Forgiveness Fosters Love

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT) 

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV) 

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE) 

 

Our world desperately is in need of the forgiveness of faults to move forward in the freedom that is found in love. Far too often fingers are pointed without taking an honest look in the mirror. We all fall short and make missteps, and at times our errors end up hurting someone near us. If we are walking in love as God calls us to love, we must choose to forgive and move forward. The more we give grace, the greater our friendships grow. Freedom to be human is a tremendous burden lifted, and as we are able to be transparent with those near to us, we are strengthened in our faith and better bonded as dear friends. May we ever choose to be the ones who forgive faults and foster love, just as Jesus has done for us. 

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

The love we have grows; 

Friendships are strengthened, 

As grace is made known. 

Those who dwell on faults, 

End up in great loss; 

Friendships are ruined, 

Far too great the cost. 

So let us choose love, 

Forgive and give grace; 

Build our bonds closer, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our every interaction and relationship so much, that You give us guidance as to how to navigate best. Thank You that as we forgive, just as You have forgiven us, You bless us with stronger bonds in the relationships You have granted. Forgive us for dwelling on faults rather than forgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Show us how to love and give grace to those around us, ever strengthening the bonds of friendship that You are building among us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by You. 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

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He Leads Those Who Seek

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. – (James 4:10, NLT)
Be humble before the Lord, and He will make you great. – (James 4:10, ERV)
Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. – (James 4:10, MSG)
 
God’s economy is far different from our own. He lifts up those who recognize their desperate need for Him, and shows His strength and goodness to those who earnestly seek the Lord. A trip to Minnesota was not expected nor anticipated, yet when we discovered the need to be here and realized that with God, all things are possible, each step was paved and all that we needed has been provided. I am in awe of the beauty that surrounds us, and am excited to see what He will do in the hearts and lives of all of the extended family that is gathering to be present for my Viking’s father. May we ever humbly seek the Lord in all things, as He is the One who sets our feet on the path that He has prepared, and provides all that is needed to navigate according to His good and perfect will.
When we come to God,0126180723a_hdr1400279688.jpg
and humbly seek;
He hears all our cries,
gives strength where we’re weak.
God creates a way,
where it seems there’s none;
He shows us His love,
’til each day is done.
So let us choose pray,
in humility;
for God makes a way,
our stability.
 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we humbly seek You, You meet us where we are and lift us up to do what You call us to do. Thank You that You are our strength in all things, and that You make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for not getting down on our knees to present our needs. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things, as You are the One who will lead us and grant us strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to know that You are the God who hears our every heart cry, and You answer those who earnestly seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and guide us as we go. Amen.
 
Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Believe Instead of Striving

Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One He sent.” – (John 6:29, ERV)

God wants us to trust and believe in His one and only Son with all that we are, rather than complete some check list of accomplishments. When we are fully invested in faith in Christ, we are compelled to love and serve as He did. Our motivation for what we do, matters. If we are working to somehow try to earn God’s favor, we are toiling in vain. Anything God wants accomplished, He can do with a thought or a word. His ways are so much higher than our ways. However, if we believe in Him with our whole being, and love Him with all that we are, we cannot help but long to serve Him and do whatever He calls us to do. Acting in love is a far different scenario than obligation or fear. May we rise up and take inventory of what we are doing today. If our to do list is merely to appease or earn favor, let our hearts be changed so that we are motivated purely by His love, and a heart to serve Him and all whom He has created.

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You want from us is our whole heart – our trust and our belief. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make Yourself tangible and approachable, to a world lost and desperately in need of Your grace. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves, and raise us up to who You call us to be, if we choose to seek and trust in You. Forgive us for our attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in You. Teach us to trust in You, and allow You to do the transforming of us, so that we can go forth and be used by You to touch lives and transform communities. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe with all that we are, in the One You sent. Amen.

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

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

To Break the Chains

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of a huge community event to raise awareness and support to stop human trafficking in our area. The event was a 5k run/walk, and though my dear friend and I had originally signed up to run, we were recruited to be officials at the start line. It was a powerful experience to see so many from our community come together for the common good. The event that had only around three-hundred participants last year, had grown to nearly a thousand this year. Watching each group, team, family, and individual come up to the corral and prepare to enter the chute, ready to begin their own race with purpose, was a powerful perspective on how God intends us to operate as community.

 

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name. then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me. – (Psalm 142:6-7)

 

Those stuck in the snare of human trafficking are crying out, and in desperate need. They need rescue, and cannot escape on their own. The only way for them to be set free from the prison they have been forced into, is when we rise up and answer what the Lord would ask of us. For some, it is in the seeking. Others have the task of educating and creating awareness of not only the problem, but of how to protect our kids from being lured into the snares of such sickness. Additionally, there are those whom the Lord has gifted with the ability to surround those who have been set free from the prison of such crimes, and care for them so that their minds and hearts may join the physical freedom that they have found. May we each ask of the Lord what we are meant to do, and then walk in obedience to what He is asking.

 

Can you hear the cries,To Break the Chains

of those trapped in chains?

Oh people rise up,

He’s calling our names.

So many are stuck,

enslaved at the hand;

of selfish pursuit,

of the greed of man.

Though they may be strong,

in numbers, we’re more;

for God is our strength,

and He opens doors.

Down with the captors,

and freedom for those;

righteous, come gather,

so goodness is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear the cries of those who are in desperate need; who need rescue from those who pursue and are too strong for us to fight on our own. Thank You that You set people free from the prisons they have become ensnared in, and You gather the righteous around them so that they may come to know the goodness of Your great love. Forgive us for our ignorance to all that goes on around us, or for our apathy in standing idly by. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to do whatever it is that You would ask of us, and allow You room to move in and through us as You see fit. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into the safety of a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know that true security is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your call, and answer all that You ask. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Upheld By His Hand

Change is inevitable. At times, change is a choice that we embrace and make with enthusiasm, yet there are other times that change must occur in response to our present circumstances. During the latter, we seldom are responding with enthusiasm, and often it is instead a space of fear or dread. There is sorrow in such seeking, and a desperate need to know that the Lord is present in the catalyst of change that we feel called to make. Our difficult decisions for change that Christ calls us to, He also strengthens and upholds us as we move forward in faith.

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10)

 

Despite how things appear in the here and now, when Christ calls us to change, it is for our ultimate good. Though there may be a season of mourning, His joy does come again. We need not fear, for His presence is promised. We need not dismay, for we know Who is with us. He will strengthen, help and uphold us with His hand, not our own. It is not up to us to power through, rather we are meant to move in obedience; dependent on Him, each step of the way. May we release every fear to He who is our strength and our help, and trust Him to uphold us in His righteous right hand.

 

Lord help me embrace,Generous Giving

what You call me to;

though changes are hard,

I have help in You.

Even when sorrow,

accompanies change;

help me to trust You,

and call on Your Name.

Lord, help me not fear,

keep me from dismay;

be my strength and hope,

as I choose obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, because You are with us. Thank You that we need not be dismayed, for You are our God. Thank You that You strengthen and help us; and that You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Forgive us for our fearfulness, in spite of Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be certain of all that You have promised and walk in obedience accordingly. Lead us to love others fearlessly and relentlessly, even if they are afraid to receive the love that You are providing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we surrender our fears and our fretting, and choose to embrace the strength and help that you provide as You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Amen.

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

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

His Love, Not Mine

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Whenever I think that I am somehow becoming more patient and kind, something happens to show me just how far I have to go.  I say this not as a discouragement, but rather an encouragement; for we all are a work in progress.

As a mother, patience with kids is a fairly natural and routine part of my world.  The same holds true in my role as a teacher.  However, when lines are crossed, and students intentionally attempt to inflict harm upon other children, I no longer feel patient, nor kind.  When the attempt is made on my own child, a fierce sense of protection rises up, and mama bear’s claws come out.  Though I did not physically lash out, nor verbally go after said child, the initial thoughts in my heart toward him were neither patient nor kind.

Once I had the time to slow my body and mind long enough to listen, I recognized that God loves that child, just as I love my own.  The truth of the matter is that hurt people, hurt people, and the boy obviously needs more support than he is being provided presently.  Additionally, God protected my son from what could have been, and created opportunity to speak truthHis love never fails.  Every morning before my children wake, I pray for their protection.  Once again, He has shown me how He always protects, for His love never fails.

Lord make my heart,His Love Not Mine

patient and kind;

let my eyes see,

through Yours, not mine.

In You, is truth,

what we can trust;

loving kindness,

from birth to dust.

Teach me Your ways,

so my life shows;

unfailing love,

that each day grows.

Your love alone,

endures always;

it never fails,

all of our days.

May we hold hope,

in You alone;

trust in Your grace,

know that we’re known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unconditional, everlasting, unchanging love.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You keep no record of our wrongs when we confess and ask for forgiveness.  Thank You that You are our protection and our hope, and that You give us the strength to trust You so that we may persevere.  Forgive us for our tempers, our pride, our lack of patience and kindness, and for our keeping record of wrongs.  We desperately need You to walk out our lives as we are called to do.  Teach us how to extend grace to the hurting who hurt us and our loved ones, and help heal the wounds that have hurt them so deeply.  May hearts be changed and lives restored, as we love like You love us.  Let the lost, the lonely, and the hurting, find comfort and restoration in You.  Be glorified, our great and loving Lord.  Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy.

– Hebrews 4:16

Realistic Assessment and Commitment

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)

Humility is not about outward appearances in so much as it is an inward working of the heart.  A humble heart compares oneself to Christ alone, and recognizes one’s own sinfulness and the unquestionable desperate need for a Savior.  In the same state of self-reflection, “a humble heart also recognizes their gifts and strengths, and is willing to use them as directed by Christ.  Humility is not self-degradation; it is realistic assessment and commitment to serve.” (NIV footnotes)

So, how do we do this?  In a society built upon appearances, how do we keep our priorities in order?  It seems that the most straightforward way to keep our focus in the right direction, is if we view everything through the lens of loving God, and loving others.  If we are looking up, and then looking out, there is little time to look down.  Proper perspective keeps the main things the main things, as He is quick to enlighten, encourage, correct and redirect, as we fix our eyes on Him.  When our communication with Christ is constant, we are available to hear what He has to say, and we are less likely to become too puffed up, or conversely, to listen to the lies that would try to destroy our worth in Him.  May we hear Him clearly, so that we are able to realistically assess and commit to serve.

Humble in heart,Realistic Assessment and Commitment

may not mean bow down;

listen to Christ,

for way to be found.

Seek only Him,

compare not to man;

only to Christ,

Revealer of plans.

Recognize gifts,

He’s given to you;

ask Him to show,

serving we’re to do.

Take not the best,

offer to others;

honor each as,

sisters and brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what humility looks like.  Thank You Jesus, that You are gentle and humble in heart, yet not lowly and meek.  Thank You that You showed us strength of character and grace, yet never considered anyone nor any task, beneath You.  Thank You for modeling what true humility ought to be.  Forgive us for attempted appearances or for making comparisons, and help us to fix our eyes on You.  Teach us how we are to love You and others well, and in the process, teach us how we can continually assess where we are as opposed to where You are calling us to go, and that we may commit our lives to serve one another in love.  May many come to know who You are, as we love and serve You with our lives.  Let the lost be found, and the hurting be held in Your hands.  Be glorified, Lord God.  Amen.

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

Live in Light

lighted pathOur God is the light,

the Light of the world;

no darkness in Him,

all sin shall be hurled.

If we claim the Lord,

yet live not in light;

our life is a lie,

our ways are not right.

If we are in light,

the shadows will fall;

together we’ll live,

His blood cleansing all.

If we don’t admit,

our failures, our sin;

we deceive ourselves,

granting hell the win.

Yet when we confess,

He’s faithful and just;

forgiving us all,

purifying us.

If we claim no sin,

we call Him liar;

His word not in us,

refining fire.

(Responding to 1 John 1:5-9)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are light, and that there is no darkness in You. Forgive us for flirting with darkness – be it in word, thought or deed. Help us to remember our desperate need to confess our unrighteousness, so that the barrier of sin between us, will be removed. Teach us to walk upright before You, fully immersed in Your loving light. Let Your light shine through us, so many may come to know the forgiveness and faithfulness that is forever found in Your love. May we live in Your light, and allow You to shine on our shadows. Amen.

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