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,

img_2019-03-14_04-59-06197596314987504643.jpg

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

The Intended Target in Training

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. – (1 Timothy 4:8, NLT)

Training your body helps you in some ways. But devotion to God helps you in every way. It brings you blessings in this life and in the future life too. – (1 Timothy 4:8, ERV)

Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things – holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming. – (1 Timothy 4:8, VOICE)

 

Just as physical training provides benefit to our body, devotion to God (spiritual training), benefits our mind and spirit. Though both types of training have value, the latter lasts forever. What we know and how we grow, impact our eternity. Training our body can help us be our best self, so that we are physically equipped to do all that the Lord asks of us. However, if we do not train our heart and mind to be in tune with Christ, how will we know and recognize His voice in our lives? May we ever pursue the path of righteousness, for it holds promise in the Lord both for now and forever more.

 

Training has purpose, The Intended Target in Training

In all that we do;

For what we practice,

Leads to what’s pursued.

If we train for good,

Seek align with God;

We’re aptly prepared,

Despite how we’re flawed.

We’ll learn how to walk,

In His righteousness;

Allow God to reign,

By His faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your path prepared for us, You meet us, lead us and bless us both now and for all time. Thank You that You are faithful to all who seek You. Forgive us for our inconsistency in training in our pursuit of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make time to fix our eyes, hearts and minds on You. Show us how to love those around us well, as we grow in our likeness to You through continued pursuit of Your path and purpose for our lives. Be glorified O God, as we train our hearts, minds and entire beings to become who You intended us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – Proverbs 21:21

 

 

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,

dsc044712067821502.jpg

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

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

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Seeking to Gain

But godliness with contentment is great gain. – (1 Timothy 6:6)

 

The wholehearted pursuit of Christ, leads to a contentment that cannot be found anywhere else. No earthly treasures can compare to the peace that passes all understanding in our hearts and minds, when we allow the Lord to reign. Godliness, our state of ongoing spiritual growth and fulfillment through Him whom we give all honor and praise, grants us the greatest gain of all, as we discover all that God is doing in and through our lives. As we take our eyes off of earthly acquisitions, and focus rather on the things of God, contentment comes flooding in. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and know the contentment that comes from a life gained through His grace.

 

Contentment is gained,Confidence Comes Through Christ

as we pursue Christ;

lay down earthly things,

see His sacrifice.

For the life we gain,

following the Lord;

a heart that is pure,

and grace to afford.

Nothing on the earth,

compares to His love;

let us pursue Christ,

and seek God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that to seek You and know You is our greatest gain. Thank You that nothing in the world compares to You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our hearts to be distracted by things that do not honor You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be content in all things and at all times, knowing that You are with us and in us; and that is so much more than enough. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may come to know contentment in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to know You and honor You in all that we do, and are content in all circumstances. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Purposeful Pursuit

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11)

 

Though this was Paul’s charge to Timothy after he had unpacked the dangers of false doctrine and the love of money, the charge given applies to all who choose to follow in the faith. Another version states it this way: But you belong to God. so you should stay away from all those things. Always try to do what is right, to be devoted to God, and to have faith, love, patience, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11, ERV) If we devote out hearts and minds to the Lord, then our desire will be to do what is right and to flee from that which is not. The more we know God, the more we take on His character, growing in faith, love, patience and gentleness. May we rise up as people of God, and pursue His righteousness, enduring all things through His strength, as He calls us according to His purposes.

 

Let every heart,Knowing Love

who holds the Lord dear;

flee from what’s evil,

and trust Christ is near.

May we all pursue,

righteousness and love;

faith and endurance,

like the Lord above.

Let Your love and light,

in truth shine through us;

as we pursue You,

may folks see Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we turn to You and away from what is not good nor beneficial for our growth in You, that You meet us. Thank You that as we pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, You grant us Your strength and Your heart to reflect Your love and character to those around us. Forgive us for our failure to rely on You or for seeking after things that are not beneficial to our eternal gain, and help us to have Your perspective on what lies before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view all things with an eternal filter. Help us to love others as You so relentlessly love each of us. May many come to know the glory of Your grace and marvel and the mercy You freely offer. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the things of You and flee from that which is not. Amen.

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

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

Contentment is Great Gain

But godliness with contentment is great gain. – (I Timothy 6:6)

 

If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, our desires will align with His, and we will find that we are content in our current calling. The measure of our wealth will be by heaven’s standards, rather than those of earthly exchange. We will look to see what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us, counting His movement, a gift of great gain.

 

Seeking the Lord,Contentment is Great Gain

leads to godliness;

He’ll lead us out,

of unrighteousness.

Aligned with God,

we find there is peace;

heavenly wealth,

investment increased.

He is faithful,

to answer our call;

His grace enough,

to cover us all.

Pursue the Lord,

and His righteousness;

contentment’s gain,

our God, glorious!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your righteousness in our lives, we find contentment – and that is of great gain. Thank You that we do not do these things in our own strength, but rather by Your Spirit, You enable us to do all that You ask of us. Forgive us for our lack of contentment at times, and help us to grow increasingly aware of Your economy, rather than this one. May our priority be Your kingdom and Your righteousness in all that we say and do. Let our every word and deed be a building block for Your kingdom. May those who are seeking come into a saving relationship with You. Help us to love others as You love us. Be glorified, Lord God, as we contend to be content in all things at all times, knowing You are present and You are working in us and through us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. 

Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Proper Pursuit

Christianity is not a practice in passivity, but rather is meant to be alive and active – an ongoing series of steps of faith, as we follow in obedience, that which God is asking.  In I Timothy 6:11-12, Paul explains it this way: “But you, man (people) of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Yes, the Holy Spirit will equip and empower us to do that which we are called to do, but we have to take action – place one foot in front of the other (either literally or figuratively) and have an active faith that gives action to what is asked.

I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very young age.  However, I allowed fear to overshadow my faith when I determined my course of study in college.  Rather than pursuing education classes as I knew I ought to, I chose to hide in the art department and major in graphic design, where studio time did not require presentations nor speeches.  Thankfully, God had other plans.  Though it took a three-year tour around Asia with YWAM, where I had to speak in multiple schools to bring me to the place where I was willing to do as He was asking, I did at last pursue the path that He had placed before me, and applied to and was accepted into grad school, where I simultaneously earned my Master’s Degree and Teaching Certificate.  The traveling was not without purpose though, as it was a season of truly learning how to flee from what is evil, to pursue what is righteous and of Him, that which is good, faithful, loving, and gentle, and how to endure.  Perseverance was necessary to faithfully complete both the travels and the additional schooling, and daily, I had to take hold of that to which I had been called.  That season set the standard for my life, and I am grateful for the good that He brought, even through my initial fearfulness.

People of God,Proper Pursuit

pursue what’s right;

flee from evil,

stay strong and fight.

Take hold of faith,

He’s holding you;

let go of fear,

He’ll make us new.

Faith is active,

alive in us;

may it be light,

to show Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good.  Thank You that You instruct us in the way we are meant to go, and You empower us to move as You ask.  Thank You that faith is not passive, but rather is alive and active – moving, growing, and showing Your faithfulness to the world around us.  Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us frozen in our tracks, or for being passive in our faith when You are calling us to action.  Teach us to not only hear You clearly, but to have the courage to act faithfully as You are asking.  May many come to know who You are, as we live in loving obedience to all that You ask.  Let our lives be lived in active faith, ever pursuing You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

The Power of Prayer

image by Lynn Roey

image by Lynn Roey

We are urged, first of all,

to pray without ceasing;

intercession for all,

faith ever increasing.

Pray for every leader,

and person placed in charge,

despite how they’re leading,

our God’s answers are large.

It is only through Him,

that a heart may be changed;

peace from the warriors,

sanity from deranged.

Pray that all may find peace,

lives in His holiness,

as the Savior is sought,

make known His godliness.

There is only one God,

and one Mediator;

between God and all men,

in Jesus, our Savior.

For He was a ransom,

given in proper time;

provider of purpose,

with salvation in mind.

(Responding to I Timothy 2:1-7)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder of the power provided through our prayers. Forgive us for complaining or for finding faults, rather than lifting our leaders up in prayer. Thank You that You have the power to change even the most seemingly wayward heart. Teach us to trust You, and allow Your Spirit to lead us in how we ought to pray for those placed in authority over us. Thank You that above all, You are our ultimate Authority, to whom we all must one day answer. May our every answer unto You, be yes and amen. Use our obedience to lead those who are looking, into Your loving embrace. Amen.

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