Be Transformed

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) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 

Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, CEB)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

 

Strength is a peculiar thing. We can work hard to build it up, yet there are variables beyond our control that can take it away in an instant or over time. The strength that is sustained within us, is strength of heart that comes from the Lord. His strength is that which grants us the resolve to keep rising, even when what lies before us is heavy, and often far more than we can bear. Though physical strength is both a blessing and a gift from God, it is the strength within us, that He deposits by His Spirit, that will carry us through all of the days of our lives. May we ever seek to be strengthened by the Lord in His mighty power, so that we are equipped to do all that to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

And His great power;

We can trust in Him,

Our safe Strong Tower.

He strengthens our hearts,

Emboldens our minds;

Grants us the resolve,

Move as we’re designed.

No matter what comes,

He’s faithful to be;

Present with His strength,

To help in our need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong in You and Your mighty power, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though physical strength is a blessing and a gift, it is strength of heart that comes from You that will carry us through the trials that life provides. Forgive us for not seeking You to supply the strength we need and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and minds, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your strength and power that You provide within us as we turn in trust to You. 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

Complete in Love

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:19, ERV)

 

Just as this was Paul’s exhortation and prayer for the church of Ephesus, I pray the same for each of us today. God amazes me with the community that He has placed me in, as I gain glimpses of His love through how I am loved by those around me. Additionally, I find hints of insight into the depth of His love through the love I feel for my children, my family and my beloved circle by whom I am surrounded. The more we know His love, the more we are able to give it away. We do not have to have it all together to be loved by God, He loves us just as we are. When we are willing to receive what He gives, life and power and strength grows within us so that we can go and do likewise. May we ever be open to receive the love that God lavishes upon us, and freely give as we have been given.

 

May we truly know,Complete in Love

The great love of Christ;

In it we are made,

Through His sacrifice.

There’s fullness to know,

Of life and power;

That comes from the Lord,

Our great, strong tower.

No matter what comes,

To Him we can run;

By love we’re made whole,

Praise You, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though Your love is too great to fully understand, we are made complete in the fullness and life and power that comes from You as we trust and depend on You. Thank You that You make Your love known to us in tangible ways through the people that You place in our lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the incredible gifts of Your goodness and grace in the hands and hearts of those around us. Teach us to receive the love that You give so lavishly, so that we would in turn, love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with all that You have for us and we go forth wherever You lead. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

The Endurance and Patience We Need

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, NLT)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

 

Not only was Paul a conveyor of truth, but he was great at encouraging believers to persevere, no matter what they were facing. He spoke not out of hypothetical scenarios, but rather much of his writing was done in prison or while under house arrest. He knew what it meant to be strengthened by the Lord, and had experienced again and again, the endurance and patience that God gives. Despite his circumstances, Paul was full of joy. The glorious power that the presence of God provides, was Paul’s constant companion, and the reason that he could exhort his fellow believers as he did. We too, have the very same Spirit dwelling within us, when we place our trust in Christ. All of His power provides the endurance and patience that we need to navigate whatever comes our way. His joy fills us as we recognize the reality of who He is and how He loves. May we go forth as encouragers who convey the truth, always persevering, no matter what comes. May His joy fill us to overflowing.

 

May we be strengthened,Growing Awareness

With the Lord’s power;

In our time of need,

Seek our Strong Tower.

He shall provide us,

All strength to endure;

Patience and His joy,

In Him, we’re secure.

All that we might need,

The Lord shall supply;

He’s present to hear,

Every heart cry.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and pray to You, You hear us and answer our heart’s cry. Thank You that You strengthen us with Your glorious power, and give us endurance and patience that we so desperately need. Thank You that You fill us with Your joy. Forgive us for our lack of patience and perseverance when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean into You, relying on Your strength rather than our own. Show us how to love others in a way that strengthens and encourages every heart that is feeling defeated, so that they would look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength, and rely on You to provide patience and endurance as You fill us with Your joy. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Declare His Safety

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

 

No matter what comes, God is with me and I can trust Him. He is safety in the storm and a strong tower when all around me seems to be shaking. God is light and life and hope, and strength and courage come when I lean into Him. May we hold fast to the truth, and declare the safety and security that can be found in Christ alone, when we choose to trust in Him.

 

Let us choose declare,

the truth of the Lord;Gods protection

our hope and refuge,

granted, not implored.

Our place of safety,

throughout all life’s storms;

He’ll hold and keep us,

while further faith forms.

He is our great God,

in whom we can trust;

forever choose rise,

leave fear in the dust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our God and that we can place all of our trust in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of faith when the storms of life come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You as our refuge, and find shelter in the shadow of Your wings. Help us to hold fast to the truth of who You are and how You are forever faithful to those who follow You. Show us how to love others in a way that provides Your safety and kindness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we declare the truth of who You are, and how we can trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

 

To Give Thanks

This morning as I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I quickly scrolled through my Facebook feed for fun. What quickly caught my attention, was the reintroduction of the Days of Thankfulness posts for November, as an early rising friend had posted her first proclamation of gratitude. Not only is this a great source of encouragement for others, but it is biblical to choose to give thanks. In fact, to recall a verse to site for this particular post, when I searched “give thanks to the Lord”, twenty-three verses came up. Anytime there is repetition in scripture, it reminds me that it is something that we are really meant to grasp.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Because God is good and His love endures forever, we have reason to give thanks. It matters not what else is going on in or around us, the very fact that our hope is secure and our Lord is near, is enough. There are and will be days that He is all that we have to hold. Remarkably, as our hearts begin to pour out thanks and praise unto Him, something happens within our spirit, and we soften before Him, allowing all the weariness to be washed away. His hope rises within us, and we more readily recognize all of the blessings that He has poured out upon us, even in the midst of pain. God is so very good, and His love for us never ends. May we rise each day and give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and is yet to do.

Oh Lord, let my heart,Presenting Our Praise

hold an attitude;

that is overwhelmed,

with all gratitude.

For You are so good,

and Your love remains;

no matter our sin,

hurt, scars, or our pains.

May all of our thanks,

and praise unto You;

rise up within us,

refresh and renew.

God, You are our hope,

our safe, strong tower;

the love of our life,

our strength and power.

No matter what comes,

may our hearts give praise;

all thanks unto You,

for now and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that all thanks and praise belong to You. Thank You for the recognition and acknowledgement that is displayed this time of year for who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for not always having a thankful heart, particularly in the midst of pain. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that the trials and struggles we experience now are only temporary, whereas You and Your love are FOREVER! That alone is reason for us to be thankful. Lead us to love others in a way that displays our appreciation for who You have created them to be, so that they too, may see You in our expressions of gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You, for You are good and we are so grateful that Your love never ends. 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

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. 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

*A song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.

Braving the Battles Before Us

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. – (2 Corinthians 10:3)

 

When we live in the world, it is a struggle to remember that we do not need to wage war by the world’s rules of engagement. As followers of Christ, we are held to a higher standard, and He calls us to something more. In Him, we have to hope and trust, and walk out our faith, rather than respond with a knee-jerk reaction in every challenging situation. As we learn to depend on Him, and listen for His voice, even when it feels as if an all-out assault is being unleashed, we can walk confidently in Christ, as He is our anchor in the storm and our Strong Tower to whom we can safely run. Ultimately, no matter what transpires in the moment, we know who wins in the end. Our hope goes beyond today, as our trust remains assured for our eternity. May we rise up in faith and fight the good fight according to God’s good and perfect will. Let not the world’s way of waging war win us over, but rather help it compel us to cling to Christ all the more.

 

Though we’re in the world,Dispelling Discouragement

may we not engage;

in the ugliness,

from acted out rage.

Rather, let us seek,

to hope and to trust;

to listen to Christ,

and do as we must.

The fight is not ours,

when we are the Lord’s;

He’s our Defender,

all grace He affords.

Let not emotions,

rule how we react;

instead seek Jesus,

defense from attack.

Always remember,

no matter what comes;

this is just right now,

our hope’s in the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we live in the world, we do not need to wage war as the world does. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your thoughts, higher than our thoughts. Thank You that as we seek You, You reveal Your very best for us, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for reacting in the heat of the moment, rather than seeking You and Your very best for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up in faith and face adversity in Your strength, rather than our own. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and allow You to lead us through the battles before us. 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

Let the Righteous Rejoice

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him! – (Psalm 64:10)

 

In Christ, because of His perfect sacrifice for us on the cross, we are considered righteous, or upright before Him. As we are among the Lord’s righteous, we are able to take refuge in Him, as He is our safety and strong tower. For these things alone, we ought to give Him our praise.

 

To rejoice in the Lord is a choice, despite our circumstances. It is an intentional recognition of the joy that is ours, as we are certain of our present hope of the future glory that is held in the hearts of all who believe.

 

Taking refuge in Him, is running to our Redeemer when anguish, uncertainty, panic or ruin are present before us, and we simply trust in Him. He holds us in the palm of His hands, and is more than able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we go forth this day recognizing that if we are in Christ, we are considered cleansed and upright before Him, therefore, let us give Him all of our thanks and praise!

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord,fortress  image from wikipedia

take refuge in Him;

He’ll not let us fall,

on His side, we win.

To Him we’re upright,

covered and called clean;

no more scarred sinners,

we have been redeemed.

No matter what comes,

for all of our days;

let us give Him thanks,

and all of our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us righteous and upright when we give our lives to You. Thank You that we may run and take refuge in You, always. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise, as You alone deserve all that we have to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may invest all that we are into all that You have for us to become. Lead us to love others as You so intentionally and lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we rejoice and take refuge in You, giving You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

 

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25