In Strength, Choose Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

This is something that we are all called to live out, in every area of our lives. It is both rare and wonderful, when there are public figures who live by this principle in a way that is seen, heard and known. Last night, my husband and I went to a concert that featured my favorite band, Skillet. Their lead vocalist, John Cooper, is completely clear in his convictions as he performs, and is courageous and strong as he shares his music and message in love. After more than twenty-three years as a Christian band that tours with bands that typically are not, and it is evident that they are careful to be on their guard and hold firm to their faith. Each time I have seen them in concert, the other bands touring with them have raved about the kindness extended to them by Skillet. What that speaks to me is that they are living out loud, the very message that they follow in faith. If a rock band can cling to their convictions and love well, why can’t we? May we each be aware of the things that distract us from what is true, and with courage and strength, hold fast to the faith that anchors us secure. And in all that we do, may we let love be our motivation.

 

Help us guard our hearts, img_2019-08-29_06-26-021861362932488398857.jpg

To our faith, hold fast;

Have courage, be strong,

With the love that lasts.

For each time we choose,

In strength, to love well;

We are showing Christ,

His story we tell.

Not with our speaking,

So much as our deeds;

People remember,

Those who met their needs.

Let us choose to love,

In all that we do;

Rely on His grace,

He’ll carry us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You warn us to be careful of that which distracts us from the truth, and You call us to stand firm in Your strength to the truth so that we may do all things in love. Forgive us for the times that we allowed the things around us to pull us off course. Teach us to stay anchored in You. Show us how to love those around us in all things and at all times, just as we are loved relentlessly by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand strong in the truth, ever aware of what surrounds us, and choose to love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Stand firm , and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

Tend to This Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So, we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

 

Each one of us who claims Christ as our King, is a temple in which His Spirit dwells. Our charge, as one who tends His temple, is to be mindful of our body and spirit, so as to nourish our very being with what we take in. When we fuel and care for our bodies well and spend time in His word, our thoughts align with His and our bodies are better equipped to do that to which we are called. The decision to be wise with what we opt consume – physically, mentally and emotionally, is an act of reverence to the very One who created us. May we make clean breaks from all that distracts or defiles us so that we may become fit and holy temples for He who dwells within us.

 

Lord, help us be wise, strength-in-waiting

With things that we choose;

For heart, mind and soul,

Your way, let’s pursue.

In You, there is truth,

Love, laughter and light;

Sound mind and body,

True space of delight.

Lord, may this temple,

Be prepared for You;

Help me to tend well,

And walk in Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You created each one of us to be a temple for Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the care of either body, mind or spirit, as all work together for You. Teach us to trust You more, as You lead and provide what we need to be a suitable space for Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models and provides care for mind, body and spirit in each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide the decisions we make about how to best tend the temple You have provided. Amen.

 

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

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

Unseal My Lips

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise You. – (Psalm 51:15, NLT)

O Lord, pry open my lips that this mouth will sing joyfully of Your greatness. – (Psalm 51:15, VOICE)

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – (Psalm 51:15, ERV)

 

Be it by circumstances or lack of stamina, sometimes we fail to let our lips offer praise to the Lord when it is overdue, and instead allow things that do not benefit anyone to escape our mouths. We cannot simultaneously sing praise and complain. Either our hearts are fixed on His greatness, or we are looking away at that which distracts. If we seek the Lord and set our hearts and minds on who He is and all that He has done, the very mouth that meant to grumble only moments before, suddenly cannot help but sing of the greatness of God. A holy perspective unseals locked lips, and opens hearts to praise He who is worthy. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord above, allowing Him to reveal more and more of who He is and what He has done, so that we cannot help but sing praise unto the Lord.

 

Oh Lord, let my eyes,unseal-my-lips

Fix clearly on You;

So my heart may hold,

All that is the truth.

Lord, unseal my lips,

So that I may praise;

This heart shall sing songs,

That tell of Your ways.

With joy, songs shall flow,

From this heart of mine;

Because You are great,

O Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that as we seek You, You reveal more and more of who You are, and show Your loving kindness unto us. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise. Unseal our lips so that we would ever bring praise before You. Teach us to praise You in all that we do. May our very lives be a song sung to You. Show us how to love others as You so joyfully and generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy, of the greatness of who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Pleasing Meditation

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord. – (Psalm 104:34)

 

The focus of our meditation is on whatever captures our continued extended thought, reflection, contemplation or introspection. If we choose to meditate, to fix our hearts and minds on the things of Christ, not only is our choice pleasing to the Lord, but we find reason to rejoice. It is impossible to truly set our sights on who Christ is, and all that He has done, and not feel a sense of gratitude rise up within us. Even in the most dismal of circumstances, in Christ, there is reason to rejoice. We rejoice not for our present circumstance, but rather for our eternal hope; for the forever that is yet to come. All that is in the here and now, is but the blink of an eye when compared to eternity with Christ. May we meditate on Christ and the things of Him, so that our focus is pleasing before Christ, as rejoicing rises up within us.

 

Let that which captures,Confidence Comes Through Christ

my heart and my mind;

be focused on Christ,

Who’s loving and kind.

He’s our place of hope,

but hope is a choice;

to lay hold of truth,

and learn to rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord,

for all that He is;

not what we’re facing,

but how we shall live.

Not just for today,

but all tomorrows;

our future glory,

wipes away sorrows.

It won’t remove pain,

or trials that come;

but still we rejoice,

through hope in the Son.

For on that great day,

when we breathe our last;

we’ll enter glory,

forget all that’s passed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on the things of You, we find reason to rejoice. Thank You that rejoicing is not circumstantial, but rather is always appropriate because of who You are, and what You have done for us. Thank You that our hope in You is far greater than anything that we face in the here and now. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to fix on anything that distracts from the truth of the hope that we hold forever in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice in every season – be it in sorrow or celebration – knowing that You are our God and that we have You with us now, and will dwell in Your house forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a space where their meditation is pleasing unto You, as they too, rejoice in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we fix our hearts and minds on that which is pleasing to You, and in turn, rejoice in the truth of who You are. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23