Pursuing What is Right

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else. – (Matthew 5:6, ERV)

How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness. – (Matthew 5:6, TPT)

 

As we pursue God’s best for us, we find He is faithful to meet us. God’s presence assures, His love endures, and His grace is far greater than we could ask or imagine. Blessings come when we are aware of the work of God in and around us. He is good and He endows the seeking with His presence and His grace, and makes His nearness known throughout all of our days. May we ever crave to do what is right, as our Savior surrounds us with His presence and provision to pursue His path.

 

Help us to pursue, pursuing what is right

All that’s good and right;

For each who does so,

Becomes God’s delight.

Ever He’s faithful,

To all those who choose;

To seek the Lord’s best,

For grace and breakthroughs.

So, let us rise up,

With hearts full of praise;

Pursue the Lord’s best,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue righteousness, we discover the blessings that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way without seeking, or have neglected the direction that You have provided. Teach us how to come to You in trust and to follow all that You are asking. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the blessings found in Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path of righteousness that You have prepared for us to follow. Amen.

 

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

 

 

Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Seek to Speak with Grace

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person. – (Colossians 4:6, CEB)

 

The words that we speak either attract others and build trust, or they repel and turn people away. If we are seeking the Lord’s wisdom and pursuing insight through listening to others rather than speaking without hearing, we find opportunity to extend grace and give the right response at the right time. May we make the choice to use our voice for kindness, as we seek first to understand so that we may offer insight and respond the right way.

 

Let all that we say, unseal-my-lips

Be gracious and kind;

As we choose to hear,

Keep Your will in mind.

Grant us Your insight,

So we respond well;

Your grace extended,

With what we choose tell.

May our chosen words,

Demonstrate Your grace;

So all come to know,

Safety in Your space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who were gracious and kind to us, who were able to answer us with wisdom and the right response at the right time. Thank You that as we seek You and trust You, You provide the same opportunity for us to be available for others. Forgive us for not seeking Your wisdom and grace, or for not slowing down to really listen first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose kindness and grace, ever being quick to listen and slow to speak. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend Your kindness and grace and offer the right response at the right time. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading so that our every conversation is full of Your grace. 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

Seek His Spirit to Stand

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Galatians 5:16, NIV)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. – (Galatians 5:16, NLT)

I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. – (Galatians 5:16, CEB)

 

Without the Holy Spirit in us, we do that which we know we ought not do. Our very nature desires to do the things that are in direct conflict of those to which we have been called. Thankfully, Christ came and died for us to take away the sin and shame of our failures of the flesh. More than that, He sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who choose call on His Name to lead and guide us in the way in which we are meant to go. By His Spirit, we can keep from giving in to the desires of the flesh and instead bring honor to Christ through the choices we make with how we conduct ourselves. May we each choose to walk by His Spirit, therefore keeping ourselves away from the selfish desires our flesh longs for, and instead rise up and honor Him in all that we say and do.

 

Within each of us,Refreshment Through Repentance

a battle goes on;

a pull to choose sin,

to walk in the wrong.

Yet by Christ’s Spirit,

we have strength and guide;

to know what is right,

how we’re to abide.

He shows us what’s right,

and grants His power;

to choose right by Him,

no matter the hour.

So seek first the Lord,

and look to His face;

He’ll grant what’s needed,

to walk in His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit to guide our lives so that we are able to withstand the cravings of our sinful nature. Thank You that You lead us and guide us as we choose to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to come before You in all things and at all times, so that we may know Your guidance for every decision that we make. Lead us to love others as You so unreservedly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to the voice of Your Spirit within us to overcome temptation and walk in the way in which we are called. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

To Offer Obedience and Reverence

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NIV)

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NLT)

Now, what should we learn from everything that is written in this book? The most important thing a person can do is respect God and obey His commands, because He knows about everything people do – even the secret things. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, ERV)

 

Regardless of which version of the text we take in, the bottom line remains. We are called to give God the honor and respect that is due, and obey that which He asks of us. On our own, we would fail miserably, as we are all flawed and broken vessels. However, when we choose to seek first His kingdom, His righteousness is added unto us, and we are led and empowered by His Spirit to do that which we are called to do. His strength is made perfect where we are weak, and His grace abounds where we have none. All that is needed He shall supply, if we are dependent on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Let us have a proper perspective of who God is, as the King who reigns, and allow His Spirit to lead and guide us so that we will walk in obedience to all that He is asking.

 

Our great God, Most High,Refreshment Through Repentance

sits upon His throne;

He loves and equips,

so truth may be known.

We’re called to uphold,

reverence and awe;

obey His commands,

not self-imposed law.

For the Lord, He reigns,

with mercy and grace;

He opened the way,

eternal embrace.

Let our lives be lived,

as an offering;

all praise unto Him,

may each heart choose sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You are God and the Creator and King of all, You chose to love each of us, individually. Thank You that You have given us Your instructions for how we ought to live, and help us, by Your Spirit, to live accordingly. Forgive us for not viewing You with proper reverence and awe, or for taking lightly, the expectations that You have set before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your will in all things, resulting in our willing obedience to what You are asking. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they would see Your heart through ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we view You with respect and reverence, and seek to walk in obedience to all that You are asking. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Understanding Leads to Praise

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. – (Psalm 111:10)

True wisdom comes when we have a proper perspective of God. As we fear and revere Him, He opens our understanding and grants us insight to what we could not see before. The better we know Him, the more we recognize just how worthy He is of all of our praise forever. Daily, there are new opportunities for His truth to be revealed. We never stop learning nor growing in wisdom, when we seek first, His righteousness. The more we grow, the more we are able to see the joys that God has placed in our lives. Life becomes an exhilarating experience of discovering the glorious wonders that He has created for all of us, His creation. May we seek the Lord with proper fear and reverence, and follow that which He asks each of us to do. Let our lives be an ever-present reflection of our hearts to eternally praise Him.

True wisdom begins,Marvelously Made

with fear of the Lord;

not a space of scared,

but humbled, adored.

For as we know God,

His insight provides;

great understanding,

that can’t be denied.

He gives us true joy,

grace to discover;

wisdom and His strength,

as we love others.

May our lives reflect,

our posture of praise;

now and forever,

let’s walk in His ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we fear and revere You, giving You proper place in our hearts and lives, You reveal to us deeper understanding and insight as to who You are, and how we are meant to live. Thank You that You unlock our understanding beyond what mere studying could ever do as we walk in Your ways and trust in Your truth. Thank You that all praise belongs to You, now and forever. Forgive us for seeking wisdom without You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can differentiate between knowledge that can be discovered through reading or studying, and true wisdom and insight that are gifts given by You alone. Lead us to love You with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and then to go and love likewise, all whom You place on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we follow Your ways and grow in our understanding and wisdom of You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. 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

Steer Clear of Speculation’s Snare

And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” – (Revelation 10:4, NIV)

 

I was about to write what the thunders said when a voice from heaven called to me, “Don’t do it. Their words are not to be revealed.” – (Revelation 10:4, TLB)

 

This passage is the latter part of what God revealed to John in Revelation. As he was being shown what would come to pass at the end, John was told not to record what he had seen. Daniel too, had been told to withhold some of what he had been shown, when God had given him visions. (Daniel 12:9) We need not know the time nor day, but rather Him who will be our hiding place, on that great and terrible day. “God has revealed all we need to know to live for him now. In our desire to be ready for the end, we must not place more emphasis on speculation about the last days than on living for God while we wait.” – (NIV footnotes for Revelation 10:4)

 

No one knows the time,IMG_0193

the day, nor the hour;

when Christ shall return,

in His great power.

We’re not to worry,

so much about when;

instead, be prepared,

live life free from sin.

Invest well our days,

in things of the Lord;

pursue holiness,

embrace hope’s reward.

Seek first our Savior,

and all soon shall be;

standing before Him,

no more mystery.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we know not when You will return, we need not worry, if we are in relationship with You. Thank You that You are our safe space, and our shelter in the storms. Thank You that no matter what comes, our ultimate victory is assured in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as the unknown is a frightening space to speculate about. Teach us to trust You completely, and to rest assured in the security and safety of Your peace and presence right now. May we love others as we are loved my You, and may many come to know the safety and hope that is held in relationship with You alone. Be glorified as we go forth in Your grace, fixing our focus on You for today. 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

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. 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

 

 

Seek the Source

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

image by Catherine Makowsky

“To ‘seek first the kingdom of His righteousness’ means to turn to God first for help, to fill our thoughts with His desires, to take His character for our pattern, and to serve and obey Him in everything.  What is really important to us?  People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for priority.  Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if we don’t actively choose to give Him first place in every area of our lives.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

These are tall orders and tough truths if we are not turning in trust, to Him.  On our own, our priorities quickly become self-centered, rather than God-centered.  When we seek Him first, and trust God to be God and not ourselves, He provides what is needed to walk upright before Him in His strength, not ours.  As He is placed as our priority, He provides that which we lack.  God’s resources are unending – He always is and has enough, no matter where our lack.  He cares deeply, even about our buried and unknown needs.  He provides people to be His hands, voice and heart when we need to hear Him, and He enables us to feel His touch in a tangible way.  He provides peace, even when we are in the pit of peril.  When we are lacking, He is abundantly able to supply.  As we ask, we are heard, and He answers in His perfect time.  He is whom we ought to seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we will find You.  Please forgive us for seeking anything else, before You.  Teach us to trust You to supply all that we need to live and love as You long for us to do.  May our first response – be it in lack or in plenty – be to seek You and honor You, as You alone are our source and supply, and way beyond worthy of all of our worship and praise.  As we learn to seek You first in all things and at all times, may our prioritized pursuit make plain the path that leads straight into Your loving grace to all who are around us.  Thank You that You are our source and supply, who sent Your only Son to suffer and die, so that we would have a way to seek and find the safety that Your loving arms supply.  Amen.

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