The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

To Know Love

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:19, ERV)

I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God. – (Ephesians 3:19, CEB)

 

When we know and begin to understand the depth and breadth of Christ’s love for us, we become equipped to go and love likewise. The space within us that felt as if something were missing, becomes filled with the fullness of God. His light and life and love make us complete, empowering us to go forth and give as we have been given. So often, God makes His love tangible through the people whom He has placed in our lives, and in turn, utilizes the willing to do the same for others. May we each experience the love of Christ in a new way, so that we might gain a greater grasp on the magnitude of His magnificent love for us all and go forth to love likewise.

 

The greatest of loves, Purposeful Prayer

That’s ever been known;

Comes to us from Christ,

Through sacrifice shown.

Our hearts cannot grasp,

How deep and how wide;

The love of the Lord,

A faithful life guide.

It is by His grace,

That He shall make known;

The fullness of life,

Through His great love shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your heart is for us to experience and come to know the fullness of Your love and the life and power that come from knowing You. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You when love feels far from us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find the fullness of all that You have for us. Show us how to love others well, so they may experience and understand more of who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to know and understand more and more of the fullness of Your love so that we may go out and love like You. 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

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

I tell myself, you can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, CEB)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

Seemingly small things seek to steal our peace and keep our hearts from finding rest if we allow the challenges before us to determine our state of being. God is good and brings blessings in the midst of our challenges, we need only open our eyes and hearts to be aware of His goodness toward us. As we recognize how He is moving on our behalf, despite difficulties we face, we can relax and rest in God. When things are most challenging, we need to remind ourselves to rest in He who grants us peace. May we ever seek the Lord to soothe our souls, for He is always good.

 

Return to your rest, Our Map and Our Guide

O chaotic soul;

For God is our peace,

The One who makes whole.

He is always good,

Grants blessings and peace;

As we turn to Him,

His rest He’ll release.

Blessings He pours out,

Through His loving grace;

So let us seek Him,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our rest comes from You. Thank You that You shower us with Your blessings because You are good. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate whether or not we find rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find rest in You no matter what we are walking through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends peace and rest to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we return to Your rest and give You thanks for Your overwhelming goodness. 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

Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love you. – (John 13:34, ERV) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. 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

His Peace to Pass On

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know the plans I have in mind for you,” declares the Lord; “They are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, CEB)

 

In my personal life, I have watched as God has brought beauty from ashes and is leading me forward into so much good. My hope is secure and I know He has my future in His hands. However, professionally, it is difficult to see the future and hope that lies before us, considering the direction that education seems to be going. With school shootings and violence on the rise, and fear among students, staff and families elevating at an equally alarming rate, I have to look at the promise presented in God’s word and trust that it is true, even when I cannot see His hand at work. His plans are for peace and not disaster… The same God who set captives free, parted the Red Sea, healed the blind, the broken and raised the dead, can meet us where we are in our current mess and bring peace and hope for the future. May we set our eyes on the One who is our solution and seek His peace to pass on to those around us.

 

The plans of the Lord, Quiet Hope

Are always for good;

To grant future hope,

His grace understood.

He does not plan harm,

Though bad’s in the world;

He has overcome,

Hope He shall instill.

So, look to the Lord,

Where our hope is found;

Seek His direction,

For the path that’s sound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for us that grant us a future and a hope. Thank You that Your plans are for peace, not disaster, despite what we see around us. Forgive us for allowing what we see with human eyes to dictate how much hope we permit our hearts to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to Your promise of plans for peace that give us a future filled with hope. Show us how to love others in a way that extends hope and promotes peace in places where chaos seems to reign. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your plans because You are always good. 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

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)

Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Matthew 7:7-8, ERV)

 

In this passage, Jesus was reminding His followers to be persistent in their pursuit of God. Just because we don’t see answers right away, does not mean that we are to give up and let go of the very thing we are asking. Often it is a matter of us continuing to seek faithfully, trusting that the One whom we seek, hears and will answer in His perfect timing. God is never late, yet again and again, we grow impatient and quit asking or seeking before He is done developing our resolve to persevere. This is where being rooted in the body is so important. We can come alongside one another and encourage each other to continue in our quest for answers, wisdom and open doors. May we rise up with resolve to keep asking, searching, seeking and knocking, so that we may continue to find direction and answers according to His good and perfect will.

 

We must first choose ask, Asking for Amazing Answers

For answers to come;

Our God is faithful,

The All-Knowing One.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord we shall find;

He’s always ready,

With our hearts in mind.

When we choose to knock,

He opens new doors;

Shows us the new paths,

We’re meant to explore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we ask, You hear our prayers and provide answers. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to open new doors as we knock, and make Yourself known in our pursuit of You. Forgive us for not persevering in our quest to discover more of You – be it answers, wisdom or direction for our lives. Teach us to trust You in the process, so that we will persevere, no matter how long it takes to discover the answers we seek. Show us how to love and come alongside those who are in need of knowing You or Your will, so that we may encourage and lift one another up to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask, seek and knock all of our days, so that we may always pursue the path that follows Your ways. 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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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

Value Everyone

Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NLT)

Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers. – (1 Peter 2:17, TPT)

Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. – (1 Peter 2:17, MSG)

 

Considering the climate within our country right now, this is a very timely verse. If we each could recognize the value of one another, regardless of what is perceived, there would be far less tension and more movement toward solutions. The church is not exempt from the struggle. The body of believers is called to love one another. If we all choose to love, then our primary mode of operation should be to seek to understand first. In all things, we are called to live in reverence of God. When we remember Who ultimately is in control, our priorities and perspectives begin to align with His, and love flavors all that we say and do. Finally, we are called to respect the governing body. How do we do this? There are so many conflicting views and opposing opinions, how are we supposed to honor and respect that which seems so unreal? For me, the best way I know to do this is to choose to pray. Pray for wisdom and insight for those who are in positions of leadership. I do not have to agree with who is in position, nor what their position is to pray for them to lead well and make decisions that are best for our city, state, or country. May we ever rise up and recognize the value of every person on this planet that has been placed here by the most holy God. Let us live in reverence of Him as we treat others with dignity and choose to love.

 

For we each are called, Show the Love

look and recognize;

The value of all,

To see through God’s eyes.

Among believers,

We’re meant to love well;

To be family,

God’s story to tell.

To honor rulers,

Let us choose to pray;

For wisdom to lead,

The very best way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to give us the strength and grace to do. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You loved us. Thank You that when we choose to respect and love those around us, You break down barriers and make a way for Your light to shine where darkness once reigned. Thank You too, that You work in ways that we cannot see and can use leaders that we don’t understand to do things for eventual good. Forgive us for not choosing love and respect for others when that is what we are called to do, regardless of what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend Your love and grace to all whom we encounter, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love like You, so that barriers are broken down and Your peace may prevail. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to value everyone and love as You love us. 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

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. 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

Loyal to Listen

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, NLT)

You must only follow the Lord your God. Respect Him. Obey His commands and do what He tells you. Serve the Lord your God and never leave Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, ERV)

Remain loyal to Him! Fear Him and obey His commands. Listen to His voice. Worship Him alone. Be fervently devoted to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, VOICE)

 

We are called to love God and love people. If all that we say and do is filtered through the lens of that love, then we are being obedient to God and serving Him according to His commands. In order to love well, we must listen to His voice, and spend intentional time with Him. Just as we cannot possibly know a friend, family member or potential life partner without intentional time spent together, the same is true with the Lord. To walk in His ways and give proper praise, we need to know whom we serve. Let us seek the Lord with intention, so that we may know His voice and walk in His ways, serving Him alone, for all of our days.

 

Let us choose to serve, Anxious for Answers

Our great God alone;

Obey His commands,

Make our heart His home.

As we hear His voice,

And cling to His word;

Devotion’s made known,

As love’s felt and heard.

So, cling to the Lord,

Fear our God alone;

He’s ever faithful,

Choose Love as your own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God to whom we can cling. Thank You that when we are faithful to You, Your presence is with us and will never leave us. Thank You that as we are called to walk in Your way and do Your will, You equip and strengthen us to do that which You ask. Forgive us for lacking trust to go forward in that which You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey, clinging to You, as You are trustworthy and our Source in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, so that all might rise up and move in the direction for which they have been created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow and obey You for all of our days. 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