What Love Looks Like

image by Valerie Etienne

image by Valerie Etienne

To love sincerely,

He calls each of us;

despise all evil,

cling to righteousness.

To be devoted,

in brotherly love,

honor each other,

place others above.

Never lack in zeal,

keep fervor to serve,

be joyful in hope,

our time He deserves.

Be patient in pain,

and in each trial;

faithful in prayer,

He loves you, His child.

Share with those in need,

open heart and home;

bless those who challenge,

and peace shall be known.

Join those who rejoice,

grieve with those in grief;

live in harmony,

encourage belief.

Be not proud people,

interact with all;

be not conceited,

that leads to a fall.

Don’t repay evil,

choose to do what’s right;

live at peace with all,

you are His delight.

(Responding to Romans 12:9-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and Your Holy Spirit, which lead us and guide us in the ways that we are meant to live.  Forgive us for not heeding Your instructions, and please help us to live as You call us to live.  Teach us to be devoted in love, to honor others above ourselves, to serve You with fervor, to be joyful in hope regardless of our circumstance, to be patient and prayerful in times of trial and in times of peace; help us to share generously with those in need; teach us to be hospitable; help us to bless those who persecute us, rejoice with those rejoicing, mourn with those in mourning, and help us to live harmoniously with each other.  Keep pride far from us, and may we leave repayment and judgment for evil, in Your hands.  Help us to choose what is right in Your eyes.  May our lives lived in love lead many to move toward Your Majesty.  Amen.

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

Power in the Pitfalls

image by Tina Weter of Anointed Manna

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

“Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” – (The Message)

In this passage, Paul recognizes that “When we are strong in abilities or resources, we are tempted to do God’s work on our own, and that can lead to pride.  When we are weak, allowing God to fill us with His power, then we are stronger than we could ever be on our own.  God does not intend for us to seek to be weak, passive, or ineffective – life provides enough hindrances and setbacks without us creating them.  When those obstacles come, we must depend on God.  Only His power will make us effective for Him and will help us to do work that has lasting value.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

Personally, I do not yet delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, nor in difficulties.  As for persecution, I cannot even pretend to imagine what it must be like for those who put their lives on the line to worship and spend time in His word in places where being caught for such things, lead to imprisonment or death.  In the midst of struggles, I do not delight in discomfort.  However, I am in a place where I am more rapidly reacting to wreckage by reaching for and relying upon my Redeemer.  His strength does supply all that I need to stand firm in Him in the midst of struggles.  The delight for me does not come until I have reached the other side of the struggle, and can look back and recognize how His hand has carried me through the mess.  I am so thankful that He is not finished with me yet!  Each trial or time of testing is an opportunity to set aside self, and seek total dependence on Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are our unfailing source of strength in life’s struggles.  Please forgive us for trying to muscle our way through the messes, and teach our hearts to turn to trust You in all things and at all times.  May we be quick to recognize how You are refining us as we learn to rely on You.  Teach us to stand in Your strength and to delight in the opportunity that is being presented for Your power to be made known.  May Your strength be made known in our weaknesses so that many may come to know You as the Messiah.  May Your strength be shown and Your heart made known, even in the midst of our messes.  Amen.

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