Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

He Makes Me Brave

Music has a way of touching spaces deep within us, and every so often, a song comes along and every word seems to hit home as if it were written just for you, individually. Sunday, as we sang a song that we have sung before, I had this very experience. I don’t consider myself to be a fearful individual, yet anxiety tends to rise when I am overwhelmed with too many unknowns or uncertainties. A place that always brings peace to my soul, is any space that is near water, so the song You Make Me Brave, by Amanda Cook, (click highlighted to listen and view lyrics) struck home on multiple levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         After a very full last day of school, as I was leaving a retirement celebration for our fabulous school finance secretary, a kind friend, and former teacher and colleague, reminded me of a favorite verse of mine in casual conversation. He had no way of knowing what uncertainties are standing before me, yet what he spoke, was clearly a reminder from God. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3) This will be my life verse, imprinted on the tender and tremulous places in my mind and heart, to remind me that I do not have to know what is coming nor what I am to do, I just have to choose to trust in Him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       When I stand on shore,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
in awe of the sea;
as mighty waves crash,
You stand, holding me.
Your love lifts me up,
replacing the fear;
I will choose to trust,
for I know You’re near.
Let Your waves of grace,
come wash over me;
remove all the fear,
of what I can’t see.
May I give to You,
all that is unknown;
and trust that You will,
take care of Your own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can trust in You. Thank You that Your waves of grace wash over us, and make us brave beyond what we could ever be without You. Thank You that You call us to so much more than just standing at the shore. Thank You that You want us to go far beyond what we could ever imagine on our own. Forgive us for the fear that hinders us, and help us to hold fast to the promises that You have made. May we go forth boldly in Your love and Your grace, and may many come to know the safety of Your eternal embrace. Be glorified as we trust in You. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

Who Do You See?

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” – (Matthew 16:15)

 

Though this was a question presented to the disciples by Jesus, it aligns with where my mind still lingers after Sunday’s message. During the sermon, Surprised by Hope – The Ascension, my pastor posed a very poignant question, as he had us participate in the following exercise. Close your eyes. Picture Jesus. What do you see? Do you see a baby lying in a manger? A boy, learning and growing in the temple? Perhaps a teen, learning carpentry? Or do you see Jesus as He began His ministry, touching the untouchables, healing the hurting, and teaching all who would hear? Perhaps an image of Christ on the cross comes to mind? An empty tomb? Maybe you imagine Jesus appearing to the disciples in the upper room after He had risen. Though all of the aforementioned images are part of who Jesus is, none portray Jesus now. For after He had commissioned the disciples to go out into all the earth, He ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is on His throne, and is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, where He is worshipped continually, and has reclaimed all power and authority that belong to Him. He holds all in His hands, and there is NOTHING that He cannot overcome. How we picture Jesus, impacts how we think He can move.

 

Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter six, verses one through nine, was given a glimpse of God seated on the throne. He became very aware of his own sinfulness, and as a result, asked for forgiveness. As he was forgiven, he was then commissioned to be the mouthpiece to a sinful people that surrounded him.

 

Today, we have access to both the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are continually being drawn unto Him. It is up to us to accept all that He has done with a repentant heart, and then go forth as He calls. May we hold fast to the truth of who He is, and allow Him to update the image we hold in our heart.

 

When I close my eyes,Who Do You See

whom does my heart see?

An infant in hay,

looking up at me?

Or perhaps a boy,

seeking all that’s true;

a young man growing,

preparing for new?

Could it be the man,

who went out to touch;

He healed hurting hearts,

as He loved so much?

Is it the Savior,

hanging on the cross;

or the empty grave,

that dealt death its loss?

Do I see the One,

who walked through the wall;

showed His nail-scarred hands,

to answer a call?

What I ought to see,

is Christ on His throne;

all power is His,

and I’m called His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You, personally. Thank You Jesus, for dying, rising, and ascending to take Your rightful place. Thank You that as You are seated on Your throne, You intercede on our behalf. Thank You that Your ascension affirms all blessings and promises that were previously made, for You are good and faithful. Thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and that You are preparing a place for us. Forgive us for our warped view of You, and help us to begin to picture You properly. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You have given, and help us to go forth in love, just as You have loved us. May many come to know You as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as they allow You to come rule and reign in their lives too. Be magnified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25