His Love Doesn’t Hurt

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

Our goal ought to be to mirror God’s love to all. In our broken humanity, we fall short – daily. When we are wronged, often our gut instinct is to lash out and respond in the same way; yet love, is to choose to extend kindness to those who deserve it least. Love offers grace to the guilty and mercy to the mean. To love is to contradict the way the world says we ought to respond to anything that comes against us. The more we choose to love, the more natural it becomes. It does not always mean it is easy, but there are never regrets when a loving response is extended, rather than lashing out or firing back – as such things cannot be erased. Sometimes love is extended simply by not responding and exercising self-control, when everything within us desires to meet fire with fire. As we love, God uses our obedience to break down barriers in others, and can do amazing things in hearts and lives. It is no wonder that God calls us to love above all else, for all things flow through His filter of love. May we choose to go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

Love will not choose harm,Purposeful Prayer

despite what it gets;

for love is from God,

it never regrets.

Love fulfills the law,

for God’s love is good;

it mends the broken,

makes grace understood.

Love heals the hurting,

it turns away wrath;

love makes clear the way,

to travel God’s path.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not do wrong to others, but rather it fulfills all that You require of us. Thank You that the love You speak of is Yours, not that which we distort and confuse and fracture. Thank You that You have shown us the perfect example of love through the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Forgive us for not loving as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond in kindness, grace or in silence – according to Your will, rather than our own when we are wronged. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that people may come to know the kindness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You love us. 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

Tether Our Hearts

Today, my reading plan had me reading both Exodus 6-8, and Luke 23. Though there were many individual verses that I could have highlighted, the thing that stood out to me the most, was the way in which both Moses and Jesus chose to remain faithful to their calling in captivity. Moses, was appealing to Pharaoh for the people of Israel to be set free to go into the desert to worship, and Jesus was being held after His arrest, as He was bruised, beaten and tried six times before various courts – none of which could find Him guilty, in obedience to be the sacrifice for all of our sins.

 

In both portions of scripture, God had called each to a specific task. For Moses, he was being asked to lead a nation out of captivity when the ruler of the nation paid no regard to his requests. Jesus, was being asked to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He knew the pain He was called to endure. Neither story seemed to go smoothly. Both bore the burden before them, and endured enormous adversity to ultimately arrive in the place to which they had been called. This can be a bit overwhelming, yet completely encouraging, as we know that in all things, God is faithful to those who trust in Him. Though we may not see what He is doing in the midst of adversity, we can trust that He has a plan and a purpose for everything that we endure, and that He will utilize each trial and triumph for our ultimate good. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ alone, as He is faithful to walk beside us, be it in trial or triumph.

 

When life surrounds you,Tether Our Hearts

forced captivity;

choose trust in the Lord,

to keep your heart free.

For only in Christ,

is true freedom known;

set free from our sin,

where His grace is shown.

Though often unseen,

His purpose is clear;

to love each of us,

as we choose draw near.

Let us seek the Lord,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to the truth,

Christ, the faithful One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us great examples of those who have endured tremendous trials by depending on You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, Your presence is promised, and Your hope is secure. Thank You that You are faithful to remain with us, even when we are unaware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and faltering faith when the fight becomes too much, and teach us to tether our hearts and minds to You alone. Give us Your eyes to see things through an eternal perspective, so that we may remember that all that is in the here and now is only temporary, yet that which is yet to come, is forever. Lead us to love intentionally, just as You so purposefully and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, in all things and at all times. 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

Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

In Galatians four, Paul was presenting his concerns to the believers of Galatia. Those who had initially embraced the gift of grace given by Christ Jesus, were setting it aside so that they could turn back to observing the laws. Clearly, full of great concern, Paul pleaded with his fellow followers of the faith. What has happened to all your joy?… – (Galatians 4:15a) Paul perceived that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism.

 

Legalism is a dangerous and slippery slope, and a thief of joy. It can take away joy because:

(1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

(2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

(3) It stresses performance over relationship.

(4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. – (NIV footnotes)

 

If guilt, self-hatred, need to perform, or inadequacy are ruling our lives, we need to check our focus. Is faith reigning in our hearts, or have the reigns of legalism somehow crept into the corners and began to steal our joy? Let us throw off every burden that hinders us and allow Christ’s grace to cover us. May we walk by faith, and leave the links of legalism that try to bind us, far behind.

 

Joy that is complete,Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

must learn to let go;

walk away from chains,

and by faith, follow.

Faith receives His grace,

and lets go of guilt;

embraces His love,

where His peace is built.

It knows not self-hate,

shows humility;

needs not to perform,

is secure, set free.

It does not point out,

how far we fall short;

but rather looks up,

to Him who supports.

May we walk by faith,

embracing what’s true;

it’s all about Him,

not how much we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all grace and joy. Thank You that You came as the fulfillment of the law, as not one of us could ever truly follow the law. Thank You that Your grace is a gift that You give freely, and not something that we can somehow earn. Forgive us for any area of our lives where we may have fallen into the trap of legalism. Illuminate the truth and lead us out of the spaces and mindsets You never intended for us. Teach us to trust You and Your glorious gift of grace with all that we are. Lead us to live and love in the fullness of Your grace as You intended, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we walk in the freedom that Your forgiveness and grace have granted. 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

Finding Joy

“What has happened to all your joy? …” – (Galatians 4:15a)  Paul did not mince words while communicating with the Galatians.  He was greatly concerned, as he had heard that they were returning to the letter of the law, rather than remaining in the freedom found through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

As a spiritual parent of sorts, Paul was passionately protective of the Galatians.  He did not want for even one of them to be caught up in legalism and lose the joy that they had found in their salvation, that came through faith in Christ alone.  His exhortation for the Galatians, is meant for us as well.  Legalism was the joy thief of the time, and often is for us still, today.

“Legalism can take away joy because:

1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

3) It stresses performance over relationship.

4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us.

Are we living by faith in Christ, or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?” (NIV footnotes for Galatians 4:15)

Freedom is found,Finding Joy

through Jesus alone;

not by good deeds,

as foundation stone.

Law shows us sin,

not God’s gift of grace;

to know true joy,

Christ we must embrace.

Let not the thief,

steal that which is yours;

the peace of God,

He freely outpours.

As we seek Christ,

we come to know joy;

where they once dwelled,

guilt and shame are destroyed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are set free from guilt and shame, and that You forgive us from our every sin as we come and confess before You.  Thank You that we are no longer bound by legalism that would dictate that we have to worship or pray or do things in a specific way in order to be heard by You.  Thank You that by Your grace, You made the way for us to come before You, freely, unencumbered, so that our joy may be complete in You.  Forgive us for thinking that joy has anything to do with our surrounding circumstances, and help us to remember that joy is that deep-rooted knowledge that You are with us and the hope that we have of a future secure in You.  May the joy within us be contagious, and be a cause of curiosity in those who do not yet know You.  Help us to love without limits, as You love us; and may many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified as we go forth in joy.  Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

No Condemnation in Christ

Condemnation is to judge and deem one guilty. To feel condemned, whether guilty or not, is a bit unbearable. Once, when I was likely in late elementary school, my mom, sister and I, had stopped at a grocery store in a not-so-nice neighborhood. I was carrying a small purse, and for some reason, my sister and I had wandered to a separate aisle from my mom. Gum and lip gloss were the only elements to grace my petite purse, and Megan asked me for some gum. Without regard for our location, I opened my purse and pulled out a stick of gum for her. Before I could zip my little bag closed again, a store worker came up to me with a very angry look on his face, and accused me of stealing from his store. Either my look of sheer horror at his suggestion, or my offer for him to search my immediately outstretched belongings, either way, suddenly his judgment was repealed and he turned and walked away; leaving two girls who had not even entertained such a thought, shaking in their shoes.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – (Romans 8:1)

Though I was not guilty then, and was accused, every day of my existence I fall short and am deserving of His judgment. However, because Christ lives in me, I am seen through His covering, and called clean; not guilty, and set free from the death that I deserve. I cannot even begin to fathom what it would be like to face our final day on our own. Without Christ, the penalty is death. In Christ, we have eternal hope, and the promise of His presence, always.

In Christ we’ll stand,No Condemnation in Christ

for we are free;

He paid the price,

we’ve been redeemed.

No more condemned,

the verdict’s clear;

death is no more,

in Christ a fear.

For He is ours,

and we are His;

covered children,

His righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are deemed NOT GUILTY, as You took all of our guilt upon Yourself and already paid the price. Thank You that in You, we are freed from sin and death, and have the power of Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Forgive us for submitting to sin, and help us to be more than conquerors in You. Teach us how to trust in Your power living in us, to help us overcome any temptation that comes our way. Help us to live out lives of love that give grace that guides many unto You. Let those who are looking, find eternal hope in You. Amen.

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