The Favor of Forgiveness

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – (Matthew 6:12, NLT)

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – (Matthew 6:12, ERV)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – (Matthew 6:12, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, we were up fairly early, and had plenty of time to finally finish watching “The Shack”, before we needed to get ready to go to church. What stood out to me in the final hour of the movie was the powerful impact that the decision to forgive had on the life of the main character. “The Shack” beautifully illustrated how forgiveness is often not a one-and-done decision, but rather it is an ongoing journey that we make a thousand times, choosing to forgive again and again, each time the pain enters our awareness. Though not an easy path to traverse, the healing that comes is well worth the work. As the main character, Mackenzie, made the most difficult decision of his life to choose to forgive one who had brought such incredible pain to his entire family, he was granted forgiveness of his own that set him free from a weight he had carried most of his life. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a story and each one of us needs to choose to forgive. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we may be quick to forgive and love well.

 

Let us choose forgive, The Favor of Forgiveness

For it shall be done;

With equal measure,

Through the Holy One.

We are forgiven,

As we freely choose;

To give all to God,

Let His Spirit move.

For His grace and love,

Bring healing and life;

He mends broken hearts,

Brings peace where there’s strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You forgive us as we choose forgive others. Thank You that we never have to forgive on our own, but rather You walk beside us and grant us the strength, peace and love to do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for all of the times that we have withheld forgiving others. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to forgive as You have forgiven us. Lead us to love with Your grace and goodness that breaks down barriers and brings peace to places that need to know it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Safe in New Seasons

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE)

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

 

Aging is an interesting phenomenon. Each mile mark that I reach, there are new blessings and challenges. Last November, for the first time in my life, I discovered that I needed reading glasses. As I attempted to read a recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin, I discovered that I simply could not see the small print. Since then, I went to the eye doctor and she confirmed what I already knew. Age had finally caught my eyes, and glasses would be needed from here on out. After a lifetime of not wearing them, it is a strange adjustment that I forget most of the time, until I have to sit in front of a computer or read multiple pages of text. That being said, the joys that God has brought in this time in my life, far outweigh such a small thing. His care, concern and covering has stayed constant, and I am endlessly amazed at how He blesses me with His presence and His love. Though I may fight the white hair portion of aging for a while, I will fully embrace His grace and goodness as each new chapter unfolds. May we recognize and remember that God has promised to remain present throughout our lifetime, and He will carry us when we cannot walk on our own.

 

All throughout our lives, Safe in New Seasons

God’s promised to stay;

To be by our side,

To show us the way.

We need never fear,

New seasons of life;

For God is faithful,

Through peace and through strife.

When we have no strength,

The Lord remains strong;

He will lift us up,

Lead us further on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You that You are with us through each new season that we walk through. Thank You that if we grow weary or weak, we need not fear, for You are with us and will carry us on. Forgive us for fearing what is yet to come, and teach us to trust You to continue to carry and save us throughout our lifetime. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages and helps those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to remain present forever, and go forth in the confidence that You will carry us along and keep us in Your care. 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

Sit Not in Suffering

Yet it was our suffering He carried, our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness. – (Isaiah 53:4a, VOICE)

Yet it was our weakness He carried; it was our sorrow that weighed Him down. – (Isaiah 53:4a, NLT)

 

Every pain and every sorrow is known by our Savior. He willingly and lovingly bore the weight on our behalf as He hung upon the cross. Death and darkness were defeated on that day, so though trials and tragedies will come our way, in Christ, the ultimate victory is ours. May we rise up in hope as we trust in the Lord, knowing that our eternal outcome will be in the precious peace of His presence forever.

 

The pain and sorrow,Refreshment Through Repentance

That happen to us;

Don’t escape notice,

Of our Lord Jesus.

He already bore,

The weight of our woes;

As we come to Him,

He gets it, He knows.

It was His great love,

That bore all our strife;

So we could be free,

As His love brings life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly chose to bear our suffering, sin, weakness and pain, so that You not only could identify with us, but could love us back to life again. Thank You that You forgive us and set us free from the things that weigh us down, and offer new life in You. Forgive us for sitting in our suffering rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer and our Hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that ease pain and offer comfort, allowing Your heart to be made visible through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our trials to You, and trust You to be our ever-present help and hope. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

God’s Wisdom

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. – (James 3:17, MSG)

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

 

True wisdom that is gained as we trust in God, is made evident by the fruit that it bears. When we walk in that which the Lord provides, our lives demonstrate the character of Christ. The wisdom of God leads to a holy life that is displayed through gentleness and peace, and our every interaction with others overflow with mercy and blessings, and are always sincere. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we may live holy lives, characterized by mercy and goodness to all.

 

The wisdom of God,

Asking for Amazing Answers

photo by the fabulous Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

 

Brings a holy life;

Full of gentleness,

Our calmer of strife.

He’s full of mercy,

And great blessings too;

He’s always sincere,

For His love is true.

So let us seek Him,

Both now and always;

Our source of wisdom,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real wisdom comes from You. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and transform us to become more like You. Thank You that as we are transformed, we begin to live more like You. Thank You that wisdom leads to a holy life that is gentle and peace loving, full of mercy and goodness to others. Forgive us for failing to listen to the wisdom You provide, and for being harsh or unkind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to be full of mercy, extending gentleness and peace at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your wisdom to lead us and guide us as we go forth each day. Amen.

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

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

Humility As We Invest

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

 

There is little that is as uplifting as spending time with individuals who live according to these principles. To be in the company of humble people who honor others and are truly interested and care about those around them, is a joy. No matter how time is spent together, one can’t help but walk away feeling uplifted after keeping such company. This is the very sort of person that I desire to be to those around me. I have incredible examples to look to, and Jesus is our ultimate role model. May we seek Him and trust Him to lead us in His way, so that we may walk in humility, loving and honoring others more than ourselves, and be invested in the lives of those around us.

 

In all that we do,Believe Instead of Striving

Do not allow pride;

To dictate our way,

Where selfish resides.

Instead, be humble,

Choose to honor more;

Those who surround us,

Into their lives pour.

Opt to invest well,

To care for each life;

As pride goes away,

So too does all strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to give us the ultimate example of how to be humble and think of others first. Thank You Jesus for showing us how to invest and care well about the lives of others. Forgive us for not investing in others, or for being selfish as we get caught up and too busy in our own stuff. Show us how to prioritize people, so that we will walk in humility and care well for those around us. Teach us to love others as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how great You are and that we are nothing without You, as we go forth and invest well in the lives of 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

 

Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

What we see, hear, think and take in, ultimately determine how we navigate our lives. When we take in garbage, garbage is what comes out of us. However, when we choose to invest wisely in the things that we allow in to take root, then it is those very things that are established and grown within us, and in time, become the things that flow out of us. May we seek the Lord with sincere hearts, allowing Him and His word to be what fills our hearts and minds so that good and noble things can be the outpouring of our lives.

 

Guard your heart above,Generous Giving

All things in this life;

For true protection,

Saves our days from strife.

For where this life leads,

Our hearts will too, go;

So how we invest,

Matters for our growth.

When what we have sought,

Is pure and is good;

Such things flow from us,

Through grace understood.

The course of this life,

Determined by choice;

Trust in the Lord’s good,

May our hearts rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You for help, You provide what we need to guard our hearts and protect what we take in, so that what comes out of us is pleasing to You. Forgive us for allowing garbage in, as we have not been diligent to guard our hearts as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, to watch over our hearts and keep us protected from the things that would take us down a road to ruin. Show us how to love with a sincere and pure heart, so that others can see You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek to honor You. 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

 

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

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

Withholding Wayward Words

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Our words matter. The thoughts that we choose give a voice have the capacity to cut or to heal those who are around us. Typically, because words are of such great worth in my world, I choose quite carefully. However, when pressed and pushed from every direction, I had a moment the other day, where discernment went out the window, and I went off. My words were not life-giving, but rather they were reactive and ugly, without looking at the potential for their lasting impact. Throughout the day, the Holy Spirit showed me where I went wrong, and how I might repent and bring reparation for what should not have been given “voice”. That evening, after the apology and appropriate words for the situation were extended, communication that had been strained, somehow became much more bearable. Words of repentance followed by kind words of encouragement, lifted the weight of ugliness that had been lurking between our exchanges. Since then, our conversations have been kinder and gentler, with more consideration for one another. Healing does happen when wisdom is used through our words. May we choose wisely each word we give voice today, so that what comes from our mouth and heart bring healing, rather than hurt.

 

Reckless words bring pain,Constructive Permission

they cut like a sword;

wounding tender hearts,

when angst is outpoured.

The tongue of the wise,

brings healing and life;

it builds others up,

the ender of strife.

So let us choose well,

the words we give voice;

in wisdom, speak love,

obedient choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are life-giving and that Your word brings healing and wisdom to all who seek to hear and know the truth. Thank You that when we trust in You, Your Holy Spirit will guide us in the words we speak, if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for our reckless words, and please bring healing and restoration to all whom our ill-spoken words have injured. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent before You and listen well, before we ever give voice to what may cause contention. Help us to speak the truth in love, so that others may receive what is said without being wounded, but rather by being encouraged to draw still nearer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we silence the reckless words waiting to escape, and instead, give voice to the wise words that extend Your healing and Your hope. 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

Mastered by Grace

If we live our lives focused on rules and regulations, rather than on He who formed us and set our very lives in motion, we become trapped in the trying to do enough in accordance to all that is written by man’s own hand. However, if we invest our heart, mind, soul and strength into seeking God and receiving the grace that He freely offers, we cannot help but pursue doing good. It is in that space of God’s grace, that we find freedom to become who He has called us to be, and we are set free from the chains that once held us captive to sin.

 

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. – (Romans 6:14)

 

Christ came as the perfect sacrifice so that we would no longer have to make sacrifices for our every sin. Instead, He was the ultimate offering for all that we have ever done, and shall ever do. Because of His amazing grace, we no longer are mastered by sin, but rather may allow our Maker to be our Master, as His reign is done in grace, and His goodness and love lead hearts to repent and return to Him. May we let go of the law that binds us to sin, and embrace His grace as we invite the Lord to be the Master of our lives.

 

Allow not your sin,Answers As We Ask

to master your life;

for living that way,

will just lead to strife.

In Christ we are not,

stuck under the law;

but rather by grace,

to live life we’re called.

Because it’s a gift,

that Christ freely gave;

we’re drawn to repent,

so we can be saved.

Receive what He gives,

as we are set free;

so others may know,

Whom they see in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we no longer need to be slaves to sin because You sent Your Son to pay the penalty for ALL. Thank You that when we give our hearts and lives to You, we are ruled by Your goodness and grace, and are compelled to do good, rather than required to do enough or be enough to earn Your favor. Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen to Your leading and walk obediently wherever You are asking. Lead us to love without limits, and help many to come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve You as You ask us to, as we receive the gift of Your grace that You freely give. Amen.

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

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

Compare Not

We are each created and called with a unique purpose.  Not two of us are exactly alike.  Even my twin boys, who have similar interests and look very much the same, are uniquely designed with individual God-given gifts, talents and purposes – just for them; individually.  It is easy at times to look around and catch ourselves making comparisons.  However, that road can lead to either envy or pride, both of which are detrimental to our calling.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. – (Galatians 6:4, NIV)  

                                                                                                                                                            I really appreciate the way in which The Message phrases the same passage, as for me, it makes it all the more clear: Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others. – (Galatians 6:4, The Message)
 
                                                                                                                                                             If we are fully invested in Christ and His word, we will gain a greater understanding of who He is, and who He is calling us to be in the process.  Each step of obedience that we take, more of His plan and purpose for us becomes clear.  May we appreciate the work that Christ is doing in others, yet sink ourselves in that which He is calling us into, for it is when we are walking out our own purpose, that we can truly have an impact for His glory.
                                                                                                                                                             Seek to discover,
His plan for your life;Planned With Purpose
then do not compare,
to avoid much strife.
For God has given,
each a unique plan;
to walk in His will,
to rise up and stand.
Comparisons lead,
to envy or pride;
neither with purpose,
for God’s truth to rise.
So let us sink in,
fix our heart and mind;
on God’s plan for us,
as we love mankind.
 
 Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a unique plan and purpose.  Thank You that You have placed in us, specific gifts and talents that were meant to equip us to do that which You have called us to do.  Thank You that You do not compare us to one another, but rather You look at each of us, individually.  Forgive us for comparing ourselves to each other, and help us to trust You and Your plans for our lives more.  Lead us to go forth in confidence into all that You are calling us to do, and help us to love well, all whom we encounter as we go.  May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord.  Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all that we do.  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