Godly Pursuit

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all of my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NIV)

 

King Solomon was given wisdom and wealth beyond what anyone else had ever acquired before him. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the futility of amassing people and possessions and giving in to every whim. He discovered all were without meaning, and not one brought true happiness.

The same remains true today. Stuff does not bring pleasure, nor does acting on our every desire. Instead, as we exercise self-control, and seek the Lord and His will for us, we find the joy that He brings in our choosing obedience to Him. There is a fine line in all of this. It seems the best way to know whether we are pursuing something that is meaningless or if it is a blessing that the Lord is willing to give, really depends on our heart condition. When we see things we like and are covetous, our heart is likely not in the right space. However, if there are things that we appreciate, but do not allow to dominate our desires, it is likely a more reasonable space from which to stand.

In my own life, there is a fine line of would I be willing to give it away? If not, I should probably not pursue it in the first place. There is nothing that I should cling to more tightly than Christ. Belongings are far easier to hold open-handed than relationships. The desire to hold tightly to something that I have invested time, energy and my heart into, is not so easily released. I am a work in progress, and know that more than anything, I must set my heart to seeking our Savior. May we delight in our pursuit of the path that the Lord has made plain for us, and choose to hold all else with open hands.

 

To pursue the Lord,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Is the only thing;

That has true meaning,

Grants us life lasting.

Though things may be nice,

Not one can compare;

To our hope in Christ,

For He hears our prayer.

We’re not meant to trust,

In people or things;

But rather in God,

And life that He brings.

There will be blessings,

He gives unto us;

But none can compare,

To our Lord Jesus.

Help our hearts be right,

Ever faithful, true;

As we seek to serve,

May we honor You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we delight in the process of work, its completion is our reward. Forgive us for a focus that is on accomplishments and acquisitions. Teach us to trust You more, so that our energy and attention are placed on things of You. Show us how to hold people and things with open hands, trusting You to keep all in proper perspective. Lead us to love others so that they can clearly see Your hand in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place You first in our every pursuit on this planet. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

What Shall We Bring?

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. – (Psalm 51:17)

 

We cannot please God, nor earn His favor with our outward actions, no matter how grandiose, if our heart is not right before Him. God looks at our heart condition. Are we willing to sacrifice our own selfish pride, and confess with a truly repentant heart? The Lord is pleased as we seek to obey Him with our whole being, and humbly come before Him. Genuine repentance and whole-hearted humility are far more pleasing than any outward acts that we could attempt.

 

Bring not a token,What Shall We Bring

of silver of gold;

if we’re not broken,

allowing Him hold.

Does He have our heart,

and our foolish pride?

Have we allowed start,

with arms open wide?

The Lord will be pleased,

if we truly seek;

forgiveness released,

His strength when we’re weak.

Humbly we must come,

give all glory due;

hope as we become,

Your vessels anew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire ostentatious offerings, nor grandiose gestures; rather You desire repentant and humble hearts. Thank You that by Your grace, we may humbly come before You, and that You readily receive us. Forgive us for our foolishness and our selfish pride, and help us to have repentant hearts that walk in true humility before You. May we live in love as You love us, and may many come to know the grace and acceptance that You offer to repentant hearts. Let those who are looking, find a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted as we walk humbly before You, O God. Amen.

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

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

External Appearance

God’s economy is not the same as that of man.  Where people may look at position or possessions, God looks directly at the heart.  He will use the least of us to do great things, for His glory, if we are only willing.  A humble heart that is ready to serve, is far more valuable to God, than one with much amassed wealth or a position of power.

“As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me.  God does not judge by external appearance – those men added nothing to my message.” – (Galatians 2:6) Paul spoke these words before the apostles and other leaders, as he was sharing his call to preach the gospel before the Gentiles, as there had been some in power positions attempting to burden new believers with the yoke of circumcision, when they were not even Jewish.  God had shown him that He looked at the heart condition, not the outward appearance.  It is our hearts that need to prepare to come before the Lord, not our bodies.

With a heart to serve,External Appearance

may we humbly come;

offer hands and heart,

to the Holy One.

With all that we are,

let our whole lives be;

willful submission,

for the Lord’s glory.

Seek not position,

nor power nor fame;

seek only Jesus,

the truth we can claim.

The Lord will receive,

whatever we bring;

as He sees our heart,

through our offering.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by external appearances, but rather by the condition of our heart.  Thank You that as we come to You and give our heart to You, You cleanse and make our heart holy and acceptable before You.  Thank You that it is by Your grace, and not by anything that we can or cannot do in our own strength.  Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough, when really, YOU ALONE, ARE ENOUGH.  Teach us to trust You with our whole heart, soul, mind, strength and life, so that all we do, is in and unto You.  Lead us and guide us by Your lavish and unending love, so that we may love others in a way that leads them straight to You.  Be magnified through every move we make.  We love You, Lord.  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

The Condition of Clean

image by Things We Heart

image by Things We Heart

It is not what we eat,

nor how we wash our hands,

that deems our condition,

worthy enough to stand.

God looks at our output,

for that which leaves our lips;

clear evidence of heart,

and how we are equipped.

For every sort of sin,

originates in heart.

When we give way to words,

that is the unclean part.

A life that is called clean,

is immersed in our God.

Allows His Spirit reign;

to guide our path to trod.

(Responding to Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that being “clean” before You has nothing to do with what we eat, nor with our physical condition, but instead has everything to do with the condition of our heart.  Thank You that though not one of us would be worthy to come before You on our own, that because we are covered in Christ, by the sacrifice You made on our behalf, we are forgiven as we ask, and found worthy to be with You.  Forgive us for the unclean things that dwell in our hearts, and for those that have left our lips.  Please cleanse us and free us from our own filth so that we might fully fix our eyes and hearts on You.  Lead us to love as You love, and may many come to know You in response.  Amen.

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