Ever Be

But You are always the same; You will live forever. – (Psalm 102:27, NLT)

But You never change. You will live forever! – (Psalm 102:27, ERV)

But You are the same, You will never change; Your years will never come to an end. – (Psalm 102:27, VOICE)

 

As I read the various versions of this particular passage, song lyrics began to play through my mind immediately. The song, Ever Be, by Aaron Shust, has a line that kept repeating over and over as I took in the truth – “Faithful You have been and faithful You will be…” God is always the same and will not change. His love and faithfulness for us, remain for all time. Before the world began, He was. Long after life as we know it ceases, He will be. The constant is God. When everything that surrounds us seems to be swirling out of control, the one true thing that shall always remain, is who God is and how He loves. He is the anchor of our soul, and the One on whom we can always depend. May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good and loving and kind, and His faithfulness will never end.

 

For You never change, The Reason for Reverence

You’re always the same;

Faithful forever,

We trust in Your Name.

Though we are all born,

And will one day die;

You are forever,

Hope never denied.

Help us always seek,

You, our faithful Lord;

All praise be to You,

The One we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always the same, and that Your Kingdom knows no end. Thank You that Your faithfulness is forever, and we can trust in You. Forgive us for thinking that You are fickle like us, that You would somehow change Your mind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would readily believe and receive all that You have for us, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love others with the same faithfulness that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days that You never change and that Your years shall not ever end. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Live Right by His Light

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)

Christ carried our sins in His body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you were healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, ERV)

 

As I continue to contemplate the cross and Easter, and everything that this week means, a portion of this morning’s read reminds us why Jesus did what He did. He chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that all might have the choice to live for what is right. No excuses, no burdens of the bad that we have been – Jesus bore them all on the cross so that we could be healed and set free. It is in our discovering of this freedom from the weight of our own unworthiness, that we begin to grasp the greatness of our Savior’s sacrifice and the depth of His decision to love. May we each embrace the gift of grace that God has given, and walk forward in the freedom found through the sacrifice the Savior made on our behalf.

 

Christ carried our sins,Live Right by His Light

On His body, bore;

The weight of the world,

To be veiled, no more.

No longer removed,

By our sin and shame;

For Christ took it all,

Truth we can now claim.

By His very wounds,

We each have been healed;

So we can live right,

As truth is revealed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfathomable gift that You gave as You sent Your Son to carry the cross for our sin. Thank You Jesus for showing us what a life of love looks like first, and then going on and bearing the burden of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we could have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for continuing to sink into sin, and help us to seek You to show us the way to live right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in a way that brings light into darkness, so that all might see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the gift of grace that we have been given, and look to You to live right. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Eyes Fixed Forward

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. – (Proverbs 4:25, NLT)

Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you. – (Proverbs 4:25, VOICE)

Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. (Proverbs 4:25, AMP)

 

It is far better to fix our eyes on what is directly in front of us, than it is to focus on what has been, or on that which is yet to come. We are designed to be fully engaged in each day as it arrives, and we are only able to do that if we are seeking the Lord and trusting Him as we move forward into each new day. The Lord is faithful to show us the ways in which we are meant to move, if we keep our sights set on our Savior. He makes plain the path and lovingly directs our steps, so that we are able to navigate each new thing as it comes. May we keep our eyes up, ever looking to the Lord, so that we may clearly see what lies before us and walk in a way that is upright before Him.

 

Let us lift our heads,Bold in Battle

Each focus our eyes;

Directly forward,

And on Christ, rely.

With the Lord in us,

He helps us to see;

Not just the struggle,

But integrity.

He points us the path,

Where we’re meant to go;

To do right by Him,

Learn, live, love and grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to keep our heads up and our eyes forward so that we do not lose our focus on You and the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for allowing the things of life to distract us or detour us from the way that You have prepared for us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not stray from the direction and calling that You place before us, and help us to fix our eyes securely on You and where You are leading us to go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the good in whatever is directly in front of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our heads up and our eyes fixed forward on You and what You ask us to do. Amen.

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

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

 

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