Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

wp-15360615740967735885644230007656.jpg

My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

To Love and Do Good Works

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, NLT)

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

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

This verse is made tangible again and again as I consider the countless stories of “pay it forward” that I have heard, experienced, and have had the pleasure in which to participate.  One small act of kindness inspires another, and even the seemingly most minute labors of love can set spark to a wildfire of wonderful deeds.  May we keep our eyes open to opportunities to love well and extend goodness, just as we have received at times when we needed it most.

 

Let us consider, Ambassadors of Love

How we can love well;

Inspire each other,

Of His goodness tell.

May all that we do,

Extend love and grace;

So all may be blessed,

As they run their race.

Each act of kindness,

Each choice to do good;

Motivates others,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love one another and do good works because You first loved us and gave everything for us to have life in You. Forgive us for not looking for ways to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to restore the places that are weary and worn, as You are the One who fills us and equips us to love others and do good works. Show us how to love those around us in a way that motivates, encourages and inspires greater love and good to be passed on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and goodness that You have given us and seek You to equip us with ways to go forth to love and do good works well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Kindness to Cope

Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, NLT)

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – (Psalm 119:76, ERV)

Send Your kind mercy-kiss to comfort me, Your servant, just like You promised You would. – (Psalm 119:76, TPT)

 

Can I be really raw and real right now? Though I know this is true and I trust Him, I am struggling in my current circumstance. Yesterday, I went to what I thought would be a fairly routine check back for my fractured fibula, but as the appointment unfolded, the orthopedist had some concerns about the swelling that was still present in my lower leg. She sent me to ultrasound to have imaging done to be certain there were no blood clots, as occasionally a clot could cause swelling such as mine. As it turned out, her suspicion was confirmed, and I do indeed have a blood clot in my calf. I was promptly whisked from one doctor to the next to the next, until I ultimately ended up in the ER for bloodwork so that they could start me on blood thinners immediately. Now, here is the space of struggle… I know that God, in His great love for me, gave the doctor the wisdom to check for a blood clot. Additionally, each next door I was meant to walk through to work toward solutions, opened rapidly. The difficulty that I am having in all of this is the loss of my mobility due to the fracture, and now knowing that I will be on blood thinners for a season and not allowed to partake in contact sports.  After having trained with my football team since the fall, I am deeply disappointed. Likely, my difficulty sleeping at night is further fueling my frustration. At the end of the day, I know God is good and that He will meet me and comfort me, as His presence is promised forever. May we ever be open to receive the comfort conveyed by our Creator, and trust that His promises are always true.

 

With unfailing love, peace in presence

The Lord, He is near;

To be our comfort,

As each cry He hears.

His presence promised,

His faithful love, true;

Provides what’s needed,

As He walks us through.

Let mercy surround,

In our fear and doubt;

By Your love, lead us,

Your path You’ve laid out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is present to comfort us, just as You promised. Forgive me for allowing my frustration to compete with my gratitude in the good that You do and how You make Your mercy known. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would lay hold of Your unfailing love and find comfort in Your promised presence forever. Show me how to love those around me with love that comforts and remains present through difficulties. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and trust in Your promises that we know are true. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

The True Look of Love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

There is no love that has ever been nor that will ever be, that compares to the love God has for each of us. Many of us would give up tangible things that we care about for those whom we love, but I imagine none of us would willingly send our sons or daughters to those whom were against us, knowing that they would die. God gave all so that we would have all in Him. We have a free will that grants us the choice to either believe and receive the glorious gift that He has given, or to reject our redemption and run our own race. Even in that, I envision the vastness of the Father’s heart. He waits patiently for those who wander and welcomes each into His loving arms when we are ready to receive all that He has for us. May we fix our eyes on He who is love rather than on what the world attempts to define as love.

 

The true look of love, The True Look of Love

Is not from a store;

But comes from above,

And means so much more.

The greatest love known,

Is that which God gives;

Because of His Son,

We gain life to live.

As we choose believe,

Receive His great grace;

We’re set on the path,

To run well His race.

The glorious end,

Our true finish line;

Heaven forever,

Most Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world better than any of us could begin to fully comprehend. Thank You that everyone who believes in You gains life with You forever. Forgive us for allowing the world to define love for us, rather than looking to You for the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive and believe all that You offer, so that we may go and love as we are called to love. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and believe the greatest love ever given, as You sent Your Son to us to show us what love truly is. 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

Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Infuse My Soul With Strength

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV) 

On the day I cried out, You answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. – (Psalm 138:3, CEB) 

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT) 

On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, VOICE) 

 

This verse has been the theme of my week thus far. Since Sunday night, I have been fighting some bug with a very sore throat, yet have had little time for rest as it is the final week of the semester, the preparation week before I begin coaching gymnastics (which includes equipment set up and several meetings), the second full week of official football practices, and all the while, I am trying to prepare for our trip to Minnesota tomorrow. Each day, I have been supplied the strength that was needed to navigate the day, and yesterday, was even afforded a substitute to cover my morning classes so that I could get a few extra hours of sleep and go to the doctor to make sure that I do not have strep throat before I travel. His strength has encouraged me to keep moving, despite the way that I have felt. Incredibly, the more I actually move, the less aware I find I am of how I am feeling physically. The sort of strength that He supplies seems to radiate from the inside out. An inner resolve rises up and pours out into the tangible territories it is needed most. May we all call on the Lord for help, as He answers us and supplies the strength we need. 

 

As I call on God, Living a Legacy Life

He’s faithful to hear; 

When I ask for help, 

His strength is made clear. 

His answer given, 

As my soul’s infused; 

With strength that’s needed, 

For faithful pursuit. 

Enough for today, 

How He answers me; 

Power in weakness, 

So His grace I see. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You for help, You answer us and give us strength. Thank You for Your amazing grace, as You have provided all that I have needed to navigate a very hectic week, despite feeling rotten. I ask again this morning for Your help, as today is another extraordinarily long and busy day that will require Your resolve to navigate well. Forgive us for the times that we try to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You for help and wisdom as to how to best navigate the crazy busy as it comes. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, as such a season can become overwhelming when one feels as if they are walking the path alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and strength, and give You all the glory for Your faithfulness. 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

Choose a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, ERV)

Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:2, MSG)

 

When we choose to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, we are a pleasing aroma to God. The idea of our offering being a sweet scent before our Maker is a remarkable reminder that our choice to love matters. Likewise, as we love others as Christ loves us, we are a pleasing aroma to people. When we observe or are the recipients of words or deeds that are not done in love, often the way we describe the situation is that it stinks. I imagine that before God, there is a stench when we are not acting according to His love. We have been given the greatest example that ever was to follow, and He equips us to go and do the same. The decision to choose to live out a life of love is ours, and the choice we make matters. May we each opt to live the life of love that God has prepared for us, and go forth as a sweet scent before both the Lord and those whom He places on our path.

 

The sweet scent of Christ, Love Made Known

Is one full of love;

For His sacrifice,

Grace, His true motive.

Christ’s own sacrifice,

Created the way;

For us to receive,

And give love away.

He did not withhold,

But chose to give all;

So we too could love,

And answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life lived out in love is a pleasing aroma before You. Thank You Jesus, for being the ultimate example of how to love without limits. Forgive us for the times that we opt to withhold love when we are called to extend that which we have been given. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love anyway, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. 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

Persistent Pursuit

“What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” – (Luke 18:41-42, NLT)

 

“What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, I want to see again.” Jesus said to him, “You can see now. You are healed because you believed.” – (Luke 18:41-42, ERV)

 

Jesus: What do you want Me to do for you?

Blind Man: Lord, let me receive my sight.

Jesus: Receive your sight; your faith has made you well. – (Luke 18:41-42, VOICE)

 

I so appreciate this story about the blind beggar and his exchange with Jesus that led to his healing. The blind man could have sat in silence and kept to himself, yet, he had heard word of this man, Jesus, who had healed others. Somehow, in the depth of his heart, the blind man realized that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Hope gave him strength of heart and voice to keep calling out to Jesus from the side of the road, despite the disciples and passersby attempt to keep him quiet. When Jesus saw the persistence of the blind man, He stopped and gave him His undivided attention. In a brief, but intentional exchange, Jesus asked the man what he wanted, and healed him because he had believed. Imagine if we called out to Jesus in the same way… May we go to God without hesitation, trusting that He has the power to do insurmountably more than we could ever hope or imagine as we surrender ourselves and our need to Him.

 

When we go to God, How Impossible Becomes Possible

And choose to believe;

He moves mightily,

As grace is received.

For if we ask not,

How can we receive?

It is by our faith,

We learn to believe.

All that is required,

Is but a small seed;

For hope to grow faith,

God grants what we need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our cries for Your help, and You are ready to meet our needs. Thank You that all that is required of us is faithful pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing what we see or think we know about our circumstances or those around us to get in the way of our asking in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and strength, so that they too see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persistently pursue You with unflappable faith. 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

Encouraged and Granted Strength

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

The moment I called out, You stepped in; You made my life large with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, MSG)

 

Here I sit, yet again, in awe of how the Lord provides His strength when we need it most. Sometimes, the call for help is as simple as a mere thought, and He provides people to rally around us, encourage us, and point us back to the strength we have in Him, simply by being present. I have had multiple occasions in the last few days, where I found myself in overload mode. Between extenuating circumstances beyond my control, commitments to multiple activities in several different directions, and a serious case of sleep deprivation, I was sinking and calling out for help, and He stepped in and armed me with strength. Rest and encouragement led to renewal, and the strength that was needed, was amply supplied. God is good all the time, even when things are not. May we ever pray to Him for what we need, as He encourages us and supplies us with His strength.

 

As soon as I pray,IMG_2415

The Lord hears my cry;

He’s quick to answer,

As I choose abide.

I am encouraged,

granted what I need;

In strength to rise up,

To go where He leads.

Each time I struggle,

Feel I can’t go on;

I call on the Lord,

His grace makes me strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pray to You, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us and give us strength. Thank You that You place us in community that supports and builds us up, as we move forward in faith as You call. Forgive us for fearing our own frailty, as we forget that where we are weakest is the place where You are given the greatest opportunity to demonstrate Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pray to You and seek Your strength in all things and at all times. Show us how to encourage and build up those that You have placed in our lives for such a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You for help, and trust You to answer and provide Your strength. 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