Fixing Our Thoughts on Thanks

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:8-9, NLT)

When we fix our hearts and minds on the things of Christ, His peace is present within us. The more we focus on He who is worthy of all of our thanks and praise, the more we begin to bear the likeness of our Beloved. We have been given tools to know and understand what the expectation is for true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things. It is merely a matter of opening the word of God and seeking Him, to grow in our understanding of what pleases Him, and what does not. His Spirit within us will provide that still small voice that whispers to either press on or walk away. Our charge is to open our ears, eyes and hearts to Christ, so that we may operate in a fashion that follows His. Let us fix our thoughts on the things of God, giving Him all the thanks and praise both now and forevermore.

May we fix our thoughts,Modeling Our Maker

on that which is true;

most lovely and pure,

things that reflect You.

For excellent things,

most worthy of praise;

are those graced by God,

throughout all our days.

May we give Him thanks,

for His perfect peace;

that He grants to us,

as we gaze on these.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. Thank You that when we seek You and listen to You, You lead and guide us to such things. Thank You that Your peace rests upon us as we choose to set our focus on such things. Forgive us for allowing our thoughts to stray from Yours, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your peace remains present when we keep our focus on You. Lead us to love others with the very same love that You give to us, so that they too will seek to give You thanks and praise. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our thoughts on all that is excellent and worthy of praise, and rest in the sweet space of Your peaceful presence. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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Grateful for the Grace to Exercise Self-Control

This morning, I am thankful for the freedom to utilize my voice and the act of wise choice.

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. – (Proverbs 25:28, NLT)

Yesterday, this was a guiding principle throughout my day. Due to a serious lack of sleep from the night prior, I knew that I would have to choose my words and conversations carefully, as I was too tired to maintain my typical filter that upholds the self-control afforded to me by Christ. When words escape without warning and no control is exercised, boundaries that are built for good, can be broken, and irreparable harm can happen. Most whom I encountered throughout my day, were gracious and kind, and I managed to navigate the school day unscathed. Unfortunately, later in the afternoon, assumptions expressed through electronic communication toward me, made my temper flare. I knew that to engage in such banter would only lead to harm. Rather than opting to engage, I went to my kettlebell class and worked out my rage. By the time I arrived back home, I only had the energy to love and check in with my cherubs about their homework, and then call it a day. We have the choice to exercise self-control and uphold the safety and security within ourselves, or we can give our power away, by losing control and allowing another’s words or actions to have influence over us. May we choose to submit to Christ alone, who grants us self-control, and is our fortress and strong tower at all times.

God grants self-control,kettlebells

to walk in His grace;

to shore up safe walls,

keep us in right space.

He gives us wisdom,

so we are aware;

of when to engage,

or get out of there.

He provides escape,

outlets for our fear;

strength where we are weak,

He always is near.

We thank You, O God,

for wisdom and choice;

self-control granted,

as we use our voice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the strength and wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent; when to engage, and when to walk away. Thank You that You provide the self-control that we need to keep from destroying the boundaries and barriers that are necessary to keep us safe. Forgive us for not depending on You for strength and for not exercising self-control. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be wise and people that show self-control through Your strength, not our own. Lead us to love others in a way that helps them to see Your kindness and grace. May many choose to enter into a relationship as they seek Your face. Be glorified O God, as we seek to operate in the self-control that You grant us, and give You thanks for the freedom to do so. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

Seeking Solitary Spaces

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35)

Despite the crowds and the chaos that seemed to find and follow Him wherever He would go, Jesus found a way to make time to pray. He established time to connect and communicate with His Father. If Jesus was intentional to create time to connect with God, how much more so should we do the same? In today’s fast-paced world, it is not easy to find a solitary place to pray. We too, must be intentional with our time to make a place in our day for prayer. What I have discovered is that when I consistently make room, I find it is far easier to rise early and be focused than it ought to be, considering the chaos and lack of sleep that occurs some weeks. He is faithful to meet me each morning, as I make the decision to dedicate this solitary time to commune with Him and study His word. I have friends who are faithful to end each day in the same way. Where I would struggle to remain awake, they find themselves energized and encouraged. May we each embrace our own opportunities to seek solitary places to pray. For He is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him.

To seek a safe space,Believe Instead of Striving

where we are alone;

to come before God,

as He’s on His throne.

For in solitude,

our hearts shall be shown;

how great is His grace,

and the depth we’re known.

For as we choose pray,

seeds of faith are sown;

God’s Spirit waters,

and hope will have grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You in solitary places to pray, where distractions are far from us, and You meet us, and speak to our hearts. Thank You that You are faithful and loving, and that You encourage, instruct, redirect, and empower us as we pursue You in prayer. Forgive us for not being intentional to establish time with You. Teach us to trust You more with our time and space, so that we would be willing to do whatever it is You ask to create a time to be with just You. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us. Lead us to love others with a love that embraces hurting hearts and points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek solitary spaces with You to pray, so that we may be equipped to love as You love each day. 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

Identify, Speak and Trust

Yesterday, my pastor continued in a series titled, “Miracles“. The passage from which he brought forth his message, was Mark 4:35-41. This story is quite familiar to many, as it is the story of when Jesus calms the storm. That being said, there were elements within the unpacking, that I had not quite seen in that particular light before.

First, when the disciples were crossing as Jesus had charged them to do, a furious squall came upon them while He slept. The disciples were terrified, yet Jesus was able to sleep. Jesus was able to rest because He was doing what His Father had called Him to do, therefore He was at peace. As for the squall, there is so often a push back from hell when we move in the direction to which God has called us. (For on the other side, was the demoniac waiting to be set free, whose testimony would change the lives of many.)

When the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him if He even cared if they drowned, He rose and commanded the wind and waves to “Quiet! Be still!” Speaking to a storm is no ordinary response. Typically, there is no need to rebuke an object. However, when what was occurring was spiritual in nature, the rebuke was for that which was at the root, to stop. (And not likely in a still small voice)

Just as Jesus commanded for that which rose up against them to “BE STILL!”, we too have the very same power within us, when we find ourselves in a storm. We are best able to weather the storms if we: 1) Identify the storm, 2) Speak to the storm (claim God’s truth), and 3) Trust the outcome to God. – (Pastor Jon McIntosh)

When fear rises up,Sense in Storms

and floods us with lies;

the intent of hell,

is our quick demise.

Yet within our hearts,

the power to speak;

to silence the storms,

and strengthen the weak.

For God did not give,

a spirit of fear;

instead He’s present,

He is ever near.

Every outcome,

He already knows;

so we need not fear,

each time the wind blows.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when the storms of life come all around us, You are already in the boat beside us. Thank You that though things may seem dire, You have set a course before us and will not leave us. Thank You that when resistance comes against us moving in the direction to which we are called, You have already placed Your power within us to stand firm and speak to the storm. Forgive us for allowing fear to reign, when fear is only based on what our eyes perceive, rather that Your truth. Teach us to trust You and the outcome You have for us, rather than what we imagine. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we can offer calm in their storms and hope in their places of panic. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and continue moving in the direction in which we are called. 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

Love Makes No Distinction

He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts through faith. – (Acts 15:9, NLT)

God does not discriminate nor give preferential treatment when it comes to receiving people into His kingdom. All have fallen short, and all must earnestly seek Him to be saved. It is only by His grace that we are saved when we come before Him in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is. In the same way, we must not discount anyone, nor assume that they are too hard to receive the love and grace that God has set in place for us to extend toward them. It is not up to us to determine how it is received, but rather to be obedient to extend His loving kindness to all whom we meet. God will be God, and He will do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine if we do our part and then get out of the way. Let love and faithfulness be our motivation, as we love well and allow God to reign.

To say, “God so loved”,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

where grace was begun;

when God sent for us,

the gift of His Son.

Because Jesus came,

each can become clean;

by faith, seeking God,

trusting the unseen.

This gift is for all,

all people of earth;

cleansing, renewing,

blessed second birth.

Please open our hearts,

help reach out our hands;

so we may love well,

just as You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not make a distinction between us, as You receive ALL who call on Your Name in faith. Thank You that when we trust in You and give our hearts to You, You purify all that is sinful within us, and call us clean before You. Forgive us for thinking ourselves or anyone else is too far gone to be reached by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow You to be God, as You move in ways that only You can move. Lead us to love all those around us, even if they seem unloveable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wondrous ways that You move in our midst, despite our doubts based on what we see. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Because We Have Heard

Lord God, this is why You are so great! There is no one like You. There is no god except You! We know that because of what we ourselves have heard about what You did. – (2 Samuel 7:22, ERV)

There is nothing quite so uplifting and encouraging, as hearing stories of what God has done in the lives of those around us. God is faithful and kind, and in His great love for us, He does exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine. He loves us personally and individually, and He cares about the little things just as much as the big ones. We know God can move mountains, but sometimes it is in the lesser things, that we forget how readily He is willing to move on our behalf. I am continually in awe, as I hear how He meets people in those moments – the ones where they are feeling completely isolated and a friend calls out of the blue, or they are short on what is needed for a bill and a check arrives in the mail… God is not limited in how He can meet us, for there is no one like the Lord. His love is immeasurable, and the lengths He will go to on our behalf, inconceivable. May we recognize the greatness of our God today, as we listen for the reports of His faithfulness through the gratitude of those who are around us.

Lord God, You are great,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

there’s no one like You;

for all You have done,

and Your word is true.

You know us so well,

yet love us the same;

are faithful to help,

those who call Your Name.

You do so much more,

than we dare to dream;

You move our mountains,

and meet all our needs.

You don’t limit love,

but keep giving more;

each day it is new,

and You don’t keep score.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no one like You. Thank You that You are so great, and that You choose to love us! Thank You that You show us who You are and how You love, and You allow us to hear stories of Your faithfulness through those who surround us. Thank You that we each have stories to share as well. Forgive us for not being faithful to speak of all that You have done when another needs to hear. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be bold to tell our own stories of Your faithfulness as You call us, and not worry about the thoughts of those around us. Show us how to love others with the same love that You give unto us. May many come to know You, personally and completely, as they hear of Your faithfulness. Be glorified O God, as we both listen for what You have done in others, and share of what You have done in our own lives. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Praise for the Path Made Plain

May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:171, NIV)

Praise will pour from my lips because You help me learn what You require. – (Psalm 119:171, Voice)

In order to live the life that God has for us, we need to know and understand what He is asking of us. By His Spirit within us, God reveals the truth of His word. His guidance leads us to the fullness of all that He has for us. Thanks and praise should be ever present, as He shows us His ongoing mercy and grace. May the overflow of our hearts be heard in our words, as we give the Lord all of our praise, and may we be ever mindful of all that He offers as He continues to reveal more and more of who He is and what He desires for us and through us through the truth of His word.

Let every word,When We Call

that parts from these lips;

be seasoned with praise,

as You have equipped.

For by Your great grace,

You teach me Your ways;

show me what’s required,

for all of my days.

Lord, let my whole life,

be spent in pursuit;

of learning Your truth,

giving praise to You.

And Lord as I go,

may others too see;

Your goodness and grace,

established in me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and for the gift of Your Holy Spirit within us. Thank You that You reveal to us, the truth of what is required. Thank You that all honor, glory and praise belong to You. Forgive us for not seeking You or praising You as we ought to do, and teach us to do so in all things and at all times. Lead our hearts to look to You to guide and direct us as we go. Show us how to love others so that they too, may come to know the truth of who You are, and what You require. May many choose to live for You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue more of You, and give You all of our praise. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Use It or Lose It

“Consider carefully what you hear,” He continued, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” – (Mark 4:24-25)

God gives us His grace, mercy and insight, so that we might in turn, give it away. If we receive and believe all that He has done for us, yet do nothing with the truth, we are wasting our greatest gift that was meant to be given away. Incredibly, as we give of ourselves, we are given more. Christ meets us and moves in us, so that we gain greater insight, love more deeply, and desire all the more to display His heart to all whom we encounter. Conversely, if we do nothing, we begin to lose the power and passion that once stirred so strongly within. May we consider carefully all that we hear, and carry the truth He grows within us, to all whom we encounter.

With care consider,Tether Our Hearts

each word that we hear;

from the heart of God,

to our waiting ear.

May His sweet Spirit,

give wisdom and grace;

so that we may grow,

let the truth be raised.

Wherever we go,

whatever we do;

let us choose depend,

on Christ see us through.

As we keep seeking,

choose trust and believe;

He keeps giving more,

of His heart, receive.

Not just for ourselves,

but to touch others;

so all enter in,

sisters and brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we consider carefully what we hear, and we use what You give to us, You in turn, continue to give and refill our hearts and minds with more to give away. Forgive us for keeping the truth that You have planted within us to ourselves, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every word and deed would be a reflection of the truth that dwells within us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, might come to receive all that You have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take all that You give unto us, and give ourselves away. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

What We Have In Christ

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

In Christ, we are given out of the abundance of who He is – His comfort, His love, His Spirit, His mercy, His kindness, His tenderness and His compassion. If we receive and appreciate all that we are given, we too, should go and do likewise. Our love for Christ is best expressed through how we love one another. If we walk united in purpose, and agree to love one another as He loves us, joy is found and our faith is sound. May we go forth today united in purpose, and love as He first loved us.

Such encouragement,Hearts of Thanks

found in Christ the Lord;

His comfort granted,

and grace He affords.

Gift of His Spirit,

kindness, mercy too;

all gifts He gives us,

as we are made new.

Let us be tender,

compassionate, kind;

love as one body,

one spirit, one mind.

For if we choose love,

as He first loved us;

the world will know,

the joy of Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouragement that You provide when we are united with You. Thank You that You grant us the comfort of Your love, Your tenderness and compassion, Your mercy and grace, and in You, we may go and do likewise as one body if we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not seeking to invest in the body, or for choosing to serve our own selfish ambitions, rather than love as You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be tender, kind, compassionate, merciful and full of Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are encouraged through our unity in You to go forth and do all that You are calling us to do. 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

Understanding Leads to Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

So often, our lack of understanding is what causes unrest among us. When we seek to understand one another in love, we discover His capacity to be kind and humble toward one another, and peace begins to enter in. Each one of us are His created, called to be children of God. If we view every other human as a sibling, our attitude adjusts, and we seek to care for and understand, rather than seeing others as foe to battle or those from whom to run. May we seek to understand one another in love, kindness and humility today, so that we discover how to live together in His place of peace to which we are called.

Seek understanding,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and love each other;

be kind and humble,

sisters and brothers.

For God intended,

we all live in peace;

in Him united,

all angst be released.

Let the Lord’s great love,

lead us in all things;

as we look to Him,

peace His presence brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can all live together in peace. Thank You that by Your grace, we can seek understanding in love, and approach one another with kindness and humility, as sisters and brothers in You. Thank You that this is not something that we are to somehow do on our own, but rather what You call and equip us to do as Your children. Forgive us for not seeking peace, or for making assumptions rather than trying to understand one another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You and Your leading to go forth in kindness and humility, wherever You call us to go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we may grow in our understanding and learn to live together in peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand others in Your love, as sisters and brothers, with kindness and humility. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14