Seek Not Approval of Men

One of my least favorite parts of being an educator is the process of being observed and evaluated. I know the intent is good, and it is a way to identify strengths and areas to improve, yet, for me, as one who desires to please, and do things well, it is a painful process, regardless of the kindness of the observer. My own microscope of my craft is far more critical than that by which anyone else may utilize. Each day, my responsibility to God, not men, is to do my best for the kids in my care. This morning, I will be observed as I teach. As I was reading my devotions, the following passage may as well have been the only passage on the page, as it served as a neon sign, reminding me of what matters most. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

Though these words were Paul’s to the Galatians in regards to works verses grace, they serve as an excellent reminder for me this morning. It takes courage to remember that my priority is to please God, not men. If I am serving and honoring God by doing the job that He has called me to do to the best of my ability, then that will be enough. It is not about me, but rather Christ in me, that will be evident anyway. May we each go forth this day in courage, allowing His light to shine brightly before all men, seeking God’s approval, not man’s.

 

Seek not approval,Seek Not the Approval of Men

from our fellow man;

but rather seek God,

to do what we can.

Look to honor Christ,

in all that we do;

give glory to God,

and point to the truth.

Let our hearts be set,

on pleasing the Lord;

not allowing truth,

set aside, ignored.

May we all rise up,

as servants of God;

remaining steadfast,

inspired and awed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we need only seek to serve You. Thank You that Your grace is enough. Thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You meet us where we are and do the miraculous through our willing hearts. Forgive us for trying to please men, and help us to fix our eyes on You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may do all things as unto You. May many see our heart for You as light and life and love that they have not known before. Let many be led unto You as we seek to honor You in all that we do. Be glorified, O God, as we serve You with our lives. 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

Made to Shine

When Jesus was teaching the disciples the meaning of a parable He had told, Jesus went on to ask them a few questions to reveal to the disciples the importance of their position as they were to go forth to share the truth. He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?” – (Mark 4:21, NIV) Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that if others could not see His light in them, it would be useless.

 

We are created and called to shine before all; not to hole up in our tidy little Christian circles, never to get out of the church’s four walls. He calls us to be a light wherever we are. Are there “bowls” in our hearts that keep us from shining? If so, how might we get out from under them, so that Christ can again shine brightly through us, wherever we go? May we seek Him, keeping short accounts, so that as we go forth, His light in us shines bright before all whom we encounter.

 

He grants us His word,Made to Shine

so that we shall know;

the hope of His truth,

peace that makes us grow.

In our very hearts,

His Spirit resides;

to shine before men,

truth can’t be denied.

Let nothing cover,

what shines from within;

for His light is life,

to all steeped in sin.

Use us Lord, Jesus,

so many will know;

the hope we now hold,

let Your freedom flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and give You our hearts and our lives, You use us to shine brightly before others. Thank You that it is nothing that we do in our own strength, but rather it is Your Spirit dwelling in us that others may see. Forgive us for anything in us that has caused Your light to grow dim in us, and help us to remove the “bowls” so that Your light is clearly seen. Lead us to love generously and shine brightly, just as You so do unto us. May many come to know You as Lord and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as Your light shines through us, unhindered and in plain view. 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

Go Now, Rest Later

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” – (Revelation 14:13, NIV)

 

Then I heard a voice from heaven It said, “Write this: From now on there are great blessings for those who belong to the Lord when they die.” The Spirit says, “Yes, that is true. They will rest from their hard work. What they have done will stay with them.” – (Revelation 14:13, ERV)

 

What we do now, matters for all of eternity. Today’s investment in others through His strength, will have an eternal reward. Though our motivation ought to be our love and devotion for our Savior who first loved us, He sees and knows our hearts and deeds, and our care for others does not go unnoticed by Him. Our commitment to our relationship with Christ grants us firm footing for today, and certain hope for all of eternity. Investing in the work while we are in the world, is well worth the cost, as the outcome is our ultimate invitation to enter eternal rest in His perfect presence. To be counted among His blessed, is a beauty worth beholding. May we seek Him and serve Him with all that we are, as long as we draw breath.

 

In life and in death,Go Now Rest Later

how blessed to be;

counted among those,

betrothed unto Thee.

For those who have sought,

surely too, have found;

new life in Your love,

where hope shall resound.

All faithful in life,

will enter Your rest;

You remember well,

things that we do best.

Grant us eyes to see,

others through Your lens;

so we will care well,

for strangers as friends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every moment invested in You and in loving people, is time well spent. Thank You that You see and know our hearts and deeds, and You remember how we choose to love. Thank You that as Your people, we are considered blessed, and that You are our hope forever. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love others as You would have wanted us to love, and help us to see others through Your eyes, so that we cannot help but love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may faithfully step out to love and serve and care for those whom You place in our path. May many come to know the eternal hope that is held in You, as we go forth as Your hands and heart to the world. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

To See God

The very concept of God and who He is can be a bit overwhelming. Believing in the unseen, yet knowing that He is who He says He is, can become a bit muddied if we are not firmly grounded in His word. Jesus speaks clearly in John as to how we are to know what God is like. Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. When he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” – (John 12:44-46)

 

God’s word is full of light and life that illuminate exactly who God is, and who we are unto Him. When we believe in Him and invest our lives in following Christ, His light dwells in us, and He entrusts us with His truth. The more we invest in our relationship with Him, the more He reveals Himself to us. May we go forth this day, fully invested in Him, and shine brightly before all men.

 

As we believe,Approaching the Throne of Grace

the Holy Word;

He shows to us,

what our hearts have heard.

Though He’s unseen,

Lord God is known;

for by His Son,

His light has been shown.

Look to Jesus,

to understand;

for He and God,

are One unto man.

All that is dark,

shall fade away;

seek Jesus’ face,

for He’ll light our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, so that we may see and know You. Thank You Jesus, for living and loving in such a way, that You are the light unto the world. Thank You for giving Your life so that we may have life forever in You. Forgive us for our confusion and doubts, and help us to see clearly who You are as we invest in seeking You with our whole hearts. Let Your light shine through us as we love with the love You have given us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we grow in our understanding of You and give You all of the glory. 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

Faithful Forever

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

 

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

 

As I sit here at the table, by an enormous window on the twenty-fifth floor of a hotel in the heart of Vancouver, Canada, watching the first hint of morning’s light begin to reveal the beauty of the scene that surrounds me, I cannot help but fix my eyes and heart on just how good God is. I had no idea what to expect when I agreed to attend a teaching conference in July. His goodness and faithfulness have provided the way for me to participate, and I am blessed to be in the company of colleagues whom I call friends.

 

Look to the Lord,Faithful Forever

He always is good;

His love endures,

as nothing else could.

Faithful always,

loving forever;

there is no end,

He’ll leave us, never.

Trust in His word,

it’s faithful and true;

a guide for life,

shows us what to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your love lasts forever. Thank You that Your faithfulness remains. Thank You that You are faithful, not because we deserve it, but because You love us, as Your created. Forgive us for not recognizing Your goodness and love poured out upon us, or for not trusting Your faithfulness. Help us to trust You completely, as You are faithful forever. May many come to know You, as we live and love as You call us to do. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Be exalted, Lord God, as we give thanks for all of the blessings You bestow upon us. 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