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

 

Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

The Will of the Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching the right way to live. Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ERV)

Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CEB)

 

Instruction manuals make navigation through uncharted territory manageable. Whether it is a map to aid in finding a destination, directions as to how to construct something new, or simply a set of expectations and guidelines in a place of employment, each serves a purpose to provide necessary information to navigate successfully. The Bible has the same purpose for our everyday lives. There are so many things that we stumble upon that may at first appear uncertain, yet when we seek the Lord and read His word, we soon discover that there is a direction that we are meant to go with all things. Despite having been written so many generations ago, the lessons we can glean from Scriptures are timeless. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, and invest time in His word so that we will know how we are meant to live well.

 

May we turn in trust, The Word of God

To God and His word;

To know what is right,

To test what is heard.

For Holy Scriptures,

Are useful indeed;

To teach and to train,

To His will, we heed.

Let us keep seeking,

What God has to say;

So we may do well,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Thank You that we can turn to You and read Your Word to know how to live according to Your will. Thank You that all Scripture is given by You to help us live well. Forgive us for neglecting to invest time in Your word, or for ignoring the truth that we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear all that You say and walk in Your way, as we are equipped to do good work. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your Word, and allow You to train us and equip us to do good things according to Your perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Adorn Our Hearts

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

We are constantly bombarded with images and messages about what is beautiful. If we wear this clothing, or have that hair, or fit a certain body type – then, then we will be considered beautiful. That “beauty” is both fleeting and subjective. Fashion and trends come and go, and external beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, the beauty that lasts and matters most to God, is the sort that is developed and upheld in our hearts. When we seek after Him, and are in step with our Savior, a gracious, and settled spirit emerges from us wherever we go. People are drawn to this sort of beauty that lasts. Our hearts, in which the Lord delights, are what attract others to draw near. Interestingly enough, the most beautiful people I know have hearts after God, and what is on the inside overflows to that which is seen. May we invest in adorning ourselves with the lasting beauty of His goodness and grace, as we go forth in the gentleness and quietness of a spirit that is set secure on our Savior.

 

Let us choose be clothed,Bloom Where We're Planted

In traits of the Lord;

For internal light,

Is beauty adored.

The things of this world,

Are fleeting at best;

For external fades,

When time puts to test.

A gentle spirit,

Quiet and at peace;

Is precious to God,

And shall never cease.

This is true beauty,

That draws others near;

A heart after God,

Walking without fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not so interested in how we adorn the external, but rather how we invest our hearts in You. Thank You that as we seek You and trust You, You create a beauty from within. You place in us a gracious and quiet spirit, that is secure in whom You have created us to be. Forgive us for our insecurities that cause our focus to shift to the external rather than within. Teach us to prioritize our focus on the beauty of our hearts according to Your standards, rather than the external according to the world. Show us how to love those around us with gracious and gentle spirits, so that we would be quick to recognize the beauty in those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to adorn ourselves with beautiful hearts. 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

 

Stop Running

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As someone who tends to stick to the merry-go-round emotionally, the highs and lows, twists and turns, have left me exhausted. The reason I never really get off the merry-go-round is because when something is weighty emotionally, I have always been able to pound it out on the pavement or press it out while lifting heavy.

For the last five weeks, I have had no such outlet. Having sustained a compression fracture in my low back, I was quite limited in the activities I was allowed to do. Walking daily and lifting light weights with my arms only, was not doing the job that my previous go-to activities had done. The unresolved emotional weight I was carrying had completely worn me down, and I began to anxiously anticipate my check back appointment with the specialist. I had placed so much hope in being healed enough for him to release me to run, that I could not even consider an alternative.

My appointment on Thursday was not all that I had hoped it would be. Better than it could have been, but not the “skies have parted” sort of report that I was hoping to receive. I was granted permission to run short distances, if I promised to listen to my body, and stop if my back began to hurt at all. Short distances are better than what I had been able to run for the five weeks prior, so I took the news straight-faced and was on my way. He did imply that running in my upcoming race in June was really not going to happen, but I just smiled and let him know I was more concerned about the one that was coming in July…

I happened to meet with a friend to walk after my appointment with the specialist, and she really challenged my thinking. She asked if I had any idea what God might be trying to speak to me during this time, as He uses these things for good, and the injury really didn’t make sense in the first place. As I paused for but a moment, the answer flooded my mind. I had to lose running physically, to recognize that I needed to stop running emotionally. Why, oh why am I so thick-headed that extreme measures are necessary to get my attention?

Thankfully, my story does take a turn for the better. It seems that as soon as I said, “Yes, Lord, I am willing,” the release came. I submitted spaces that I had been holding, and am determined to allow Him access where it has so long been denied.

Yesterday evening was the first opportunity to test running on the road. My long-time running bestie and I met to go for the maiden voyage. Because she is a nurse, I knew I would get away with NOTHING if it hurt. I prayed that it would not, yet had to be ready in my heart to accept waiting longer if it did. We set out on a modified course of one that we have run many times before. Each stride I took, I was acutely aware of what was going on with my body. Muscles that had been dormant for five weeks, reactivated. My heart seemed to skip a beat, as I realized that though I was aware of muscles being activated in my back, there was no pain at the injury site, and I was all clear! We successfully completed a short run, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. I know there is still healing that has to happen, but I am encouraged that a bit of what was lost has been regained.

With every step on this road to recovery, I have had to stop and place my trust in Him. I have been reminded anew of just how true the following verse is for me:

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

May we all take time to give our worries to Him, as He cares for us, individually. His love is greater than any that we have ever known, and He uses every circumstance to draw us closer to Him.

 

In sickness and health,Stop Running

For better or worse;

The Lord’s love is great,

Despite what’s deserved.

If we will take time,

To call on His Name;

The depth of His grace,

Is made for us, plain.

Lord, help us to choose,

To always trust You;

No matter what comes,

For You’ll see us through.

Thank You for the gifts,

That You choose to give;

My hope is in You,

By faith help me live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and give our worries to You, and You love us back to life. Thank You that when we slow down and listen, You speak to us – intentionally and specifically, so that we may grow ever closer to You. Forgive us for running when we are meant to sit still, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be silent before You, so that You can speak to our hearts the things that You desire for us to hear. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see You through our kindness and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You, and go forth in the grace that You give. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by You. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

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)

If we spend our time seeking what is in the world, we will become like that which we seek. We are called to seek the Lord to transform and renew us, so that our hearts and minds will become more like His. As we choose to pursue Christ, we learn what is good and pleasing to Him, and discover His perfect will for our lives. The more we choose Christ, the greater He opens our understanding to that which He wants for us. May we keep our hearts from conforming to the patterns of the world, and whole heartedly pursue the path which God has prepared for us as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Don’t be led astray,Be Transformed 1

by things of the earth;

for God will transform,

grant us a new birth.

He renews our minds,

and shows us His way;

what is good to Him,

to not go astray.

His way is perfect,

and He wants for us;

to know His nearness,

by His love we’re blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You help keep us from conforming to the patterns of this world, as You transform us by the renewing of our minds. Thank You that You show us that which is Your good, pleasing and perfect will, as we choose to ask. Forgive us for not seeking or asking, or for allowing our hearts to get caught up in that which surrounds us, rather than You who is in us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in such a way that we could reach those stuck in the destructive patterns of the world without causing any feelings of condemnation or judgment – only Your love. May many come to know the truth of Your unfailing love. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to transform us by the renewing of our minds as we seek and trust You completely. 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

Ragnar Reminders

This is a different sort of post, as today is no ordinary day. Today, I will embark on a journey of epic proportions. Eleven friends and I will be running a 200-mile relay from the Canadian border to Whidbey Island. This endeavor begins at 6:30am, and will likely not conclude until late tomorrow afternoon. Our team is separated into two vans, containing six runners each, and van 1 is already nearing the start line for the prerace meeting. As a part of van 2, we get to have a bit more leisurely start, yet our second legs run, will be run in the wee hours of the night, prior to dawn’s early light. Van 2 has fewer opportunities for sleep, so perhaps that is why there is a bit of kindness as to when and where our first leg begins. The next 30+ hours will be a test of perseverance, stamina, and mental toughness. However, they are also hours of support, kindness, encouragement, and the best bonding in a shared experience that a person could ever imagine. Ragnar is a race that reminds me what life is like, and how it is meant to be run.

 

…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

 

We are meant to persevere and run the course that is marked before us. Our eyes are meant to be fixed on the path that Christ has prepared for us, not on the distractions and detours that could hinder us as we run. For the joy set before Him, He endured; so we too, ought to endure, trusting that there is so much more yet to come. In this race, the reward at the end is well worth the struggle. There is a huge celebration at the end, with medals, a meal, photos, and the reuniting of the two vans, to run the final quarter mile of the race, together. The joy found in our fleeting race ending, will be but a glimpse of the glory that we will find if we choose to faithfully follow our Heavenly Father for all of our days. Jesus is seated on His throne, and has prepared a place, just for us. He is always available, and ever present. May we rise up and run our own race, just as Christ has called us to run, and may we persevere, trusting in He who is faithful to see us through to the finish line.

 

Let us each rise up,Ragnar Team 2014

be ready to run;

whatever the race,

we’re called by the Son.

Ever persevere,

with eyes fixed on God;

for He is our strength,

our hope to applaud.

With joy, He endured,

for all of our sake;

so that we could run,

with swiftness, our race.

Endure the struggles,

for though there is pain;

the future glory,

is all that remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for life and health and the ability to run the race that You have set before us, whatever that looks like for us, individually. Thank You that You strengthen us and keep us, so that we may persevere, trusting in Your faithfulness to see us through. Thank You that no matter the pain we endure in the here and now, our hope remains in our future glory with You forever. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the temporary things around us, and help us to focus our hope in You. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we run our race with perseverance, giving You the glory for every good thing that happens along the way. 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

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

Renewing Our Minds

Do not conform any longer 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)

 

God’s plans for us are perfect. His will is for the very best for His children. God gave His Son so that we would have access to His pleasing and perfect will, personally. As we seek Him, and give ourselves as living sacrifices unto His service, we are transformed and our minds are made new.

 

No longer conforming to the pattern of this world goes far beyond no longer partaking in corrupt customs or self-pleasing practices that heap harm on ourselves or others, but instead, it involves making a choice to live to honor and obey the Lord. As we allow the Holy Spirit access to all, our hearts are transformed, and our minds are made new. When He is at work in us, we are more aware of His will for us. May we each be malleable, as we allow Him access to transform us and renew our minds.

 

Conform no longer,Renewing Our Minds

to ways of the world;

grant the Lord access,

a future secured.

If we let Him in,

He’ll transform, make new;

cleanse our hearts and minds,

show us what to do.

Wisdom too granted,

to know the Lord’s will;

so we may honor,

by His Spirit’s fill.

May we too, lay down,

our self-pleasing ways;

and be now transformed,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to no longer conform to the patterns of this world, but rather to be transformed by Your renewing of our minds. Thank You that as we allow You access, You grant us what we need, by Your Spirit in us, to understand what is Your good, pleasing and perfect will. Forgive us for choosing to conform to the ways of the world, or for not listening to the still small voice within. Help us to invest our hearts, minds and time in our relationship with You, so that our hearts are cleansed and our minds are made new. May we live and love according to Your good, pleasing and perfect will, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be exalted, Lord God, as we respond to Your renewing of our minds. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:23