Priorities and values matter. Despite what society would like us to believe, it is not all about us. Jesus told His disciples, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – (Mark 8:35) This does not mean He wants us to set out to die, but rather to set aside our own selfish ambitions and allow His heart to be heard.
The NIV footnotes for the same verse, explain it this way: “We should be willing to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel, not because our lives are useless, but because nothing – not even life itself – can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us to choose to follow Him, rather than to lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let Him direct us. This makes good sense because, as the Creator, Christ knows better than we do what real life is about. He asks for submission, not self-hatred; He asks us only to lose our self-centered determination to be in charge.”
When our priorities are in place, we realize that we need Christ to be in charge. Without Him, we have nothing. In Him, light and love, wisdom and strength, and all that we need to navigate this life according to His will, are provided. Our choice and our charge is to protect our priority in Him. Is He first in our lives, or is He simply a go-to God when we feel that we need Him?
A hope secure,
invested in Christ;
chooses to make,
Him first place in life.
Seeks not to save,
gladly gives all,
to honor the King.
submits all control;
to One worthy,
our God to extol.
All that is lost,
consider a gain;
the promise is plain.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we freely give our life to You, You give us something far greater in return – a future that is secure forever with You! Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to lay down His life on our behalf, so that we would have a way to come to You. Thank You that You want us to spend time with You. Thank You that You consider us worthy, because of what Jesus has already done on our behalf. Forgive us for not protecting our priorities, for allowing anything or anyone to come before You. Teach us to keep our priorities in order, and help us to depend on You to be our wisdom and strength. Guide us in how we are meant to navigate the hectic lives we lead, so that we may be effective for You, and refreshed and renewed in You. May we live and love as we are loved by You. May many come to know the provision of Your grace and mercy as they understand who You are and how to make You their priority. Direct our days, dear Lord. 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
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,
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,
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
Media, pop culture, and that which is widely accepted in today’s society, is a lure to legalism and a thief of joy.
This can hold true in two extremes. First, there are those who attempt to fit into the world to win the world, but alas, the draw of the world’s wooing becomes too much. On the other hand, those who shun the world and create a laundry list of “thou shall not’s”, have allowed their joy to be removed through a return to legalism. Neither option places the focus where it ought to be – on Christ.
The joy of our salvation stays present in struggles and sorrow when we hold fast to our faith in the Father. Christ does not use guilt to correct, but rather He shows us in love. Our Creator wants humility, not self-hatred. God is all about relationship, not performance. Our Father wants to show us how far we have come by the grace of His Son, not how short we have fallen.
Let not your joy,
be taken away;
avoid the lures,
presented each day.
Don’t allow guilt,
to direct your path;
God guides in love,
turn away from wrath.
Look to relate,
to the Lord above;
not to perform,
freely He gives love.
Don’t dwell on faults,
or on past mistakes;
look to the cross,
and move on in faith.
(Responding to Galatians 4:8-20)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to have life in You. Thank You Jesus, for showing us how to love God and love people. Thank You for taking our place on the cross, so that we are now covered by Your grace. Thank You that we do not have to perform to be pleasing to You. Thank You that You love us, unconditionally, as sons and daughters – coheirs with Christ. Forgive us for falling for any form of legalism, as it attempts to steal the joy of our salvation, and help us to grow in our faith through Your glorious grace, so that we may more clearly reflect Your radiance as we hold steadfast to the security of the joy found in You alone. May many come to know You as the Lord of their life. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
I find it fascinating to go back and read the words from people who were influential in our history. Adam Smith is one that is often quoted and he was a well respected man from his time. What I find truly interesting is how some of things that he wrote are so applicable to what we are seeing today. In the following statement, he could be talking about liberals democrats and even to President Obama himself. I wish I could say that he also gives us an answer on how to deal with the problems that come along with the “man of the system” that we see now. I wish I could totally agree with him that most of them are benevolent. What I see with so many of those who wish to impose their own system upon us, is that they are so fanatic, that they don’t care if they bring down everything in order to apply what they think upon everyone. This type of fanatic is destructive and will destroy everything in order to have his own way.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) contrasts two different ways by which the evils of society might be reformed: the “man of humanity and benevolence” who uses reason and persuasion and “the man of system” who imposes his own “ideal plan of government” on others by force:
Amidst the turbulence and disorder of faction, a certain spirit of system is apt to mix itself with that public spirit which is founded upon the love of humanity, upon a real fellow–feeling with the inconveniencies and distresses to which some of our fellow–citizens may be exposed. This spirit of system commonly takes the direction of that more gentle public spirit; always animates it, and often inflames it even to the madness of fanaticism. The leaders of the discontented party seldom fail to hold out some plausible plan of reformation which, they pretend, will not only remove the inconveniencies and relieve the distresses immediately complained of, but will prevent, in all time coming, any return of the like inconveniencies and distresses. They often propose, upon this account, to new–model the constitution, and to alter, in some of its most essential parts, that system of government under which the subjects of a great empire have enjoyed, perhaps, peace, security, and even glory, during the course of several centuries together. The great body of the party are commonly intoxicated with the imaginary beauty of this ideal system, of which they have no experience, but which has been represented to them in all the most dazzling colours in which the eloquence of their leaders could paint it. Those leaders themselves, though they originally may have meant nothing but their own aggrandisement, become many of them in time the dupes of their own sophistry, and are as eager for this great reformation as the weakest and foolishest of their followers. Even though the leaders should have preserved their own heads, as indeed they commonly do, free from this fanaticism, yet they dare not always disappoint the expectation of their followers; but are often obliged, though contrary to their principle and their conscience, to act as if they were under the common delusion. The violence of the party, refusing all palliatives, all temperaments, all reasonable accommodations, by requiring too much frequently obtains nothing; and those inconveniencies and distresses which, with a little moderation, might in a great measure have been removed and relieved, are left altogether without the hope of a remedy.
The man whose public spirit is prompted altogether by humanity and benevolence, will respect the established powers and privileges even of individuals, and still more those of the great orders and societies, into which the state is divided. Though he should consider some of them as in some measure abusive, he will content himself with moderating, what he often cannot annihilate without great violence. When he cannot conquer the rooted prejudices of the people by reason and persuasion, he will not attempt to subdue them by force; but will religiously observe what, by Cicero, is justly called the divine maxim of Plato, never to use violence to his country no more than to his parents. He will accommodate, as well as he can, his public arrangements to the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people; and will remedy as well as he can, the inconveniencies which may flow from the want of those regulations which the people are averse to submit to. When he cannot establish the right, he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong; but like Solon, when he cannot establish the best system of laws, he will endeavour to establish the best that the people can bear.
The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess–board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess–board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess–board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder. Read more at Online Library of Liberty
We always want to understand when bad things happen. We want to blame someone or something. The first inclination is to find blame. We ask “Why? Why does God allow this to happen?” But it isn’t God that allows this to happen, but man instead. God has given us free will and whether we like it or not, free will allows us to make bad choices as well as good ones. Just as there will be those that work diligently to protect life, there are those who take life without any regard to the consequences of their actions. It is becoming increasingly easy to take life in our society simply because we are becoming a society that has no moral compass. Why should our children who are routinely told that God does not exist, take into account a future where they will face God’s judgment for their actions even if they die in committing crimes here on earth.
We will never live in a society that does not have evil or death in it until Jesus returns. We cannot change that. What we can do is to bring God into our homes and communities again and lessen the impact that evil is having on our world. It seems that it is easier for those who dislike someone or something to lay the blame on those things rather than face the real problem. Those who seek power and control use this kind of situation as an opportunity to put into place policies that serve their interests, but do nothing to change the pattern of violence. Often their policies do the opposite and encourage even more violence. How can our children respect life when they are constantly told that the life of children in the womb, the disabled and the elderly are worth nothing?
I pray that the people of Conn. and members of the families of those killed and injured will realize that God still loves them and that He is not the one to blame for this violence and death. I pray that we can encourage the value of life instead of death. I pray that evil is not given more of a stand and that people start to wake up and realize that they are head for final destruction and that the fiscal cliff is nothing compared to the cliff that will lead them to eternal damnation and the fires of hell.
When bad things happen, don’t blame God
by Lillian Kwon, Christian PostPosted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 9:09 (BST)
When bad things happen, the general tendency is to blame God for it, says evangelist Greg Laurie.
But Laurie and award-winning music artist Steven Curtis Chapman have defied the norm by not only turning to God when they faced their darkest days but also by testifying to the hope they still have in Jesus.
“Here’s the hope that we have … even when He takes something, is there any better, safer place that we could ever leave anything than in the hands of God?” Chapman said Sunday evening at the 21st annual Southern California Harvest Crusade.
“We know that He will restore even what He takes away,” he added.
Both Chapman and Laurie lost a child in 2008. The singer/songwriter lost his 5-year-old adopted daughter, Marie Sue, in a car accident and Laurie’s 33-year-old son, Christopher, died in a car accident just a couple of months later.
The two prominent Christians continue to hurt from the loss but hold on to the hope that they’ll join their children some day in heaven. Read the rest at Christian Today…..
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
- to deprive of life; cause the death of; slay.
- to destroy; do away with; extinguish.
And life means:
- (n.)the general condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, a means of reproduction, and internal regulation in response to the environment.
Who decides when it is appropriate to end the life of a being? In a civilized society it is a matter for those who are responsible for enforcing the law, to decide if the crime a person has committed rises to the level of ceding their lives for their crimes. We are no longer living in a civilized society!!!
Somehow we have passed beyond the thin veil of civilization into a degenerate and lawless society where death is appropriated simply on the whim of those doing the killing. And these degenerate ideas spawn the infantile excuse that somehow, just for the fact that you are born a woman, you have some greater empathetic knowledge on who is justified to live or die. All on the very thin excuse that a woman should be able to decide what is best for their own welfare, body and future.
It is simply such a stupid argument, I wonder at the intelligence of those who state it and those who accept it as if it must be true. If a woman was that intelligent, she would never have gotten to the place where she has the choice to make. After all, she is the one who invited the action in which she became pregnant. I am not talking about rape and incest here. I am talking about the women who think that they can sleep with any man who comes along and either not get pregnant, or rid themselves of the product of their carelessness by simply disposing of it like it is so much waste to be flushed down the toilet or tossed with the trash. And yet these are the same people who tell us that they have the right to decide what to do with their body. They seem to think that this is a sign of intelligence. If these same women were foolish enough to get an arm cut off or a permanent mark on their body, these things they would have to live with and explain how foolish they were in their actions.
So how did we get here? We got here by a Supreme Court that made a foolish decision, and gave every woman that comes along and makes a bad mistake, the opportunity to kill. Shall we start saying at some point that these women now have the right to decide that their children don’t have the right to exist if they are handicapped or if in someway they are just a burden to them? Should we give men this same right? If not why not? If you come down to it, the life that begins in a woman’s womb would not be possible without the input from the man. Should that not give them just a much right in the decision? If they decide that a baby is not in their interests, should they not have the right to make that decision?
Or is the woman somehow so much more intelligent and caring? Again I say, for most of them, they wouldn’t be in the position they were in if these were the deciding factors. So since we can say these are not applicable, we take away their reasoning for them to be in the position to make that decision , don’t we?
Abortion is not about the life of the woman, it is about the death of the baby and the denying of the responsibility of the woman for her own actions. Truly, if you follow this argument through, what you will find is that the woman if displaying a lack of intelligence and therefore cedes the very responsibility that she argues gives her the right to make a life and death decision.
I read this the other day and it haunted me:
“Can it be that women know something very deep inside, even deeper than fear and shame? Can it be that women know it is their responsibility to decide when to bring new life into this world? Women are not the enemies of our children–even those we decide not to bring into the world.”
– Quoted in “Good Women have Abortions,” which appeared on the pro-abortion sitewww.rhrealitycheck.org/node/21883
Truly sad, and yet this is the argument that they use!!!! Do they think that they know more than God then? Are they somehow so smart and empathetic that they just somehow know? If this sounds foolish, it is because it is foolish. As foolish as your child telling you that it isn’t their fault that they did something wrong, somebody else started it. Because that is the real excuse this woman is using, it isn’t her fault because some man impregnated her. She was just minding her own business. When do we stop listening to the excuses our children and hold them accountable for their actions?
We must quit letting women murder their own children in order to escape the responsibility of their own actions…
The purpose of this post is not to judge Ms. Fluke, it is simply to take a very simple look at the impact of her actions upon her own future, Liberals, and higher education. Let’s start with Ms. Fluke herself:
- Like any high school student wanting to attend college, or wanting to get a job, any google search will forever find her testimony to Congress and will judge her qualifications, at least in part, on what she herself had to say. She is in Law School, so it is safe to assume that she wants to be an attorney.
- Reliability–How reliable can you be if you display such little restraint in your personal life?
- Dependability–If you are not willing to take responsibility for your actions, how can you be trusted to represent others when their lives, jobs, and futures are possibly at stake.
- Decorum—well, if you don’t stop to think about it before you announce to the whole world that you are a little ??? (I truly don’t want to use the word that others are banding about, but I am having trouble thinking of something else that might be suitable)
- Knowledgeable—You really did not seem to consider the consequences of your actions, so that brings into question your intelligence.
- Trustworthiness— Your parents obviously trusted you to get an education so that you could provide for yourself, your actions seem to have cast some doubt on that ability.
- Accountability—no question there is there, you have told the world that you don’t want to be held accountable for the results of your actions. You want the rest of us to pay for birth control so that you can be irresponsible without being accountable for the consequences.
As far as Liberals, it just shows the distance that they will go to make everyone else pay for what they think that they deserve and that they are willing to go to any lengths in order to force their will upon everyone else.
Higher Education—If this women is a fair representation, I would personally put that at a fail. If a thirty year old woman is no smarter that a sixteen year old who puts things that are improper on Facebook, you really have to question whether they are teaching anything worth learning or if they are simply baby sitting young adults and gracing them with degrees in order to get them out of their parents hair. And perhaps get as much money from them and the government as possible.
No wonder this country is in the trouble that it is in. Perhaps we need to look to less college and more factories. You learn responsibility real quick when your future depends on how you handle your job. You also learn the consequences of spending too much money, and how to deal fairly with people. Just think about the money that would be saved if instead of wasting time on irresponsible unproductive people who spend most of their times doing things that are totally irrelevant to society and their own future prospects as members of society. Parents wouldn’t be going broke, and birth control wouldn’t be the problem that Liberals seem to think that it is. If people are too busy providing for themselves and can’t afford the cost of their own irresponsible actions, they would be less inclined to be so immoral in their actions.
Ms. Fluke, I do not know you or your parents, but if you were my daughter or grand daughter, I would not be happy with your actions. Have you bothered to consider what people might think of them and how they raised you? I will keep you in my prayers, I have the feeling that you will need them pretty much. After all, sooner or later we all pay for our actions and you have run up a very big bill!
Perhaps, as a last thought, I should take time to thank you, Ms. Fluke! You have given the rest of us an education as regards to the immorality and ignorance that is taking place both in colleges and upon Capitol Hill, among the member of our government that we are paying to represent us. It seems obvious that we could save enormous amounts of money if we fire these people and get our government out of the lives of regular Americans who understand the values that you are lacking in!