His Purpose Will Prevail

“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish His purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.” – Revelation 17:17

holyspiritglass.jpg

holyspiritglass.jpg

Were it not for the footnotes, I fear I would still feel a little lost.  The following are the accompanying footnotes in my NIV Study Bible:

“No matter what happens, we must trust that God is still in charge, that God overrules all the plans and intrigues of the evil one, and that God’s plans will happen just as He says.  God even uses people opposed to Him as tools to execute His will.  Although He allows evil to permeate this present world, the new earth will never know sin.”

I find much comfort and reassurance in the reminder that God’s ultimate purpose and plans will be accomplished, regardless of the ruin and wreckage the existing evil may cause.  Sadly, we have seen so much of it with shootings and stabbings – both locally and globally.  However, we have also see a nation grieve the losses of a small northern town, and rally behind them with a monumental outpouring of love and support.  The goodness of God, supplied in the aftermath of inexplicable evil.

Yesterday, my mom, my boys and I, traveled a few hours south, to meet my sister and her boys at the very same mall that was the site of one of the recent shootings.  Upon arrival, I anticipated a sense of fear or anxiousness within me, yet I felt neither.  Instead, I felt joy in our happy reunion, and peace in the perfect protection provided by our Heavenly Father.  People were kind to each other, and I was delighted to be in such wonderful company.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your purpose will always prevail, regardless of our present perception.  Thank You that greater are You who is in us, than that which is in the world.  Teach us to trust You and Your perfect plans, and forgive us for allowing fear a foothold.  Lead us to listen well, so that we might love like You.  Let our light shine brightly before all in need of Your loving light and life.  Amen.

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

Guidance for Giving Good Gifts

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – I Peter 3:8-9

image by Meridith Carroll

Within these two verses, Peter gives us a list of sorts, as to the type of gifts that we are called to give to one another.

1) Harmony – pursuing the same goals

2) Sympathy – being responsive to others’ needs

3) Love – seeing and treating each other as sisters and brothers

4) Compassion – being affectionately sensitive and caring

5) Humility – being willing to encourage one another and rejoicing in each other’s successes. (1-5 per NIV Study Bible footnotes)

6) Blessing – giving freely to all in love

Peter goes on to say that we are “NOT to repay evil with evil or insult with insult.”  Walking away in silence speaks volumes above engaging in an evil or unkind exchange.  Jesus modeled how we are meant to respond to such things, and our reward far outweighs our irritation or discomfort that comes from doing as He asks.

In this season of gift giving, those that are divinely inspired and empowered, are the ones that have the potential to make an eternal impact.  Are the only gifts we are giving those that might be enjoyed for a season and then discarded, or are we also giving gifts that display God’s goodness to those who need to know Him?  It is not so much what we give, as it is the heart held behind what is being extended to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You.  Thank You for all that we are, and all that we have, in You.  Forgive us for flippantly giving gifts, and guide us, by Your grace, to give the sort of gifts that give glory to You.  Teach us to hear Your heart so that we might give love, sympathy and compassion, in humility and harmony, and that our very lives might be lived as a blessing.  Keep us from repaying evil and insults, and instead, help us to respond as You call us to do.  Lead us Lord in love, so that we may be bearers of the blessed gifts You bring to all whom we encounter, not only in this sacred season, but all throughout the year.  Amen.

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

*image by Meridith Carroll

Found By Faith

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” – Romans 3:28

For proof of His presence is EVERYWHERE!image by Yoga on the Beach

For proof of His presence is EVERYWHERE!
image by Yoga on the Beach

Our forgiveness, salvation and justification from and before the Father are found only by faith; by trusting whole-heartedly that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough for us to become right with God.  We are not saved by works.  Only by FAITH.

“Why does God save us by faith alone?

(1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do.

(2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do.

(3) Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standards – we need help.

(4) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

If faith eliminates our personal pride for what we practice, then as we come before Him with humble hearts, He can do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine.  As we exalt what God has done, we point to the path for people to find faith in the Father.

As our faith grows, we come to know just how short we fall from keeping the law in our own strength.  When we come to know our own need, we seek Him for the strength necessary to sustain us and keep our path straight.

Finally, faith is found through relationship with our Redeemer, not through our personal performance.  If our hearts and minds are busy looking to see how we are measuring up, we have moved our focus off of the Father and are missing the point.  However, when we press in and keep our focus on the Founder of our faith, spending time with Him, accepting His limitless love, mercy and grace, our faith finds secure footing and we learn to stand strong on  solid ground.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through Your Son, You have provided the way for our salvation.  Thank You that it is not through our performance, nor through our ability to follow the letter of the law (for we ALL fall short – Romans 3:23) that we are saved, but instead, it is through accepting the immeasurable investment that You have made available to every heart that believes.  Jesus’ life paid our price, so that we might receive eternal residence in Your holy presence.  Forgive us for forgetting our faith and trying to work to please You.  May we find rest in the very best that You grant us all, by faith and forgiveness through the sacrifice of Your Son.  Lead us to live lives faithfully in and for You, so that many may come to find faith too.  Amen.

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