Owe Only Love

Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:8, NLT)

You should own nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. – (Romans 13:8, MSG)

 

God calls us to love one another as we have been loved. If we seek to love in the same way that God loves us, it will require a lifetime of loving those around us to carry out that to which we have been called. Love is a rare commodity – for the more we give, the more we discover we are filled and ready to pour out again and again. Every other sort of debt leaves us empty and lacking, yet love fills, restores, and propels us to pour out more. May we allow the only debt that we owe, be that of love to one another.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

To fulfill a debt;

The space where love lacks,

Hope where it’s not yet.

Choose not to borrow,

What can’t be paid back;

Unless it is love,

For God can do that.

Never stop loving,

Each other by grace;

This fulfills the law,

To walk in God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us the ways in which we are meant to live according to Your will. Thank You that the only thing we should owe one another is love. Thank You that as we seek to love one another according to Your will, You fill us and equip us to love as You love. Forgive us for not choosing to love like You, or for running up debts that we cannot repay. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be wise in our ways and follow You all of our days. Show us how to love one another according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we opt to owe nothing to anyone except for love. 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

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Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Forgiveness is Free

image by Steve Rhodes

image by Steve Rhodes

The size of our debts,

far beyond our reach.

We could never pay,

the steep price for each.

Yet our loving Lord,

ransomed His own Son,

to cancel our debts;

the victory won.

Forgiveness is free,

but one thing He asks,

that we forgive too,

our critical task.

If we don’t forgive,

our blessings we block;

we must walk the walk,

not just talk the talk.

Often the offense,

seems larger than life,

yet when in the heart,

it will cause much strife.

Hand all to the Lord,

our every offense;

He will empower,

that which won’t make sense.

Do unto others,

as if done to you;

our Father sees all,

and honors what’s true.

(Responding to Matthew 18:21-35)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not limit the number of times that You are willing to forgive us for our transgressions.  Forgive us for placing limits on how many times we feel that we ought to forgive others, or when we stand in judgment and deem an offense “unforgiveable”.  Help us to see through Your eyes, and have Your heart for others.  Grant us wisdom to know when and where we are to stay, and when and where You would have us walk away.  May our extension of Your grace and forgiveness to others, lead those who are looking, straight to You, Lord.  Amen.

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

The Sanctity of Godly Sorrow

image by New Hope Baptist Church

image by New Hope Baptist Church

Perfecting holiness

out of reverence for God,

seems quite overwhelming,

and perhaps, a bit odd.

To purify ourselves

is a two-fold action;

we must turn far from sin,

seek His satisfaction.

The sorrow that leads us,

to repent from our sin,

and produces in us,

a heart for serving Him.

As we’ve been forgiven,

set free from all our debts,

may we ever march on;

earnestly, no regrets.

(Responding to 2 Corinthians 7:1-11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are holy.  Thank You that Godly sorrow leads us to repentance, and ultimately restores us to a right relationship with You.  Thank You that You do not expect us to achieve perfection, nor be free from failure; but rather You desire that we become wholly dependant upon You.  Forgive us for thinking we have to do or be enough, and help us to really receive Your forgiveness and grace.  As our focus is fixed firmly on You, may we reflect the freedom and forgiveness that is found in You, unto those who need to know.  May we be a blessing before You today.  In Your Mighty Name, Amen.

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