Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Trust the Transformation

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

We are bombarded by information, images and messages that compete for control of our hearts and minds. The influences of the world would have us believe that we must have more, do more and be more. God tells us that we are enough in Him. When we slow down and tune our ears and hearts to His voice, the message we receive is far different. The words the Lord speaks give life and hope and help, drawing us closer to Him, where we may find rest in the very presence of our Creator. Yes, there are some things that we have to do for our jobs, families, and so forth, yet in Christ, we find strength and help and hope that there is more than the mundane of “doing time”. He establishes purpose in all that we do and gives us eyes to see small things that we can do each day. May we stay true to who God has created us to be, and allow Him to be the one to transform us more and more into people who are refined and renewed and ready to do His will.

 

Do not change yourselves, not-defined-by-a-day

To be like the world;

Instead, allow God,

Show His path preferred.

For when we allow,

God on the inside;

He shows us what’s good,

And how to abide.

Let us seek the Lord,

Learn His perfect will;

Be ever renewed,

Find rest and be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but rather we can seek You and allow You to transform us to be more like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we learn Your will for us, which is good and pleasing before You. Forgive us for folding to the ways of the world, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your ways and do Your will, even when it does not make sense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing before You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let You transform us into the person that You have created us to become. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Learn to Live a Life of Love

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

 

As God’s children, we are called to go forth and love others as we are loved. The love that we are shown is patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, perseverant and will never fail. Though we are human, and our capacity to carry this out perfectly will fall flat, in Christ, we are equipped and empowered to love like He loves us. We become like the company we keep, so if we are keeping company with Christ, our capacity to love as He loves grows greater. Our hearts become aligned with His, and we more readily recognize His will and how to walk in the light of His love. May we aspire to imitate God our Father, and live our lives filled with love in a way that is pleasing before Him.

 

To learn to love well,Enter With Thanksgiving

We need only seek;

Our Lord God above,

Love is how He speaks.

As His dear children,

He shows us the way;

To love with our lives,

For all of our days.

As we look to Christ,

Who made love so clear;

May we do likewise,

So all know He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do as You have done for us, so that others too, may come to know the power of Your great love. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You show us how to follow the example that Christ set before us, and You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not living a life of love as You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would imitate You and Your love in EVERYTHING that we do, because we are Your children. Let our lives speak volumes without our lips having to speak a single word. Show us how to love those around us in a way that pleases You and draws them unto Yourself. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we imitate You in all that we do, through living a life filled with love. 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

Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. 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

Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

 

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

 

So often, actions speak louder than words. Many people are only ready and willing to hear what we have to say, after they have witnessed consistently faithful behavior over time. As God is made evident through our ongoing outpouring of self, it is then that people become curious and want to know why. Questions are asked and answers are discovered. Opportunities are created where they had never been before. Additionally, when we are consistent in our faithful walk with the Lord, and our actions are an ongoing reflection of such, people know that if a slanderous statement is made – they see it for what it is – a lie. His truth reigns and we are beyond reproach when we commit our lives to serving Him.

 

Choose to do God’s will,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

our actions be true;

abiding in Christ,

as He makes us new.

Doing what is good,

hushes foolish men;

as the Lord desires,

truth shines forth again.

We pour out our hearts,

generously give;

He lets His light shine,

so more loved ones live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and protecting us and our reputation. Thank You that as we do Your will, You allow our actions to speak on our behalf, silencing those who might speak untruth against us. Thank You too, that You utilize our obedience to open opportunities to share with those who do not yet know You. Forgive us for our inactivity when You have called us to action, and help us to step out faithfully – trusting You to be our strength every step of the way. May we make the most of every opportunity You present us with to share of Your goodness and faithfulness, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we do all things in Your love. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

Reflect His Radiance

After spending time in the presence of God, there was external evidence of the internal exchange that had occurred in the heart of Moses.  “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.  When Aaron and the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.  But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.” – (Exodus 34:29-31)  The time Moses had spent in the Lord’s presence had been so powerful, that his very countenance reflected the radiance of God!

How are we changed after spending time in His presence?  Can people see an outward expression of an inward change?  Our faces do not have to glow with God’s glory, to demonstrate an internal difference that people can see.  The kindness we extend to others, our ability to offer mercy and grace, even when none is deserved – these are opportunities to reflect His radiance, and draw others into the light of His love.  Often, it is without ever saying a word, but rather with how we act or react, that we most clearly demonstrate an internal difference.  Ultimately, the difference displayed in our behavior, opens opportunities for discussion.  God creates the openings, we just have to be willing and available to move as He asks.

Time with the Lord,Reflect His Radiance

leads to a vast change;

inside to out,

great holy exchange.

Intentional,

to listen and pray;

worship and read,

give honor each day.

As we choose Him,

our hearts will be changed;

difference seen,

a life rearranged.

Glory given,

to Him, who it’s due;

as His light shines,

and we are made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we spend time in Your presence, we cannot help but be changed from the inside out.  May we embrace Your grace and allow You access to all, so that Your radiance may be seen in us.  Forgive us for neglecting to make You our priority, or for not slowing down to listen as life becomes chaotic.  Help us to turn to You in all things and at all times, trusting and relying completely on You.  Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust, and that in You, the impossible is made possible.  May we go forth in Your love, allowing Your light to be seen through us.  May many come to know You as Lord and King, and may they embrace the peace that Your grace brings.  Be glorified, Lord God.  Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. 

– Psalm 69:16

Mercy Shall Reign

This morning Cautious and I had an interesting conversation about forgiveness and a kid who is often unkind at school.  Five of his six classes are shared with this young man, and daily, his heart is challenged to forgive.  Cautious is a serious rule follower, and he is very disturbed by the number of disruptions caused each day by this boy’s behavior.  We spoke of my favorite strategy, to pray for those who persecute (or perturb), and ask to see one another through God’s eyes.  Soon, his sweet demeanor returned, as he realized that he too, has been forgiven much, and is blessed with love and support that surrounds him.

We cannot do anything to be more deserving of God’s grace than another.  It is not earned by being good enough.  However, when we recognize just how great the gift truly is, we cannot help but be compelled to give as we have been given.  The magnitude of God’s mercy extended to all who believe, is beyond what one heart can hold.  Not only does He withhold the punishment that is due – death; but He gives far beyond what we could ever hope for on our own, as He took our place on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him.

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” – (Romans 4:7-8)

Grace gives what we can never get.Mercy Shall Reign

Mercy withholds His judgment net.

Love extends His kindnesses still.

Faithfulness with hope He will fill.

Peace because His mercy shall reign.

Praise to Him who removes our stains.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we do not deserve it, You forgive us and love us as we are.  Thank You that when we ask, You remove our sin and shame, and no longer count it against us.  Lord, we need Your grace and strength to do the same to others, as on our own, we fail miserably.  We know that we must forgive as we are forgiven.  Please forgive us for any unforgiveness we are holding, or any bitterness that may linger.  Cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and help us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may extend Your love, grace and mercy to all.  May many come to know You, as they see You in our ability to forgive and extend the very same grace that has been given to us.  Be glorified as we offer all that we are, unto You.  Amen.

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