Strength and Protection

Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest… – (Ephesians 6:14, HCSB)

So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist, and on your chest wear the protection of right living. – (Ephesians 6:14, ERV)

Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. – (Ephesians 6:14, TPT)

The reason I always look at the various translations of a passage is because so often, the slight variation in the phrasing helps my heart to make connections between what is being said and how it applies to my own life. This morning, the imagery of The Passions Translation hits home. In the same way that one wears a belt to lift heavy weights for protecting and strengthening the back, so too does truth girded around us, grant us the strength we need to stand strong in faith. Additionally, protective armor to cover the heart reminds me that we are not called to be hard-hearted, but rather, we are to allow God to protect our tender heart with His armor. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use His strength each day, and His protection over my heart in this incredibly long and exhausting season. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and protect us, for His armor is stronger than anything that comes against us.

The power of truth,

God’s strength unto us;

Protection each day,

Faithful, God with us.

Place over each heart,

Your armor and grace;

Our help and our strength,

Throughout all our days.

Please help us to rise,

In truth, make us strong;

Lead and protect us,

In You, carry on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each time we seek You, You lovingly strengthen and protect us in the truth of You great love. Forgive us for forgetting the strength that is found in Your word and the faithfulness of Your protection when we seek You. Teach us to pursue more of You to be equipped and empowered to walk out each new day well. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exemplify the strength of Your word and protection in Your powerful hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to secure the belt of truth about us, and to be the armor that protects and guards our heart. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Pursue Peace

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness – without it no one will see the Lord. – (Hebrews 12:14, HCSB)

Try to live in peace with everyone. And try to keep your lives free from sin. Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord. – (Hebrews 12:14, ERV)

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, since no one will see God without it. – (Hebrews 12:14, VOICE)

There are times that this seems like a monumental task, yet it is what we are called to do. If we are pursuing peace, we are choosing to love over being right. To pursue holiness, we must pursue He who is holy. It is Christ in us that makes us holy, not anything that we say or do on our own. Our eternal hope is held in the Lord and as we choose Him again and again, we can rest assured that He holds us in His hands. God strengthens and equips us to pursue peace with those around us and to seek His righteousness to keep us on the path that He has prepared for us. May we ever seek the Lord for love, strength and direction as we pursue peace and aspire to live according to His good and perfect will, so that we may rest assured in the promise of heaven forever. 

O Lord show us how,

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To pursue Your peace;

A love that settles,

Puts others at ease.

Lead us and guide us,

Away from all sin;

Show us Your nearness,

Give strength from within.

For only in You,

Is there holiness;

We’re covered and cleansed,

By Your righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue peace and to live right through the power of Your great love. Forgive us for every time we fall short. Teach us to ever seek You to be our strength that propels us forward in peace and righteousness. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we pursue peace with everyone and walk in the wonder of Your great love knowing that our hope is in eternity with You. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Wisdom in Exposure

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV) 

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG) 

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything from our lives that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT) 

If we love and respect God, and the temple within where He dwells, our objective ought to include removing the things from our lives that lead us away from Him and His will.  We must care for the temple, both outside and in. This means that the things that we expose ourselves to and consume, either edify and align with God, or they do not. With all that is going on in our country and our world, it is especially important to keep the main things, the main things. When we choose to use wisdom as to what we take in, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on where our hope is held. Though I stumble and fall short, my hope is in Christ, and I desire to honor Him through every decision I make, and how I care for the heart, mind, body and soul that He has given me. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on Christ and His ways, so that we may rid ourselves of everything that contaminates body and spirit, and seek Him to develop His holiness within us. 

Let us choose part ways, 

With things that distract; 

Both mind and body, 

Temptations, attacks. 

Instead, let us fix, 

Our hearts upon Him; 

So Christ is honored, 

By what we take in. 

Though all’s permitted, 

Not all things are good; 

Seek God to guide us, 

To do as we should. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lead us in how to best care for our body, heart, soul and mind. Thank You that You provide wisdom and guidance as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed garbage in, or have gotten caught up in what is around us, rather than abiding by You who are within us. Teach us to listen to Your leading. Help us to make a clean break from that which distracts or defiles us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness is what is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You by how we tend to the temple that we have been given. Amen. 

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

Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

His Righteousness

As I watched the world seem to wake up on this beautiful Easter morning, I am once again in awe, as I consider all that was covered on the cross, and the significance of the stone that was rolled away. He is risen! These three words are the game changer for all of eternity.

 

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Jesus took it all. Every. Single. Sin. Our every shortcoming, mess-up, and malicious malfunction, He bore on the cross so that we could be called clean before Him. More than that, in Christ, we become the righteousness of God. That is a weighty responsibility. Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us to our own devices to attempt to be righteous. We are given His Spirit to dwell within us, so that we are led, comforted, and corrected by the Spirit of the living God, Himself. As we choose listen to His leading, we have the privilege to represent our Redeemer through how we live our lives. May we go forth this sacred day as His righteous representatives, living and loving as He first loved us.

 

He who had not sinned,A House of Hope

took up all of ours;

for our salvation,

He bore the scars.

In Him we become,

the Lord’s righteousness;

not for what we’ve done,

but Jesus in us.

Let us each go forth,

in His holiness;

so others may see,

the love of Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You does not begin to express the gratitude for what You have done for us. The gift You poured out to offer hope and life for all who choose to believe, is beyond comprehension. Thank You that You love so much. Forgive us for not standing amazed at all that You have done for us, and for not giving You proper thanks and praise. Teach us to trust You completely, and to honor You well in all that we say and do. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we worship and honor You on this most sacred day. Amen.

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

 

 

It is Grace that Saves

In this fast-paced world with its ever growing demands, it is easy to lose perspective. Within almost every avenue we navigate, there are performance expectations attached to each step of the way. At times, the pressure is so great, motivation to perform is entirely fear-based. Thankfully, we serve a God who is nothing like that. Our salvation is a gift that is given to ALL who believe and choose to receive. We do not have to achieve a certain level of holiness to be considered righteous before Him, but rather it is His grace alone that saves us.

 

This point had to be driven home by Peter before the council in Jerusalem, as the Jewish believers were arguing that Gentile believers needed to do certain things to be saved. His response was with words that ought to still resonate with us today: No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. – (Acts 15:11) May we embrace the grace that has set us free from sin and shame, and walk forward in obedience to Him who has called us according to His purpose.

 

Though pressure is great,It is Grace that Saves

to always perform;

in Christ we need not,

let fear be the norm.

We are saved by grace,

gift granted in love;

with no strings attached,

salvation for us.

The strength of His love,

compels us to rise;

to love others well,

and serve with our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are saved by Your loving and generous grace, and not by our ability to follow a series of rules and regulations. Thank You that when we believe and receive new life in You, You grant us Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for trying to earn favor or perform somehow, rather than simply being obedient to all that You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will do all that You ask without hesitation. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in the grace that You so generously have given. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Be Silent Before Him

But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. – (Habakkuk 2:20)

 

As I was reading in Habakkuk this morning, I came to verse twenty of chapter two, and could not help but linger. How often do I stop and really recognize just how holy He is? Am I intentional to be silent before Him? His holy temple is the heart of each of us who believe, and that alone, ought to cause us to be silent before Him. It is far too easy to get so occupied with the list of things to do, that communication with Christ becomes a series of sincere requests, and the silence before Him, comes to a halt. He has much to speak to our hearts. How can we possibly hear Him if we do not still ourselves long enough to truly listen? May our day be filled with moments of silence before Him, who alone is holy.

 

The Lord is holy,Be Silent Before Him

where does He choose dwell?

In the very hearts,

with trust in Him swell.

In reverent awe,

may the earth be still;

for He is the Lord,

hope and peace fulfilled.

May we be silent,

before You today;

please speak to our hearts,

and help us obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are holy and worthy of all reverence and awe. Thank You that You no longer dwell in buildings made of mortar and stone, but rather You come and dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Forgive us for not being silent before You, or for not giving You reverence due. Teach us how to be still before You, so that we may be more aware of Your presence and Your peace. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know Your goodness and holiness, personally. Be glorified in our going and in our silent stillness before You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Promises to Purify

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” – (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

The promises that Paul was referring to, were mentioned only a few verses earlier in the previous chapter. “…I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – (6:16b) “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – (6:18) Reminders that we are His, not only as His people, but as His own children, both promises to which we can cling.

 

To purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, is a two-part process. It requires us to both turn away from the sin that entangles us, and turn to God, who is our help and our hope.

 

Perfecting holiness is not something that we can do, but rather is what the Lord does in us, as we operate our very lives out of reverence for God. To live in reverence for God, is to be in ongoing awe of Him. The more we seek to know Him, the more we  come to realize just how worthy He is of our deep respect and awe. May we turn from all that would ensnare our souls, and cling to Christ, who is our help and our hope, forever.

 

Your word unto us,Promises to Purify

promise for all time;

in Christ we are Yours,

and by faith, You’re mine.

Not only as Lord,

but as Father too;

You call us Your kids,

sons and daughters, new.

May we purify,

our lives from the things;

that contaminate,

peace that Your truth brings.

Help us turn away,

from unrighteousness;

and cling unto You,

God of faithfulness.

May we stand in awe,

forever in You;

our Hope and our Help,

the God of all truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that if we come to You and place our trust in You, that You will be our God, and that You call us Your people. Thank You that You go beyond that – that You call us sons and daughters. Thank You that You help us turn from the sin that entangles us, and draw us unto Yourself. Forgive us for trying to do things on our own, thinking that we somehow are strong enough to stand. Teach us to turn to You, and to trust completely, as You alone are our Source. Help us to love as You love us, and lead many to come to know You as not only their God, but as a loving Father too. Be exalted in our every word and deed. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

– Psalm 69:16

 

 

Better is One Day

Better is One DayFor greater a day,

spent in the Lord’s house;

than a multitude,

elsewhere to espouse.

To draw near the place,

where Holiness dwells;

bask in His great Light,

all fears to dispel.

He’s both sun and shield,

all honor He brings;

as heavenly hosts,

surround Him and sing.

His favor is found,

no good is withheld;

for those who do walk,

upright and upheld.

To all who choose trust,

His blessings unfold;

our promise secure,

His hand we now hold.

Unto us bestowed,

His grace undeserved;

mercy He pours out,

on hearts that have heard.

Heard not with our ears,

but held in our heart;

all hope and promise,

in granted fresh start.

(Responding to Psalm 84:10-12)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the promised hope that is held in every heart that trusts in You. Thank You for making the way for us to one day dwell in Your courts with You forever. Thank You that for now, You make our heart Your home, when we choose to invite You in. Thank You that no matter what comes our way here, it is but a moment when compared to our promised forever with You. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope we hold in You when the world wages war, and grant us Your eyes to see that we are indeed, not home yet. Teach us to rest in You, as You bring peace in the peak of the storm, and light our every darkness with Your lavish love. Show us how to trust You more, and help us to walk upright before You. May our hearts be filled with songs of praise, not for what surrounds us, but for the hope we hold in You. Let us love as You love, and may many come to know the warmth and hope that from You flow. Let hearts be opened and lives be changed. All glory and honor to You, God – our hiding place and holy hope. Amen.

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