The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

United Purposeful Paths

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV)

Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, CEB)

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, TPT)

 

Assumption is the path to destruction in spaces where unity is being sought. Instead, we must seek to understand one another to find common ground and purpose, so that we may be united rather than divided – as shared perspectives and values accomplish much. That is not to say that values ought to ever be compromised, but rather they need to be heard to search for common ground to identify a starting point. The more that we come together, the more often we discover our purpose and intent is seeking the same outcome. May we seek the Lord’s wisdom to be united rather than divided, so that we may be restored as a body that lives together in harmony and aligned purpose.

 

Brothers and sisters, United Purposeful Paths

Let us choose pursue;

Purpose united,

So division’s through.

Together in thought,

Let minds be renewed;

New harmony found,

In common values.

Let’s seek understand,

As we are made new;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In grace, living true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live united, not divided. Thank You that You call us to seek common purpose, perspective and values so that we may accomplish much in Your Name. Forgive us for fixating on the little things that are insignificant rather than those that last forever. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would view things through Your lens. Show us how to see people and situations through Your eyes, so that we would be able to hear and understand where common ground can be found. Help us to love others in a way that helps create unity and restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be united in purpose with those whom You have placed on our path. Amen.

 

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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

Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (1 Corinthians 1:3, NLT)

 

As many of you know, I am a very early riser. My typical wake-up time on work days is 3:30 am. Yesterday morning, I woke to the sound of a sweet text message on my phone, rather than the usual song that my alarm is set to play. When I looked at the time, I realized it was two hours and twenty minutes later than my typical waking time, and I was going to have to move quickly to get out the door on time. Normally, being thrown off that much would have sent me into a bit of a panic mode, yet yesterday, I felt grace and peace. Although I was sad to not spend the first portion of my day doing devotions and writing, I felt His grace and peace, reminding me that my body needed to be nourished too. Additionally, my boys got going the moment I woke them, and were able to get ready and out the door on time, despite the late start. His grace and peace were given to each of us, and all three of us ultimately had good days, despite what could have produced a panicked start. The Lord is faithful to give grace and peace when we look to Him. May His grace and peace be present today, no matter what comes your way.

 

The God of all grace,Aquiring Armor

Will always be near;

He grants us His peace,

And calms all our fears.

We need not panic,

Nor allow stress reign;

For God is our strength,

He makes our path plain.

Seek the Lord always,

Be filled with His grace;

Let His peace lead us,

To walk well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts of Your grace and peace that You freely and lavishly give unto us. Thank You that You meet us in our moments of need, and bring calm to what could be chaotic. Forgive us for allowing panic to reign, rather than slowing down to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You and Your strength for grace and peace when things are askew. Show us how to extend Your grace and peace to those around us, so that they come to know how deeply You love each of us, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace and peace that You give, and then go forth to share the same with all whom we meet. Amen.

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

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

Givers of Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (1 Corinthians 1:3, NLT)

 

Yesterday was a perfect reminder of how abundantly God pours out His grace and peace when we are in need. So often, He uses the people around us to make His hands and heart for us tangible. Saturday evening, I was visiting dear friends and got blasted with the worst migraine of my life. Between the intensity of the pain in my head and the continuous vomiting, I was completely miserable. Rather than rush me home, these dear friends sacrificed their own comfort to tend to me through the night, despite multiple wake-ups to be ill, and made sure I was still hydrated enough to be safe. In the morning when I was brought home, my treasured friend asked if there was anything else I might need. It wasn’t long, and she was back again, just to be present so that I wouldn’t be home alone. Despite the pain, there was peace, as it was made tangible through the presence of one willing to be near. Additionally, I was supposed to be in the nursery at church yesterday morning, and could not move without being ill. I received a text asking if I was coming, and when I let her know that I had a migraine and was ill, I was again showered with grace. The few dear friends who heard of what was going on, checked in to see how I was doing, and my own boys were tender hearts as they made sure mom was okay throughout the day. All this to say that His grace and peace are true and tangible. I never cease to be amazed at how He demonstrates His loving kindness to us. May God our Father give you a fresh grace and peace today as you go.

 

The Lord of all grace,photo (16)

Is so good to give;

His hands and His heart,

Bring peace where we live.

He makes His heart known,

As His love surrounds;

Tangible friendships,

Where goodness abounds.

Oh what a treasure,

To know grace and peace;

Amazing blessings,

Through friends are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace and peace that You give to us. Thank You that You use the hands, hearts, and voices of those around us to show us in tangible ways, just how great Your love is for us. Thank You for the gift of treasured friends. Forgive us for not trusting You enough to slow down and seek You for the grace and peace that we so desperately need in the midst of our busy lives. Show us how to be grace givers and peace providers to all of those around us, so that we can love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace and peace that You so generously give, and then go forth and do likewise. Amen.

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

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

 

 

The Fallacy of Foolishness

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NLT)

For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tall tale for fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued and made right, it is nothing short of God’s power. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, VOICE)

 

The very idea that someone would come and die on our behalf to take away all of our sin and shame, seems too good to be true. Why would someone who was without sin, take on every sin that ever was and will ever be? Remarkably, the very same God who created each of us, loves us so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to return to a right relationship with Him. Once we discover the powerful presence of Christ in our lives, we can begin to wrap our minds around the magnitude of His sacrifice and the depth of His love for us. In the presence of God, there is peace when storms surround us, hope when circumstances point to despair, and light and life when darkness and death are what seem inevitable. His power and grace provide way where no way seems possible. May we readily receive the message of the cross, for the power of God alone, is what saves.

 

On ruin’s wide road,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

foolish seems the cross;

why would someone die,

for me, take a loss?

The powerful love,

for you and for me;

is why Jesus chose,

to hang on that tree.

His love made the way,

for all to draw near;

to come to know Him,

He makes the path clear.

We must choose believe,

the truth of His word;

embrace and obey,

follow undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made the way for us to come close to You. Thank You that it is by Your power, we are saved. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks we have to somehow earn Your gift of grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, and would desire with all that we are, to walk in Your ways and live out the truth. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and grace, so that they too may embrace the hope that we now hold. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in the reality of being rescued and made right by Your power alone. Amen.

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

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. – 1 Corinthians 1:25

 

Strong to the End

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. – (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

 

The promised strength and covering of Christ is given not because we are somehow “good enough“, but rather because He is faithful. As we choose to place our trust in Him, the Lord leads us out of our lives of sin, and looks at us through the lens of His Son. Though not one of us are blameless before Him, we are forgiven, and seen as spotless because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. More than that, we are welcomed into an eternal fellowship with Christ, from the moment we first believe. The Creator of all, whom we despised and rejected, now calls us His children; His friends. May we go forth in His strength, as we recognize the faithfulness of He who calls us His own.

 

Those who have answered,Faith for Forever

we’ve been welcomed in;

Christ’s own fellowship,

those set free from sin.

He grants us His strength,

to stand strong in Him;

to remain blameless,

led by Christ within.

He calls us His own,

kids of Christ the King;

despite our failures,

to hope we may cling.

For what He’s promised,

will always be true;

the Lord is faithful,

what He says, He’ll do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, and You grant us strength and cover us, making us blameless before You. Thank You that You welcome us into fellowship with You and consider us Your own. Forgive us for not trusting You enough, or for doubting Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, even when we see no evidence of Your presence. Make us strong and blameless before You, so that we may go forth in truth. Help us to live and love in such a way, that those around us see You clearly. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness and follow You with all that we are. 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