Focus on the Good of Others

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, NLT)

Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, ERV)

We should stop looking out for our own interests and instead focus on the people living and breathing around us. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, VOICE)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly things change when my focus shifts from self to others. Even if my situation does not change, my perspective inevitably does. If someone around me needs encouragement and I find ways and words with which to offer encouragement, I discover that I too, am encouraged in the process. Joy and hope accompany each act of extending ourselves to others. May we fix our gaze outward rather than in, so that we may seek to do good for others, just as the Lord has done for us.

 

Do not be concerned,The Power of the Tongue

For your sense of good;

But do for others,

That which Jesus would.

For we’re being called,

To look out, not in;

Encourage, build up,

Love others like kin.

God in His goodness,

Meets us as we give;

Strengthens and equips,

New life as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to look outside of ourselves to seek to do good for others. Thank You that we need not worry about ourselves, as You are far more capable than we are, so it is best for us to focus our attention on loving You and loving people, allowing You to be who You say You are. Forgive us for not trusting You to be big enough to carry our concerns. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place the weight of our worries in Your hands, and look to You to show us how to do what is good for those around us. Help us to have open eyes and willing hearts, so that we may see opportunities to love well and act on them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we focus on loving You and the people that You place all around us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Listen and Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG)

 

After reading the regularly scheduled passages for today in my year-long plan, I was compelled to search the word “trust“. Unsure as to why, I did it anyway. The very first verse that came up in my search was the above passage in Proverbs. All too familiar, at first I recited it from memory as I glimpsed at my Bible application on my phone. As I often do, I then spent a few minutes reading a variety of versions of the same passage to see if there was some new insight or something that God was trying to highlight for me. Sure enough, when I read the Message, it all became quite clear. In the midst of a circumstance that I am desperately trying to figure out, with some serious concerns as to how exactly I am meant to navigate, His words came to life and I received what He was speaking to my heart. My job is not to figure it out. He is asking me to listen to Him, to trust Him completely, and watch for the way in which He will lead me through. His ways are far higher than my own, and I much prefer things in His loving and capable hands. Sadly, it often takes time spent simply seated before Him, just listening to what He wants to say, before we recognize the spaces where we need to trust, to seek, or to let go and let God. Thankfully, He is patient and kind, and He leads us to the place where we are meant to be so that we can hear His heart, rather than continue to flounder on our own. May we trust the Lord with all of our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. In all of our ways, may we seek Him, as He alone will make plain our path.

 

To trust in the Lord,Break Camp and Move Out

requires our heart;

with all that we are,

not just a small part.

When we choose listen,

He makes our path plain;

as we trust in Him,

we allow Him reign.

If we choose to seek,

He’s faithful indeed;

to speak to our hearts,

and meet all our needs.

Our understanding,

shall always fall short;

but God and His ways,

will always exhort.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You with all that we are, and that we need not figure everything out on our own. Thank You that we can listen for Your voice in everything we do and everywhere we go, and You are faithful to keep us on track. Forgive us for leaning on our own understanding rather than trusting in You. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in a way that acknowledges Your goodness and grace, and clearly points people to Your path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust in You with all that we are, and listen for Your voice to show us which way we are meant to go in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Nothing I Desire Compares

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. – (Psalm 73:25)

 

The only thing that lasts, consequently, the only thing that matters, is Christ. What we have in Him, is all that lasts forever, therefore our relationship with our Redeemer ought to be our priority. If we are prioritizing as directed by the Lord, we will love God and love people. The stuff of earth will matter not, as people and what is possible for each of us through Him, will become our priority. I am not there yet… I love God and love people, yet I do like things too. It is nice to find a great deal on something new, or to receive something that has been hoped for.

 

Perhaps the most important point is to examine our heart and determine whether the stuff is getting in the way of loving God and loving people. If our hope is securely grounded in Christ, and we can keep proper perspective that there is NOTHING that compares to Him, then I think we are heading in the right direction. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ in heaven, and let no desire on Earth come before Him.

 

Let us hold on tight,Forgiveness is Free

to heavenly hope;

our place that’s secure,

no other life boat.

For Christ never fails,

His grace is made new;

there’s nothing on earth,

that compares to You.

O God fix our eyes,

on what concerns You;

let’s love each other,

as we see You do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are are hope in heaven and our present help on earth. Thank You that there is nothing that compares in heaven or on earth, to Your love and grace. Forgive us for seeking after anything else before You, and help us to prioritize You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that our actions demonstrate our love for You. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope for both now and forever in You. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

An Excellent Exchange

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall. – (Psalm 55:22)

 

When we give our cares and concerns to Christ, He upholds us and supplies what we need as we need it. As we choose to give our heart to Him, we are considered right before Him, righteous in His eyes; and He will not let us fall. The Lord’s ability to sustain us, is not dependent on our concept of what Christ can or cannot do. We need only to run to Him, relying on who He is; our job is to trust that He is God and we are not. This space of trust, where we have exchanged our cares for His sustenance, is where we see the mighty movement of our Maker on our behalf. May we cast our every care upon the Lord, trusting that He will sustain us and keep us from falling, as He considers us righteous because we rely on Him.

 

Let us cast our cares,An Excellent Exchange

upon Christ the Lord;

for He shall sustain,

all strength He affords.

He’ll not let us fall,

for all who have come;

are seen as righteous,

made right by the Son.

No matter what comes,

give it all to God;

His love is greater,

than paths we must trod.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast our cares on You, and You sustain us. Thank You that You consider us righteous, and that You will not let us fall. Thank You that no matter what comes against us, You are for us, and You are far greater. Forgive us for not relying on You in all things, and teach us to trust You in such a way, that we would run to You regardless of what lies before us. Help us to hear Your still small voice that calls us to cast our cares upon You. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, will come to know just how faithful You are. May many enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cast our cares upon You and trust You to sustain us and keep us from falling. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Why Worry?

When unknowns stand before us, worry is a natural response for many of us. The “what ifs” find way to wander in, and fear finds its footing, granting a way in for worry. Sadly, worrying does us absolutely no good.

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. – (Matthew 6:27)

 

Rather than worry, we are meant to confess our concerns before Christ. He is our answer, and supplies what we need, regardless of our situation. He knows what lies before us, and He already sees the outcome. We need not worry about the path we travel to get from here to there, so long as we walk beside Him and listen to His voice. The Lord will lead us and guide us in all of His ways, and will provide what is needed as it is needed along the way. May we rise up in faith and trust Him, leaving worry behind as we follow the Lord wherever He calls us to go.

 

Despite the unknowns,Delivering Dreams

leave worry behind;

for trust in the Lord,

is heart, soul and mind.

Let’s give Him our all,

no matter what comes;

for His ways are best,

the Most Holy One.

Allow not worry,

from any life take;

peace and His promise,

granted for our sake.

In faith, let’s rise up,

and trust in His Name;

leave worry behind,

and His truth proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not worry about anything. Thank You that You see and know our needs before we do, and that You will provide for us as we seek You. Thank You that You speak to us, lead us and guide us, if we are willing to listen for Your voice. Forgive us for allowing our fears to entertain worry, rather than choosing to run to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response to our known needs, is to present our requests before You, trusting that You are good and loving, and that You will provide what we need as we need it. Lead us to love others well, so that we may be Your hands and heart to the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give all of our worries to You. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Rather By Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

Life fuels anxiety. Between work, home, health, children, and a vast array of responsibilities, anxiety arises. Paul presents God’s perfect plan for us, when anxiousness attempts to enter. Rather than remaining in the spaces of angst, we are to pray. Whatever is worrying us, we are meant to bring before the Lord, with thanksgiving (because He is able to meet our needs). The “AND” is the connecting comfort that we cannot neglect. When we allow Him into the avenues of our anxiety, and hand our worries to Christ, His peace, that passes all understanding, comes and guards our hearts and minds, which ultimately fends off further anxiousness. Let us present our concerns before Christ in prayer, whenever anxiety arises, and may we be ever aware of His peace that comes close to guard our hearts and minds.

 

Do not be anxious,Rather By Prayer

about anything;

rather by prayer,

to God, be seeking.

When we pray to Him,

let Christ know our need;

He hears what we ask,

to His peace He’ll lead.

Christ will guard our heart,

our mind and our soul;

if we hand to Him,

all that’s taking toll.

The peace of the Lord,

shall come grant us rest;

so trust well in Him,

present your requests.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and know us, and do not want for any of us to be anxious about anything. Thank You that we can come to You and pray to You, and present our every prayer and petition before You, with thanks, knowing that You hear us and see our need. Thank You that when we pray, Your peace comes and covers us in ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Forgive us for allowing anxiety to eat away at us, and help us to seek You and the help You provide, the moment worry or anxiousness begins to creep in. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be at peace, even in the midst of life’s storms. Help us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know the perfect peace that is found in alone. Be glorified Lord God, as we present our every prayer and petition before You, trusting in Your faithfulness. 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

Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

In Galatians four, Paul was presenting his concerns to the believers of Galatia. Those who had initially embraced the gift of grace given by Christ Jesus, were setting it aside so that they could turn back to observing the laws. Clearly, full of great concern, Paul pleaded with his fellow followers of the faith. What has happened to all your joy?… – (Galatians 4:15a) Paul perceived that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism.

 

Legalism is a dangerous and slippery slope, and a thief of joy. It can take away joy because:

(1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

(2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

(3) It stresses performance over relationship.

(4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. – (NIV footnotes)

 

If guilt, self-hatred, need to perform, or inadequacy are ruling our lives, we need to check our focus. Is faith reigning in our hearts, or have the reigns of legalism somehow crept into the corners and began to steal our joy? Let us throw off every burden that hinders us and allow Christ’s grace to cover us. May we walk by faith, and leave the links of legalism that try to bind us, far behind.

 

Joy that is complete,Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

must learn to let go;

walk away from chains,

and by faith, follow.

Faith receives His grace,

and lets go of guilt;

embraces His love,

where His peace is built.

It knows not self-hate,

shows humility;

needs not to perform,

is secure, set free.

It does not point out,

how far we fall short;

but rather looks up,

to Him who supports.

May we walk by faith,

embracing what’s true;

it’s all about Him,

not how much we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all grace and joy. Thank You that You came as the fulfillment of the law, as not one of us could ever truly follow the law. Thank You that Your grace is a gift that You give freely, and not something that we can somehow earn. Forgive us for any area of our lives where we may have fallen into the trap of legalism. Illuminate the truth and lead us out of the spaces and mindsets You never intended for us. Teach us to trust You and Your glorious gift of grace with all that we are. Lead us to live and love in the fullness of Your grace as You intended, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we walk in the freedom that Your forgiveness and grace have granted. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Favored, Not Forgotten

Have you ever felt rejected or forgotten by God? Psalm 74 is a great reminder of what we ought to do when we find ourselves in such a space. Our God is big enough to hear our concerns, yet as we pause and reflect on who He is, we will begin to remember just how great He truly is. The first line of Psalm 74 begins with: Why have You rejected us forever, O God? A mere eleven verses later, the Psalmist writes: But You, O God, are my king from of old; You bring salvation upon the earth. As the writer continues to unpack the memories of God’s power and faithfulness, faith seems to rise up, and requests are made with confidence.

 

What can we do when we find ourselves in a similar space – a place where we feel as if we are out of the favor of our Heavenly Father? If we follow the example set before us in Psalm 74, first, we need to be honest with God and let Him know how we are feeling. He is a loving Father, and will not be crushed by our honest admission of frustration or doubt. Next, we ought to spend some time remembering times of His favor and faithfulness. As we speak of the great things He has done, faith rises up, and strength for the stretch ahead, seems to return. Finally, we are meant to ask the Lord for His help. If we are afraid, we need to pray for His courage to rise up within us. If we are weary and worn, we need ask for His strength to sustain. He is, where we are not. May we seek the Lord honestly, and remember all that He has done.

 

Seasons of silence,Do Everything in Love

quiet and alone;

feeling forgotten,

wanting to be shown.

Stop and remember,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

His grace and mercy,

in times of distress.

Time and time again,

His hand, evident;

He rescued and loved,

His peace swiftly sent.

Cry out to the Lord,

for He will give ear;

to all that we ask,

His presence is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when we feel like we are alone and abandoned, You are present and moving on our behalf. Thank You that our feelings are not indicators of Your working. Thank You that we can come to You and speak to You honestly and openly, wherever we are at, and You still love us the same. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages, so that we can look back and see and remember how faithful You truly are. Forgive us for doubting Your presence or Your willingness to intervene on our behalf because Your timeline is different from our own. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and grant us Your peace in the waiting. May we persevere with confidence, trusting in You alone. Let us love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to trust You even when we are unaware of Your presence. 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

Finding Common Ground

“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)

Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement.  First, we must find common ground with those around us.  That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts.  Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude.  Humility is the only way we will ever be heard.  Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are.  There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him.  We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs.  When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.

(Italics  above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)

To find common ground,Purple flower

we need open our eyes;

take time to invest,

in other people’s lives.

For if we’re not known,

why would they lend an ear?

No one will listen,

’til another draws near.

We must first listen,

hear each heart and each voice;

notice what’s needed,

sincere service our choice.

When we invest time,

and let love be our choice;

our heart will be heard,

despite chaos and noise.

Let Love lead the way,

be faithful to the Lord;

people will notice,

His light can’t be ignored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well.  Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved.  Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts.  Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You.  Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us.  Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement.  May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Be exalted in everything we say and do.  Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

– Psalm 145:7