Consider Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT)

 

I love that this biblical concept has been made tangible to many as people seek to “pay it forward.” One small spark of kindness, generosity or grace can set off an incredible chain reaction. The great thing is, we can love and encourage others through small and simple things. The Passions Translation tells us to “discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion…” I so appreciate this, as some of the seemingly smallest acts of kindness have had the greatest and most lasting impact on me, as they often come when I have needed them most. It costs us nothing to choose to offer a kind and encouraging word or to reach out a helping hand to one we see in need – we simply must choose to extend what we have received to those around us. May we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may discover creative ways to encourage each other and extend acts of kindness to all.

 

Let us consider, Ambassadors of Love

How to choose love well;

Honor each other,

May our actions tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Extend hope and grace;

Each act of kindness,

Demonstrate His ways.

Choose seek discover,

To love and do good;

Compassion offered,

God’s grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that though we do not deserve it, You come near and extend encouragement and compassion toward us in tangible ways. Thank You that You call us to look for ways to encourage and love one another as we reach out in ways that others can grasp. Forgive us for not always choosing words or ways to inspire those around us to greater love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our Source and Supply, so that we will encourage and motivate others toward compassion and acts of kindness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spurs others toward love and good deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love and encouragement that You offer to us and then go and give likewise to those around us. 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

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Loved By You

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) 

And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. – (John 13:34, TLB) 

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) 

 

We are called and commanded to love, just as we are loved by God. His love is often made evident through the kindness of those who surround us. Yesterday, I was the recipient of His love made tangible on several occasions. My day in the classroom begins with my most challenging class, and yesterday was no exception. By the end of the ninety minutes, I would have gladly gone home if I had been given the option. God knew, and He provided support in spaces where it was needed most. Encouraging words from colleagues who are friends that came randomly as I walked across campus, flowers delivered at lunchtime from my fiancée, a brief, yet supportive conversation with my principal, and more messages from dear ones as the day went on. God knows what fills our hearts, and He loves us the way that helps our hearts hear best. We are called to go and do likewise. May we rise up and make the choice to love one another, just as the Lord so lavishly loves each of us. 

 

New command given, img_20180213_164632_6431902058580.jpg

To love others well; 

For as we choose love, 

Doubts and fears dispel. 

The love that God shows, 

Our hearts and our minds; 

Helps us love others, 

Leads us to be kind. 

On this day of love, 

Let us choose anew; 

To love as He loves, 

For His love is true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are commanded to love each other. Thank You that You place people in our lives to make Your love tangible when we need it the most. Thank You that just as we are loved, we are called to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You do. Show us how to love with patience and kindness, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

To See God

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known. – (John 1:18, NIV)

No one has ever seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made God known. – (John 1:18, CEB)

No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to His heart. Now He has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is! – (John 1:18, TPT)

 

Without Jesus, it is impossible to truly understand God. Jesus came to us in a way that human eyes could see, ears could hear and our hearts could understand. He walked among us so that we could come to know the loving heart of the Father. Each time that Jesus touched the untouchable, healed the hurting and loved the difficult to love, He demonstrated who God is, and showed us God’s heart for His created. When He ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father, He sent His Spirit to dwell within the hearts of everyone who chooses to receive and believe. Today, we gain glimpses of God through the hearts of people who demonstrate His love as He loved. When we are hurting and receive an encouraging word that holds our heart and lifts our spirit, it is glance at the goodness of God being made tangible. May we ever keep our eyes open and our hearts tender, to hear and share His heart with those around us.

 

The greatness of God, The Hope of the World

Far too much to grasp;

As we seek His Son,

He reveals as asked.

Though no eye has seen,

Yet, Jesus’ made known;

The fullness of God,

By grace, we’ve been shown.

And still we can see,

Glimpses of the Lord;

As we look to Him,

His love is outpoured.

Let us choose to seek,

So we come to know;

The greatness of God,

Wherever we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have not seen You, we can know You through the life of Your Son. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit to dwell within us, so that we can see glimpses of You in others, and show Your heart to those around us as we love. Forgive us for not opening our eyes and hearts to the evidence of You that is all around us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to understand, so that we will grow in our understanding of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we open our eyes and hearts to see and take in Your splendor that is all around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Kind Words Bring Joy

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. – (Proverbs 12:25, NLT)

Worry takes away your joy, but a kind word makes you happy. – (Proverbs 12:25, ERV)

The weight of worry drags us down, but a good word lightens our day. – (Proverbs 12:25, VOICE)

 

The whole idea of “Don’t worry, be happy,” is great in theory, but not as simple in its application. Worry’s weight sneaks in and surrounds us before we realize the enormity of its burden we are trying to bear. At times, something so simple as an encouraging word, has the capacity to lessen our load, and remind us that we are not alone with the weight we carry. Ultimately, worry has everything to do with trust. If we cannot see a possible solution, we struggle to trust that there is a way out from under the weight. God tells us to cast our cares upon Him, as He is more than strong enough to bear the burdens that are far too heavy for us on our own. He promises to go before us, remain with us, and never leave us. If we could only remember His encouraging words when worry wanders our way, we would avoid the trap of being burdened by a weight so overwhelming that it steals our joy. May we go forth this day in trust, knowing that the Lord will help carry our loads, as we both hear His words of encouragement to our hearts and be people who extend encouragement to others.

 

Let not the worries,

Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Cheering on runners as the round the corner into the final stretch.

 

Of life weigh you down;

For God is our help,

Our hope that is found.

There’s little as sweet,

As offered kind words;

For they lift us up,

The moment they’re heard.

When worry finds way,

In our hearts and minds;

Help us seek You, Lord,

For Your words are kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to be burdened by the weight of worry, as You are greater than anything that would come against us or seek to steal our joy. Thank You that Your words for us are encouraging and full of life. Thank You that You place people in our lives to encourage us and for us to extend the same. Forgive us for allowing the weight of worry to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your help, as Your arms are more than big enough to bear any burden that lies before us. Help us to encourage others as we are encouraged by You. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our worries to You, and allow the truth of Your word to encourage our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and be an encouragement to those around us. 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

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. 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

A Tribe that is True

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

 

Somehow, I am blessed with friends who have become family and family that I truly consider friends. For the past few days, my boys and I had the pleasure of spending sweet time together with my sister and her family. It was a joy to see the cousins carry on as if no time had passed since the last time we gathered, and for me, time face-to-face with my sister and brother-in-law is always a gift to my heart. Today, some of my most dearly treasured tribe of friends will gather for our first annual “Friendsgiving”. The very idea of gathering all together in gratitude fills my heart to overflowing. Each one of us has endured some serious storms over the past year, yet with our circle surrounding whomever was in the throes of the storm, each of us was able to endure and come through stronger, knowing that we were supported and loved. May we all continue through this sacred season surrounding our people with love and support, and giving thanks for the blessings that the Lord has brought our way.

 

May we be the friends,tribe

Who love through the storm;

A place of safety,

Where hearts become warm.

No matter what comes,

May we remain true;

In love and friendship,

Help each other through.

Let’s be family,

In good times and bad;

Through all circumstance,

Reason to be glad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings of friends and family that You give. Thank You that You use the relationships around us to show us more of Yourself. Thank You that so often, Your heart is made tangible through the encouraging words of the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for not loving the way You call us to love. Teach us to be the kind of friends and family that You have created us to be. Show us how to love and stick together, no matter what comes our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love regardless of circumstances, just as You love us. 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

Seeking Strength and Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. – (Psalm 4:8, NLT)

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

 

There have been four shootings in the last forty-eight hours in my city – three of which were fatalities. What once was a sleepy little town, is growing and changing, and the bounty of broken and hurting people has blown up. I see it in the schools, where kids come and try to navigate the new, with a very different set of standards guiding them as they go. Many are in crisis, and are simply in survival mode. How do we best meet needs and love all who come, just as Jesus calls us to love? We are not called to be afraid, nor hide away in fear, yet neither are we asked to be foolish. The Lord grants wisdom to all who seek Him, and gives strength where we have none. His peace surrounds us and keeps us safe, despite the seeming destruction of what we formerly knew to be true. There is no easy answer nor simple solution when the safety of one’s city has been stolen by violence. However, change begins with one. One act of kindness. One extension of encouraging words. One person providing peace in the midst of scattered storms… If we seeks the Lord and listen to Him, He will grant us strength and wisdom, removing the fear that has fought to find footing around the brutal acts of broken people. May we let Love be what leads us; not fear.

 

As the day closes,Image-1

And fear tries rush in;

I lean on the Lord,

Where comfort begins.

The Source of all strength,

In chaos, our peace;

Protector, Savior,

Where grace is released.

He loves the hurting,

The scorned and broken;

He’s asking of us,

To be truth spoken.

Not just with our words,

But in love, choose serve;

Meet needs before us,

His peace to preserve.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of peace and strength, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that in You, we need not fear – for You keep us safe from harm. Father, I lift my city before You, and ask that You would move mightily in the hearts of all who love You, so that we may seek You and obey whatever You ask of us to bring peace into this place. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see so much violence in such a short span of time. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would hear what You would have us do, and then we would go forth and obey. Show us how to love all who are hurting around us, so that they might come to know Your perfect peace for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and peace. 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

 

 

Helping Each Other is Obedience

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NIV)

God created us to be in relationship with one another. He did not intend for us to do this life alone. When one is struggling, those around them are meant to come beside them, and help, support, encourage and lift them up until they again are able to stand securely. When we help one another, we are living as Christ is calling us to live. To carry the burdens of another can be something so simple as preparing a meal for an exhausted friend, a quick phone call or text that offers encouraging words, ongoing and faithful prayer for the circumstances that are wearing the other down, and providing time to be present to sit beside one another and listen. God both uses and honors the help that we offer, as we are obedient to that which He calls us to do. Our offering is fulfilling the law of Christ. May we help one another with our burdens, so as to love well, as Christ calls us to love.

When we look around,Faith and Hope in Action

what need do we see?

We are called to rise,

“Lord, come and use me.”

For if we choose love,

in tangible ways;

we’ll help each other,

and in tough times, stay.

Oh Lord show us how,

to bear burdens well;

grant us grace to love,

and Your words to tell.

Let all that we say,

and all that we do;

encourage others,

give glory to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for relationship and that You did not intend for us to navigate this life alone. Thank You that You call us to help one another and to bear one another’s burdens. Thank You that to do so, is to walk beside in love, making Your grace and strength tangible when it is needed most. Thank You that when we walk in this way, we are fulfilling Your intended purpose for us. Forgive us for withdrawing into ourselves when we struggle or for neglecting the needs of another that we see. Help us to reach out beyond ourselves when we see a need and when we have a need; for You are our Great Provider. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they feel supported, encouraged, strengthened and loved, even in the midst of their own struggles. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we carry one another’s burdens in obedience to all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Speak Truth from the Heart

As part of being called to love, we must speak life to those around us. To speak life is to speak the truth from the heart, and to love and honor God in the process. When we neglect to speak encouraging words, and instead speak death or demise, we tear down rather than build up those whom Christ has created in His very own image.

Only those who live pure lives, do what is right and speak the truth from their hearts. Such people don’t say bad things about others. They don’t do things to hurt their neighbors. They don’t tell shameful things about those close to them. – (Psalm 15:2-3, ERV)

Let us choose to speak,Speak Truth from the Heart

encouraging words;

so all who are near,

may embrace what’s heard.

Invest in the Lord,

so we may live pure;

do right and speak truth,

offer truth to hear.

Speak not of the bad,

that dwells in others;

do nothing to harm,

sisters or brothers.

Speak not of the shame,

their actions impart;

for the Lord forgives,

and grants a new start.

Rather choose build up,

and point to the Lord;

His love is enough,

it’s freely outpoured.

Our words have power, and can have an impact for far longer than we know. For the child who hears nothing but negativity at home, and then hears encouraging words at school from a teacher or a staff member, their life course could be forever altered, simply because someone took the time to speak the truth in love into their life. Sadly, the opposite holds true as well. If our words are spoken carelessly and without love, the damage can be far deeper and longer lasting than we could ever imagine. In Christ, we have the power to choose to invest our lives in Him, so that we might live lives that are pure, and do what is right; speaking the truth from our hearts. As we do, people are encouraged and changed, and we cannot help but no longer stay the same either.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak truth in love, and encourage and build up those who are around us.  Thank You that You equip and empower us to do so, when we invest our hearts and lives in You.  Forgive us for the missed opportunities that we have had, because we were too wrapped up in our own “stuff” to see the need around us.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have an outward focus, fixing our eyes on You, and those whom You place on our path to love as You love us.  Lead us to love like You.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we speak Your truth from the hearts that You have made new within us.  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

Encourage, Love and Do Good

AdventurousToday began in an unexpected and unusually early fashion. One of my sweet sons came into my room at 2am to inform me that he was having difficulty breathing. For the past two days, he has been fighting a fever and cough, which have exacerbated his asthma. Unfortunately, the virus seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and I knew an ER visit would be in order. The wonderful staff at our local children’s hospital took excellent care of Adventurous, and his body responded to the treatments well. Thankfully, we were on our way home by 6:30am. Upon our return, I had just enough time to eat a quick bite of breakfast, change, and pack my running bag for a 10k race that I was registered to run. If ever there was a day when I did not feel equipped for the task, today was the day.

 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

 

Both my running bestie and a dear friend from afar, filled my heart and mind with encouraging words, as they showed His love to me. Though running may not necessarily be His “good works“, it is a space where I feel His pleasure. Every step I take, I am grateful for a healthy body, a beautiful place to live, and the people He has placed in my life through this sport that I love. As we ran, we too, were able to offer words of encouragement along the route to other runners that appeared to be growing weary, and in the end, had accomplished even more than we had hoped to for our race goal time.

 

God provided all that I needed to overcome potential exhaustion. He healed my precious progeny under the care of a kind medical staff, and after all was said and done, I had the remainder of this day to rest.

 

May we look for every opportunity to encourage each other, to show love, and to do good works.

 

Let our eyes extend,Christmas Rush

outside of ourselves;

to encourage well,

unseen by themselves.

May we each show love,

with words that we say;

and may our good works,

show Christ is the way.

All who are weary,

trust Him who knows best;

in awe, you shall find,

He will grant You rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You use us to encourage one another in love and in good works. Thank You that You refresh us when we are weary, and You carry us when we are weak. Thank You that You are present, regardless of what is before us. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to determine our course of action, rather than trusting in You. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to be available to be used by You to encourage and love well, all whom we encounter. May we go forth doing good works as You call us to, and may many come to know the saving grace that is available through a relationship in You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other, showing love and doing good works. Amen.

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

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