Chosen to Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This is love: that we live according to His commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. – (2 John 1:6, CEB)

 

We are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion. When days seem dark and the rubber meets the road, this is the time that we must dig deep and choose to love one another, just as we are loved by God. As we opt to offer kindness, encouragement and the benefit of the doubt to others, remarkably, the same is returned our way. Even in the moments when it is not, we can rest easy in knowing that we walked our road according to His will. May we choose love as we are commanded, and extend patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and choose to persevere.

 

Commanded to love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

It’s what we have heard;

To choose live in love,

It is the Lord’s word.

Though we were unkind,

Unworthy of grace;

God chose to love us,

As we sought His face.

Thanks to His mercy,

We can do the same;

Live a life of love,

That honors His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved us with Your life. Thank You that because You love us, we can go and love one another according to Your command. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend love to those around us as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of love that fulfills what You expect of Your children. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends patience and kindness, that chooses to protect and trust, that offers hope and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love according to Your command. 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

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Choosing to Live in Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

If we love God, we will do whatever He tells us to. And He has told us from the very first to love each other. – (2 John 1:6, TLB)

 

It is easy to love those who love us well, yet it is quite another thing to actively choose love again and again, those who do not display behaviors that reflect anything that has to do with love.  I find myself in a very disenchanted space with one of my classes at school. There is an especially large group of students that act out in the most unloving of ways, that exhaust my patience and desire to persevere, daily. Each day is new, yet the same struggles and trials continue to present themselves over and over again. Love is patient and love is kind, and love keeps no record of wrongs. My patience and kindness have been extended day in and day out, granting a new start each day, however, we have come to a place where something has to give. I guess this is a space where I simply throw up my hands and say to the Lord, “Show me how to love in a way that makes a difference.” God is good and He is faithful to meet us in our space of need. May we ever seek Him with our requests, as He longs to help us love as we are called to love.

 

Show me how to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As Your word commands;

Lead me in this life,

To follow Your plans.

Despite what I get,

Help me choose to give;

Love that is like Yours,

By grace, help me live.

Help me to extend,

Your love to others;

So Your light is seen,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You command us to love because You first loved us. Forgive us for growing weary in extending love to those who are less loveable. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as You are our Source of strength and light and life, and You refresh, renew and refill us again and again as we actively call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do what You have commanded us by choosing to live in love. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

How Darkness Disappears

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. – (John 1:4-5, NLT) 

In Him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. – (John 1:4-5, ERV) 

His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched. – (John 1:4-5, VOICE) 

 

The book of John begins with a reminder that Jesus was in the beginning, and the light that He brings cannot be extinguished. When we seek the Lord and His love, the light that He grows within us, cannot be burned out. Darkness disappears with even the smallest of lights. A small flame allows our eyes to see where previously nothing could be seen. The more we see and know, the more the light within us grows. May we ever seek the Lord and the light of His love, so that we may be light in darkness and shine where love is lacking. 

 

In the beginning, The Lord Listens

Was the Word with God; 

He became a man, 

And on the earth trod. 

Into the darkness, 

The Lord brought His light; 

To love us to life, 

And make all things right. 

When we seek the Lord, 

Allow His light in; 

Darkness disappears, 

And true love begins. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to shine light in the darkness and love us to life where we were dead. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces and teach us to trust You to shine in the places where we cannot see through the muck. Show us how to be light in darkness as we love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel the flames of the light that You breathed within us, so that we may go forth and shine bright in Your love. Amen. 

 

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

 

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

The Foundation of Wisdom

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. – (Proverbs 9:10, NLT)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, CEB)

 

The sort of fear that comes from respect and reverence for our Redeemer is the very space that results in real understanding as to who God is and how He loves. As we grow in our understanding, wisdom weaves its way into our hearts. To know God, one cannot help but stand in awe and wonder as to who He is and how He loves, in spite of who we are and all that we have done. Growing up, I had a healthy fear of my mom, not because she was scary or unkind, but rather because I wanted to do well and please her, as she did so much for me. It is much the same with God. Though He has the power to determine the number of my days, He is a loving God and the fear that leads to wisdom, is more one of recognizing who He is and how One so incredible could care for individuals among the billions alive on the earth. I want to choose well and be wise because He has chosen me. May we ever seek to know the Lord with proper awe and reverence, so that we may find wisdom to walk in His ways.

 

The fear of the Lord, Refreshment Through Repentance

Is where wisdom’s found;

True knowledge of Him,

Leads to choices, sound.

Real understanding,

From the Holy One;

Is granted by grace,

As we seek the Son.

Help us choose be wise,

With respect and fear;

Trust the Holy One,

For He will draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we fear and revere You, You reveal more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that the more that we know You, the better our understanding becomes to make wise decisions. Forgive us for not giving You the proper praise and awe that is due, and for not seeking to understand more of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever pursue Your will and Your way. Lead us to walk in wisdom according to Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates respect and reverence for You, and inspires good judgment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom with reverent hearts, desiring to do Your will throughout our days. 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

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Made to Mother

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb before I took my first breath. – (Psalm 139:13, VOICE)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. – (Psalm 139:13, ERV)

 

At the very beginning of our existence, there was God and our mother. No matter what the circumstance or situation, each one of our mothers chose to carry us to term, and God knit us together in the space of our mother’s womb. I know for some, there is sorrow connected to Mother’s Day, either for lack or loss or what should have been. For those who are mourning, I pray that He would hold your heart in His hands and remind You that He is with you in a tangible way. On the other side of motherhood, may those who have mothers who have been invested and available, find way to extend appreciation today and always. Additionally, each of us have been shaped to touch the lives of those around us. Whether we are mothers by blood or not, it takes little to see those around us who could use the love and encouragement that a maternal figure can offer. May we recognize the remarkable work that our Redeemer did, even before we drew our first breath, and let us also go forth and love well as He has called us to love.

 

Shaped with a purpose,Made to Mother

Before our first breath;

It is no mistake,

We’ve life over death.

Each mother gave life,

Now we have a role;

To rise up in faith,

Let Christ make us whole.

For God is so good,

His heart of love finds;

Ways for us to give,

Grace and hope that binds.

May we choose to be,

Sister and mother;

One who loves as Christ,

Our heart to others.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers. Thank You for the mothers who love well, and show us what it is to love as You love us. Thank You that even the mothers who did not love well, chose to give life and allowed You to create the gift of the life that exists before us. Thank You that You comfort those who mourn, and that You can use any heart that is willing to speak life as a mother to those who are lacking. Forgive us for not fully appreciating the gift we have around us in the women You have placed in our lives to be motherly to us. Teach us to love and appreciate the gifts that You so generously give. Show us how to love those in need, as we are so lavishly loved by You. Thank You for the amazing gift of my own Momma. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the remarkable that You have done, and go forth in love as we are called. 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

Evidence Eliminates Excuse

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people. – (Romans 1:20, VOICE)

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. – (Romans 1:20, NLT)

 

The evidence of God’s existence is everywhere. We need not look far to stand in awe and wonder at the power of His mighty hands, as our eyes take in the display set before us by the Divine. No great cosmic accident could cause the mountains to rise and the seas to know just how far to come ashore. Though there may be commonalities in genetic coding, there is no one on the planet that can convince me that my children evolved from apes. Only a loving, powerful and creative God would give such attention to all things. Though I have only seen but a small portion of the planet, the parts that I have seen continue to leave me awestruck at the glory of God as He gave. Beyond that, when I look in the eyes of those whom He has placed in my life to love, His power is proven again and again, both by how He moves, and through the grace and goodness He grants to us and through us. May we never stop being aware of everything that He has made, and stand in awe at the mighty works of His hands.

 

Since the world began,called-to-hope

God’s hand has been clear;

His fingerprints seen,

Through sky and earth near.

In all things He’s made,

We see the unseen;

Eternal power,

What His divine means.

No one has excuse,

For not knowing God;

All around us He’s seen,

Let us stand in awe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the evidence of You that is all around us. Thank You for all that You have created for us. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize the work of Your hands in all things. Teach us how to see the world through Your eyes, so that we would have Your heart for people and treat well, the gift of our surroundings that You have made. Show us how to love those around us so that we can be further evidence of Your hand and heart in the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have made, and seek to see it all through Your eyes. 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

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

Christ in Christmas

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

This is the night where the world takes pause to remember the most sacred occasion where heaven came to earth in the form of a baby boy. Born in a stable, not fit for the Savior of the world, yet God gave incredible assurance that this was indeed the way Mary and Joseph were meant to walk as they brought this blessed bundle forth in a stable surrounded by animals. Angelic visitations had announced that He would be born, heavenly hosts proclaimed His arrival – flooding the night sky over the heads of shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, and a bright star shone on His behalf to lead the way for those who were meant to find Him. Though not necessarily the beginning we might envision for the One who saves the world from sin and shame, Jesus’ arrival changed everything. Because He came, grew, walked in obedience, willingly laid down His life in our place, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, we have way to be restored to right relationship with God. May we stop the activity on this day long enough to really recognize the significance of this most holy night that we celebrate. Jesus is the gift, and the reason we can give. Our Counselor, our God, our Father, and our Peace – these are the reasons we have light and life and love. Joy to the world, the Savior has come!

 

For a child was born,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

A Son was given;

The weight of the world,

He has forgiven.

The great Counselor,

Most mighty our God;

The Father who lasts,

Let our hearts applaud.

For He is our peace,

Born so we might live;

May we honor Him,

Through gifts that we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your only Son into the world so that we might be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You love us so much that You willingly laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for not having our priorities in place and for forgetting the real reason for this most sacred season. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that all that we do is a reflection of You. Show us how to love and give as You do, so that our words and deeds are Your heart being made known to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as so many take the time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Let Christ be lifted high this Christmas. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

The Gift of Presence

I will make My home among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NLT)

My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NIV)

 

Long before the arrival of Christ, God had His plan in place to make things right again so that He could dwell among us. Humanity had become so broken and disconnected from God, that the only way to be restored to a right relationship with Him, was through the sending of His Son. This season marks the celebration of Jesus’ arrival; the beginning of the relationship that restored us to our Redeemer. Without Christ, we would be limited to only drawing as near to God as the outer courts of the temple. However, because Christ came, we can invite Him to be Lord of our lives, and He will come and make His home in us and among us. He no longer is God out there, but He is now the Lord who is always near. May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him who came from heaven to earth to make the way for us to know His nearness, both now and forevermore.

 

From heaven on high,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

He came down to dwell;

So people might know,

The hope His life tells.

As we lift our eyes,

To the Lord above;

He calls us His own,

Showers with His love.

Let us fix our gaze,

This holy season;

On Christ born to us,

Our hope and reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it has always been Your plan to dwell among us. Thank You that despite our sinfulness and brokenness, You made the way to restore a right relationship with You through the sending of Your Son. Forgive us for not fixing our eyes on You and the reason for the season, as we get caught up in the chaos of things that “need” to get done. Help us to slow down and settle in, so that we may meditate on the real meaning and the weight of what You have done for us all. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads hope and points them to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the treasured gift of Your presence this most sacred season. 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