The Appeal of Good Fruit

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

 

It is commonly recognized that we become like those with whom we spend time. If we are intentional to invest time with our Savior, He grows His traits in us through His Spirit who dwells within us. Despite people’s opinions about faith, none can oppose the fruit produced in us by God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, create the makings of humans that are a pleasure to be around. People are drawn to those who exhibit such fruit in their lives. May we ever seek time with our Savior to grow in us such fruit, so that our existence will nourish those around us.

 

Oh Lord, grow in me,

dsc043471775591435.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The fruit of Your love;

That Your Spirit grows,

As You’re sought above.

Help me to show love,

Peace, patience, kindness;

Faithfulness, goodness,

Control, gentleness.

For there is no law,

Against these great things;

As they grow in us,

This fruit we shall bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invest time with You, You grow in us fruit that feeds the hearts of those around us. Please grow in us each of these things, so that we may extend the fullness of Your love to those around us. Forgive us for not seeking You or allowing You to grow and refine us. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your Spirit within us would produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Show us how to extend each of these to those around us, so that they may know Your love in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us to be more like You, so that we may love as You love. 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

Live as Lifelong Learners

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. – (Proverbs 4:7, NLT)

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom. Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, VOICE)

 

We should never stop seeking to learn and grow. Not one of us has the capacity to obtain all wisdom and understanding in existence, yet the more we know and understand, the better we are able to love as we are loved. One of the greatest examples of this that I have ever known, was my grandmother. During her 98 years on earth, she never stopped seeking to learn and understand more. She was the wisest person I have known and had deep understanding of so many things. Even the most stubborn of her offspring would give ear to her words, as each knew and understood the wisdom that came with the words that she spoke. May we seek to be lifelong learners, as we pursue wisdom and understanding so that we too may love those around us, as we are loved by the Lord.

 

Let’s choose seek wisdom, Live as Lifelong Learners

May we become wise;

Chase understanding,

So truth’s realized.

Sound judgment follows,

When we choose pursue;

Ever we’re learning,

What we’re meant to do.

So, look for wisdom,

Seek to understand;

Ask for the Lord’s help,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue wisdom and understanding so that we are not left wandering around in ignorance. Thank You that good judgment comes as we develop into lifelong learners. Forgive us for thinking we know enough, or for not seeking to understand further. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually pursue more wisdom and insight for all of our days to love others well and walk in Your ways. Show us how to love others as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live lives as lifelong learners. 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

Love that’s Better than Life

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You! – (Psalm 63:3, NLT)

Your faithful love is better than life, so my lips praise You. – (Psalm 63:3, ERV)

Your steadfast love is better than life itself, so my lips will give You all my praise. – (Psalm 63:3, VOICE)

 

God’s love is what gives us life and breath and purpose in our being. Without Him and receiving His love, existence would be void of the light and life that we were created to know. Because the love of God is steadfast and will not waiver based on what we do or do not do, we have reason to give Him praise for all of our days. Unconditional love is the greatest love we will ever know, and when we receive it for ourselves, we hold fast to this life-sustaining goodness that stirs up a desire within us to give God our praise. May we ever seek the Lord and receive the love that He readily offers, as His love provides purpose and reason to give Him praise.

 

The love of the Lord, Believe Instead of Striving

Is steadfast and true;

It’s better than life,

As it makes us new.

Because of His love,

I will ever praise;

The God of all grace,

For all of my days.

His love never fails,

Though we always do;

God’s mercy and grace,

Always see us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is better than life itself. Thank You that Your love is our reason to praise You. Thank You that Your love gives us light and life and hope and reason for being. Forgive us for not trusting Your love to be true for us, or for not giving proper praise to You, where ALL praise is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive what You freely offer and give You all the glory. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may see Your goodness and grace through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and give You praise forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

Made to Mother

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb before I took my first breath. – (Psalm 139:13, VOICE)

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. – (Psalm 139:13, ERV)

 

At the very beginning of our existence, there was God and our mother. No matter what the circumstance or situation, each one of our mothers chose to carry us to term, and God knit us together in the space of our mother’s womb. I know for some, there is sorrow connected to Mother’s Day, either for lack or loss or what should have been. For those who are mourning, I pray that He would hold your heart in His hands and remind You that He is with you in a tangible way. On the other side of motherhood, may those who have mothers who have been invested and available, find way to extend appreciation today and always. Additionally, each of us have been shaped to touch the lives of those around us. Whether we are mothers by blood or not, it takes little to see those around us who could use the love and encouragement that a maternal figure can offer. May we recognize the remarkable work that our Redeemer did, even before we drew our first breath, and let us also go forth and love well as He has called us to love.

 

Shaped with a purpose,Made to Mother

Before our first breath;

It is no mistake,

We’ve life over death.

Each mother gave life,

Now we have a role;

To rise up in faith,

Let Christ make us whole.

For God is so good,

His heart of love finds;

Ways for us to give,

Grace and hope that binds.

May we choose to be,

Sister and mother;

One who loves as Christ,

Our heart to others.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers. Thank You for the mothers who love well, and show us what it is to love as You love us. Thank You that even the mothers who did not love well, chose to give life and allowed You to create the gift of the life that exists before us. Thank You that You comfort those who mourn, and that You can use any heart that is willing to speak life as a mother to those who are lacking. Forgive us for not fully appreciating the gift we have around us in the women You have placed in our lives to be motherly to us. Teach us to love and appreciate the gifts that You so generously give. Show us how to love those in need, as we are so lavishly loved by You. Thank You for the amazing gift of my own Momma. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the remarkable that You have done, and go forth in love as we are called. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Living and Loving Well

This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave His life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 3:16, ERV)

 

As I spent much of yesterday with my mom, moving the belongings of my dearly departed grandmother, I recognized how much this rang true in her life. It was because she gave her love, her encouragement, her help and her hope, that my Gram’s life so impacted everyone around her. Daily, she gave her life away. She did not cling closely to things, but rather was generous with all. Gram, in her lifetime had experienced times of very little during the Great Depression; and a time of plenty, after years of being wise with what she had. Throughout my entire existence, she always lavishly gave of herself. Whenever we would meet, a strong squeeze of a hug would embrace me, despite her dainty size. Her words and kindness did the very same for my heart, and whatever exchange we would have during a visit, always lasted long after our seemingly short time together. Even now, I can imagine her laughter and way with words, as they were so readily given away. She was my truest tangible example of real love, outside of my own household growing up. If I can emulate but a fraction of her love and generosity to those around me, then I will have lived my life very well. May we each seek to give away, the greatest gifts that we have been given.

 

The beauty that’s seen,With Gram2

When we realize;

The look of real love,

Hope before our eyes.

As we give away,

All we’re meant to be;

People see the hope,

That Jesus sets free.

Because Jesus gave,

We also can give;

All that we’ve become,

So all might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, what real love is all about. Thank You too, for the beautiful, tangible examples of the faithful that You have placed in our lives, that show us again and again, what it means to give our lives away. Thank You for the lifelong gift of my Gram, and the role model that she was for all who knew her. Forgive us for withholding the very things that You have placed in us to share with those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly and generously give all that we are to all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are to living and loving well. 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

We Are Commanded to Love

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:20-21, ERV)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

 

We cannot both love and hate and still live as children of God. The command that we have been given is to love God and love people. It does not mean that we will adore everyone we meet, but rather our hearts can have His intentions for all – kindness, compassion, and light, just as He loves us. Often, it takes time and prayer to view others through Christ’s lens. Everyone has a story and each of us have been created with a purpose. No one is more or less valuable to God. When we come to a place where we allow our eyes to focus through His filter, we become better equipped to see the good, or at least the need, to love those around us. Though we cannot see God, clear evidence of His existence is everywhere. Likewise, though we may not know why a person is the way they are, if they have life and breath, they are here for a reason and need and deserve love – the same as each of us. May we seek the Lord and His loving grace, so that we may go forth and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

God calls us to love,Faith and Hope in Action

Love cannot be earned;

Brothers and sisters,

True love can be learned.

For as we love God,

He changes our heart;

Gives us eyes to see,

And grace He imparts.

For we aren’t of God,

If love’s not our choice;

To extend to all,

With heart, hand and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love You and love those around us as sisters and brothers, but You show us how to love and grant us what we need so that we may love as we are loved. Forgive us for our lack of love toward our sisters and brothers, and teach us to love others in tangible and practical ways. Show us how to love those whom we see, so that they might seek You, whom they do not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and depend on You and Your direction and grace, to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

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

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

The Sincere Seeker

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)

 

God does not preface this verse with how much faith we must have to come to Him, but rather we must have enough to seek Him. In other parts of His Holy Word, it speaks of the power of faith even as small as a mustard seed. Faith is not something that we somehow muster on our own, but rather as we pursue the presence of the living God, our faith grows. Part of the reward for those who sincerely seek the Lord, is a deeper understanding of His existence. He is pleased with our faithful pursuit of Him, and honors our seeking with His lavish love and greater insight to who He is and how He loves. May we begin each day with the faithful pursuit of God, as He is our Source and Supply in all things, and is well-pleased with those who choose sincerely seek Him.

 

May we all choose rise,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Have faith and believe;

As we seek the Lord,

His love we’ll receive.

For the Lord is pleased,

When by faith, we seek;

Drawing near in faith,

To hear what He speaks.

The Lord will reward,

A heart that is true;

The sincere seeker,

In Him is made new.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with sincere hearts, seeking You, trusting that You exist, You are pleased with us and reward us with more of You. Thank You that it takes only a small seed of faith for You to move mountains on our behalf. Forgive us for our doubts and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, and to have a confident trust in You in all things and at all times, as You are far greater than everything that we face. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may find faith and follow after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sincerely seek You with a child-like faith, as You are our loving Father who meets us however we are when we choose to seek You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

 

Familial Friends

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – (Proverbs 18:24, MSG)

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, NLT)

 

As I have begun the preparation process to return back to the classroom for the new school year, I have had the joy of reconnecting with colleagues whom I also have the privilege of calling friends. This summer, I have had the pleasure of spending time with several friends, whom I adore. I am overwhelmed when I consider the corners of my community. Between relatives, church family, lifelong friends, fitness friends, colleagues, and more, I have this beautiful circle of people on whom I can depend, that mean the world to me. Some have been in my life for decades, whereas others are relatively new members of my tribe. However, all are equal contributors to what I consider the wealth of my existence. These true friends have become family, and it is my charge to do likewise for those around me. May we all invest well in those who the Lord brings into our lives, so that we can be the truest of friends that build up and share a familial bond.

 

People come and go,photo (14)

For not all invest;

But those who are true,

Are the very best.

The truest of friends,

Remain ever near;

Their hearts are faithful,

Their motives are clear.

A close friend for us,

Is like family;

Grants courage and grace,

And strength to just be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of sweet friendships. Thank You for the gift of true friends in so many different facets of my life. Forgive me for the times that I have not been a good friend to those around me. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would hear Your heart for each person that I encounter, and that I might love well, as You love me. Show us how to be true friends to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for our friendships and go forth to be true friends to those around us. Amen.

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

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

Fear Not in the Face of the Unknown

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

 

These words are incredibly encouraging reminders of truth, as I am standing in the face of the unknown. Over the weekend, as I competed in a Tactical Strength Challenge, I sustained an injury in my first event (of three). At the time, this verse proved to be true, as I had some fearful and worried moments, as pain began to radiate from the small of my back. I had to decide whether or not to keep going. For me, it was a decision to trust in His strength, as He had already brought me so far. He did sustain me, and ultimately, I did exceedingly better than I anticipated I would, considering I was finishing the competition in pain. After seeing a doctor and having x-rays taken, fear and discouragement again are seeking foothold, as the injury has turned out to be more significant than anticipated. Somehow, I suffered a compression fracture in my low back during my third and final deadlift. Now I am at an impasse, where I must slow down and take a break from my normal routine of training, as I seek the best possible solution for a speedy recovery. Fear and discouragement are fighting for a foothold, as movement is so much a part of my existence. I know God is good, and that He holds me in His hand. In Him, just as He sustained me and granted me strength, despite pain, He will lead me in the direction I am meant to go to find healing and wholeness once again. The Lord will uphold me, and I can trust in Him. May we give our fears and worries to Him, and allow the Lord to be our strength and support, as all victory comes from Him.

 

Do not be afraid,photo

For the Lord is good;

No matter what comes,

Let‘s trust as we should.

For He is our God,

Where all strength comes from;

Victory granted,

Through faith in His Son.

Do not let worry,

Be what our hearts see;

Instead, let His hand,

Bring our victory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not be afraid nor discouraged, for You are our strength and our help. Thank You that You hold us up with Your victorious right hand. Forgive us for allowing fear and discouragement to find footing in our hearts when unexpected things come at us and knock us down. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our hope, and all that we need is found in You. Show us how to walk victorious in You, so that we might be an encouragement to those around us. Lead us to love well, all who are afraid or discouraged, so that they too may find Your hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and help, and choose to place fear and discouragement in Your hands. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

Learning to Love With All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

You must love Him with all your heart, soul and might. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, TLB)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart; love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

We are not called to just passively “love” God, but rather, we are called to love Him with all that we are – heart, soul and strength. Every element of our existence is enjoined to exalt the Eternal in love. He who gave us the heart that beats within us, the strength to speak, to step, to think, to live and to love – He is whom we are called to love, as God first loved us. The more that we set ourselves to love the Lord, the better equipped we are to love one another. His love equips us to love Him, and to do the same for those around us. May we consciously choose to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and strength, and allow His love to be that which flows through us to those who are around us.

 

To truly love God,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

we must go the length;

love with heart and soul,

and all of our strength.

Before we could love,

the Lord, He loved us;

providing His hope,

through His Son, Jesus.

God does not withhold,

life and hope He gives;

as we choose receive,

we find love and live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all of our heart, soul and strength, as that is the way that we come to know the fullness of Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You first loved us, and that You called us unto Yourself, making a way for us to come before You and be called Your children. Forgive us for withholding any part of our heart, soul or strength from loving You. Teach us to trust You more, and show us any place in us that is not fully given to You. Lead us to love others as we are loved by You, so that they too, may come to know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love You with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our strength. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5