Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

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

Strength that Endures with Joy

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, NLT)

We pray that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy. – (Colossians 1:11, MSG)

 

As I gear up for the final week before Christmas break, I find much comfort in this verse from Colossians. I am reminded again of from Whom my strength comes, and that there is joy as we press on with patience along our journey. My job already requires more patience than I could ever muster on my own, yet God, in His great power, will provide more as it is needed. He will give us strength that goes beyond grit, and His eyes to see the good that comes from seeking His help as we go. May we seek the Lord for His strength and endurance, so that we walk through this season in joy.

 

The God of all strength, Joy to the World

Will give what we need;

His love and His grace,

In joy, they will lead.

So seek the good Lord,

Patience to endure;

He’s ever faithful,

Our hope is secure.

As we go in grace,

And strength He employs;

We’re able to rise,

And go forth with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and grace that supply the endurance and patience that we need to navigate whatever comes our way. Thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer in Your love. Forgive us for not relying on You for what we need, and trying to gut out the trials rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, recognizing that You alone are our true Source. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend patience, grace and kindness in a way that fills hearts with Your joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your strength and embrace the joy that You supply along our journey. Amen.

 

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

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filed with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Accept Each Other With Love

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)

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

 

God calls us to walk in humility and gentleness. We are meant to have patience with one another, and accept each other, despite one another’s faults. The only way to love as He has called us to love, is if we are dependent on Him. Patience, acceptance, humility and gentleness are all modeled by Christ and given as we seek and trust in Him. All that is needed, He will supply, if we depend on God to be our Source. Often it is a matter of asking to view others through His eyes, before we are able to find patience and acceptance to love as He loves us. May we seek the Lord and His heart for all, as we pursue His plan to walk in humility and gentleness, having patience with one another, accepting each other with love.

 

Each of us are called,Faith and Hope in Action

With humility;

To choose gentleness,

As how we should be.

Then there is patience,

We’re called to extend;

Accept each other,

With love that won’t end.

Don’t seek to find fault,

But rather forgive;

Do as God has done,

Love well as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us what it is to be humble and gentle. Thank You Jesus that You modeled patience with people, regardless of their faults, because of Your love. Thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for not being humble or patient, or for our lack of gentleness or acceptance of others in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view others through Your eyes, rather than our own. Flood our hearts with Your love and compassion for all whom we encounter. Show us how to love well, everyone with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in humility and gentleness, extending Your patience and acceptance of one another in love. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Seek to Serve

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, NLT)

Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to Him. He said, “Whoever wants to be the most important must make others more important than themselves. They must serve everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not like that of this world. We do not have to claw our way to the top, nor fight others to finish “best“. Instead, Christ calls us to prefer others, to serve others, to place the needs of others before our own selfish desires. In His eyes, we are lifted up when we lift others. The Lord is not interested in how much of an agenda we can accomplish, but rather He wants to see us love others well. May we seek God and give to others as we have so graciously been given.

 

There is no first place,Good Gifts

When focused on self;

But rather through love,

Shown to someone else.

He calls us to serve,

To prefer others;

To love and lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

Lord, teach us to see,

The needs all around;

May we choose love well,

Let Your light be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to prefer others above ourselves, and to serve those around us. Thank You that You equip us to do all that You ask. Forgive us for our selfishness that keeps us looking inward rather than out. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve and love all whom we encounter. Show us how to love and serve as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to love and serve others, rather than seek to serve our own selfishness. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

The Voice of Truth

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

Our value is determined by God, not by man. He created us individually and intentionally. He knows us so intimately that He is aware of even the most minute detail about us. Our worth is not dictated by what others proclaim. The same God who does not forget even one of the sparrows, is very aware of each one of us. We need not fear, even in the most dire of circumstances, for our hope is secure for all of eternity when we place our trust in Him. No matter what comes in this life, nothing can take away from the eternal promises of God. This hope we hold is our safety and security both now and forevermore. May we embrace the goodness and grace of God, who knows and loves us so completely, that there is no detail about us that is not known by Him.

The hairs on our heads,Be Silent Before Him

are numbered and known;

by God who is love,

wise King on the throne.

We need not hold fear,

we’re seen through His eyes;

counted and valued,

more than realized.

Our worth is not deemed,

by any mere man;

but rather by God,

made us with a plan.

Each with a purpose,

meant to go fulfill;

to embrace the Lord,

and pursue His will.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us individually and intimately. Thank You that You know every detail about us, and yet You love. Thank You that perfect love casts out fear. Thank You that our value is not determined by any person on this planet, but only by You, who created us with purpose. Forgive us for listening to the lies that people tell us about our worth, and help us to seek You to discover the truth. Lead us to love well, so that we pour into the lives of those around us, pointing them to the truth of who they are in You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us and guide us, and be the voice of truth in all things. Amen.

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

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

Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. 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

What Does Denial Do?

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross to follow me.” – (Luke 9:23)

 

Jesus was explaining the depth of commitment required of those who choose to follow Him. To deny ourselves is to set aside our own agenda and selfish desires, and to use our time, energy and resources in a way that honors Christ, according to what He asks of us. In order to take up our cross, we must be willing to imitate the attitude of Christ, and obey His commands. Our allegiance to Christ must be above all else; unwilling to be compromised, even in the face of death. Though there is a cost to follow Christ – all that we are; the return far exceeds our investment. Not only do we have His help and His presence here and now, but we have the blessed assurance of knowing that our eternity is secure in the safety of our Savior. May we choose Christ today, and always.

 

To follow the Lord,MSH30

requires great price;

it’s all that we are,

invested in Christ.

Our whole heart and mind,

committed to Him;

no more self-seeking,

nor contest to win.

His Spirit within,

will help us obey;

live life as He lived,

in love each new day.

No matter what comes,

there’s no compromise;

when we are in Christ,

we’re seen through His eyes.

Let us stand in strength,

the strength of the Lord;

our Help and our Hope,

let Him be adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose You, You have already chosen us. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and change us from the inside out. Thank You that You strengthen us and lead us, and reveal to us what it means to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to follow You. Forgive us for our selfishness and our disregard for Your direction, and help us to hear and obey You clearly. Grant us the courage to trust You completely and the strength to go wherever You ask us to go. Let us love others as You so generously and graciously love us, and may lives be changed and hearts turned forever towards You. Be exalted O God, as we daily choose to follow You. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14