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

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

413999ed-2061-46e4-9b6c-565cd74dcf5d5593075506363422581.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

A Christmas Prayer

I pray that God, the Source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

Christmas is a season that reminds us of the hope that we hold in our hearts, and grants opportunities to be refreshed in joy and peace as dear ones gather to celebrate. For many, peace is elusive and joy seems hard to find. Too often the weight of the world rests on the shoulders of those whom were never meant to bear it, and the burdens of life create a barrier to the hope they once held dear. Our charge, as those who are holding fast to this hope, is to allow His joy and peace to flow from us to all whom we meet. It is in each encounter where joy and peace are shared, that glimpses of hope are given, and often reignited in the hearts of those who have lost sight of what they once knew. May we go forth in perfect peace as we trust our Provider, and spread joy because of the hope that we hold close in our hearts.

 

This Christmas I pray, A Christmas Prayer

That the God of peace;

Will renew all hope,

And fresh joy, release.

As we choose to trust,

He comes alongside;

Fills those completely,

Who in Him abide.

Let us draw nearer,

His power receive;

Hope shall overflow,

In all who believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are our Source of hope, and You fill us with Your joy and peace when we trust in You. Thank You that these things You give to us are not only for us, but You fill us to overflowing, so that those around us may find hope, joy and peace as well. Forgive us for not trusting You completely when our circumstances seem hopeless. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You are the Overcoming One, who is our hope, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and peace, and extends hope where hope has grown dim. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our Hope and grant us Your joy and peace. 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

Steady Our Restless Souls

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is. – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

 

Our hope is in God and His promises. Because His love does not waiver, our hope is secure and our souls have an anchor by which to stand steadfast. No more does a curtain separate us from the presence of God, but rather we are welcome and invited to come before our Maker, as Christ covers us and makes the way. Let us hold fast to the hope that is real and true, as we trust in the One who is our anchor, and He steadies our restless souls.

 

The hope that is real,

The Anchor for Our Soul

Is steady, secure;

It’s found in the Lord,

Our anchor assured.

When restless our souls,

Let Christ lead us back;

The goodness of God,

That keeps us on track.

For in His presence,

The restless find peace;

Our hope is restored,

And fears are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope in You is real and true, and that You are the anchor that steadies our restless souls. Thank You that there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You, because Jesus made the way for us to draw near. Forgive us for not seeking You to steady our restless souls when the weight of the world makes us weary. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember where our hope dwells, and bring all things before You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may see Your heart and hope through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold our hope in You – the One who is real and true, who steadies our restless souls. 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

This is Real Love

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

Faithful Love Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

…His faithful love lasts forever. – (VOICE)

…His faithful love will last forever. – (ERV)

…His loving-kindness continues forever. – (TLB)

…His mercy endures forever. – (MEV)

 

Psalm 136 repeats the second line “His faithful love endures forever” in every verse. Twenty-six times we are reminded that the faithful love of God lasts forever. Typically, when something repeats in scripture, we are meant to take note and pay attention. A line that repeats in each verse of an entire chapter, leads to memorization and perhaps a passing through of the barrier between the head and the heart. God wants us to understand that He is loving, merciful and kind, and that His faithfulness is forever when we place our trust in Him. The Lord is good, and deserves all of our thanks. May we recognize His faithful love that lasts for all time, and give Him thanks for who He is.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,Confidence in Christ

for He is so good;

His love never ends,

and hope’s understood.

His loving kindness,

shall last for always;

so let us give thanks,

for all of our days.

His mercy endures,

though we deserve not;

the love that He gives,

when the truth is sought.

Let us each embrace,

the truth of His word;

His love shall not end,

may His hope be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your faithful love lasts forever. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and we are received with open arms. Thank You that Your mercy is new every morning, and that Your kindness is what leads us to repentance. Forgive us for doubting Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust in the truth of Your goodness and faithfulness that will not end. Show us how to love faithfully, all those around us, so that they too, might see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You for who You are and how Your love and faithfulness never ends. Amen.

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

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

Turn to Wisdom

And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. – (Titus 2:12-13, NLT)

Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. – (Titus 2:12-13, VOICE)

It (God’s grace) educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly living and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. – (Titus 2:12-13, CEB)

 

God grants us His grace because He completely and thoroughly loves us. Just as a parent loves their children well and gives them instruction to direct, correct and encourage them in the ways in which they are meant to go, God does the same for us. He does not tell us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures to punish or torture us, but rather He knows that such things create a barrier between us and Him, and He wants to help us avoid anything that will lead to such pain. We are charged to reject ungodly living and choose to live with wisdom, righteousness and devotion. In order to navigate our world, we need Him so that we are aware, have self-control, and remain upright in all of our ways. As we choose to invest our hearts and lives in Him, an expectation of the blessed hope that is yet to come rises within us, and we are assured of the glory of our great God, and the hope held in His promised return. May we allow His grace to grab hold of our hearts and lead us through this life, so that we walk in a way that is upright before Him, as we await the glorious day that we will see Him face-to-face.

 

We are called to turn,Refreshment Through Repentance

runaway, reject;

all that is godless,

may our hearts deflect.

To live in this age,

we need righteousness;

true wisdom from God,

the Lord’s holiness.

As we seek we find,

for God freely gives;

awareness and strength,

to righteously live.

It is in this space,

that we look ahead;

with glorious hope,

when Christ comes again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us in how we are meant to live; for Your ways result in wisdom, hope, help and life everlasting. Forgive us for our flirting with the ways of the world, and teach us how to walk upright before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would turn from all that is godless and sinful, and would be aware and operate with the self-control that You grant us. Show us how to love one another in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run away from godless living, and choose to depend on You to walk with wisdom, righteousness and devotion for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

The Benefit of Broken Barriers

Before Jesus, a barrier had been built that kept people from entering into the most holy place of God’s presence. Sin had separated mankind from God, leaving all of humanity deserving death. Jesus made the way for us to return to relationship with the Father, as He willingly laid down His life for ours. He alone was without sin; therefore the only worthy way for mankind to be made right before Him. “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” – (Matthew 27:50-51) Not only had the barrier of our sin been removed, but the barrier in the temple that kept everyone out of the most holy place, was split in two – granting tangible evidence of the spiritual truth.

 

We serve an approachable God. There is no barrier separating us from Him – for the price has been paid and the path has been laid. Our part, is to choose. Though He knocks on the door of our heart, God is gentle, and always waits for an invitation. His arms are extended and open wide, yet we must reach out our hands and heart to His. Any thought that tries to tell us that He could never forgive something that we have done, is a lie directly from the pit of hell. The price has been paid, yet we must be willing to receive what He is offering by faith. May we embrace His astounding grace, and enter into the most holy place, found in His perpetual presence within.

 

Gone is the curtain,The Benefit of Broken Barriers

that kept me from You;

barrier laid low,

for a way that’s new.

By Your sacrifice,

You took on the cross;

all our sin and shame,

so we won’t be lost.

The depth of Your love,

didn’t end on that hill;

You rose, ascended,

Spirit with us still.

Your grace makes us clean,

to You, our hearts praise;

lead us and guide us,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus for coming and willingly laying down Your life for ours. Thank You that You endured suffering and darkness that we cannot even begin to fathom, so that we would no longer be separated from You by our sinfulness. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your grace. Thank You that we can come to You, no matter what, and You will hear our hearts and love us the same. Forgive us for not bringing our brokenness, sin and shame before You, and help us to trust You with even the ugliest of our actions. Thank You that You are loving and trustworthy, and that You receive us as we come. Help us to extend mercy and grace to all whom we encounter, so that they may see You in us. Let Your love in us lead those who are looking, into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted in everything we say and do. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

Pray

Pray
Has trouble come near?

Distress in today?

Lift heart to heaven,

on bended knee, pray.

Is your heart happy?

Has joy come your way?

Lift hands of praise,

with thanksgiving, pray.

Is anyone sick,

in darkness this day?

Call on the elders,

and ask them to pray.

Be then anointed,

with oil today;

in the Name of God,

in faith, we must pray.

The Lord is Healer,

removes our decay;

grants us forgiveness,

as we choose to pray.

Confess all our sins,

the ugly array;

power is granted,

when the righteous pray.

(Responding to James 5:13-16)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through the sacrifice of Your Son, You removed the barrier that kept us from You, and granted us direct access to You as we pray. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and thank You that nothing is impossible for You. Thank You Jesus, for being our example as to how we are called to be prayerful always. Forgive us for attempting to forge forward without faithfully turning to You, and help our automatic response to all things – good or bad – be to turn our hearts to You and pray. May our prayers of faith point people to a place where they can see that perfect peace is found in You alone. Thank You that You are our Healer, Redeemer, and powerful Prince of Peace. Amen.

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