Tend to This Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So, we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

 

Each one of us who claims Christ as our King, is a temple in which His Spirit dwells. Our charge, as one who tends His temple, is to be mindful of our body and spirit, so as to nourish our very being with what we take in. When we fuel and care for our bodies well and spend time in His word, our thoughts align with His and our bodies are better equipped to do that to which we are called. The decision to be wise with what we opt consume – physically, mentally and emotionally, is an act of reverence to the very One who created us. May we make clean breaks from all that distracts or defiles us so that we may become fit and holy temples for He who dwells within us.

 

Lord, help us be wise, strength-in-waiting

With things that we choose;

For heart, mind and soul,

Your way, let’s pursue.

In You, there is truth,

Love, laughter and light;

Sound mind and body,

True space of delight.

Lord, may this temple,

Be prepared for You;

Help me to tend well,

And walk in Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You created each one of us to be a temple for Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the care of either body, mind or spirit, as all work together for You. Teach us to trust You more, as You lead and provide what we need to be a suitable space for Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models and provides care for mind, body and spirit in each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide the decisions we make about how to best tend the temple You have provided. Amen.

 

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

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

Wisdom from Heaven

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It is whole-hearted and straightforward and sincere. – (James 3:17, TLB)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

The pursuit of Godly wisdom is a lovely and lofty goal. The wisdom that comes from Him is pure, peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, considerate, teachable, easy to please, whole-hearted, straightforward, sincere, ready to help and do good for others, fair, honest, and does not show favoritism as it is filled with love. This is the target that my heart is forever aiming for, yet there are times that my words or deeds miss the mark. Sometimes I default to sarcasm as a coping mechanism, and my response, though not intended to harm, is not necessarily helping anyone either. Additionally, there are times when we get in such a hurry that making the time for a straightforward discussion or a pause to help someone where we know there is a clear need, seems too much to stack atop our already overscheduled day. May we ever seek the wisdom that comes from God, so that we operate in a way that is pure and full of quiet gentleness. Let us be peace-loving and courteous, allowing discussion; be merciful and extend good, as we choose to invest our whole hearts into all that we do, sincerely pursuing to walk in the wisdom of His way.

 

The wisdom of God, Wisdom from Heaven

What I long to seek;

It’s full of mercy,

And lifts when we’re weak.

Ever peace-loving,

And easy to please;

Straight-forward, sincere,

He hears and He sees.

Ready to give help,

Wisdom chooses good;

Without favorites,

Grace is understood.

Make me teachable,

Considerate, kind;

Fair, loving, honest,

With others in mind.

Let my heart be pure,

With wisdom above;

Quiet gentleness,

That blesses with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Godly wisdom is about demonstrating Your goodness in a tangible way. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered far from wisdom to attempt to walk on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the wisdom of Your ways to extend the things which You call us to do. Show us how to love others well so that we are pure, peace-loving, gentle, kind, merciful, sincere, fair, honest, teachable, considerate, full of mercy, ready to do good, full of love and without favorites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek to grow in Your wisdom and walk it out all of our days. Amen.

 

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Love that Grows, Overflows

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, CEB)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NLT)

 

Paul’s prayer of encouragement and exhortation for the people of Philippi is also one to encourage and exhort us today. If we are earnestly pursuing God and seeking to walk in His love, then how can we help but find our love growing more and more in Him? As we seek, we find, and it is in the finding that we discover the knowledge and understanding of what God’s love is for us, and how we are called to love others. Not one of us is able to live pure and blameless lives on our own, yet as we seek the Lord and walk in His ways, we get closer every day, and are covered by His grace as we learn and grow. May we ever seek to know the Lord and His love, so that we can go forth in wisdom and love like He loves us.

 

May our love grow more, Love that Grows

In wisdom and truth;

With insight, sincere,

From elders to youth.

Help us discover,

All that matters most;

So we’ll be blameless,

Before heaven’s Host.

Let us choose love well,

Wherever we go;

So others might see,

What makes our love grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom and encouragement that You grant us through Your holy word. Thank You that Your love, wisdom and insight grow in us more and more as we seek and Your will. Forgive us for our lack of love or lack of prioritizing things according to Your value system. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your wisdom to prioritize what is important, and to release what is not. Show us how to love others so that Your love grows and overflows from us more and more. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us to choose and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Love Each Other

You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – (1 Peter 1:22, NLT)

You have made yourselves pure by obeying the truth. Now you can have true love for your brothers and sisters. So love each other deeply – with all your heart. – (1 Peter 1:22, ERV)

 

Not one of us has ever functioned without flaws. In fact, we all have fallen short, and at times, failed miserably. However, each one of us who has chosen to call on the Name of the Lord and place our trust in Him, has been forgiven and equipped to go forth in love. As we are loved, we need to go and do likewise. God does not place parameters on His love for us; and neither should we on those around us. My heart aches for the hurt, anger and frustration that have been filling Facebook the last few days. Friends whom I love, have placed conditions on whom they will and will not be “friends” with, based on political allegiance. Not one of the candidates was without sin or flaw; and likewise, not one of us is either. I have people whom I dearly love on both sides of the political lines, and yet I will continue to love them the same today as I did a week, a month or a year ago. We do not have to agree with people to choose to love. Often, it is out of a heart of love, that eyes are opened to see the truth. Our charge is to sincerely love those whom God has placed in our path. He does not say, love deeply, except those who believe differently. Christ calls us to love each other as brothers and sisters, with all of our heart. No disclaimers. No exceptions. May we rise with resolve to do as we are called to do, trusting Him to fill us with His love to give to all whom He places around us.

 

Because we are loved,Good Gifts

We must do the same;

Without conditions,

It’s why Jesus came.

For He showed His grace,

To all who came near;

Both sinner and saint,

His love was made clear.

We each have been called,

To rise and obey;

Love like family,

All who come our way.

With a sincere heart,

Sisters and brothers;

May we deeply love,

Grace to each other.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us from all of our sin when we come to You and ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You that though we may struggle, You give us all that we need and more to love all those around us, regardless of whether we see the world through the same lens or not. Forgive us for withholding the love and grace that You have so lavishly and freely given to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the same love and grace to those around us, seeking first to listen, rather than speak, so that we might understand the heart behind a person’s words or deeds. Help us to love well, no matter what we see or hear, as Your love softens even the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sincerely love those around us as sisters and brothers with our whole heart. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

For Love to Flourish

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

So this is my prayer: that your love would flourish and that you will learn not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of. – (Philippians 1:9-10, MSG)

 

Though this was Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, it is still applicable to us today. When we learn to love as Christ loves us, all those around us benefit. We must understand what is important to God, and love with our intellect as well as our heart. As we choose to prioritize that which matters most, our lives become an example of what it is to love as we are loved by Him. May we learn to love much, and love well, just as we are loved by Christ.

 

Help our love to grow,Enter With Thanksgiving

In wisdom and strength;

To see what matters,

What depth and what length.

May we use our mind,

As well as our heart;

To love as You love,

Give all, not just part.

Let us be blameless,

By Your loving grace;

So we are prepared,

For Your sweet embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invest our hearts in knowing You more, You grow Your love, knowledge and understanding in us, all the more. Thank You that You show us what is important and what is not, and You lead us in the way in which we are called to love like You. Forgive us for basing our love and affection on sentiment rather than on what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the difference between what is important and what is not, and that we would love according to Your example. Show us how to love others in a way that makes You proud and encourages all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help our love flourish like Yours. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

God’s Wisdom

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. – (James 3:17, MSG)

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

 

True wisdom that is gained as we trust in God, is made evident by the fruit that it bears. When we walk in that which the Lord provides, our lives demonstrate the character of Christ. The wisdom of God leads to a holy life that is displayed through gentleness and peace, and our every interaction with others overflow with mercy and blessings, and are always sincere. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we may live holy lives, characterized by mercy and goodness to all.

 

The wisdom of God,

Asking for Amazing Answers

photo by the fabulous Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

 

Brings a holy life;

Full of gentleness,

Our calmer of strife.

He’s full of mercy,

And great blessings too;

He’s always sincere,

For His love is true.

So let us seek Him,

Both now and always;

Our source of wisdom,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real wisdom comes from You. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and transform us to become more like You. Thank You that as we are transformed, we begin to live more like You. Thank You that wisdom leads to a holy life that is gentle and peace loving, full of mercy and goodness to others. Forgive us for failing to listen to the wisdom You provide, and for being harsh or unkind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to be full of mercy, extending gentleness and peace at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your wisdom to lead us and guide us as we go forth each day. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Walk in Grace

Despite Paul’s influence on the people who were following Christ, he recognized that nothing he did was his goodness given to God, but rather any good that was granted, was in fact God working through him to give grace and peace and truth to those around him. Any good that we can observe, either in us or through us, is God’s gift to us, and all the more reason for us to give Him praise. The following is Paul’s explanation in the Message:

 

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. – (Romans 12:3, MSG)

 

The very idea that we get to participate in anything of God is incredible, in and of itself. Nothing good that we do could ever be done by our own volition, but rather is endowed by our Creator. God empowers those who seek and trust in Him to do His will. It is Christ in us that brings good, rather than good in us being brought before Him. May we rise up and pursue the path He has placed before us, so that we might be instruments of His peace to people everywhere. Let God’s goodness flow through us, so all might come to know Him.

 

When we walk in grace,Gentleness for the Weary

The love of God shows;

Not by our own good,

But through Him who rose.

All that is lovely,

And all that is pure;

Everything righteous,

Is Christ drawing near.

Let us remember,

Our role and our place;

As people of thanks,

And givers of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and all that You have done for us. Thank You for light and life, hope and help, in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are good all of the time, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You see us and know us, better than we know ourselves. Forgive us for forgetting the role we were created to fill, and help us to trust You enough to walk forward in that which You are calling us into. Show us how to live fearlessly in the light of Your love. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through the things we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our gratitude to You, and allow You to move through us as we get out of the way. Amen.

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

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

Sowers of Peace

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:17-18, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the blessing that comes from right living. – (James 3:17-18, ERV)

Heavenly wisdom centers on purity, peace, gentleness, deference, mercy, and other good fruits untainted by hypocrisy. The seed that flowers into righteousness will always be planted in peace by those who embrace peace. – (James 3:17-18, VOICE)

 

As a peacemaker, it is easy to defer to peace. However, gentleness and willingness to yield to others are not always the motivation, nor is the peace that is sought sincere. At times, it is instead a way to keep things calm, rather than deal with conflict, with wisdom and the intent to help being absent. Our motivation matters. Is our pursuit of peace to please God, or ourselves? We need the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to gain His grace to sincerely seek His peace, which reaps a harvest of righteousness. May we be a people who passionately pursue God’s peace with all others, through His wisdom and grace. Let us be merciful and sincere, as His gentleness leads us to love as He so graciously loves each of us.

 

Let us seek wisdom,Marvelously Made

That is true and pure;

For that from the Lord,

Is steadfast, secure.

For from God alone,

Is how peace is found;

His mercy and grace,

To seekers, abound.

May we choose to plant,

Wherever we go;

Seeds of the Lord’s peace,

So His grace shall show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom from You is pure, peaceful, gentle and pleasing. Thank You that when we seek Your wisdom and peace, we are prepared and equipped to help those around us. Thank You that when we seek Your peace, peace and righteousness are what we find. Forgive us for wanting peace at any price, rather than seeking You and Your wisdom as to how we can be peacemakers in the midst of whatever we are facing. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone can bring calm in our chaos and peace in our storms. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be peacemakers in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your peace and wisdom, sharing the goodness and grace that You alone provide for us to give. 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