The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Joy in Answers Spoken

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! – (Proverbs 15:23, NKJV)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word spoken at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

 

I imagine we all have been both the bearer and the recipient of a well-timed word that brought joy. It is a treasure to have the privilege of being the one whom God utilizes at just the right time, to deliver that which someone most needs to hear. So often, the words that are received in this way, are simply those that flow freely from us, as we interact with others in love. As we walk in step with our Savior, and have our heart open to His, we are more apt to love as He loves, and speak as He speaks to us. May we invest our hearts in hearing His, so that we might be bearers of joy through the words that we speak to others.

 

As we follow God,The Power of the Tongue

He’ll use words spoken;

To bring others joy,

Hope to the broken.

For at the right time,

The words that we speak;

Offered in His love,

Shine light others seek.

So let there be joy,

Through our spoken word;

As we offer love,

May His heart be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the times that You have utilized the words that we speak to bring joy to another, and for the times that others have brought us joy through their spoken words. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your words and Your timing, if we choose listen to You. Forgive us for not seeking or listening as we should. Teach us to trust and rely on You for words to speak in every season, as You alone, have the words that others need to hear. Grant us Your words to speak that offer joy to those around us, so that we may build up, encourage and point people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the words to speak, so that we may answer in due season, and bring peace and joy to those around us. 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

 

 

From the Heart Our Words Flow

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from a treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – (Luke 6:45, NLT)

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. – (Luke 6:45, ERV)

 

Most of the time, the filter that I was taught from a very early age, is quite effective – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, every so often, in a moment of frustration, I catch myself speaking words that do not edify anyone. It is in those moments that I am reminded anew, just how desperately I need Him to rule and reign in every part of my life. If I do not allow His grace to touch the places where my heart has been grieved, the desire to dispel defensive and unsavory dialogue runs great. Even if the words are never uttered, they lay hidden in my heart. Good can only reign if I allow God to run the ruin out. I must choose to give Him access to all, so that He can remove the sting and stain of that which renders me defensive, and allow Him to soften my heart so that I might see through His lens. May the words that leave our mouths be a reflection of our good and loving God, who fills our hearts and minds with every good and perfect gift.

 

May that which we hold,Internal Investments Exceed External

our treasury be;

the good things of God,

shown through words we speak.

The things in our hearts,

both evil and good;

are evidenced by,

our words understood.

For good comes from good,

and evil the same;

let our words be sweet,

so good is proclaimed.

Lord, come cleanse our hearts,

so all may be good;

let our treasure be,

Your hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a good heart is not something that we can somehow work hard enough to earn, but rather when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives, You come and transform the content of our character and chase away that which was once in darkness. Thank You that only good comes from You. Thank You that when we set our sights on the things of You, those are the very things that flow out of us. Forgive us for entertaining ugly thoughts long enough to give them words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when the struggle comes, and allow You to shine Your light in those dark spaces, so that darkness will disappear. Show us how to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as people desire the good they see in You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that is good from You, and allow that to be what flows from our mouths. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Be the Hope

The twentieth-century American educator and author Loren Eiseley wrote a short piece titled “The Starfish Story” or “The Starfish Thrower,” which has been told and retold in many versions through the years. In this classic tale, we learn a simple lesson about the difference one person can make. Here’s the gist of the story:

A man walking along an otherwise deserted beach came upon another man throwing into the sea a starfish that had been deposited on the sand by the tide. When the man asked the star thrower his purpose, the thrower explained that the starfish left untended, would be dried by the sun and eventually die. But how, wondered the first man, given that there were thousands of starfish scattered for miles along the the beach. The thrower bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean with all his might. He smiled as he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” – (excerpt from Undaunted, Christine Caine)

 

When we look at the world around us, it is easy to see that there are a multitude of starfish lying on the sand, desperate for someone to come along and extend a hand. At first glance, it may seem too overwhelming to even know where to begin, when there is so much need that surrounds us. We can either choose to turn and walk away, or we can walk toward the need, and pick up one starfish at a time. It may not seem like much in the moment, yet to that one starfish, it is a chance to live.

 

Paul was an ongoing example of a starfish thrower, as he extended hope to all whom he encountered. His circumstances mattered not, for he chose to speak truth and shine the light of Christ wherever his journey took him. When Paul was summoned to appear before King Agrippa, he worried not about his own safety, but rather about sharing the truth that would bring freedom and salvation to all who might hear. Clearly Paul had captured Agrippa’s attention.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – (Acts 26:28-29)

May we rise up and be the change that sees not the multitude and becomes overwhelmed, but rather that we look to each need, individually, and do what we can to offer hope where hope is not.

 

Scattered on the sand,Be the Hope

a vast sea of need;

what am I to do,

to rescue, to feed?

We’re not called to meet,

every need seen;

but to offer hope,

step in, intervene.

Often so simple,

a word or a touch;

an acknowledgement,

can matter so much.

Oh Lord I’m ready,

to offer Your hope;

may Your love and light,

be the safety rope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of “Starfish Throwers” throughout both Your word and history. Thank You that though the need in our world is great, one life touched at a time, can make all the difference. Thank You that You can use us, individually, to offer hope to a hurting world. Forgive us for seeing the need and turning a blind eye because we are overwhelmed or think that we cannot make a difference. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and take each next step of obedience that touches lives as You ask of us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth to be the hope, one life at a time. 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

He is the King

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. – (John 18:37)

 

Though Pilate recognized the truth about Jesus, he chose to reject the truth that stood before him for the sake of pleasing the masses. Many find themselves at a similar crossroad at Christmas. They hear the truth of who Christ is, and must decide to either receive and embrace the truth, or to reject the Redeemer before them, for the sake of upholding sin and selfishness. As believers, we must model a life lived for Christ. If His love does not clearly flow through us, what possible appeal will the truth hold for those who know Him not? May we be vessels of His light and love unto the world, and may many come to embrace the truth of who Christ is this Christmas.

 

Though many have heard,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

they have not embraced;

the mercy of Christ,

as sin He erased.

Jesus is much more,

than infant domain;

He’s the Mighty King,

from His throne, He reigns.

May each seeking heart,

hear the truth, made plain;

and receive the Lord,

to come rule and reign.

Let each heart who knows,

go forth and love well;

shining light and life,

may our lives truth tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that regardless of a person’s decision to accept or reject the truth, the truth remains. Thank You that You are the King. Thank You that You came into the world to testify the truth so that all might come to know You. Forgive us for not embracing the truth we know, or for neglecting to stand firm in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we completely rely on You. May we trust the truth, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may be directed to embrace the truth that is found in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we live and love in such a way, that the truth we embrace is evident. 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

Praise the Lord

Answers As We AskWhen heaven’s hope,

feels far from home;

through desert lope,

our hearts shall roam –

praise the Lord.

When darkness falls,

and hope seems lost;

when anguish calls,

and waves have tossed –

praise the Lord.

When out of steam,

all strength is gone;

as body screams,

can’t carry on –

praise the Lord.

When all is well,

and faith is found;

as silence fell,

heard heaven’s sound –

praise the Lord.

For life and breath,

and hope secure;

for earthly death,

as Christ is near –

praise the Lord.

Let word and song,

grant praise to Him;

right cover wrong,

shine light within –

praise the Lord.

(Responding to Psalm 150)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all praise. Thank You that though our circumstances continually change, Your love and faithfulness do not. Forgive us for our fear and wavering faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You more. Help our hearts to praise You at all times and through all things. Let our lives lived in Your light lift eyes of the lowly, so that all in need of You, might come to truly see. For who You are, and all that You do – praise Your Name, O God. Amen.

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

Review the Basics

Review the BasicsLet us remember,

the basics of truth;

the foundation of

all we are to do.

Just as good athletes,

review basic skills;

so also in faith,

to go deeper still.

Do not grow weary,

or bored of what’s true;

for all is built on,

what God has shown you.

As long as we have,

our days, may they count;

let His light burn bright,

so lost become found.

Each time we reread,

the truth of His word;

He shines brand new light,

on all that is heard.

The deeper truth’s known,

the stronger we stand;

discerning what’s true,

live life as He’s planned.

(Responding to 2 Peter 1:12-15)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are unchanging and faithful to what You have promised. Thank You that as we choose to spend time with You – in Your word, in worship, in prayer – You continue to reveal more of Yourself unto us. Forgive us for allowing the weights of the world to make us weary, and help us to hand all our burdens to You, so that we may stand strong in Your truth. May our lives lived in constant pursuit of You, lead those who are looking, to the light of Your truth. Thank You that there is always more to learn, and that You love to further illuminate our understanding of who You are and how deeply You love each of us. All praise to You, our Purpose and Provision. Amen.

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