The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

His Kindness

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

The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. – (Psalm 145:8, ERV)

You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail You. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 145:8, TPT)

 

I am so grateful that these attributes of God are true, as He does not place conditions on His love for us. It is a very good thing, as I know that I have not been the best version of myself lately, for pain and exhaustion do not breed patience in me. In spaces where I have gone in expecting the worst simply because of my own shortcomings, God has provided His loving kindness in unexpected ways. He has granted patience that I have not deserved and flooded me with His kindness in moments that I needed it most. May we ever turn in trust to He who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

 

Even at our worst, Possibilities

His kindness prevails;

For the love of God,

Will not ever fail.

He’s patient and kind,

Full of mercy too;

Slow to get angry,

His grace gets us through.

With great compassion,

He gives love away;

Though undeserving,

He floods us with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us whether we deserve it or not. Thank You that You are patient and full of love. Thank You that You flood us with Your kindness and love, even when we fail You miserably. Forgive us for our lack of faith that gets us in a frenzy over our circumstances, rather than keeping our eyes and hearts securely set on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to hope and trust in You no matter what we see or are experiencing in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives grace, compassion and kindness where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your kindness, faithfulness and love for us at all times. 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

Faithful Love

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, NLT)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

It is with great joy and an overflowing heart, that I can testify of God’s great faithfulness in my own life. For far too many years, I existed in a world where “love” had conditions and the price was losing much of who I was, and hiding who I was meant to be. After making the agonizing decision to get out of that which was destroying me and detrimental to my boys, I began to learn just how faithful the Lord’s love is for me, personally. I rediscovered my passion, drive, and my voice, and began to discover the depth and breadth of His love and care, as I sought Him in all things. About a year and a half ago, I was visiting with my best friend out on her deck, when she got a text message back from an old friend in response to a mechanical question that she had asked him earlier. Polite, casual conversation, soon turned to his curiosity as to who I was, and whether or not I was single. Her response was, “Not for you.” The banter back and forth that continued that evening between the three of us led to him asking my permission to message me. I verified with my dear friend the safety of doing so, and the rest is history. Last evening, as we gathered with great friends for a Bunco night, my Viking surprised everyone with his sweet proposal, right there, as we were taking a break between rounds. My heart can hardly contain the joy and excitement for the life that we are learning to build together as we spend as much time as we are able as a to-be family of five. The Lord is faithful beyond what we could hope or imagine and we must choose to trust in the power of His perfect love.

 

The Lord’s faithfulness, img_2018-01-21_08-00-532054400719.jpg

Goes beyond what’s seen;

We must simply trust,

The time in between.

Though trust is scary,

To hold what’s unseen;

Love beyond measure,

As God intervenes.

So great is His love,

And that which He gives;

His faithful blessings,

All trust as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible faithfulness of Your great love, and how You hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and heal the wounded places to prepare us to receive so much more than we ever would have thought possible. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of trust when we cannot see Your hand. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever, and have great things in store for those who follow after You. Thank You for the incredible gift of this man that You brought into my life when I had no intention to risk love again. Thank You for showing me Your heart in new ways through the love that I receive. Show us how to give love that demonstrates Your faithfulness in ways that encourage and touch hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise for Your faithful loving ways forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Love As You Are

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” – (Matthew 22:37, NLT)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” – (Matthew 22:37, MSG)

 

We are called to love God in the same way that He loves us. There are no limits nor conditions placed upon His love, and He does not require us to do or be enough to be the recipients of all that He has for us. Jesus tells us that we are commanded to love as we are loved by God. We need not have reservation nor hesitation, and with all that we are, we ought to give our passion and prayer to our Provider. Without Him, we have nothing and are nothing. In Christ, we are vessels created to receive and give love without reservation. May we seek the Lord to show us how to love Him as we are loved.

 

For Jesus has said,not-defined-by-a-day

Love God as you are;

Mind, heart, soul and strength,

To the Morning Star.

Let us not limit,

what we give to Him;

For He is worthy,

Of all that’s within.

As we choose to give,

To God and to man;

He fills us again,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You as we are loved by You. Thank You that this is not something that You expect us to do in our own strength, but rather You grow in us the desire and will to love You more and more as we gain insight to who You are and how You love. Forgive us for withholding any part of ourselves from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love You without limits, and in turn, go forth and love others too. Show us how to love like You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our prayers, passions and intellect, and trust them unto You. Amen.

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

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. – Psalm 23:6

Commanded to Love

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

We are not only called to love, but it is something that we are commanded to do if we are followers of Christ. To love deeply and fully as we are loved, requires reliance on our Redeemer. Our very nature is not always loving, but His is. To choose to respond in love is a matter of trusting God, and allowing His heart to work through ours. May this day that is flooded with sentiments of love, be transformed by those who choose to exhibit His love through word and deed to all whom we encounter.

 

We’re not only called,Generous Giving

But it’s a command;

To reach out and love,

Each woman and man.

Without conditions,

He calls us to show;

The very same love,

That we’ve come to know.

May we remember,

The grace He has shown;

So we might love well,

And make His heart known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the ultimate example of love through Your Son, and that You continue to reveal Your heart for us by Your Spirit within us. Thank You for the people that You have placed in our lives who show us what Your love looks like in tangible ways. Forgive us for not always demonstrating Your love for others, despite the desperate need. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would choose to respond in Your love, and act according to Your will, so that Your light and love may be made known. Show us how to love each other deeply and fully, according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You so completely love each of us. 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

Commanded to Love

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NLT)

 

We are not only called to love one another; it is a command. If love were merely a feeling, it would not be something required of us. However, love is a choice. No matter how we feel, we must intentionally choose to love, even when it is difficult – for this is what God declares His disciples (all who faithfully follow Him) are to do. There is no better time than now to choose to love those around us. We do not have to share the same opinions, thought patterns, philosophies, political views, or even the same faith, to choose to love one another. As opinions contrary to our own fly, let us love anyway. When tempers flare, may we return gentleness and kindness in love. May we rise up and remember who has commanded us to love one another, and go forth in faithful obedience.

 

As we all gather,Enter With Thanksgiving

Join with love in mind;

It is our own choice,

To love and be kind.

For God does command,

Love one another;

Without conditions,

Sisters and brothers.

We are His children,

Created indeed;

May we view others,

As loved who have needs.

Despite what we get,

Let’s love anyway;

When we love as Christ,

Our grace shows the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not merely command us to love each other, but You sent Your Son to show us how to love, and to make the way for us to do so. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we can go and choose to love those around us. Forgive us for not choosing love, based on feelings or on what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend love according to Your will. Help us to love those who are difficult to love, so that they may experience Your loving kindness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others because we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Love Each Other

You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – (1 Peter 1:22, NLT)

You have made yourselves pure by obeying the truth. Now you can have true love for your brothers and sisters. So love each other deeply – with all your heart. – (1 Peter 1:22, ERV)

 

Not one of us has ever functioned without flaws. In fact, we all have fallen short, and at times, failed miserably. However, each one of us who has chosen to call on the Name of the Lord and place our trust in Him, has been forgiven and equipped to go forth in love. As we are loved, we need to go and do likewise. God does not place parameters on His love for us; and neither should we on those around us. My heart aches for the hurt, anger and frustration that have been filling Facebook the last few days. Friends whom I love, have placed conditions on whom they will and will not be “friends” with, based on political allegiance. Not one of the candidates was without sin or flaw; and likewise, not one of us is either. I have people whom I dearly love on both sides of the political lines, and yet I will continue to love them the same today as I did a week, a month or a year ago. We do not have to agree with people to choose to love. Often, it is out of a heart of love, that eyes are opened to see the truth. Our charge is to sincerely love those whom God has placed in our path. He does not say, love deeply, except those who believe differently. Christ calls us to love each other as brothers and sisters, with all of our heart. No disclaimers. No exceptions. May we rise with resolve to do as we are called to do, trusting Him to fill us with His love to give to all whom He places around us.

 

Because we are loved,Good Gifts

We must do the same;

Without conditions,

It’s why Jesus came.

For He showed His grace,

To all who came near;

Both sinner and saint,

His love was made clear.

We each have been called,

To rise and obey;

Love like family,

All who come our way.

With a sincere heart,

Sisters and brothers;

May we deeply love,

Grace to each other.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us from all of our sin when we come to You and ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You that though we may struggle, You give us all that we need and more to love all those around us, regardless of whether we see the world through the same lens or not. Forgive us for withholding the love and grace that You have so lavishly and freely given to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the same love and grace to those around us, seeking first to listen, rather than speak, so that we might understand the heart behind a person’s words or deeds. Help us to love well, no matter what we see or hear, as Your love softens even the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sincerely love those around us as sisters and brothers with our whole heart. Amen.

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

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

Running the Long Road

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

 

I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. – (Philippians 3:14, ERV)

 

This analogy is such a clear visual for me, as life is not a short race, but rather one that continues throughout our lifetime. There will be stretches that are flat and smooth, where the conditions are cool and ideal for running; however, there will be other seasons where the weather will be scorching and around every turn, is yet another mountain that we must climb to move in the direction in which we are called to run. Fortunately, our race is not run in vain. Our purpose is to encourage others as they run the race to which they have been called, and to demonstrate perseverance, even when we want to quit. God is our strength and our reason to keep running, and our finish line celebration will be beyond worth all of the trials traversed throughout our race. If we can love God, and love others as we move forward along the path to which we have been called, then we are running our own race well. May we rise up ready to run this day well, knowing that whatever we encounter today, is not the end. Our hope is held in where we finish, not where we rest along the way.

 

For we have been called,Running the Long Road

to press on and run;

keep moving with God,

’til our race is done.

The goal’s not about,

some great earthly gain;

but how we obey,

and lift up His Name.

For a day will come,

when our race is through;

imagine hearing,

“Well done, faithful you!”

If we choose to love,

both God and others;

and do as He asks,

lost will discover.

May we be ready,

each day to run well;

help to the hurting,

in hope, may all dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to run our own race. Thank You that it is not a sprint that You call us to rush through, but a race of endurance, perseverance, and trust. Thank You that You sustain us, even when we think that we cannot possibly run another step in life’s race, and that Your presence remains with us, always. Forgive us for allowing our surroundings to intimidate or overwhelm us, rather than keeping our eyes securely fixed on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what lies before us, we will look to You, rather than our circumstances. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may look to You in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run our race with our eyes fixed on You, knowing that our prize is not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with You. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Overcoming Our Unbelief

So often the mountains that lie before us seem insurmountable. We look at the grade and terrain, forecast and trail conditions, yet fail to look to Him who created the mountains before us. Regardless of what stands before us, Christ who is in us, is greater. In essence, we observe the obstacle, then perhaps, hesitantly, ask God, “If You can help, will You?”

 

Just as Jesus responded to the father of the demon-possessed boy, who sought Him for the healing of his son, Christ answers us in the same way today. “If you can?” said Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – (Mark 9:23-24)

 

We serve a loving and faithful God. He longs to grow and expand our faith, and lead us to understand all the more the depth and breadth of His power and grace for those who earnestly seek Him. May we rise up in faith and seek His help in overcoming our unbelief. Lord, let us see possibilities where the obstacles currently lie before us.

 

Troubles and trials,Overcoming Our Unbelief

insurmountable;

we ask but don’t know,

all things possible.

Though man on his own,

cannot overcome;

through the Lord, Jesus,

impossible’s done.

Despite our belief,

we need faith to rise;

Lord Jesus, help us,

Your strength, realize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite what lies before us, all things are possible in You. Thank You that You are loving and faithful and that You want the very best outcome for Your children. Forgive us for our focus on the obstacles, rather than on You, the solution, and please help us to overcome our unbelief. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You and find You regardless of what lies before us. Lead us to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they find new possibilities through a hope and a future with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe in word, thought and deed, and help us to seek You to overcome our spaces of unbelief. 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