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The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

 

The first verse is part of the passage that is included in my daily reading, and the second was in the home screen of my Bible application. I found it interesting that the two came in tandem, as God is our source of wisdom, and is found when we seek Him. Wisdom goes beyond knowing facts and figures; it is a deep imparted understanding of that which is beyond our comprehension without God’s intervention. As we seek the Lord, He reveals more and more of Himself to us, and we begin to grasp a glimpse of who God is and how great His love for us truly is. Our seeking is answered through time in His word, in worship, in prayer, and in silent stillness before Him. When our ears and hearts are open to hear the Lord, He imparts His wisdom and understanding upon us. What once was a mystery, becomes foundational knowledge that we can hold firm in our hearts. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we grow in our understanding of who He is and how great His love is for us all.

 

Wisdom is granted,The Word of God

To those who choose seek;

The heart of the Lord,

He’s faithful to speak.

He’ll tell of His love,

Reveal mysteries;

Help our hearts to hold,

The grace hope carries.

So search for the Lord,

For wisdom and grace;

He’ll meet those who seek,

And show us His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to be found by those who seek You. Thank You that You reveal Your wisdom to those who seek to understand. Forgive us for not pursuing new insight and understanding and simply settling for what we already know. Teach us to hunger and thirst for more of You, as we never arrive at knowing all there is of You. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see Your heart through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek more of You each day. Amen.

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

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

Yesterday evening was the second week of the book study I am participating in with the women of my church as we read through the book, Without Rival, by  Lisa Bevere. My personal take away from the text this week is to not “settle for crumbs” because God is calling us to feed on His faithfulness. Though sermons, podcasts, books, quotes, posts on Facebook and various other sources of uplifting material are good, they are merely crumbs compared to our seeking and finding the presence of God for ourselves.

 

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see; eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His Divine Being. – (Romans 1:19-20, MSG)

 

In other words, God is not difficult to find if we seek Him. It is merely a matter of opening our eyes to the world around us, as His handiwork is evident everywhere. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, so there is no reason not to pursue His presence for ourselves. There is abundantly, exponentially more waiting for us as we choose seek Him on our own. He longs to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves, if only we are willing to pursue His presence. May we each allow the “crumbs” to be a trail that take us into the fantastic feast of our Heavenly Father’s presence, as He is ever waiting for us to draw near, so that we might come to know Him more.

 

Settle not for crumbs,Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

But come forth to feast;

For there is much more,

That God will release.

As we choose to come,

He shows us the more;

A love far greater,

Than we knew before.

Each time we draw near,

He’s faithful to show;

His grace and His love,

Truth we come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have so much more for us than crumbs or leftovers. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself to experience more of You, personally. Thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to know You intimately and individually. Forgive us Jesus, for not seeking You for ourselves, or for settling for less than You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You individually and personally, as You have so much more for us all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to Your goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your presence for ourselves, and feed on the faithfulness that is found in You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. – (1 John 4:18, NLT)

Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. – (1 John 4:18, VOICE)

 

The love of God is perfect. His love draws us to desire change, rather than to run in fear. Though He is mighty and just, the Lord loves us to life again when we fall. His kindness draws us to repentance, and grows our drive to please Him. When we fear a consequence to our own actions, or some sort of separation from His love, it shows us that we have not fully grasped the depth and breadth of His amazing love for us all. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. This promise should promote our desire to earnestly seek Him in all things. Let us embrace the grace that we have been given through the perfect love of God, and go forth, without fear, and love well.

 

Love does not cause fear,Forgiveness is Free

But drives it away;

For true love’s embrace,

Has promised to stay.

There’s nothing we do,

Nor words that we say;

That shall separate,

From His loving ways.

For love is complete,

Through His perfect love;

No fear need be near,

Where grace reigns above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your perfect love casts out fear, and we need not be afraid. Thank You that we can come to You and confess the things that we have done, and know that You love us so much, that You will forgive us and receive us with open arms. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we know we deserve punishment and lose sight of the greatness of Your mercy and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the fullness of Your perfect love. Help us to love those around us in such a way, that they too may see love without limits and grace that grows ever greater. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to receive Your perfect love and let go of fear. 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

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

You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. – (Romans 13:10, MSG)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

When we choose to walk in love, we are opting for obedience to all that God asks of us. If we love God and love people, we are fulfilling all that the law requires. Just as God perfectly loves each of us, He equips and empowers us to go and do likewise to all whom we encounter. It is up to us to choose to share what He has granted, so that those around us might come to see and know the goodness and grace that is given through the Lord’s love. The love that God gives is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, proud, rude or selfish. Love delights in the truth and does not remember wrongs. Love never gives up on people, as it never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May we each go forth and love as we are loved by God, so that in doing so, we walk in obedience to all that the Lord requires.

 

Love does not choose hurt,Purposeful Prayer

No matter what comes;

Instead it endures,

Like the rising sun.

All that is required,

Through the law of God;

Is truly fulfilled,

Despite all our flaws.

For God’s very heart,

Is clearly made known;

When we opt to love,

Just as we’ve been shown.

So let us go forth,

And love each other;

With goodness and grace,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as we are loved by You, we fulfill the requirements of all laws. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love by Your Spirit within us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to love as we are called to do, and teach us to trust so that we might love like You. Show us how to love as we are loved, so that many might come to know the fullness of Your grace and the blessings of Your unending love. May many choose to follow You, all the days of their lives. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and His love within us grows ever stronger. – (1 John 4:12, TLB)

 

The love of God is made evident in us and through us when we choose to love one another as we are loved by God. The only way this is possible, is if we seek the Lord and depend on Him. With God in us, our capacity to love grows ever stronger. Each day that we recognize and embrace the depth of God’s love for us, the better equipped we become to go and do likewise with one another. Although a baby in the womb has not yet seen its mother, he/she knows her voice and is dependent on her for all things. In the same way, we can hear and trust the Lord, for He is our Provider and Sustainer, and shows us the way to life everlasting in Him. May we ever listen for His voice as we seek Him, and trust the Lord to grow within us, the capacity to love one another as we are loved by Him.

 

Though no human eye,Enter With Thanksgiving

Has yet seen the Lord;

His voice is made clear,

As love is outpoured.

When we choose to love,

Each other like Him;

His love’s made complete,

Accomplished mission.

For God’s own love dwells,

As we make the choice;

To listen and love,

With head, heart and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are far from perfect, Your love is made perfect within us. Thank You that the very same love You give and grow in us, is what we are empowered to do with one another. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen for Your voice as to how we can love each other as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us with word and deed, so that their hearts might be drawn ever closer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your perfect love to flow through us, by loving those around us as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

 

As I sat down to write, after reflecting on my week, I am in awe as I recognize that I have been the recipient of not only Christ’s love, but people who love me well. Despite the busy and chaos that seem to accompany this season that I both teach and coach, I have been loved well in multiple ways in my world. At school, we kicked off a secret pal exchange among staff members. Not only was it a joy to select a surprise for a colleague, but I was blessed by the kindness of whomever treated me. A beautiful bouquet was delivered to me at work on Valentine’s Day, and I was overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and sweet sentiment that accompanied the card. My fellow coaching staff continues to step up and work together to coach our 135+ gymnasts well, and their kindness and encouragement to kids blesses my heart. Treasured friends remain steadfast, and grant ongoing love and support as I navigate my days. Last evening, I was swept away for a fancy dinner out, and treated like royalty. Both the words spoken and the actions shown, were tangible demonstrations of loving well. My heart is bursting because it has been filled to overflowing, and I am loved, just as I am called to do likewise. May we each embrace the grace that God so generously gives, and go forth in obedience and love each other well.

 

What a joy to see,being-loved-well

The tangible ways;

Where we are loved well,

Throughout all our days.

We’re not only called,

To go forth and love;

But He shows to us,

The hope from above.

Where we have been placed,

He often will show;

His love through others,

So we see and know.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all I’ve received;

Help me to love too,

So Your love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what love is through the hands and hearts of those who surround us. Thank You that You call and equip us to go and love likewise. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear Your heart for those around us, and know how to love as we are loved. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to all whom we encounter, allowing Your light to shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You shower upon us with gratitude, and as we go forth and love others well. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

 

To love well, we must see the need around us and do what we can with what we have. Christ came and modeled what it is to not withhold good when it is within one’s power to help. His willingness to be present in the midst of people’s pain, is the very thing that helped them most. If healing was needed, He not only touched the physical ailment, but He heard their need and brought a love that truly listened, and healed hearts as well. Where there was hunger and seemingly not enough, Christ had the disciples share what they did have, and it was multiplied before their eyes. The very same power that was working in Jesus, is at work in us today. In the spaces where we think we don’t have enough time, talent, or resource, the Lord meets us and provides as we reach out and share what we have to help another in need. Often, the greatest need around us in others, is to be heard and known, as humans are designed to crave connection. May we navigate our days with our eyes open to see the need all around us, so that we might do what we can to be extensions of God’s hands and heart to a hurting world.

 

In our call to love,The Power of the Tongue

May we clearly see;

Help where it’s needed,

Give kindness; it’s free.

Do not withhold good,

But rather, choose give;

Whatever we can,

To better lives lived.

Whatever we do,

When love’s our command;

Is light to the world,

As God’s heart and hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our paths to show us Your hands and heart for us. Thank You that You call us to do what we can for those around us, just as You have done for us. Forgive us for neglecting the needs we see, or for allowing our hearts to become overwhelmed rather than seek You for direction. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your guidance as to how we are meant to meet the needs we see. Show us how to love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we can for those who need help around us. 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

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

This is real love – not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – (1 John 4:10, VOICE)

 

Real love, the love that is true from God, is sacrificial and loves first. It is not dependent on whether or not love is returned; it is a choice to answer the calling and command of Christ. Jesus made the way for us to experience the fullness of God’s love, as His sacrifice bore the weight of all our sin and broke down the barrier between us and the bond that enables us to embrace the fullness of our Father’s favor, though we have done nothing to deserve it. True love chose us first, so that we might receive His goodness and grace as they are freely given, and then go and give likewise. May we receive the riches poured out upon us by our Heavenly Father, as He lavishly loves us so that we might truly know Him and in turn love as we are loved.

 

The love that is real,It is Grace that Saves

Does not start with us;

But rather it comes,

From the Lord, Jesus.

The depth and the breadth,

Of His love made known;

Through His sacrifice,

Ultimate love shown.

All sin that has been,

Or will ever be;

He took to the cross,

And bore it for me.

Because of this love,

I too want to show;

His love to the world,

So all hearts might know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us first, though we deserved it not. Thank You that You sent Your Son to take away our sin and make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You enable and empower us to share the very same love with all whom we encounter. Forgive us for not loving others as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not limit our love, or place conditions on who or when we extend Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love even the most challenging of people, as You love each of us equally well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to reveal real love to those around us through our words and deeds, by Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

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