About these ads

Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Paul

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

About these ads

Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

- Psalm 69:16

 

 


Prepare for His Presence

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. – (I Thessalonians 3:12-13)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians, is an encouragement for us still today, as well. As we invest our hearts in Him, He increases the love that we have for one another, and strengthens our hearts. If we come to Him and keep short accounts, we remain blameless and holy before Him, ever prepared for the day when we meet our Maker – be it when our days are done, or when Christ returns with all those who have trusted in Him before us. May our love increase and our hearts find peace, as we pursue Him even more…

 

Pursue the Lord,Prepare for His Presence

passionately;

love will increase,

and sin shall flee.

Our hearts made strong,

in God’s power;

the Protector,

from what devours.

Remain in Him,

blameless, holy;

to be prepared,

for when we meet.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow Your love in us to overflowing, as we increase our dependence on You. Thank You that You strengthen our hearts and make us blameless and holy in Your sight, not by being “good enough”, but by our repentant hearts that are ready to receive what You freely give, and love You, who gives all unto us. Forgive us for thinking any of it can be done in our own strength, and help us to be completely reliant upon You. Be our Strength and our Source, our Hope and our Peace. Let Your love be what is most evident in us. May many come to know the holy hope that is held in You alone, as we live and love as You call us to do. Be glorified in all that we say and 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


Sufficient Grace

When trials come, it is easy to default to the “O Lord get me out of this mess,” sort of posture. It is an automatic response to want difficulty to go away. However, God does not see the struggles the same way that we do. Rather than a chance of us being pulled under, He sees struggles as an opportunity for His strength to be shown. Paul, who had some sort of ongoing affliction, asked the Lord to take it away. Three times He asked God to take it away, and alas, God did not. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Though Paul’s initial request was for the Lord to take the affliction, the very struggle that hindered him away; when the Lord answered him, Paul’s perspective shifted. What he had viewed as a hindrance, he began to see as an opportunity to show the Lord’s strength. Once he recognized that it was only by God’s grace that he could do anything that the Lord was asking, he was empowered to embrace his weaknesses as opportunities for Christ’s strength to shine.

 

The challenge is how are we to do this practically? I have seen brilliant examples, as faithful warriors press on and pursue all that God has for them, despite the obstacles that life throws their way. Their resolve is deep-rooted in a firmly established relationship with the Father. Each of them fix their eyes and hearts securely on Him, and trust in His unwavering faithfulness. We are called to press in and persevere, regardless of what comes our way. As our roots run deep, His strength becomes more evident, even when we are weak.

 

We’re all in a boat,Sufficient Grace

somewhere off the shore;

some simply adrift,

while others want more.

Some paddle, pursue,

a course set afar;

and some are content,

to float where they are.

Both will endure waves,

and boats will be rocked;

one self-sufficient,

and one faith unlocked.

Both will come to know,

their own sense of need;

one calls on the Lord,

allowing Him lead.

For in our weakness,

His strength clearly shows;

may we boast in Christ,

as we daily grow.

May His power rest,

so powerfully;

that all who draw near,

will see Christ in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need to get through our greatest challenges. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that You utilize every challenge as an opportunity to grow us in Your grace, and make Your presence and power known. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are not enough to carry us when we are unable to stand. Give us wisdom to know when to ask for You to remove something and when to have Your strength come and carry us. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we are completely aware of Your will in all things and at all times. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the power and presence that is available through the gift of Your grace. Be glorified as we go forth today, and be the strength of our lives. 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


Pouring of Plenty

“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” – (2 Corinthians 9:8, The Message)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth about being generous with what God had given them. He asked them not to give out of obligation, but cheerfully, from a heart that had determined to give, because God had so graciously given unto them. We are meant to give what we determine in our hearts, cheerfully. This is not just of our wealth, but of our time and our talents – the very gifts of God that He has placed in us for His purposes, to bless others for His glory. What is such a divine mystery to me, is that each time we step out in faith and offer our time, talents and/or resources, we seem to be the recipients of His blessing. The joy in knowing His pleasure, is beyond a reward one could measure. Additionally, I find that when I give anyway, my own needs somehow are met, regardless of the seeming lack of time, energy or resources. God has a way of multiplying the miniscule, when we are faithful with what we do have.

 

God pours out His grace,Pouring of Plenty

abundant to us;

when we call on Him,

our Savior, Jesus.

As we choose to give,

from all that is ours;

God uses our gifts,

to reach near and far.

When others are blessed,

we become blessed too;

for we see Him work,

as lives are made new.

Generously give,

as He’s given us;

all unto the Lord,

our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the ultimate gift – Your Son, so that we may have eternal life with You. Thank You that You are generous and kind, never withholding anything from us, as You supply our every need. Forgive us for our reluctance to give – be it of our time, talents or resources. Please show us how we are meant to give unto You, and help us to do so with cheerful hearts. May many be moved toward a relationship with You, as a result of the giving unto which we are called. Help us to love others as You so generously love us. Be glorified through our generosity today. 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

 

 

 

 


Promises to Purify

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” – (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

The promises that Paul was referring to, were mentioned only a few verses earlier in the previous chapter. “…I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – (6:16b) “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – (6:18) Reminders that we are His, not only as His people, but as His own children, both promises to which we can cling.

 

To purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, is a two-part process. It requires us to both turn away from the sin that entangles us, and turn to God, who is our help and our hope.

 

Perfecting holiness is not something that we can do, but rather is what the Lord does in us, as we operate our very lives out of reverence for God. To live in reverence for God, is to be in ongoing awe of Him. The more we seek to know Him, the more we come to realize just how worthy He is of our deep respect and awe. May we turn from all that would ensnare our souls, and cling to Christ, who is our help and our hope, forever.

 

Your word unto us,Promises to Purify

promise for all time;

in Christ we are Yours,

and by faith, You’re mine.

Not only as Lord,

but as Father too;

You call us Your kids,

sons and daughters, new.

May we purify,

our lives from the things;

that contaminate,

peace that Your truth brings.

Help us turn away,

from unrighteousness;

and cling unto You,

God of faithfulness.

May we stand in awe,

forever in You;

our Hope and our Help,

the God of all truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that if we come to You and place our trust in You, that You will be our God, and that You call us Your people. Thank You that You go beyond that – that You call us sons and daughters. Thank You that You help us turn from the sin that entangles us, and draw us unto Yourself. Forgive us for trying to do things on our own, thinking that we somehow are strong enough to stand. Teach us to turn to You, and to trust completely, as You alone are our Source. Help us to love as You love us, and lead many to come to know You as not only their God, but as a loving Father too. Be exalted in our every word and deed. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

- Psalm 69:16

 

 


Do Everything in Love

As Paul was coming to the close of his letter to the people of Corinth, he gave some basic instructions. One small verse spoke volumes, both at the time, and still today. “Do everything in love.” – (I Corinthians 16:14)

 

What would that actually look like? If EVERYTHING we said and did was motivated by love, imagine the peace in our households, our neighborhoods, our churches and beyond… We need not look too far to find evidence of how a life lived this way, practically played out. Jesus was our perfect example of doing everything in love. When He approached people, He loved them where they were. They felt His acceptance, and found His love brought life, healing and opportunity that they had never known. Christ’s ability to love through all that He said and did, brought life where it had not previously been found.

 

The very same power that equipped Jesus to “do everything in love”, dwells in the hearts of all who believe. We too have the capacity, through Christ, to “do everything in love”. It is merely a matter of surrender and ongoing dependence. Have we surrendered all that we are unto Him? Do we depend on Him daily, in all things and at all times, to be our help and our hope? Each of us are a work in progress; moving toward our heavenly home. The more we invest in our relationship with Christ, the more readily we will respond in love. All that we do is a reflection of Him who dwells in us. May we be a radiant reflection, as we love well.

When early we rise,Do Everything in Love

may our eyes fix above;

as we work and play,

may all be done in love.

When we interact,

let our deeds point above;

and grace guide each word,

as we speak too, in love.

When trials do come,

let our hearts get rid of;

all doubt and all fear,

and hold fast to His love.

As day draws to close,

may all praise point above;

for another day,

He’s granted by His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are LOVE. Thank You that because You sent Your Son, You made the way for us to draw near and know Your perfect love, personally. Thank You that You equip and empower us to move in love in all that we say and do, if only we are willing. Forgive us for attempting to rely on our own strength rather than Yours, and help us to trust You more so that we may do all things in Your love. Lead us and guide us to love as You love. May many come to know You as the Lover of their soul, and know the hope that is held forever in You. Be exalted through our love. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

 


Finding Common Ground

“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)

Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement. First, we must find common ground with those around us. That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts. Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude. Humility is the only way we will ever be heard. Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are. There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him. We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs. When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.

(Italics above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)

To find common ground,Purple flower

we need open our eyes;

take time to invest,

in other people’s lives.

For if we’re not known,

why would they lend an ear?

No one will listen,

’til another draws near.

We must first listen,

hear each heart and each voice;

notice what’s needed,

sincere service our choice.

When we invest time,

and let love be our choice;

our heart will be heard,

despite chaos and noise.

Let Love lead the way,

be faithful to the Lord;

people will notice,

His light can’t be ignored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well. Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved. Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You. Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us. Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement. May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything we say and do. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

- Psalm 145:7


Bloom Where We’re Planted

Few of us are called to formal full-time ministry positions as an occupation. However, each one of us are all called to serve and be a witness, wherever we are, regardless of our title or position. We can show His love to those around us as we teach children, manage households, check groceries, pick up garbage, sell insurance, prepare and serve meals, enforce the law, volunteer and so on. Our occupation does not limit how God can utilize us for His glory, right where we are, currently.

“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:17)

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:20)

“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” – (I Corinthians 7:24)

When repetition occurs in scripture, I tend to take notice. Three times Paul said nearly the same thing to the people of Corinth. Though his words were in the specific context of marriage, I believe it applies to every area of our lives. God will use us wherever we have been called, right now, not when we obtain a certain status or position. What He calls us to, He will use us to work through, if we are willing and available to be obedient to whatever He asks of us. There are days when it seems impossible that He could utilize me to reach another, yet it is in those spots of the strongest struggle, that His strength is shown and progress is made known. May we trust Him where we are, and be open to opportunities to touch lives as we love as He loves us.

Each of us called,Bloom Where We're Planted

to serve where we are;

no need to wait,

He’s brought us this far.

Not by our strength,

but rather, by His;

trust Him to lead,

He’ll do what He says.

In all we do,

to God, let it be;

we too were bound,

’til He set us free.

Let His love lead,

and His Spirit guide;

with hearts open,

His peace realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to the spaces where we are, even when they don’t always make sense. Thank You that You are our strength in the struggle and our help and hope. Thank You that You use us for Your glory, regardless of our lot in life, if we are willing to serve You. Forgive us for thinking we have to reach a certain position or knowledge base, or for being fearful of mankind. Teach us to trust You to give us wisdom, words and all that we need, to love and serve, wherever we are called to be. May we touch lives and transform communities through faithfully serving where we are called, and may all glory and honor be given to You. Thank You that You love us where we are, yet continue to grow us more deeply in You. Amen.

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

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


Living Testimonies

Exciting news has always found way to spread quickly. In Ephesus, during the time of Paul’s ministry, there was no exception. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” – (Acts 19:11-12) There were some Jews who were jealous of both the power and influence that God had given Paul, and they were going around driving out spirits, using both the name of Jesus, and Paul’s name, in attempt to make something happen. These men soon learned that it required more than the use of His Name to overcome evil spirits, as the fellas were beaten within an inch of their lives, and ran away.

As word of this occurrence spread, both Jews and Greeks gained a proper perspective of the power of the Lord, and held His Name in high esteem. Many who had come to believe, came and confessed their sins and began to rid their homes and lives of things that were in direct violation with the ways of the Lord. The depth of their commitment to Christ was further solidified, through the hearing of His awesome power.

What sort of news do we spread? How do we impact people with the power of His Name? Are we making others aware of His awesome power and great love, or are we “talking heads” without the depth of commitment? Paul’s ministry was powerful only because his priority was to love God, and to love people. His love compelled him to share of all that the Lord had done in him, and allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to move through him. God moves mightily through us when we are willing vessels.

May Your love spread,Living Testimonies

let hearts be ablaze;

as people come,

to follow Your ways.

Let willing hearts,

be Your hands and voice;

so all might know,

of redemption choice.

Yes and amen,

shall be our reply;

let others know,

You alone supply.

Be lifted high,

through our word and deed;

may we love well,

as You meet each need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the news of You has traveled far and wide, providing opportunity for us to come to know You as our Savior and King. Thank You that You love us so much, that You have granted examples of the faithful to show the way, and have provided miracles, to move the hearts of those who need to see to believe. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not aligned, or our hearts have not held fast to the truth in trust. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to be living examples for those around us. May we be people who are not just hearers of the word, but rather doers of the word. May our very lives be living testimonies of Your faithfulness and truth to all whom are within our sphere of influence. May many come to know You as their Savior, as we faithfully love and serve You and one another. May You be honored in all things. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.

- Acts 2:28


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,994 other followers