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

 

Bring Peace & Build Up

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

 

Though many things are permissible, they are not all beneficial to all. What is good to one, may be harmful for another. As we navigate, it is our responsibility to make decisions that will keep the peace among the body of Christ. If we know a sister or brother struggles with something that is a non-issue for us, it is best to not participate in their presence, lest they be tempted to fall back into old patterns. Instead, we are encouraged to choose the things that will build up the body of Christ. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – these are the things that we ought to focus on and put into practice. For what we have learned and received from God will be our peace. May we go forth this day making every effort to do that which leads to peace and builds up those around us, so that each of us may be encouraged to grow stronger in our faith.

 

As much as we can,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

let us strive for peace;

preferring others,

makes our faith increase.

We build others up,

when they’re kept in mind;

removing what tempts,

a way to be kind.

For our common goal,

should be unity;

together in peace,

for eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though many things are permissible, You care about how our choices impact those around us, and give us charge to choose in such a way that we build others up in their faith, rather than tempt them to either judge us or be tempted to do something that is not acceptable for them, individually. Thank You that if we listen, You will give us direction as to how to walk in a way that will bring peace and build up those around us. Forgive us for walking in the freedom we have been given with no consideration for those around us, or for seeing the freedom of others and perceiving that it is the same for us, rather than seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first in all things and at all times, listening for Your heart and direction as to what is beneficial for us, individually and corporately. Show us how to live and love in a way that leads to peace and builds up those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to do that which leads to peace, and do things that help grow one another stronger in our faith. Amen.

 

*(Whatever is true… -Philippians 4:8)

© 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

Equipped for Desert Seasons

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert. – (Luke 4:1)

Jesus was not tempted and put through trials in the desert until after He had been equipped with the filling of the Holy Spirit. God is loving and kind, and prepares protection for His children. Just as He placed His Spirit in Jesus at the Jordan so that He’d be able to obey all that was asked of Him despite the distractions and temptations, God does the same for us. He doesn’t allow us into “desert seasons” without first equipping us to stand strong, regardless of how things appear. God fills us and leads us, so that we may be ready to withstand whatever comes our way. May we seek His strength in our desert spaces, and trust that He has equipped and empowered us for such a time as this.

In every heart,

that calls on His Name;

the Spirit comes dwell,

for all of our days.

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

and strength He will give;

so we can stand strong,

in His power, live.

No matter what comes,

a trial or storm;

when we trust in Him,

our heart shall transform.

Where defeat once stood,

our faith shall give rise;

for by God’s great grace,

hope opens our eyes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t allow us to walk through desert seasons without first equipping us to withstand whatever lies ahead. Thank You that You are faithful to never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to rise up and recognize that far greater are You who is in us, than anything that comes against us. Lead us to love others through their desert places, and help us point to You – the only water that refreshes our souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your Spirit in us when we are in the desert or being tempted in ways that seem too difficult to withstand. 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

Our Source in the Struggles

Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18)

 

Christ suffered pain and faced temptations and trials. He knows our struggles, as He too, faced them when He walked the earth. Because He knows what we endure, He also knows what we need to overcome that which stands before us. When hardships and temptations come, Christ is the one who is able to provide the strength and endurance necessary to navigate, as He understands and is able to help. May we run to Jesus, our strength and our supply, whenever struggles come our way; for He is our help and our hope.

 

Through trials on earth,Healed Hands Reach Out

He was tempted, scorned;

yet He overcame,

His righteousness worn.

Because He has faced,

all kinds of trials;

He’s our source of help,

through life’s many miles.

So run to Jesus,

our strength and supply;

our help and our hope,

He’ll never deny.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly sent Your Son to suffer and die on our behalf, so that we would not only be able to endure temptations and trials, but have life eternal in You. Jesus, thank You for enduring all things so that You would know how to be our strength and supply, loving us as You laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for attempting to stand strong on our own, or for forgetting all that You endured so that You would truly know and understand what we are facing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will run to You in all things and at all times. Lead us to lean on You. May we love others as You love us, and let those who are looking, come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your help in every circumstance that we endure. Amen.

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

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

Opposition Moved the Message

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. – (Acts 8:1) At first glance, these words seem devastating to a growing and thriving body of believers. However, in just a few verses more, the story continues with: Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. – (Acts 8:4)

 

Though persecution had forced the believers to flee from their homes, with them, went their faith. Rather than squash what was thriving, the message of Christ began to be spread throughout Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

 

“Sometimes we have to become uncomfortable before we’ll move. We may not want to experience it, but discomfort may be the best thing for us because God may be working through our hurts. When you are tempted to complain about uncomfortable or painful circumstances, stop and ask if God might be preparing you for a special task.” – (NIV footnotes for Acts 8:4)

 

When pressure or pain,

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make way on my path;

they may have purpose,

that isn’t God’s wrath.

Often He uses,

discomfort to grow;

prepare and strengthen,

ready us to go.

At times it’s the call,

that we truly need;

to step out in faith,

and obey His lead.

When things are painful,

may we slow and ask;

are You preparing,

for a special task?

Let our hearts rely,

on the Lord’s power;

may we overcome,

through our Strong Tower.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t simply allow us to be uncomfortable for the sake of discomfort, but rather You utilize every challenge for ultimate good. Thank You for the example of the early church – what remarkable faith they had to go and share Christ, even in the face of tremendous persecution. Forgive us Father, for complaining when things are uncomfortable or painful, and help us to ask You how You might be using our circumstances to prepare us for something down the road. Teach us to trust You more, so that our initial response is to run to You. Lead us to love others with the love that You have so abundantly poured out upon each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted Lord God, as we move despite discomfort, and teach us to trust where You are leading. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Temptation and Trials

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. – (Luke 4:1)

 

Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Holy Spirit into a long and difficult space of temptation. He had done no wrong, but was led into this trial in the desert so that He would know and understand what we go through in our broken humanity. The very same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus and gave Him strength to overcome the temptations presented before Him in the desert, dwells within us, granting us the strength to stand against that which we know we are not meant to do. Just as Jesus was led into a time of trial by the Spirit, we too, may be led into seasons of testing to further strengthen our reliance on Christ. The better we know and obey God and His word, the more effective our fight against temptation will be. May we stand firm in His promises, and listen well to the word of the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

Tempting and trials,Temptations and Trials

most surely shall come;

let the Spirit lead,

righteous Holy One.

Though we may be led,

to seasons of test;

relying on Christ,

will serve us the best.

For just as Jesus,

overcame all sin;

when we look to Christ,

our battles, we’ll win.

Stand firm in His word,

His promises keep;

obey in all things,

His strength we shall reap.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to withstand trials and temptations of every kind. Thank You Jesus, for dying for our sins and sending Your Spirit, so that we too, can withstand every temptation and trial that comes our way in Your strength. Thank You that Your Spirit leads us and guides us if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for attempting to overcome temptations and trials in our own strength, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as we utilize the gifts and strengths You have granted to face every trial and temptation that comes our way. Show us every sinful way in us, so that we may confess and allow Your correction for that which does not bring glory unto You. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading when trials or temptations are placed before us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Resolve in His Strength

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Intentional Retreat

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself. – (John 6:15)

 

Jesus only did that which His Father called Him to do. He knew His charge was not to become a king on the earth, so He did not even entertain the idea of praise nor power from the people in that way. Instead, once He heard what they intended, He withdrew; left the location so that the option was not available. Jesus passed up temporary pleasure and power, and took on tremendous pain. His only concern was doing the will of His Father. May we each go forth and do likewise, recognizing that His Holy Spirit equips us to flee from that which is not meant for us, and empowers us to embrace that which is His good and perfect will for our lives.

 

Let not power,Intentional Retreat

nor pleasure or praise;

be a road block,

to walking Christ’s way.

Do what He says,

invest in His word;

seek only truth,

let His voice be heard.

When all the noise,

around is too much;

retreat alone,

seek His tender touch.

He is faithful,

He’ll answer our cry;

and grant us strength,

to trust and rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled a life of perfect obedience before You. Though He was tempted in every way, He was without sin. Thank You that the very same power that kept Christ from sin, is available to us today. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces of temptation and giving in, and teach us to trust You more, so that we might fully rely on You as each temptation comes our way. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to retreat. May we operate in all things in Your love as You lead us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to obey You in all that we say and do. 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