Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Love Lights the Way

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NLT)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

 

As always, it all boils down to love. If we are loving those around us according to God’s good and perfect will, we will be living in His light and will not lead others astray. True love, God’s love, points people in the right direction and helps others do good according to His will and His ways. For me, the more I am loved well, the more I am compelled to do the same. Love fuels love, and the overflow is light and life and the good that God intended all along. May we ever invest in our time with the Lord, who is love, so that we are filled and equipped to go forth and love those around us in His light.

 

Brothers and sisters;

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Let us choose to love,

For as we invest,

Good shall rise above.

If our choice is love,

For one and for all;

His light will be spread,

Answer to His call.

A love that is pure,

Will point all to good;

As we love like God,

Grace is understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and light into our darkness. Thank You that You call us to be the same to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love, as love leads to the good You intend. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love like You, allowing Your light to illuminate dark places and soften the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in Your love so that we may love others as You love us. Amen.

 

 

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

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. 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

We Need Not Worry

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. – (Philippians 4:6, NLT)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

This is a timely reminder for me. Though I pray, I do worry too. It is a challenge to push pause, and immediately pray, every time that worry begins to enter in. So often worry starts as simple wonderings about things that lie before us, and when we fix our eyes on the wonder rather than on He who is the solution, worry walks right into our hearts and minds. May we boldly go before God and present our needs, as He hears our every request. Let us forget not to give Him thanks for all that He has done, as He is faithful to answer as we call on His Name.

 

Let us not worry, We Need Not Worry

About anything;

Instead choose to pray,

Bring all to our King.

For God hears our need,

He’s faithful to hear;

And provides answers,

As we choose draw near.

Remember give thanks,

For all He has done;

For all that we have,

For each battle won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear us and meet us in our need. Thank You that we need not worry, but rather we are meant to pray about all things. Forgive us for allowing our minds to wander to the what-ifs that cause worry, instead of fixing our eyes on You, our solution. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and tell You all that we need and give You thanks for all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend an attitude of gratitude toward You and all that You have done and bring peace and assurance when all seems worrisome. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray about everything rather than worry, and give You thanks for all of the answers that You have so faithfully provided. Amen.

 

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Our Saving Help

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, NIV) 

But let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, and let those who love Your saving help say again and again: “God is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, CEB) 

Let all those on the hunt for You sing and celebrate. Let all who love Your saving way say over and over, “God is mighty!” – (Psalm 70:4, MSG) 

 

God is our help and our hope, and we have reason to rejoice and be glad regardless of our circumstances because He is always good. It is the great love of the Lord that saves us, as He holds us in the hollow of His hands. The more we seek God, the more we come to know Him, and cannot help but rejoice and be glad for the salvation that He brings. May we ever seek the Lord and rejoice in Him, for He is mighty to save and loves us throughout all of our days. 

 

May each heart that seeks, Love Made Known

Rejoice and be glad; 

For our saving help, 

Is no passing fad. 

Our God is mighty, 

We’re held in His hands; 

As we seek, we find, 

He shows us His plans. 

God saves and He leads, 

As we seek His face; 

He’s faithful to help, 

For He grants us grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear and help us as we seek You. Thank You that we have reason to rejoice and be glad, for You are mighty to save as You love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of need, or for not rejoicing in who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You hold us in Your hands and that You are greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and light where there is need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with gladness and give You praise for Your saving ways that You extend to each of us who seek You. 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

Live as Lifelong Learners

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. – (Proverbs 4:7, NLT)

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom. Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, VOICE)

 

We should never stop seeking to learn and grow. Not one of us has the capacity to obtain all wisdom and understanding in existence, yet the more we know and understand, the better we are able to love as we are loved. One of the greatest examples of this that I have ever known, was my grandmother. During her 98 years on earth, she never stopped seeking to learn and understand more. She was the wisest person I have known and had deep understanding of so many things. Even the most stubborn of her offspring would give ear to her words, as each knew and understood the wisdom that came with the words that she spoke. May we seek to be lifelong learners, as we pursue wisdom and understanding so that we too may love those around us, as we are loved by the Lord.

 

Let’s choose seek wisdom, Live as Lifelong Learners

May we become wise;

Chase understanding,

So truth’s realized.

Sound judgment follows,

When we choose pursue;

Ever we’re learning,

What we’re meant to do.

So, look for wisdom,

Seek to understand;

Ask for the Lord’s help,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue wisdom and understanding so that we are not left wandering around in ignorance. Thank You that good judgment comes as we develop into lifelong learners. Forgive us for thinking we know enough, or for not seeking to understand further. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually pursue more wisdom and insight for all of our days to love others well and walk in Your ways. Show us how to love others as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live lives as lifelong learners. 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

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. 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

Hands of Grace

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Lord guide your hearts into God’s pure love and keep you headed straight into the strong sure grip of the Anointed One. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, VOICE)

 

This is a week where love, patience and endurance are needed desperately. Between excitement and uncertainty, students are struggling to stay focused in classes, and remember regular rules and routines. Additionally, two seventeen-year-olds were shot yesterday morning, not far from my school, so the odds that they once attended the school where I teach, are quite high. Regardless of the circumstances that led to the incident, the very thought of two mother’s babies fighting to live, is devastating. Love, patience and endurance are needed by all to finish this week well. The better we understand and receive God’s love for us, the more we are able to extend the same to those around us. May we ever seek the Source of every good gift, so that we may go forth full of patience and endurance, to finish strong as we love as we are loved by God.

 

O Lord, hear my prayer, Hands of Grace

May hearts come to You;

So Your love is known,

Illuminate truth.

Patient endurance,

Granted by God’s love;

Will keep us always,

Help us rise above.

Rise above trials,

Whatever we face;

For we can do all,

In His hands of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and provide the love, patience and endurance that we need to navigate our days. Thank You that You keep us in Your secure grip of grace. Forgive us for attempting to power through the trials that come our way, rather than seeking You for the strength that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You to lead us according to Your great love. Show us how to love those around us with patience and endurance, so that they may feel Your love and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lean on You to lead our hearts into a full understanding of how to express Your love, patience and endurance all of our days. 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

Confident that He Hears

And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. – (1 John 5:14, NLT)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and these things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This truth is seemingly both a blessing and a curse. God is not a star to wish upon, nor a fairy godmother that grants our every whim; however, He is the One who sees and knows our hearts, and hears our prayers as we seek Him. We can be confident that our requests are heard when our hearts are turned toward His. That being said, there is always the struggle when we pray without ceasing for help or healing for someone who is ill or in need, and do not see the results that we hope He will bring. This is where faith in His unconditional love for us has to fill in, when the seeming lack of an answer leaves our hearts heavy and hurting. Yes, His ways are higher than our ways, and He knows each heartache before it happens. He does not cause our pain, but I believe that He uses those places where answers seem to have been silent, to strengthen our faith as He pours out His grace. Often, it is days, months, years or even decades later, that God brings beauty from our ashes where it seemed answers were absent. May we be ever confident in our God who hears, and trust in His unfailing love for us all.

 

We have this great hope, Rediscovering Dreams

In our God above;

He hears each request,

And listens in love.

Though often answers,

Don’t look as we’d like;

He knows what is best,

And will make things right.

On the darkest days,

His glory still shines;

His purpose and plans,

Are loving; divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident that You hear our every prayer as we seek You with a heart after that which is good and pleasing in Your sight. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on whether or not our prayers are answered according to what we want to see. Forgive us for our doubts and disappointments when prayers seem to go unanswered. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most painful and difficult of circumstances. Show us how to love and support those who are in the midst of the wait, or who feel as if their prayers have fallen on deaf ears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are confident that You heart us, and trust Your will, regardless of what we see before us. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3