Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Chosen With Purpose

“You did not choose me. I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in My Name. This is my command: Love each other.” – (John 15:16-17, ERV)

 

Each and every one of us have been created and chosen by God. He has made us with purpose to do good works, not dependant on our own ability, but rather based on our availability and willingness to go where He calls and obey what He asks. The greatest stumbling block between us and the fulfillment of our purpose, is if we allow the voices in and around us that try to dictate our identity to speak louder that the voice of He who created us. “And therein lies a danger: If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need our help.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Which voice will we choose listen to? Voices that tell us that we are ill-equipped, not strong enough, not smart enough, not educated enough, just plain not enough; or do we listen to Christ, who calls us His own? In Him, we can do all things to which we are called. Not because we are enough on our own, but because He is enough, and He is faithful to provide all that we lack. What is impossible with people is possible with the living God. We have to choose faith over fear, and grace over perceived gifts. Obviously there are areas where specific giftings are necessary, however, to love others well, requires only a heart that is willing to walk where He calls and faith to do as He asks. May we each embrace our status as chosen by God, and go forth loving people well.

 

The Lord God of all,Chosen With Purpose

He somehow chose me;

He loved me so much,

His love set me free.

The freedom granted,

drives me to obey;

to honor and serve,

and walk in His way.

I know on my own,

I am not enough;

yet through Christ in me,

I’ve strength to stand up.

The places He calls,

where I’m scared to go;

He comes alongside,

makes His presence known.

Help me be willing,

to do all You ask;

and grant me Your strength,

to complete each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved, created, and chose each of us for Your purposes. Thank You that above all, You love. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to accomplish. Forgive us for our fearfulness and self-doubt. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen not to the voices that surround us, and instead will be tuned in to Your voice so that we hear clearly that which You have to say. Lead us to love others without hesitation, just as You so relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we walk out our purpose with resolve. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

All We Need is Love

In Chapter eight, of I Corinthians, Paul is addressing the concerns brought before him regarding whether or not people should eat certain things.  This particular passage is pointing to food that has been sacrificed to idols, yet it can be applied to numerous things within our Christian walk that may be permissible for some, yet a stumbling block for others.

Paul’s response was: “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.” – (I Corinthians 8:1-3) The Message words it this way: “The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not?  We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions – but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows all.”

It appears that in these areas of gray, where God has not given specific instructions across the board for all people, it is not a matter of worldly wisdom, but rather of wisdom provided by God, as we seek Him for answers.  He will direct our steps and lead us in what is and is not permissible for us individually, and will heed warning if our freedom in an area may be a stumbling block around another believer.  Our job is to love God and love people.  If we are loving God with all that we are, we will listen to Him, and will seek to safeguard the hearts of those around us, even if it means not participating or partaking in something for a time, to encourage those whom it may hinder.

Knowledge puffs up,Dew and Dandilion

pride leads to a fall;

yet love, builds up,

it overcomes all.

Those who seek God,

find wisdom and grace;

and learn to give,

the Lord proper place.

Answers will come,

if love is our goal;

to reflect Christ,

and actions extol.

Let not freedom,

be what matters most;

but rather, love,

to the Lord, draw close.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true wisdom comes from You.  Thank You that though many things are permissible, not all things are beneficial.  Thank You that You provide guidance to help us know the difference, if we are willing to seek You.  Thank You that Your love made way for us to enter into a personal relationship with You.  Forgive us for our foolish pride, and help us to seek all wisdom from You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we are ever aware of what Your Spirit is whispering to our heart.  May we love with all that we are, and may many lives be touched as a result.  Let hearts be transformed and families filled with faith in You.  Be glorified through all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, … and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Stamps and Stumbling Blocks

Every morning is an adventure for my boys and me, and yesterday was no exception. We needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store for stamps on the way to school. As we pulled into the lot to several empty spaces in front, I prepared to turn, only to catch a pedestrian weaving randomly before me, so I braked and waited for him to safely arrive onto the curb. I skipped a space and turned into the next, leaving an open spot for the vehicle behind me. The boys and I piled out of the car, only to be greeted by an angry male voice, yelling at me about my parking. Baffled by his outrage, I gave him a perplexed look and continued into the store. Adventurous and Cautious were ready to defend my honor, but I quickly let them know that it would not be necessary.

Waiting for the stamps and our Starbucks, I replayed the scene that had just unfolded, again in my mind. Why was that man so heated? What could I have possibly done that made him feel it necessary to yell at me in front of my boys? First, I felt angry. Then, with nearly the next breath, calm. His sweet Spirit simply reminded me that I am to be love and light before my boys, regardless of what others choose to do. When we returned to the car, I told them that we needed to forgive the man, and to pray for him. Perhaps his morning had began horribly, or he was fighting a battle bigger than we could imagine – either way, clearly he could use our prayer.

“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” – (2 Corinthians 6:3) Every waking minute of most of my days, is witnessed by someone. Daily, I am seen by many young and impressionable minds. What I do in both triumph and trial, matters. My choices are modeling a life with Christ for my children, and whether they know it or not, to everyone else around me. Each word and deed must be seasoned with the love and light of our Savior. No, I have not arrived. It is a daily decision to trust Him, and I must make amends quickly when I choose poorly. I am so very grateful for His unending grace, and His patient persistence to remain with me as He continues to refine, so that I might more clearly reflect Him.

When the world wages war,Stamps and Stumbling Blocks

how shall I reply?

Will I fight to be right,

my Savior deny?

How might they respond,

if I act in love?

If I give them kindness,

rather than a shove?

Every eye watching,

to see what we’ll do;

testify of His grace,

so He’s seen in You.

Speak not only with words,

but with actions true;

give all unto others,

as He’s done for You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave us not only the perfect example of how we are to live, through Your Son, Jesus, but You have equipped each of us with the power to follow His lead, through the power of Your Spirit living in the heart of each of us who believes. Teach us how to be a living testimony of Your faithfulness and goodness and grace, and keep us from being a stumbling block to anyone. Forgive us for places where we have faltered and fallen short, and help us to keep short accounts before You and one another, so that we do not discredit the light and love that You long to display through us. May we live and love in such a way, that all who are around us will recognize there is something different in us that they desire. Lead them unto You, Lord. Thank You that You are willing to use us, despite our flaws and shortcomings, to share the hope that is held in eternity with You. Amen.

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