show us the things that distract us from hearing You clearly. Forgive us for allowing our own agenda to get in the way of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are far greater than our own. Show us how to love those around us well, as we listen to Your leading and follow what You are asking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

In Galatians four, Paul was presenting his concerns to the believers of Galatia. Those who had initially embraced the gift of grace given by Christ Jesus, were setting it aside so that they could turn back to observing the laws. Clearly, full of great concern, Paul pleaded with his fellow followers of the faith. What has happened to all your joy?… – (Galatians 4:15a) Paul perceived that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism.

 

Legalism is a dangerous and slippery slope, and a thief of joy. It can take away joy because:

(1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

(2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

(3) It stresses performance over relationship.

(4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. – (NIV footnotes)

 

If guilt, self-hatred, need to perform, or inadequacy are ruling our lives, we need to check our focus. Is faith reigning in our hearts, or have the reigns of legalism somehow crept into the corners and began to steal our joy? Let us throw off every burden that hinders us and allow Christ’s grace to cover us. May we walk by faith, and leave the links of legalism that try to bind us, far behind.

 

Joy that is complete,Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

must learn to let go;

walk away from chains,

and by faith, follow.

Faith receives His grace,

and lets go of guilt;

embraces His love,

where His peace is built.

It knows not self-hate,

shows humility;

needs not to perform,

is secure, set free.

It does not point out,

how far we fall short;

but rather looks up,

to Him who supports.

May we walk by faith,

embracing what’s true;

it’s all about Him,

not how much we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all grace and joy. Thank You that You came as the fulfillment of the law, as not one of us could ever truly follow the law. Thank You that Your grace is a gift that You give freely, and not something that we can somehow earn. Forgive us for any area of our lives where we may have fallen into the trap of legalism. Illuminate the truth and lead us out of the spaces and mindsets You never intended for us. Teach us to trust You and Your glorious gift of grace with all that we are. Lead us to live and love in the fullness of Your grace as You intended, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we walk in the freedom that Your forgiveness and grace have granted. 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