The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, NLT)

My son, eat honey; it is good. Honey straight from the honeycomb is the sweetest. In the same way, know that wisdom is good for you. Wisdom will give you something to home for that will not disappoint you. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, ERV)

Eat honey, dear child – it’s good for you – and delicacies that melt in your mouth. Likewise, knowledge and wisdom for your soul – Get that and your future’s secured, your hope is on solid rock. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, MSG)

 

Wisdom is to the soul, what honey is to the mouth. The sweet satisfaction that comes from truly knowing and understanding that there is a hope and a future when our hearts are held in Christ’s hands, will not disappoint. There is peace in His presence, and comfort in His company. He provides wisdom where it is lacking if we seek Him, and secures our soul as we pursue all that He is offering. May we seek the sweet satisfaction that comes from the wisdom that God alone provides, and celebrate the security we know when our hope is held in Him.

 

As honey’s to taste, Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

So wisdom’s to soul;

There is a sweetness,

As God’s hope unfolds.

For wisdom reveals,

A future secure;

Shows us that in Christ,

We’ve nothing to fear.

Ever seek wisdom,

It won’t disappoint;

As eternal hope,

Is wisdom’s viewpoint.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that knowing You and the future that You have for us is sweet for our soul. Thank You that You have a hope and a future for every one of us. Forgive us for not pursuing You and Your plans, as we often fear what we do not know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope and encouragement, so that they too, may recognize the sweetness held in Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to provide our hope, as it does not disappoint. 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

 

Receive Life

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, NIV)

 

Great blessings belong to those who have washed their robes. They will have the right to eat the food from the tree of life. They can go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, ERV)

 

Our “robes” are washed, when we receive what Christ freely offers. We are cleansed by the sacrifice He made for our sin, when He suffered and died in our place. If we embrace what He lovingly gives, and choose to follow Him all of our days, we will be granted entry into Christ’s eternal presence, and allowed to eat from that which people were previously not permitted. All that is good, right, lovely, holy and true, will be the eternal surroundings of those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Imagine a day when God’s glory alone is what lights our surroundings so brilliantly, that there is no longer need for the sun, nor lamps, nor any other source of light. May we receive what Christ has to offer, and allow His healing hands to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness.

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, if we seek You with our whole heart. Thank You that You forgive us and cleanse us, washing us clean, as if we had never sinned. Forgive us for either taking Your grace for granted, or for somehow thinking that Your grace is not enough to cover what we have done. Teach us to have a proper perspective of who You are, and what You have done for us. May we love others well, as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of Your forgiveness and grace as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You offer, and walk in the fullness of Your grace. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

All We Need is Love

In Chapter eight, of I Corinthians, Paul is addressing the concerns brought before him regarding whether or not people should eat certain things.  This particular passage is pointing to food that has been sacrificed to idols, yet it can be applied to numerous things within our Christian walk that may be permissible for some, yet a stumbling block for others.

Paul’s response was: “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.” – (I Corinthians 8:1-3) The Message words it this way: “The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not?  We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions – but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows all.”

It appears that in these areas of gray, where God has not given specific instructions across the board for all people, it is not a matter of worldly wisdom, but rather of wisdom provided by God, as we seek Him for answers.  He will direct our steps and lead us in what is and is not permissible for us individually, and will heed warning if our freedom in an area may be a stumbling block around another believer.  Our job is to love God and love people.  If we are loving God with all that we are, we will listen to Him, and will seek to safeguard the hearts of those around us, even if it means not participating or partaking in something for a time, to encourage those whom it may hinder.

Knowledge puffs up,Dew and Dandilion

pride leads to a fall;

yet love, builds up,

it overcomes all.

Those who seek God,

find wisdom and grace;

and learn to give,

the Lord proper place.

Answers will come,

if love is our goal;

to reflect Christ,

and actions extol.

Let not freedom,

be what matters most;

but rather, love,

to the Lord, draw close.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true wisdom comes from You.  Thank You that though many things are permissible, not all things are beneficial.  Thank You that You provide guidance to help us know the difference, if we are willing to seek You.  Thank You that Your love made way for us to enter into a personal relationship with You.  Forgive us for our foolish pride, and help us to seek all wisdom from You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we are ever aware of what Your Spirit is whispering to our heart.  May we love with all that we are, and may many lives be touched as a result.  Let hearts be transformed and families filled with faith in You.  Be glorified through all that we say and do.  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

Honoring the Temple

In our media-driven society, we are flooded with what to eat, what to wear, how to look, and how to appeal to others.  The barrage of messages can overwhelm a soul that is not centered in Christ.  Those images and messages are not from God, yet so often are taken to heart. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” – (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

Though we are given the freedom to choose, when we choose Christ, we are no longer our own, but instead, we are now His.  Each one of us are His craftsmanship, created in His image; prepared to do good works, representing Him well, before those around us.  What we choose to do with the temple, (our body) in which His Spirit dwells, matters.  If we care for our bodies, avoiding sin that has been explained throughout scripture, not giving in to gluttony nor other indulgences, we are honoring God with what we have been given.  Christ sacrificed His own body on the cross, so that we could have life in ours.  May we choose well, to honor God with our entire being.

Though we have a choice,Honoring the Temple

we need to choose well;

for freedom unchecked,

is pathway to hell.

Yet freedom in Christ,

teaches us to trust;

the Spirit within,

and hear Him, we must.

We are His temple,

where Spirit resides;

if we will listen,

He’ll lead and He’ll guide.

May we honor God,

with our whole being;

let the lost be found,

and blind start seeing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who believe.  Forgive us for not treating our bodies as Your temple, by overindulging or by neglecting needs.  Teach us to care properly for the body that we have been given, so that we can best honor You each day.  Thank You that we belong to You, and that You are willing and available to lead and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that You care about even the smallest of details, as You are the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb.  May we listen and obey  all that You ask of us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King.  Let us love and serve others as You so lavishly love and care for us.  Be exalted in everything we say and do, and may we live as though we are merely the tenants of these temples in which we dwell, as we treat them as treasures belonging to 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