Inscribed on Human Hearts

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. – (2 Corinthians 3:3, NIV)

You show that you are a letter from Christ that He sent through us. This letter is not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets but on human hearts. – (2 Corinthians 3:3, ERV)

You are the living letter of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, nurtured by us and inscribed, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God – a letter too passionate to be chiseled on stone tablets, but emblazoned upon the human heart. – (2 Corinthians 3:3, VOICE)

 

Though this verse is but a portion of Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth, it applies to all who faithfully pursue the Lord and seek to do His will. Those who invest in the spiritual growth of others, help nurture the truth that Christ engraves upon the hearts of all who follow Him. It is by God’s Spirit that our hearts become more like His. I love the imagery that this presents. We, as followers of Christ, carry the Spirit of God in our heart, and help others discover the same. Our hearts emblazoned with the love, light and truth of the living God… May we ever passionately pursue Christ, as He is the way, the truth and the light, who deposits His heart in ours, so that we may love as He loves.

 

A letter of love,inscribed-on-human-hearts.jpg

Inscribed not with ink;

But by God’s Spirit,

Most holy love link.

His Spirit within,

Makes the truth be known;

So as we love well,

His heart shall be shown.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts make known,

God’s goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You inscribe truth, love and light within us, so that we may point others to all that You areThank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to show us what it is to have a heart that has been inscribed by You. Forgive us for the times that we have not pursued Your heart or have failed to represent all that You have deposited within us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would further seek Your inscription upon our lives, and go forth investing in others around us, so that they too, may know Your nearness. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to write upon the tablet of our heart. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

The Gift of Growth

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. – (Luke 2:52)

This verse in Luke speaks of the early life of Jesus, prior to His launch into ministry. He, from a young age, pursued understanding and insight, as He spent time in the temple courts among the teachers, listening and asking questions. Jesus, God made man, chose humility as He allowed God to prepare Him for what was yet to come.

Every day we live is a priceless gift of God, loaded with possibilities to learn something new, to gain fresh insight. – (Dale Evans Rogers)

God gives us the gift of time; be it days, months, years or decades. Each morning we wake, we ought to count as a gift from God, asking Him how we might learn and grow in Him. He provides new insight as we pursue Him, and new possibilities as we are willing to walk in His way. May we make the most of each new day, and rise, ready to walk in pursuit of Him.

It is through seeking,Courage for Change

that we learn and grow;

by pursuing God,

we shall come to know.

He shows us His heart,

and makes plain the way;

grants us new insight,

to follow, obey.

For life is a gift,

that God grants to us;

so help us love well,

like Your Son, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the priceless gift of each new day that we have in You. Thank You for the possibilities and the promises that You provide. Thank You that as we pursue You, we gain fresh wisdom and insight so that we can more clearly navigate the road on which You lead us. Forgive us for failing to seek You for wisdom and insight when that is the very thing that we need most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times. Grow us in wisdom and favor with You and with men, so that we may access those who need Your love most, and love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we praise You for our present day of possibilities, and pursue new learning and insight in You as we go. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Power Made Perfect in Weakness

Paul lived a phenomenal life of obedient faith. Often, we fail to remember that he had some sort of affliction that tormented him throughout many of his years of ministry. Despite his asking the Lord repeatedly to remove it, he remained faithful to continue in that which he was called, even when the Lord’s answer was not what Paul had hoped.

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

The Lord spoke to Paul, and Paul listened. Though he could have had a pity party and complained about having to live with his affliction, instead, Paul came to recognize that the very point of pain and weakness was a perfect opportunity for God’s power to be magnified. Where we are weak, it becomes obvious that anything we do well, is done in the Lord’s strength. Additionally, when we are aware of our own shortcomings, we are more likely to seek our Savior to be our source of strength, help and hope, as we know fully that without Him, we will fall on our faces. May we choose to embrace His grace this day, in our places of weakness, allowing His power to be made perfect in us. Let the Lord lead us, so that many may witness His mighty strength where our own is not.

 

Grace that’s sufficient,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it’s more than enough;

despite what we face,

the Lord’s strength is tough.

For when we are weak,

we choose to seek Him;

make way for His strength,

to come enter in.

Therefore let us boast,

of where our strength lacks;

so Christ’s power comes,

to keep us on track.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for us, and that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that our spaces of weakness are not something to be ashamed of, but rather they are opportunities for Your power to shine. Forgive us for stubborn independence or our fear of exposing our weaknesses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to be transparent in our weakness and allow Your strength to shine. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. 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

Blessed are the Invited

As another year comes to a close, I again find myself at the end of Revelation. This morning, the verse that stood out to me is as follows: Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” – (Revelation 19:9) Those of us who love the Lord and walk with Him, are blessed and invited to the ultimate celebration. At the end of days, all who stand firm in faith in our Heavenly Father, will be blessed beyond what we can fathom.

 

Jesus gave us glimpses of what is yet to come throughout His ministry on earth. My Father’s house has many rooms, if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – (John 14:2-3) John further unpacks what awaits in Revelation 21:9 – 22:5. Though much unpleasantness, many trials and tribulations will come to pass between now and then, we have the promised assurance of our final outcome. Our time here is fleeting, yet our time with Christ is eternal. Let us hold fast to the promises of the truth of God’s word as we march forward into 2015.

 

Most blessed are those,IMG_0653
invited to come;
to the wedding feast,
to sup with the Son.
Those who love the Lord,
to the end of days;
steadfast in His truth,
and faithful always.
Not by our own strength,
but trusting in His;
loving as we’re loved,
doing as He says.
The Lord is so good,
and great His reward;
for all who trust Him,
and walk in accord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite what we see around us, the outcome has already been determined and the battle, already won! Thank You that You receive us as we are when we come to You, and You claim us as Your own. Thank You that You are faithful and true, and that You grow us in understanding as we seek to know You more. Thank You that regardless of what this life holds, our eternity will be beyond blessed. Thank You that we have the blessing of Your presence in the here and now, as well as the promises of what is yet to come. Forgive us for losing sight of both. Teach us to trust You more, so that we live each day with an eternal perspective. Lead us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in the coming year. Be glorified Lord God, as we go forth operating in the gifts that You have granted us, living with an eternal perspective. Amen.

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

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5a

Seeking in Solitude

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

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

 

Who Do You See?

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” – (Matthew 16:15)

 

Though this was a question presented to the disciples by Jesus, it aligns with where my mind still lingers after Sunday’s message. During the sermon, Surprised by Hope – The Ascension, my pastor posed a very poignant question, as he had us participate in the following exercise. Close your eyes. Picture Jesus. What do you see? Do you see a baby lying in a manger? A boy, learning and growing in the temple? Perhaps a teen, learning carpentry? Or do you see Jesus as He began His ministry, touching the untouchables, healing the hurting, and teaching all who would hear? Perhaps an image of Christ on the cross comes to mind? An empty tomb? Maybe you imagine Jesus appearing to the disciples in the upper room after He had risen. Though all of the aforementioned images are part of who Jesus is, none portray Jesus now. For after He had commissioned the disciples to go out into all the earth, He ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is on His throne, and is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, where He is worshipped continually, and has reclaimed all power and authority that belong to Him. He holds all in His hands, and there is NOTHING that He cannot overcome. How we picture Jesus, impacts how we think He can move.

 

Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter six, verses one through nine, was given a glimpse of God seated on the throne. He became very aware of his own sinfulness, and as a result, asked for forgiveness. As he was forgiven, he was then commissioned to be the mouthpiece to a sinful people that surrounded him.

 

Today, we have access to both the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are continually being drawn unto Him. It is up to us to accept all that He has done with a repentant heart, and then go forth as He calls. May we hold fast to the truth of who He is, and allow Him to update the image we hold in our heart.

 

When I close my eyes,Who Do You See

whom does my heart see?

An infant in hay,

looking up at me?

Or perhaps a boy,

seeking all that’s true;

a young man growing,

preparing for new?

Could it be the man,

who went out to touch;

He healed hurting hearts,

as He loved so much?

Is it the Savior,

hanging on the cross;

or the empty grave,

that dealt death its loss?

Do I see the One,

who walked through the wall;

showed His nail-scarred hands,

to answer a call?

What I ought to see,

is Christ on His throne;

all power is His,

and I’m called His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You, personally. Thank You Jesus, for dying, rising, and ascending to take Your rightful place. Thank You that as You are seated on Your throne, You intercede on our behalf. Thank You that Your ascension affirms all blessings and promises that were previously made, for You are good and faithful. Thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and that You are preparing a place for us. Forgive us for our warped view of You, and help us to begin to picture You properly. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You have given, and help us to go forth in love, just as You have loved us. May many come to know You as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as they allow You to come rule and reign in their lives too. Be magnified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

 

 

 

Bloom Where We’re Planted

Few of us are called to formal full-time ministry positions as an occupation.  However, each one of us are all called to serve and be a witness, wherever we are, regardless of our title or position.  We can show His love to those around us as we teach children, manage households, check groceries, pick up garbage, sell insurance, prepare and serve meals, enforce the law, volunteer and so on.  Our occupation does not limit how God can utilize us for His glory, right where we are, currently.

“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:17)

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:20)

“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” – (I Corinthians 7:24)

When repetition occurs in scripture, I tend to take notice.  Three times Paul said nearly the same thing to the people of Corinth.  Though his words were in the specific context of marriage, I believe it applies to every area of our lives.  God will use us wherever we have been called, right now, not when we obtain a certain status or position.  What He calls us to, He will use us to work through, if we are willing and available to be obedient to whatever He asks of us.  There are days when it seems impossible that He could utilize me to reach another, yet it is in those spots of the strongest struggle, that His strength is shown and progress is made known.  May we trust Him where we are, and be open to opportunities to touch lives as we love as He loves us.

Each of us called,Bloom Where We're Planted

to serve where we are;

no need to wait,

He’s brought us this far.

Not by our strength,

but rather, by His;

trust Him to lead,

He’ll do what He says.

In all we do,

to God, let it be;

we too were bound,

’til He set us free.

Let His love lead,

and His Spirit guide;

with hearts open,

His peace realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to the spaces where we are, even when they don’t always make sense.  Thank You that You are our strength in the struggle and our help and hope.  Thank You that You use us for Your glory, regardless of our lot in life, if we are willing to serve You.  Forgive us for thinking we have to reach a certain position or knowledge base, or for being fearful of mankind.  Teach us to trust You to give us wisdom, words and all that we need, to love and serve, wherever we are called to be.  May we touch lives and transform communities through faithfully serving where we are called, and may all glory and honor be given to You.  Thank You that You love us where we are, yet continue to grow us more deeply in You.  Amen.

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

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

Living Testimonies

Exciting news has always found way to spread quickly.  In Ephesus, during the time of Paul’s ministry, there was no exception. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” – (Acts 19:11-12)  There were some Jews who were jealous of both the power and influence that God had given Paul, and they were going around driving out spirits, using both the name of Jesus, and Paul’s name, in attempt to make something happen.  These men soon learned that it required more than the use of His Name to overcome evil spirits, as the fellas were beaten within an inch of their lives, and ran away.

As word of this occurrence spread, both Jews and Greeks gained a proper perspective of the power of the Lord, and held His Name in high esteem.  Many  who had come to believe, came and confessed their sins and began to rid their homes and lives of things that were in direct violation with the ways of the Lord.  The depth of their commitment to Christ was further solidified, through the hearing of His awesome power.

What sort of news do we spread?  How do we impact people with the power of His Name?  Are we making others aware of His awesome power and great love, or are we “talking heads” without the depth of commitment?  Paul’s ministry was powerful only because his priority was to love God, and to love people.  His love compelled him to share of all that the Lord had done in him, and allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to move through him.  God moves mightily through us when we are willing vessels.

May Your love spread,Living Testimonies

let hearts be ablaze;

as people come,

to follow Your ways.

Let willing hearts,

be Your hands and voice;

so all might know,

of redemption choice.

Yes and amen,

shall be our reply;

let others know,

You alone supply.

Be lifted high,

through our word and deed;

may we love well,

as You meet each need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the news of You has traveled far and wide, providing opportunity  for us to come to know You as our Savior and King.  Thank You that You love us so much, that You have granted examples of the faithful to show the way, and have provided miracles, to move the hearts of those who need to see to believe.  Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not aligned, or our hearts have not held fast to the truth in trust.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to be living examples for those around us.  May we be people who are not just hearers of the word, but rather doers of the word.  May our very lives be living testimonies of Your faithfulness and truth to all whom are within our sphere of influence.  May many come to know You as their Savior, as we faithfully love and serve You and one another.  May You be honored in all things.  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

Calling for Counsel

Acts 15, for me, has two terrific take-aways.  The first, is when there is a question or dispute about what is right according to God’s will, seek the word and the wisdom of godly counsel.  Second, if there is a point of disagreement that seemingly has no resolution that is not foundational in our faith – agree to disagree and move on.

It was brought to the attention of Paul and Barnabas, that some men from Judea and Antioch were teaching in such a way, that they were attempting to place the yoke of the old law upon the necks of Gentile believers, rather than recognizing that the inner working of the Holy Spirit in their lives was more than enough.  “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.  So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” – (Acts 15:2) After meeting with the counsel of elders, who examined the scriptures, they recognized that there was no longer a need to place the former regulations required for Jewish believers upon the neck of the Gentiles who had come to Christ.  Instead, they were given a few simple instructions to follow that were to protect their physical and spiritual well-being.

Paul and Barnabas were great friends and brothers in Christ.  They had traveled many miles together, and shared miraculous moments that the Lord had provided both through them and in them along the way.  After they had met with the counsel, the two men disagreed about whom they should bring along on the next leg of their journey.  Ultimately, they parted company and each took a new traveling companion, thus doubling the ministry teams that were sent out.  Both men had very effective ministries, that were eventually reunited and ultimately combined (as the point of contention had been over bringing Mark along, and Mark later became a vital part of Paul’s ministry).

When things are unclear,Calling for Cousel

seek that which is true;

first God, then the word,

then wise counsel, too.

If disputes arise,

try first to resolve;

let not opinions,

true friendships dissolve.

For there will be times,

when it will be best;

let disagreements,

lay down, put to rest.

If we truly love,

then we’ll be okay;

if not eye to eye,

in every way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace.  Thank You that You provide us with Your wisdom through Your Holy Spirit and through Your word.  Thank You too, that there are godly men and women around us whom we can seek together, when questions arise, or answers seem unclear.  Thank You that You create us for community so that we may learn and grow with one another.  Thank You too, that as humans, it is okay to disagree on some things.  Forgive us for attempting to make snap decisions without seeking You and further counsel when necessary, and also for not being okay with others having opinions that differ form our own.  Please grant us the wisdom to know to always seek You first, and to know when we are meant to seek further counsel.  Help us to know when it is okay to agree to disagree.  May we live in the light of Your love, so that those who know You not, might come to see the goodness and grace that is available through a relationship with You.  May many choose to live for You.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  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