Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Seek to Know

God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. – (Psalm 53:2, NLT)

From heaven the one True God examines the earth to see if any understand the big picture, if any seek to know the true God. – (Psalm 53:2, VOICE)

God looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who is wise, anyone who looks to Him for help. – (Psalm 53:2, ERV)

 

The Lord is not looking for those who “have it all together” and think that they know all the answers that they need to navigate life well, but rather He desires the hearts of those who earnestly seek Him. As we come to recognize our own need for the Lord and His help, wisdom comes our way. It is only in knowing our need for God that we desperately desire more and more of Him. Incredibly, as we seek Him, we find Him, and He is faithful to answer all that we ask. Answers may not appear the way we would anticipate, but His ways are higher than our ways, and His plans are always best. May we ever seek the Lord and His help, as we come to know our own need for His hand in our lives.

 

God’s ever seeking,Beside Still Waters

Those who seek Him too;

Hearts longing for help,

To know what is true.

As we choose to search,

We always shall find;

The Lord’s path made plain,

It is His design.

Wisdom is granted,

To all those who seek;

God shows us the way,

He’s faithful to speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are already available and waiting for us. Thank You that wisdom is found by those who seek Your will and Your way. Forgive us for not always seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone hold the answers to all of our questions. Show us how to walk out our faith in love, so that we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to know You well, as all wisdom and understanding come from You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Clothing the Corners of Our Heart

With the ever growing unrest and tensions in the world around us, it is all the more imperative that we go out prepared, according to God’s standards. It is not about how we appear on the outside, but rather how we clothe the corners of our heart.

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

 

Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone approached one another with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? Though we cannot expect others to conform to the “clothing of Christ“, we can extend these things to all whom we encounter, modeling the very things that we hope to see in return. Change does not happen with giant waves of conformity, rather it begins with one, or perhaps a few, who choose to be kind or compassionate. Those who opt to walk in humility and gentleness, despite that which surrounds them – these are the agents of change in the world. May we have the patience to press in and seek the Lord, allowing Him to be our Source and our strength to clothe our hearts with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may go forth and give to others as the Lord intended.

 

As the believers,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let us rise and choose;

To be clothed in Christ,

All unkindness lose.

Be clothed with kindness,

Compassion and grace;

Gentle and humble,

To the human race.

Always be patient,

For God’s been with us;

He loved us to life,

And gave us Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to save us from ourselves. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us where we are. Thank You that in Your strength, we can be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may extend the same to others. Forgive us for not seeking You or for not clothing our hearts with Your character. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would more accurately reflect who You are to a world so desperately in need of Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You by clothing ourselves in the character traits of Christ. 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

Because He Loved

Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday, especially among middle schoolers the day prior. While some students were over-the-moon with excitement, others were nearly manic, as they mourned their mate-less state. Most, however, took it upon themselves as an opportunity to binge on copious quantities of confections, and were bouncing off the walls. The pivotal point that so many get hung up on, is what exactly is love, and how do we celebrate it?

 

If our priorities are kept in place, and we opt to spend the day focusing on loving God and loving people well, then it can be a day worth celebrating, rather than one to view with disdain. One of the most powerful examples of Jesus’ love for us is how He endured all things for our sake, so that we could come to know Him.

 

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself!” – (Mark 15:31)

 

Though Jesus could have saved himself, He endured this suffering because of His love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; He could have killed those who mocked Him – but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies… Jesus died on that cross for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid by His death. – (NIV footnotes for Mark 15:31)

 

Because He loved, we too may love.

 

What beautiful love,Good Gifts

would lay down His life;

choose to sacrifice,

despite all our strife?

He came not because,

we deserved His grace;

but because He loves,

the whole human race.

The sinners and saints,

man, woman and child;

He came for us all,

to be reconciled.

Let us each embrace,

this glorious gift;

go forth and love well,

encourage and lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son.  Jesus, thank You that You came to set us free from the chains of our sin, and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You endured endless suffering on our behalf, because You loved. Forgive us for not choosing to love You and others as we are called to love, or for focusing inward instead of out. Teach us to trust You more, so that as we reach out in faith, we will recognize the remarkable ways in which You provide return to refill our hearts again. Lead us to love well, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we bring the blessings of Your love to a world in need. 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

Let Jesus Be Known

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMay church and the home,

be places to learn;

where the truth of God,

we’re taught to discern.

As we are equipped,

we also should teach;

proclaim His promise,

to all whom we reach.

Let Jesus be known,

wherever we go;

show us what’s needed,

so we all may grow.

Grow in His wisdom,

learn how to give grace;

to be hands and heart,

to the human race.

No one discounted,

all people need much;

may His light and love,

be shown through our touch.

A handshake, a hug,

encouraging word;

may Christ’s loving heart,

be the voice that’s heard.

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” – (Acts 5:42)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us just as we are, yet love us too much to allow us to stay steeped in sin, self-doubt and in lack. Thank You that as we come to You, and seek You with our whole heart, there You are, ready to love us to an abundant life in You. Thank You that this is a lifelong process, and that none of us “arrive” until we meet You face-to-face. Forgive us for expecting ourselves or others to have attained perfection at any point, and help us to give grace as You have given it to us. May we love others in such a way, that they might see You in all that we say and do. May many come to know You as their Savior and Friend. Amen.

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