Category: Sacrifice


For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. – (Philippians 1:29, NLT)

God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. – (Philippians 1:29, ERV)

 

At first read, this verse does not seem all that encouraging. Who wants to suffer? And suffering as an honor? Eesh… However, the more I think about it, the more I can see present day application in our area. Currently, in the U.S., there are few examples of people suffering for their faith. That being said, there are those who are in the midst of trials and tragedies that cling closely to Christ. The way in which they hold fast to their faith is a witness to all who know their story. I know I stand in awe when I hear stories of Christians who stand their ground in countries where people are persecuted for their faith. Additionally, I am amazed by the resilience and perseverance of people in the midst of personal pain who cling to Christ with all that they have. When we go through trials of any kind and choose to trust in the Lord, and allow our faith to flavor everything we do, people cannot help but notice and wonder why. God uses our circumstances to draw others unto Himself. It is in the throes of trials that we discover how great God is, and the hope we have in Him. As we come to grasp with certainty the hope we hold, others cannot help but desire what we have. May we recognize the privilege we have to walk out our lives in faith, and trust Christ in all things so that we might bring glory unto Him.

 

We have been given,Being Made New

Privilege in Christ;

In times of blessing,

And when it’s not nice.

For how we choose trust,

In good and in pain;

Will show to the world,

The hope in His Name.

So let us hold fast,

And give God glory;

As we choose to trust,

Him for our story.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to trust You in all things. Thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your grace, strength, presence and peace in times of suffering. Thank You that You can use our suffering for Your glory. Forgive us for wanting to hide away in our suffering, rather than to rise up and move forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Author of our story, and You have prepared the perfect ending. Show us how to love people well through their seasons of blessing and of suffering, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, allowing You glory for whatever happens in our story. 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

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. 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

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. – (Romans 4:20-22, NLT)

He never doubted that God would do what He promised. He never stopped believing. In fact, he grew stronger in his faith and just praised God. Abraham felt sure that God was able to do what He promised. So that’s why “he was accepted as one who is right with God.” – (Romans 4:20-22, ERV)

 

Abraham’s righteousness before God was not based on his following the letter of the law, but rather by his faith in the Father. God looks at us the very same way that He looked upon Abraham. He is not looking for people who cross their “t’s” and dot their “I’s” just so, but rather He wants people who place their trust in Him and believe that He will do what He says He will do. Our faith is both challenged and grown in the wait between the promise and its fulfillment. Few of us have to hold out for seventy-some years to see God’s promises realized, but how we choose to trust in the interim matters just as much. Thankfully, we have countless examples that have gone before us to show that faith is worth the wait. Additionally, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to encourage our hearts and remind us who He is and how He loves. May we ever trust in our Heavenly Father, as He is faithful to fulfill every promise that He provides.

 

By faith we are seen,hope-overflowing

As right before God;

Our trust in His words,

Triumph over flaws.

For righteous to Him,

Belief that He’ll do;

All He has promised,

That His word is true.

Let go of the law,

And focus on Him;

By faith we’ll do right,

As we enter in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill. Thank You that You count all who trust in You as righteous before You. Forgive us for not believing that You will do what You have promised, and grow in us an unwavering faith that always trusts. Show us how to love others well as we walk forward in the faith that You loving give to us as we seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your words and believe Your promises will be provided. Amen.

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

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

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NLT)

 

One enormous, sacrificial act of God on our behalf, and heaven’s doors were flung wide open with invitation for all who choose to accept, believe and receive Jesus, enter in. Christ came to restore what had been broken by sin. His one sacrifice paid the price for all that ever has been, is or will be, wrong in the sight of God. In Him, we are covered and called clean, accepted and received as redeemed before the Righteous One. May we embrace the grace that God has given through Jesus, and move forward in mercy, so that others too, may come to know the wonder of God’s amazing love.

 

What great love is this,

Build Your House on the Rock

image by Nicole Egerer

That sent His own Son;

So we might have life,

When our time is done?

Only God’s own grace,

Shows love that’s so deep;

Through Christ made the way,

For our souls to keep.

May we each embrace,

The hope we now hold;

And make His love known,

As our story’s told.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to find true life in You. Jesus, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that there is nothing that we have done that is not covered by Your sacrifice. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your mercy and grace, or for refusing to receive it for ourselves. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the glorious gift that You have given, and then go forth and share of Your love. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see Your goodness through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have given and go forth in love and grace so others may recognize the redemption You offer. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

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

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

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

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

 

God loves us so much, that He willingly gave of Himself. Through His Son, Jesus, all who believe in Him will have life forever with Him. He, who is love, showed us that love gives what matters most. For us today, there is no longer need for sacrifice like His, as that which Jesus gave, covered it all. However, we do have resources that are valuable to us and to God’s economy. The manner by which we are able to love in a way that is sacrificial, is to give of our time, talents and resources. God designed and gifted each of us in a unique way, so that we might love well. We all have a choice as to how we use what we have been given. Are we utilizing the gifts from God that we have been granted to love others well, or are we keeping them to ourselves and just living out our days in isolation? Though there is no longer an extensive list of that which we shall and shall not do, we have been called to love God and love people. If we are committed to love, then our expression of His love will reflect the very nature of that which He has given unto us. May we believe and receive what we have been freely given, and go forth in His love, to love as we are loved by Him.

 

For God loved the world,Purposeful Prayer

Far more than we see;

Mighty sacrifice,

For all who believe.

To trust in the One,

Who in love, gave all;

So we’d know the way,

To rise from our fall.

The thing that He asks,

Is that we choose love;

Lift up each other,

Fix our eyes above.

By the Lord’s great grace,

All who choose believe;

Will live forever,

By His love, receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is so much greater than we can grasp. Thank You that what You require of us is trust in You. Thank You that as we believe, we are called to love as we are loved. Forgive us for not loving others as You so lavishly love each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that loving You and loving people becomes our passionate pursuit, all of our days. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. Lead us to lovingly give of our time, talents and resources in a way that points people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the remarkable give of Your love, and go forth to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT)

 

The way that we are relentlessly loved by God shows us how we are meant to love. He never gives up on us, no matter how far we wander, or the crazy mess we become – He loves because we are His. Probably the closest example that I have come to understand in my own life is through how I am designed to love my children. Whether they are tremendously successful or they are struggling, my love for them does not change. I have great hope for their futures, and what they do or do not do, does not change the depth of my love. There are days that are more difficult than others, yet always, always, there is love. The very same love that God gives us as His children, He imparts to us to show to those whom He brings into our lives. May we seek the Lord and His unending love, so that we never give up, nor lose faith, and share hope as we continue to choose to love through all things.

 

The Lord, who is love,love-never-gives-up

Will never give up;

He loves endlessly,

As He fills our cup.

Always He grants hope,

So faith is not lost;

Through each circumstance,

No matter the cost.

May we also choose,

To love in all things;

As we impart hope,

Through grace that we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never give up on us. Thank You that You fill us with faith and hope and grant us endurance to navigate all things because Your love does not end. Forgive us for losing faith or hope in the trials of life, and teach us how to trust in Your love in all things. Show us how to love in a way that never gives up nor loses faith, that always hopes and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the depth and unending power of Your love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. 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

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, CEB)

 

As various forms of media flood our minds with images of what love might look like, it is good to go back to the place where we find the truth. God is the author and creator of love, as He loved so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to be restored back to right relationship with Him. God Himself, is love. Paul unpacks for us, one of the most well-known and utilized chapters in scripture, as he wrote to the church in Corinth to help them understand what love is meant to be. His description set the standard for how we are meant to love well, and helps us examine our own hearts as we look to give and receive love. There is a vast difference between love and lust. Love looks outward, not in. Love is a choice to be patient, kind and giving without expectation of anything in return. Additionally, Paul unpacks for us, the things that love is not. If we want to truly love others, we must let go of jealousy, arrogance, rudeness, irritation, complaints, complacency, and the desire to look out for ourselves first. Jesus made it known to us that our charge as His children is to love God and love people. When we are at a loss as to how we are meant to love, His word shows us the way. May we choose to love others as we are loved by God, and let His light be evident in our every word and deed.

 

The great love of God,Tether Our Hearts

Is patient and kind;

Not jealous or rude,

Keeps others in mind.

Love will not demand,

To have its own way;

It sets pride aside,

Will help, not delay.

No records of wrong,

Nor irritation;

Instead seeks justice,

Truth as it’s station.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us in Your Word, what is required. Thank You that we are not expected to love as You love on our own, but rather You strengthen and equip us by Your Spirit. Forgive us for allowing the world to dictate to our hearts and minds what love ought to be, and help us to view love through Your lens; always. Show us how to be patient and kind, even when it is difficult. Lead us to love others, seeking their good, rather than our own benefit. May many come to know You as their Savior and true Source of lasting love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

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