Do Not Conform

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

We are called to be exactly who God created us to become; not some ideal that society sets before us. Rather than looking to the world to determine what is popular and widely accepted, God calls us to look to Him and allow Him to grow us in the gifts He birthed within us, as He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own. The more we seek the Lord and allow Him to shape who we are becoming, the better we are able to discern what is good and pleasing to Him. At the end of the day, knowing and doing God’s will is walking out God’s very best for us. He knows the plans, even when we do not, so moving in the direction He is calling will lead us to where we need to go. May we turn a deaf ear to the lies that tempt us to fit a mold not intended for us, and depend on the Lord to continue transforming us into the people that He has created us to become.

 

God has made mom a fighter, and with the loving support and encouragement of my sister and her family, mom has begun ditching her wheelchair during the day, to rely solely on her walker! This process began on Friday, and already they are seeing terrific improvement. Mark and I will go visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to witness the progress, and to see mom after far too long. We also will have the joy of delivering some of her winter clothing, as we all had a great conversation while Mark and I were gathering Mom’s requested items from her closet yesterday, prior to heading home. It has been equally long since I have seen my sister, so it will be a wonderful reunion for us all.

 

Do not choose settle, Do Not Conform

For what others want;

Instead, seek the Lord,

Our best confidant.

We’re not meant to be,

What the world expects;

But rather we ought,

Do what God directs.

For in Him we are,

Transformed and renewed;

Grown in our purpose,

With hearts He makes new.

So, do not conform,

Rather, seek the One;

Who loves us to life,

In love, get things done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in You, rather than giving in to that which the world says we ought to do or be. Thank You that as we seek You and know You more, You help us to more clearly recognize Your will and walk it out. Forgive us for the times we seek the world’s approval rather than Yours. Teach us to worry less about pleasing others and more about honoring You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be transformed and renewed in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

 

Faithful Love Never Ends

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 107:1, NLT) 

Say thank you to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. – (Psalm 107:1, TLB) 

Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why – He’s better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, He’s always loving and kind, and His faithful love never ends. – (Psalm 107:1, TPT) 

 

This is a month where society floods us with messages of “love”. For some of us, it is a seemingly sweet sentiment, as we are in a good space, and know and appreciate that we are loved well. However, there are others who are in spaces of mourning, either for the love they have lost, or the love than is yet to be. The challenge in either space is to keep a proper perspective toward the love that matters most. God’s love has always been and will always be, and is not dependent on our feelings nor performance. No matter what sort of relationships we are in, our relationship with God ought to come first. When we love God and know His love well, we are equipped to give and receive love in a way that is lasting. May we rise up and give thanks to the Lord for His good, faithful and lasting love and receive what He gives, so that we can go and give in the same way. 

 

All thanks be to God, Love Made Known

For goodness and love; 

He’s always faithful, 

To help from above. 

He gives us kindness, 

For all of our days; 

Love overflowing, 

He’s present always. 

No matter status, 

Together, alone; 

When we go with God, 

Our heart’s always home. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that when we are single, You fill the places in our hearts that lack. Thank You that when You bring love to us, You show us Your heart for us in new ways through the other person. Thank You that in all things, You are loving and kind. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see things go our way, rather than trusting You and Your perfect timing. Teach us to trust You in the waiting. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may gain glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all our days for Your faithful love that never ends. Amen. 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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

He Has Shown Us

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you; But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – (Micah 6:8, NKJV)

 

If we live as the Lord has commanded, and love God and love people well, we will naturally act justly, love mercy, and desire with everything in us, to walk humbly with our God. Jesus came and ultimately showed us what good really is meant to be. He is our example of justice, mercy and humility, always motivated by love. Jesus loved those whom society deemed unlovable, extended mercy to the least deserving, and was just in all of His ways. May we look to the Lord to lead us and guide us to love as He calls us to love. Let justice, mercy and humility be evident in how we love, as He shows us what is good.

 

For He has shown us,Compassion in Confrontations

What He has deemed good;

That which God requires,

Commands understood.

If we walk in love,

And our hearts agree;

We’ll be just, humble,

And choose give mercy.

So let us choose walk,

As we’re called to be;

Act justly and love,

In humility.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what is good and what You require of us through the example of Your Son. Thank You that You don’t just require us to be just, merciful and humble on our own, but You equip and empower us by Your Spirit within us. Forgive us for not loving people as You call us to love. Forgive us for not being just, merciful or humble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk according to Your will in every circumstance. Show us how to love people as You love, so that we would extend mercy and walk in humility, as we are fair and kind in all of our interactions with others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Love As We Are Loved

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, these were among His parting words to them. In the same way that Jesus called the disciples to love one another, He calls us to do likewise. It is an odd time in society, as many people are impacted by the loss of great icons in the entertainment industry. With each new announcement of another passing, people are forced to face their own mortality. In the midst of such a space of uncertainty, love needs to enter in. Perfect love casts out fear. When we love one another well, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on hope, rather than fear, and can move forward in the direction to which we are called. May we each rise up and answer in obedience the command that Jesus has given us to love one another as He has loved us.

 

In uncertainty,not-defined-by-a-day

We need not choose fear;

For we’re called to love,

Show truth, remain near.

Jesus commanded,

That we make the choice;

To love as He loved,

With heart, soul and voice.

Help us to love, Lord,

As You have loved us;

So all may come know,

The hope in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave us a new command to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You do not just tell us to love, but You model it to us again and again and again. Thank You that we have countless examples of how You love, so that we know how to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for not loving others well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love, regardless of what we are given in return. Show us how to love as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to help us love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Corinthians 16:31

Love Breaks Down Barriers

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)

 

I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for us how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.

 

The Lord, He calls us,Hearts of Thanks

To tear down the walls;

That keep us away,

from hurt who fall.

We’re meant to draw near,

To reach out our hands;

To help and to love,

The way God has planned.

May we be aware,

Help our eyes to see;

Where we’re called to go,

And how to meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to love as You love us. Thank You that though we were broken and sinful and needy, You came near and loved us back to life. Forgive us for not extending the same kindness to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that regardless of how things appear, we would offer what we have been given – kindness and grace. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach those whom society has somehow deemed unworthy, and let Your love give worth to all. 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

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

Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. 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