To Love and Do Good Works

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, NLT)

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)

 

This verse is made tangible again and again as I consider the countless stories of “pay it forward” that I have heard, experienced, and have had the pleasure in which to participate.  One small act of kindness inspires another, and even the seemingly most minute labors of love can set spark to a wildfire of wonderful deeds.  May we keep our eyes open to opportunities to love well and extend goodness, just as we have received at times when we needed it most.

 

Let us consider, Ambassadors of Love

How we can love well;

Inspire each other,

Of His goodness tell.

May all that we do,

Extend love and grace;

So all may be blessed,

As they run their race.

Each act of kindness,

Each choice to do good;

Motivates others,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love one another and do good works because You first loved us and gave everything for us to have life in You. Forgive us for not looking for ways to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to restore the places that are weary and worn, as You are the One who fills us and equips us to love others and do good works. Show us how to love those around us in a way that motivates, encourages and inspires greater love and good to be passed on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and goodness that You have given us and seek You to equip us with ways to go forth to love and do good works well. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

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Consider 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)

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT)

 

I love that this biblical concept has been made tangible to many as people seek to “pay it forward.” One small spark of kindness, generosity or grace can set off an incredible chain reaction. The great thing is, we can love and encourage others through small and simple things. The Passions Translation tells us to “discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion…” I so appreciate this, as some of the seemingly smallest acts of kindness have had the greatest and most lasting impact on me, as they often come when I have needed them most. It costs us nothing to choose to offer a kind and encouraging word or to reach out a helping hand to one we see in need – we simply must choose to extend what we have received to those around us. May we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may discover creative ways to encourage each other and extend acts of kindness to all.

 

Let us consider, Ambassadors of Love

How to choose love well;

Honor each other,

May our actions tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Extend hope and grace;

Each act of kindness,

Demonstrate His ways.

Choose seek discover,

To love and do good;

Compassion offered,

God’s grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that though we do not deserve it, You come near and extend encouragement and compassion toward us in tangible ways. Thank You that You call us to look for ways to encourage and love one another as we reach out in ways that others can grasp. Forgive us for not always choosing words or ways to inspire those around us to greater love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our Source and Supply, so that we will encourage and motivate others toward compassion and acts of kindness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spurs others toward love and good deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love and encouragement that You offer to us and then go and give likewise to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Stand in Awe

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NLT)

Far and wide they’ll come to a stop, they’ll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, “Come and worship.” – (Psalm 65:8, MSG)

 

These words ring ever true, as I find myself caught off guard in awe at the beauty that surrounds me so often. Yesterday was a crazy, busy day, that had some unexpected twists and turns that made parts of the day difficult. The evening ended well, and as I drove home, though I have taken in the view countless times, I found myself nearly in tears with gratitude for the good in my life and the beautiful region that I am blessed to call home. I love the mountains and the ocean, and here, I am a short drive away from both. More than that, each morning as I walk with my best friend and her pups, we take in a spectacular view of both the majestic mountains and the Puget Sound, as the sun rises and reflects on the water and reveals the splendor created by His hands. Wherever I go, I seem to stand in awe of the wonder that unfolds before me. I anticipate nothing less, as I prepare to leave for Belize this coming Saturday. May our hearts look and listen to all that He shows us, as His goodness inspires joy and reason to worship for all of our days.

 

To ends of the earth,Stand in Awe

May in awe we stand;

Of all Your wonders,

On sea and on land.

From the sun rises,

To each new sunset;

Let’s look to the One,

Who paid all our debt.

O how He loves us,

This wonder employ;

Stand in awe of God,

And worship with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with such goodness and beauty all around us. Thank You for tangible reminders of Your power and majesty. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself through the people and places that surround us. Forgive us for not slowing down to look and listen to all that You have for us. Teach us to take notice of all of the wonders that You have made. Show us how to love and appreciate the people and places that You have given to us to care for well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your wonders, and worship You with joy. 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 Wealth of Wisdom

For wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. – (Proverbs 8:11, MSG)

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. – (Proverbs 8:11, NLT)

 

Wisdom is different from intelligence. True wisdom is a gift from God that comes through our earnest seeking. As we seek Him, God reveals to us a knowledge of what is true and right coupled with just judgment to action. This discernment and insight that He grants those who ask, is the Godly wisdom of which Solomon was speaking. Anyone can study and discover what is right, however, the just judgment and ability to act upon our understanding, is granted and grown by God. Money can’t buy happiness, nor can it purchase righteousness. Our right standing with God comes through our choice to seek Him. When we ask for wisdom, He is faithful to grant us the insight we need so that we can act according to His will. May we ever pursue the wisdom of God, so that we may walk in His ways and live right before Him.

 

Nothing can compare,Marvelously Made

To wisdom from God;

No wealth we amass,

Nor path that we trod.

For only from Christ,

Does true wisdom come;

Knowledge with action,

To get right things done.

Let us not allow,

Our hearts to desire;

Things more than wisdom,

May insight inspire.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom is better than wealth. Thank You that nothing we desire compares to the blessing of insight and discernment that You give us willingly if we choose to seek and ask. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom, when Your insight is what we need the most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prioritize what matters, and recognize the value of having Your discernment in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Amen.

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

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

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Waves of Wonder

Life seems to happen in waves. As the tides change and the waters encroach and recede, so do sets of challenges and victories as we go about our days. Similar to the sea, both the wonderful and the wearying seem to come in sets. Repeated rollers come our way, seeming to be relentless; followed by complete calm. Our successful navigation throughout our days is not dependant on the waves, but rather on our reliance on the Creator of all things. In His hands, we are able to stay afloat, or ride the waves into the shore without being pulled under. One of the best ways to keep our eyes fixed on Him and our hearts in the proper posture, is through praise.

 

“I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders, I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.” – (Psalm 9:1-2)

 

Our hearts are not capable of praising and being pulled under simultaneously. As we praise, and speak of His faithfulness, something happens in our spirits that keeps us from sinking into the undertow of self-pity. Whenever the woes of the world begin to drag me down, the most effective thing I can do is jump in my car, turn up tunes that speak of His goodness and faithfulness, and sing along at the top of my lungs. Though it does not make the struggle disappear, it resets my focus on the Father, and creates a proper posture in my heart and mind, to allow God to be God, and recall that I am not. There is much freedom found through worshipful sound…

 

I will praise You, Lord,Waves of Wonder

with all of my heart;

I’ll tell of Your work,

the peace You impart.

I’ll choose to be glad,

I’ll rejoice in You;

I will sing always,

of how You make new.

As each waves rolls in,

I’ll call on Your Name;

in Your mighty hands,

I’ll not be the same.

Strength in my weakness,

chaos into calm;

O Lord, Your goodness,

my hope and my song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your wonders are a source of gladness and reason to rejoice. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and ministers to our hearts as we focus on You. Forgive us for looking at the size of the waves, rather than You who can create all calm in our hearts, minds and environment. Teach us to trust You more, and to praise You with our whole heart, regardless of what is happening around us. May our awe and wonder inspire others to seek You and find You too, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified in our praise today, and may our every word and deed speak of Your wonders. 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

Living in Love

“John answered, ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’  Tax collectors also came to be baptized, ‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘what should we do?’ ‘Don’t collect any more than you are required to,’ he told them.  Then some soldiers asked him, ‘And what should we do?’  He replied, ‘Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.” – Luke 3:11-14

image by John Haydon

image by John Haydon

John’s message out in the desert back then, is still very much applicable to our lives right now.  The meat of his message is to:

(1) Share what we have with those who need it

(2) Whatever our job is, do it well and with fairness, and

(3) Be content with what we are earning

(*three points from NIV Study Bible footnotes)

The new command that Jesus gave to us is to love God and to love people.  Interestingly enough, if we are loving God and loving people, our natural inclination will be to share what we have with those who have none, we will want to work as if we are working directly for our Father in heaven (because ultimately we are), and in Him, we learn to be content in all things.

These verses inspire me to further purge my home and closet of excess, and to give away what is no longer needed nor worn.  Professionally, I am both challenged and inspired to continue setting new goals for myself and my students, with frequent check-ins to determine both our short and long-term direction.  As far as earnings go, our bills get paid, our vehicles run, and there is always food to place on the table – I know that I am abundantly blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your message is clear – that we are meant to love You and love each other.  If we are doing just that, we will be content in our circumstances, we will do our best, live generously, and love lavishly.  You, who sent Your only Son to lay down His life so that we might live, have shown us again and again and again, what love really means.  Forgive us for not always keeping our eyes open to the needs of those around us, and teach us how to live, love, work, share and simply settle into a life of loving like You.  You lead, and we will follow in faith.  May many find faith in You through the kindness and obedience of the faithful.  Amen.

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