Growth to the Seeking

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

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 toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

 

The blessings we behold grant us the capacity to bless others. We are given some specific ways that we can continue to grow and be more effective in loving others well. To do this best, we must make effort to further expand our capacity to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. As we allow God to change us from the inside out, we are better able to love Him and those around us, which are the very things that we are commanded to do. Growth can be uncomfortable, as our greatest measure of increase most often comes in seasons of struggle. We must understand that we cannot do all things in our own strength and need faith in our Heavenly Father to deepen our dependence on Him. Goodness expands exponentially as we recognize the reality where goodness is lacking. Knowledge comes through actively seeking answers, rather than complacently standing by, hoping for wisdom to whack us on the noggin. There is no comprehension of need for self-control without the understanding how detrimental a lack thereof becomes. Patience grows in opportunities to wait, not in instant gratification. Devotion to God is desperately needed to find patience when we want answers or results right now. Kindness is an extension of our love for God and others made visible. May we seek and depend on the Lord to continue to grow us in all of these things that strengthen our love for God and for all people.

 

To love people well,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need ever seek;

The Lord and His love,

As we act and speak.

To love the right way,

We must keep growing;

Let faith and goodness,

Abundant, flowing.

Seek understanding,

Control and His grace;

So what our lives bring,

Reflect His embrace.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Equipped, empowered,

To answer Love’s call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us, the ways in which we can grow and expand to do so according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for not leaning into You to equip and strengthen us to love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that our greatest growth comes through struggles. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for them as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more like You each day. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

Grow the Good

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV)

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 towards your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. If all these things in you are growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, ERV)

 

We should never stop striving to grow in the good to which we are called. Every avenue of growth in God grants room to grow further in the next. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love all multiply as we dig deeper in our faith and pursue our Heavenly Father and all that He has for us. As we grow, His goodness shows, and others gain from that which is being developed deeper within our hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in our faith, so that He may increase within us, allowing that which flows from us to be a reflection of Him to the world.

 

Please grow our faith Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

So we may reflect;

All good that’s from You,

Love, honor, respect.

As our faith does grow,

So too, does the good;

Knowledge and wisdom,

Restraint understood.

With perseverance,

We start to reflect;

The heart of Jesus,

Who loves and accepts.

Affection given,

And also returned;

Increases our love,

With practice, we learn.

So, keep on growing,

In faith and in love;

This is effective,

As God’s placed above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek to grow in You, You increase all that is good within us. Thank You that as our faith grows, so too does our goodness, knowledge, self-control, capacity to persevere, our likeness to Your nature, our affection for others, and our ability to love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for not seeking You to grow in us all the good that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would rely on You to grow us more like You. Show us how to navigate our days, growing more into who You are calling us to become. Help us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart so that we may be effective in giving the good that You so lavishly give to each of us.

 

© 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

Being the Body

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

As I read this passage through several times, I thought about how it applies to my own life. Stepping back, I can see how true this is, not only in my church circle, but at home, at work, and among my groupings of friends. In each arena, God has gathered people with different strengths, gifts and talents, and placed us together with purpose. Where one of us is weak, another is strong. In a space where wisdom or experience are necessary, there is one among us who has been there to build up, encourage or advise. This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. Who we are and what we have to give is far more meaningful and effective when joined together with others. Balance, beauty and strength in our everyday lives the way God intended, become recurring reality, rather than a one-day hope. Yes, there will be days that are messy and feel a bit fractured, but if our pursuit is to seek God and be joined in the body as He intended, the difficult days will be well worth the work. May we ever choose to seek the Lord and be invested in community as we are called.

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us individually with different strengths and functions and purpose. Thank You that You intended each of us to be in community so that our strengths could be utilized together to accomplish Your call and build up one another in You. Thank You that You place us in community when we seek You. Forgive us for not fully investing in the communities we are in, or for withholding the very things that You have birthed in us to share. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would utilize that which You have given us to share for the benefit of the body. Show us how to love all those whom You have placed in the communities we are called to invest in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with one another to become together what we could not be alone. Amen.

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

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

From the Heart Our Words Flow

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from a treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – (Luke 6:45, NLT)

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)

 

Most of the time, the filter that I was taught from a very early age, is quite effective – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, every so often, in a moment of frustration, I catch myself speaking words that do not edify anyone. It is in those moments that I am reminded anew, just how desperately I need Him to rule and reign in every part of my life. If I do not allow His grace to touch the places where my heart has been grieved, the desire to dispel defensive and unsavory dialogue runs great. Even if the words are never uttered, they lay hidden in my heart. Good can only reign if I allow God to run the ruin out. I must choose to give Him access to all, so that He can remove the sting and stain of that which renders me defensive, and allow Him to soften my heart so that I might see through His lens. May the words that leave our mouths be a reflection of our good and loving God, who fills our hearts and minds with every good and perfect gift.

 

May that which we hold,Internal Investments Exceed External

our treasury be;

the good things of God,

shown through words we speak.

The things in our hearts,

both evil and good;

are evidenced by,

our words understood.

For good comes from good,

and evil the same;

let our words be sweet,

so good is proclaimed.

Lord, come cleanse our hearts,

so all may be good;

let our treasure be,

Your hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a good heart is not something that we can somehow work hard enough to earn, but rather when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives, You come and transform the content of our character and chase away that which was once in darkness. Thank You that only good comes from You. Thank You that when we set our sights on the things of You, those are the very things that flow out of us. Forgive us for entertaining ugly thoughts long enough to give them words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when the struggle comes, and allow You to shine Your light in those dark spaces, so that darkness will disappear. Show us how to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as people desire the good they see in You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that is good from You, and allow that to be what flows from our mouths. 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

Temptation and Trials

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. – (Luke 4:1)

 

Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Holy Spirit into a long and difficult space of temptation. He had done no wrong, but was led into this trial in the desert so that He would know and understand what we go through in our broken humanity. The very same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus and gave Him strength to overcome the temptations presented before Him in the desert, dwells within us, granting us the strength to stand against that which we know we are not meant to do. Just as Jesus was led into a time of trial by the Spirit, we too, may be led into seasons of testing to further strengthen our reliance on Christ. The better we know and obey God and His word, the more effective our fight against temptation will be. May we stand firm in His promises, and listen well to the word of the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

Tempting and trials,Temptations and Trials

most surely shall come;

let the Spirit lead,

righteous Holy One.

Though we may be led,

to seasons of test;

relying on Christ,

will serve us the best.

For just as Jesus,

overcame all sin;

when we look to Christ,

our battles, we’ll win.

Stand firm in His word,

His promises keep;

obey in all things,

His strength we shall reap.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to withstand trials and temptations of every kind. Thank You Jesus, for dying for our sins and sending Your Spirit, so that we too, can withstand every temptation and trial that comes our way in Your strength. Thank You that Your Spirit leads us and guides us if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for attempting to overcome temptations and trials in our own strength, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as we utilize the gifts and strengths You have granted to face every trial and temptation that comes our way. Show us every sinful way in us, so that we may confess and allow Your correction for that which does not bring glory unto You. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading when trials or temptations are placed before us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Seeking in Solitude

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

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

 

Staying Salty

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” – (Mark 9:50)

 

Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in His people: (1) We should remember God’s faithfulness, just as salt when used with a sacrifice recalled God’s covenant with His people. (2) We should make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in, just as salt changes the flavor of food. (3) We should counteract the moral decay in society, just a salt preserves food from decay. If we lose the desire to “salt” the earth with the love and message of God, how can we possible be effective in all that we are called to do? – (NIV footnotes for Mark 9:50)

 

How can we have salt in ourselves, and be at peace with each other? The best way to remember God’s faithfulness, is to spend time in His word. As we read story after story of how God has been faithful throughout the ages, our own faith is built up, and we cannot help but recall God’s faithfulness in our own lives as well. When His word and our own testimony are fresh in our minds, they come out in the words that we speak. People notice the flavor of our words, and desire to taste and see for themselves. As peace permeates in places where chaos reigns, the desire for the difference is discernable. Opportunities for His hope to be heard abound. May we go forth as salt, being at peace with one another today.

 

Holy faithfulness,To Season the Earth

like salt of the earth;

covenant promise,

through Jesus’ birth.

Because Jesus came,

and made way for us;

we now can go forth,

with truth to discuss.

May each of our words,

bring salt and bring life;

Christ’s message of love,

peace where there was strife.

Let us each go forth,

as salt of the earth;

extending His hope,

so all find new birth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are salt and light, and that when we come to You, You equip us to be as salt unto those around us. Thank You that You help us remember Your faithfulness, because You are indeed faithful, and You use us to make a difference in the “flavor” of the world that we live in. Thank You that in You, we are able to counteract the moral decay that is happening around us. Forgive us for not seeking to stay “salty”, and help us to never lose our desire to “salt” the earth with love and Your message. Grow our faith, God, so that we may season those around us in such a way, that they too, seek You with their whole hearts. May many come to know You as their Savior and King as we love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we allow our salt to spread around us while we remain at peace with each other. Amen.

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

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

Confession and Community

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – (James 5:16)

 

Christ’s death on the cross took away the barrier that required us to go to a priest to confess. However, there are times when we need audible reassurance that we have indeed been forgiven, or perhaps a person present to keep us accountable so that we do not repeat the offense. Still other times, we must make amends with one whom we have offended with our actions. “In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers.” (NIV footnotes, James 5:16) May we go forth keeping short accounts before God and everyone, so that hearts may be healed and our prayers become powerful and effective.

 

We must confess,

all of our sin;Who Do You See

before the Lord,

know peace within.

At times we need,

help of others;

to grasp the grace,

voiced by brothers.

Our healing comes,

when we’ve come clean;

point of release,

as sin is seen.

Those forgiven,

are called righteous;

their prayers are heard,

power, priceless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to come to You directly when we sin. Thank You that we can approach Your throne of grace, no matter what we have done, and know that You love us and will receive us. Thank You too, that You call us to be in community together, and that when we struggle, You provide safe sisters and brothers in You, in whom we can confide to confess and go to for prayer. Thank You that when we are right before You, our prayers by Your Spirit within us, are powerful and effective. Forgive us for bearing burdens that we are not meant to carry, or for not reaching out to those who can help keep us accountable where we may struggle. Help us to invest in relationships that point our hearts heavenward. May we love, encourage and pray for others as You call us to do, and may many come to know the freedom that is only found in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

As Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – (Proverbs 27:17)

 

Good company helps sharpen our character. As we spend time with one another sharing ideas, discussing insight, and challenging each other, God utilizes conversation to shape and refine us. The sharper we are, the more effective we become for His purpose in and through us. We ought not shy away from passionate discussions with safe people, but rather check our egos at the door and allow the Holy Spirit to do the speaking to our hearts and minds. May we all find friendships that help sharpen us further for God’s glory.

 

Iron meets iron,As Iron Sharpens Iron

and sparks, they may fly;

yet through the process,

impurities die.

The strengths, they rise up,

and soon they are seen;

as it is with us,

exchanges between.

We’re called to relate,

one to another;

bound as believers,

sisters and brothers.

May we safely speak,

and truly be heard;

sharpen each other,

speak truth from His word.

Let go of ego,

be set free from pride;

allow God to work,

He’ll refine inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You change us from the inside out to more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Thank You that You utilize each of us with one another, so that we may sharpen each other to be more effective for You. Forgive us for our egos that get in the way, or for our fears that keep us silent. Lead us to safe friendships where we can sharpen each other with the truth and insight You infuse into our hearts. May many come to know the gift of Your saving grace, as we go forth, sharpened by one another. Be glorified, Lord God. 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

Wage Love

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

 

People do not always play nice. Situations and circumstances, the obstacles that come our way, are not simple nor predictable. However, when we are in Christ, we have help to overcome every obstacle that comes our way, and the power to persevere and keep loving people, even when they are less than loveable. Our “weapons” are the things that God gives to us to aid us in our lives – His word, the Holy Spirit, prayer, faith, hope and love. All of these are powerful and effective, and can help us through anything that is thrown our way. He is good and His presence is promised forever.

 

When we are washed in His word, our thoughts are centered on Him. It is much easier to be obedient to that which is known. Prayer is our ongoing conversation with God, Himself; so it is essential for hearing and knowing His will and His direction. Faith is the very thing that fuels our foundation in Christ. Hope is what we hold, even when the road is rough. Love is what lives in us and shines through us, leading the lost to the Lover of our souls. May we wage love, rather than what is wielded by the world.

 

Though in the world,Wage Love

play not by its rules;

offer kindness,

His traits as our tools.

In Him, there’s strength,

we have never known;

power to stand,

He calls us His own.

God gives us love,

where others would not;

He offers hope,

our eternal spot.

Fighting ended,

strongholds are destroyed;

nothing can stand,

where God is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are in the world, we do not have to fight as the world does. Thank You that You provide us with Your word, Your Holy Spirit, prayer, faith, hope and love – all of which are powerful weapons against anything that might try to come against us. Thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that our strength is found in You. Forgive us for not depending on You when the world seems to wage war against us. Help us to run to You, and trust You to be our help and our hope. Teach us how to hear Your still small voice, even when the world around us is raging. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the mighty hope and help that is found in You alone, personally. Be exalted in everything we do and say today. Amen.

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

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