Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love 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 those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

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Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by 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

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. 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

Trust His Will

But then again, if God is in this, you won’t be able to stop it – unless, of course, you’re ready to fight against God! – (Acts 5:39, VOICE)

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be fighting against God Himself! – (Acts 5:39, ERV)

 

Just as the religious counsel recognized that though they did not like the path the disciples were taking, they really needed to wait and see what was to happen. If it fizzled, it was of human origin, yet if it continued, they would have been opposing God. The same often holds true today. We see friends or family following a path that might not make sense to us, however, they feel it is where the Lord is leading them. Rather than oppose them, we ought to prayerfully support their endeavors, and ask that the Lord continue to show them the way they are meant to go. Our opposition may be in direct violation of God’s will. We are not God, nor can we determine His will for another man’s life. May we be wise with our counsel and encouraging with our words, so that whatever we do, our words and deeds direct those who are seeking unto the Lord.

 

The path of a man,given-to-show-goodness

Is paved by the Lord;

He’ll show us the way,

As He opens doors.

Although to others,

It might not make sense;

We’re meant to follow,

Trust there’s no pretense.

Though we may not see,

Where other’s paths lead;

We need trust God’s will,

It’s how to proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your will for us is good. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that we are all designed differently to walk the road that You have laid out for us, individually. Thank You that You equip and empower us for whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for questioning the call that You have on our lives or the lives of those around us, despite what our human eyes can see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait in trust, knowing that You move in mysterious ways, even when we cannot see how You are moving. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they seek to be obedient to that which they have been called to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

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

Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

What We’re Meant to Wear

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. – (Colossians 3:12, MSG)

 

As followers and disciples of Christ, we are made holy and among His dearly loved. Just as Jesus is merciful, kind, humble, gentle and patient with us, we are called to do likewise with others. We ought to clothe ourselves with Christ’s characteristics, so that those around us might come to know the lavish love that is available to all who call on His Name. May we each be adorned in the attributes of the Almighty, so that compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline are our everyday orders of operation, granting opportunity for the lives around us to come to know the mercy and grace that give new life.

 

As we’ve been chosen,Delivering Dreams

Made holy in You;

Help us to rise up,

Walk well in the new.

Help us show mercy,

Be gentle and kind;

Humble and patient,

With Your will in mind.

Let what matters most,

Be that we wear well;

The garments of grace,

That Your story tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and place our lives in Your hands, You call us Your chosen and holy people. Thank You that as such, You grant us the grace to be clothed in kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so generously give unto us. Forgive us for not extending these to those who offend, hurt or irritate us as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would show mercy to others, just as You have been merciful to us. Show us how to love those around us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that they might come to know the depth and breadth of Your amazing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to clothe us in the wardrobe that You have designed for us, and trust You to help us wear it well. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Seek to Serve

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, NLT)

Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to Him. He said, “Whoever wants to be the most important must make others more important than themselves. They must serve everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not like that of this world. We do not have to claw our way to the top, nor fight others to finish “best“. Instead, Christ calls us to prefer others, to serve others, to place the needs of others before our own selfish desires. In His eyes, we are lifted up when we lift others. The Lord is not interested in how much of an agenda we can accomplish, but rather He wants to see us love others well. May we seek God and give to others as we have so graciously been given.

 

There is no first place,Good Gifts

When focused on self;

But rather through love,

Shown to someone else.

He calls us to serve,

To prefer others;

To love and lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

Lord, teach us to see,

The needs all around;

May we choose love well,

Let Your light be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to prefer others above ourselves, and to serve those around us. Thank You that You equip us to do all that You ask. Forgive us for our selfishness that keeps us looking inward rather than out. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve and love all whom we encounter. Show us how to love and serve as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to love and serve others, rather than seek to serve our own selfishness. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Listen and Abide

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32, NLT)

If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. – (John 8:31-32, VOICE)

 

To be a disciple of Christ requires discipline on our part. It is not merely a confession of faith, but a commitment to action. As people who are fully committed to follow Christ, we need to know His voice and His word. The Lord does not leave us guessing as to how we might come to know more of Him, but rather He has provided His Holy Word, which transcends time, cultures and technology. The truth remains, and the lessons we learn through investing in His word, help us learn and understand how to recognize and hear His voice. Freedom is found in knowing the truth. No more are we bound to the lies that lead us to believe that we must stay in our circumstances or remain as we are, for in Christ, we are made new and He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. May we listen for His voice and abide in His word, so that we may know the truth and discover the freedom that is found in Christ alone.

 

For Jesus made known,Aquiring Armor

To all who believed;

The truth and the light,

By which we’re set free.

It is through hearing,

God’s word and His voice;

The truth is made known,

Wisdom to make choice.

As we choose abide,

In this truth we know;

True freedom is found,

And faith greatly grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, You teach us the truth and set us free from all that hinders us from fully following You. Thank You that discipline is what differentiates a follower from a disciple. Thank You that we can choose to invest and You supply the rest. Forgive us for not listening for Your voice or investing in Your word as often as we should, as You are the One to show us the way that is best in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, allowing us to hear and know what Your will is for us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that illuminates the truth and provides freedom from the weight that wears them down. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen for Your voice and invest time in Your word, so that we may hear and know the truth. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Love As We Are Loved

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

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 those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, these were among His parting words to them. In the same way that Jesus called the disciples to love one another, He calls us to do likewise. It is an odd time in society, as many people are impacted by the loss of great icons in the entertainment industry. With each new announcement of another passing, people are forced to face their own mortality. In the midst of such a space of uncertainty, love needs to enter in. Perfect love casts out fear. When we love one another well, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on hope, rather than fear, and can move forward in the direction to which we are called. May we each rise up and answer in obedience the command that Jesus has given us to love one another as He has loved us.

 

In uncertainty,not-defined-by-a-day

We need not choose fear;

For we’re called to love,

Show truth, remain near.

Jesus commanded,

That we make the choice;

To love as He loved,

With heart, soul and voice.

Help us to love, Lord,

As You have loved us;

So all may come know,

The hope in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave us a new command to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You do not just tell us to love, but You model it to us again and again and again. Thank You that we have countless examples of how You love, so that we know how to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for not loving others well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love, regardless of what we are given in return. Show us how to love as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to help us love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Corinthians 16:31