Because Peace is Present

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)

Now brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, MSG)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Corinth applies to us today as well. When we choose joy, seek to grow, encourage others, and do what we can to live in harmony and peace with those around us, the love and peace of God seem to be ever-present. Each of the things that Paul mentioned are choices that we are able to make, despite our circumstances. Joy, growth, encouragement, peace, and harmony can be given and gained, even in the midst of personal difficulties. So often, when we choose these, our challenges become less and our strength and resolve become more. This is not to discredit the overwhelming obstacles that at times, lie directly before us; yet it is to remind us that our God is far greater, and when we choose to operate in the things of Him, that which is before us is less that He who is in us. May we choose joy and growth, encouraging one another in love. Let us live in harmony and peace with each other according to His will, and may we be ever aware of the love and peace found in the Lord’s presence, as He is faithful to be present with us for all of our days.

 

Brothers and sisters, Forgiveness is Free

Be joyful always;

Seek to ever grow,

For all of our days.

Encourage others,

Live in harmony;

For as we follow,

God’s peace is released.

He will be present,

To show us the way;

To do what is right,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instruction as to how we ought to live well. Thank You that joy, growth, encouragement, harmony and peace are all choices that we can make, despite our circumstances. Thank You that in You, all are possible, regardless of what we are going through. Forgive us for choosing to fix our focus on what lies before us rather than You who dwells within us and give us strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be joyful, seek to grow, encourage others and live in harmony and peace. Show us how to love others well so that we can do each of these things according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the love and peace that is found in Your presence, so that we may go forth extending peace to all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Pursue Righteousness

Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, NLT)

Always try to do what is right, to be devoted to God, and to have faith, love, patience, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, ERV)

Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, MSG)

 

Though this portion of passage comes from a letter that Paul was writing to Timothy to instruct him in the way in which he was meant to go, it is instruction that applies to all of us. When we pursue righteousness, we are walking towards God and His will for our lives. In doing so, we live a life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness, as these are the very attributes of Christ, Himself. When He dwells in us, what flows from us is seasoned by His goodness and grace. The more we invest in knowing God, the more clearly we reflect His radiance through our words and deeds. May we choose to pursue a righteous life that is invested in knowing and loving the Lord, so that we can go forth and know and love others well.

 

May our hearts pursue,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The Lord God above;

Who grants us all things,

And fills us with love.

For as we invest,

Our hearts come to know;

The depth of His grace,

Draws our hearts to grow.

Grow in His goodness,

As patience is learned;

Let gentleness lead,

As our lives are turned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue You and what You are calling us to do. Thank You that You also equip us to do the very things that You ask of us, rather than expecting us to somehow manage on our own. Forgive us for the times that we have been without faith, have been unkind, quit, and have been harsh. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the way that You are calling us to walk. Show us how to demonstrate faith, love, perseverance and gentleness to those around us, so that they might come to know how deeply they are loved, and see You through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a righteous life in You, and go forth in Your strength with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 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

Speak Life

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he was providing instruction as to how to lead people to live right, according to Christ. Titus 3:2 is a timely reminder, in light of all that has been going on in the world around us. Despite differing opinions, God still reigns, and we have been given the following instructions: Tell them not to speak evil of anyone but to live in peace with others. They should be gentle and polite to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, ERV) Paul further unpacks the reminder that not one of us has earned our good standing before God. Rather, we were made right with God by His grace. God saved us so that we could be His children and look forward to receiving life that never ends. – (Titus 3:7, ERV)

 

It is by God’s grace that we have been saved. Our charge, as His children, is to love God and love people. We will not always agree with every decision or lifestyle that is chosen, yet that is not our charge. We are called to love. If we speak evil of those who know Him not, how will they ever have any desire to draw near? When we are gentle and kind, extending love and grace to others, just as it has been given unto us, it is then that people may see Christ in and through us. Yes, we are called to come alongside and help correct and redirect those within the church who are walking in blatant sin, but not those who know Him not. May we choose to live in peace with one another, extending gentleness and grace to everyone, so that all may come to know the lavish love of the Lord.

 

Speak not unkindly,Bloom Where We're Planted

and choose be at peace;

be gentle to all,

let grace be released.

For we were all made,

right before the Lord;

because of His grace,

in love, He affords.

Share well His kindness,

extend too, His love;

so all may soon know,

the gift from above.

Be humble to all,

slander not ever;

let His love light shine,

now and forever.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not called to judge, slander or speak evil of others, but rather You call us to love. Thank You that You grant us discernment to know what is right and wrong, so that we may lead our lives in obedience to You, personally. Forgive us for not being peaceable or considerate, or for speaking ill of anyone based on the choices that they have made – for we all have sinned and fallen short of Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love without limits and allow You to work in the hearts of those around us. May many receive Your glorious gift of grace that You give freely, as they choose enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to live and love peaceably with kindness, offering Your love and grace to all. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Rooted and Established in Love

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18)

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Paul, in this letter to the Ephesians, reminds us of a couple of important truths. First, it is both good and beneficial to pray for each other, as it is one of the ways in which Christ strengthens our hearts through faith. Second, when we become rooted and established in His love, He grants us His power and wisdom to begin to grasp just how great is the magnitude of Christ’s love for each of us – as He was willing to lay down His life for each one of us, individually. The Lord equips us so that we are able to do abundantly more than we ever thought we could. May we rise up and remember to pray for Christ’s strength and power to be present with all of His people, as we choose to invest our lives into growing deeper roots in Him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let us pray to Him,Hope for Eternity
our Source and Supply;
Who grants us all strength,
love never denied.
May each of us grasp,
how deep and how wide;
the great love of Christ,
Who for us, He died.
Taking all our sin,
He opened the way;
for us to draw near,
to worship, to pray.
It’s by His Spirit,
that we are made clean;
equipped and strengthened,
so His light is seen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that You strengthen us with Your power, through Your Spirit within us. Thank You that as we invest and grow roots deeper in You, we begin to grasp the magnitude of Your mighty love for us. Forgive us for not asking nor investing where we are meant to seek You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will pray for others as we too are further established in our foundation in You. Help us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we pray for great things for others as You continue to grow us in our understanding of You. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19