The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

Kindness, compassion, wp-15892063810227564207240281852178.jpg

Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Love is Secure

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an incredibly good day. So many of the things hoped for and trusted for, seemed to begin to fall into place. Though uncharacteristically quiet, the Zoom meeting with my Social Studies kiddos was the best attended one yet. I was so blessed to see faces and hear voices and laughter, of students who have been absent from my world for nearly six weeks. If that were not enough goodness for one day, I received a call at lunchtime from the gal I had been speaking with about yellow lab puppies. She let me know that there was only one remaining, and another family was asking, but she wanted me to have priority, as I had inquired first. We then and there had a Zoom meeting of our own, so that the boys and I could virtually meet our potential puppy. All three of us were smitten, and the decision was not at all difficult. With commitment made, I continued the remainder of my afternoon, Zooming with my art classes, answering emails, and receiving completed work that was submitted early. By the time my husband arrived home, I was ready to run out the door. I did give him time to relax and unwind for a few, followed by a masked trip to the pet store to prepare with our purchases for all things puppy. Puppy chow and treats, dog bed and bowl; potty pads and chew toys, collar and leash, puppy shampoo and brush, and a few other things that I cannot recall that I am certain we will “need” for our new fur baby. Our sweet addition will be picked up and brought home late this afternoon, following the conclusion of my workday. Though I know puppies are loads of work and care, it will be well worth it, and honestly, God prepared me long ago – I have twins! 😊

There was great joy in sharing our news with my mom as well. Though she has not had a dog in her household since we lived at home, she is the one, so many years ago, who first allowed my sweet greyhound to sleep on a bed (with her, no less) as she has a very tender spot for grand-dogs. It will be especially sweet to share photos and videos with mom as we endeavor in the wonderful new adventure.

All this to say that as we depend on God, and persevere in that to which we are called, He sees, He hears, and He loves in ways that are so very good. May we all seek Him and give God room to move as only He does.

 

Choose trust in the Lord,wp-15877325293631964907051584431141.jpg

Seek, taste and you’ll see;

Our God is for us,

His love meets our needs.

So much more than that,

He blesses each heart;

That keeps trusting Him,

As strength He imparts.

Keep looking to God,

You’ll find that He’s good;

His timing’s perfect,

And love is secured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings that come to fruition after they have been long hoped for and pursued. Thank You for those that are still hopes and dreams, as Your timing is perfect, even when we do not understand. Forgive us for our impatience, as we only see a glimpse of what is, whereas You see the end before things begin. Teach us to trust You and to embrace Your goodness and Your grace in every season; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless, encourage, and uplift the hearts of all with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose take notice of all the countless ways that You are good. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your 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

Courage to Continue

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

 

It is amazing how this applies to every area of our lives – the things hoped for, the dreams being pursued, and often in our daily devotion to what needs to be done. I appreciate how The Message phrases the verse best, as it reminds us that in the wait, we are often still very actively engaged in whatever we are working towards, yet we need to remember our Source of strength and hope, light and life. Even when things are difficult, (which most things that are worthwhile do indeed require hard work) we must take heart, dig deep and press on. God will supply the strength that we need as it is needed, we ought only continue in the direction to which we are called, and take courage in knowing Who is both with us and for us. For me, I was reminded again of how this applies in a dream being pursued, as we began to walk through plays at football practice. At first, it seemed a bit mind-boggling and overwhelming, but with persistence and commitment to continue, and trust in He who gives me strength, things began to make sense. Though I know there is much to learn, I can take heart in knowing that the courage and strength I need will be supplied as I continue to trust in the Source.  In all things, may we take heart and press on, trusting the Lord to provide the strength and courage that we need to do all that we are called to do, now and forevermore.

 

Be brave, have courage, Courage to Continue

Choose wait on the Lord;

He’s our source of help,

All grace He affords.

Take heart and don’t quit,

Don’t ever give up;

For God is our strength,

Filler of our cup.

Have faith, He will hear,

Each cry of the heart;

As we ask for help,

His strength He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage, help and hope, no matter what our situation or circumstances. Thank You that You care about the things that matter to our hearts. Thank You that no hope nor dream goes unnoticed by You. Forgive us for thinking that the desires of our heart don’t matter. Teach us to trust You with all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives strength and courage, so others too, take heart and continue to pursue that which pulls upon their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay with You and trust You to answer and be present in all things, as You are our source of all that we need. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Assurance of Hope

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)

 

Faith fuels hope. It is the very gift that God places within us to be assured of that which we cannot see. The faith within us grants us the desire to dare to dream and the certainty to hold fast to the hope that is yet to come. God gives us hopes and dreams; faith from Him fuels them to fruition. May we have faith in He who gives us hope, and trust in that which we cannot see.

 

The fuel for hope,Be Transformed 1

comes from faith God gives;

our desire to dream,

and reason to live.

God gives us these things,

and asks us to trust;

in His faithfulness,

for His ways are just.

Let our hearts pursue,

that to which we’re called;

by faith, let us hope,

with grace, be enthralled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You grant us the assurance of that which we hope for in You. Though we have not seen You, we know that You are, as You give us the faith to see with our hearts, what our eyes cannot yet consume. Forgive us for our lack of faith, as there is evidence of You and Your goodness all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the hope that is found in You alone. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too would come to find a forever faith in You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the reality of the hope we have in You. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Respect, Love, Fear and Honor

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NIV)

Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, ERV)

 

We are called to kindness and to treat ALL people with proper respect. It is merely a matter of opening one of the many social media site feeds to see that respect for one another is not exactly what rules the roost of our hearts. We do not all have to share the same set of beliefs to treat one another with kindness. The thing that continually has me perplexed, is how slandering the character or choices of a person or people group could ever bring them to believe what is hoped for? When we walk in love, we are imitating what Jesus did. He did not go around screaming at people about how wrong they were in the ways in which they were living, but rather He came close, met the needs that were before Him, and loved. It was by His love, that people came to see and know the truth.

 

Additionally, we are called to love our fellow believers. Though there may be minute differences in how we worship or gather, we are following the same God, and will be spending eternity together. It would benefit us all to choose love now.

 

To fear and respect God, means that we choose to live our lives according to His will, and not our own. If we surrender to Him, our lives will be forever changed, and it will be apparent to all whom we encounter.

 

Though the United States is not an monarchy, we do have a President and governing body that we elect to office. We do not have to agree with every decision that they make, but we are called, biblically, to honor our leaders. It is not our charge to slander anyone, especially those that God has placed in positions of authority over our nation. If we disagree with what is being done, we have the power to pray, to write insightful and respectful letters, and to get involved in local legislation.

 

May we show proper respect to everyone; love well our fellow believers, fear God, and honor our leaders.

 

The Lord has not called,kindness

us to be unkind;

but to show respect,

to all whom we find.

Let’s love each other,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

let His light shine through.

Fear the mighty Lord,

give respect that’s due;

for He is the One,

that’s making us new.

Honor those in charge,

they rule for reason;

all need our support,

not acts of treason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us this verse lived out. Thank You Jesus, that You modeled how to treat all others with proper respect, even when they were not respectful to You. Thank You that You love well, each one of us. Forgive us for omitting any of these things from how we are living, and show us how we can properly respect everyone, love our sisters and brothers in Christ, fear You, and honor our leaders. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have humble hearts that are willing to listen and obey all that You ask of us. Lead us to love and respect ALL people, no matter how they act toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we show proper respect to ALL people, love one another well, fear You, and honor our leaders. 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

Nothing I Desire Compares

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. – (Psalm 73:25)

 

The only thing that lasts, consequently, the only thing that matters, is Christ. What we have in Him, is all that lasts forever, therefore our relationship with our Redeemer ought to be our priority. If we are prioritizing as directed by the Lord, we will love God and love people. The stuff of earth will matter not, as people and what is possible for each of us through Him, will become our priority. I am not there yet… I love God and love people, yet I do like things too. It is nice to find a great deal on something new, or to receive something that has been hoped for.

 

Perhaps the most important point is to examine our heart and determine whether the stuff is getting in the way of loving God and loving people. If our hope is securely grounded in Christ, and we can keep proper perspective that there is NOTHING that compares to Him, then I think we are heading in the right direction. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ in heaven, and let no desire on Earth come before Him.

 

Let us hold on tight,Forgiveness is Free

to heavenly hope;

our place that’s secure,

no other life boat.

For Christ never fails,

His grace is made new;

there’s nothing on earth,

that compares to You.

O God fix our eyes,

on what concerns You;

let’s love each other,

as we see You do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are are hope in heaven and our present help on earth. Thank You that there is nothing that compares in heaven or on earth, to Your love and grace. Forgive us for seeking after anything else before You, and help us to prioritize You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that our actions demonstrate our love for You. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope for both now and forever in You. 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

The Path of Perseverance

Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Discovery in Delays

So often we want instant results, or at least answers that will give an inkling of an idea as to when resolution will come, healing will happen, or breakthrough will be brought forth. Faith, however, does not work that way. God’s timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Just as God led Moses and the Israelites on a longer route around the Philistines to protect them from unseen obstacles, so too may His purpose be in the delay or different direction than we had hoped for. When the disciples gathered and were anxiously awaiting the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Jesus responded to them. He said to them; “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – (Acts 1:7-8)

 

Jesus has plans for us all, even as we wait. We are called to share of His goodness and grace, here in this place. When we choose Christ, He equips and empowers us to do that to which we have been called. Often it is in the delays, the distractions and redirections that we discover the depth of His provision and power, granted to us for a time such as this. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth in His grace, even as we wait for that which is yet to come.

 

May our hearts prepare,Discovery in Delays

for this is the time;

to rise up in faith,

to seek the Divine.

Though there is waiting,

there’s much to be done;

our pause has purpose,

to point to the Son.

Empowered by Christ,

His Spirit indwells;

the grace to go forth,

His presence propels.

Let nothing deter,

from God’s loving plan;

listen and follow,

He’ll lead us to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your timing is not our timing, and though we don’t necessarily understand why there are delays and detours, we know that You are good and can trust that Your way is for our benefit. Thank You that You have our very best in mind. Thank You that You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit as we wait, and entrust us to go forth and share of all that You have done. Forgive us for not trusting Your timing or for staying stuck when You are calling us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will make the most of the wait, and discover all that You will do in the detours and delays. Lead us to love others as You so thoroughly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we allow Your power to prevail in our pauses. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41