Cling to Christ

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. – (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins. – (1 Timothy 1:19, ERV)

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. – (1 Timothy 1:19, TLB)

 

To cling tightly to our faith in Christ, we must walk in His way and do His will. This is made possible through trust and keeping our own conscience clear. One of the greatest obstacles to doing right is the tendency to hold onto unforgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. When we harbor bitterness toward others, there is no love to give. Our charge is to release offenses to Him and choose to forgive. That does not mean that we neglect nor ignore harm, but rather allow vindication to be His. When there is a grievance that demands intervention – be it the law, a pastor, a leader, parent or person who can intervene, then we ought to access the appropriate channels to allow the authority over them to determine what is just. For us, we need to seek the Lord to reach a space where we release the wrong and pray for their ultimate good. With offenses, much of the time there is no intent to cause harm. Rather, it is the “offender” caught up in their own “stuff”, completely unaware that they have caused some sort of turmoil in the recipient. A great way to combat being easily offended is to assume positive intent. Often a mere glimpse of what is going on leads to ugly assumptions, rather than recognition that there is far more to the story, and nothing that is done in our direction is intended for harm.  May we be unoffendable with the small stuff, and quick to seek understanding when it is something that we struggle to release. Let us depend on the Lord for wisdom and strength so that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

 

Let us above all, The Favor of Forgiveness

Cling to Christ, our Lord;

Trust in His wisdom,

And grace He affords.

For we are each called,

To love and forgive;

Depend on the Lord,

And strength that He gives.

Just as we forgive,

God will forgive us;

Let’s lavish with grace,

Granted by Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to cling to You and Your word. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in all things, if only we willingly seek You. Thank You that You call us to keep short accounts, as releasing offenses prevents barriers from being built – both in our heart and between us and others. Forgive us for the times that we have not clung to our faith and have allowed the words or actions of others to offend us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would assume positive intent when it is small, and wisdom to know what do when it is something that causes harm. Show us how to love and forgive those around us, so that they too may come to understand Your glorious grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to our faith and keep our conscience clear by coming before You with all things first. Amen.

 

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

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8

To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. Amen. 

 

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Let It Be Yes

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever we are meant to go. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Our Source of Inner Strength

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. – (Ephesians 3:16-17, NLT)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. – (Ephesians 3:16-17, ERV)

 

Though physical training is beneficial to our bodies, and external strength can serve us well; far greater still is when we gain strength within from the Holy Spirit whom resides in the hearts of all who trust in Him. A life lived strong is one that is built on the love of Christ, and then lived out accordingly. May we invest our hearts and lives in the Lord so that would be a people deep-rooted in the love of God, and able to extend love through the strength He has grown within us.

 

When we seek the Lord,Living a Legacy Life

He does hear our prayer;

Granting our hearts strength,

As we choose draw near.

He’ll enter our hearts,

Where He shall remain;

Planting our roots deep,

Making our path plain.

Though the Lord has all,

In love, chooses you;

Makes your heart His home,

And grants strength anew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You empower us internally with Your strength, so that we may trust in You and love others as You love us. Thank You that You make our hearts Your home when we invite You to enter in. Forgive us for attempting to rely on any strength other than that which comes from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things, allowing You to lead and guide us every step we take. Show us how to allow You to grow our roots deeper in You, so that we may be strong and steady in the truth. Help us to love others as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to be our Source of strength, and the One on whom we depend. 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

Wise Builders

“Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, ERV)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the wind beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, NLT)

 

The foundation on which we build our lives, matters. If we seek the Lord and pursue understanding as we walk in obedience to His ways, we establish the foundation of who we are in Him, who cannot be shaken. Though storms will come, as they inevitably do, when we are firmly rooted in Christ, even the scariest of storms may shake us, but it will not destroy us. He upholds us through the wind and waves, and grants us safety in the storm. Christ keeps us and cares for us, despite the seemingly destructive force around us. May we listen to His voice and obey all He asks, as His word and His way are the foundation that set our lives secure to withstand every storm.

 

True wisdom displayed,

is through how we build;The Word of God

our true foundation,

where our hearts get filled.

If we seek the Lord,

pursuing His ways;

we won’t be shaken,

on the stormy days.

For our God remains,

steadfast and secure;

true place of safety,

when all is unsure.

Let our hearts delight,

in Christ we can trust;

in Him we’ll remain,

marked as God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we build our lives listening and obeying You, we have a firm foundation that will not fall when the storms of life come our way. Thank You that You are God with us, when all is being tossed and turned about. Thank You that You keep us steady and secure, regardless of what is going on around us. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and fixing our gaze on the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the storm and recognize that it is simply another opportunity to see Your mighty power at work in us and around us as You lead us through it. Show us how to love others well, as they feel stranded in their own storms. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen and obey what You have to say, so that we establish a firm foundation in You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Where Roots Grow, Thankfulness Shall Overflow

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

(Be) rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, NIV)

Where we choose to be planted, roots will grow. When we invest our hearts and lives in Christ, He grows His truth deep within us, and we become firmly established. With each new bud of strength that grows, so too, does our gratitude. As we allow Christ to strengthen us further in our faith in Him, thankfulness begins to overflow from our whole being. We cannot help but burst forth blooms of thanks, when our roots run deep in His love. May we allow our hearts and minds to be rooted and built up in Christ, as He strengthens us in the truth; and may we allow thankfulness to freely flow from our hearts as we notice the grace that God continually gives.

Deep rooted in Christ,Bloom Where We're Planted

is the place to grow;

firmly established,

where His truth we know.

Here we are strengthened,

by His love and grace;

may thanks overflow,

as we give God praise.

Let both heart and mind,

hold fast to the truth;

all thanks be to Him,

Who builds up, makes new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invest our hearts and minds in You and Your word, we are rooted and built up in You. Thank You that You strength us in faith and fill our hearts to overflowing with thankfulness. Forgive us for not investing all that we are into who You are calling us to become, or for not giving proper thanks where it is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will surrender all that we are unto You. Make us more of who You created us to become, and help our hearts to overflow with gratitude for who You are and all that You have done and continue to do. Lead us to love others so that they may see Your heart for them through how they are cared for through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are rooted and built up in You, strengthened in the faith as You have taught us, and allow our hearts to overflow with thankfulness. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28