Seek to Do Good and Love

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

 

The human condition becomes quite ugly when individual agendas are pursued, rather than righteousness and love. If we cannot look past ourselves to extend the same love that we have so freely been given, peace is lacking, and satisfaction never arrives. I cannot help but cringe in today’s political climate. With both sides in seeming pursuit of personal agendas, rather than what is truly right, there is no love extended, and it becomes an episode of adults behaving badly. What if each party set aside their differences and looked for solutions that are founded in love, kindness and justice? Integrity would remain intact, and representatives would be respected, regardless of party affiliation. Currently, all I know to do is pray – for both sides. On a personal level, if I am working hard to do good and be faithful to love, I know peace in my pursuit of right living. May we each pursue righteousness and love, personally, and pray for such for those who have been chosen to lead our nation.

 

We each have been called, Ambassadors of Love

To live right and love;

Choose good for others,

As God does for us.

For as we choose well,

A true life is shown;

Honor and respect,

As grace is made known.

Imagine a place,

Where righteousness reigned;

Love motive for all,

Peace could be maintained.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reward righteousness and love with life, goodness and honor. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather as we seek You and pursue a life of loving You and loving people, goodness and love are extended according to what is right. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to withhold good or do anything out of selfish ambition rather than love. Teach us to seek You and follow Your leading, so that love and righteousness will be our mode of operation. Show us how to give good and love well for the good of those around us, and not just ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

The Process of Good Growth

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV) 

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV) 

So, let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB) 

 

Growth is a process. Just as children often experience growing pains as their bodies mature, so too do people, as we learn and insight is expanded. The challenges in maturing, both physically and spiritually, are often difficult and at times, painful. There is a letting go of what was and growing into what is meant to be. As a parent, this is alarmingly obvious as we watch our children mature. When our kids are young, they are dependent on us for nearly everything, yet as they age, new learning and growth takes place, and they are expected to do more and more for themselves. Ideally, we will raise them up in the ways they should go, and ultimately, they will become adults who are independent, strong in character, and able to spread their wings and soar. Yesterday, we celebrated the seventeenth birthday of my boys. I am in awe of both how they have grown and who they are becoming as young men. Though it is still a process, even painful at times, they are learning responsibility, chivalry, kindness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, and the attributes that most admire in sweet, young men. Had there been a folding of expectations any time things became difficult, they would not know or understand how to persevere. Because they had to keep moving forward, even when things became difficult, they know that though things may be tough, they can overcome with persistence and faith. May we each seek the Lord to be our strength in the trials, rather than attempt escape that which we are intended to walk through. For each time we persevere and overcome, we mature further in our faith. 

 

Growth is a process, img_2019-01-20_06-13-146032963583724101848.jpg

We all travel through; 

Learning to spread wings, 

And how we’re meant to. 

For we all are called, 

To seek so we find; 

The way God prepared, 

With us each in mind. 

As we move forward, 

Trials surely come; 

We need persevere, 

So His work is done. 

Both that within us, 

And things He has planned; 

Let’s keep pressing on, 

Follow His commands. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to patiently persevere, even when the road before us seems rough. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us when we place our trust in You. Thank You that each time we keep pressing forward through trials and difficulty, You grow us and show us You strength and grace. Forgive us for our desire to escape challenges. Teach us to run to You for all that we need, so that we would ever persevere and grow stronger in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes patient perseverance that leads to gracious growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength for patience to persevere, even when our way is more challenging that we would like, for You are faithful to see us through. All glory to You, now and forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

He Leads Those Who Seek

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. – (James 4:10, NLT)
Be humble before the Lord, and He will make you great. – (James 4:10, ERV)
Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. – (James 4:10, MSG)
 
God’s economy is far different from our own. He lifts up those who recognize their desperate need for Him, and shows His strength and goodness to those who earnestly seek the Lord. A trip to Minnesota was not expected nor anticipated, yet when we discovered the need to be here and realized that with God, all things are possible, each step was paved and all that we needed has been provided. I am in awe of the beauty that surrounds us, and am excited to see what He will do in the hearts and lives of all of the extended family that is gathering to be present for my Viking’s father. May we ever humbly seek the Lord in all things, as He is the One who sets our feet on the path that He has prepared, and provides all that is needed to navigate according to His good and perfect will.
When we come to God,0126180723a_hdr1400279688.jpg
and humbly seek;
He hears all our cries,
gives strength where we’re weak.
God creates a way,
where it seems there’s none;
He shows us His love,
’til each day is done.
So let us choose pray,
in humility;
for God makes a way,
our stability.
 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we humbly seek You, You meet us where we are and lift us up to do what You call us to do. Thank You that You are our strength in all things, and that You make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for not getting down on our knees to present our needs. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things, as You are the One who will lead us and grant us strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to know that You are the God who hears our every heart cry, and You answer those who earnestly seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and guide us as we go. Amen.
 
Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. 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

Be Kind

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

It is easy to be kind, gentle and sensitive to those who are kind, gentle and sensitive toward us, but what about those who are not? We are called to follow the example set before us by Christ. Jesus showed kindness to those who did not deserve it, was merciful to those who had not shown mercy to others, and forgave, even the very ones who had hung Him on the cross to die. That is some serious grace in a place where wrath and anger, or at least frustration, might be expected. We are called to live by the same standard. When people offend us, we are meant to forgive, even if they do not ask to be forgiven. Our egos are not more important than their souls seeing God’s goodness. No, God does not ask us to be foolish and remain in harmful, dangerous or toxic spaces, however, He does expect us to forgive even the worst of those who have hurt our hearts or ruined relationships. God’s love is greater, and by His grace, we can love and be kind because we have been forgiven too. May we ever seek our Savior who has forgiven much, so that we may go forth and do likewise in love.

 

The Lord God is kind,Faith and Hope in Action

Our sins, He forgives;

And beyond His grace,

He loves as we live.

Because of His love,

We’re called to the same;

Forgive offenses,

Be kind in His Name.

For as we choose love,

Show mercy and grace;

We’re being a light,

To walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us of so much. Thank You that You are kind, tenderhearted and loving toward us, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for the times that we have not forgiven others as we are forgiven by You, or for withholding kindness where we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, just as You are of us. Show us how to walk this out in love with all whom we encounter in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do unto others as You have done so lovingly and generously unto us. 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

Strength in the Sorrow

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

 

Sorrow is a sadness that seems to strangle the soul; it comes and clings to the core and clouds one’s countenance for a season. The magnitude of what is now missing weighs heavily on my heart; though expected, and even celebrated for the blessed homecoming that has happened, there is this space of having to reconcile earthly loss with heavenly gain. This verse perfectly depicts the space where I find my heart. I am sad and tired, exhausted really. However, I know that my strength and hope are held in Christ, and it is by His grace that I can move forward, and it was His strength that carried me through yesterday. Each day is made new, and I need seek Him for today and trust that He will remain present; as He will carry me when I cannot go any further. Already, He has poured out His grace through the kindness of family and friends who have surrounded each of us who are lamenting the loss of my grandmother. This season of sorrow, though seemingly heavy, will be short, and then there will be a time to celebrate a life well lived. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is trustworthy and true to His word as the giver of strength and holder of hope.

 

The weight of sorrow,Strength in the Sorrow

Makes weary and worn;

This space of sadness,

When hearts are forlorn.

‘Tis but a season,

Deep ache for the lost;

Time to cling to Christ,

He knows what love costs.

Seek the Lord for strength,

He’s true to His word;

His hope shall breathe joy,

And peace undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our seasons of sorrow, and You meet us and grant us strength. Thank You for the peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of our own pain. Forgive us for trying to trudge forward rather than rely on You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, as it takes but a word from You and we are restored. Show us how to love those around us through their seasons of sorrow, and celebrate with them, their seasons of joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength in our sorrow, and trust You to be true to Your word. Amen.

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

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

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. – (Romans 13:10, MSG)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

When we choose to walk in love, we are opting for obedience to all that God asks of us. If we love God and love people, we are fulfilling all that the law requires. Just as God perfectly loves each of us, He equips and empowers us to go and do likewise to all whom we encounter. It is up to us to choose to share what He has granted, so that those around us might come to see and know the goodness and grace that is given through the Lord’s love. The love that God gives is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, proud, rude or selfish. Love delights in the truth and does not remember wrongs. Love never gives up on people, as it never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May we each go forth and love as we are loved by God, so that in doing so, we walk in obedience to all that the Lord requires.

 

Love does not choose hurt,Purposeful Prayer

No matter what comes;

Instead it endures,

Like the rising sun.

All that is required,

Through the law of God;

Is truly fulfilled,

Despite all our flaws.

For God’s very heart,

Is clearly made known;

When we opt to love,

Just as we’ve been shown.

So let us go forth,

And love each other;

With goodness and grace,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as we are loved by You, we fulfill the requirements of all laws. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love by Your Spirit within us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to love as we are called to do, and teach us to trust so that we might love like You. Show us how to love as we are loved, so that many might come to know the fullness of Your grace and the blessings of Your unending love. May many choose to follow You, all the days of their lives. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. 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

What Love Is and Is Not

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, CEB)

 

As various forms of media flood our minds with images of what love might look like, it is good to go back to the place where we find the truth. God is the author and creator of love, as He loved so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to be restored back to right relationship with Him. God Himself, is love. Paul unpacks for us, one of the most well-known and utilized chapters in scripture, as he wrote to the church in Corinth to help them understand what love is meant to be. His description set the standard for how we are meant to love well, and helps us examine our own hearts as we look to give and receive love. There is a vast difference between love and lust. Love looks outward, not in. Love is a choice to be patient, kind and giving without expectation of anything in return. Additionally, Paul unpacks for us, the things that love is not. If we want to truly love others, we must let go of jealousy, arrogance, rudeness, irritation, complaints, complacency, and the desire to look out for ourselves first. Jesus made it known to us that our charge as His children is to love God and love people. When we are at a loss as to how we are meant to love, His word shows us the way. May we choose to love others as we are loved by God, and let His light be evident in our every word and deed.

 

The great love of God,Tether Our Hearts

Is patient and kind;

Not jealous or rude,

Keeps others in mind.

Love will not demand,

To have its own way;

It sets pride aside,

Will help, not delay.

No records of wrong,

Nor irritation;

Instead seeks justice,

Truth as it’s station.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us in Your Word, what is required. Thank You that we are not expected to love as You love on our own, but rather You strengthen and equip us by Your Spirit. Forgive us for allowing the world to dictate to our hearts and minds what love ought to be, and help us to view love through Your lens; always. Show us how to be patient and kind, even when it is difficult. Lead us to love others, seeking their good, rather than our own benefit. May many come to know You as their Savior and true Source of lasting love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. 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

Mercy Will Meet Us

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

I am so thankful for the forgiveness and love that are ever available in Christ. We do not have to jump through hoops to prove ourselves repentant enough, or somehow worthy of love. Instead, God calls us to come before Him, just as we are, and be transparent before Him. He already knows all that we have and have not done, and His love is not determined by our own “worthiness“. Christ already paid the price for our sin and shame, and is willing and ready to forgive, if only we choose to ask. He loves us because we are His created, not because we have done “enough” or have become “enough“. In this beautifully busy season, this is just the reminder that I need. Daily, I need to call on Him for help, for forgiveness, and for grace, as I cannot do all and be all that is expected of me on my own. His love is generous; in His kindness, He will meet us in our need. May we ever look to the Lord for His mercy and help, as His love and grace are poured out upon all who call on His Name.

 

O Lord, You are good,IMG_2491

Forgiving and kind;

I am so grateful,

That Your love is mine.

As I call on You,

You’re faithful to hear;

Whatever my need,

As You remain near.

Thank You for the grace,

That You ever give;

Your help and Your hope,

Life to truly live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You for help. Thank You that You love us to life, and provide help and hope so that we may move in the direction we have been called. Forgive us for not crying out to You for help when we are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in all things, as You are generous and loving, wanting what is best for us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends goodness and mercy in the same way that it has been given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help, trusting Your goodness and mercy to meet us in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Living Generously

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. – (Proverbs 11:25, NLT)

 

I love watching God’s economy at work. So often there are people around me who are abundantly generous with their time, encouragement, knowledge and resources, without ever expecting anything in return. They simply give of themselves out of who God has made them to be. The great joy comes in watching how God blesses them, in ways they would not have ever expected or imagined, and refreshes as only He can do. We need not ever worry about being depleted when we give of ourselves out of obedience. In Christ, there will always be enough. He provides abundantly more than we think we ought to ask, and refreshes us so that we can continue to do all that we are called to do. May we choose to be generous with our time, energy, words and resources, as each can be used to refresh and build up those around us.

 

Let us choose to rise,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

With generous hearts;

For God gives to those,

Who step out and start.

He gives what we need,

Our help and supply;

So we can refresh,

All those near our side.

The crazy thing is,

As we choose to give;

The Lord blesses us,

In this life we live.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be generous as You are generous with us. Thank You that You bless and refresh us as we choose to invest in Your economy, by giving our time, resources, and encouragement in all that we do. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to be generous out of our own selfishness or fear, and teach us how to choose to love generously, just as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, O God, as we live and love as You call us to do. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16