Perfect Love Expels Fear

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. – (1 John 4:18, NLT)

Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. – (1 John 4:18, VOICE)

 

The love of God is perfect. His love draws us to desire change, rather than to run in fear. Though He is mighty and just, the Lord loves us to life again when we fall. His kindness draws us to repentance, and grows our drive to please Him. When we fear a consequence to our own actions, or some sort of separation from His love, it shows us that we have not fully grasped the depth and breadth of His amazing love for us all. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. This promise should promote our desire to earnestly seek Him in all things. Let us embrace the grace that we have been given through the perfect love of God, and go forth, without fear, and love well.

 

Love does not cause fear,Forgiveness is Free

But drives it away;

For true love’s embrace,

Has promised to stay.

There’s nothing we do,

Nor words that we say;

That shall separate,

From His loving ways.

For love is complete,

Through His perfect love;

No fear need be near,

Where grace reigns above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your perfect love casts out fear, and we need not be afraid. Thank You that we can come to You and confess the things that we have done, and know that You love us so much, that You will forgive us and receive us with open arms. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we know we deserve punishment and lose sight of the greatness of Your mercy and grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the fullness of Your perfect love. Help us to love those around us in such a way, that they too may see love without limits and grace that grows ever greater. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to receive Your perfect love and let go of fear. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Wages vs. Gifts

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 6:23, NIV)

The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 6:23, VOICE)

 

In our natural state of sinfulness, we deserve death. Not even the kindest and most gentle of individuals is without sin. The consequence for such, is death. However, God sent His Son to extend to us, the opportunity to choose life – life everlasting in Him. There is nothing that we can do to earn this gift that He gives, but rather we must choose to receive what is being freely offered. When we choose Christ, we choose life. We are not promised pain-free pleasantries each day of our lives in the here and now, but in Him, we have the glorious hope of our future freedom from all such things, for all of eternity with Christ. There is no greater gift than He who laid down His life for our sin and shame, so that we could have life abundant in Him. May we receive all that He is offering, as we walk into this weekend of remembering not only His death on our behalf, but Christ’s resurrection from the grave that could not contain Him, so that we could enter eternity with Him.

 

Though we deserve death,Good Gifts

He’s given to us;

the gift of His Son,

life in Christ Jesus.

When we choose receive,

new life becomes ours;

where hope is our truth,

and Love empowers.

Let us choose embrace,

this gift given free;

so all may come know,

Christ dwelling in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we deserve death for our sinfulness, You made way for our lives to be redeemed through the gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for dying in my place, so that I might come to know the truth of who You are, and how You love. Thank You for the hope that we hold forever in You. Forgive us for not living with an eternal perspective, as all in the here and now will one day fade away. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will see things through Your lens. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the gift of life that You freely give. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. 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

 

 

Reinstating Radiance

This morning, the reading plan I follow had me reading the account of David numbering the fighting men in Israel, (found in both 2 Samuel 24 & 1 Chronicles 21). The gist of the story is that David was incited by Satan to take a census of Israel of all his fighting men. Rather than listen to Joab, his commander, who tried to dissuade him, David sent Joab on his way. Upon his return, David recognized the reality of his sin, (for he was looking to trust more in military power than in God) and confessed to the Lord the error in his ways. God was gracious and gave him a choice as to which of three consequences should befall the nation of Israel. David selected the shortest of the three, and an angel of the Lord began to carry it out. As the people of the nation of Israel were falling, David cried out to the Lord’s grieved heart. God was merciful, and had the angel withdraw. David went on to purchase a field, build an altar, and sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord.

 

Psalm 30, also accompanies today’s read. This particular passage is one of David’s, in which he celebrates God’s deliverance. It is bookended in the following verses: “I will exalt you, O Lord, for You lift me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. – vs. 1 “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.” – vs. 11-12

 

God is gracious and hears our prayers, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Be it in the sludge of our own sin, the anguish of a loss, fear, defeat, despair – He is able to remove the wreckage and reinstate joy and hope and peace. May our hearts cry out to Him, as we allow the Lord to fill the spaces once occupied by sorrow, with sweet songs of praise.

 

No matter what state,Reinstating Radiance

our hearts when we come;

His arms are open,

where all peace is from.

He’ll take our sorrow,

the wreckage of loss;

and love us to life,

no matter the cost.

He already paid,

the ultimate price;

so we could find hope,

Love’s true sacrifice.

He will grant us joy,

where sorrow once stood;

and plant in us, peace;

all from Him is good.

May praises rise up,

all thanks to the Lord;

true freedom is found,

hearts in one accord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ready to receive us, no matter how we come. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come unto You with repentant hearts, knowing that as we do, we are forgiven and set free from the stains of our sin. Thank You that You hold our hearts in Your hands, and that You turn our mourning into joy, and raise up songs of praise as You continue to show us Your faithfulness, even in the difficult and painful places. Forgive us for losing sight of Your hand in the hard places, and help us to trust You, regardless of the trials we face. Grant us strength and peace and joy and hope, as You are the reason we sing. May we love others as we are loved by You, and may we encourage and lift up those who are hurting. Let those who are looking, find the peace that is held in You alone. Be exalted, O God, in all that we say and 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

 

 

Acts of Obedience

We are in the middle of a series called Surprised by Hope at the church I call home. Yesterday’s message was centered around “The Death of Jesus”, as we remember what went on during this sacred week so many years ago. The consequence of sin is death, and we are powerless to escape the hold of sin, unless God breaks in and rescues us from ourselves. In order for Him to do so, He requires a faith response on our part.

 

Jesus made His entry during the Passover celebration. This celebration is ultimately a remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the people’s obedience. God told the people that He would bring judgment on every household, unless a lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked on the doorposts. Though it likely made little sense, the people chose obedience to protect their precious families. As a result of their obedience, the angel of death passed over their homes, and they were all safe, while those who had not obeyed, were in the midst of great mourning. God delivered them because He loved them.

 

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of obedience. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could take on our sin and bear all of our burdens so that we could come to know redemption. Jesus knew what He would have to endure on our behalf, yet He was willing anyway.

 

What God asks of us does not always make sense, but He wants our heart, our will, our faith to trust Him, even if what He asks is not what we would expect. “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22b)

 

The consequence,Acts of Obedience

of sin is death;

without the Lord,

we’re powerless.

As we seek Him,

surrender all;

He’ll hear our heart,

and heed our call.

Prepare to do,

all that He asks;

regardless of,

the bizarre tasks.

For what He wants,

is our whole heart;

obedient,

each precious part.

So seek the Lord,

follow His ways;

redemption ours,

now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for us to be considered righteous before You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the weight and suffering that should have been mine to bear. Thank You for redeeming us from our former ways, and granting us new life in You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to sacrifice enough or do enough to earn Your favor, and help us to receive that which You freely give. May we embrace the grace that You grant us, and respond in faith to whatever You ask. Lead us to live confidently as Your redeemed children. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed deliverance that comes from You alone. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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