To Demonstrate Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – (John 13:34, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

wp-15816817937588641311806906910576.jpg

The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Train in Truth

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV)

People tell silly stories that don’t agree with God’s truth. Don’t follow what these stories teach. But teach yourself to be devoted to God. – (1 Timothy 4:7, ERV)

Be quick to abstain from senseless traditions and legends, but instead be engaged in the training of truth that brings righteousness. – (1 Timothy 4:7, TPT)

We live in a day and age where there is so much out there, vying for our attention, that if our heart and mind are not set secure in the truth of God, we will be pulled in so many directions that we will have no direction at all. God calls us to set our sights on Him, the author and finisher of our faith. As we do, we find our hearts and minds protected and directed away from the senseless things that would tempt our attention and cause fear and anxiety, rather than faith and trust in what is true. This is why it is so important that we know and understand the word of God. When His truth is rooted and established in our hearts, we are easily able to decipher what is true and from Him, and that which is not. May we ever invest time in the word of God, so that we may know and understand what is good, lovely, righteous and true.

As for a mom update: One of my favorite things is when I receive a text from Mom. Yesterday, just as I was leaving work to go run, I discovered a sweet “hello, I’m thinking of you” sort of message that made me wish even more, that mom was not such a long drive away. I gave her a call, and we were able to catch up on the day’s happenings, thus far. She is continuing to work hard, as the next step for her will be the transition to outpatient therapies, rather than in-home therapies that she is currently doing.

Follow not stories, The Word of God

Or legends or tales;

As how to live life,

In the end, they’ll fail.

For God is the truth,

The way and the light;

Our path provider,

He shows us what’s right.

In everything,

Seek God earnestly;

For He’ll point the way,

To live fruitfully.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Provider. Thank You that Your word is truth. Thank You that as we seek You and invest time in Your word, You make Your path more plain to us. Forgive us for allowing our hearts or minds to be distracted by all of the things that vie for our attention that do not point us back to You. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may look through Your lens at all that is placed before us. Show us how to love well, all those whom are in our lives. Help us to be Your hands, feet, heart and voice to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You and Your word to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

The Will of the Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching the right way to live. Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ERV)

Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good. – (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CEB)

 

Instruction manuals make navigation through uncharted territory manageable. Whether it is a map to aid in finding a destination, directions as to how to construct something new, or simply a set of expectations and guidelines in a place of employment, each serves a purpose to provide necessary information to navigate successfully. The Bible has the same purpose for our everyday lives. There are so many things that we stumble upon that may at first appear uncertain, yet when we seek the Lord and read His word, we soon discover that there is a direction that we are meant to go with all things. Despite having been written so many generations ago, the lessons we can glean from Scriptures are timeless. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, and invest time in His word so that we will know how we are meant to live well.

 

May we turn in trust, The Word of God

To God and His word;

To know what is right,

To test what is heard.

For Holy Scriptures,

Are useful indeed;

To teach and to train,

To His will, we heed.

Let us keep seeking,

What God has to say;

So we may do well,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Thank You that we can turn to You and read Your Word to know how to live according to Your will. Thank You that all Scripture is given by You to help us live well. Forgive us for neglecting to invest time in Your word, or for ignoring the truth that we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear all that You say and walk in Your way, as we are equipped to do good work. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your Word, and allow You to train us and equip us to do good things according to Your perfect will. 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

Pass It On

We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things He has done. – (Psalm 78:4, MSG)

We will not keep these things secret from their children; rather, we will tell the coming generation all about the praise that is due to the Eternal One. We will tell them all about His strength, power, and wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, VOICE)

 

The challenges and struggles that stand before today’s youth require faith more than ever before. We live in a culture that floods young minds with temptation to be lured a hundred different directions without the constants that they desperately desire. If we do not teach them of the wonders of God and show them hope in a world where hope is so often lost, the future that follows them will be bleak. However, when children are raised to know hope in Him, they rise up into adulthood with a filter that helps them fix their eyes on that which is to take them in the direction they are meant to go, rather than being tugged by too many things. In my own life, hearing of the marvelous things that He had done in the lives of those before me, inspired a great desire to discover all that He had for me as well. May we not keep God’s goodness to ourselves, but ever share of His wonders with our children, so that they too may seek the Lord and His strength in their lives.

 

Keep not to ourselves, IMG_2344

God’s glory and might;

We are meant to share,

Give young ones insight.

Tell of His wonder,

The good He has done;

Speak of the Lord’s strength,

The battles He’s won.

Let’s give our kids hope,

Where often there’s none;

Share His faithfulness,

Our Almighty One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown Your faithfulness to us through the generations before us. Thank You for those who did not stay silent, but rather shared with us the glory of Your majesty and power. Thank You for the privilege to pass along the same to the next generation that follows us. Forgive us for keeping things to ourselves that were meant to be shared, as the coming generation needs to know the wonder of Your majesty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and hear Your heart as to how and what we are meant to share. Show us how to love those who follow after us in a way that gives them hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share of the marvelous things that You have done with those whom You have placed in our charge. 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

A Clearly Marked Course

A clearly marked course makes all the difference in our ability to navigate where we need to go. Road signs, mile markers, and definitive directions, make reaching one’s destination, doable. The same holds true in how we navigate our lives. We need clear direction from the Lord, to know how He intends for us to run the race that He has placed before us. Our race plan will not unfold before us unless we seek the Lord and His will for our lives. If we just run about aimlessly, we miss the mark on the more that the Lord intends for our lives.

 

I’ll run the course You lay out for me, if You’ll just show me how. – (Psalm 119:32, MSG)

 

May we seek the Lord with willing hearts, ready to run the course He sets before us. Let our eyes see, our ears hear, and our hearts understand His direction with the faith to follow wherever He leads.

 

The Lord, in His love,1 Ragnar 1 Mile to go

Remains ever near;

He’ll show us the path,

If we’ll only hear.

May we choose listen,

Run swift where He leads;

No matter the course,

He’ll meet all our needs.

Choose trust each new day,

As we run His course;

Allow faith rise up,

For Christ is our Source.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek Your direction, You show us the course that You have laid out before us. Thank You that You do not just point to something and say “Go!”, but rather You show us the way and then strengthen, equip us, and walk beside us as we go. Forgive us for our lack of seeking direction as we go. Teach us to trust You in all things – great and small, as You care about them all. Show us how to love others in a way that equips and encourages them to pursue the path that You have planned for them as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your guidance and direction for each new leg of our journey so that we may run in a way that represents You well. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

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

A Debt to Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8)

 

“We are permanently in debt to Christ for the lavish love He has poured out on us. The only way we can even begin to repay this debt is by loving others in turn. Because Christ’s love will always be infinitely greater than ours, we will always have the obligation to love our neighbors.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 13:8)

 

Though we cannot earn nor repay His overwhelming love for us, we can demonstrate our gratitude by extending the same love given to us, to all whom we encounter. As we do, we fulfill what He asks of us – to love our neighbors as ourselves. Practically, this will look different for each person. However, the basic foundation is the same. If we see a known need, do we actively pursue a path to provide assistance? Are we being His hands, heart and voice to those who desperately need to have Him made tangible, practically?

 

When a heart is low,A Debt to Love

or someone’s in need;

do we offer help,

follow the Lord’s lead?

As we opt listen,

His voice we shall hear;

leading and guiding,

His directions clear.

If we move in love,

all honor is His;

answering His call,

to love like Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid a price we can never repay, yet You receive us, despite our inadequacies. Thank You that You receive us as we are, and are pleased when we choose to love others, as You love us. Forgive us for not loving others well, or for neglecting the needs of those around us. Help make us more aware of both needs and what we are meant to do to love. May many come to know You as the Lord and Savior of their lives, and may they too, commit their lives to loving as You love us all. Be glorified, O God, in our every word, thought and deed. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19