Category: Sacrifice


So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, ERV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, MSG)

 

Why a verse about running? Running is in the forefront of my mind. Tomorrow I leave to head north for my fourth Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a twelve-person, 200 mile relay, that begins early Friday morning, and ends sometime on Saturday afternoon as the final team crosses the finish line. Hundreds of teams participate, and there is an incredibly supportive and festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Each member runs three separate legs, varying in length, depending on experience, preference and physical condition. As a repeat Ragnarian and an avid fitness fanatic, I will be running leg eleven, which is one of the longest and most grueling legs, for which I earn a bonus medal. The thing I love about running is that it is a reminder of our spiritual life. If we are consistent in our training, (time in the word, time on the road/gym) we are prepared for obstacles that come our way. Though the uphills and battles may be unpleasant, when we are trained, we are able to fight through them and dig deep and lean into Him. May we ever run our race with purpose, every step we take. Each moment matters, as He has a plan and a purpose for all of His created.

 

Each one of us called,Run With Purpose

With purpose to run;

Towards the call given,

’til our days are done.

We’re meant to stay sharp,

To train, be alert;

Ever at ready,

To do the Lord’s work.

May we choose be fit,

Trained up in His word;

With strength and resolve,

To do as we’ve heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of running. Thank You for the parallels that You show me as I go. Thank You that training is essential in all things, and that is our reminder of how critical it is to spend time with You. Forgive us for attempting to run without purpose, or going out without being equipped with the time we need with You. Teach us to invest our time where it matters most, so that our hearts, minds and bodies are best prepared for whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see and know Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the strength that You give our bodies, and give You praise for the great things that You will do. 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

Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God. – (Leviticus 19:18, MSG)

 

It is amazing how applicable the Bible remains. This verse, this command that God gave to Moses to teach to the Israelites so that they might live holy lives, is still completely relevant and applicable today. Human nature wants to hold a grudge or retaliate when we are harmed, yet God instructs us to do otherwise. Our charge is to forgive and love, being mindful that He is God and we are not. Small grievances are fairly simple to forgive and forget, yet the more hurtful and lasting harm is much more difficult give to God and move forward. Forgiving and loving does not always mean running back to the one who did harm, but it does mean that we do not hold the hurt that caused harm, nor stay stuck in the space of sore. We must give God our hurt and frustrations, and seek His direction as to how to forgive and move forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and His help when we are wronged, and allow Him to show us how to forgive and love, despite our own desire to get even. Just as we have been forgiven, may we too forgive.

 

Do not seek revenge,choose-love1

When people cause hurt;

Instead, seek to love,

Let God show your worth.

For as we forgive,

God creates the space;

For people to see,

The light of His grace.

May we choose let go,

Of wrong people do;

And love as we’re loved,

So hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we do wrong, You do not seek revenge nor hold a grudge against us. Thank You that You forgive us and love us back to life. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for seeking revenge or holding grudges when we are wronged, and teach us to trust You more so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven. Show us how to love others as we love ourselves – not neglecting basic needs and seeking to demonstrate the same love that has been shown so lavishly upon us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forgive and let go of the wrongs done against us, and choose to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, NLT)

His love for His followers is as high above us a heaven is above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, ERV)

As high as the heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love for those who fear Him. – (Psalm 103:11, MSG)

 

God’s love never fails. He is faithful to demonstrate His love to those who faithfully follow Him. Our human minds cannot conceive the height nor depth of a sacrificial love so great that it will not fail. As we seek the Lord and follow after Him, we gain deeper insight and understanding of His love for us, individually. It is from that very space of being loved beyond what we can fully grasp, that we can go forth and love others well. May we ever pursue the Lord with all of our hearts, and share well what He has given to us with others.

 

For the love of God,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

Has strength that won’t quit;

For all who believe,

Shall come to know it.

There’s no height nor depth,

That we can conceive;

As great as His love,

For those who believe.

So, ever seek Him,

And trust in His Name;

For His love won’t fail,

This truth we proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love towards us is beyond our comprehension. Thank You that as we seek You and trust in You, You begin to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love to us, so that we might love like You. Forgive us for not seeking or embracing You, as Your love covers and cleanses all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever pursue a deeper understanding of who You are as we place our trust in You. Show us how to love well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love, and go forth to love as we are loved by You. 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

For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do to destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil the gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

We are no longer bound by Levitical law, but rather we have been set free by the sacrifice of Christ, to choose to follow Him. A life in Christ is not about living according to the letter of the laws of rituals, but instead it is all about opting to engage in a life of love. If our priority is choosing to love God and love people, we will use our freedom well and do what is pleasing before God. When we elect to engage in sin, we grieve the heart of God and abuse the freedom that was granted in love. May we ever seek to love the Lord and those He places in our path, and trust Him to help us lead a life that honors Him.

 

Brothers and sisters,Generous Giving

We each have been called;

To live in freedom,

By grace, not by law.

The freedom we have,

Is not meant for sin;

But rather to love,

And let others in.

In our gift to choose,

May we opt to serve;

Love as we are loved,

So hope can be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that it is not freedom to do wrong, but rather to make the choice to follow You and live a life of love because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Forgive us for abusing our freedom and not allowing Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love in all things. Help us to love and serve one another as Jesus loved and served. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve as You have shown us what it is to love and serve. 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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV)

 

Though God’s word has been carved in the corners of my heart, this is the time of year that love threatens to leave me and my faithfulness falters when facing the ongoing adversity of the end of the year. There are days that school feels more like a combat zone than a place of teaching and learning, and I question my calling to this career. I manage, by the grace of God, to keep my responses calm, but internally, that which is bound around my neck and nearly choking me, is not necessarily the most loving. This week, I was granted favor that was not deserved on two occasions that made all of the difference in the moments in which they occurred. Part of my investment in such early rising, is to prepare my heart and mind for whatever may come my way each day. Without time to quietly reflect on the goodness of God, His love and faithfulness would likely feel out of reach for me. I need reminders often for things to resonate and remain at rest within me. God is good, even when our circumstances are frustrating or trying, and He loves us more than we can fathom. May we let His love and faithfulness be what we display, and allow His truth to take hold of our hearts; for favor and a good name in the sight of God and man come through walking in His ways.

 

Let God’s faithfulness,Delivering Dreams

And love remain near;

Write truth on our hearts,

So His way is clear.

As we choose follow,

Walk right and obey;

We gain the favor,

Of those on our way.

To have a good name,

Before God and man;

What faithful love does,

It’s part of God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love and faithfulness never leave us, and that as we bind them around our neck and write them upon our heart, You use them to grant us favor and a good name in Your sight and the sight of others. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to hijack our emotions, rather than running to You for strength and help and hope when the burden is too heavy to bear. Teach us how to seek You in all situations, so that love and faithfulness never leave us. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we bind Your love and faithfulness around our necks and write them on the tablets of our hearts. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

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

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NLT)

 

God loved us so much that He gave without limits and chose to draw near. Because of His sacrifice, we have the capacity to love one another, just as we are loved. With a free will, we have the choice to take the very love that we have been given and give it away, thus ever growing in His likeness, or we can withhold love and deny who and what we have been created to become. As we opt to love others as we are loved by God, His love that lives within us rises up and is reflected in a way that offers the remarkable gifts of mercy and grace that God abundantly gives. May we ever choose to love one another as God loves us, so that He who dwells deep within us might be made clearly known.

 

Because we are loved,Tether Our Hearts

So we should love too;

For God gave us all,

To bless and make new.

Though we’ve never seen,

God with our own eyes;

We’ve received His grace,

Found hope realized.

It’s through this great love,

That others may see;

Who God really is,

And become set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You gave without limits and chose to come close. Thank You that You dwell within every heart that invites You to be Lord. Thank You that as we love one another, Your love lives in us and is fully expressed through us. Forgive us for the times that we withhold love when You are calling us to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be living expressions of Your love to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 54:8

But He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. – (Acts 14:17, NLT)

 

When Paul and Barnabas were sharing the good news in Lystra, and the people began to be misguided and were not recognizing and giving credit where credit was due, Paul reminded them of the great things that God had done for them in the past, and how He was continuing to make His presence known. The same still holds true today. Every blessing and good and perfect gift, comes from our Father above. Though not one of us particularly enjoy seasons of struggle, they tend to help us recognize and appreciate all the more, the glorious gifts and boundless blessings that God so generously gives to us. As we sit for a moment in silence on this Saturday, when so many years ago they were celebrating a most somber Sabbath, we can give thanks, for we know the hope that tomorrow holds. The grave could not contain Christ. Blessing beyond what anyone could have fathomed was on the way, and oh the joy that all would know in but one more day! May we all take pause to recognize the blessings that God has given us; our family and friends, our surroundings, freedoms, employment, homes, hope, health, and more than anything, the promise of eternal life with Him.

 

As I look around,Hope in What is Unseen

It is plain to see;

Evidence of God,

And His love for me.

He’s given me life,

Hope, faith, love and joy;

All things that I need,

And two baby boys.

Even in heartache,

His presence stays near;

His peace gives me hope,

And chases off fear.

Wherever I go,

I can’t help but see;

The glory of God,

In all before me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us evidence of Yourself everywhere we go. Thank You that we can see You in the beauty of Your creation around us, as well as in the eyes of the people that You place in our lives. Thank You for the love, peace and joy that You give, as we come to grasp the glory of our hope in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distract us from the hope we know, or keep us from giving You glory for all of the good that we know in You. Teach us to trust You more, for just as all seemed silent on that Sabbath, the very next day – You rose and nothing was ever the same again! Show us how to love in a way that offers hope and peace and joy to those who cannot see any. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the evidence of Your goodness everywhere we go. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

“We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:41-43, NLT)

 

This scene so perfectly depicts the mercy and grace that God is willing to give if we choose Him. Like the criminals hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we all deserve to die for our sin. Not one of us is sinless, and the promised punishment for sin is death. However, while we were yet stuck in our sin, just as those hanging beside Him, Jesus chose to bear the burden for all so that we could come to Him to have life everlasting. All it took for the criminal in his final hours of life, was the recognition and admission of who Jesus was, and how he deserved what he himself was receiving. In asking to be remembered, the criminal was granted the mercy and grace that is given to each of us who choose to do the same. When we come to Christ and call on His Name, admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior who are seeking His forgiveness and grace, He grants us the very same promise of eternal life that was given on that most remarkable day. May we remember the price Christ paid for our sins, and the love that leads us to life everlasting.

 

Criminal status,Shackles No More

All of us with sin;

Each destined to die,

‘less grace enters in.

Because of the cross,

We all can choose claim;

Christ as our Savior,

Find hope in His Name.

For it is by grace,

That we all may come;

Receive His mercy,

O Most Holy One.

So come one and all,

Seek mercy and grace;

Receive forgiveness,

Everlasting place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for willingly taking our sin upon Yourself, so that we could be made righteous before You. Thank You for loving us despite our unworthiness. Forgive us for thinking that we or anyone else has to be qualified somehow to deserve mercy and grace. Teach us to love as You love, so that we would offer mercy and grace to all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You have loved us. 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

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