Treasured Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, ERV)

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us – cracked pots made of earth and clay – so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, VOICE)

 

The treasure is Jesus within us, and through His presence, we are empowered to love as He loves us. I love the imagery of people as jars of clay, for each of us are molded and shaped to hold Him in our hearts, capable of pouring out to all whom we encounter. Ordinary people can live extraordinary lives through that which is within them. God’s heart, His power and His love, are made known as we choose to pour out from the spaces that we have invested to fill. Incredibly, the more we seek the Lord and choose to love, the more we have to pour out to those around us. May we ever invest in our relationship with our Redeemer, who fills us and makes His goodness known through us, His jars of clay, created to contain the treasure of His power, grace and love for the world.

Yesterday, Micah and I caught up with Mom on the phone as we were running an errand. She sounded good, and was eager to hear about the weekend adventures we each had, and pass on congratulations to the newest driver in our household. Later in the evening my sister and I did a bit of texting back and forth, and I was actually able to go back through old messages and find Mom’s occupational therapist from Wenatchee to contact for needed information in Albany. I reached out to Larissa, and she responded rapidly. Hopefully, the information provided will help expedite the in-home therapy hang-up, as I know it has been frustrating for all. Please pray for my sister, as I imagine she is wearing the weight on her shoulders. Her job is insanely busy, her boys have crazy busy schedules, my brother-in-love’s work schedule often requires him to travel and work insane hours, and Meg is the cog that keeps the machine running. She deserves a cape or a crown, but truly, I know prayers are coveted.

 

The power of God, Treasured Jars of Clay

That shines from the stars;

Dwells also in us,

Broken, earthen jars.

Jars are containers,

Ready to outpour;

Let us make love known,

For His love restores.

The treasure we hold,

Is in us to share;

Lord, lead us in grace,

Always, everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be vessels to receive and in turn pour out the treasures of Your love, goodness and grace to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have placed a lid on our jar, preventing either the receiving or the outpouring of all that You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain open vessels. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and invite You to fill us again and again, so that we may go forth and pour into the lives of those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

 

 

The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

An Empowered Life Through Love

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s kingdom is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Our actions have a far greater and longer lasting impact than anything that we say. The charge that we have been given is to love God and love people, according to His good and perfect will. When we choose to live out our faith through all that we do, we are able to make the Lord’s love evident. However, if all that we do is say what we believe, but do not put it into action, the impact is non-existent. In the same way, if we tell those we love that we love them, but do not demonstrate our love through the things that we do, the words have no meaning nor lasting impact. On the other hand, those who serve and honor, uphold and provide, show again and again the power of God in their lives, even if the words are seldom spoken. A favorite quote of mine that aligns well with this verse, is: “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” – (St. Francis AssissiMay our actions provide the powerful proof of God’s love in our lives as we reach out to love, honor and serve those around us.

 

May the love of God,

wp-1521807723600596361595.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be made evident;

Through all that we do,

Kindness, heaven sent.

His love’s best made known,

Through things that we do;

Each act done in love,

Grants God’s light shine through.

So, let us choose show,

God’s love in our lives;

As we act in love,

Helping others thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is not merely spoken to us, but rather it is made evident through actions. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our actions have not aligned with Your will, or our words were empty and without action. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be people empowered by Your love to go forth and do the same. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart in the things that we do. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and give feet to our faith through loving actions. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Believe to Be Victorious

Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – (1 John 5:5, NIV)

It is our faith that has won the victory against the world.  So who wins against the world?  Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. – (1 John 5:5, ERV)

The “world” is anything and everything that would tempt us to live in a way that is contrary to the life that Christ is calling us to live.  We have an adversary who seeks to lead us away from the path which we are called to pursue.  It is only when we believe with our hearts and lives that Jesus is the Son of God, and live our lives accordingly, that we are able to overcome that which attempts to steer us off course.  Temptations that seek to suck us in, can be withstood, when we are armed with the truth and invested in a relationship with the Savior of our soul.  May we believe with all that we are, that Jesus is the Son of God, and live out our lives accordingly, so that we may walk victoriously, as we overcome the world.

To rise, overcome,Offered Unto You

it takes great belief;

in Jesus the Son,

our hope and relief.

No battle is won,

unless we choose cling;

to Christ our Savior,

Overcoming King.

No foe can withstand,

the power of God;

in Him we will win,

as heaven applauds.

So rise up, dear ones,

and trust in the King;

for we’ll overcome,

that’s what the truth brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and place our trust in You, we are able to overcome all that would come against us.  Thank You that every victory is ours through Christ.  Forgive us for making our adversary too big, or making You too small, as You are far greater than anything that would come against us.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be confident in Your mercy, grace, strength and power that You provide in every situation.  Lead us  to love others as You call us to love.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord.  Be glorified O God, as we rise up and overcome the world in Your strength as You call us to keep pressing forward.  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

Jesus is… God of the Miraculous

As I continue to unpack all that Jesus is through the reading of the Gospel of Mark, something that clearly stood out in today’s chapters, was that Jesus is the God of the miraculous. There are two specific stories in chapter six alone, that demonstrate the miraculous power of God, presented in Jesus Christ.

 

First, when Jesus and the disciples had sought a solitary place to rest and reflect, they ended up surrounded by a crowd of more than five-thousand. Late in the day, the disciples recognized the people’s need for nourishment. They asked Jesus to send them away so that they could find food, but Jesus had another option in mind. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. – (Mark 6:41-42) Though the disciples did not recognize the miraculous power present in Jesus to provide for all of the people prior to that point, Jesus patiently demonstrated His deity as He delivered nourishment to meet the needs of the people.

 

After all had been fed, Jesus had His disciples get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, so that He could go up on the mountainside to pray. While the disciples were crossing the lake, the wind came up and they were struggling and straining to cross. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, the thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. – (Mark 6:48-50a) Jesus had to tell them that they did not need to be afraid. Rather than continue walking past them, …He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51) Jesus again presented the miraculous power of God, as He walked on water and calmed the storm. He did not just speak for the storm to cease from far away, but Jesus walked to the disciples and climbed into the boat – He met them exactly where they were, and then all became calm.

 

The very same Jesus is alive and active today. The miraculous power of God is present and available to all who earnestly seek Him. Jesus sees and knows our needs, and is ready to sit beside us in our storms. May we seek Him with all that we are, and recognize the miraculous power of God that is present and active all around us.

 

The power of God,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

miraculous One;

united in Christ,

magnificent Son.

Jesus is able,

to love and provide;

to touch and draw near,

to all whom abide.

He sees where we lack,

every need known;

Jesus is able,

miraculous shown.

And when the storms come,

He’ll draw close, be near;

bring calm to our soul,

and cast out all fear.

 

Dear Jesus, thank You that You are God of the miraculous. Thank You that You know our needs before we do, and You are ready and able to provide. Thank You that You come close, and remain present, even when storms rage around us. Forgive us for not turning to You in our times of need, and for not reaching for You in the throes of the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response in all things and at all times, is to cling to You. Help us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your provision and rely on Your presence. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Forge Forward in Faith

The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

The Presence of His Power

Mere man is no match for the power of the living God. Three times in Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadducees, (the most educated minds of the day) attempted to trap Jesus with their questions. Each time an attempt was made, the people were amazed at the power and authority with which Jesus answered. Jesus knew their evil intent, and was able to expose it each time. “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” – (Matthew 22:46)

 

The power of God at work in Christ, granting wisdom and knowledge, power and strength, is available to all who believe. We too, have access to answers when challenged with difficult questions. When we seek Him, we will find Him, if we seek Him with all of our heart. Jesus was intentional to take time alone to be with the Father to pray. He modeled for us, what is needed to access the very same power that dwells within the hearts of all who have invited Him in. Christ is present and available, and willing to be our help and our hope.

 

The power of God,The Presence of His Power

is alive and free;

I need only ask,

it’s given to me.

Wisdom and knowledge,

power and the strength;

to withstand struggles,

and traverse great lengths.

Greater is the One,

whose dwelling in me;

than all who challenge,

cause adversity.

His presence is found,

as I choose to seek;

He is my true strength,

when I’m feeling weak.

All that is needed,

is found in the Lord;

there’s no other name,

my shield and my sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that was in Jesus that granted Him wisdom and power to face all who opposed Him, is alive and available to us. Thank You that we too, can move in wisdom and power as You have commissioned us, if we place our trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely, in the mighty power that dwells within us. Make us strong to trust You as we move in faith, and help many come to know the fullness of a life lived in Your love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may we move mightily in Your strength today. 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

To Be Transformed

The power of God, present in us, is far greater than we often give credit.  If we allow Him access, and grant permission, He will change us from the inside out.

In the Message, Luke 3:16-17, it reads as follows: “But John intervened; ‘I’m baptizing you here in the river.  The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.  He’s going to clean house – make a clean sweep of your lives.  He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false He’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
 
Not just at the start of a new year, but at the beginning of each brand new day, I want to grant God access to the hallways of my heart, so that He has room to order what belongs and what needs to go.  By His Spirit, I am being made brand new.  Though this is a lifelong process, each day that I grant access, I will be better able to reflect the radiance of my Redeemer than the day prior.  In order to love as He loves, which is what He calls us to do, there must be more of Him, and less of me.  Let each new day begin with my heart handing Him the keys and saying, “all that I am, is Yours.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Transformation,
a change from within;
by His Spirit,
we’re made new in Him.
Never pushy,
always He will wait;
we must ask Him,

photo-13

to come mediate.
He highlights good,
and cleanses the bad;
sets free from filth,
we didn’t know we had.
The more we ask,
the more He makes new;
so we reflect,
His radiant hue.
For all that’s good,
that comes out of us;
signs of His grace,
our loving Jesus.
 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came so that we might have life more abundant in You.  Thank You that when we invite You in, Your Spirit comes and dwells in us for all of our days, and shows us how to walk in light and life as You intend for us.  Forgive us for turning a deaf ear to Your still small voice, or for being so busy that we don’t take time to listen.  Help us to be intentional in our time with You, and teach us how to love others as You love us.  May many come to know the glorious grace that You offer, and enter into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.