Perfectly Loved

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48, NIV) 

You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. – (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – (Matthew 5:48, CEB) 

 

When I read “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”I cannot fathom doing or being what I ought to become. However, the other two translations grant a bit more clarity as to what is being asked of us. Living generously and graciously toward others, and showing love toward everyone – these are tangibles to work with that are realistic with His help. Being “perfect” is the ongoing pursuit to live a life of love, just as we are loved by God. Though not one of us will get it right 100% of the time, continual pursuit of Him and His help, will lead us to better reflect the Lord through how we live. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may go forth and love completely, as we are completely loved. 

 

When we love fully,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We are doing well; 

To live as we’re asked, 

Of God’s grace, we tell. 

May we choose pursue, 

God’s help in all things; 

So we may reflect, 

The good His love brings. 

Wherever we go, 

Whatever we do; 

Allow His love lead, 

So His light shines through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “perfect” is the purposeful pursuit of loving completely, as we are completely loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek You to lead us and equip us to love like You. Teach us to operate in love in all things, so that Your heart will be evident to all. Show us how to love those around us perfectly, as Your love for us is perfect. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Blessed

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, NIV)

Her children bless her; her husband praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, CEB)

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise. – (Proverbs 31:28, MSG)

 

Though I cannot even begin to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, I am beyond blessed by both my children and my husband. God has granted me the greatest gift I’ve ever known through the lives of my boys, and a love I never knew was possible through the loving union of marriage to my husband, partner and friend. I am blessed and praised by these guys, even when I am least deserving, and each one of them is fiercely protective and willing to help whenever I ask. Perhaps it is a recognition of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, far more than a living up to a certain standard or expectation. Because I am loved well, I desperately desire and am driven to do the same. I imagine that is God’s intention for all of us. As we realize the depth and breadth of His love for us, we are inspired to go and love likewise. May we seek our Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, so that we too, can go and love those around us without reservation.

 

Such wonder indeed,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Is love we receive;

The blessings bestowed,

When we are in need.

The gift of children,

The love of a spouse;

Love made tangible,

Within my own house.

Let’s freely receive,

God’s love and His grace;

So we too can love,

In His tender ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the loved ones whom You bring into our lives – be it children, spouses, family or friends. Thank You that You make Your pleasure known through the words of others in a way that inspires us to ever pursue You and Your ways. Forgive us for taking Your love or that of those whom You have blessed us with for granted. Teach us to appreciate and value the goodness and grace that You generously give in tangible ways. Show us how to lavishly love those whom You place in our path, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and the grace, and the tender embrace, that You wrap around us through the people whom You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely You have granted him/(her) unending blessings and made him/(her) glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

Show Me Your Love

Show me Your unfailing love in wonderful ways. – (Psalm 17:7a, NLT)

Show Your amazing kindness and rescue those who depend on You. – (Psalm 17:7a, ERV)

 

When we seek the Lord and ask Him to make Himself known to us, He shows us more than we could hope or imagine in the most wonderful of ways. His love never fails, and His kindness rescues us from our stuck spaces as we turn to Him in trust. Often He uses those around us to be His hands, heart and voice, so that we grasp tangible glimpses of His goodness toward us. May we ever seek the Lord and His unfailing love, as He is faithful to make Himself known in wonderful ways.

 

Show us Your great love,Believe Instead of Striving

In wonderful ways;

As we choose depend,

On You all our days.

Your love and kindness,

Know not of an end;

Your love shall rescue,

All who choose depend.

What glorious love,

And amazing grace;

You bestow on all,

With welcome embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show Your unfailing love in wonderful ways, and that You demonstrate Your amazing kindness and rescue to those who depend on You. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces where we need Your love, help and rescue, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to give the same love and kindness to those around us, that You so generously give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to show us who You are and how You love so that we may do likewise. Amen.

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

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

To Give as We’re Given

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

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

Provided to Share

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

When We Need Wisdom

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – (James 1:5, NLT)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

 

In this day and age, we can access information just about anywhere. However, there is a vast difference between information and wisdom. It requires wisdom, which is the knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with just judgment as to action (dictionary.com), to know what we are meant to do with the information we gather. True wisdom comes from God, as He is good and just and truth. When we seek Him, He is generous to grant us insight and discernment, so that we can do right by Him. As we find ourselves in spaces of needing to know what is right and true, or what exactly we are meant to do, may we seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom each step of the way.

 

Our God is so good,Refreshment Through Repentance

Generous and kind;

Whatever we need,

When we seek, we find.

Knowledge of the truth,

The way we should go;

What’s true and what’s right,

Things God’s wisdom shows.

We need only ask,

And our God supplies;

Without holding back,

Wisdom realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we need wisdom, we need only ask of You, and You generously give. Thank You that You will not make us feel less than for asking, but instead You lovingly give. Forgive us for attempting to act on our own insight, rather than seeking Your wisdom in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and ask You for insight and discernment in all situations and circumstances, as Your wisdom is the way to light and life. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models what is true, right and just. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for the wisdom we need to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. 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

 

Unseal My Lips

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise You. – (Psalm 51:15, NLT)

O Lord, pry open my lips that this mouth will sing joyfully of Your greatness. – (Psalm 51:15, VOICE)

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – (Psalm 51:15, ERV)

 

Be it by circumstances or lack of stamina, sometimes we fail to let our lips offer praise to the Lord when it is overdue, and instead allow things that do not benefit anyone to escape our mouths. We cannot simultaneously sing praise and complain. Either our hearts are fixed on His greatness, or we are looking away at that which distracts. If we seek the Lord and set our hearts and minds on who He is and all that He has done, the very mouth that meant to grumble only moments before, suddenly cannot help but sing of the greatness of God. A holy perspective unseals locked lips, and opens hearts to praise He who is worthy. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord above, allowing Him to reveal more and more of who He is and what He has done, so that we cannot help but sing praise unto the Lord.

 

Oh Lord, let my eyes,unseal-my-lips

Fix clearly on You;

So my heart may hold,

All that is the truth.

Lord, unseal my lips,

So that I may praise;

This heart shall sing songs,

That tell of Your ways.

With joy, songs shall flow,

From this heart of mine;

Because You are great,

O Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that as we seek You, You reveal more and more of who You are, and show Your loving kindness unto us. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise. Unseal our lips so that we would ever bring praise before You. Teach us to praise You in all that we do. May our very lives be a song sung to You. Show us how to love others as You so joyfully and generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy, of the greatness of who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Generous and Gracious Love

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – (Matthew 5:47-48, NLT)

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:47-48, MSG)

 

We who have invested our hearts and lives in Christ, are called to live differently. Anyone can be kind to those who extend kindness to them, however, it takes God’s grace to extend kindness to those who have treated us poorly, slandered our character, or devalued who we are. As children of God, that is exactly what we are called to do – to pray for those who persecute us, to be kind to those who are unkind toward us, and to extend love to those who are anything but loving to us and those around us. While we were yet enemies of God, He loved us. He gave His only Son so that we could come to know Him and have life everlasting. There is no greater example of how to love than this. May we rise up and embrace our role as children of the King, and go forth extending love and grace to all we encounter – especially those who are most in need, as their current state is a lost and loveless place.

 

Whom shall we choose love?Healed Hands Reach Out

Just those who love us?

For we have been called,

to love like Jesus.

He loved the sinners,

all who were unkind;

even the haters,

who were still yet blind.

It was by His love,

that minds could conceive;

a grace that gives life,

when we choose believe.

We too have been called,

to love like Christ did;

so all may come know,

how they might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what it is to love and live generously to all those around us – even those who are unkind or cruel. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, but You equip and empower us to love and give grace, just as we have been graciously given by You. Forgive us for being selective about whom we show kindness to, and help us to extend Your love and grace to ALL whom we encounter – regardless of how they behave toward us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow Your Spirit within us to speak through us, the words that You would have us say. Show us how to live generously and graciously toward all others, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You love us. 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