Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Christ

Sin Is Still Sin

Do we get to decide what is sin? The”New York Times” has an article that Christians should be made to change the definition of sin to exclude homosexuality. Why? Because they disagree with the definition and don’t want to be labeled as sinners.

They seem to be under the impression that we mortals are the ones who have defined sin! If that were true, perhaps changing the definition would be easy. It might be easy to change the definition of sin for any number of things. Perhaps murder would not be a sin. Or adultery!

There are religions who seem to find it acceptable to change what they believe based on whatever the acceptable morals of the day are. But they are just religions, not a way of life, nor a faith in a promise.

The evidence that or God keeps His promises and that if we believe in Him and are faithful and steadfast, holding on to the”full armor of God”, our future is much more important than or present.

People seem to believe that if they don’t like what we believe that they have the obligation to make us change.

“We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments.  The person who says, “I know him,” but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person.  But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ.  Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived. Dear friends, it’s not as though I’m writing to give you a new commandment. Rather, I’m giving you an old commandment that you’ve had from the beginning. It’s the old commandment you’ve already heard.  On the other hand, I’m writing to give you a new commandment. It’s a truth that exists in Christ and in you: The darkness is fading, and the true light is already shining. Those who say that they are in the light but hate other believers are still in the dark.  Those who love other believers live in the light. Nothing will destroy the faith of those who live in the light.  Those who hate other believers are in the dark and live in the dark. They don’t know where they’re going, because they can’t see in the dark. – 1 John 2:3-11 http://bit.ly/SFl890

We don’t define sin! We accept the definition given us by our Lord Jesus Christ! He reaffirmed the Word given us in the laws of Moses.  We are also instructed in the very word we are given that there is a price to be paid for changing the Word we are given. The price for leaders who lead their flocks falsely is high.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For all that is in the world– the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life– is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1John 2:15-17

We don’t decide to define sin! We accept the definition given to us by our God! To those who want to believe that Christ would accept them as they are and not expect them to change are sadly misinformed about why He sacrificed His life to give me and you an opportunity to a future promise. His message was not so simple as love, regardless of how some may believe. His message was clear when He chastised the woman who had been stoned. All too often we simply remember the part about not casting stones but ignore His admonition to the womam to “sin no more.” John 8:11

So while writers who in their ignorance, preach to us of tolerance, and insist that we should change the definition of sin, we, in our faith, must standfast and recognize that if we succumb to the pressure and give in to the temptation to those who desire to be nullified of their sin, ours will be the greatest loss.

 

 


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



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


Genuine Repentance

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8


A Time to Be Still

As a go-getter, it is in my nature to constantly be on the move. I would rather go do something, anything, than sit around and be idle. However, constant motion and activity do not lend themselves well to quiet time and stillness before the Lord. It has taken years to establish routine and discipline that create a time and space that I now crave to quiet myself in the peace of His presence.

 

When Jesus visited Mary and Martha and Martha was busy rushing about, trying to take care of things to be certain that all of the preparations had been made for their guests, Mary simply sat at the Lord’s feet to listen and be in His presence. Martha was frustrated with her sister for not helping, as she was so busy moving, that she did not pause to recognize the remarkable that was right in front of her. Jesus, in His kind and gentle way, reminded her of what really mattered. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – (Luke 10:41-42)

 

The chores, the busywork, the going and doing – they will always be there. Our investment in Christ is eternal. What we choose today impacts our eternity. Yes, God is gracious and merciful and He does not keep a checklist of who has a quiet time and who does not, but He longs for our hearts and our time. Jesus wants to spend time with us and to speak to us. Why wouldn’t we choose to make the Creator of all the priority in each day?

 

A time to be still,A Time to Be Still

quiet in His peace;

faithful investment,

our burdens released.

All that need be done,

will always remain;

we must take the time,

to give Him our shame.

A space to listen,

to hear God’s own heart;

promises spoken,

and wisdom imparts.

Let our hearts give praise,

to Glory Divine;

for He is so good,

our Hope for all time.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You love a heart that seeks to serve You, You more than anything, want our hearts. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us, to speak with us and commune with us. Thank You that You call us Your children. Forgive us for our distractions that keep us so focused on doing, that we neglect the why we do what we do. Help us to slow down and fix our eyes and all of our attention on You, so that we might clearly hear all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love others, just as You so willingly and patiently love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we slow down and seek You in the sweet silence of a time set aside just for You. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5


Blessed are the Invited

As another year comes to a close, I again find myself at the end of Revelation. This morning, the verse that stood out to me is as follows: Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” – (Revelation 19:9) Those of us who love the Lord and walk with Him, are blessed and invited to the ultimate celebration. At the end of days, all who stand firm in faith in our Heavenly Father, will be blessed beyond what we can fathom.

 

Jesus gave us glimpses of what is yet to come throughout His ministry on earth. My Father’s house has many rooms, if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – (John 14:2-3) John further unpacks what awaits in Revelation 21:9 – 22:5. Though much unpleasantness, many trials and tribulations will come to pass between now and then, we have the promised assurance of our final outcome. Our time here is fleeting, yet our time with Christ is eternal. Let us hold fast to the promises of the truth of God’s word as we march forward into 2015.

 

Most blessed are those,IMG_0653
invited to come;
to the wedding feast,
to sup with the Son.
Those who love the Lord,
to the end of days;
steadfast in His truth,
and faithful always.
Not by our own strength,
but trusting in His;
loving as we’re loved,
doing as He says.
The Lord is so good,
and great His reward;
for all who trust Him,
and walk in accord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite what we see around us, the outcome has already been determined and the battle, already won! Thank You that You receive us as we are when we come to You, and You claim us as Your own. Thank You that You are faithful and true, and that You grow us in understanding as we seek to know You more. Thank You that regardless of what this life holds, our eternity will be beyond blessed. Thank You that we have the blessing of Your presence in the here and now, as well as the promises of what is yet to come. Forgive us for losing sight of both. Teach us to trust You more, so that we live each day with an eternal perspective. Lead us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in the coming year. Be glorified Lord God, as we go forth operating in the gifts that You have granted us, living with an eternal perspective. Amen.

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

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5a


He is the King

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. – (John 18:37)

 

Though Pilate recognized the truth about Jesus, he chose to reject the truth that stood before him for the sake of pleasing the masses. Many find themselves at a similar crossroad at Christmas. They hear the truth of who Christ is, and must decide to either receive and embrace the truth, or to reject the Redeemer before them, for the sake of upholding sin and selfishness. As believers, we must model a life lived for Christ. If His love does not clearly flow through us, what possible appeal will the truth hold for those who know Him not? May we be vessels of His light and love unto the world, and may many come to embrace the truth of who Christ is this Christmas.

 

Though many have heard,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

they have not embraced;

the mercy of Christ,

as sin He erased.

Jesus is much more,

than infant domain;

He’s the Mighty King,

from His throne, He reigns.

May each seeking heart,

hear the truth, made plain;

and receive the Lord,

to come rule and reign.

Let each heart who knows,

go forth and love well;

shining light and life,

may our lives truth tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that regardless of a person’s decision to accept or reject the truth, the truth remains. Thank You that You are the King. Thank You that You came into the world to testify the truth so that all might come to know You. Forgive us for not embracing the truth we know, or for neglecting to stand firm in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we completely rely on You. May we trust the truth, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may be directed to embrace the truth that is found in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we live and love in such a way, that the truth we embrace is evident. 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


Hold Fast to Truth

“If you hold to My teaching you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31b-32)

 

Jesus is the truth that sets us free from the sin and deception that seek to entangle us. When we commit our lives to Christ, and invest our hearts and minds into learning Who He is, we are considered His disciples. However, we must not simply be readers of His word, but also doers of His word. Disciples display faith in action. As freedom is found and truth is made known, our lives should actively reflect His presence in us. May we embrace His teachings so that we know the truth, and walk boldly in the freedom that Christ bestows upon His beloved.

 

Let us each hold fast,His Mighty Power

to God’s Holy Word;

where the truth is found,

and freedom is heard.

When we choose embrace,

the teachings of Christ;

we must also move,

model a changed life.

The truth that we know,

should be evident;

in how we go forth,

in Christ, we’re content.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek to know You, we find You. Thank You that You reveal Yourself to us, and set us free from the sin and deception that entangle us. Thank You that equip and empower us to do Your will, as we actively seek You. Forgive us for not investing in our relationship with You, or for not holding fast to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be quick to hold fast to all that You have promised, no matter how things appear. Lead us to be faithful doers and not mere talkers. Help us to love others as You so abundantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this season, as they encounter the truth of who You are, and what You have done for them, individually. Be exalted O God, as we actively reflect Your presence in us. 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


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