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Philippians 3:1 “Caring For Our Spiritual Family Members”


 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

Background to Philippians…

The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).

Some of the main divisions of the book include:

1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2

2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11

3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26

4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18

5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30

6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11

7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21

8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9

9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20

10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

 

Php 3:1 – “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.”

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Paul now begins the remaining part of his teaching to the church at Philippi…

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

 

“Finally” (the remaining portion), my spiritual relatives, find calmness and happiness in the Lord.

What a very important teaching for us all… to be content in Christ alone. In other words, all Christians have a great need to find joy in Christ, no matter what the circumstance or condition in which they may find themselves.

Php 4:11 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

 

To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.”

 

Teaching the need for Christ-based contentment affects both the teacher and the students.

It affects the teacher, in this case Paul, because it shows he is not being lazy nor is he lacking in his teachings to the people. It proves his love for them, the proactive nature of much of his teaching, and his diligence is caring for the saints of Philippi.

It affects the students who hear this teaching, by giving to them instruction that does not fail to provide for their security. When we learn to be calm and happy in the Lord during great trials of our faith, we find peace in the midst of the storm and joy in the midst of sorrow. We are like a ship that is securely docked to the harbor of Christ as the storm rages. Without this contentment in our lives we are more like ships being tossed to and fro with fear and sorrow ruling the day.

This principle was displayed by Christ as He drew his disciples attention to Himself, and in doing so, gave them peace in the midst of the storm (Matt 14:22-32).

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

The need to find calmness and happiness in the Lord no matter what our lives may hold for us is one of the great keys to successful Christian service. It opens the doorway to encouragement in the midst of discouraging times, joy in the midst of the sorrows of life, and peace when the storm rages.

May we all keep our eyes upon Christ, and Christ alone, and draw from His presence peace and joy as we enter each new day. May we seek to be consistent servants no matter what the day may hold for us.

Questions, Comments, or Suggestions?

Email me at: rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

Homepage… http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog… http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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SIH’s Think On These Things: I Thess. 5:14-15 (2)


SIH TOTT ICONNow we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)

 

 

For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…

1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the first of Paul’s exhortations to us…

warn them that are unruly
Do we care about others around us? Do we desire to please the Lord with our lives? If so, we will take the time and effort to warn others who are erratic in their life walk for Christ.

Who are we to warn? It is those who are “unruly”. In other words, it is those who “unarranged”, or “out of proper order”. It is those people whose life walk is not in alignment with the principles of God’s Word…

1. Their speech and actions are not in alignment.
They may speak the truths of His Word without living them out in their lives. In these cases, their words and actions are erratic and inconsistent with one another.

2. Their lives are inconsistent from one moment to the next.
In these cases, they live inconsistent lives. They are like a ship tossed about by the waves of a sea. One moment they may be living in obedience to the Word, the next moment they are living in disobedience. In these cases, their service to the Lord is not consistent but varies based upon their situation, their mood, or their convenience.

 

How are we to deal with these erratic Christians? We are to “warn” them of their spiritual shortcomings.

If we study the idea behind the word “warn” it teaches us much about the proper spirit and way in which we are to give warning to others. The Greek word for “warn” literally means “to gently place in the mind”. This helps us to understand several basic principles:
1. to warn implies MILD counsel and correction.
It is simply placing in someone’s mind the need for change. It does not imply a forced submission. It is simply speaking to others wanting to place in their mind the importance of change for their lives.

 

2. to warn implies HUMBLE counsel and correction.
It excludes an attitude of superiority or lordship over others. It is not speaking down to them, nor is it commanding them to change their life. It is simply laying forth the truths of God’s Word in an understandable way, allowing the Spirit to convict and bring about the needed change.

 

3. to want implies LOVING counsel and correction.
It is a counsel that is given from a heart of love (for the Lord and the one in need of counseling). It is to lovingly place in the mind of the individual a gift of advice that is only meant to be of benefit to them. If we really love those around us, how can we withhold spiritual counsel from those who are erratic in their service for Christ?

 

Please note these basic truths about giving counsel to others is upheld in many other Biblical texts…

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:25-6:2)

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification. (Romans 15:1-2)

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.(2 Timothy 2:24-26)

 

APPLICATION:

May we all understand the need to help those who are struggling spiritually among us. We can do this by gently placing in their mind the truths of God’s Word and the need to align themselves with those truths.

The best way for your counsel to be received and be beneficial to others, is by delivering the counsel with the proper spirit and manner. Love, humility, kindness and gentleness should always be a part of the counsel that we give to those in need.

May we all be willing to humble ourselves and lovingly share spiritual counsel to those who are erratic in their service for Christ.

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com


SIH’s Think On These Things: I Thess. 5:14-15 (1)


SIH TOTT ICONNow we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].
See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)

 

For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…

 

1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].

 

 

EXPOSITION:

 

Now we exhort you, brethren,

Before we begin with the first exhortation, let’s attempt to answer the question, “What is an exhortation”?
In this verse, “exhort” comes from a Greek word (parakaleo) that holds three basic ideas:

1. to call near (to accompany and/or help)
2. to render encouragement (through words and/or actions)
3. to possess urgency (importance and/or insistence)
The idea that Paul is giving to the Thessalonians an “exhortation” teaches us that Paul was stepping to their side wanting to aid them in their walk with Christ. He did this by delivering a very important (urgent) message that was intended to encourage them in their service for Christ.
What was this important message? This message encouraged them to treat others in a Godly fashion. If you notice the six main exhortations, they all involve our relationship with others… how we treat them, and how we respond to them in various sets of circumstances.
How we relate to all others (family, friend and foe) is a central area of the Christian’s testimony. It is proof of our adoption into the family of God and of our spiritual growth and maturity…

 

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
(Matthew 5:43-48)

APPLICATION:
As we go about our day today, let’s always be aware of how we are treating those who are around us. Because of our fallen natures, it is so easy to become self-centered with our focus only upon ourselves. But for each of us who are Christians, who now possess the love of Christ within us, may we consistently think of others before ourselves.

By putting others first, we are displaying the love that our Heavenly Father showed to us when He gave Christ to die on the cross so that we might be saved…

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
(1 John 4:7-12)

 

A Godly relationship with others is the central method of displaying to the world that we are Christians…
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)

This is why, for the next 6 days, we will be studying Paul’s exhortation to treat others in a Godly way.

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com


Call Unto Me


SIH STSTA ICON

 

Jeremiah, who spoke out of a heart of obedience to the Lord and love for the nation of Judah, prophesied of their coming defeat at the hands of Babylon. The King of Judah, Zedekiah, seeing that the prophecy was coming to pass, imprisoned Jeremiah, blaming him for Judah’s coming defeat. (Jeremiah 32:1-5).

 

Our lesson (Jeremiah 33:1-3) now picks up with Jeremiah sitting in prison being given words of comfort from the Lord…

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

1) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2) Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD [is] his name;
3) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
(Jeremiah 33:1-3)

 

THE STUDY:

The Lord’s introductory message to the imprisoned prophet Jeremiah….

 

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

The Lord is speaking to Jeremiah for a second time while he was imprisoned by Zedekiah.

He had originally received a message from the Lord telling him of Judah’s defeat (Jeremiah 32:3-5). It was this original message for which he was imprisoned by the King of Judah, Zedekiah (Jeremiah 32:1-2).

Following his imprisonment, the first message he received is found in 32:26-44. In this message, the Lord reaffirmed his initial prophecy of the coming defeat of Judah by Babylon (32:26-35), and also gives Jeremiah a promise of a future deliverance of Judah from the 70-year Babylon captivity (32:36-44).

Can you imagine what Jeremiah must have been thinking? I believe, because he was a fallen sinful human, like all of us, he was probably plagued with doubt concerning this miracle deliverance would take place.

It was an easy thing to believe that Judah would fall to the invading Babylonian empire. After all, at that point in history, Babylon had the greatest army on the face of the planet earth. The Babylonian empire had already taken over many of the most powerful nations of the day and was now surrounding Judah ready for “the kill”.

However, the second part of this God-given promise was very different indeed. How difficult it must have been for Jeremiah to believe that Judah would ever be freed from their captivity. How could a small, impoverished and soon-to-be-imprisoned Judah ever be able to overcome the great and mighty forces of the Babylonian word empire? It would take an absolute miracle from the Lord.

Thus, the Lord now gives Jeremiah the second “prison prophecy” to reaffirm to Jeremiah the certainty of the release of Judah from Babyon…

 

Thus saith the LORD

The Lord now speaks to Jeremiah…

 

the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it;

Jeremiah is now reminded that ….
1. The Lord was the One that created both the nation of Judah and the Babylonian Empire
2. The Lord that shaped both nations to conform to the desires of His will
3. The Lord that has intervened to sustain both Judah and Babylon

In other words, He was reminding Jeremiah that both Judah and Babylon only existed because of His intervention. Without Him, neither would exist nor possess their might and authority. He was clearly explaining to Jeremiah that He was the One who has humbled Judah and He could exalt them once again. Likewise He was the One that had allowed Babylon to become the world empire of the day and He would be the One that would bring them down to defeat.

 

the LORD [is] his name;

The Lord now emphasizes that it is JEHOVAH that can make a legitimate claim to all of this. No false gods could claim such awesome power and authority over the kingdoms of the world. Only the One True God…. Jehovah could make such an assertion.

 

Call unto me,

The Lord now invites Jeremiah and the nation of Judah to “call unto me”. The word translated “call” is a Hebrew word that carries two separated, yet related ideas:

1. it is speaking of issuing “a public invitation” or “to cry out to me”

2. it is used to describe addressing someone personally.

In other words, to “call” is telling Jeremiah to “cry out to me by name” seeking forgiveness and deliverance from their captivity. The Lord is emphasizing Jeremiah’s and Judah’s privilege of communion with Him as well as the need to seek out His aid personally. It was not enough for them to seek the aid of another god…. No, his request had to be made to Jehovah only.   Because it was Jehovah, alone, that was the Creator, Shaper and Sustainer of the nations.

 

and I will answer thee,

The Lord promises to Jeremiah and Judah that He will answer them. The word for answer is very interesting indeed. It implies that the Lord will pay attention, consider and respond to his cry. They would not be ignored nor would they be forgotten. Their prayer would be heard and the Lord would act.

 

and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Not only does Jehovah promise to hear, consider and respond to Jeremiah’s and Judah’s request, but He promises His response would be “eye opening” for them. If Jeremiah and the people of Judah would approach the Lord with requests for deliverance from captivity and forgiveness of sin, the Lord would answer them by performing that which seemed impossible.

What are some of those miraculous, eye-opening things that they would see?
1. The specific events surrounding the deliverance of Judah from Babylon.
2. His forgiveness for their hard hearts and repeated acts of rebellion against Him.
3. The national and personal blessings that would be bestowed upon them following their forgiveness and deliverance.

Following this wonderful promise of answered prayer, the Lord then reiterates to Jeremiah that Judah would miraculously be delivered from Babylonian captivity, restored to the land of Israel and forgiven of their sins. (Jeremiah 33:4-8)

Why would the Lord do all of these miraculous works for Judah? So that He might receive all the honor and praise…

And it (Judah) shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.(Jeremiah 33:9)

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks these same principles that we see being applied to the physical nation of Israel, applies to each one of God’s people as members of His spiritual nation (the Israel of God).

Are you facing a seemingly impossible situation that is directly linked to disobedience to your Heavenly Father? As you read these words and the many other Bible texts that reveal the Lord’s love and readiness to forgive do you shrink back in unbelief?

Folks, the Lord has made it plain to us that nothing can separate us from His love, He is always waiting to forgive us, restore communion with us and bless us abundantly no matter what situation we may be facing.

What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.
Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-39)

These verses help us to understand that when a saint falls into unrepentant sin, this does not mean that he has lost his salvation, it is a matter of his close relationship with His Lord being hindered. Think of it this way…

When a child disobeys His parents it does not mean that he will be “kicked out” of the family?

No, it results in hindered communion with his parents… he knows he has disobeyed and his conscience plagues him concerning his disobedience. His parents are displeased with his disobedience and his will full rebellion against them and they will discipline him for his disobedience….but they DO NOT REMOVE HIM FROM THE FAMILY. They still love him, work for his good and long for forgiveness and restored communion with him.

 

This is how it is with our heavenly family as well. There can be hindered communion with the Father and the Son but, although we will be disciplined, we will never be cast from His presence…

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
(Hebrews 12:5-13)

It is only through confession of our sins and a turning from those sins that we will find unhindered communion and a restoration of peace in our hearts.

Turn to the Lord and allow Him to bless with forgiveness and a restoration of fellowship with Him. Allow Him to open your eyes to His miraculous love, faithfulness and mercy. He will once again restore peace to our hearts and a confident recognition of His presence in our life as you face the many storms of life.

 

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.


Seek and Surround


During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

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


Nothing Without Love


If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 

God gives gifts to each of us. The intent of these gifts is that we would use them to love and bless others in such a way, that they may see Him through us. Just having the gifts is not enough. Our motivation and purpose must be fueled by love. For if we have not love, we cannot accomplish the purpose that God has set before us. In fact, the greatest command we are given is to: love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. – (Luke 10:27) If we are loving God and others as we utilize the gifts that He has placed in us, the mountains will be moved, and much shall be accomplished in His strength. May we go forth and love well with all that we have been created to be.

 

Despite the great gifts,Nothing Without Love

found in each of us;

if we have not love,

they are meaningless.

For each of the things,

that God has granted;

purposefully placed,

love’s power planted.

May our focus be,

on those who surround;

and how to love well,

so lost may be found.

With all that we are,

heart, soul, strength and mind;

may we love and serve,

the Lord and mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us good gifts, but even more than that – You give us Your unconditional, incomparable, outrageous and lavish love. Thank You that it is Your love that covers and carries us, and gives us worth. Thank You that when we act in love, we honor You. Forgive us for the times that we have been nothing but ugly noise or empty actions, as we did not act in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that everything we do, will be done in love. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your mighty love for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we do all things in Your love. 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



Because He Loved


Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday, especially among middle schoolers the day prior. While some students were over-the-moon with excitement, others were nearly manic, as they mourned their mate-less state. Most, however, took it upon themselves as an opportunity to binge on copious quantities of confections, and were bouncing off the walls. The pivotal point that so many get hung up on, is what exactly is love, and how do we celebrate it?

 

If our priorities are kept in place, and we opt to spend the day focusing on loving God and loving people well, then it can be a day worth celebrating, rather than one to view with disdain. One of the most powerful examples of Jesus’ love for us is how He endured all things for our sake, so that we could come to know Him.

 

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself!” – (Mark 15:31)

 

Though Jesus could have saved himself, He endured this suffering because of His love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; He could have killed those who mocked Him – but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies… Jesus died on that cross for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid by His death. – (NIV footnotes for Mark 15:31)

 

Because He loved, we too may love.

 

What beautiful love,Good Gifts

would lay down His life;

choose to sacrifice,

despite all our strife?

He came not because,

we deserved His grace;

but because He loves,

the whole human race.

The sinners and saints,

man, woman and child;

He came for us all,

to be reconciled.

Let us each embrace,

this glorious gift;

go forth and love well,

encourage and lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son. Jesus, thank You that You came to set us free from the chains of our sin, and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You endured endless suffering on our behalf, because You loved. Forgive us for not choosing to love You and others as we are called to love, or for focusing inward instead of out. Teach us to trust You more, so that as we reach out in faith, we will recognize the remarkable ways in which You provide return to refill our hearts again. Lead us to love well, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we bring the blessings of Your love to a world in need. 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


When Faith Intersects


It is incredible to see what God will do when faith intersects. As one in need and another obedient to pour out, both by faith say yes to the Lord, mountains are moved and miracles happen. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. – (Acts 14:8-10)

 

Despite having been inflicted since birth, the man received hope when it was offered. Imagine hearing of a Healer, when all you’d ever known was brokenness… Additionally, Paul, as he shared the great news of Christ, was sensitive to the Spirit, and was aware of the Lord’s leading for that moment in that place. Two men chose to say yes to God, despite the crowd and chaos around them. Each opted for the hope that Christ was offering in that time and space. May we too, find the faith to both hold hope in the seemingly impossible spaces, and obediently reach out, wherever Christ calls us to offer a word, a touch, or a helping hand.

 

God constantly moves,When Faith Intersects

we need be aware;

as we choose by faith,

to offer each prayer.

When we are in need,

He knows what to do;

by faith we must trust,

He will see us through.

In our times of strength,

as He has us move;

may we obey well,

what we’re called to do.

As faith intersects,

hope is on the rise;

He heals the broken,

and opens blind eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our small seeds of faith, and call on us to rise up. Thank You that when we do, miracles happen in our hearts, homes and communities. Thank You too, that You have placed You Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that if we will be still and listen, You will speak to our hearts and show us the ways in which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not heeding the call, or for being too busy to truly listen so that we will clearly hear from You. Teach us to trust You more and to quiet our hearts and minds before You, so that we will not miss all that You have for us. Lead us to love others in a way that helps them find faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we follow in faith for all of our days. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13


The Path of Perseverance


Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

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