Chosen to Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This is love: that we live according to His commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. – (2 John 1:6, CEB)

 

We are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion. When days seem dark and the rubber meets the road, this is the time that we must dig deep and choose to love one another, just as we are loved by God. As we opt to offer kindness, encouragement and the benefit of the doubt to others, remarkably, the same is returned our way. Even in the moments when it is not, we can rest easy in knowing that we walked our road according to His will. May we choose love as we are commanded, and extend patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and choose to persevere.

 

Commanded to love,

wp-15215461273991340431367.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

It’s what we have heard;

To choose live in love,

It is the Lord’s word.

Though we were unkind,

Unworthy of grace;

God chose to love us,

As we sought His face.

Thanks to His mercy,

We can do the same;

Live a life of love,

That honors His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved us with Your life. Thank You that because You love us, we can go and love one another according to Your command. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend love to those around us as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of love that fulfills what You expect of Your children. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends patience and kindness, that chooses to protect and trust, that offers hope and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love according to Your command. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Lifelong Learner

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insight. – (Proverbs 18:15, MSG)

Clever people go after knowledge to obtain it, and wise people attune their ears to hear it. – (Proverbs 18:15, VOICE)

An understanding mind gains knowledge; the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. – (Proverbs 18:15, CEB)

 

Wisdom is something gained by those who actively seek to know and understand. No one ever “arrives“, rather it is a lifelong process in the pursuit of learning, as there is always more to know and understand. God honors the asking, and continues to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves as we are willing to draw near and pursue more of Him. Though I know nearly nothing, I understand far more now, than when I first began. The wisest women I have ever known, spent a lifetime learning and growing with God. My grandmother was ever listening for fresh insight, and did not discount what anyone had to say. She would listen through her filter of faith, and have wise and insightful things to reply. People were a priority, and she had a passion for travel, as I believe it created even more opportunity for her to discover deeper understanding of who God is, and all that He has made. As I continue to prepare for my departure for Belize on Saturday evening, my heart holds fast to this truth – to gain wisdom, I must be listening for fresh insight, ever attuning my ears to hear what the Lord has for me to learn. May we each go forth with a heart to grow in understanding and insight, so that we may walk in His wisdom and the light of His truth.

 

Wise are the learned, Purposeful Prayer

For they seek to grow;

Ever they listen,

For what they’re to know.

God’s ever faithful,

To reveal His heart;

He grants new insight,

Wisdom He imparts.

Seekers of knowledge,

Are those who shall gain;

True understanding,

As His path’s made plain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from seeking understanding from You. Thank You that as we continue to learn and grow, ever listening for new insight, You increase what we can comprehend. Forgive us for not seeking fresh insight, or not listening for Your voice when we most need to hear You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always be looking to listen and learn, so that we live a growth-minded lifestyle. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them feel heard and understood. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever pursuing new knowledge and insight, with open ears and hearts to all that You have for us to learn. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

 

Free to Love and Serve

For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do to destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil the gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

We are no longer bound by Levitical law, but rather we have been set free by the sacrifice of Christ, to choose to follow Him. A life in Christ is not about living according to the letter of the laws of rituals, but instead it is all about opting to engage in a life of love. If our priority is choosing to love God and love people, we will use our freedom well and do what is pleasing before God. When we elect to engage in sin, we grieve the heart of God and abuse the freedom that was granted in love. May we ever seek to love the Lord and those He places in our path, and trust Him to help us lead a life that honors Him.

 

Brothers and sisters,Generous Giving

We each have been called;

To live in freedom,

By grace, not by law.

The freedom we have,

Is not meant for sin;

But rather to love,

And let others in.

In our gift to choose,

May we opt to serve;

Love as we are loved,

So hope can be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that it is not freedom to do wrong, but rather to make the choice to follow You and live a life of love because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Forgive us for abusing our freedom and not allowing Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love in all things. Help us to love and serve one another as Jesus loved and served. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve as You have shown us what it is to love and serve. 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

Divinely Designed

You made me; You created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your commands. – (Psalm 119:73, NLT)

With Your hands You made me and helped me become what I am. Now help me understand Your commands. – (Psalm 119:73, ERV)

 

Because we are His created, we can seek the Lord and ask Him which way we are meant to go. As we ask, He answers, for God is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. Wisdom from the Lord is required to know how to follow His will and walk in His way. Let us seek God, the Giver of light and life, to grant us guidance to understand and obey His commands.

 

Lord, You have made me,Delivering Dreams

Crafted by Your hands;

I need Your wisdom,

To obey Your plans.

Help me understand,

Your will, and not mine;

Help me to obey,

May my heart align.

Please lead me, O Lord,

In all that I do;

So my words and deeds,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created me – that You designed me with Your own hands. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us. Thank You that as we ask, You grant us wisdom and understanding to know how to follow Your commands and walk upright before You. Forgive us for not asking, or for neglecting to do that which we know is the way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and strength, to know Your will and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding to know the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

The Sincere Seeker

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)

 

God does not preface this verse with how much faith we must have to come to Him, but rather we must have enough to seek Him. In other parts of His Holy Word, it speaks of the power of faith even as small as a mustard seed. Faith is not something that we somehow muster on our own, but rather as we pursue the presence of the living God, our faith grows. Part of the reward for those who sincerely seek the Lord, is a deeper understanding of His existence. He is pleased with our faithful pursuit of Him, and honors our seeking with His lavish love and greater insight to who He is and how He loves. May we begin each day with the faithful pursuit of God, as He is our Source and Supply in all things, and is well-pleased with those who choose sincerely seek Him.

 

May we all choose rise,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Have faith and believe;

As we seek the Lord,

His love we’ll receive.

For the Lord is pleased,

When by faith, we seek;

Drawing near in faith,

To hear what He speaks.

The Lord will reward,

A heart that is true;

The sincere seeker,

In Him is made new.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with sincere hearts, seeking You, trusting that You exist, You are pleased with us and reward us with more of You. Thank You that it takes only a small seed of faith for You to move mountains on our behalf. Forgive us for our doubts and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, and to have a confident trust in You in all things and at all times, as You are far greater than everything that we face. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may find faith and follow after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sincerely seek You with a child-like faith, as You are our loving Father who meets us however we are when we choose to seek You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

 

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

 

Helping Each Other is Obedience

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NIV)

God created us to be in relationship with one another. He did not intend for us to do this life alone. When one is struggling, those around them are meant to come beside them, and help, support, encourage and lift them up until they again are able to stand securely. When we help one another, we are living as Christ is calling us to live. To carry the burdens of another can be something so simple as preparing a meal for an exhausted friend, a quick phone call or text that offers encouraging words, ongoing and faithful prayer for the circumstances that are wearing the other down, and providing time to be present to sit beside one another and listen. God both uses and honors the help that we offer, as we are obedient to that which He calls us to do. Our offering is fulfilling the law of Christ. May we help one another with our burdens, so as to love well, as Christ calls us to love.

When we look around,Faith and Hope in Action

what need do we see?

We are called to rise,

“Lord, come and use me.”

For if we choose love,

in tangible ways;

we’ll help each other,

and in tough times, stay.

Oh Lord show us how,

to bear burdens well;

grant us grace to love,

and Your words to tell.

Let all that we say,

and all that we do;

encourage others,

give glory to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for relationship and that You did not intend for us to navigate this life alone. Thank You that You call us to help one another and to bear one another’s burdens. Thank You that to do so, is to walk beside in love, making Your grace and strength tangible when it is needed most. Thank You that when we walk in this way, we are fulfilling Your intended purpose for us. Forgive us for withdrawing into ourselves when we struggle or for neglecting the needs of another that we see. Help us to reach out beyond ourselves when we see a need and when we have a need; for You are our Great Provider. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they feel supported, encouraged, strengthened and loved, even in the midst of their own struggles. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we carry one another’s burdens in obedience to all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

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