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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Bible

Position of Privilege

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” – (Luke 11:23-24)

 

Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two, whom He had sent out ahead of Himself to prepare the way in every town that He was intending to go. All of the individuals living in that time and in that place, had the unique privilege and opportunity to be eyewitnesses of Christ. So many people of that day and age took Jesus for granted. They did not really listen nor obey, despite His divinity displayed before their very eyes. We too are in positions of privilege. Though we are not eyewitnesses to Jesus in the flesh, we have access to more than two millennium of church history, countless translations of the Bible, collections of churches and a plethora of pastors in every city, as well as the vast resource available through technology at our fingertips. Additionally, when we come to Christ today, His Spirit dwells in us and speaks to us – leading and guiding us in the ways we are to go. With such great privilege and power that we have been given, so too, do we have a great responsibility. May we choose to carefully follow Christ, and represent Him well to all whom we encounter.

 

Blessed are my eyes,Position of Privilege

for what they have seen;

the touch of God’s hand,

as He washes clean.

He takes the sinful,

the broken and scarred;

and loves us to life,

our great Morning Star.

His glory witnessed,

His power, divine;

the prophets and kings,

longed to grasp what’s mine.

With His sweet presence,

we have so much more;

let’s follow with care,

Christ whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are so blessed to live in this day and age where we have endless access to You. We can read about You, listen to teaching and preaching about You, worship You, and come before You in prayer. Thank You that You place Your Spirit in us when we give our lives to You; and You speak to us, teaching, correcting, leading and loving us as we go about our days. Forgive us for taking our position of privilege for granted, or for neglecting Your accessibility that is all around us. Teach us to utilize our resources to grow more deeply in love with You daily, and help us to share our passion for You with all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we are careful to carry out all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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Not Home Yet

Revelation is a book that baffles me. It used to be one that terrified me. As I read this morning’s portion of my reading plan that had me read through chapter eleven, the verse that stood out anew, was verse fifteen: The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15, NIV)

 

Often, thanks to the accessibility of numerous versions available online, I opt to read the same verse in a variety of translations of the Bible, just to make sure that I have a firm grasp on what I am reading. The Voice, expands the verses in a sort of story form, and really struck a chord for me with this one.

 

When the seventh messenger blows his trumpet, the kingdom of this world comes to an end. The rule and reign of God and His Anointed has arrived in full to eclipse the rogue kings who rebelled against the Creator and mocked His good name. God’s kingdom entered our world in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It slipped in almost unnoticed beneath the noses of the powers that be. It grows silently as a seed in the earth until it fills the cosmos.

Today Christians live between the times: we live as aliens and strangers rescued from this present darkness, but we also live as citizens who long for the Kingdom that is to come. Until then we are to seek His kingdom and help carve out the territories for Him. - (Revelation 11:15, The Voice)

 

Though strangers on earth,IMG_0197

and not quite at home;

we’ve a job to do,

while on earth we roam.

Our task is quite clear,

He’s called us above;

to live in His light,

and share of His love.

We are meant to be,

His ambassadors;

to offer His hope,

from mountains to shores.

Wherever there’s life,

the truth’s needed too;

may we choose love well,

so His light shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much that in You, we have the hope of being with You forever. Thank You that though there will be trials and tribulation on earth, there will come a day, when there is no more suffering, nor pain – only peace and the joy of Your presence for all of eternity. Forgive us for losing sight of You when trials come, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You, and to stay true to the course to which You have called us. Grant us courage and strength to remain steadfast all of our days, and lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and Lord. Be glorified as we go forth as You call us to do. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

 


Bless the Lord , O my Soul and all that is within me. Psalm 103

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone ,And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant,And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word,Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

  Yes, today I will bless the Lord. Even though annoying things try to interfere, the words of rude people try to shake me, I will still bless the Lord. I feel like a memo went out to the world : “make her life difficult in every way” – that’s how the last two weeks have felt. How can I have so much interference everywhere I turn? Why isn’t everything going my way? Why are the simplistic things turning into long dragged out trials? Why am I dealing with so many problems?  Whatever! I’m going to bless the Lord and refuse to be brought down.

   I will bless the Lord, with all my soul and forget not His benefits. I will lift my head up and wait for my King. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases, He redeems my life from destruction and crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies. How awesome is that?!? He makes all my problems disappear as I refocus. I will rejoice for this is the day that the Lord has made. He will strengthen me and renew my youth  like the eagles. Amen, it just doesn’t get any better than that.


To Fight the Good Fight

Last summer, much of my free time was spent driving back and forth to Seattle to spend time with my dear friend, Anne, and to take her to various medical appointments. Anne had been bravely battling stage four cancer for nearly nine years. Many of those years had been extremely victorious. However, the unpredictable and ugly disease had spread its corrosive cells throughout her entire body. Though Anne presented a valiant fight, the cancer was finding a foothold that nothing could seem to stop. By summer’s end, she needed a place to stay where she would not be left alone for long stretches of time, but rather where there would continually be a person present in the home. God provided the perfect place – a home with a loving Christian couple and their eldest daughter, who happened to be an in-home care medical person. Additionally, the new location was a mere fifteen minutes from my home, rather than forty.

 

One of the many things that Anne loved about their home, is that they would talk with her and spend time reading the Bible aloud to her, as she requested. There was a verse that came to be very significant to Anne as she became increasingly frail, and barring a miracle, it was apparent that her end was near. This morning as I read through the passages in my daily reading plan, there was a hitch in my heart as I came upon that particular verse. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – (2 Timothy 4:7) Anne, although her days were far shorter than any of us would have liked, she fought the good fight, she never wavered in her faith, and she finished her race strong, even unto her final breath. It is my prayer that I would learn from her example, and that no matter what comes my way, that I would continue to fight the good fight and keep the faith. When my days are done, I want to know that I have finished the race He has set before me, with no regrets.

 

Whatever we do,To Fight the Good Fight

may it give God praise;

with all of our heart,

for all of our days.

To fight the good fight,

means stay in the game;

trust that He is good,

have faith in His Name.

We must run the race,

that He’s called us to;

for He’s qualified,

and equipped to do.

View not the struggle,

nor look to the task;

instead to the Source,

our Strength as we ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us numerous examples of those who have gone before us and have fought the good fight, have finished the race, and have kept the faith. Thank You that this is not something that we are meant to do in our own strength, but rather in Yours. Thank You that You supply all that we need to stand strong and stay in the fight for as long as we are meant to run our race. Forgive us for allowing weariness to let our hearts wander off course, and help faith to rise up as we grow in our understanding of who You are, and just how much You love us. Thank You that Your mercy is new every morning, and that Your grace is enough. May we stand strong in faith in the fight, and run our race as You call us to run. Let Your love be what people see in us, and may many come to know You as their Lord and Savior, as our path points people to You. Be glorified through how we are running our race. 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

 

 

 


Knowledge Requires Action

Part of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians included a reminder that simply hearing or knowing the truth is not enough. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we must also put what we learn into practice. It is not enough to simply have heard the word, and let it lie forgotten. It must take root and grow in our hearts, as we allow the Holy Spirit to point us to the places of application in our lives.

 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Back then, the people of Philippi did not have access to a Bible as we do. They had to rely on what they had heard and what Paul and other early disciples modeled for them. We have the benefit of both the Bible and an abundant history of faithful followers whom have demonstrated a life lived in obedience before Him. To know that the God of peace will be present with me, makes any sacrifice required, more than worth the price. His presence is far greater than anything we may need to give up out of obedience to Him. May we each be willing to put into practice all that He is showing us, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with the presence of His perfect peace.

 

Let my heart take hold,Knowledge Requires Action

of Your every word;

may truth penetrate,

where Your voice is heard.

Please open my ears,

my mind and my heart;

so all that’s received,

I’m willing to start.

Lord, grant me Your peace,

so I will press on;

no matter the storm,

our true battle’s won.

Let hope be our hold,

as eyes fix on You;

we’ll trust and obey,

as You make us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to live. Thank You that so many have gone before us, modeling a life lived faithfully in You. Thank You that You do not expect us to just figure it out, but You promise to provide Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, as we press on in faith. Forgive us for neglecting to put what we know into practice, or for not allowing the truth to shape how we live. Teach us to give all of ourselves unto You, so that we may become who You have called us to be. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, loving and full of grace. Thank You that You long for us to come to a place where we surrender and choose total obedience unto You. Help us to be disciples, as You call us to be, not just fans. May many come to the place of total surrender, as we walk in loving obedience before You. Let our knowledge lead to action that inspires others too, to make a choice. Be glorified, Lord God, as we move. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6


But where shall wisdom be found

Job 28:1Surely there is a vein for the silver,
and a place for gold where they fine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth,
and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 He setteth an end to darkness,
and searcheth out all perfection:
the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant;
even the waters forgotten of the foot:
they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread:
and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires:
and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth,
and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:
8 The lion’s whelps have not trodden it,
nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock;
he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks;
and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing;
and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found?
and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the price thereof;
neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth saith, It is not in me:
and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold,
neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it:
and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:
for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,
neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
20 Whence then cometh wisdom?
and where is the place of understanding?
21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living,
and kept close from the fowls of the air.
22 Destruction and death say,
We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
23 God understandeth the way thereof,
and he knoweth the place thereof.
24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
25 To make weight for the winds; and he weighteth the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
28 And to man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.


Obeying God First

In this increasingly “go with what feels good” culture, it is essential to not only be aware of what God deems right and wrong, but to also be in a close relationship with Him, so that we are able to hear His still small voice as He speaks to us, individually, about what is and is not permissible for us. There are some things that the Bible clearly defines as right and wrong. Yet there are other areas, that are a bit muddy. These are the places where it is paramount to pursue Christ for answers, rather than just going with whatever society says is good.

Acts five conveys the story of Peter and the apostles being arrested and jailed, simply for speaking the truth of what they had witnessed through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The Sadducees jealousy got the best of them, and they threw the men of faith in prison. When brought to trial, the high priest asked them why they had gone against what they had been told (to stop teaching in His Name). “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!” – (Acts 5:29)

Though few of us face the fear of prison for sharing our faith, we do deal with social pressures to stay silent, and to go along with societal norms that directly disregard what God has spoken. There is a delicate balance in loving others, yet speaking the truth in love. We cannot go around shouting to people that they “must turn or burn“. Rather, our charge is to live in such a way, that people are drawn unto us, and begin to ask questions as to why we are the way we are. God will provide opportunities for truth to be told in His time. He is tender and kind, and longs to draw people unto Himself. May we be living examples of His love, and may we choose to obey God first, always.

In tune with You, Lord,Obeying God First

we shall hear the way;

to do as You ask,

to honor, obey.

We must truly seek,

to hear still small voice;

then choose to follow,

obedient choice.

Let not fear of men,

keep us from what’s true;

our final answer,

will be unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have access to mighty examples of those who have faithfully followed You. Thank You too, that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You provide us all that we need, through Your word, and Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for folding to social pressures, or for staying silent when we were meant to speak. Teach us to hear Your voice clearly, so that we may be Your voice to those who know You not. Let our lives lived in love, speak volumes to all who are around us. May many come to know Your goodness and Your grace, as they enter into a personal place of seeking Your face. Be magnified, our great and mighty King. Amen.

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

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3


Doest thou well to be angry?

Jonah Chapter 4
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish:for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? 5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. 7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. 8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. 9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. 10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (KJV)


Nineveh needs the warning

Jonah Chapter 3
1 And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days ‘journey. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing:let them not feed, nor drink water:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God:yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (KJV)


In the belly of the fish

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said,
I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me;
out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas;
and the floods compassed me about:
all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight;
yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul:
the depth closed me round about,
the weeds were wrapped about my head.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains;
the earth with her bars was about me for ever:
yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord:
and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.
10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. (KJV)


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