Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

wp-15365818485874977245676892055719.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

The Next Right Thing

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

We are not all charged to do everything, but we are each called to do something. Each of the needs mentioned in the verses above exist both globally and locally. There are orphans, kids in foster care, there are poor, imprisoned, there are those who are in need, and many trapped in the hands of the wicked and unable to set themselves free. We are called to walk through life with our eyes, ears and hearts open. When we do, we are willing to hear the Lord’s call, and answer however He asks. Sometimes, it is in a way that seems small and insignificant to us, yet our willingness to respond will mean the world to the recipient.

 

Welcome Boxes 1A few days ago, I had the joy of working with some ladies from my church to put together welcome boxes for kids being pulled from their homes by CPS and placed in foster care. Some of these kiddos barely have the opportunity to pack even a change of clothes, so these boxes are a special way to offer comfort in the midst of crisis. Each box contains encouraging notes, gifts and toiletries, to remind the child that there are people who do care, despite the chaos that is currently surrounding them. If it weren’t for the obedience and listening ear of one of my friends, none of us would have been aware of the need, nor would we have gathered to do a small thing that we each could do. May we each go forth this day, with eyes, ears and hearts open, ready to hear how the Lord might call us to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, or how we can help rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked.

 

Welcome Boxes 2

To find out more about making Welcome Boxes, please contact: JenniferJoyKeener@gmail.com

Lord help me to walk,

with eyes open wide;

aware of the needs,

that others may hide.

Let me be Your hands,

where I can go serve;

show me how to love,

as the lost deserve.

Help me see the need,

and then show me how;

to do what You ask,

not later, right now.

Each day, may I rise,

ready to go be;

Your heart and Your hands,

to set captives free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Defender and Rescuer. Thank You that You saved us from all of our ugliness and delivered us from the calamity that was to come. Thank You that You call us to be a part of moving beside You in defending those who cannot defend themselves, helping those in need, and rescuing those who are stuck in situations that are too great for them to get out of on their own. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to need, or for standing still as we allow the great need to overwhelm us, rather than simply listen to Your call and how we can do the next right thing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and be ready to do each next thing that You ask of us. Lead us to love with all that we are, just as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do each next right thing. 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

Correction as a Catalyst for Change

If good people correct me, I will consider it a good thing. If they criticize me, I will accept it like a warm welcome. But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil that they do. – (Psalm 141:5, ERV)

 

Being rebuked or corrected by a righteous person is a kindness. If someone who is walking well with the Lord recognizes wrong in me and brings it to my attention, it is my job to humbly consider their words, keep quiet, and consider their correction an act of love. Any confusion or uncertainty about what has been spoken, ought to be brought before the Lord in prayer. We are shown how to present our petitions before the Lord in this way: 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 139:24)

 

May we readily receive rebuke from the righteous, and prayerfully present ourselves to the Lord. Let the Lord search us and know us, so that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and led in the light of life everlasting.

 

Let each correction,Christ Corrects the Called

be considered, heard;

presented to Christ,

compared to His word.

Is what has been said,

truth spoken in love?

If so, receive it,

direct from above.

Continue to pray,

against all the wrong;

down with the wicked,

lift praise up in song.

For God sees and knows,

our heart and our mind;

He longs to lead us,

to glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that You place us in one another’s lives to speak truth in love. Thank You that correction is for our benefit, and intended to draw us closer to You. Forgive us for refusing correction or being defensive when another speaks truth in love to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may keep quiet and hear what is spoken, and bring anything that we are uncertain about before You. Lead us to love others with a love that is not afraid to speak truth in such a way, that the recipient is directed straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we receive correction and change direction where it is necessary. Amen.

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

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

Everything As He Asks

The story of Noah is remarkable one. When Noah was well seasoned in years and living in a location nowhere near water, God told him to construct an ark. Noah did not question God, nor did he ask God how on earth he was to accomplish such a monumental task. Instead, he listened to the Lord, heard His every outlandish instruction, and got to work. Noah did everything just as God commanded him. – (Genesis 6:22)

 

It is easy to get caught up in the particulars, when really, we simply need to obey whatever it is that God is asking. We know that God is good, and His ways are not our ways. That alone ought to compel us to do whatever He asks, regardless of how outrageous it seems at the time. God is given room to move miraculously, if we simply step out in obedience to what He asks. May we set aside our incessant need to know the how or the why, and choose to move in faith.

 

Whatever God asks,Everything As He Asks

may we simply do;

choose to wholly trust,

in faith, follow through.

Miracles happen,

when we step aside;

true obedience,

removal of pride.

May our stories too,

be of lives lived well;

that share of His grace,

of His goodness tell.

All glory to God,

Holy faithful King;

may our moves of faith,

be sweet offerings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though humanity rebelled and became evil and wicked, thank You that You saw and saved Noah and his family, who were faithful. Thank You that after the flood, You promised to never destroy everything on earth again until the final day when Christ returns. Thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, so that we could be saved from our own sinful natures and given new life in You. Forgive us for questioning the things You ask of us, or wanting to know the details when all we need to do is obey. Teach us to trust You more, so that we do as Noah did, and simply get to work. Whatever the task, help us to move without delay. Lead us to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully follow through on all You ask us to do. 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

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. 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

 

 

To Turn from Temptation

Temptation is a funny thing – the longer we learn to stand strong against it, the more subtle it becomes. All of us are and will continue to be tempted. It is a matter of how we choose to face that which lies before us, that will determine whether or not we will overcome that which is luring us away from God’s very best for us.

 

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

Despite society’s state of seeming moral decay, there are no temptations that are new to mankind. Everyone has to face some sort of dilemma and make a choice. Many who have gone before us, have faced and overcome the same sort of obstacles. God will grant us all that we need to resist every temptation under the sun. Wisdom is also granted by God, to recognize people, places and situations that tempt us to succumb to sin. We must steer clear of such spaces. Choose what is right. If we seek God, and His help, asking Him to guide us to friends whom will help us resist temptation, rather than fall into it, He will be faithful to answer. Lastly, run from settings where sin is inevitable. Why subject oneself to testing that is unnecessary and foolish?

 

Temptations come,To Turn from Temptation

to all mankind;

God is faithful,

to help toe the line.

We must seek Him,

for His help, ask;

to overcome,

never a small task.

Flee from wicked,

resist what’s known;

seek God and friends,

don’t just face alone.

Seek His wisdom,

ask for His grace;

stand firm in Christ,

there’s no safer space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our faithful and present help, always. Thank You that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that You will always provide a way out for us. Forgive us for not heeding Your warnings, and for ignoring Your still small voice, when we have given in to temptations. Teach us to be tender to Your voice, and not only quick to hear, but immediate to obey. May we overcome temptations that are placed before us, and walk victorious in You. Let our love lead those who are looking, straight into Your loving arms. May many come to know You, personally, as their salvation and safety. Be glorified in our every word and deed, as we flee from temptation and stand strong in all that You are asking. Amen.

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

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

The song Overcomer, by Mandisa, came to mind as I was finishing up.  Please click the title to enjoy!  🙂

 

 

The Unforgiving Debtor

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?’

Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22)
The verses that follow tell the tale of a servant who owed the king far more than he could ever hope to earn and repay in his lifetime, and deserved a life sentence of servitude to pay it back.  When he was brought before the king, who was working to settle accounts with the people of his kingdom, this particular debtor begged the king to be patient, so that he might pay back all that was owed.  The king had compassion on the man, and extended mercy undeserved, as the king cancelled the servant’s entire debt.
One would think that a man set free from such an unbearable burden, might be moved to go out and do likewise.  Sadly, this servant left the king’s presence, only to go and find a fellow servant who owed him a small sum of money, and demanded immediate payment.  Much like the wicked servant who’d been forgiven a large debt, this servant was not presently able to pay the amount owed.  Rather than extend mercy as had been done to him, the selfish servant had he with the lesser debt carried off and thrown into prison because he could not pay.
We too, have been forgiven a debt far greater than we could ever hope to pay.  When we confess before Christ and receive Him as Lord, He wipes our account clean and says that our debt has been paid in full.
Anytime that we harbor unforgiveness in our heart toward another, we are doing the same as the selfish servant.  It grieves my heart to think that I would act as the wicked servant did, and compels me to keep close accounts before Christ.  I am quick to call on Him for help when I feel unforgiveness attempting to find a foothold.  His mercy for me is so great, how can I help but hope to do the same unto others?
Our sins are erased,The Unforgiving Debtor
our debts have been paid;
each nailed to the cross,
and left in the grave.
His Spirit now ours,
to lead and to guide;
strength to grant mercy,
in Him, we abide.
Give undeserving,
that which is not due;
for that is what Christ,
has done unto you.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us each time we come to You and ask.  Thank You, that in turn, You equip us to do the same.  Forgive us for holding onto hurts or unforgiveness, and show us how to hand it all to You.  We want to be kind and merciful; people who are living examples of Your love in action.  Lead us to live as light and love, and may many come to know Your mercy, as they enter into an eternal relationship with You.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present. 

Refined to Reflect

image by Beverly & Pack

image by Beverly & Pack

The Lord is my refuge

from the fiery darts;

fired forth from the wicked,

aim taken at my heart.

Though the bows may be bent,

and arrows set to string,

God will ever remain,

my righteous, faithful King.

As the challenges come,

may my heart’s one desire,

be to stay ever true,

through the Refiner’s fire.

Let my heart be upright,

may I faithfully race,

at the end of my days,

so my eyes see His face.

(Responding to Psalm 11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold our hearts in Your hands.  When challenges come, when wickedness wields its ugliness, You are still God, and You never leave us, nor forsake us.  Father, it is a season of struggle for so many.  Please make Your presence known, and may Your strength and peace permeate each person at their point of need.  Forgive us for our fear of the fiery darts.  Help us to see You as our shield and safe haven.  May we ever seek You, and in You, find rest.  As we remain resilient in Your refuge, may we be refined to better reflect You, our remarkable Redeemer.  May many come to know You and Your goodness through our faithfulness in the fight.  All glory and honor to You.  Amen.

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

Victory through Our Voices

image by Janice Dorn

image by Janice Dorn

With all that I am,

I lift up my voice,

to sing praise to You;

my soul shall rejoice.

For when trouble comes,

You stay ever near,

though there comes heartache,

Your voice shall I hear.

You go before me,

and guard all around.

Mighty Defender,

where triumph is found.

You reign forever,

and sit on the throne.

Our refuge and strength,

where justice is shown.

Praises to You, Lord,

for You hear the cries,

of the afflicted,

whom You lead to rise.

The wicked will fall,

the faithful will stand;

Your gracious favor,

blessings from Thy hand.

(Responding to 1 Samuel 17 and Psalm 9)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise.  Thank You that You are always faithful to us, even when our faith waivers.  Forgive us for our doubts, and help us, in such times, to stop and give You praise.  Thank You that as we use our voices to sing of who You are and all of Your wonderful ways, something in our spirit rises up and recognizes just how remarkable You are.  Teach us to trust and worship You with a faith and perseverance like David had.  May many come to know You through the evidence of our steadfast faith, that is made apparent by our love.  In Your wonderful and holy Name, Amen.

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