How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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May We Choose Kindness

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

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

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

I could not do my job if I did not seek to follow this guiding principle daily. Kids and colleagues alike, need kindness and compassion, forgiveness and grace. Just as I have been forgiven, I must also forgive. If I did not begin each day new, I cannot even begin to imagine the heaviness that would ensue. We all fall short and need kindness extended our way. May we allow God’s grace to direct our steps as we choose to forgive each other, extending compassion, gentleness and kindness to one another, just as He has done unto us.

 

No matter what comes, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Take pause, look and see;

The one who’s upset,

Needs love and mercy.

For when we are kind,

Forgive and give love;

We act as we’re called,

By God up above.

For He forgave us,

All that we have done;

May we choose kindness,

For everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate to us, forgiving us each time we come to You and ask. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to strengthen and equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that we were not gentle or kind, or we lacked compassion or did not forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive others as we are forgiven by You. Show us how to love like You – extending gentleness, kindness and compassion to one another without conditions, especially to those who seem the least deserving. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate and extend forgiveness to one another, just as we have been forgiven by You. 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

Take Delight

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Enjoy the Lord, and He will give what your heart asks. – (Psalm 37:4, CEB)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

 

God is so good. As we seek and serve Him, our desires are shaped by who we are becoming in Him, and He shows us in ways beyond what we could hope or imagine, how He will give us the very things that we are hoping for in His Name. As my fiancé and I are preparing for our wedding in July, we have begun the process of searching for a home that will accommodate he and his son and me and my two boys. It is a challenging task to find a space that meets the needs of three teenage boys, two adults, several vehicles, and the need for space to spread out, as the personalities of each need room of our own. Additionally, we would love a space that has room to welcome others into our home to share a meal, come and visit from out-of-state (as we both have extended family far away), and space to decompress from the hurried pace that is required in both of our jobs. Yesterday, we were shown our dream home. It fulfilled everything on our wish list and more. The price was higher than we had hoped, and we did not think it would be feasible until we went back, sat down, and really analyzed numbers on paper. We both were in awe as we ran the numbers and discovered that as two heads of household merged into one, we would indeed be able to afford the home we desired most without overextending ourselves. God continues to remind me that as I delight in Him, He will bless me with the desires that He has placed in my heart. The hopes and dreams that my heart holds are not simply random thoughts that came out of nowhere, but rather they are things birthed and nurtured within my design, intentionally. May we ever delight in the Lord and seek to serve Him, as He is the One who gives us what our hearts desire most.

Asking for Amazing Answers

Delight in the Lord,

For He is the One;

Who knows our heart’s cry,

As each day is done.

The more that we seek,

The Lord and His will;

Our hopes shall align,

And dreams be fulfilled.

For when He’s our joy,

Desires come from Him;

Blessings are bestowed,

Both outside and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You give us the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You love to bless Your children. Thank You for the incredible ways that You move beyond what we could hope or imagine, and that the hopes and dreams that dwell within us come from You. Forgive us for our doubts or for thinking that anything is impossible for You. Teach us to trust You more, and to place our hopes, dreams and desires in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and courage and joy in the wait between the dream and the fulfillment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You and give all glory to You as You bless us with the very things our hearts are longing for. Amen.

 

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Blessing Beyond the Valley

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – (Psalm 84:6a, ERV)

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. – (Psalm 84:6a, TPT)

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! – (Psalm 84:6, TLB)

 

The Valley of Weeping is a space I avoid like the plague. I fight and fend off the opportunity for ocular malfunction as if my life depended on it, until I can fight no more. Eventually, the dam breaks and I must succumb to whatever is weighing heavily on my heart. Incredibly, God meets me where I am, and provides comfort and refreshment in ways that go beyond what I would hope or imagine. My most recent source of sorrow has been wrapped up in the injury to my leg and that which it is preventing me from safely doing. The biggest disappointment came when it was determined that it would be dangerous for me to fly to Utah with my team for the game this weekend against our toughest opponent. It was a double hit, as not only did I want to be present to support my team, but I have dearly loved family that live in the same city that I was looking forward to seeing. God in His loving kindness, has blessed me with a man who treasures me and lovingly holds my heart. When he realized how hard this loss was going to be for me, he stepped in and planned a weekend escape to the coast for us. My heart could not have been held more tenderly. The ocean is my sacred space, and there is no place on earth that I feel more at peace nor am as deeply in awe of our Creator, as when I set foot on the sand and watch the waves crash before me.  God knew what I needed and He blessed me with one who loves me as I was designed to be loved. May we ever hold fast to our hope in the Lord through our valleys, for even in our sorrows and disappointments, He makes way to bless our hearts and bring refreshment to remind us of His nearness and care for us, individually.

 

In valleys of tears, wp-15237115979951399911556.jpg

Do not be afraid;

God sees and He hears,

Beside us, He’ll stay.

Where sorrow once reigned,

Refreshment will come;

His presence remains,

’til each day is done.

The place that was dark,

Shall soon see His light;

His love will set spark,

As blessings delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You walk beside us through our valleys, and You bring blessing and refreshment where there has been sorrow and pain. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the darkness that lies before us, rather than the light that You ignite within. Teach us to trust You more when we are in the valleys, as You are always faithful to remain present. Thank You that You bring blessing and refreshment out of spaces where sorrow once reigned. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses and refreshes and holds up those who feel stuck in valleys. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your refreshment and give You praise for all of our days for Your faithful presence, always. 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

Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. 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

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

The Two Greatest Commands

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG)

 

I am routinely amazed at how overwhelmingly blessed and loved I feel, as I try to live my life according to these two commands. When we love God and love people, the rewards far outweigh the risks. God’s love is greater than any sort of love that the human heart can hold and choosing to love people is often returned far bigger and better than we could ever hope or imagine. To love others as we love ourselves, requires that we think of others before we speak or act. Will the words that I speak or the actions that I take be ones that would be a blessing to me if I were the recipient? If not, we are likely not acting in love. Though there are times when we choose love and extend kindness to others and what is returned is far from the same, if we truly choose to love as God loves us, we will extend love anyway. We are not called to stay in harm’s way nor withstand abuse, as sometimes love leads us away to safety. Regardless of the circumstances, we can choose love as we lift others up to the Lord. He is far greater than anything or anyone who comes against us, and His love covers all. May we ever seek to follow the two greatest commands that lead to a life of walking in God’s will: Let us love God and love people.

 

With all of our heart, wp-1519570589366472507998.jpg

We are called to love;

God and all people,

Our charge from above.

As we love the Lord,

And choose love others;

We find that we’re blessed,

Sisters and brothers.

In God’s family,

We find love not known;

As through each other,

His goodness is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made it simple for us to follow Your ways and walk in Your will through our own awareness and obedience to the two greatest commands: to love You with all that we are, and love people as we love ourselves. Forgive us for the times that we have not done either. Teach us to turn to You so that we may learn to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are and choose to love others as we desire to be loved. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The True Look of Love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

There is no love that has ever been nor that will ever be, that compares to the love God has for each of us. Many of us would give up tangible things that we care about for those whom we love, but I imagine none of us would willingly send our sons or daughters to those whom were against us, knowing that they would die. God gave all so that we would have all in Him. We have a free will that grants us the choice to either believe and receive the glorious gift that He has given, or to reject our redemption and run our own race. Even in that, I envision the vastness of the Father’s heart. He waits patiently for those who wander and welcomes each into His loving arms when we are ready to receive all that He has for us. May we fix our eyes on He who is love rather than on what the world attempts to define as love.

 

The true look of love, The True Look of Love

Is not from a store;

But comes from above,

And means so much more.

The greatest love known,

Is that which God gives;

Because of His Son,

We gain life to live.

As we choose believe,

Receive His great grace;

We’re set on the path,

To run well His race.

The glorious end,

Our true finish line;

Heaven forever,

Most Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world better than any of us could begin to fully comprehend. Thank You that everyone who believes in You gains life with You forever. Forgive us for allowing the world to define love for us, rather than looking to You for the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive and believe all that You offer, so that we may go and love as we are called to love. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and believe the greatest love ever given, as You sent Your Son to us to show us what love truly is. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely 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

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. 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

Faithful Love Never Ends

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 107:1, NLT) 

Say thank you to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. – (Psalm 107:1, TLB) 

Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why – He’s better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, He’s always loving and kind, and His faithful love never ends. – (Psalm 107:1, TPT) 

 

This is a month where society floods us with messages of “love”. For some of us, it is a seemingly sweet sentiment, as we are in a good space, and know and appreciate that we are loved well. However, there are others who are in spaces of mourning, either for the love they have lost, or the love than is yet to be. The challenge in either space is to keep a proper perspective toward the love that matters most. God’s love has always been and will always be, and is not dependent on our feelings nor performance. No matter what sort of relationships we are in, our relationship with God ought to come first. When we love God and know His love well, we are equipped to give and receive love in a way that is lasting. May we rise up and give thanks to the Lord for His good, faithful and lasting love and receive what He gives, so that we can go and give in the same way. 

 

All thanks be to God, Love Made Known

For goodness and love; 

He’s always faithful, 

To help from above. 

He gives us kindness, 

For all of our days; 

Love overflowing, 

He’s present always. 

No matter status, 

Together, alone; 

When we go with God, 

Our heart’s always home. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that when we are single, You fill the places in our hearts that lack. Thank You that when You bring love to us, You show us Your heart for us in new ways through the other person. Thank You that in all things, You are loving and kind. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see things go our way, rather than trusting You and Your perfect timing. Teach us to trust You in the waiting. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may gain glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all our days for Your faithful love that never ends. Amen. 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23