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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Nature Sings

You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! – (Isaiah 55:12, NLT)

So you will go out from there with joy. You will be led out in peace. When you come to the mountains and hills, they will begin singing. All the trees of the field will clap their hands. – (Isaiah 55:12, ERV)

 

Yesterday morning, as we approached the hills with the sun rising behind us, it felt as if the hills were singing before us. Though we were in the desert canyon of Red Rock, color was everywhere before us. I am constantly amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. Before, when I thought of desert canyons, I thought of brown, dusty hills. What my eyes beheld yesterday was far from that. Everywhere we looked, there were vibrant, living greens growing, with lovely red rock behind them. Jackrabbits bounded between bushes, and we even spied some tortoise lumbering along at the conservatory, as it was bath day for them. I think each of us left the park a bit more in awe of all His hands have made, as we drove away with joy and peace that directed our path. May we ever take time to notice in awe and wonder, all the beauty that His hands have made, and give Him praise for the joy that is ours to take it in.

 

Go to the mountains, Red Rock Canyon

The canyons or sea;

Observe and behold,

Gifts God grants for free.

You’ll find joy and peace,

For creation sings;

Of His mighty hand,

And the love He brings.

Wherever you are,

Look and take it in;

His glory unmatched,

Such grace found therein.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your glorious creation. Thank You that You created such beautiful diversity for our eyes to behold and enjoy. Thank You that when we take the time to observe what You have made, we walk away with restored peace and joy. Forgive us for not celebrating all that You have made, or for taking it for granted. Teach us to appreciate everything, as each moment of everyday is a gift. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes moments count. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in joy and peace as we stand in awe of all that Your hands have made. 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

Nothing I Desire Compares

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. – (Psalm 73:25)

 

The only thing that lasts, consequently, the only thing that matters, is Christ. What we have in Him, is all that lasts forever, therefore our relationship with our Redeemer ought to be our priority. If we are prioritizing as directed by the Lord, we will love God and love people. The stuff of earth will matter not, as people and what is possible for each of us through Him, will become our priority. I am not there yet… I love God and love people, yet I do like things too. It is nice to find a great deal on something new, or to receive something that has been hoped for.

 

Perhaps the most important point is to examine our heart and determine whether the stuff is getting in the way of loving God and loving people. If our hope is securely grounded in Christ, and we can keep proper perspective that there is NOTHING that compares to Him, then I think we are heading in the right direction. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ in heaven, and let no desire on Earth come before Him.

 

Let us hold on tight,Forgiveness is Free

to heavenly hope;

our place that’s secure,

no other life boat.

For Christ never fails,

His grace is made new;

there’s nothing on earth,

that compares to You.

O God fix our eyes,

on what concerns You;

let’s love each other,

as we see You do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are are hope in heaven and our present help on earth. Thank You that there is nothing that compares in heaven or on earth, to Your love and grace. Forgive us for seeking after anything else before You, and help us to prioritize You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that our actions demonstrate our love for You. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope for both now and forever in You. 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

Grow Not Weary of Doing Good

It is a hard road when blatant opposition is directed at us, individually. The temptation to retaliate either with words or actions, is far greater than the pull to take the high road. However, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we are called to a higher standard. Despite direct assault on our countenance, character, or any other aspect of who we are or what we do, we are directed to do the right thing. This is not to say that we are meant to stand and submit to being someone’s doormat, but rather, when opposition comes, we must choose to do right by God. Rather than retaliation, we are to return kindness for cruelty and silence for slander. Walking away from what we were never meant to be a part of, is also a method of mimicking our Maker. Throughout the gospels, Jesus did each of these, when He stood in the face of opposition. He healed despite disbelief; He kept quiet when He was slandered and spit upon; and He slipped away quietly through the crowd when they intended to harm Him.

 

And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. – (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

 

This is both a charge and a calling for all who believe. Though we may tire and grow weary of doing the right thing in our own strength, the Lord will lead and equip us to continue to choose to do the next right thing, if we are willing to trust and rely on His leading. Each of us has the choice. We can respond in anger and frustration when opposition comes, or we can model the character of Christ, despite the desires of those who intend to defeat us. May we trust in Him who is more than able to lead and equip us in every situation to choose well, so that we do not grow weary of doing what is right.

 

Let’s not grow weary,Faith and Hope in Action

of doing what’s right;

stand strong in the Lord,

and fight the good fight.

Sometimes in silence,

always staying bold;

for we know the truth,

may justice unfold.

When we’re called to speak,

may truth and grace reign;

so all that is false,

returns to the flames.

Our God is able,

to lead and supply;

us through our trials,

on Christ, let’s rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not grow weary in doing good. Thank You that You do not just call us to do this, but You sent Your Son to show us what it looks like, and Your Spirit to equip and empower us to do the same. Forgive us for our weariness in the fight, especially when opposition seems relentless. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and return kindness for cruelty, silence for slander, and wisdom to know when to stay, and when to walk away. Lead us to love boldly, just as You so brilliantly and individually love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we rely on Your strength, so that we do not grow weary in doing good. 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

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.