Treasured Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, ERV)

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us – cracked pots made of earth and clay – so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, VOICE)

 

The treasure is Jesus within us, and through His presence, we are empowered to love as He loves us. I love the imagery of people as jars of clay, for each of us are molded and shaped to hold Him in our hearts, capable of pouring out to all whom we encounter. Ordinary people can live extraordinary lives through that which is within them. God’s heart, His power and His love, are made known as we choose to pour out from the spaces that we have invested to fill. Incredibly, the more we seek the Lord and choose to love, the more we have to pour out to those around us. May we ever invest in our relationship with our Redeemer, who fills us and makes His goodness known through us, His jars of clay, created to contain the treasure of His power, grace and love for the world.

Yesterday, Micah and I caught up with Mom on the phone as we were running an errand. She sounded good, and was eager to hear about the weekend adventures we each had, and pass on congratulations to the newest driver in our household. Later in the evening my sister and I did a bit of texting back and forth, and I was actually able to go back through old messages and find Mom’s occupational therapist from Wenatchee to contact for needed information in Albany. I reached out to Larissa, and she responded rapidly. Hopefully, the information provided will help expedite the in-home therapy hang-up, as I know it has been frustrating for all. Please pray for my sister, as I imagine she is wearing the weight on her shoulders. Her job is insanely busy, her boys have crazy busy schedules, my brother-in-love’s work schedule often requires him to travel and work insane hours, and Meg is the cog that keeps the machine running. She deserves a cape or a crown, but truly, I know prayers are coveted.

 

The power of God, Treasured Jars of Clay

That shines from the stars;

Dwells also in us,

Broken, earthen jars.

Jars are containers,

Ready to outpour;

Let us make love known,

For His love restores.

The treasure we hold,

Is in us to share;

Lord, lead us in grace,

Always, everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be vessels to receive and in turn pour out the treasures of Your love, goodness and grace to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have placed a lid on our jar, preventing either the receiving or the outpouring of all that You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain open vessels. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and invite You to fill us again and again, so that we may go forth and pour into the lives of those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

 

 

Setting Sight on Unseen

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)

So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see only lasts a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, ERV)

So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, VOICE)

 

Although the struggles we face in the here and now can often feel unending, they are but the blink of an eye, in comparison to all of eternity. Our hope is held not in what we see right now, but rather in the hope we know through Christ. What we have in Christ is eternal, and His promises and goodness do not end. The troubles of this life will all one day pass away, but the love and grace of God will remain. Heaven awaits all who trust in Him, and the sweetness of what our Savior has prepared for us, far surpasses anything that we can even begin to imagine. May we hold fast to the hope that our hearts know but do not yet see, and release that which we cannot control in the here and now. Let every heart focus on the Eternal, rather than that which is fleeting and will soon fade away.

 

Let’s not fix our eyes,Marvelously Made

on what comes today;

but rather look up,

ahead to hope’s stay.

For what we see now,

will soon fade away;

but what is not seen,

will last for always.

The Lord is our hope,

in Him we can trust;

all our tomorrows,

for He’s God with us.

What He has prepared,

far greater than this;

look not to what’s now,

trust in being His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not focus on what is seen, but rather on that which is not. Thank You that our hope is held in the truth that we know in You, not in what we see and experience in the here and now. Thank You that all the trials will one day fade away, and what awaits forever, far outweighs any struggles that we face today. Forgive us for not maintaining an eternal perspective when we face trials of any kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the hope that we know we have forever in You. Lead us to lay down our burdens at Your feet, allowing You to carry the things that we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love one another in such a way, that others too, may see with their hearts, rather than merely what their eyes view in the present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen with our eyes, but rather must be felt with a faithful heart. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Do Not Lose Heart

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – (2 Corinthians 4:16)

 

We are called to keep our faith, despite how things appear. Though our circumstances or the outward appearance may be grim, Christ is moving, strengthening, and fighting on our behalf. On this sacred Saturday, when so many years ago the world stood in silence, likely having lost hope and heart when all their dreams seemed to have been dashed, our precious Savior had hung upon the cross and was carried to the tomb. What no one could see was the work beyond the grave. The plan was already in place. Despite all seeming silence, life would soon burst forth from that very tomb. In one more day, what had been seemingly lost, would be realized in a way far more powerful than any of the disciples had ever imagined.

 

Each of us has the very same power at work in us, right now. Regardless of our external circumstances, Christ within, is renewing, strengthening, and preparing us for all that is yet to come. We need not lose heart, for He is at work and His plans for us our good. May we rise up and be ready for the life He is preparing to bring forth, as we trust in Him.

 

Therefore, lose not heart,Do Not Lose Heart

dear one, don’t dismay;

despite how all looks,

the Lord makes a way.

He renews with strength,

to press on each day;

refreshes weary,

beside us He’ll stay.

Even when trials,

cause wasting away;

His power’s perfect,

enough for each day.

Keep looking to Christ,

the truth and the way;

His peace and presence,

made known as we pray.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not lose heart when outward appearances seem grim. Thank You that You strengthen and renew us daily, and You provide what is needed for each new day. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things get difficult or our lack of trust when we cannot see a possible solution in sight. Teach us to trust You for our every need, and help us to know Your provision and renewing in tangible way. Lead us to love others without reservation, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified as we keep heart and trust in Your renewal and provision daily. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Refuse to Lose Heart

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – (2 Corinthians 4:16)

 

It is easy to want to walk away when the going gets tough. However, it is in our times of challenge, that Christ provides His strength and meets us in our weakness and spaces of lack, to demonstrate just how great He is. As we learn to lean into the Lord, He supplies the strength to sustain us, even where we have none. Christ fortifies our faith, when we seek Him in our struggles.

 

Allow not our hearts,Refuse to Lose Heart

to choose be dismayed;

for when trials come,

Christ’s strength is displayed.

Whatever we lack,

the Lord is enough;

when we are weakest,

the Spirit is tough.

In our time of need,

His strength He’ll supply;

if we seek His face,

and on Him rely.

As we choose to trust,

the Lord shall renew;

our Help and our Hope,

He’s faithful and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen and renew us when we are struggling and weak. Thank You that it has nothing to do with our ability, and everything to do with Your love for us, Your created. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You are faithful to provide help and hope. Forgive us for allowing despair to dominate when trials and tribulations try to take us out. Help us to hold fast to Your promises, and trust in Your unfailing love that will see us through until the day we see You face-to-face. Be our strength and our hope and our song, I pray. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your strength in our struggles, so that we may continue to stand strong in You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Benefits of Suffering

Trials and troubles touch the lives of everyone, eventually. Often, when the struggles squeeze, people begin to wonder why. Though I know not all the answers, I appreciate the footnotes found for 2 Corinthians 4:17  that speak of the following benefits of our suffering: (1) They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate His power.

 

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

 

Not only should we recognize the opportunities presented in our suffering, but also on the One in whom we are to place our hope. Though the trial before us may seem insurmountable, if we hold an eternal perspective, we may hold fast to the hope that it will not last forever; and He Who is in us, is far greater than that which lies before us. Additionally, God can utilize our perseverance and persistent pressing into Him, to present the truth of who He is to others, in the midst of our trials. His faithfulness will be made evident to all who are around us, as we are dependent on Him.

 

When the troubles come,Benefits of Suffering

no need wonder why;

rather seek the Lord,

He will hear our cry.

He suffered for us,

our trials are known;

His presence remains,

for we are His own.

Trials fend off pride,

keep us seeking grace;

make known our own need,

to find the Lord’s face.

Reminders we’re not,

in our final home;

and our present pains,

make us long to go.

Our faithful pursuit,

of God in the press;

leads others to see,

the Lord’s tenderness.

So seek the unseen,

rather than what is;

for true treasure lies,

where we are called His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use every struggle and trial to grow us in Your grace, and demonstrate Your love and faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of endurance and trust in the trials, and help us to persevere by Your Spirit, and be aware of Your presence, so that we may be a living testimony of Your faithfulness in both the trial and the times of peace. Teach us to be completely dependent on You, and show us how to fix our eyes on that which is unseen. Lead us to love as we are loved. May many be moved to follow You, as they see Your faithfulness in our lives. Be glorified as we faithfully follow You today, Lord, God. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Infallible Focus

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

image by James Lindly

image by James Lindly

Trials and troubles
will surely come near,
yet our hope’s not held,
in what we see or hear.
So do not lose heart,
and rise up in faith,
we’re being renewed,
by unending grace.
The trials we face,
may seem very great,
next to future hope;
let’s endure the wait.
May we fix our eyes
on our forever,
as our faith in Him,
will fail us, NEVER.Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even the most difficult trial we face or obstacle we have to overcome, are but a blink of an eye in comparison to our promised eternity with You. Please help us to keep proper perspective when troubles come, and help our default response be to depend completely upon You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to get wrapped up in the struggles of this life, and lead us to see things through Your lens. May we gain an eternal perspective so that we are quick to recognize that the only things that truly matter, are those that deepen our walk with You, or that lead those who know You not, into an place where they too, may receive Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Pressed, Not Crushed

image by Melanie L. Hall

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t been broken.” – (The Message)

In this second letter that Paul sent to the church in Corinth, he acknowledges the struggles, and submits to them that the strength in the suffering is supplied only by our Savior.  “Paul reminds us that though we may think we are at the end of the rope, we are never at the end of hope.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

Because Jesus took all sin and suffering upon Himself for our sake on the cross, He provided the way for us not only to be covered and called clean, but He also sent His Spirit to dwell in us and provide the strength and encouragement we need to press on to the prize of our heavenly home.  This life is not our end.  We either choose Him and have the hope of heaven in our hearts, or we choose self, submit to sin, and secure our space in eternal suffering and separation from our Savior.

Life is not always easy, but it is worth living when the light of Love lives in us, and leads us tenderly through the trials.  Death has no victory when the light of Christ lives in us.  Regardless of what happens here, we have the promised hope of eternal presence with our Provider!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though things will come against us, we will not be overcome when our hope is held in You.  Forgive us for our fear that fights for footing when troubles come, and teach us how to stand triumphantly in You.  May our hope in You help others to see the safety and security supplied by You, our Heavenly Hope.  Help us to use each day to point the way, so that in You, the lost may be found.  Amen.

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