Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

dsc059097914322808950888301.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Bring Peace & Build Up

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

 

Though many things are permissible, they are not all beneficial to all. What is good to one, may be harmful for another. As we navigate, it is our responsibility to make decisions that will keep the peace among the body of Christ. If we know a sister or brother struggles with something that is a non-issue for us, it is best to not participate in their presence, lest they be tempted to fall back into old patterns. Instead, we are encouraged to choose the things that will build up the body of Christ. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – these are the things that we ought to focus on and put into practice. For what we have learned and received from God will be our peace. May we go forth this day making every effort to do that which leads to peace and builds up those around us, so that each of us may be encouraged to grow stronger in our faith.

 

As much as we can,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

let us strive for peace;

preferring others,

makes our faith increase.

We build others up,

when they’re kept in mind;

removing what tempts,

a way to be kind.

For our common goal,

should be unity;

together in peace,

for eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though many things are permissible, You care about how our choices impact those around us, and give us charge to choose in such a way that we build others up in their faith, rather than tempt them to either judge us or be tempted to do something that is not acceptable for them, individually. Thank You that if we listen, You will give us direction as to how to walk in a way that will bring peace and build up those around us. Forgive us for walking in the freedom we have been given with no consideration for those around us, or for seeing the freedom of others and perceiving that it is the same for us, rather than seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first in all things and at all times, listening for Your heart and direction as to what is beneficial for us, individually and corporately. Show us how to live and love in a way that leads to peace and builds up those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to do that which leads to peace, and do things that help grow one another stronger in our faith. Amen.

 

*(Whatever is true… -Philippians 4:8)

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

The Power of the Tongue

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Clothed With Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12)

 

Here I am, on the first day of summer break, and I am now compelled to study and stretch my mind to learn and grow more, wherever I can… This morning, this one verse, is packed full of deep and meaningful words. Rather than give an overall generalized application, I wanted to break it down, and look at each set of words, as their meaning is quite significant.

 

First, as God’s chosen people, we who have chosen to follow Christ, are wanted, desired, and considered among the Lord’s elect. This is not because we are worthy, but rather because He is good. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9)

 

Holy and dearly loved, is yet another designation that we are granted through the goodness and grace of God. To be holy, is to be considered to have a spiritually pure quality; this is ours through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf because He dearly loved each of us – His created. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Clothe yourselves, reminds us that we have a choice. We must be intentional to choose to rise each day and seek the Lord to live according to His will and walk in His way. Walking out the door for the day without actual clothes would be a disastrous option, so too is the way of not clothing ourselves in Christ. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Romans 13:14)

 

Compassion is sympathy that springs into action to help alleviate suffering. Rather than simply seeing a need, compassion does something to help. Where there is lack, compassion provides; where there is pain, compassion draws near. Compassion is Christ coming close through the hands, feet, and hearts of His people. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15)

 

Kindness is affection, amiability, benevolence and consideration. It is the one who sits beside the bullied, the broken or the hurting and simply remains present. Kindness extends gentle, encouraging words, even when they are not deserved. “…but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. – (Isaiah 54:8b)

 

Humility is the state of not being proud nor arrogant; being modest; courteously respectful. Humility gives credit where credit is due, even if it detracts praise from oneself. Not one of us is able to do anything that is praiseworthy without the giftings and grace of God. Without Him, we are nothing. All we do that has any worth, is because of Christ within us. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. – (Proverbs 22:4)

 

Gentleness defined, is without roughness or violence; mild and kindly.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1)

 

May we lay hold of our calling, and embrace the gift which He freely gives. Let us clothe ourselves, daily, with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might go forth and better love others as we choose to serve Him.

 

We each have been called,Compassion Crosses the Road

for Christ knows our names;

His love goes beyond,

the truth we proclaim.

No words can express,

how deep and how wide;

the love of the Lord,

when He’s asked inside.

The gifts that He grants,

allow us to bear;

each other in love,

with kindness and care.

Compassion will grow,

humility too;

gentle responses,

will be what we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You consider us Your chosen people; holy and dearly loved. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to go forth in our own strength, or for forgetting to seek You to be properly equipped for all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be completely dependent on You for all that is needed to live the life that You are calling us to lead. Help us to love others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so perfectly modeled for us through Your Son. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves as Your chosen people, and go forth to love well. 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

Internal Investments Exceed External

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30)

 

How we present ourselves, may or may not be the whole picture. We deceive even ourselves, if we do not look at our lives through the lens of Christ. The external, what is seen, grows weary and worn; yet in Christ, our minds and spirits may be refreshed and renewed, day by day. A woman who recognizes who the Lord is, and invites Him to be seated in His proper position in her life, operates as He is calling her to live. As we choose to allow Christ to reign in our lives, His gifts flow through us, and we bear fruit, as others too, may come to see and know who He is, and what He has done for us all. May we rise up in reverence for the Risen Lord, and invite Him to rule and reign in our every word and deed.

 

Be not deceived,Internal Investments Exceed External

by beauty nor charm;

false illusions,

that unchecked, bring harm.

Beauty, it fades,

and charm is deceit;

fearing the Lord,

is wise, praiseworthy.

Christ is our rock,

on Whom we must stand;

all other things,

are just sinking sand.

Rise up in faith,

in our Holy Lord;

all unto Him,

our shield and our sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though external things are fleeting, that which we invest in You, lasts forever. Thank You that as we grow in our understanding of who You are and how much You love us, You are pleased with our pursuit, and use us to turn and bless others. Forgive us for allowing the external voices to deceive our hearts into believing anything that would tie our value to what is seen on the outside, rather than what You are doing and have already done on the inside. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make our priority the pursuit of You. Help us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we see through deceit and beyond packaging, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love, as we walk in reverence of who You are and the splendor of all whom You have created. Amen.

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

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

Whatever is Pure

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit to do anything good. – (Titus 1:15-16)

 

Paul’s words to Titus were strong and straightforward. Focus on God and His ways, and our hearts will be pure before Him. However, if we choose to act according to our own will, rather than His, we deny God, and are detestable in His sight. The very idea of being disobedient and unfit to do anything good, is a powerful reminder to keep our priorities in place. That being said, how do we keep our priorities in the proper place? Our relationship with Christ must come first. Philippians 4:8-9 says it this way: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

To keep our hearts,Whatever is Pure

pure before the Lord;

we must listen,

Spirit’s sounding board.

Focus on truth,

noble and what’s right;

the excellent,

our Savior’s delight.

All that is pure,

and admirable;

focus on these,

the desirable.

Daily practice,

doing all of these;

our heart’s shall know,

the Lord’s promised peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, as we seek with our whole heart. Thank You too, that despite the ugliness in the world around us, we are given countless opportunities to see that which is good, pure and lovely, because You dwell in us, and help us to see things through Your lens. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on that which is corrupt or callous, and help us instead to focus on all that You have for us to see. Give us Your eyes and heart with which to view the world. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know You personally, as a result. Be glorified, Lord Jesus, as we put into practice what You have taught us, and walk in the peace of Your presence. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Rejoice Always

image by violscraper

image by violscraper

Rejoice always in the Lord,

let His evidence be clear;

may He be our shield and sword,

as He fends off all our fear.

May gentleness be for all,

it shows that the Lord is near;

our God hears us as we call,

present needs unto His ear.

The powerful peace of God,

will guard our heart and our mind,

transcending our blind facade,

through prayer, answers we shall find.

Alas, dear ones, let it be,

may we train both mind and heart,

to fix on pure and lovely,

things praiseworthy from the start.

(Responding to Philippians 4:4-8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the mighty men and women of faith who have gone before us so that we might have examples of lives lived well in You.  Thank You for the powerful praise and purpose that Paul presented to the Philippians, despite his being in prison.  Regardless of his circumstances, he chose to rejoice.  May we too, follow his example.  Forgive us for allowing fear to blind us from the truth we hold in You.  May we always present our prayers and petitions before You, being confident that You hear, and that You have our very best in mind, despite what we may see with our human hearts.  Help us to fix our eyes, mind, and heart on You and those things of You that build up the body, so that we might encourage and strengthen one another in Your love.  May many come to know Your lasting love, as we walk out our days, willing to rejoice in all things and at all times.  Thank You that You are ALWAYS good.  Amen.

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