The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

In and Through

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, NLT)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

 

When we know and live in the love of God, it overflows out of us. As we love God, we are equipped to love people well. So often, the greatest way that we can show God to those around us, is by loving people where they are at. Encouraging words, a kind gesture, or just being present with people in their pain, speaks far more of a loving God than simply making claims about who He is. May we continue to grow in our understanding of God’s love so that we go forth and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is worthy of trust;

His good overflows,

So, give too, we must.

As we choose love well,

Others come to know;

God’s love and His grace,

That our actions show.

May all that we say,

And each thing we do;

Be seasoned in love,

So His light shines through.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant goodness and grace found in Your love. Thank You that we can always trust in Your faithfulness. Thank You that as we are loved by You, we are equipped to go forth and love likewise. Forgive us for not allowing Your love to fill us to overflowing, as it is by Your love that we too, can love those around us. Show us how to love people with more than words and to meet them wherever and however they are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive You lavish love and love those around us as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

The Love of a Father

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – (Psalm 91:1)

 

For many, this is an excellent promise to remember, as today can be a day of mixed emotions. Though most of us have had the good fortune to have been blessed with either a father, grandfather, uncle, spouse or some male that has held a positive and encouraging role in our lives, not all have had such a gift. The beauty of this day, Father’s Day, is that we all have a Father in Heaven who is perfect in how He loves. His love never fails, and He will always be ready when we run to Him. When we choose to dwell in Him, we find rest, regardless of what is going on in us, or around us. He provides what we need, despite what we seem to desperately be lacking. May we honor Him who is the greatest Father of all, and encourage the men who are seeking after God’s own heart to do likewise. Let us raise up the next generation of young men to do the same, as we show them how to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and know for themselves, what it is to find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

 

The love of a father,Be strong and courageous

for what can compare?

All seek such approval,

without it, despair.

No matter the father,

you’re granted on earth;

our Heavenly Father,

claims infinite worth.

He sees us and knows us,

and still chooses love;

no matter our failures,

in Him, rise above.

For all is forgiven,

as we hide in Him;

and rest in His shadow,

made strong from within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to dwell in You, we find rest in You. Thank You for the men that You have raised up to lead and father well, and thank You for those whom You are refining and restoring so that they may move mountains on Your behalf. Thank You that whether we have had wonderful fathers or not, You have always been our perfect Father; ever present and always available to us. Forgive us for allowing earthly errors to skew our view of You, and teach us to trust and hold fast to the truth of who You are, and how You love. Lead us to love others well, and to aid in the raising up of the next generation of young men who will father according to Your will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, in which their heart is set on serving You. Be glorified O God, as we dwell in Your protective shelter, and rest in the shadow of Your loving kindness. 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

Good Gifts

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? – (Luke 11:13)

 

Despite our flawed and sinful nature, I imagine all of us give the best gifts we can offer to others. If we, in our ugliness can give good gifts, how much more is the Lord willing to give that which He has promised? Christ came and bore our sin and shame upon the cross. He took our place, so that we could live a life restored in Him. The gift of His Holy Spirit is what He promised to send once He returned to His rightful place in heaven. To receive the Holy Spirit, we must invite Him in. May we be ready to receive all that He offers, as we ask Him to be present and hold fast to His promises.

 

If we give good gifts,Good Gifts

despite sinful self;

how much more will God,

bless us from His wealth?

He sent His own Son,

so that we might live;

and when He returned,

His Spirit to give.

All that He offers,

His love and His grace;

ours for the taking,

when we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give good gifts to us, Your children. Thank You that when we come to You and invite Your presence into our lives, You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not embracing the good gifts that You give to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we too, will extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the good gifts You give all around us. Be glorified O God, as we seek to give and receive the gifts You grant. 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

Run From Ruin

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – (2 Timothy 2:22)

 

In a culture that tells us, “if it feels good, go for it,” those who call on Christ and want to walk in His ways, are to take a different path. We are called to a higher standard. While most are simply pursuing pleasure, our charge is to run after righteousness; to follow that which God has for us, and to turn away from that which He does not. To flee the evil desires of youth, is to keep ourselves out of harm’s way. If we know a place or a group of people that create in us a propensity to sin, then we are to flee and avoid the situation, so that we may remain upright before our Father in Heaven.

 

As we pursue what is right according to Christ, we will grow in faith and love; experiencing His peace, as He purifies our hearts. He does not call us to walk this road alone, but rather to walk beside others too, who are seeking to answer all that He is asking. May we flee from that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord, and pursue passionately, all that He has for us.

 

Flee from all evil,Run From Ruin

pursue righteousness;

call out to Jesus,

to show which way’s best.

As we choose follow,

His path, and not ours;

faith, love and His peace,

find home in our hearts.

Do not walk alone,

but rather invest;

in those seeking,

to follow His best.

For on this rough road,

we best navigate;

when we’re surrounded,

and don’t isolate.

Shoulder to shoulder,

we shall rise above;

the world’s temptations,

as we walk in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we run from that which leads us into temptation and pursue the things of You, You grow our faith, overwhelm us with Your lavish love, and help us to know Your peace – even in places where peace seems impossible. Thank You that You take us as we are, and refine us, creating in us, hearts that are pure and acceptable before You, by the power of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for allowing ourselves entry into toxic situations or scenarios, and grant us wisdom so that we will flee from the spaces that suck us into sin. Thank You that You are merciful and loving, and that You do not allow us to stay in such spaces, but rather You correct and redirect so that we may follow You with all that we are. Thank You that You do not call us to walk this road alone, but rather You created us for relationships. Thank You that we are called to walk beside one another, shoulder to shoulder, to hold one another up, encourage and challenge each other in love. May many come to know the peace that is found in You alone, as they seek to find faith in You. Let our love extended through hearts You have purified, reflect Your radiance to the world. Be glorified, O God. 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

Living in Love

“John answered, ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’  Tax collectors also came to be baptized, ‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘what should we do?’ ‘Don’t collect any more than you are required to,’ he told them.  Then some soldiers asked him, ‘And what should we do?’  He replied, ‘Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.” – Luke 3:11-14

image by John Haydon

image by John Haydon

John’s message out in the desert back then, is still very much applicable to our lives right now.  The meat of his message is to:

(1) Share what we have with those who need it

(2) Whatever our job is, do it well and with fairness, and

(3) Be content with what we are earning

(*three points from NIV Study Bible footnotes)

The new command that Jesus gave to us is to love God and to love people.  Interestingly enough, if we are loving God and loving people, our natural inclination will be to share what we have with those who have none, we will want to work as if we are working directly for our Father in heaven (because ultimately we are), and in Him, we learn to be content in all things.

These verses inspire me to further purge my home and closet of excess, and to give away what is no longer needed nor worn.  Professionally, I am both challenged and inspired to continue setting new goals for myself and my students, with frequent check-ins to determine both our short and long-term direction.  As far as earnings go, our bills get paid, our vehicles run, and there is always food to place on the table – I know that I am abundantly blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your message is clear – that we are meant to love You and love each other.  If we are doing just that, we will be content in our circumstances, we will do our best, live generously, and love lavishly.  You, who sent Your only Son to lay down His life so that we might live, have shown us again and again and again, what love really means.  Forgive us for not always keeping our eyes open to the needs of those around us, and teach us how to live, love, work, share and simply settle into a life of loving like You.  You lead, and we will follow in faith.  May many find faith in You through the kindness and obedience of the faithful.  Amen.

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

The Light of the World

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” – I John 1:5

image by Martha Orlando

image by Martha Orlando

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the light of the world. “Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable.  Darkness represents what is sinful and evil.  The statement ‘God is light’ means that God is perfectly holy and true and that He alone can guide us out of the darkness of sin.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

Before the birth of Jesus, the light of God had to be pursued through perfect adherence to the letter of the law, accompanied by various sacrifices for shortcomings.  To live such a life was nearly impossible, and few found way into God’s favor.

Nearly two millennium ago, everything changed.  God out there, became God right here – Emmanuel, God with us.  His loving light entered earth as an infant, who grew into a man who instructed and taught us how we too, might live in His light.  In our sinful state, instruction was not nearly enough.  Without atonement and ongoing help, our own darkness would surely destroy us.  Not wanting even one of us to be destroyed by darkness, Jesus lovingly and willingly decided to die in our place.  Death could not defeat His deity, and on the third day, He rose again.  When He returned to the right hand of His Father in heaven, He sent us a helper through His Holy Spirit – to be our Counselor and Comforter.

Today, we have great reason to rejoice, as we celebrate the coming of Christ – the Light of life unto the world!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for sending Your Son to be the Light of the world.  Thank You for the life and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the hope and help provided to all who believe by Your Holy Spirit.  May our love reflect Your holy light to one and all always, and on this Christmas night.  Amen.

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