How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

10917_15227942730243444664612386319390.jpg

Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for us. 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 countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

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The Force of Faithful Fathers

Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. – (Proverbs 20:15, NLT)

Much gold and many pearls exist, but wise speech is the most precious jewel. – (Proverbs 20:15, CEB)

You may have an abundance of wealth, piles of gold and jewels, but there is something of far greater worth: speaking revelation words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 20:15, TPT)

 

When I think of fathers, be it those on earth or our Heavenly Father, thoughts of wise words come to mind. Fathers are great sources of advice, and good fathers direct the path of their children as they grow. In the places where a human father is absent, falls short, or simply has no answer, God, who is the ultimate Father, always does. No matter where we are or what is going on, we may seek Him for answers in prayer and in His word. Last evening, I had the joy of watching the wisdom of a good father’s words come to fruition. My bonus son-to-be graduated from high school. He is a wonderful young man who has not been the biggest fan of school. His father, who loves him fiercely, with all of his giant, Viking being, passed on many wise words, often, that ultimately led to his son’s successful completion of public education. It is such a sweet space to watch the pride a father has in his son, as it grants a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father views us as His children. Though it often takes His coaxing, pulling, lifting, loving, redirecting, and many wise words conveyed to us, He is proud of us too, as we reach the various milestones set before us. May we ever seek the best Father of all and celebrate and give thanks for the good fathers that God has granted all around us to show us His heart.

 

Great wisdom in words, fb_img_15292164673276799610905781133347.jpg

Are precious in worth;

Far greater than gold,

The way, they unearth.

Just as the wise words,

That good dads choose bring;

Show us where to go,

And how to do things.

May we choose give thanks,

Seek words that are wise;

All praise for fathers,

Who see through love’s eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of good fathers. Thank You that You are the ultimate good Father to us. Thank You that You grant us wise words to live by that lead us on the path You have placed before us. Forgive us for not valuing the wisdom found in the words that You intended for our hearts to hear. Teach us to have ears to listen and hearts to understand. Show us how to love others well, so that we would speak wise words that You place in our mouths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the wisdom of Your Holy Word and learn to value it above things that come and go. 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

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

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Mortality Known is Wisdom Grown

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

 

Life is short, and not one of us knows the number of our days. What we do each day matters, and God’s wisdom is the best way to have a heart to live according to His purposes. Each day that we draw breath, we have the opportunity to love God and love people, just as He loves us. The more aware we are that not one of us is guaranteed another day, the more the present is valued as a gift, and lived out accordingly. May we treasure the gift of today and walk in His wisdom and love so that we may honor the One who gives us life and bring hope to those who need it most.

 

With a grateful heart, given-to-show-goodness.jpg

For all of our days;

May we seek wisdom,

To walk in His ways.

Show us plain Your path,

Each day we draw breath;

So we truly live,

Our lives until death.

And even in death,

We know there is peace;

For when our days end,

To You, we’re released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all who seek You can find a heart of wisdom to walk in Your ways for all of our days. Thank You that when we are willing, You use each day for Your good. Forgive us for the times that we choose to ignore Your direction, and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that all of Your plans and purposes for us are good. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter, so that each may see a glimpse of Your goodness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for each new day, and seek You for direction as to how to walk it out. 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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Clothed in Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. – (Colossians 3:14, NLT)

Together with those things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG)

 

Some families are casual and some are formal as they gather for the holidays. However, the most lasting and lovely garment we can don on any given occasion, is that of love. Love breaks down barriers and brings people together in peace. Where tension once reigned, kindness comes in and conveys the calm that Christ intended. For some, the garment of love that we choose to wear, may be the only glimpse of goodness that exists in their environment. As one receives such love, they too are equipped to go and do likewise. May we begin each day by clothing ourselves with the love of Christ, so that we may go forth and love others as we have been loved.

 

The greatest garment, Clothed in Love

That we can choose wear;

Is that of God’s love,

He intends we share.

As we choose share love,

His peace enters in;

For harmony comes,

Where love is given.

No matter the day,

Event or reason;

Let’s dress up in love,

This lovely season.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your goodness and grace, You clothe us in Your love. Thank You that as we go forth in Your love, we are bound together in unity in You. Forgive us for not clothing ourselves in the love You give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to fill us and equip us so that we can love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clothe ourselves in Your everlasting love. 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

Complete in Christ’s Love

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:19, ERV)

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

 

If each of us could grasp but a glimpse of the greatness of God’s love, imagine what the world would become. Once a heart begins to hold even an iota of understanding of how deep and how wide the love of the Father is for us, we cannot help but be changed. The more we know love, the more we long to share what has been given. Our capacity to care for those around us multiplies, as we are made aware of how much the Lord cares for us. May we ever seek the Lord and readily receive His love, so that we may be made complete in the fullness of life and power that He has prepared for us to go forth and love as we are loved.

 

A love far greater,Aquiring Armor

Than any that’s known;

The love from the Lord,

As His heart is shown.

Lord, help us to seek,

The love that You give;

So we may be filled,

With fullness to live.

Your life and power,

Await those who seek;

To love and be loved,

Strength when we are weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is far greater than any that we have ever known, and that but a glimpse of Your great love will change our hearts and lives forever. Thank You that as we come to know You and Your love for us, You fill us with life and power and make us complete in You. Forgive us for not seeking You and Your love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will ever seek more of You. Help us to receive all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, all those around us as You fill us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to know and understand more and more of Your love in our lives, and go forth and love likewise. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

The Wonder of Unfailing Love

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 31:21a, NLT)

 

Here I sit this morning, in awe once again, at the wonder of the Lord’s unfailing love for me. He blesses in ways I do not deserve, and holds my heart in His hands. Where hope was growing dim, He has fanned a spark to flame. In spaces where worry was growing a bit weighty, God has provided beyond what I would have asked or imagined. More than that, as my heart heard my own voice speak the truth of all that He has done as I was sharing with a dear friend yesterday, joy and excitement began to rise up and flood my entire being, for all that lies ahead. The Lord has so much more. What we see now is but a glimpse of what is yet to come. Each time we take pause and look around, we become acutely aware of the wonders of His unfailing love, and find reason to give God praise. May we ever praise the Lord for the wonders of His unfailing love that He never ceases to show all who call on His Name.

 

Give praise to the Lord,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For wonders anew;

His unfailing love,

Is faithful and true.

Our God loves to show,

How deep and how wide;

Love for the seeking,

In Him, choose abide.

At times it is more,

Than my heart can hold;

The glory of God,

As His grace unfolds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and lavish us with Your love, not because we deserve it, but rather because we are Yours. Forgive us for not recognizing the wonders of Your love all around us, or not seeking You in our spaces of need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that above all, Your love never fails. Show us how to love with a love like Yours, so others may see the goodness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love, and go forth and do likewise for those around us. 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

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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