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

Each One a Part

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)

All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, ERV)

Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TLB)

You are the body of the Anointed One, and each one of you is a unique and vital part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)

 

In this busy season, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that each of us have a purpose for which we were uniquely designed. As we walk out our days doing the things which we are called and created to do, we are being part of the bigger body of Christ, that would not function as it were meant to if we did not do our part. Though our part may seem insignificant, it is vital to the big picture. Just as a person becomes acutely aware of the absence of the use of a finger due to an injury (though a seemingly small part of the body), we too are noticed if we are not present or able to function as we were designed, regardless of the size of the body to which we belong. May we each remember that we are part of the body of Christ, uniquely designed with a purpose and a place that is needed to help the body function as it is intended.

 

The body of Christ, Love Made Known

Is both vast and wide;

Each person crafted,

With purpose inside.

We’re called to go forth,

And live out our days;

Living our purpose,

As this brings God praise.

And as we do this,

We become as one;

The body of Christ,

Familial union.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and create us to be part of Your body. Thank You that You do not expect us to navigate this life on our own, but rather You surround us by people who have different strengths and giftings so that we can be stronger together in You. Thank You that we are designed to do life together. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do things on our own, or that we do not have anything to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our best self to all that we do, and trust that who You have created us to be is exactly the part of the body that we are meant to bring each day to the community where we are planted. Show us how to love well the people who surround us. Help us to encourage and build up the body as You build up and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part for which we have each been uniquely created and called. 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

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. Amen. 

 

 

© 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

Expectant Hope

So, prepare your minds for service. With complete self-control put all your hope in the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ comes. – (1 Peter 1:13, ERV)

So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the glorious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. – (1 Peter 1:13, NLT)

So, get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you. – (1 Peter 1:13, VOICE)

 

Each new day that we draw breath, we are meant to be ready to live out our faith with expectant hope. To do so, we ought to exercise self-control and ready our minds to serve, remembering not only the grace that we have been given, but all of the hope that is yet to come. Though God gives great gifts in the here and now, the best is yet to come through that which will be eternal – our promised presence with our Provider forever. Imagine a place where there is always peace and never pain, surrounded by His love and light, the true King shall reign. This, this is reason to prepare our minds and exercise self-control, for our hope is held in that which is eternal. May we rise each day with expectant hope, and ready our hearts and minds to walk out our day according to His way.

 

Let’s prepare our minds, Enter With Thanksgiving

To rise up and serve;

Give as we’ve received,

Though much undeserved.

Use all self-control,

Granted by His grace;

So we may love well,

In every place.

May all of our hope,

Be held in the gift;

Of His saving grace,

Where forever is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our eternal hope through the salvation that You offer. Thank You that we can trust our forever in You. Forgive us for not setting our sights on the eternal, as so often what lies before us seems so overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have an eternal perspective, keeping our hope fixed on our forever with You. Show us how to prepare our minds for service, and grant us the strength to have self-control. Help us to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put all of our hope in You and accept the gift of Your gracious salvation that is available for all who choose to receive. 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

Love Made Known

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

 

John, who had walked with Jesus closely as His disciple, was both reminding and reassuring those who followed Christ, that our ultimate call is to love. This charge has not changed throughout the ages. All of the wisdom and wonder that is packed in the Bible can be best explained as: we are called to love God and love people. To do so, it cannot simply be something that we theorize and discuss, but rather we must act upon it and live it out in our daily lives. Love must be evident in not only what we say, but also in the things that we do. May our lives display a pattern of faithfully living a life of love, consistent with that which we are called to do.

 

Our love shouldn’t be talk, Love Made Known

It’s much more than words;

It must be sincere,

Beyond what is heard.

For love is made known,

Through what we choose show;

May all that we do,

Be lit by love’s glow.

When all that we do,

And all that we say;

Demonstrate His love,

His heart’s on display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love. Thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us through our words and deeds. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds do not align with Your gracious love. Teach us to trust You more so that we would show Your love through all that we say and do. Help us to love those around us with goodness and grace, even when the word or deeds extended toward us are kind nor warranting a gentle response. May our love turn away wrath and lead many to Your loving arms. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show love through all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

To Give as We’re Given

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

For Our Freedom

Today, many of us are blessed with an extra day off.  The intent of this day is that we might honor veterans, both those whom have served, and those who are still serving.  An automatic response of mine, anytime there is such a day, is to make some sort of personal connection so that the day is more meaningful.  My mind instantly drifts to images of my late grandfather.  Though he is no longer with us, he was an incredible example of one who was willing to lay down his life for the good of his country, family, and friends.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army, and then went on to serve as a prison guard at one of the toughest penitentiaries on the West Coast.  Despite his ability to command the respect of men, he was tender, gentle and kind with his grandkids and loved ones.

Several of my former students have also gone on to serve in our armed forces.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices that so many men and women are willing to make, in order to preserve the freedoms we know and love.  As I read in I Corinthians this morning, the following verse is lived out daily, by those who serve: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” – (I Corinthians 10:24)  May we listen for His voice, so that we too, may know how He would have us seek the good of others.

For freedom they fight,

so we may enjoy;

all that we now know,

our rights to employ.

This freedom’s not free,

cost much sacrifice;

time, blood, sweat and tears,

oft ultimate price.

Take not for granted,

these freedoms we know;

remember the cost,

and gratitude show.

Thank you all soldiers,

and those who support;

today we honor,

come close and consort.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have answered the call to protect our country, near and far.  Please protect every service member, and help them to know how very near You are.  May each veteran and serving soldier feel honored today, and may we as a nation, be more supportive of our troops.  Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted, and help us to do whatever You call us to, to honor and support those who are serving our country, and their families that are left behind.  Teach us how to trust You more, so that we may love like You in all things and at all times.  May the love that we show lead many to a lasting relationship with You.  Above all, be glorified through our every action.  Amen.

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