Learn to Do Good

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – (Isaiah 1:17, NLT)

Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. – (Isaiah 1:17, MSG)

 

There are many practical and tangible ways that we can love people. A true testament of learning to love as Christ loves us, is when we choose to do for those who can do nothing for us in return. The choice to do good and help those who are unable to help themselves is an act of love that expects nothing in return. Orphans and widows are among those mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, indicating that they are a priority to the very heart of God. Sadly, we need not look far to discover people who would benefit from tangible and practical acts of love done on their behalf. It does not require great quantities of cash, or public platforms to make a difference in the lives of those around us. When we open our eyes to needs nearby, we are able to see small things that matter and can then step up and do to offer comfort and care to those who are hurting. May we go forth this day with eyes and hearts open, so that we are able to see and know what we can do practically and tangibly to extend good into the lives of those who need it most.

 

With heart wide open,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

I suddenly see;

Not only the needs,

But answers through me.

Small acts of kindness,

Extended in love;

God uses for good,

His grace shines above.

Choose to seek justice,

Give help to oppressed;

Defend defenseless,

For God’s way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do good on our behalf. Thank You that You provide help to the oppressed, You defend the orphans and the widows. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for thinking that we are unable to do anything to help those in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the circumstances of those around us through Your eyes, and the possible solutions and care that we can offer. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways so that those in need would know Your love is real. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek justice, help those in need, defend those who are unable to defend themselves, and learn to do the good that You call us to do. 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

Unseal My Lips

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise You. – (Psalm 51:15, NLT)

O Lord, pry open my lips that this mouth will sing joyfully of Your greatness. – (Psalm 51:15, VOICE)

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – (Psalm 51:15, ERV)

 

Be it by circumstances or lack of stamina, sometimes we fail to let our lips offer praise to the Lord when it is overdue, and instead allow things that do not benefit anyone to escape our mouths. We cannot simultaneously sing praise and complain. Either our hearts are fixed on His greatness, or we are looking away at that which distracts. If we seek the Lord and set our hearts and minds on who He is and all that He has done, the very mouth that meant to grumble only moments before, suddenly cannot help but sing of the greatness of God. A holy perspective unseals locked lips, and opens hearts to praise He who is worthy. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord above, allowing Him to reveal more and more of who He is and what He has done, so that we cannot help but sing praise unto the Lord.

 

Oh Lord, let my eyes,unseal-my-lips

Fix clearly on You;

So my heart may hold,

All that is the truth.

Lord, unseal my lips,

So that I may praise;

This heart shall sing songs,

That tell of Your ways.

With joy, songs shall flow,

From this heart of mine;

Because You are great,

O Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that as we seek You, You reveal more and more of who You are, and show Your loving kindness unto us. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise. Unseal our lips so that we would ever bring praise before You. Teach us to praise You in all that we do. May our very lives be a song sung to You. Show us how to love others as You so joyfully and generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy, of the greatness of who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

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

For Love to Flourish

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

So this is my prayer: that your love would flourish and that you will learn not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of. – (Philippians 1:9-10, MSG)

 

Though this was Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, it is still applicable to us today. When we learn to love as Christ loves us, all those around us benefit. We must understand what is important to God, and love with our intellect as well as our heart. As we choose to prioritize that which matters most, our lives become an example of what it is to love as we are loved by Him. May we learn to love much, and love well, just as we are loved by Christ.

 

Help our love to grow,Enter With Thanksgiving

In wisdom and strength;

To see what matters,

What depth and what length.

May we use our mind,

As well as our heart;

To love as You love,

Give all, not just part.

Let us be blameless,

By Your loving grace;

So we are prepared,

For Your sweet embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invest our hearts in knowing You more, You grow Your love, knowledge and understanding in us, all the more. Thank You that You show us what is important and what is not, and You lead us in the way in which we are called to love like You. Forgive us for basing our love and affection on sentiment rather than on what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the difference between what is important and what is not, and that we would love according to Your example. Show us how to love others in a way that makes You proud and encourages all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help our love flourish like Yours. 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

Hand-Crafted for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

 

As I am preparing to go to high school camp as the girls’ cabin leader next week, this verse is a great reminder for my heart. I want to do and be all that God desires, yet in Him, I already am. My job is to show up and be available. He prepared the way, long before I even knew that I would be going. Some of the details that have come to light this week have been mind-blowing. The way that God has orchestrated the pairing of the person whom I will co-lead with is unbelievable. She and I have walked parallel roads, and share stories that are so similar, it is almost eerie. Just knowing that, I cannot even begin to fathom the other details that He has prepared for the benefit of the campers and fellow leaders. It is going to be a phenomenal week. When we are mindful of who we are in Him, and allow Him to be God and we choose to show up and walk where He leads – the possibilities are endless. May we choose to embrace the grace of being His handiwork, and move forward in faith where He calls.

 

Hand-crafted, we’re His,Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Created in Christ;

Made to do good works,

Our Father’s delight.

Prepared in advance,

The Lord makes a way;

For us to follow,

So we can obey.

It is from this space,

Of obedience;

That lives can be changed,

And hope can advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your workmanship, created in You to do good works that You prepared in advance for us to do. Thank You that You equip us and walk beside us in the process. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do anything in our own strength or of our own accord. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to do the things You have prepared in advance for us to do. Lead us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do that which You have prepared for us to do. 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

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Is there any task or chore that you despise? For me, I am not a fan of housework. There are a million things that I would rather do, outdoors, than be stuck inside cleaning. The worst part for me, is when I set my intentions to get after it and get the job done, I might begin strong, but often become distracted by something that I find, and end up not finishing what I began.

It is the same with sin. We know which way is right and determine in our hearts that we will follow what is good before God, and then end up doing the very things we wanted to avoid. Our inability to navigate without sin reminds us of how desperately we are in need of a Savior. His word, His laws – are all for our benefit to identify the right way and to know the way we’re meant to walk. Without His Spirit dwelling within us, there would be no way to consistently follow His commands. By His grace, we are forgiven when we fall, and in His strength, we can choose what is right.

 

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. – (Romans 7:15-16, MSG)

 

Paul was well aware of his own short-comings. He recognized the pull of his own broken humanity to lead him away from that which he knew he was meant to do. It was through his recognition of his own need, that he became dedicated to dependence on Christ. We too are in need of Christ to lead us in the way we are meant to go. Without Him, we continue to do the very things we despise. May we embrace the grace that God gives through the gift of His Son, and allow Him access to lead us on the path we are meant to travel.

 

When I long to go,The Direction of Discipline

The way of the Lord;

Do what He deems right,

I try, but then fold.

For the sinfulness,

That dwells deep within;

Will rise up and rule,

When not seeking Him.

The way God commands,

Is not to bring harm;

But rather to save,

To righteously arm.

By God’s saving grace,

We’re able to do;

What He asks of us,

By His strength, ensue.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our battle with our own sinfulness, You come near and love us to life. Thank You that by Your grace, we are forgiven and set free to do what is right before You. Forgive us for attempting to do things our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue You in all that we do, and walk upright before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and grace, so that they might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, so that we might do that which You are calling us into. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Help to Build

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” – (Romans 15:2, MSG)

 

When we grow in strength and maturity in our walk with the Lord, it is not just for our benefit. We are charged to love God AND love people. To love people is to meet them in their need, and do what we can, as we are able, to help them grow and build them up. If our words and deeds are not life-giving, they are a waste of time and energy. That is not to say that in tough times we do not need a safe outlet, but rather when it is well with our soul, we ought to be light and life to those around us. May we rise up in the strength that we have been given, and seek to serve those in need around us for His glory.

 

When we grow in strength,The Power of the Tongue

And our faith does rise;

Our charge is to serve,

Be hope realized.

For people in need,

Need hope so they’ll grow;

A hand that’s offered,

Is God’s grace that’s shown.

Help us to rise up,

To see those in need;

Offer what we have,

To Him, let us lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that you strengthen and grow us in You when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You do so not just for our benefit, but also for those around us. Forgive us for not helping and building up those for whom we are charged to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve, even when it is inconvenient. Show us how to love others to life through loving and serving, just as You so love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to serve and help those around us, so that they may grow stronger in faith. 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

 

Tender Mercy to Perfect Peace

With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will shine on us. It will bring light to those who live in darkness, in the fear of death. It will guide us into the way that brings peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, ERV)

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, NLT)

 

The merciful morning light from heaven, the new day that shines upon us, has indeed already come. Zechariah was speaking of the birth and life of Jesus that was drawing near. We have the benefit of the light of His life, death, resurrection and ascension, as all have already taken place. Because Christ lived, we no longer need live in darkness nor fear of death. When we trust in Him, He guides us in His loving light, and shows us the path of peace. His ways are higher than our ways, and there is no fear in perfect love. Through Him, we can rest assured that this is not the end. We have a hope that is eternal, that is far greater than our minds can even conceive. May we trust in the tender mercy of our Maker, and allow His light to guide us on the path of peace.

 

Our merciful God,Believe Instead of Striving

great heavenly light;

Who has come to us,

to send fear to flight.

For there’s no darkness,

where His light is shined;

His light leads to peace,

for all He calls “Mine”.

We belong to Him,

when our hearts choose dwell;

in truth of His word,

He’ll help us live well.

May this brand new day,

be one to embrace;

as Christ lights the way,

in love, sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are tender and merciful. Thank You that You sent Your Son down from heaven to light the way out of the darkness and into the light of life with You. Thank You that Your light shines the way to the path of peace. Forgive us for not trusting in Your tender mercy each new day, or for not seeking You to light the way out of our spaces of darkness and into Your perfect peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that even in the midst of our darkest, stormiest seasons, we would rely on You to show us Your peace in spite of what surrounds us. Lead us to love others in a way that allows You loving light to shine through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your tender mercy and allow Your light to lead us on Your perfect path of peace. Amen.

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

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

Disciplined in Love

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. – (Revelation 3:19)

Just as a loving parent corrects and redirects a misguided child, so does our Heavenly Father do for us. It is because of His great love for us, that He does not allow us to stay stagnant in our sinfulness, nor remain rooted in wrong patterns. Christ came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and created the way for us to be called clean. Our charge is to come before Him and repent – to admit our wrong doing and turn away from that which pulled us away from the path which He has placed before us. Any time that we feel that nudge of the Holy Spirit, the check from His still small voice, we must listen and act with fidelity so that we do not become steeped in the snare of sin. May we trust our loving Lord, who is our Heavenly Father, as He loves us and only rebukes and disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to walk out the very best that He has for us. His plans are exceedingly greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

Because we are loved,Compassion in Confrontations

let us hear His voice;

for He will correct,

when we make poor choice.

He’ll show us the way,

to walk where He calls;

to escape the space,

of sin’s prison walls.

We must choose repent,

confess, turn away;

admit wrong doing,

return to His way.

Trust in our Father,

His love never ends;

His plans are righteous,

as He forgives sins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may not enjoy being rebuked nor disciplined, You do so in love and for our benefit. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not sit idly by and allow us to stay stuck in our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us out of darkness into Your glorious light. Forgive us for our resistance to correction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be earnest to repent as soon as we become aware of what You are asking us to do. Help us to embrace with grace, every correction that You bring, as we know that all discipline from You brings us closer to that whom You are calling us to become. Help us to love others with generosity and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your correction in love, and repent right away so that we may move forward into that which You are calling us to 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

Using What We’re Given

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10)

 

God has created each one of us with specific giftings that were designed uniquely for us, to serve others. Who we are, is meant to be an extension of God’s grace in various forms. For some, it is through speaking. Through others, serving. No matter if we are aware of how He has gifted us or not, gifts have been given, just the same. As we reach out to love God and love others, glimpses of those gifts become more clear. What does your heart naturally long to do? Is there a particular area where you seem to continue to end up serving or giving of your time? Perhaps that is the very space that God has given you strength and specific gifts and talents. May we go forth this day, utilizing what we have been given to serve others, and to extend God’s grace to all whom we encounter.

 

Whatever the gifts,

that God’s placed in us;

are meant to be used,

to honor Jesus.

To bless and to serve,

with faith giving grace;

to God’s created,

so they seek His face.

May we all reach out,

and share with others;

all we’ve been given,

God’s grace that covers.

If speaking’s the call,

then speak truth in love;

if serving, then serve,

honor God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely designed with gifts and talents that You have placed in us to benefit the body. Thank You that we each have a role to play that honors You and extends Your grace to others. Forgive us for either neglecting to use the gifts that You have placed in us for Your glory, or for thinking that there is nothing in us that is able to serve or honor You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will embrace the gifts that You have placed in us, and rise up and go forth to use that which You have given to glorify You. Lead us to love and serve others through the gifts that You have given, so that many may come to know the grace that You so generously give for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You in the way that You created us to be. 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

Respect, Love, Fear and Honor

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NIV)

Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, ERV)

 

We are called to kindness and to treat ALL people with proper respect. It is merely a matter of opening one of the many social media site feeds to see that respect for one another is not exactly what rules the roost of our hearts. We do not all have to share the same set of beliefs to treat one another with kindness. The thing that continually has me perplexed, is how slandering the character or choices of a person or people group could ever bring them to believe what is hoped for? When we walk in love, we are imitating what Jesus did. He did not go around screaming at people about how wrong they were in the ways in which they were living, but rather He came close, met the needs that were before Him, and loved. It was by His love, that people came to see and know the truth.

 

Additionally, we are called to love our fellow believers. Though there may be minute differences in how we worship or gather, we are following the same God, and will be spending eternity together. It would benefit us all to choose love now.

 

To fear and respect God, means that we choose to live our lives according to His will, and not our own. If we surrender to Him, our lives will be forever changed, and it will be apparent to all whom we encounter.

 

Though the United States is not an monarchy, we do have a President and governing body that we elect to office. We do not have to agree with every decision that they make, but we are called, biblically, to honor our leaders. It is not our charge to slander anyone, especially those that God has placed in positions of authority over our nation. If we disagree with what is being done, we have the power to pray, to write insightful and respectful letters, and to get involved in local legislation.

 

May we show proper respect to everyone; love well our fellow believers, fear God, and honor our leaders.

 

The Lord has not called,kindness

us to be unkind;

but to show respect,

to all whom we find.

Let’s love each other,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

let His light shine through.

Fear the mighty Lord,

give respect that’s due;

for He is the One,

that’s making us new.

Honor those in charge,

they rule for reason;

all need our support,

not acts of treason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us this verse lived out. Thank You Jesus, that You modeled how to treat all others with proper respect, even when they were not respectful to You. Thank You that You love well, each one of us. Forgive us for omitting any of these things from how we are living, and show us how we can properly respect everyone, love our sisters and brothers in Christ, fear You, and honor our leaders. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have humble hearts that are willing to listen and obey all that You ask of us. Lead us to love and respect ALL people, no matter how they act toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we show proper respect to ALL people, love one another well, fear You, and honor our leaders. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16