To Honor the Dream

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)

Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

You shall not take revenge nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor (acquaintance, associate, companion) as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, AMP)

 

Historically, there have been many groups of people that have had reason to hold a grudge for the wrongs done against them, yet for change to occur, the right to revenge had to be released, and love had to prevail. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a phenomenal example of choosing love, despite his circumstances. Dr. King found ways to bring truth in love, and fight for change through peace. Hate was not his motivation, but rather a heart of love. As a husband, father, minister, leader and spokesperson for civil rights, he let his faith shape the way in which he lived and loved. His words, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”, still remind us of the way in which we ought to choose to live. Be it an acquaintance, an associate, or a companion, may we choose to stick with love; for it is the very way in which we are called to live.

 

The only true way, mlk

To find peace at last;

Is to stick with love,

Let go of the past.

When we choose forgive,

Our hearts are set free;

The burden of hate,

Is far too heavy.

May we stick with love,

And choose to redeem;

Value all people,

And honor the dream.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to rise up and stick with love, despite the barriers and difficulties that have stood before them. Thank You that when we choose love, You move mightily among us. Forgive us for the times that we have held grudges rather than chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stick with love, and not allow the weight of hate to destroy that which You intend for good. Show us how to love every acquaintance, associate and companion as You would have us love ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. May your peace prevail, and love win where hate has tried to reign. Be glorified O God, as we choose love again and again, knowing that You will use every decision of love to bring the dream to further fulfillment. 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

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. 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

We Are Commanded to Love

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:20-21, ERV)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

 

We cannot both love and hate and still live as children of God. The command that we have been given is to love God and love people. It does not mean that we will adore everyone we meet, but rather our hearts can have His intentions for all – kindness, compassion, and light, just as He loves us. Often, it takes time and prayer to view others through Christ’s lens. Everyone has a story and each of us have been created with a purpose. No one is more or less valuable to God. When we come to a place where we allow our eyes to focus through His filter, we become better equipped to see the good, or at least the need, to love those around us. Though we cannot see God, clear evidence of His existence is everywhere. Likewise, though we may not know why a person is the way they are, if they have life and breath, they are here for a reason and need and deserve love – the same as each of us. May we seek the Lord and His loving grace, so that we may go forth and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

God calls us to love,Faith and Hope in Action

Love cannot be earned;

Brothers and sisters,

True love can be learned.

For as we love God,

He changes our heart;

Gives us eyes to see,

And grace He imparts.

For we aren’t of God,

If love’s not our choice;

To extend to all,

With heart, hand and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love You and love those around us as sisters and brothers, but You show us how to love and grant us what we need so that we may love as we are loved. Forgive us for our lack of love toward our sisters and brothers, and teach us to love others in tangible and practical ways. Show us how to love those whom we see, so that they might seek You, whom they do not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and depend on You and Your direction and grace, to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

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

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

Comfort in Times of Trouble

Last evening I was beyond blessed to have some dear friends drive into Denver as a family photo (8)to spend time with me. They picked me up at my hotel, and whisked me away to tour an area that they thought I might enjoy in the city. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude to spend time together, as we shared a meal, caught each other up on the happenings of our lives, and wandered until we landed in an incredible book store. All was going splendidly, as I had found a book, Melissa and the trio of youngers were sharing a silly story and Josh and his eldest meandered through a section of interest nearby, until the calm, sweet mood was suddenly disrupted with a feeling of foreboding unrest.

We could hear it before we could see what was stirring. Soon, a long stream of unhappy people were marching past the bookstore’s front window, waving signs – some in peaceful protest, and others in a bit more menacing fashion. Two of the kids had very different responses. One was calling it a parade, whereas the other responded with a bit of fear. In my own heart, I felt that we needed to stay put until the crowd had passed, as the potential for unrest seemed high.

I had not heard the news this week, as I have been at a conference for work, so I have been in a bit of an isolated bubble. As we ultimately attempted to make way back to my hotel so that I could be dropped off and my friends could get home to get their kiddos to bed, we discovered that the march was growing, as a five-minute drive back, took more than twenty minutes, due to rerouting around those protesting.

Once back in my hotel, I was able to have conversation with my friends from work with whom I am traveling, and discover what has gone on over the past several days. It is impossible to not have a heavy heart, knowing that lives have been lost and fingers are pointing at entire professions and populations, rather than those specific individuals who snapped.

 

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

 

In this sort of scenario, all that I know to do is to seek the Lord. There are no easy answers. God knows. He cares. The One who hand-crafted each of us, the perpetrators, the victims, and all those left to grieve – He loves each of us as His created. God will comfort us as we seek Him, and when we know His comfort, we are able to extend the same to others. May we choose to seek His comfort in this seeming chaos, and offer the very same comfort to those around us.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When darkness floods in,The Lord Listens

And fear starts to rise;

Let us not forget,

The hope God supplies.

He is our comfort,

When chaos ensues;

The great Prince of Peace,

When we get bad news.

Far greater is He,

Our Strength and our Light;

Than troubles that come,

No matter our plight.

Seek the Lord above,

For comfort indeed;

Then we can share well,

With others in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort in the midst of trouble. Thank You that as You comfort us, we can then go and comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for our fear, frustration and thoughts of blame of anything other than the sinful brokenness of humanity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your help, strength and comfort, so that we too, could extend comfort to those around us. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of comfort. Show us how to love well. May many come to find peace and comfort in You, despite the world around 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

Good Wherever You Go

Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you. – (Ecclesiastes 11:1, ERV)

 

We don’t give to get, for doing so would result in bitter disappointment. However, what I have discovered is that when I go forth in kindness, most often, kindness is returned. This is not because I expect to be treated kindly, but I think that people cannot help but to respond gently when they are treated in the manner in which they hope to be treated. So often a kind word or a smile disarms even the hardest of hearts. In light of recent events that have gone on in our nation, it is evident that we need to do more good wherever we go. No matter how we are viewed, we must offer kindness and do whatever good we have the capacity to offer. For communities that are typically neglected, outcast, or disregarded, good needs to be extended all the more. May we rise up at the ready, and go forth doing good wherever we go.

 

In a world where hate,The Power of the Tongue

Too often abounds;

May we offer good,

Let kindness resound.

For hate begets hate,

But love, it disarms;

Kind and gentle words,

Bring an end to harm.

Let us each choose love,

It’s where hope resides;

Each act of kindness,

A positive stride.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your Son set the example of doing good wherever He went. He loved the “unlovable“, approached the “unapproachable“, and did good everywhere He went. Forgive us for our apathy when we have the capacity to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we rise up and do good wherever we go. Show us where we can act on Your behalf as agents of Your goodness and grace to someone in need. Help us to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do good wherever we go, just as You have done so much good for us and in us. 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

Really Love Them

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:9-10, MSG)

 

Above all, we are called to love. This love is not romance nor something that we manufacture, but rather it is a choice to prefer others – to seek to serve and honor others rather than ourselves. We are only able to truly love when we receive and embrace the love that Christ has given unto us. It is through the holding tightly to His goodness and grace, that we are able to in turn, extend the same to others. That which is evil, the things of this world that compete for our attention in a way that draws our hearts to disdain rather than delight, are the very things that we are meant to distance ourselves far away from, so that we can cling to that which is good. May we love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other with the love that Christ grants unto us.

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with a love that gives us new life. Thank You that in You, we are restored and made new, granting us the capacity to love others with the very same love that You have given unto us. Forgive us for choosing to neglect those near to us, or for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You and flee from all that is not of You, so that we may be refined to love as You call us to love. Show us how to be good friends who love deeply, that prefer one another in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your loving kindness through us. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You, and love others with the very same love that You have given to us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

 

Desire to Learn

To learn, you must want to be taught. – (Proverbs 12:1a, TLB)

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. – (Proverbs 12:1, NLT)

 

Learning is a lifelong process. It requires discipline, determination and desire. For one to truly learn, it is not merely a pouring in of wisdom and knowledge, but it involves correcting and redirecting as well. If we truly long to learn and grow, we must embrace both – the pouring into, but also the discipline that involves correction, so that we may come to know the truth of God’s will in our lives. There is an internal battle between our will and desires, and that which comes from Christ. We do not intrinsically know all that He has for us, so it requires us to pursue with passion, to learn from the Lord. May we seek to learn that which the Lord has for us, embracing the discipline required and the correction given, so that we might more clearly reflect the radiance of our Redeemer.

 

In silence, we wait,Believe Instead of Striving

To hear from the Lord;

In spaces of need,

All grace He affords.

He grants us wisdom,

Shows us what to do;

Corrects, redirects,

Again makes us new.

As we come to learn,

And grow in His grace;

The truth shall take root,

Lead to His embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to teach all who choose to seek You. Thank You that You do not just give us information and leave us to process it all, but rather You correct and redirect us, as You lovingly lead us wherever You are calling us to go. Forgive us for resenting redirection or cowering from correction. Please give us hearts that not only long to learn, but that embrace discipline and correction too. Thank You that such things are further evidence of the depth of your love and desire to draw us closer to You. Show us how to love others with our lives, so that they may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we readily receive Your correction and redirection, so that we may come closer still, unto You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19