Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

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

What Love Is and Is Not

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, CEB)

 

As various forms of media flood our minds with images of what love might look like, it is good to go back to the place where we find the truth. God is the author and creator of love, as He loved so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to be restored back to right relationship with Him. God Himself, is love. Paul unpacks for us, one of the most well-known and utilized chapters in scripture, as he wrote to the church in Corinth to help them understand what love is meant to be. His description set the standard for how we are meant to love well, and helps us examine our own hearts as we look to give and receive love. There is a vast difference between love and lust. Love looks outward, not in. Love is a choice to be patient, kind and giving without expectation of anything in return. Additionally, Paul unpacks for us, the things that love is not. If we want to truly love others, we must let go of jealousy, arrogance, rudeness, irritation, complaints, complacency, and the desire to look out for ourselves first. Jesus made it known to us that our charge as His children is to love God and love people. When we are at a loss as to how we are meant to love, His word shows us the way. May we choose to love others as we are loved by God, and let His light be evident in our every word and deed.

 

The great love of God,Tether Our Hearts

Is patient and kind;

Not jealous or rude,

Keeps others in mind.

Love will not demand,

To have its own way;

It sets pride aside,

Will help, not delay.

No records of wrong,

Nor irritation;

Instead seeks justice,

Truth as it’s station.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us in Your Word, what is required. Thank You that we are not expected to love as You love on our own, but rather You strengthen and equip us by Your Spirit. Forgive us for allowing the world to dictate to our hearts and minds what love ought to be, and help us to view love through Your lens; always. Show us how to be patient and kind, even when it is difficult. Lead us to love others, seeking their good, rather than our own benefit. May many come to know You as their Savior and true Source of lasting love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. 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

Honoring the Temple

In our media-driven society, we are flooded with what to eat, what to wear, how to look, and how to appeal to others.  The barrage of messages can overwhelm a soul that is not centered in Christ.  Those images and messages are not from God, yet so often are taken to heart. “Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.” – (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

Though we are given the freedom to choose, when we choose Christ, we are no longer our own, but instead, we are now His.  Each one of us are His craftsmanship, created in His image; prepared to do good works, representing Him well, before those around us.  What we choose to do with the temple, (our body) in which His Spirit dwells, matters.  If we care for our bodies, avoiding sin that has been explained throughout scripture, not giving in to gluttony nor other indulgences, we are honoring God with what we have been given.  Christ sacrificed His own body on the cross, so that we could have life in ours.  May we choose well, to honor God with our entire being.

Though we have a choice,Honoring the Temple

we need to choose well;

for freedom unchecked,

is pathway to hell.

Yet freedom in Christ,

teaches us to trust;

the Spirit within,

and hear Him, we must.

We are His temple,

where Spirit resides;

if we will listen,

He’ll lead and He’ll guide.

May we honor God,

with our whole being;

let the lost be found,

and blind start seeing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who believe.  Forgive us for not treating our bodies as Your temple, by overindulging or by neglecting needs.  Teach us to care properly for the body that we have been given, so that we can best honor You each day.  Thank You that we belong to You, and that You are willing and available to lead and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that You care about even the smallest of details, as You are the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb.  May we listen and obey  all that You ask of us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King.  Let us love and serve others as You so lavishly love and care for us.  Be exalted in everything we say and do, and may we live as though we are merely the tenants of these temples in which we dwell, as we treat them as treasures belonging to You.  Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Shifting Shadows

There are days where darkness and dissent seem to dominate every media display, and the very same mood is mirrored in the hearts of many whom I encounter.  However, there are times when light seems to seep in.  It finds way to work into the hearts of even those seemingly dominated by darkness; and grace, gratitude and love, begin to pour out of a place of thankfulness, by seemingly all who surround me.

This Christmas season, has been a beautiful observation of shadows shifting into light.  On Facebook alone, my feed transformed from controversial media topics to photos of families and blessings that had been bestowed upon those I hold dear.  What a wonder to watch, as even all these years later, I was able to see Christ come near.

My heart is full, and I am again reminded that His love is great, and His faithfulness endures for all time.  The following Psalm that I read this morning, captures well, my sentiment for the season:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples.  For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord.” – (Psalm 117)

Where darkness dwells,

He shines His light;Praise Anyway

dispelling fear,

dissent’s delight.

For Christ did come,

so we might know;

His love and grace,

peace He bestows.

More than Christmas,

or once a year;

for God with us,

is always here.

Seek Him always,

and you will find;

His love and grace,

for all mankind.

Give praise to Him,

for He endures;

our Prince of Peace,

and hope secure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came near so that we might know You, personally.  Thank You that Your nearness is not limited to a day nor a season, but rather is available at all times for all who call on Your Name.  Forgive us for not keeping our focus as fine-tuned as we ought to every day of the year, and help us to keep the beauty, wonder and awe of Christmas in our hearts throughout the year.  Help us to praise You forever, for You are great and faithful, and forever worthy of all of our praise.  May we love as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Praise You, Lord.  Amen.

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

Retaining Joy


Media, pop culture, and that which is widely accepted in today’s society, is a lure to legalism and a thief of joy.

This can hold true in two extremes. First, there are those who attempt to fit into the world to win the world, but alas, the draw of the world’s wooing becomes too much. On the other hand, those who shun the world and create a laundry list of “thou shall not’s”, have allowed their joy to be removed through a return to legalism. Neither option places the focus where it ought to be – on Christ.

The joy of our salvation stays present in struggles and sorrow when we hold fast to our faith in the Father. Christ does not use guilt to correct, but rather He shows us in love. Our Creator wants humility, not self-hatred. God is all about relationship, not performance. Our Father wants to show us how far we have come by the grace of His Son, not how short we have fallen.

Let not your joy,Be Holy
be taken away;
avoid the lures,
presented each day.
Don’t allow guilt,
to direct your path;
God guides in love,
turn away from wrath.
Look to relate,
to the Lord above;
not to perform,
freely He gives love.
Don’t dwell on faults,
or on past mistakes;
look to the cross,
and move on in faith.

(Responding to Galatians 4:8-20)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to have life in You. Thank You Jesus, for showing us how to love God and love people. Thank You for taking our place on the cross, so that we are now covered by Your grace. Thank You that we do not have to perform to be pleasing to You. Thank You that You love us, unconditionally, as sons and daughters – coheirs with Christ. Forgive us for falling for any form of legalism, as it attempts to steal the joy of our salvation, and help us to grow in our faith through Your glorious grace, so that we may more clearly reflect Your radiance as we hold steadfast to the security of the joy found in You alone. May many come to know You as the Lord of their life. Amen.

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