The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Our Way Maker

They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way. – (Luke 4:29-30, NIV)

They got up and forced Jesus to go out of town. Their town was built on a hill. They took Jesus to the edge of the hill to throw Him off. But He walked through the middle of the crowd and went away. – (Luke 4:29-30, ERV)

They mobbed Jesus and threw Him out of the city, dragging Him to the edge of the cliff on the hill on which the city had been built, ready to hurl Him off. But He walked right through the crowd, leaving them all stunned. – (Luke 4:29-30, TPT)

This scene transpired soon after Jesus had spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where He was led by the Spirit and tested by the devil. Jesus had gone to the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was raised, and stood before the crowd to read. At first, His message was well-received, but when He began to speak of how previous prophets were not sent to their own towns to do miraculous things, but rather called to cleanse and heal and provide for those whom the people of the time considered “less worthy”. The words He spoke riled up the crowd and they ran Him out of the synagogue and out to the edge of town, where they fully intended to throw Him off the cliff. Incredibly, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way to continue teaching and touching the lives of those wherever He went. 

As a visual person, the whole mob scene at the edge of a cliff leaves me in awe. Jesus didn’t panic or argue, He simply walked back out through the middle of the mob, unscathed, and free to go where He was called to go. It feels a bit like a “Jedi mind-trick”, as it says nothing of the crowds fighting Him or following Him. Jesus simply walked through where He needed to go, and He was on His way. This story reminds me that no matter how dismal or impossible things seem, if God has called us, He will make a way; whether it is parting a sea, clearing space through a crowd, or supplying all that we need to continue to move forward in that which He has called us to do. With Him, nothing is impossible. May we ever look to the Lord, who is the reason for this sacred season, as He is the One to supply our needs and pave a path that leads where we are meant to go.

A way in the desert,

This passage reminded me of this song. Be blessed as you listen to the truth of who God is.

Safety through the storms;

God’s power in weakness,

How hearts are transformed.

Nothing’s impossible,

As we trust in Him;

Our blessed Redeemer,

Heals and forgives sin.

Lord, help us to trust You,

In everything;

For we have Your Spirit,

And all that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You that by Your Spirit, nothing is impossible. Thank You that our perspective is not Yours. Forgive us for our limited vision, as we see but only a glimpse and think we understand the whole picture. Teach us to trust You, as You knew our whole story before it had even begun. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help us all see the strength, love and supply that You have for all who trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time, strength and supply into all that You call us to. Amen.

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

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

Heart Change

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. – (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive. – (Joel 2:13, CEB)

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath and puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. – (Joel 2:13, MSG)

 

When we stray from the path that God has placed before us, He wants a heart change that leads us back to where we were meant to go. God is patient and kind, merciful and loving; ready to forgive and redirect our steps when we go astray. Our part is to be tender to His leading, so that our hearts may be changed to more clearly reflect His own. This applies in every area of our lives, as God wants our whole heart, not just a portion. May we seek the Lord with tender hearts, ready to give Him room to move so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

 

God of compassion, Hold My Heart

We bring hearts to You;

Forgive each trespass,

Cleanse and make us new.

In love and kindness,

Lead us in Your way;

Help us extend grace,

And love much the same.

Grant us a clean heart,

That’s ready to serve;

To love as You love,

Mercy undeserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want external displays of remorse, but rather You desire hearts that turn to You, ready to repent and allow You room to cleanse and renew. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to earn our way back to grace when we have gone astray. Teach us to come to You with repentant hearts so that we may receive Your forgiveness and experience a true heart change. Show us how to love those around us a way that extends the very same goodness and grace to spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the forgiveness that You so readily offer when we come to You with a repentant heart. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Owning Our Iniquities

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – (1 John 1:9, NLT)

But if we own up to our sins, God shows us that He is faithful and just by forgiving all of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to forgive, if we are willing to come before Him and confess that which we have said, thought or done that does not bring honor to His Name. Every unkind thought, every reckless word uttered, and every decision that we make that is not based on loving God and loving people well – He will forgive, if we will choose to own our offenses before the Lord. Not only does He forgive, but Christ deems us righteous before Him, as we are purified from the pollution of our ruptured relationship. May we choose to confess our sins before Him, and trust in His faithfulness to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, so that we may exercise our existence covered in His goodness and grace.

 

If we will confess,Beside Still Waters

all that we have done;

before Jesus Christ,

the battle is won.

For in His Great Name,

we‘ll be forgiven;

if we go to God,

for our wrong living.

He takes all our sin,

and washes us clean;

impurities gone,

and His love is seen.

When we choose stay near,

in step with the Lord;

light and life made plain,

as grace is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we confess our sins before You, You are faithful and just to forgive us all of our unrighteousness – not because we deserve it, but because You love. Forgive us for not owning our iniquities to confess before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your still small voice and be quick to confess all that we think, say and do that does not give glory to You. Show us how to walk in forgiveness with others, just as we are forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the goodness that comes from a life lived in You. Be glorified O God, as we confess all of our sins before You and walk out our days free and forgiven from all that would keep us from honoring You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Come Boldly to the Throne

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

 

God is full of grace and mercy, ready for us to approach Him with both our offerings of praise and our requests. He receives our thanks and hears our appeals, and is grace, help and hope for hurting hearts. Through the loving sacrifice of Jesus, we are covered and seen as worthy to come boldly before the very throne of God. No longer do we have to perform sacrifices and pray lengthy prayers, but instead we can call on the Lord, who is as near as our next breath, and share our heart, our hurts, and our hopes. He hears, He sees, and He loves. His grace is ready and available for each of us, and is freely granted when we need it most. May we boldly come before our gracious God, trusting that we will receive His mercy and find His grace to help us in our time of need.

 

Come boldly before,Gentleness for the Weary

the throne of our God;

whose mercy and grace,

the heavens applaud.

For none can compare,

to what shall be found;

help that is granted,

and love that is sound.

All thanks be to God,

who gives what we need;

welcomes us draw near,

hungry hearts He feeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You let us come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy, grace and help when we need it most. Thank You that You are loving and approachable, always. Thank You that we do not need to “clean up” before we come, but rather You cleanse us when we come before You, not because we are deserving, but because of Your great love. Forgive us for fearing that we are not worthy to approach You, or that we have somehow used up our portion of the help that You are willing to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, regardless of how often we need help, mercy or grace. Show us how to love others with the very same sort of endless mercy and grace, as so often the very idea of love has been demonstrated as a conditional thing rather than a free gift that is given with no expectation of return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, so that they can understand the only perfect example of what love truly is. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before Your throne to receive help so that we might go forth and do likewise. 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

Disciplined in Love

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. – (Revelation 3:19)

Just as a loving parent corrects and redirects a misguided child, so does our Heavenly Father do for us. It is because of His great love for us, that He does not allow us to stay stagnant in our sinfulness, nor remain rooted in wrong patterns. Christ came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and created the way for us to be called clean. Our charge is to come before Him and repent – to admit our wrong doing and turn away from that which pulled us away from the path which He has placed before us. Any time that we feel that nudge of the Holy Spirit, the check from His still small voice, we must listen and act with fidelity so that we do not become steeped in the snare of sin. May we trust our loving Lord, who is our Heavenly Father, as He loves us and only rebukes and disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to walk out the very best that He has for us. His plans are exceedingly greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

Because we are loved,Compassion in Confrontations

let us hear His voice;

for He will correct,

when we make poor choice.

He’ll show us the way,

to walk where He calls;

to escape the space,

of sin’s prison walls.

We must choose repent,

confess, turn away;

admit wrong doing,

return to His way.

Trust in our Father,

His love never ends;

His plans are righteous,

as He forgives sins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may not enjoy being rebuked nor disciplined, You do so in love and for our benefit. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not sit idly by and allow us to stay stuck in our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us out of darkness into Your glorious light. Forgive us for our resistance to correction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be earnest to repent as soon as we become aware of what You are asking us to do. Help us to embrace with grace, every correction that You bring, as we know that all discipline from You brings us closer to that whom You are calling us to become. Help us to love others with generosity and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your correction in love, and repent right away so that we may move forward into that which You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. 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

Good In, Good Out

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. – (Luke 6:45, ERV)

 

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. – (Luke 6:45, NIV)

 

For good to be found within us, our hearts must be firmly rooted and established in Christ. It is only through Christ dwelling in us, that we are able to act according to His good and perfect will. As we trust in Him and abide in Him, the overflow of our time, energy and heart invested, will be made evident to those around us. May we seek to know Him more each day, and may we reflect His heart in all that we do and say.

 

Whatever’s consumed,How He Answers

by our heart and mind;

is the very thing,

that our voice shall find.

If we take in junk,

things that don’t uplift;

our hearts become hard,

and further we drift.

Yet if we seek Christ,

pursue what is good;

then out of us flows,

the good things that should.

Let us seek the Lord,

in all that we do;

so we are steadfast,

to Him, remain true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, good may come from us. Thank You that we may be Your instruments of peace, if we are only willing to allow You to transform our hearts and minds. Forgive us for any garbage that we have allowed in, and cleanse our hearts and minds of that which does not build up and reflect clearly who You are to the world. Help us to bring good things to those around us, out of the abundance that You have so generously given unto us. Let Your love be evident in us, as we seek to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we allow Your good to flow from us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

The Kindness of God

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – (Titus 3:4-7, NIV)

 

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. God poured out to us that Holy Spirit fully through Jesus Christ our Savior. We were made right with God by His grace. God saved us so that we could be His children and look forward to receiving life that never ends. – (Titus 3:4-7, ERV)

 

Our salvation, the promised hope of His presence now and our future forever in heaven with Him, is a gift that He freely gives to us out of His insatiable love for His created. His love is equally available to all. There is no preferential treatment in who is saved and who is not, rather it is a matter of who is willing to receive that which He is offering to all. When we grasp but a glimpse of His kindness and love for us, we cannot help but lay hold of that which He is offering. He chose to take all of our sin and shame upon Himself, so that we could be made clean and acceptable before the Father. More than that, when He returned to the right hand of the Father, He sent His Holy Spirit to be present in the hearts of all who believe, ever renewing our minds so that we can become whom He created us to be. What a treasure we hold to be called co-heirs with Christ!

 

It is His kindness,The Kindness of God

that showed us the way;

brought us to repent,

our hearts gone astray.

His love, it woos us,

to mercies brand new;

His grace embraces,

and carries us through.

His Spirit poured out,

to lead and to guide;

to show us the way,

always by our side.

This glorious gift,

is ours to embrace;

receive all He has,

and walk in His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is Your kindness and love that draws us unto You. Thank You that we are not saved by our own righteousness, but by receiving that which You offer. Thank You that as we receive, You cleanse us from our unrighteousness and make us new, by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that in You, we have help for today and hope for all of eternity. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow have to earn our salvation, rather than receive what You are offering. Thank You that as we are saved, You grow in us, the desire to do good works, and use those to bless and encourage those who need to see You in a tangible way. Help us to keep our focus on You in all things and at all times, so that our heart is right before You. May we love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of eternal life that You are offering. Be exalted, O God, in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – I Peter 2:19

Renewing Our Minds

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2)

 

God’s plans for us are perfect. His will is for the very best for His children. God gave His Son so that we would have access to His pleasing and perfect will, personally. As we seek Him, and give ourselves as living sacrifices unto His service, we are transformed and our minds are made new.

 

No longer conforming to the pattern of this world goes far beyond no longer partaking in corrupt customs or self-pleasing practices that heap harm on ourselves or others, but instead, it involves making a choice to live to honor and obey the Lord. As we allow the Holy Spirit access to all, our hearts are transformed, and our minds are made new. When He is at work in us, we are more aware of His will for us. May we each be malleable, as we allow Him access to transform us and renew our minds.

 

Conform no longer,Renewing Our Minds

to ways of the world;

grant the Lord access,

a future secured.

If we let Him in,

He’ll transform, make new;

cleanse our hearts and minds,

show us what to do.

Wisdom too granted,

to know the Lord’s will;

so we may honor,

by His Spirit’s fill.

May we too, lay down,

our self-pleasing ways;

and be now transformed,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to no longer conform to the patterns of this world, but rather to be transformed by Your renewing of our minds. Thank You that as we allow You access, You grant us what we need, by Your Spirit in us, to understand what is Your good, pleasing and perfect will. Forgive us for choosing to conform to the ways of the world, or for not listening to the still small voice within. Help us to invest our hearts, minds and time in our relationship with You, so that our hearts are cleansed and our minds are made new. May we live and love according to Your good, pleasing and perfect will, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be exalted, Lord God, as we respond to Your renewing of our minds. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:23