The Lens of Love

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, NLT)

God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, ERV)

God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans only see what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, CEB)

 

I am so grateful that God sees beyond the exterior that we present to the world and gets to the heart of the matter. He sees faith, hope and love, even when the world cannot. God will take the smallest seed of good and grow it into something greater. People tend to notice faults, whereas God sees strength and beauty and potential in the glory of His created. The more we seek and depend on Him, the more we begin to see others through His eyes. May we pursue the Lord with our whole hearts so that we may see others through the lens of His love.

 

Judge not appearance, the-lens-of-love.jpg

Of all those you see;

But look at the heart,

And love lavishly.

For that which is seen,

It never will last;

Yet the heart God sees,

Created, steadfast.

Let’s look at others,

Through Love’s lavish lens;

To see true beauty,

And choose grace extend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not look at us the same way that people do. Thank You that You look past how things appear and get straight to the heart. You see and You know the heart of the matter, and You love us through it all. Thank You that Your love shows us how we are meant to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we judge people or circumstances based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You to learn the heart rather than superficial appearances. Show us how to see others through Your lens of love so that we can extend the same goodness and grace to others that we have so generously been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see others through Your lens of love. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

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His Kindness

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

The Lord is kind and merciful, patient and full of love. – (Psalm 145:8, ERV)

You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail You. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 145:8, TPT)

 

I am so grateful that these attributes of God are true, as He does not place conditions on His love for us. It is a very good thing, as I know that I have not been the best version of myself lately, for pain and exhaustion do not breed patience in me. In spaces where I have gone in expecting the worst simply because of my own shortcomings, God has provided His loving kindness in unexpected ways. He has granted patience that I have not deserved and flooded me with His kindness in moments that I needed it most. May we ever turn in trust to He who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

 

Even at our worst, Possibilities

His kindness prevails;

For the love of God,

Will not ever fail.

He’s patient and kind,

Full of mercy too;

Slow to get angry,

His grace gets us through.

With great compassion,

He gives love away;

Though undeserving,

He floods us with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us whether we deserve it or not. Thank You that You are patient and full of love. Thank You that You flood us with Your kindness and love, even when we fail You miserably. Forgive us for our lack of faith that gets us in a frenzy over our circumstances, rather than keeping our eyes and hearts securely set on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to hope and trust in You no matter what we see or are experiencing in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives grace, compassion and kindness where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your kindness, faithfulness and love for us at all times. 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

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Though I am quite sad to have missed practice last night, I know that the rest my body received as a result, has made a difference. This morning as I woke, my throat no longer hurt, and I know that the sleep that was desperately needed, was granted at last. I appreciate how God uses the people whom we trust most, to be the voice of reason. Both my fiancée and best friend worked in cahoots to convince me to stay home and rest. His love surrounds me, and His strength renews me. Gratitude and love flood my heart and mind, as I think of the tremendous things He has done for me. Not only in these small things to get through each day when I am fighting sickness, but throughout my life, as He has been my strength for all of my days. The Lord is good, and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and tell Him of the love we have for Him who provides and guides throughout all of our days.

 

I love You, O Lord,

IMG_3833

For all You have done;

The strength that You give,

The battles You’ve won.

Your grace and Your love,

Make me strong enough;

To rise and press on,

When life seems too tough.

All love and all thanks,

I lift unto You;

As You make me strong,

By Your grace and truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and You do tremendous things for us. Lord we love You and give You all honor and praise. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the way we are meant to go and empower us to do all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our lives and praise You for the strength that You grow in us each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV) 

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT) 

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, VOICE) 

 

Last evening, I was the grateful recipient of patient acceptance, as my teammates and coach were humble and gentle, allowing for my very “off” time at practice. After sleeping so little the night before, I was exhausted and struggling to recall plays. Rather than respond with irritation or unkindness, I was surrounded by people who gently and patiently helped remind me of the routes that I could not recall, and continued to encourage, despite my exhausted state. After sleeping so little the night before, I was struggling to remember routes for the different plays. Rather than grow weary of my questions and seeming memory lapse, those around me gently reminded me of that which I could not recall, and encouraged, even when I did a less than stellar job. Having been on the receiving end of humility, gentleness and patience, I am all the more refueled to go and do likewise in love for those around me. No one has it all figured out, and we are all a work in progress. We tend to thrive and grow exponentially in an atmosphere where we are given grace where we fall short, and encouraged by those who walk in humility, gentleness and love. May we ever go forth with patience, humility and gentleness, accepting others as we are accepted by God. 

 

Always be humble, Patient Acceptance

Choose gentle and kind; 

Patient, accepting, 

With others in mind. 

When we act in love, 

Encourage, build up; 

The empty places, 

Soon become filled up. 

Acceptance in love, 

Provides room to grow; 

So let us choose love, 

As grace is made known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, despite our faults and failures. Thank You that You call us to patiently, humbly and gently do the same for one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not tolerated one another in love. Teach us to look to You to walk in patience, humility and gentleness, so that we may love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love and accept others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your example of humility and gentleness, patiently accepting one another in love. 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 Wisdom We Seek

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)

But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. – (James 1:5, CEB)

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. – (James 1:5, VOICE)

 

I am so grateful that God does not grow weary of us asking for answers when we are uncertain, as life requires much wisdom to navigate well. There are so many areas of new that come along in our daily lives, that without Him, we would be walking in the dark. However, when God is with us, His Spirit leads and guides us, as we so often know which way we are meant to go, as our hearts and minds know that which aligns with His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and direction where we need His navigation, and trust His heart within us when we already know the way that He is calling us to go.

 

We all need wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

To live this life well;

And as we choose ask,

His way, God shall tell.

He does not withhold,

The wisdom we seek;

But gives lavishly,

He’s faithful to speak.

He speaks to our hearts,

And to us makes known;

The answers we need,

As His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to answer as we ask for wisdom. Thank You that You do not withhold nor keep score, but rather You lavishly give as we ask. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces where we need Your wisdom the most, and teach us to trust You more so that we would turn to You for the wisdom to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is wise and encourages each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom in all things, as You are the answer we need to navigate our days in strength and love. 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

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

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

Peace in Thankfulness

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

Peace and gratitude are two excellent things to set to the forefront of our hearts and minds as we enter into this long holiday weekend. For some, this is a season of struggle, as they deal with the reminders of recent loss of loved ones, or are too far from family to gather – for them, may peace be present to hold them, and gratitude fill each heart for what is before them. Many of us, however, will be traveling near and far to gather with loved ones to celebrate this season of thanks. As we go, may Christ keep our hearts and minds fixed on what matters, so that gratitude for time together provides opportunity for His overwhelming peace to be present. May we join together as one body, ever grateful for all the Lord has done, and celebrate His peace that is present as we fix our eyes on Him with thanksgiving.

 

May peace that’s from Christ, Peace in Thankfulness

Come reign in each heart;

As we’re one body,

That has many parts.

Always be thankful,

For here we find peace;

In hearts full of thanks,

God’s grace is released.

Wherever we go,

Be it near or far;

May God’s peace and love,

Show how glad we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace rules in our hearts when we depend on You to lead and guide us as we go. Thank You that though we are one body with many parts, You have called and created us to live in peace. Forgive us for lacking gratitude for all the good that You give, or for not seeking You and Your wisdom to know how to live together in Your peace. Teach us to turn to You with thankful hearts, ever trusting You to rule and reign with Your perfect peace. Show us how to love others in a way that brings peace and demonstrates gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in body, heart and mind, giving You all of our gratitude as we recognize Your peace that is present. 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

Made New By Mercy

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, NLT)

He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, ERV)

 

I am so grateful that salvation is based on God’s goodness, not ours. His mercy declares us forgiven and grants us the desire to do His will, not the other way around. It is far too easy to get caught up in the “enough” mindset. Thankfully, in Christ, we are enough. It has nothing to do with what we do or do not do, but rather in Whom we place our trust. May we embrace the grace that God freely gives to all who call on His Name, and receive the new life His Spirit brings so that we may move forward in faith.

 

Because of mercy, Rise Again

In Christ we are free;

We need only come,

Let go, trust in Thee.

Embrace the Lord’s grace,

For He freely gives;

All who seek His face,

Gain new life to live.

It’s not what we do,

But rather our trust;

That shows us His grace,

As He lifts us up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that saves us. Thank You that it is Your mercy, not our works that make us new by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You receive all who earnestly seek Your face. Forgive us for not trusting that Your grace is enough, and somehow thinking that we must earn it. Teach us to trust You completely so that our motivation for all that we do will be to please and honor You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and mercy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and give You praise for Your incredible grace. 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

Finding New Strength

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

 

Today is the first day that I did not have to set an alarm since last August. I first woke at 1:30, as I had already slept nearly four hours and my body thought it was time to wake. After reminding myself that no alarm was needed and that I could sleep as long as my body would allow, I drifted off again until 6:15 a.m. In one night, I nearly doubled my average number of hours slept. This is the season in which my strength is restored, and my body and mind are renewed. Though I am sustained and strengthened for all that God calls me to do during the school year, I am so grateful for this season of refreshing, where I actually find myself being made new. May we each trust in the Lord to be our strength, as He grants us wings to soar. As we fly where He calls, we will run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.

 

As I give my trust, strength-in-waiting

To the Lord of all;

He takes me to heights,

On my own, I’d fall.

But God in His grace,

Grants us strength to soar;

To rise and press on,

In Him, so much more.

Like eagles, we’ll rise,

With feathers anew;

We’ll walk, run and fly,

God will lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that You strengthen us so that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Thank You that You equip us to do whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for folding in our weariness, or for lacking faith in spaces where we need to trust You more. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, so that we will come to know the capacity of Your grace and strength and goodness that is given when we place our lives in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that refreshes and renews the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to find our strength and soar to new spaces, as we are refreshed and renewed in You. Amen.

 

 

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15