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

 

 

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Compassion Leads to Action

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” – (Mark 1:41, NLT)

 

In one verse of scripture, so much is spoken about the heart of Christ. When people were hurting, He did not just feel sorry for them, but rather He was “moved with compassion“, meaning His heart was motivated to alleviate the suffering that He saw before Him. In this passage in Mark, Jesus touched the untouchable, and healed not only the physical ailment that plagued the poor man before Him, but He helped his heart – for those with leprosy were unable to have any sort of physical contact with anyone at all. Imagine someone reaching out and touching your shoulder without fear, after years of being looked upon in horror… Compassion is the Christ-like action to which we are called. May we seek the Lord and His heart for those around us, so that we would not only feel sympathy and sorrow for those who are suffering, but that we might be compelled to alleviate the pain however He calls us to walk alongside those in the midst of their hurt.

 

When we see hurting,kindness

Those stuck in their pain;

May we be willing,

To move in His Name.

For true compassion,

More than sees and feels;

It seeks ways to help,

By grace, such love heals.

Let us choose rise up,

With hearts that see need;

In faith walk beside,

However God leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your heart for people. Thank You that compassion goes far beyond feeling sympathy for someone who is suffering. Thank You that compassion takes the sorrow felt for another’s pain and is accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Forgive us for lacking compassion with those around us, or for not opening our eyes to the needs in those before us. Teach us to be aware and available, ever trusting You to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to help. Show us how to love in a way that makes Your heart tangible to the suffering so that they would know hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to move our hearts with compassion as we view those around us. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

The One Who is Willing

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. – (Luke 5:12-13, NLT)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy for several reasons. First, the man who was suffering had more faith in the One who stood before him, than fear of the repercussions for being out among people as a leper. Second, he recognized the authority of Christ as he bowed before Him, and asked if He might be willing to heal him. Jesus met the man’s faith and humility with mercy and grace, as He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched the untouchable as He healed him. No one was allowed near lepers, let alone to touch them, so it had likely been a very long time since the man who was suffering had experienced direct human contact. Not only was he extended kindness and listened to as he made his request before Jesus, but he was answered in a way that was meant to help his heart as well as his body. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do. When we come before Him with our requests, He often answers in ways we would not have ever imagined. His goodness and grace are far greater than every need we bring before Him. May we ever seek the Lord, and let Him know our places of need, for He is faithful to answer as we ask.

 

The God of all grace,Healed Hands Reach Out

Says, “Come unto me,”

“Seek Me with your needs,

And I’ll set you free.”

Faithful to answer,

The Lord always hears;

He grants us His strength,

And chases off fears.

For He is willing,

To draw near, to touch;

Let us seek in faith,

And watch Him move much.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to hear our requests and bring Your answers. Thank You that Your answers go beyond what we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You attend to our hearts as well as our physical needs. Forgive us for making You too small, as the very God who created the Universe, has the ability to see and answer our needs where we are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first; always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for solutions in our spaces of need, as You are the One who hears and helps. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Willing Presence

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

So much is spoken in such a short passage. Anyone with an illness was considered unclean and untouchable, particularly those with leprosy. Jesus gave a man who had been outcast from society, value, by being willing to hear his request and touch him when all others considered him completely untouchable. Jesus healed the man’s physical condition, but more importantly, He healed his heart. Jesus had told the man to keep the story to himself and only go and show the priests, but the man could not help but go forth and spread the great news – for he had been healed!

The very same God who met the leper in his space of need, is available to touch us in ours. “The Lord gives you the experience of enjoying His presence. He touches you, and His touch is so delightful that, more than ever, you are drawn inwardly to Him.” – (Madame Jeanne Guyon) When we are touched by God, personally, we cannot help but want even more of Him. Once we have encountered a glimpse of who He is, we desire to see and know more. May we go forth this day with our eyes and hearts wide open, ready to observe our Savior in action. For He is alive and active, ready to move in our hearts and lives, always.

The touch of the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

to none can compare;

a life ever changed,

once we are aware.

To draw near to Him,

and know that He’s near;

grows in us great strength,

and removes our fears.

There is no delight,

as nearly as sweet;

as coming before,

the Lord’s righteous seat.

He invites us near,

to come closer still;

to taste and to see,

feel His gracious fill.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gift of Your presence. Thank You that You touch us individually, and through Your touch, we are drawn closer still to You. Forgive us for not bringing both our needs and our praises before You, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every response leads us to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we enjoy the experience of Your presence and are drawn ever closer unto You. 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

Anxious for Answers

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6)

 

God hears our prayers. He knows our heart and is concerned about our every need. The Lord is our provider, yet much of the time, we must move forward toward God in an act of faith, presenting our needs before Him, before we see the blessings of God released. In the book of Matthew, a leper had heard about Jesus and His ability to heal. His desire to be whole was great enough that he was willing to walk forward in faith, risking rejection, because the reward was well worth the potential risk.

 

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3)

 

What known need should we present before Christ? He is willing, we simply must come. Jesus goes beyond the hearing and healing, He comes close and touches those who are deemed untouchable, and calls us clean. May we release anxiousness and fear unto Him, and with prayer, petition and thanksgiving, present our every request unto the Lord.

 

Do not be anxious,Anxious for Answers

in spaces of lack;

but call on the Lord,

who will have our back.

He hears each request,

presented in prayer;

He sees and He knows,

our God always cares.

He knows what is best,

and willingly moves;

to help and to heal,

His faithfulness proves.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite how things appear, we need never be anxious nor fearful in You. Thank You that we need only come before You and present our requests unto You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and You move on our behalf in the way that You see best. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things don’t go the way we think they ought to, despite Your promised presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will believe You are working things out for the best, even when the evidence we see, seems to speak otherwise. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we release our anxieties to You, and present our requests by prayer and petition with thanksgiving before You, trusting that You will move on our behalf in the way that You deem best. 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

Jesus is…

My pastor began a series yesterday, titled, Jesus is… The intent of the next several weeks is to unpack through scripture, just who Jesus is, and what that means to us, individually. First and foremost, Jesus is God. Again and again, scripture affirms how He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is the exact representation of God. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ is the chief cornerstone in whom all join together to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:20-21) Scriptures throughout the Bible point to the truth that Jesus is God. The more we understand and learn about who Jesus is, the clearer picture we will have of God. The character of Jesus is the character of God.

 

Many people have a misguided image of God. They perhaps have heard just a part of the story and see God as an angry God. Would an angry God send His Son to restore relationship with people for all time? Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, showed us the heart of the living God. Not only is God loving, but He is a God of compassion too.

 

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

 

Jesus cared more about a man in his moment of need, than He did about societies social graces. It was unacceptable to touch one considered unclean, yet Jesus touched he who was thought to be untouchable, and healed more than just a physical ailment. Suffering and separation from society ceased, with one tender touch from Jesus. May we hold fast to the truth that our God is compassionate and caring, and that He is willing to touch us, even when we feel that we are untouchable.

 

Invisible God,The Power of His Name

elusive, unseen;

yet so crystal clear,

through Jesus, is seen.

Compassionate Lord,

Who comes close to touch;

to cure what’s ailing,

because He loves much.

Alpha, Omega,

beginning and end;

all the in between,

our Savior and friend.

He’s hope in the hard,

and peace in the storm;

joy in the morning,

and Light all day long.

May we ever seek,

to understand more;

the nature of God,

through Christ’s open door.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are in a tangible way. Jesus, thank You that You made clear that You are the living God. Thank You that the better we come to know You, the more clearly we understand who God is. Forgive us for having misguided opinions or orientations toward You, and help us to set our sights solely on the pursuit of who You are, so that You may instruct us in all things. Teach us to trust You completely, and to listen well to all that You have to say. Lead us to love others as You love – with compassion that is not afraid to reach out and touch, even the seemingly untouchable. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we grow in our understanding of Christ. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Tangible Touch

Twelve years without so much as a handshake, high five, nor a hug.  Can you imagine?  Touch is a biological and developmental need.  It helps us feel connected to others.  Touch reduces anxiety, forms bonds, lowers blood pressure, improves our outlook, and provides sensory input that we need to function and develop properly.  This morning, as I again read the story of the woman who’d been subject to bleeding for twelve years, in Luke, chapter eight, I saw the story through fresh eyes – through a perspective that I had not previously seen.  This woman had lived with not only the stigma of being considered “unclean” for twelve years, but she had likely lived in isolation for just as long.  The sheer loneliness was likely far worse than the condition itself.  I wonder if that is the very thing that drove her determination to hold onto the hope that she might be healed, if she could only touch the hem of His cloak?

Personally, I picture her experience as some sort of roller coaster ride.  Sheer determination to end her isolation propelled her through the throes of the crowd.  Hope reached out her hand for His hem, and joy unimagined must have been rising as she felt the bleeding cease.  Then, she was called out.  Would He take it back?  Would she be sent back to her isolated space for her violation of societal laws in her unclean state?  Imagine the momentary fear that tried to lay hold of her heart.  Somehow, faith continued to rise within her.  “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed.  Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” – (Luke 8:47-48) 

She was free!  Not only was she free from the illness that had plagued her for twelve long years, but she no longer needed to live in isolation.  The touch of His hem touched more than her hand, it touched her heart and soul.  Never again, would she be considered “untouchable“.

Lonely, untouched,Tangible Touch

a face in the crowd;

the world, silent,

despite being loud.

Who knows not touch,

in our world today?

Lonely, outcast,

let love light the way.

For He will show,

where the need is great;

are we willing,

to step out in faith?

Pat on the back,

a hug on the side;

what will it cost,

to give those denied?

Please show us, God,

how we’re meant to touch;

as Your hands, Lord,

to share Your love much.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unfailing and everlasting love.  Thank You that while we were yet stuck in our own sinfulness, You loved.  Thank You that You touch us, even when we feel untouchable, and that there is never a time when You are not willing to be near.  Forgive us for neglecting to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in a tangible way, and help us to know how to touch those who feel alone and untouchable.  May Your light and love be evident in us, and may many come to know the freedom and acceptance that is always available in You alone.  May lives be changed and hearts be restored, as the lonely and isolated find way into community.  Be glorified as we gather, Lord God.  Amen.

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