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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “society

He Seeks to Save

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. – (Luke 19:10)

 

Jesus broke down every barrier of expectation that people had for the coming Messiah. They expected One who was high and lifted up, to come in power, and claim what was rightfully His. Instead, Christ came as a humble servant, One who came close to the sick, the sinners, and those whom society deemed unworthy and lost. Jesus sought out the seeking, and they were found by Him.

 

Christ continues to come close to the seeking today. He does not have a checklist of qualifications required in order for us to draw near, rather He longs for us to choose Him, to invite Him in, and allow Him access to our life and our heart. Jesus alone, will bring about the necessary changes, we need only allow Him access, followed by willing obedience to that which He asks of us. May we go forth in our sweet salvation, and share His hope with those who are still in search of Him.

 

Humbly He entered,He Seeks to Save

by lowly a birth;

no pompous fanfare,

when He came to earth.

Born in a stable,

announced by a star;

worshipped by angels,

wise men from afar.

The nearby shepherds,

were stricken by fear;

when angels proclaimed,

that Christ had come near.

The Savior, He grew,

wise and without sin;

it took many years,

for His call begin.

He healed the broken,

and touched the disdained;

showed that there’s new life,

and washed away stains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that was approachable, reachable and touchable. Thank You that You came near, rather that remaining God out there. Thank You Jesus, that You came and made the way for us to seek You and find You forever. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we are found by You. Thank You that You love and forgive and grant us new life in You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not give glory unto You. Help us to live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that brings salvation to the seeker. Be glorified through our every word, act, and deed today, Lord God. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

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The Basis for Truth

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.” – (John 18:38)

 

Pontius Pilate was no different from much of the world at large today. He believed truth was relative to whatever the majority of people agreed to, or whatever helped to advance his own political or personal agenda. “When there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong. Justice becomes whatever works or whatever helps those in power. In Jesus and His Word we have a standard for truth and for our moral behavior.” – (NIV footnotes for John 18:38)

 

Without Jesus, we become a society that slips further and further in our own moral decay. Countless examples are present in the Old Testament of kings who ceased to follow God’s way. For each of the kings that did evil in the sight of the Lord, warnings and prophesies were presented. If the warnings were not heeded, destruction surely followed. May we be a people pursuing His path of truth. Jesus is the truth and the light, and in Him there is no darkness. Let us fix our eyes on the Author and finisher of our faith, so that we may run our race with endurance.

 

There’s only one truth,Tending Our Talents

found in the Lord’s Word;

receive nothing else,

as truth to be heard.

For all must agree,

with what the Lord says;

for if it does not,

the words are not His.

Invest in learning,

the biblical facts;

be wise and weary,

of twisted attacks.

There’s only one right,

it’s following Christ;

He opened the way,

with His sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Truth, the Life and the Way. Thank You that we can come to You, and You have made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and for demonstrating Your power as You defeated death. Thank You that You grant the very same power to dwell in each of us when we choose to trust in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we have access to the truth and can study and learn more of who You are and what You ask of us. Forgive us for not investing in Your word, or not quieting ourselves before You to allow You to speak that which You want us to hear. Teach us, instruct us, and lead us in every area of our lives. May we go forth as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of You and the truth, and may we love others as You so lavishly love us. Let those who are looking, come to know the Truth. Be exalted, Lord God, in everything we do today. Amen.

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

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


Protecting Our Priorities

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,Protecting Our Priorities

invested in Christ;

chooses to make,

Him first place in life.

Seeks not to save,

temporary things;

gladly gives all,

to honor the King.

Releases reigns,

submits all control;

to One worthy,

our God to extol.

All that is lost,

consider a gain;

eternity –

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


Obeying God First

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,Obeying God First

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,

obedient choice.

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


Retaining Joy


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 Holy
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.


Adam Smith — A Man who Saw the Future

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


Faith in the Face of Tragedy

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.

LIFE

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…..