Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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To Love Likewise

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, VOICE)

 

In this season where love is celebrated and elevated, it is important to realize what love is and is not. God’s love is our ultimate example, be it in love between family, friends, or the one whom we have been given as our person with whom to share life. To love and be loved, we need to be patient and kind. We are not meant to be jealous, proud, nor rude. If we love others as ourselves, we will not be easily upset nor keep record of wrongs. Because God forgives us, we must forgive. Just as He loves, we need to do the same. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. Likewise, we are called to walk in love with those around us, even when they do not treat us the way we desire to be treated. Our patience and kindness are an avenue to express the very same love that we have been given, to those around us. May we ever choose to walk in His love, extending love, just as God loves each of us.

 

Love that is patient,wp-1518363553391117403764.jpg

And kind to others;

Is like the Lord’s love,

For sisters, brothers.

True love is not rude,

Won’t seek its own way;

Instead love prefers,

To give good away.

Love will not record,

Wrongs that have been done;

But instead forgives,

By grace from the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what love is and is not. Thank You that as we seek You, You provide patience and kindness and correct us when we get caught up in ourselves rather than preferring one another. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the wrongs against us, or have chosen anything other than patience and kindness when that is what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prefer one another in love, just as You love us. Show us how to be patient and kind, extend forgiveness and grace, and love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your lavish love, and go forth and seek to love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – Psalm 31:21a

 

 

The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. 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

Choose Love

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NLT)

Don’t ever let love and loyalty leave you. Tie them around your neck, and write them on your heart. Then God will be pleased and think well of you and so will everyone else. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, ERV)

 

We are called to love God and love people. It is no wonder that God reminds us that when we do the very thing that He asks us to do, we will find favor with Him and those around us. Love is faithful and kind, and it is a choice to respond accordingly, regardless of what we are given. Though I do not have a reminder tied around my neck, I do have one that I wear around my wrist. Each day I encounter kids that are difficult to love. Because they are hurting, broken, or simply going through the terrible teens, I must choose to respond in kindness, despite what comes out of them. To choose love, for me, means that I make the choice to give grace when it is unwarranted, reply gently when harsh words are spoken, and attempt to correct in kindness rather than anger, when behaviors disrupt. I don’t always get it right, and there are moments where I do not respond as lovingly as I would have liked to have done, yet each morning is a new start, and God’s grace for me is just as great as that which He is willing to give to those around me. May we each choose love, and let loyalty and kindness be the response that we offer, as the favor of God and those around us shall follow.

 

Never let kindness,choose-love1

Or true loyalty;

Leave our hearts and minds,

It’s how we need be.

Find a reminder,

For both mind and heart;

Seek the Lord for strength,

To do well, our part.

As we opt choose love,

God is pleased with us;

So too, are people,

Such love shows Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and ask You for help, You grant us Your love and kindness to extend to those around us. Thank You that You extend Your favor to us when we love according to Your will. Forgive us for not choosing to love others as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You for the strength that we need to extend grace and kindness, even when we don’t want to. Show us how to choose love in all situations and circumstances according to Your will, so that those we encounter would see Your heart for them through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep loyalty and kindness close to our hearts, and choose to love as we are loved by You. 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

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by You. 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

Turn to Wisdom

And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. – (Titus 2:12-13, NLT)

Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. – (Titus 2:12-13, VOICE)

It (God’s grace) educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly living and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. – (Titus 2:12-13, CEB)

 

God grants us His grace because He completely and thoroughly loves us. Just as a parent loves their children well and gives them instruction to direct, correct and encourage them in the ways in which they are meant to go, God does the same for us. He does not tell us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures to punish or torture us, but rather He knows that such things create a barrier between us and Him, and He wants to help us avoid anything that will lead to such pain. We are charged to reject ungodly living and choose to live with wisdom, righteousness and devotion. In order to navigate our world, we need Him so that we are aware, have self-control, and remain upright in all of our ways. As we choose to invest our hearts and lives in Him, an expectation of the blessed hope that is yet to come rises within us, and we are assured of the glory of our great God, and the hope held in His promised return. May we allow His grace to grab hold of our hearts and lead us through this life, so that we walk in a way that is upright before Him, as we await the glorious day that we will see Him face-to-face.

 

We are called to turn,Refreshment Through Repentance

runaway, reject;

all that is godless,

may our hearts deflect.

To live in this age,

we need righteousness;

true wisdom from God,

the Lord’s holiness.

As we seek we find,

for God freely gives;

awareness and strength,

to righteously live.

It is in this space,

that we look ahead;

with glorious hope,

when Christ comes again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us in how we are meant to live; for Your ways result in wisdom, hope, help and life everlasting. Forgive us for our flirting with the ways of the world, and teach us how to walk upright before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would turn from all that is godless and sinful, and would be aware and operate with the self-control that You grant us. Show us how to love one another in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run away from godless living, and choose to depend on You to walk with wisdom, righteousness and devotion for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Deep Love Covers Sin

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

 

When we love deeply, we have a greater capacity to forgive. The greatest example I know of this sort of love in my own life, is the love I have for my children. Though I am flawed and far from perfect, I am loved by God, and love my children with all that I am. When they make mistakes or choose to do foolish or rebellious things, I do not love them any less. In their space of being stuck, I come alongside them and correct or redirect in love, and do not hold their errors against them.

Christ has done so much more for us. Every single sin we’ve ever done is washed away with our acceptance of His love for us. When we choose Him, His love covers all of our sin and shame, and makes us acceptable before the Father. Additionally, He grants us the capacity to love others with His love, so that we too, might forgive others as we have been forgiven. May we go forth and love each other deeply, so that we are willing to forgive one another, just as we have been forgiven. As we choose to do as Christ has done for us, love wins.

 

Most importantly,Acceptance As We Acknowledge

let love lead the way;

with one another,

all of each new day.

For love’s great power,

covers over sin;

it helps us forgive,

it is how love wins.

So let us each choose,

deeply love others;

give grace and forgive,

sisters and brothers.

As we love as Christ,

so many shall see;

what love truly is,

and how to be free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us deeply, and You love for us covers all of our sin as we accept what You have done for us. Thank You that the very same love that You give to us, You place in our hearts to pass on to one another. Forgive us for not loving one another as You designed us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on Your loving kindness and grace to cover over the things that we think we are unable to get past. Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Show us how to love relentlessly and deeply, so that others may come to know Your grace through the You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

 

Speak Life

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he was providing instruction as to how to lead people to live right, according to Christ. Titus 3:2 is a timely reminder, in light of all that has been going on in the world around us. Despite differing opinions, God still reigns, and we have been given the following instructions: Tell them not to speak evil of anyone but to live in peace with others. They should be gentle and polite to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, ERV) Paul further unpacks the reminder that not one of us has earned our good standing before God. Rather, we were made right with God by His grace. God saved us so that we could be His children and look forward to receiving life that never ends. – (Titus 3:7, ERV)

 

It is by God’s grace that we have been saved. Our charge, as His children, is to love God and love people. We will not always agree with every decision or lifestyle that is chosen, yet that is not our charge. We are called to love. If we speak evil of those who know Him not, how will they ever have any desire to draw near? When we are gentle and kind, extending love and grace to others, just as it has been given unto us, it is then that people may see Christ in and through us. Yes, we are called to come alongside and help correct and redirect those within the church who are walking in blatant sin, but not those who know Him not. May we choose to live in peace with one another, extending gentleness and grace to everyone, so that all may come to know the lavish love of the Lord.

 

Speak not unkindly,Bloom Where We're Planted

and choose be at peace;

be gentle to all,

let grace be released.

For we were all made,

right before the Lord;

because of His grace,

in love, He affords.

Share well His kindness,

extend too, His love;

so all may soon know,

the gift from above.

Be humble to all,

slander not ever;

let His love light shine,

now and forever.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not called to judge, slander or speak evil of others, but rather You call us to love. Thank You that You grant us discernment to know what is right and wrong, so that we may lead our lives in obedience to You, personally. Forgive us for not being peaceable or considerate, or for speaking ill of anyone based on the choices that they have made – for we all have sinned and fallen short of Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love without limits and allow You to work in the hearts of those around us. May many receive Your glorious gift of grace that You give freely, as they choose enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to live and love peaceably with kindness, offering Your love and grace to all. 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

Discipline is Discipling

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV)

My son, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be angry when He corrects you.  The Lord corrects the one He loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, ERV)

The word discipline has always held a strange duality in my world.  On one hand, it held this connotation of being in trouble, and that is a very negative association for a people-pleaser; yet on the other hand, as an athlete, discipline  has simply meant adhering to the training and teaching prescribed by coaches who knew far more about my sports than I did.  In athletics, I never had a problem with a coach correcting me, as I knew it was for my benefit as an athlete, and would make me stronger, faster, or more efficient (depending on which sport they were coaching).

As I unpack the word this morning, discipline in this portion of Proverbs has the same connotation as my second example.  Discipline here, actually means to teach and to train.  God wants to teach us and train us in His ways, and He loves us enough to correct and redirect us when we go astray from the path on which He has placed us.  His Holy Spirit will whisper to our heart when we have said or done something that we ought not have done.  That unsettling feeling of regret or remorse is actually our invitation to repentance.  The Lord is so kind and gentle.  He patiently and lovingly waits for us to turn our eyes back to Him, and set our sights on that which matters most – who He is, and who He is calling us to become.  May we embrace the Lord’s discipline as His sons and daughters, understanding that it is because He delights in us, that He disciples us in love.

The Lord loves to teach,

and train those He loves;Compassion in Confrontations

He shows us the way,

to change, overcome.

Just as a parent,

shows a child the way;

to live life upright,

for all of their days.

Embrace the correction,

for He teaches those;

beloved children,

whom He calls His own.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your discipline is part of discipling, and You are teaching and training us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that love alone is Your motivation.  Forgive us for rejecting correction, or for being slow to respond.  Help us to quickly recognize Your voice, correction and direction in our lives, so that we can walk ever closer with You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace all of Your discipling, even when it involves rebuke or redirecting from where we thought we were meant to go.  Lead us to love others with the same generosity that You pour out upon us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we embrace the teaching and training that You extend to each of us, individually.  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

Correction as a Catalyst for Change

If good people correct me, I will consider it a good thing. If they criticize me, I will accept it like a warm welcome. But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil that they do. – (Psalm 141:5, ERV)

 

Being rebuked or corrected by a righteous person is a kindness. If someone who is walking well with the Lord recognizes wrong in me and brings it to my attention, it is my job to humbly consider their words, keep quiet, and consider their correction an act of love. Any confusion or uncertainty about what has been spoken, ought to be brought before the Lord in prayer. We are shown how to present our petitions before the Lord in this way: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:24)

 

May we readily receive rebuke from the righteous, and prayerfully present ourselves to the Lord. Let the Lord search us and know us, so that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and led in the light of life everlasting.

 

Let each correction,Christ Corrects the Called

be considered, heard;

presented to Christ,

compared to His word.

Is what has been said,

truth spoken in love?

If so, receive it,

direct from above.

Continue to pray,

against all the wrong;

down with the wicked,

lift praise up in song.

For God sees and knows,

our heart and our mind;

He longs to lead us,

to glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that You place us in one another’s lives to speak truth in love. Thank You that correction is for our benefit, and intended to draw us closer to You. Forgive us for refusing correction or being defensive when another speaks truth in love to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may keep quiet and hear what is spoken, and bring anything that we are uncertain about before You. Lead us to love others with a love that is not afraid to speak truth in such a way, that the recipient is directed straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we receive correction and change direction where it is necessary. Amen.

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

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