The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

Tangible Blessings

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

 

This morning, as I slept in nearly three hours more than usual, I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. Hot coffee on my comfy couch, as I soak in His presence and dive into His word. Seeing daylight flood the room, rather than needing to illuminate the typical darkness of the early hours, I give thanks for the blessings in my life. Part of me was wishing that I too, like many of my friends and colleagues, was off for an escape to a warm location for the week. However, the more I thought about it, the more I can see that this week is an opportunity to get some things completed, and to rest and enjoy my family. Time to both connect and explore, and to retreat and rest, at home without an agenda. Each new day is a gift, and the surroundings in our area are clear evidence of God’s incredible goodness and grace. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, as we taste and see the abundance of His blessings when we depend on Him each day.

 

Choose to make the time, img_2019-04-08_07-26-547644472782879619826.jpg

To look ‘round and see;

All of God’s goodness,

His blessings, indeed.

Graced with His presence,

Fresh start each new day;

Strength to choose follow,

To walk in His way.

Rest when we’re weary,

As God we pursue;

Goodness surrounding,

As He makes all new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only open our eyes, to see the blessings all around us. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that provides rest and strength and hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to appreciate all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do in our lives. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Teach us to bring all before You, and to rest in Your lavish love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they too, might taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days, for the beautiful blessings to behold in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Strength to Stand

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. – (Isaiah 40:29, MSG)

He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, TLB)

 

How I am still functioning is clearly by the grace of God. For more than a week now, I have struggled to sleep at night. Though it is spring break, I have gone ahead and gotten out of bed long before the sun has risen, as by the time it reaches three or four o’clock, I figure I have tried long enough and may as well begin my day. Each day, I have had the strength I have needed to navigate what was required of me, and on a few of the days, found there was even time for a nap. He has sustained me with His strength where my own has been lacking. God is faithful to meet us in our weariness and weakness and fill us with His strength and power. May we ever seek Him in full surrender, trusting that He will provide all that we need to rise up and run strong.

 

In full surrender, Be strong and courageous

To You, Lord, I come;

Tired and weary,

My heart is undone.

I lean into You,

For I know Your hands;

Are strong when I’m weak,

You give strength to stand.

Power provided,

When ours is all gone;

Help we can hope in,

For You make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to the weary and increase power in the weak. Thank You that we can always turn to You in trust. Forgive us for attempting to “muscle our way” through things on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our strength when we are weary and power when we are weak. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength and hope and help when they are weary and weak. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer to sustain and strengthen us to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

All Things Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

The first day of the new year is great time to remember and recognize that we are made new in Christ. God is the God of fresh starts, and He is ever making us new as we seek and trust in Him. What better time to seek and listen for direction, as we begin the first page of what He will do in 2018? What are we holding in our hands to utilize for Him right now, and what are the dreams that He has given that are not yet? Our charge is to walk forward in what we’ve been given, love as we are loved by Him, and to be faithful to each new step we are shown along the way. May we take time to recognize all of the places in our hearts, minds and lives that the Lord has made new as we begin this brand-new year with eager anticipation for all that He has in store.

 

All things are made new, All Things Made New

New year, a fresh start;

To choose be faithful,

As God’s work of art.

Each with a purpose,

A plan God designed;

Let’s follow in faith,

Heart, body and mind.

Wherever we are,

And where we choose go;

If lived out in love,

The newness will grow.

Goodbye to the old,

Hello to the new;

Each step that we take,

Chance for love shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You for the blessed reminder that all things are new in You, as we begin day one of a brand-new year. Forgive us for dwelling on the past, and teach us how to embrace what we are given now and the promises that lie ahead. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that they would be encouraged to embrace all that is made new in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. 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

On the Eve of New

This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, NIV)

The Lord is making roads through the sea. He is making a path for His people, and even through rough waters. The Lord says, “So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through the dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, ERV)

The Lord says – who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters… Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I am doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, CEB)

 

I love that the Lord reminds us to not dwell on the past, and to look and see the new things that He is doing. Rather than calling 2018, change; it is a NEW year. God has new things in store for each of us. Change can be scary, yet there is excitement and anticipation with things that are new. Personally, 2018 holds much in store that is new, and I am eager to walk forward in faith into all that lies ahead. He is good, and I can trust Him in all things and at all times. New does not necessarily mean easy, but growth takes work – just as a seed has to stretch and push to break through the darkness to reach the nourishing light needed to grow further, we must do likewise. May we outstretch arms to heaven, and trust in all of the new that our Heavenly Father holds in His hands for each of us in the upcoming year.

 

On the eve of new, On the Eve of New

May we each embrace;

The hope that new holds,

In light of God’s grace.

For where there was once,

No possible way;

New things now spring up,

As we trust and pray.

Once raging waters,

Part with open road;

Set path before us,

Equipped to now go.

Eyes looking forward,

Trust filling each heart;

Blessings this new year,

Each day a fresh start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make a way through what seems impossible. Thank You that You remind us not to dwell on what has been, but rather to see what You are doing now and anticipate the new that You bring. Forgive us for dwelling on the past or not opening our eyes to Your mighty hand at work all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the new that You have in store for us, knowing that You are good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to see the new that You are doing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anticipate and embrace all the new that You are bringing in the coming year. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Tangible Good

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. (Micah 6:8, ERV)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NLT)

But Hes already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. Its quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

God has shown us what is good and what He requires. How we are meant to live is a tangible demonstration of loving God and loving people. Those who love God and are actively seeking to live it out in their daily lives do what is fair and just, they are compassionate and loyal, and keep the main things the main things. No one has achieved perfection, as we are all a work in progress. God is gracious and merciful, and will pick us up each time we fail and fall, if we ask Him to be our help. Each day we are provided a fresh start to love well. May we seek the Lord and His love as we go forth this day, so that we may be fair, loving, kind, loyal and humble as we walk in the grace that He has granted.

 

Joining Together

The Lord has told us,

What His goodness is;

Fairness and kindness,

Through love that we give.

We’re called to mercy,

And humility;

As we extend love,

His heart can be seen.

Let’s rise up in faith,

Do as God requires;

Love as He loves us,

For goodness inspires.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You explain how and showed us through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning, and Your love for us knows no end. Forgive us for not loving according to what You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do what is good and what You require of us. Show us how to do right, love mercy and walk humbly with You in ways that bless and tangibly demonstrate Your love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and faithfully follow that which You show us do to demonstrate Your lavish love to those around us. 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

Pursue Righteousness and Love

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

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

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

 

This passage is an excellent reminder for me this morning, as it is a guiding principle in how I walk out my days. Over the last two weeks, despite every effort and strategy in my educational arsenal, I have had a few students that are struggling to respond to our established expectations. Each day is a fresh start, and I greet each individual with kindness and anticipate good things from and for them. Sadly, the behaviors of a few have made me have moments of questioning my career. Thankfully, when I look at the big picture, God has given me an abundant life. I am surrounded by incredible friends, family, and colleagues, I have two terrific teenage boys, we do not lack anything, and I am loved very well. All this to say that my charge is to press on and continue to be faithful in that which I am called to do, and continue to seek answers for those who are struggling to settle in. May we pursue righteousness and love, for that is where life, prosperity and honor are found.

 

Those who seek justice, Pursue Righteousness and Love

And choose to be kind;

Discover respect,

Integrity, find.

For when we do good,

A faithful life choose;

Goodness comes our way,

As grace is infused.

So let us try hard,

Be faithful and just;

God’s love will be clear,

As we choose to trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue justice and treat others with kindness. Thank You that as we do, Your hand is made evident in our life. Thank You that we are not expected to do this on our own, but You equip and empower us by Your grace to love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for not wanting to pursue righteousness when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You in all things, and to choose to place things in Your hands, and follow Your leading rather than our own. Show us how to do good and be faithful in a way that demonstrates Your love in a tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue righteousness and love because You are righteous and loving. 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

Hope in the New

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

 

Happy New Year! Though it is merely a calendar page turn, there is a sense of anticipation of that which is yet to come. With a new year, comes new hope, new challenges and new adventures. In Christ, we have new life. Each day begins anew. We need not wait for a new year or a new season, for God gives us a fresh start when we seek Him. May we look back with gratitude for all that the Lord has done, and look ahead, knowing that God has made all things new because we are in Him. Be blessed as the Lord leads in all things new.

 

When we are in Christ,hope-in-the-new

Our world becomes new;

The old life is gone,

And His word proves true.

No more are we stuck,

In our former ways;

We have been set free,

For all of our days.

So rise up today,

Begin this new year;

Confident in Christ,

Walk forward, He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we belong to You, You make us new. Thank You that You give us new starts, new seasons, and new life in You. Thank You for the hope that rises up as we look forward to a new year. Forgive us for the fear that creeps in about that which is uncertain and unknown. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands, knowing that You are in control and that You are with us and will never leave us. Show us how to love people around us in a way that give them hope where they have none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new life that we have in You in this brand new year. 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

To Give Thanks

As I read again in Matthew 26-27, the account of all that Jesus endured on my behalf, I could not help but be overwhelmed with gratitude.  No matter the trials nor struggles that we face, in Christ, our hope is secure forever! Forever is far beyond the limited existence of anything that I may face in the here and now.  Though struggles and trials are real and can leave the soul feeling ravaged, we have a Savior who has promised to be with us, even in the worst of times, who will never leave us nor forsake us.  He will fight on our behalf and be our strength when we are weak.  He is our strength and our song, and the very breath that we breathe.  Why wouldn’t we give Him all of our thanks and praise?

 

For eternal exchange,Praise the Lord O

the pain He endured; give thanks.

For protection and peace,

our future secured; give thanks.

For the help and the hope,

Love’s true offerings; give thanks.

For grace and redemption,

our dear Savior brings; give thanks.

For fresh starts and new life,

and His healing touch; give thanks.

For the dawn of new days,

He’s given so much; give thanks.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your one and only Son.  Thank You that You loved so much that You made a way for us to return to a right relationship with You.  Thank You Jesus, for all that You willingly endured in my place.  Forgive us for taking all that You have given for granted, and help us to go forth each day with hearts overflowing with gratitude.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be ever more aware of Your presence and Your promises as we learn to rely on You.  Lead us to love one another out of the overflow of the love that You have lavished upon us. May many come to know the glory and grace that is available to all who seek Your face.  Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise.

 

© 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

 

 

 

Unfettered Forgiveness

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21:22)

 

During that time, rabbis taught the people that they ought to forgive others three times. So when Peter suggested seven times, he likely thought the “perfect” number was more than sufficient. However, Jesus did not concur. Seventy-seven times or seventy times seven, (depending on which verse we read) is a matter not of actual numbers, but rather of a number so high that a person would not actually keep a record of faults and foibles forgiven.

 

This is not necessarily an easy task, and often, the repeated steps of forgiving occur for one single action. There are times when we have to forgive again and again for one isolated incident. On Saturday, I wrote of a childhood friend who lost her seventeen-year-old son in a tragic car accident. He was doing nothing wrong, yet was t-boned by a speeding, and possibly intoxicated driver, at 7:00am. Not once since that tragic day, have I seen a single statement by her that has condemned the other driver. However, I imagine that each time she pictures her sweet son, she has to stop and forgive the other driver, as she is left wondering why her son was taken so soon. She is a woman of unflappable faith, and I know it is only by His grace, that she is able to choose to forgive.

 

All of us have contributed to a comparable atrocity against Christ. Though He was without sin, He was killed for our sake, because of our sin. However, He chose to allow our actions that grieved the very heart of God, to be placed on Him, so that we could be forgiven. EVERY. SINGLE. SIN. As He willingly bore the cross, He declared, “It is finished,” so that we could be forgiven, and likewise we could go forth and forgive others.

 

Count not the times,Unfettered Forgiveness

we have to forgive;

for Christ counts not,

forgiveness He gives.

Let His love lead,

when it’s hard to love;

He is our strength,

all grace from above.

Despite the deed,

the pain to our heart;

we must forgive,

and grant a fresh start.

Just as our sin,

was worn on that cross;

we must let go,

trust God with each loss.

All in His hands,

be it large or small;

help to forgive,

He’s covered it all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us for all of our sin, the moment we come to You and confess. Thank You that You do not hold things over our heads, but rather once You have forgiven, You have chosen to forget and let it go. Thank You that as we come to You and seek You, You help us find forgiveness, even in the face of great adversity, grief, and anger. Forgive us for our unforgiveness, and make us acutely aware of things that we are holding that need be released. Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May we be gracious and kind, abounding in Your love. Let others see Your goodness and grace in us, and may that be what draws them unto a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we extend Your forgiveness and grace to those who grieve our hearts. Amen.

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

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