For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12)
The grace that God has given, is the gift of His Son. Jesus died so that we might live – His life ransomed for ours. After He rose and ascended into Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and Comforter, so that we would have help in an uncertain world. That still small voice within us that whispers “No“, to the things that we know we ought not do, is His voice, teaching and protecting us so that we might live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. May we each choose to receive what He freely offers, so that we are able to live the lives He has for us.
poured out for mankind;
to open hearts,
give sight to the blind.
His Spirit shows,
the way we’re to go;
when it’s a “Yes”,
and where it’s a “No”.
No to the things,
ungodly and wrong;
and yes to those,
that make our walk strong.
All by His grace,
His love, it abounds;
receives the lost,
His power, profound.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made way for us to brought back into a relationship with You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, and for the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, for laying Your life down for mine, so that I could truly live. Thank You for Your still small voice that teaches us to say “No” to that which we ought not do, and compels us to move forward in those things to which You are calling. Forgive us for ignoring the “No“, or for standing stuck when we were meant to move forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will move either forward toward that which You are calling, or flee from that which You are warning us away from. May our life of obedience be an example to those around us, and may many come to know who You are and how much You love them as a result. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we receive Your grace and obey all that You ask of us. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14
All too often in this life the business of life often causes the lack of introspection. This is particularly true of those that are care givers and ministers. Much of the time of these dedicated people is spent on serving yet service falls far from those who care. Even more those that provide services specific to pastoral services need clear understandings of themselves so that when providing care to others their own worldviews play little role in providing that care. Let me explain.
Saul (Paul) was under the persuasion that the Christians of his day were anti-God. This was because if his worldview of Judaism. As such Saul sought to silence and punish those that he perceived to be the antithesis to what he thought to be correct. Then Saul’s worldview was challenged. While on the road to Damascus Saul was knocked off his horse (both literally and figuratively) having caused Saul to consider his ways. Yes, Saul was very educated and sat at the feet of the best teachers yet his worldview was the thing that hindered him in the ministry.
The point is that as ministers and even as lay members of the church often the things that have been placed in us over the years impact the way we minster. The things in us have not only impacted our worldviews but also the way we handle ourselves in situations as they arise. This can be a good or not so good thing depending upon the individual and the way matters are handled. It is for this reason regular introspection is imperative. It is very necessary that continual inward looks be made not only for the sake of ministry but also to insure that the Christian remains on the path of holiness.
In his second letter to the church in Corinth the converted Saul urged his audience to “examine” or test themselves in order to see if they remained in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). This examination was to be juxtaposed with the things that were taught be Jesus and re-taught by the disciples and apostles. This examination meant that there had to be a continual and constant self-reflection which allowed the Christians to be mindful of worldviews that might be in conflict with the teachings of Christ. As such the chaplaincy is not about the views and perspectives of the chaplain rather it is about pouring the love of God into the recipient of healing. It is about laying aside the desire to impose one’s views and give way to the spiritual needs of the hurt.
Often when introspection occurs there are found things that the one looking in does not like or may even take issue with. These things could be attributed to the individual’s worldview or the things found might be the results of negative occurrences have happened in his life. In either case there comes a point in which those things within must be challenged so that ministry to others might be beneficial first to the growth with the one looking inward and then to the one to be ministered to. The fact is that healing must begin with the “physician” who can then be in a place to present healing to those under his care. With this it becomes evident that inward reflection becomes paramount in the lives of those providing care.
The Pauline charge becomes abundantly clear in the Amplified Bible with the translation, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing proper fruits of it.” The term “evaluate” seeks only to highlight the idea of an inward look. The look inward serves to consider not only the actions of the self examination but also motives and attitudes. With this said the importance of faith pushes the examination process beyond the expectations of man rather the requirements of our Father. If the exam proves that there are items lacking then the examiner will do well to seek out prescriptions designed to heal himself so that he will be better able to work in the healing process of others.
True inward looking requires absolute honesty. Without honesty introspection is worthless. As such I would urge all to take that look inward in order to determine if worldviews are in conflict with the one faith. If there are conflicts resolutions are necessary for growth and healing of all concerned.
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.
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
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. – John 16:20-24 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John16:20-24&version=KJV
What joy there will be for those who love the Lord on the day of His return!!!!
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans12:3-8&version=NIV
Sometimes the gifts that seem to be the least are those that are needed the most!
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. – Matthew 12:33-37 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew12:33-37&version=KJV
Do we truly consider the fruit of our actions and the effects of our words? Why waste our time and possibly our future complaining about the actions of others when it is our fruits that can bring forward good things. God can change the heart of anyone!
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. – (Joel 2:13, NIV)
Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and merciful. He does not become angry quickly. He has great love. Maybe He will change His mind about the bad punishment He planned. – (Joel 2:13, ERV)
God is indeed merciful; slow to anger, abounding in love. However, we must make a choice. We either elect to turn from our selfish and independent ways and choose to trust Him, or we continue on our self-made road to ruin. Jesus made the way so that all who call on His Name, may be saved. All of our sin and shame has been covered at the cross; we need only be willing to repent and receive what He is offering. Each of us have a finite time on earth. Not one of us know the number of our days. Sitting idly by, saving the decision for “someday“, is playing roulette with our eternity. There is no better time than now. He has been waiting since the moment He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows your name, and everything you’ve ever done – yet He still love you and is ready to call you His own. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12) Repent, receive, and believe, for we are meant to be His.
to turn to the Lord;
don’t let it slip by,
seek in one accord.
For He is waiting,
with arms open wide;
to call you His own,
to stay by your side.
No matter your past,
the sin you have done;
covered at the cross,
that battle’s been won.
All that still remains,
is you choose receive;
to trust in His word,
have faith and believe.
There’s no greater choice,
to ever be made;
O child of the King,
embrace Him today.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that You receive us into Your kingdom when we call on Your Name and repent from our sinful ways. Forgive us for overcomplicating Your love or Your grace, and help us to both receive and extend all that You are offering. May we be living examples of lives transformed by You. Let those who are looking, find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Help us to hold fast to Your truth, and live and love as You love us. Be exalted, O God, as we share of the goodness and grace You grant all who seek Your face. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6