He Chose Us

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. – (Ephesians 1:4, NLT)

God chose us to be in relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. – (Ephesians 1:4, VOICE)

 

When I read this verse, I am a bit overwhelmed. I am very aware of my faults and sinful nature, and know that what He gives, is the last thing that I deserve. However, God does not base His love for us on what is deserved; there are no conditions. He loves because we are His created, and when we choose to place our trust in Him, He forgives all our sin and views us through a fault-free filter. As His Spirit comes and covers us, making us holy before Him, we are able to live according to His plan, and go forth and love as we are loved. No, we will not be without fault or flaw, but we will be forgiven and loved as we forge forward in our pursuit of His plan. May we invest well in our relationship with the Lord, and allow His love to cover and transform us, so that we may recognize the remarkable in relationship with Him, and live out a life of love.

 

We each are chosen,Delivering Dreams

Called and loved by God;

Fault free and holy,

As our path we trod.

Before time began,

God had thought of us;

He knew that we’d fail,

So He sent Jesus.

Oh what love is this –

To be chosen, known?

God’s love sets us free,

As we’re called His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us and chose us to be holy and without fault before we even came into being. Thank You that Your love, mercy and grace are far greater than we can even begin to grasp. Thank You that we are forgiven and free in You; able to stand blameless before You, despite the things we have done before. Forgive us for not receiving what You offer, or for not seeking that which You freely and lovingly give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest well in our walk with You, and reflect Your character in our actions. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know the depth and breadth of Your mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose You, just as You have chosen us. 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

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

Mastered by God’s Grace

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus… For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. – (Romans 6:11 & 14, NIV)

 

When we commit our lives to Christ, there is a laying down of our old self, our sinful nature, and we are made new by the grace granted to us through what Jesus did for us once and for all at the cross. No longer are we bound by our sin and shame, but rather we become free to follow, unhindered, all that the Lord has for us. Though temptation does not disappear, we are equipped and empowered to overcome anything that is placed before us, by His Spirit, if we choose to depend on Him. May we rise up and recognize all that we have received, and live alive to God in Jesus Christ, by the glorious grace that we have been freely given.

 

When rooted in Christ,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

we all get to count;

ourselves dead to sin,

for Christ worked it out.

He opened the way,

for us to be free;

no more bound by law,

with grace guaranteed.

Though grace is a gift,

it compels us on;

to walk in the truth,

’til our days are gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, we die to the sinful part of ourselves and come alive in You. Thank You that we are no longer ruled by sin, but rather we are given Your grace so that we may willingly submit to Your authority in our lives, trusting You to lead us where You have for us to go. Forgive us for allowing anything to have a voice that is above Yours, and help us to quiet our hearts and minds to listen so that we can clearly hear Your direction. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times, as Your grace is more than enough. Show us how to love others with the same amazing grace that we are given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we count ourselves dead to our old sinful ways, and alive in You. 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

Free in the Truth

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – (John 8:34-36)

 

We are all sinners who need a Savior. Each one of us was once stuck as a slave to our sinful nature. If we choose to trust in Christ, He is our freedom from a life enslaved to sin. More than that, He adopts us as sons and daughters into the Lord’s family, granting us an eternal inheritance with Him. Christ’s presence is available now, and will remain with us forever. God’s perfect truth frees us to become all that He has created us to be. May we embrace the grace the God freely gives, and receive our redemptive place as sons and daughters of the Holy King, whose reign will never end.

 

Do not allow sins,butterflies

that once reigned the past;

to have a foothold,

nor dark shadows cast.

For in Christ the Lord,

the chains are no more;

we’ve been adopted,

empowered to soar.

Considered the kids,

of God our Great King;

forgiven and free,

let’s bring offering.

Offer our whole heart,

our strength and our will;

to be who we’re called,

and His purpose fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and give our lives to You, You forgive us and adopt us into Your family. Thank You that You call us sons and daughters forever. Thank You that as members of Your family, we are set free from the chains to sin that once had us bound. Forgive us for trying to return to our old chains, or for revisiting again and again, that which You have forgiven and forgotten. Teach us to trust and rely on You to do that which You are calling us to do. Keep our hearts aligned with Yours, and help us to love all whom we encounter in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your sons and daughters, displaying the freedom that we have found in Your truth. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Good Gifts

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? – (Luke 11:13)

 

Despite our flawed and sinful nature, I imagine all of us give the best gifts we can offer to others. If we, in our ugliness can give good gifts, how much more is the Lord willing to give that which He has promised? Christ came and bore our sin and shame upon the cross. He took our place, so that we could live a life restored in Him. The gift of His Holy Spirit is what He promised to send once He returned to His rightful place in heaven. To receive the Holy Spirit, we must invite Him in. May we be ready to receive all that He offers, as we ask Him to be present and hold fast to His promises.

 

If we give good gifts,Good Gifts

despite sinful self;

how much more will God,

bless us from His wealth?

He sent His own Son,

so that we might live;

and when He returned,

His Spirit to give.

All that He offers,

His love and His grace;

ours for the taking,

when we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give good gifts to us, Your children. Thank You that when we come to You and invite Your presence into our lives, You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not embracing the good gifts that You give to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we too, will extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the good gifts You give all around us. Be glorified O God, as we seek to give and receive the gifts You grant. 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

Out With the Old Self

The rhododendron on the side of our house is an interesting illustration of death and new life. It seems that perhaps it is two plants growing Out With the Old Self 1so closely together, that their branches are intertwined. Last week, there were fuchsia-colored blooms. Now, those formerly lovely bursts of color, hang lifeless and void of color. However, this week there are new blooms in a pretty pink, beginning to open.

 

Our old life may have seemed appealing, until we discovered just how lifeless and void of color it really was without Christ. Being stuck in the bonds of sin, we had no hope to escape our patterns, without Christ coming in. Yet, while we were still stuck in that space, He pursued us, and brought people around us to present the truth. As we opened our hearts and lives to all that He had to offer, we were set free from our sin and given new life. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. – (Romans 6:6)

 

He took all of our sin upon Himself as He hung on the cross, so that we would be set free from our sinful nature and given a helper (the Holy Spirit) to lead us into a new life, free from the bondage of sin. Though we will still make mistakes, and fall short, we may go to God and ask for His forgiveness, as He grants us grace anew. Knowing what He has done, propels us to seek to live a life that honors Him who has set us free. May we be slaves to righteousness, as we are united with Him.

 

Gone are the old ways,Out With the Old Self 2

they’ve been crucified;

the sin, scorn and shame,

with Jesus, they died.

And just as He rose,

His life was restored;

in Him we shall find,

His grace is outpoured.

If we choose to seek,

we surely shall find;

freedom from our sin,

the hope for mankind.

Let’s give Him our chains,

for in Him, we’re free;

all honor to Christ,

the King of Glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bore all of our sin and shame, so that we would no longer be slaves to our sinful nature, but that we could instead, live unto You. Thank You that this is not something that we are meant to do on our own, but rather You gave us Your Holy Spirit to be our help. Thank You too, that You call us to be a body, supporting one another in community, so that each can be challenged, encouraged and held up as we pursue You with our whole hearts. Forgive us for taking lightly the enormity of Your sacrifice, and help us to recognize in awe, the magnitude of Your grace. Let us live and love in such a way, that our gratitude is evident to all whom we encounter. May many come to know Your amazing grace, and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

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