How Faith Grows

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NLT)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

 

Faith that is not actively growing and being utilized, shrivels up and dies. Peter reminds us of a variety of ways that we can continue to grow in our faith and allow God’s grace to shine through us, as we seek Him to help us add to all of these things. When we extend goodness, self-control, patience, kindness and love, those around us notice. We are equipped and empowered to do so as we devote ourselves to the Lord and seek His wisdom to walk in His way. This is the perfect time of year to actively live out our faith tangibly. The need for each of these things is evident, everywhere – be it in a checkout line at the grocery store, in the classroom, at the dinner table, or as we have conversations with those we know, each extension of our response to God’s goodness gives those we interact with a helping of hope they may not have otherwise known. May we make every effort to respond to God’s promises by actively living out our faith as we add to our lives, all of these things.

 

Because we are blessed, How Faith Grows

We can also give;

Extensions of faith,

Each day that we live.

To faith, add goodness,

In knowledge, let’s grow;

Also have patience,

Extend self-control.

Devoted to God,

Add kindness to all;

Let love too, expand,

For this is our call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to exercise our faith in tangible ways. Thank You for those around us that are excellent examples of how to grow in each of these areas as they so faithfully follow You. Forgive us for the times that our faith lies dormant, and we do not actively pursue growth in the things of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be seeking You to add to our lives, all of these things. Show us how to best extend goodness, self-control, patience, kindness and love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to respond to Your promises and actively grow our faith in You. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Advertisements

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Those Who Trust

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a river bank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that sends out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The Lord blesses those who trust in Him. His blessings come in the form of hope and confidence, even when it seems as if there is no reprieve from our circumstances. When we trust in the Lord, His word becomes deeply rooted and established within us, and provides refreshment as we are reminded of the promises that He has made, even when we are not yet seeing them come to pass. In that space of hope, we are able to do immeasurably more than we could hope or imagine to touch hearts and lives for His glory, simply through our faithful trust and devotion to the Lord, in spite of how things appear. May we choose to trust in the Lord with all that we are, knowing that He will do what He says. Let our unwavering faith, even through difficulties, demonstrate the goodness of God and produce fruit for all to see.

 

The blessings of God,Weighty Words

are granted to those;

who place all their trust,

in the Lord who knows.

Confidence and hope,

are gifts that He plants;

in those who trust Him,

in each circumstance.

Like trees with deep roots,

on a river’s edge;

no heat nor a drought,

will waiver heart’s pledge.

For the heart that trusts,

shall always bear fruit;

despite circumstance,

great faithful pursuit.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, we are blessed with hope and confidence in You. Thank You that You grow our roots deep, establishing Your truth within us, so that when trials come, we can trust in the truth that we already know. Thank You that You use our faithfulness, even in times of trial, to touch the lives of those around us for Your glory. Forgive us for hiding our hurt, or becoming fearful in the fight, as we forget how often You use our trials to touch the lives of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk in transparency in the places where You call us to allow our story to be seen. Show us how to love and care well for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.
Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Turn to Wisdom

And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. – (Titus 2:12-13, NLT)

Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. – (Titus 2:12-13, VOICE)

It (God’s grace) educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly living and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. – (Titus 2:12-13, CEB)

 

God grants us His grace because He completely and thoroughly loves us. Just as a parent loves their children well and gives them instruction to direct, correct and encourage them in the ways in which they are meant to go, God does the same for us. He does not tell us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures to punish or torture us, but rather He knows that such things create a barrier between us and Him, and He wants to help us avoid anything that will lead to such pain. We are charged to reject ungodly living and choose to live with wisdom, righteousness and devotion. In order to navigate our world, we need Him so that we are aware, have self-control, and remain upright in all of our ways. As we choose to invest our hearts and lives in Him, an expectation of the blessed hope that is yet to come rises within us, and we are assured of the glory of our great God, and the hope held in His promised return. May we allow His grace to grab hold of our hearts and lead us through this life, so that we walk in a way that is upright before Him, as we await the glorious day that we will see Him face-to-face.

 

We are called to turn,Refreshment Through Repentance

runaway, reject;

all that is godless,

may our hearts deflect.

To live in this age,

we need righteousness;

true wisdom from God,

the Lord’s holiness.

As we seek we find,

for God freely gives;

awareness and strength,

to righteously live.

It is in this space,

that we look ahead;

with glorious hope,

when Christ comes again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us in how we are meant to live; for Your ways result in wisdom, hope, help and life everlasting. Forgive us for our flirting with the ways of the world, and teach us how to walk upright before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would turn from all that is godless and sinful, and would be aware and operate with the self-control that You grant us. Show us how to love one another in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run away from godless living, and choose to depend on You to walk with wisdom, righteousness and devotion for all of our days. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

A Heart that is Willing

When one of the teachers of the law came and asked Jesus which of the commandments was most important, His response is what clearly guided His every day on earth, and likewise should do the same for us. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no command greater than these.” – (Mark 12:29-31)

 

Jesus not only modeled His commitment to love God and love people with His days, for He did also, unto His death. When praying in the garden, prior to His path to the cross, Jesus prayed the following: “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” – (Mark 14:36)

 

Jesus was willing to walk the hard and painful road unto the cross, to bear the brunt of all of our sin and shame. In Christ’s most difficult hours, He demonstrated His love and devotion to God and to all of us, despite His knowing the suffering He’d have to endure. His entire heart, soul, mind and strength were pelted with the pain of people who were steeped in the ugliness of sin. Jesus willingly took it all upon Himself so that we could have new life in Him. May we receive all that He has granted, and go forth loving God and loving people, with all that we are.

 

His heart was willing,Peace He Brings

to walk the hard road;

to endure all things,

that had been foretold.

For Jesus, He knew,

the price He would pay;

yet because He loved,

He chose anyway.

Christ showed us what love,

really ought to be;

our heart, soul and mind,

committed, set free.

For when we love God,

and our neighbors too;

Christ’s love is made known,

as His hope shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Jesus, thank You that You came to show us how to live life loving God and loving people. Thank You that You modeled the ultimate life of obedience unto the Lord. Thank You that we need only look to Your word to understand how we are meant to follow after Your own heart. Forgive us for not loving God or loving people as You intended for us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might love with abandon – unhindered by fear. Lead us to pour into the lives of those around us, as You so generously pour into ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we too are willing to love You and love people, with all that You have created us to be. Amen.

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

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

Do What You Can Do

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:55:56)

 

What stands out to me about these women, was that though they could not go and speak out on the Lord’s behalf before the Roman government or Jewish council when Jesus had been on trial because women we not permitted to do such things at that time, they did the things that they could do. They followed Jesus, even as He was taking His final steps to the site of the cross. As He hung in agony, they did not flee, but stood near, watching, waiting. After He breathed His last breath, the faithful women followed Joseph with Jesus’ body, so that they would know where He had been laid, so that Christ’s body could be properly preserved with spices and perfumes. To the ladies, their faithful acts may have seemed small and insignificant, yet clearly to Christ, they had great value. In fact, I imagine that their devotion had much to do with them being the first to see the risen Lord. May we each be faithful to the tasks that we are called to do, regardless of how we view them. What may seem insignificant to us, could actually be monumental in the eyes of the Lord.

 

Whatever we do,Consistent Character2

let it be with grace;

may our hearts be right,

as we run our race.

May we serve with joy,

and honor the King;

may our every breath,

be an offering.

No task is too small,

to honor the One;

Who grants us new life,

through His only Son.

May our hands and hearts,

continually seek;

to love and to serve,

Your words, help us speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our hearts, and You love us where we are. Thank You that when we seek to serve You, You meet us and equip us and bless us with Your presence. Thank You that You love and forgive, the moment we ask. Forgive us for the times that we scatter, or for thinking the things that we faithfully do everyday, don’t matter. Help us to fix our eyes securely on You, and to focus on loving You and loving people. May many come to know You and Your loving kindness as we are obedient to who You have called us to be. Let the lost be found in You. Be exalted, O God, as we are faithfully devoted to You in all things. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Corinthians 16:31

Go Now, Rest Later

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” – (Revelation 14:13, NIV)

 

Then I heard a voice from heaven It said, “Write this: From now on there are great blessings for those who belong to the Lord when they die.” The Spirit says, “Yes, that is true. They will rest from their hard work. What they have done will stay with them.” – (Revelation 14:13, ERV)

 

What we do now, matters for all of eternity. Today’s investment in others through His strength, will have an eternal reward. Though our motivation ought to be our love and devotion for our Savior who first loved us, He sees and knows our hearts and deeds, and our care for others does not go unnoticed by Him. Our commitment to our relationship with Christ grants us firm footing for today, and certain hope for all of eternity. Investing in the work while we are in the world, is well worth the cost, as the outcome is our ultimate invitation to enter eternal rest in His perfect presence. To be counted among His blessed, is a beauty worth beholding. May we seek Him and serve Him with all that we are, as long as we draw breath.

 

In life and in death,Go Now Rest Later

how blessed to be;

counted among those,

betrothed unto Thee.

For those who have sought,

surely too, have found;

new life in Your love,

where hope shall resound.

All faithful in life,

will enter Your rest;

You remember well,

things that we do best.

Grant us eyes to see,

others through Your lens;

so we will care well,

for strangers as friends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every moment invested in You and in loving people, is time well spent. Thank You that You see and know our hearts and deeds, and You remember how we choose to love. Thank You that as Your people, we are considered blessed, and that You are our hope forever. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love others as You would have wanted us to love, and help us to see others through Your eyes, so that we cannot help but love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may faithfully step out to love and serve and care for those whom You place in our path. May many come to know the eternal hope that is held in You, as we go forth as Your hands and heart to the world. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Grace to Guide Us

image by Mark Buchholz

image by Mark Buchholz

With faithful devotion,

be watchful in prayer;

forever be thankful,

for the Lord’s tender care.

Pray that hearts be opened,

that eyes would come to see;

may the words we all speak,

proclaim Christ’s mystery.

May we ever be wise,

with all our words and deeds;

each opportunity,

cause a planting of seeds.

May grace be what guides us,

ever seasoned with salt;

may He grant us answers,

that lead all to exalt.

(Responding to Colossians 4:2-6)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all grace and wisdom come from You. Help us to faithfully seek You all of our days, and grant us wisdom in word and deed. Help us to make the most of every opportunity to be salt and light to the lost. Forgive us for speaking without listening first, and for acting without asking You. Let Your grace guide us so that many may come to know You. Help us to be watchful and open to all that You are asking. Amen.

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