Love Endures

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NLT)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best in others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

The longer I am a parent, the more abundantly I become aware of our Heavenly Father’s heart for us. Each attribute of love mentioned in these two verses, really resonate from a parental perspective. I delight in truth winning out in the lives of my children. I will never give up, never lose faith, will always be hopeful, and will endure through every circumstance to be present and love my children well. Loving this way is present with those nearest my heart also. God uses the tangible around us to make His heart for us known. The love we have for those closest to us, pales in comparison to that which He has for us. My heart is full to overflowing for those whom He has gifted me, therefore how much more ought my heart hold for He who has given me life and love from the start? May we ever rejoice in the truth as we always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

 

Love does not delight, Love Made Known

In things that go wrong;

But celebrates truth,

Rejoices in song.

Love always protects,

Trusts our hope secure;

Always keeps up faith,

Chooses persevere.

Love is a shelter,

Where we rest assured;

Where hope never ends,

As God’s love endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins out. Thank You that love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance that we will ever face. Thank You that You are with us in all things as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing our perspective of love to become tainted by human understanding, rather than relying on You, the author and creator of love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to protect, trust, hope and persevere in love in a way that believes the best in others and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart to show us how to love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

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Model the Good

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God. – (3 John 1:11, NLT)

My dear friend, don’t follow what is bad; follow what is good. Whoever does what is good is from God. But whoever does evil has never known God. – (3 John 1:11, ERV)

Friends, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, and doesn’t know the first thing about God. – (3 John 1:11, MSG)

 

When we choose to do good, despite what is going on around us, our actions and attitude are a witness to the truth of who God is and how He loves. Conversely, when we succumb to the ill influences that envelop us, the truth of who God is and how He loves is not seen or known at all. Our daily decisions matter. For some, we are the lens through which glimpses of God are first viewed. How do we want Him to be known? May we ever seek to follow that which is good, so that His love may be made evident through us.

 

Do not allow bad, Bloom Where We're Planted

To sway what you know;

Keep choosing the good,

Allow His love grow.

When we choose give in,

To things that are wrong;

The hope we long show,

Has faded and gone.

Rise up and choose well,

In love, model good;

It’s here hope is shown,

And grace, understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to follow You and do what is good. Forgive us for the times that we have given in to the influences around us and chosen poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your strength to choose good every time, as we want to represent You well. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the good that blesses and encourages them according to what they need most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do what is good because You are good. 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

Pay Back With Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God had called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, ERV)

 

We are called to respond in the opposite spirit when we are hurt by the words or actions of another. Though this contradicts the very nature within us, when we choose to bless when we want to curse, extend kindness when we’d rather kick, and offer hope where we’d rather return harm, so often the situation turns around and we are blessed by the outcome. Even when we are not, we can go forward knowing that we have walked in obedience with a clear conscience, rather than agonizing over what we should or should not have said or done. The ultimate outcome is in God’s hands, so we need not worry when blessing seems to do nothing to help. A prime place where this practice plays out in my life is in the classroom. When a student behaves poorly and I try to redirect with kindness and calm, identifying their strengths and abilities, often it is enough to get them to snap out of their funk and return to what is appropriate. We all have days where we choose poorly or are less than kind, and the very things that help us to reset and choose better are the blessings that come through the kindness of those around us. May we ever choose to extend blessings, even to those who wrong us, as God has chosen to give abundant blessings unto us.

 

Don’t repay evil, Aquiring Armor

With more of the same;

Firing back insults,

Or pointing out blame.

Instead, give blessings,

To all whom you meet;

This is our calling,

Mission to complete.

As we choose to bless,

We become blessed too;

Because we’ve obeyed,

As we’re called to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and blessings unto us. Thank You that You direct and instruct us to steer clear of retaliating for the harm that people bring our way, and that instead, You arm us with strength to bless those who insult or do wrong against us. Forgive us for the times that we have repaid wrong with wrong, or returned insults instead of extending blessings. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and heed Your instruction as to how we can bless when we feel wronged, and give grace instead of retaliation. Show us how to love sincerely, even those who insult us or irritate us, as each is Your treasured creation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to bless those who bring us pain. Amen.

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

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

Good That Overcomes

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, MSG)

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, NLT)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

 

Though a seemingly simple concept, it is often difficult to carry out. Humans have a natural inclination to seek justice when we have been “wronged“. When someone intends us harm, the last thing we want to do, is extend kindness or grace. Jesus was the ultimate example of not allowing evil to overcome Him; for even as He hung on the cross He cried out for the forgiveness of those who placed Him there, rather than for their destruction. Most of us struggle to not use ugly words when we are cut off in traffic. I had a friend growing up that used to yell, “Bless you, in Jesus Name!“, each time someone cut him off or did something stupid on the highway that could have potentially caused harm while driving. When I asked him about it, he replied that it was a way to begin to train his heart to do good, even when he wanted otherwise. He intentionally chose words that were for good, rather than for harm, even if the tone did not yet match. Granted, I know that traffic violations are hardly comparable to gross acts of evil, but if we are able to do good with the small things, perhaps our hearts will be tender and receptive as God asks us to choose to overcome evil with good in the larger things later on. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom and strength, so that evil may not get the best of us and we can rise up and do the good He asks of us.

 

Flying Butterfly

Do not let evil,

Get the best of you;

For it’s overcome,

By good that we choose.

God provides the strength,

To rise and do well;

As we move in grace,

We overcome hell.

Evil cannot stand,

Where grace and love flow;

Let’s keep doing good,

So all may come know.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that evil can be defeated when we choose to do good in Your Name. Thank You that this is not something that we have to attempt to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to do, so that we may overcome the darkness that would attempt to destroy us. Forgive us for thinking that we have to fight alone, or for allowing the darkness around us to overwhelm us, rather than looking to the light within. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You alone can overcome anything that would try to get the best of us. Show us how to love those around us, so that we would be light in dark places and do the good that overcomes that which attempts to destroy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we conquer evil by doing the good that You call us to do. 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

Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is  so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – (James 1:19-21, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. Anger does not help you live the way God wants. So get rid of everything evil in your lives – every kind of wrong you do. Be humble and accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you. – (James 1:19-21, ERV)

 

If we truly listen before we speak, we are far less likely to misunderstand or be misunderstood. It is from that very space of misunderstanding that people most often get angry. God specifically tells us that this sort of anger does not produce anything good. Frustration from our own folly, leads to moral filth, rather than righteousness. We are called to rid ourselves of such things, so that we may fully accept that which God has taught us, as His word and His ways are the very things that save us. May we rise up and rely on our Redeemer for self-control, as we choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Let us humbly accept the truth that He has planted in our hearts, as that is the very thing that saves.

 

To do the Lord’s will,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Takes much self-control;

Choice to listen first,

And value each soul.

For in our hearing,

We come understand;

Preventing anger,

Just as the Lord planned.

Our sort of anger,

Leads to nowhere good;

Far better to trust,

The Lord as we should.

For in Him there’s grace,

By which we are saved;

So seek the Lord first,

And plain the path’s made.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Thank You that when we choose to listen first, we learn to walk in the righteousness to which You are calling us. Forgive us for our lack of self-control in speaking, and the times when humility was far from us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things at all times, and clearly reflect Your righteousness before others. Show us how to be quick to listen and slow to speak, so that we would love others the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we listen and learn as we are called. Be glorified O God, as we are quick to listen and slow to speak, keeping our anger out of the way of all that You have for us. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Really Love Them

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:9-10, MSG)

 

Above all, we are called to love. This love is not romance nor something that we manufacture, but rather it is a choice to prefer others – to seek to serve and honor others rather than ourselves. We are only able to truly love when we receive and embrace the love that Christ has given unto us. It is through the holding tightly to His goodness and grace, that we are able to in turn, extend the same to others. That which is evil, the things of this world that compete for our attention in a way that draws our hearts to disdain rather than delight, are the very things that we are meant to distance ourselves far away from, so that we can cling to that which is good. May we love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other with the love that Christ grants unto us.

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with a love that gives us new life. Thank You that in You, we are restored and made new, granting us the capacity to love others with the very same love that You have given unto us. Forgive us for choosing to neglect those near to us, or for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You and flee from all that is not of You, so that we may be refined to love as You call us to love. Show us how to be good friends who love deeply, that prefer one another in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your loving kindness through us. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You, and love others with the very same love that You have given to us. 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

 

Finding Full Armor

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – (Ephesians 6:12-13)

 

The battles we’re fighting and the opposition we are facing, come not from the hearts of mere men. Deeply rooted in the deeds of darkness, lie the the workings of those cast from the presence of God. Though temptations and trials surround us on all sides, far greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the world. The armor of God that we have with which to adorn ourselves, is the very Spirit of God, Himself. When we ask, He enters in, and empowers us to stand our ground and do the good that God intended us to do. As we stand firm in His truth and righteousness, ever ready with His gospel of peace, we are able to withstand whatever comes against us. Let us rise up and hold fast to the truth, allowing Christ to adorn us in His full armor.

 

Fight not flesh and blood,Marvelously Made

but through Christ’s power;

spiritual forces,

seeking to devour.

Each day as we rise,

let us be well armed;

clothed in the Lord’s strength,

so we won’t be harmed.

A heart that is true,

adorned in the Lord;

will stand in the end,

with Him we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You grant us Your strength and power to stand strong against the powers and principalities that would come against us. Thank You that You arm us in Your truth and righteousness, and make us ready with Your gospel of peace. Thank You that faith in You is our shield against all that would come against us, and our salvation sets our minds secure in You. Forgive us for attempting to fight battles that are not ours, or for folding when You call us to stand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen well for Your voice of truth, and hear clearly what You are calling us to do in every situation. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we seek to arm ourselves in Your full armor, and listen to You as to how to stand firm. 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

Careful and Wise Living

Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16)

 

How we choose to live, matters. Our lives affect more than just ourselves. People who do not know Christ, see us, and often form their opinion of who Jesus might be, based on who we are, and how we walk out our faith. Do our words and actions align? We only have one opportunity to make a first impression. What do we want the world to see? If we are living one life on Sunday, and an entirely different life the rest of the week, people may question the why. However, if our words and what we walk out each day of the week align with what we claim to value most, people will notice a difference. Making the most of every opportunity to do good, is a wonderful way for wisdom to be made tangible. People don’t want to hear eloquent words; rather they want to see a life that is truly touched by the love and grace of God. May we go forth this day, in wisdom, being careful to make the most of every opportunity to do good, so that Christ may be made tangible to many.

 

With care, let us live,Glory to God

with wisdom and grace;

making Christ’s love known,

to all in our space.

Not through speaking out,

but rather by how;

we choose to live life,

in the here and now.

Let each chance we have,

to do good, be kind;

be the choice we make,

so seeking shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instructions as to how we ought to live. Thank You too, that You do not simply say “do this” and then expect us to do things on our own. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who equips and empowers us to do all that You call us to do. Forgive us for not making the most of every opportunity that You present before us, and help us to trust You more, so that we will be wise and careful in how we live, and make the most of every opportunity that You bring our way. Lead us to love others just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our heads and hearts to You for wisdom and strength to do as You ask us to do. Amen.

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

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

Correction as a Catalyst for Change

If good people correct me, I will consider it a good thing. If they criticize me, I will accept it like a warm welcome. But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil that they do. – (Psalm 141:5, ERV)

 

Being rebuked or corrected by a righteous person is a kindness. If someone who is walking well with the Lord recognizes wrong in me and brings it to my attention, it is my job to humbly consider their words, keep quiet, and consider their correction an act of love. Any confusion or uncertainty about what has been spoken, ought to be brought before the Lord in prayer. We are shown how to present our petitions before the Lord in this way: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:24)

 

May we readily receive rebuke from the righteous, and prayerfully present ourselves to the Lord. Let the Lord search us and know us, so that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and led in the light of life everlasting.

 

Let each correction,Christ Corrects the Called

be considered, heard;

presented to Christ,

compared to His word.

Is what has been said,

truth spoken in love?

If so, receive it,

direct from above.

Continue to pray,

against all the wrong;

down with the wicked,

lift praise up in song.

For God sees and knows,

our heart and our mind;

He longs to lead us,

to glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that You place us in one another’s lives to speak truth in love. Thank You that correction is for our benefit, and intended to draw us closer to You. Forgive us for refusing correction or being defensive when another speaks truth in love to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may keep quiet and hear what is spoken, and bring anything that we are uncertain about before You. Lead us to love others with a love that is not afraid to speak truth in such a way, that the recipient is directed straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we receive correction and change direction where it is necessary. Amen.

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

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

Live Life Awake

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:14-16)

 

“Every day, there are situations in our normal routines that require us to be the light of Christ in darkness. Waking up spiritually is not just about participating in life-changing efforts of worldwide importance, such as stopping genocide. It is walking through our lives wide awake. It is rising ready where we are, with what we have. It is seeing people where they are and meeting their need.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

How often is someone standing beside us in the grocery checkout, discouraged and simply in need of a listening ear? Perhaps a neighbor down the street has suffered a loss and needs help finding the strength to prepare a meal? If we live our lives awake and aware of our surroundings, and choose to be ever listening to the still small voice of the Lord, we may find opportunities to extend His hands and heart to a hurting world in ways we would have never imagined possible. Our charge is not to do everything; it is to do something. When we are willing and available to utilize what we’ve been given, lives are touched and hearts are transformed. Nothing we do is in vain, and God works wonders through our faithful acts of obedience. May we rise up from our slumber and allow Christ to shine through us, as we go forth as His hands and heart to the world.

 

Wake up O sleeper,Live Life Awake

the day has now come;

the Lord is calling,

there’s work to be done.

People in darkness,

stuck in their despair;

if we don’t reach out,

then who will go there?

A neighbor, a friend,

someone down the street;

we must be willing,

to love those we meet.

For as we reach out,

the Lord works through us;

touches hurting hearts,

our mighty Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love so much that You sent Your only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You that You make new life possible because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Thank You that You showed us how to live and love, and that You speak to us still, granting us wisdom as to how we are to make the most of every opportunity to reach out and love as You loved us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stagnant in our own four walls, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may live our lives wide awake, open to every opportunity that You would invite us to reach out. Lead us to love like You love, and may many be led unto You. Be glorified as we live our lives fully awake in You. Amen.

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

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