External Appearance

God’s economy is not the same as that of man.  Where people may look at position or possessions, God looks directly at the heart.  He will use the least of us to do great things, for His glory, if we are only willing.  A humble heart that is ready to serve, is far more valuable to God, than one with much amassed wealth or a position of power.

“As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me.  God does not judge by external appearance – those men added nothing to my message.” – (Galatians 2:6) Paul spoke these words before the apostles and other leaders, as he was sharing his call to preach the gospel before the Gentiles, as there had been some in power positions attempting to burden new believers with the yoke of circumcision, when they were not even Jewish.  God had shown him that He looked at the heart condition, not the outward appearance.  It is our hearts that need to prepare to come before the Lord, not our bodies.

With a heart to serve,External Appearance

may we humbly come;

offer hands and heart,

to the Holy One.

With all that we are,

let our whole lives be;

willful submission,

for the Lord’s glory.

Seek not position,

nor power nor fame;

seek only Jesus,

the truth we can claim.

The Lord will receive,

whatever we bring;

as He sees our heart,

through our offering.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by external appearances, but rather by the condition of our heart.  Thank You that as we come to You and give our heart to You, You cleanse and make our heart holy and acceptable before You.  Thank You that it is by Your grace, and not by anything that we can or cannot do in our own strength.  Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough, when really, YOU ALONE, ARE ENOUGH.  Teach us to trust You with our whole heart, soul, mind, strength and life, so that all we do, is in and unto You.  Lead us and guide us by Your lavish and unending love, so that we may love others in a way that leads them straight to You.  Be magnified through every move we make.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, … the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

When Love Came Close

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” – (I John 3:16-18)

“Real love is an action, not a feeling.  It produces selfless, sacrificial giving.  The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others.  How can we lay down our lives?  By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.” – (NIV footnotes)

The greatest example ever given, was born to us, and is remembered each Christmas. Jesus was the ultimate example of what love is, for He loved with His very life. He stepped down from heaven, and became God with us – demonstrating again and again how to love with actions and in truth. As the only One who was fully God and fully man, there were so many “could have done’s” along the way, yet He chose instead, each time, to model love.  He drew near to those whom society deemed undesirable, and He touched the untouchables.  His love broke down social, racial and religious barriers, and encouraged all who came near, to love as He loved.

Though this blessed day of remembering is nearing an end, our command to love will remain.  How can we carry Christmas with us as we approach the coming year?  What can we give of ourselves to others, as He has given unto us?

What can I give?

What gift shall I bring?The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

Unto You Lord,

my great, mighty King.

My heart, You have,

and likewise, my life;

what of my time,

resource and supply?

Anew I ask,

how might I show love;

to honor You,

so You’re known above?

Lead me, I pray,

show me how to move;

let Your love shine,

so people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to come close – to draw near to us and show us that You are love.  Thank You that You loved so much, that You sent Your One and Only Son, so that we may receive all that You are offering.  Forgive us for giving with expectations, or for withholding, where You would have us to give more of ourselves.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly hear Your voice and Your instructions for the coming year.  May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You.  All glory to You, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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

United Hearts and Generous Hands

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything that they had.” – Acts 4:32

photo by Jennifer McCrea

Imagine a community, a family in the faith, where each member came together as one heart and mind, united in purpose and focused only on that which truly matters.  If not one lived in the land of “mine”, but rather addressed and offered everything as “ours”, sharing in all that each of them had.  How far have we fallen from His original intention for communities in Christ?

I don’t know about you, but I know there are things that I am territorial about.  Even if I would be willing to lend or give it away, if I feel entitled to be asked, then I am holding it too tightly.  If I would not be willing to give it away immediately if He asked, then I am holding it too tightly, and it is not a possession used for praise.  Do I think that God is asking me to give everything away, or allow others to come in and take whatever they want?  No, but what I do sense through the heart of this passage, is, “would I be willing?”

I have had the privilege to travel to places where this kingdom lifestyle was very powerfully present.  It seems that in spaces where people have the least, they are willing to share the most.  Remarkably, this seemed to hold true of both the believers and the seekers alike.  Even those who did not yet know Him, opened their hearts and homes to share what little they had with one another.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for holding anything to tightly, for after all, all that I have is a blessing from You, and blessings are meant to be shared.  Lord, with anything where my grip is too tight, loosen my grasp so that I instead will hold it with extended and open hands.  Show me where I am lacking in generosity, so that I may offer all, unto You.  Teach me to trust more, so that I am ready and willing to share all that I have.  Lead me to lavish others in Your love, and to give where the need is great.  Thank You for Your goodness and grace, and teach me to live as one in heart and mind in the community where I am planted.  May many come to know You through the kindness extended from each community that calls You King.  Amen.

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