As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

From Heart to Mouth

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

As I continue to ponder the power of words, I am reminded that what is in our heart, quickly becomes made known through our mouth. If we are meditating on the Word of God and on things of Him, that which leaves our lips ought to closely correlate. I have seen and known in my own life, the power that words have. In a moment of thoughtlessness, I have responded harshly, causing pain that required an apology and rebuilding of trust, and have likewise had moments where my words of encouragement were utilized by God in ways that I was unable to understand as they were spoken. The more we learn to love God and receive that which He has for us, the better equipped we are to love people well. The beauty in fixing our eyes on Him is that we take on His traits – His loving ways and the words that He places in our hearts to speak, lead us to do and say that which is pleasing unto the Lord. May the words that we speak and the thoughts that we don’t, be pleasing to the Lord who loves us to life everlasting.

 

May the words we speak, unseal-my-lips

And each thought we hold;

Be pleasing to You,

As You are extolled.

For where our thoughts rest,

Soon become quite clear;

As thoughts become words,

That others can hear.

Let us fix our hearts,

Securely on You;

So our thoughts and words,

Are loving and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we fix our minds and hearts on You, our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Thank You that every thought and word are shaped by where we set our hearts and minds. Forgive us for allowing external influences to jade our thoughts in a way that make our words less than pleasing before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set our hearts on what is true and allow You to fill our minds and mouths with Your thoughts and words that build others up in Your love. Show us how to love those around us with the words that overflow from the meditations of our heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to set our hearts on You, our Rock and our Redeemer, whom we desire to please with our every thought and word. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Love Can Be Found

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel. – (Psalm 119:64, MSG)

Lord, Your faithful love fills the earth. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:64, ERV)

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV)

 

Everywhere the human eye can see, there is evidence of the Eternal’s love for us. The intentional, exquisite design of each individual we encounter, the beauty of nature, the intricacy of the countless systems set in place by His hands – I stand in awe when I give even a moment to think about the complexity of messages it requires to send information from my mind to my fingers to movement on the keyboard, yet the words that are typed on the screen occur so often with little thought or thanks for He who designed my body to function in this way. Just as it required training to learn to type without having to think about where each key is located, we need to be intentional to train our hearts and minds in the word of God, so that we don’t agonize to know what is right in His sight. May we take time to notice the love of the Lord that surrounds us, and be intentional to allow His word to train us in the ways we are meant to go.

 

The love of the Lord, IMG_3721

Fills the earth, surrounds;

Wherever we look,

His love can be found.

May we ever seek,

To walk in His ways;

Do right by the Lord,

For all of our days.

Lord, train up our hearts,

To walk in Your will;

Do what pleases You,

Your counsel, instill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is evident everywhere! Thank You that the earth is filled with Your love. Thank You that when we ask, You are faithful to answer and train us to live according to Your will. Forgive us for not seeking You and Your will as we walk out our days, and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to live according to Your counsel so that we love others in the way that You intended them to be loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your love all around us, and listen to Your leading in all that we do. Amen.

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

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

Rise Up United

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

 

If we love with the same love that God gives to us, we are obeying the word of God. His love is patient, kind, hopeful, and enduring; it does not get jealous, nor proud nor rude. God’s love does not keep record of wrong, but rejoices in the truth. Christ came and set the standard so that we would know how we are meant to love and live a life in obedience to God. May we seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we learn how to love others as He has loved us, thus fulfilling the requirements of God’s law.

 

Let us each seek good,

Healed By His Hands

photo by Panthercut

to love as we’re called;

by the grace of God,

may hearts be enthralled.

For love does no wrong,

but only delights;

in mercy and grace,

and showing what’s right.

Each time that we choose,

to love people well;

we uphold God’s laws,

and of His hope tell.

May our hearts delight,

in choosing to love;

and many find hope,

in the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus for coming and showing us how to love as You loved, and for sending Your Spirit, so that we might go and do likewise. Forgive us for withholding the love and grace that You have given when we are hurt or afraid. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let Your love lead us in all things and at all times, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love like You, so that all that we do is pleasing to You. Lead us to love others with patience and kindness, so that they might come to see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love like You, walking in obedience to all that You are asking. 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

Imperishable Truth

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – (1 Peter 1:23, NIV)

 

You have been born again. This new life did not come from something that dies. It came from something that cannot die. You were born again through God’s life-giving message that lasts forever. – (1 Peter 1:23, ERV)

 

When we commit our lives to Christ, it is not a fleeting action, nor based on something that may someday fade away. God remains the same yesterday, today and forever, so our hope is assured and His promises secured, for now and forever more. God with us, is His Holy Spirit that comes to dwell in us when we invite Him in, and remains until we are united with the Lord face-to-face on our final day of drawing breath. As we enter His presence in Heaven, we are assured that our space is secured forever. Imagine an eternity of dwelling in the lavish light of His love, with no more worldly woes…

 

The very moment,Imperishable Truth

a heart invites You in;

You grant us new life,

set free from all our sin.

This life we’re given,

lasts for eternity;

for You cannot die,

and You have set us free.

Your word is alive,

it forever endures;

shows us what is truth,

and our future secures.

Help us to hold fast,

to Your truth that remains;

may we spend our days,

glorifying Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have new life in You. Thank You that our new life is based on Your word and Your truth, which endure forever. Thank You that our salvation is not only for now, but for all of eternity. Forgive us for not viewing life through an eternal lens, and for allowing the troubles of this life to overwhelm us. Thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that Your presence and Your promises remain forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when we are unaware of Your presence or of how You are moving in the midst of our mess. May we walk forward in faith, trusting You are who You say You are. Let us love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know new life in You for themselves. Be exalted O God, in all that we say and do. 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

Stand Firm or Fall

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. – (Isaiah 7:9b)

 

These words of warning were given by God to Isaiah, to go and speak to Ahaz, the king of Judah. His words, are still sound warning for us today. We cannot allow shifting ideals to sway what we know to be the truth of God’s word. He calls us to a higher standard. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so the truth of His word remains for all time. Our faith, our very belief in who God is, and what He says is true, are what we must hold fast to – stand firm in – or we will ultimately fall. To stand in faith is not an exercise of our own sheer strength, but rather our willingness to be dependent on Christ. The Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, with fortify our faith, and provide all that we need to stand firm, if we are willing to give ear to His still small voice and invest our hearts in the truth of His word. May we each stand firm in our faith, and be a help to keep others from falling as well.

 

We each are called,Stand Firm or Fall

to rise up, stand firm;

listen to God,

cling to what we learn.

He is our strength,

our power to stand;

keeps us afloat,

far from sinking sand.

May the Lord’s truth,

set deep in our heart;

let nothing sway,

nor tear us apart.

Cover us, Lord,

protect and preserve;

let us not fall,

nor get what’s deserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we may stand firm in our faith, not by our own strength, but by Yours. Thank You that it is not up to us to muster enough faith to follow through, but rather You take our willing hearts, and You grow our faith so that we may stand secure in You. Forgive us for not investing in our faith, and open our eyes, ears and hearts to all that You have for us to grow in Your grace, so that we may have a faith that is firmly founded in You. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know how to stand firm in all that You offer, as a result. Keep us from falling as we seek to stand firm in our faith in You forever. Be glorified, O God, as we forge forward in faith. 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

Knowledge Requires Action

Part of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians included a reminder that simply hearing or knowing the truth is not enough. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we must also put what we learn into practice. It is not enough to simply have heard the word, and let it lie forgotten. It must take root and grow in our hearts, as we allow the Holy Spirit to point us to the places of application in our lives.

 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Back then, the people of Philippi did not have access to a Bible as we do. They had to rely on what they had heard and what Paul and other early disciples modeled for them. We have the benefit of both the Bible and an abundant history of faithful followers whom have demonstrated a life lived in obedience before Him. To know that the God of peace will be present with me, makes any sacrifice required, more than worth the price. His presence is far greater than anything we may need to give up out of obedience to Him. May we each be willing to put into practice all that He is showing us, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with the presence of His perfect peace.

 

Let my heart take hold,Knowledge Requires Action

of Your every word;

may truth penetrate,

where Your voice is heard.

Please open my ears,

my mind and my heart;

so all that’s received,

I’m willing to start.

Lord, grant me Your peace,

so I will press on;

no matter the storm,

our true battle’s won.

Let hope be our hold,

as eyes fix on You;

we’ll trust and obey,

as You make us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to live. Thank You that so many have gone before us, modeling a life lived faithfully in You. Thank You that You do not expect us to just figure it out, but You promise to provide Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, as we press on in faith. Forgive us for neglecting to put what we know into practice, or for not allowing the truth to shape how we live. Teach us to give all of ourselves unto You, so that we may become who You have called us to be. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, loving and full of grace. Thank You that You long for us to come to a place where we surrender and choose total obedience unto You. Help us to be disciples, as You call us to be, not just fans. May many come to the place of total surrender, as we walk in loving obedience before You. Let our knowledge lead to action that inspires others too, to make a choice. Be glorified, Lord God, as we move. Amen.

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

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

Shine Bright

Better is One DayBlessings are beheld,

by the one who hears;

the truth of God’s word,

with wide open ears.

Beyond just hearing,

we too, must obey;

lay hold of the hope,

found through Spirit’s stay.

For love is not love,

if it’s held at bay;

it is only love,

when given away.

The light He has placed,

in believing hearts;

is meant to shine bright,

show others the start.

Let’s rise up and shine,

may His love flow through;

let hearts be open,

so they may see You.

“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – (Luke 11:28)

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand so that those who come in may see the light.” – (Luke 11:33)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of all who believe. Please go before us and prepare every heart that will hear, and each voice that will speak. Grant us courage and strength to share the words You have placed on our hearts, as we celebrate and remember Anne today. Forgive me for my fear of using my voice, audibly, and please strengthen and steady my heart, mind, hands and voice, so that I might honor Aine and glorify You, through every word I speak. Let hearts that know You not, truly hear You calling them to come close and allow You in. May many be moved toward what matters most, and embrace the grace that You freely offer. Lord Jesus, be near to every heart that will hear. All glory to You, our Love and Light that leads us home. Amen.

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

A Hint of Heaven

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASnapshots of heaven,

the word does proclaim;

a peek to what waits,

for those in His Name.

Gathering around,

the Lamb of God’s throne;

a great multitude,

like none we have known.

A sea of faces,

from all the nations;

each wearing white robes,

proud proclamations.

Together as one,

declared with loud voice;

salvation is Yours,

and You are our choice.

Palm branches waving,

as truth is declared;

each tear wiped away,

all sin disappeared.

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” – (Revelation 7:9-10)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit, so that we may truly hold the hope of heaven in our hearts, as we give our lives to You. Thank You Jesus, that You have gone before us to prepare a place for us in Your eternal presence. Forgive us for fearing our earthly end, and help us to embrace the holy hope of what is yet to come. Teach us to live our lives with an eternal perspective, recognizing that both pleasure and pain on earth are fleeting, but the joy of the Lord is ours forever! May we live our lives in Your love, keeping a proper perspective on all that comes to pass. Let our love show others too, the eternal hope that is held in You. Amen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anne update: Though it was a very long day in the ER for Anne, as she desperately needed fluids, we were able to pack her belongings under her direction, and move her to the home of a wonderful couple that will care for her while another loving pair is preparing a permanent place in their home for Anne to reside. It is a blessing to have her within a ten-minute drive, whereas before, she was a good forty minutes away. God is so faithful to provide what she needs! Please keep contending for her healing in Christ. May His blessings be bountiful in you. With His Love, Shannon

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