Be Devoted in Love

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. – (Romans 12:10, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as last night, I hit a breaking point. I was frustrated with my sixth-grade students’ seeming lack of buy-in or concern about what we needed to review while I was present in the classroom, there was some sort of flying ant infestation in the backroom off of my classroom, leaving me with stragglers randomly buzzing about the room and landing wherever they chose, my scheduled run – cancelled, a stack of tests that I worked on tirelessly, yet felt as if I barely made a dent in, and then, after I had thrown in the towel and gone to bed, received a phone call from the hospital where mom is, asking if so-and-so could go in and visit mom at 8:30 pm. I nearly snapped. Mom is exhausted by 5:00 pm, and is in bed, ready to sleep, long before 8:30. Though I imagine the individual had the very best of intentions, we have requested NO VISITORS, except our immediate family and the very few friends who already know who they are (whom my sister and I know VERY well). It simply would cause a setback rather than be beneficial, as she must get her rest. I promise we will let everyone know WHEN she is ready and available for visitors. That being said, there were many wonderful things that took place yesterday to report. My art classes were terrific, I had a great time running a few errands with one of my boys, we were able to sit down together as a family for dinner, and I was on the phone with my sister and mom when mom spontaneously decided to lift her right leg in the air and then bend her knee. Megan asked her to repeat it, and she did! This means that her quad is now cooperating as well, and she is that much closer to having regained control in her right leg of the muscles required to walk again!

Our fierce protection of mom’s rest and space is out of devotion and love. She wants to be restored, and restoration comes through both hard work and rest. We are learning that we are willing to do whatever we are able to do, to give mom every opportunity to heal. Each leap of faith that we have taken, God has met us and held us up in His hands. As we continue to press forward toward moving mom home next week, the rigor of her therapies continues to increase, in order to best prepare for all that lies ahead. Once home, the therapy sessions will come to mom, rather than her to them. Her days will likely be just as rigorous; yet, the switch to the comfort and familiarity of her own home ought to provide more automatic responses and far more room to rest.

Please join us in praying for continued miracles in her healing, preparation of her home and heart for transition, and for all that is needed – body, heart, mind and soul, to thrive in her own space. May we ever depend on the Lord to help us be devoted to one another in love; honoring others above ourselves.

 

Ever devoted,

img_2019-05-24_04-42-326003441757431962292.jpg

The three of us a few years ago. ❤

A way to choose love;

Close familial bond,

Place others above.

Look past our own wants,

To what others need;

Choose give out of love,

As the Lord does lead.

For He loves us all,

Grace like no other;

Tenderly we’re loved,

Mercy discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what it is to be devoted to one another in love. For You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Forgive us for the times that we worry only about ourselves, rather than those around us. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may have a proper perspective to love according to Your will. Show us how to be devoted in love, and to prefer others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You by loving those around us in a way that honors them and considers their needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. – Romans 4:20

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Give Thanks for the Love that Lasts

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)

Oh, thank God – He’s so good! His love never runs out. – (Psalm 107:1, MSG)

Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good and His loyal love lasts forever. – (Psalm 107:1, VOICE)

 

This verse is a two-fold reminder. First, it helps us remember Who is always good and loving, and consequently, it ought to serve as a reminder that people, despite having the best of intentions, are not. In our frail humanity, we are bound to do or say things that hurt others. God, however, in His infinite goodness, never runs out of love for us. If we look to people to be our source of love and light, we will end up disappointed and hurting; yet if we seek the Lord and His unending love, we will not be wounded nor left wondering how He feels about us. May we give thanks to God for His unending love, and ever turn to Him first for love and acceptance.

 

All thanks be to God,Give Thanks for the Love that Lasts

For His love and grace;

It is eternal,

In every way.

Let us ever seek,

The Lord first for love;

As it shall endure,

Our hope from above.

When we come to know,

This love that is good;

We choose trust in Him,

Give grace where we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Forgive us for looking for validation through people, rather than through the eyes and heart of our Creator. Teach us to trust You and Your love for us, so that we would be confident in our value in You, rather than what we think others see. Show us how to love and value others in a way that pleases You and makes people aware of their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your goodness and Your lasting loyal love. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

The Kiss of Honesty

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Plans that Stand

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

But the Lord’s decisions are good forever. His plans are good for generation after generation. – (Psalm 33:11, ERV)

God’s plan for the world stands up, all His designs are made to last. – (Psalm 33:11, MSG)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time, the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

There is great reassurance in these words, as so often we hear a promise, and wonder how it could ever possibly come to pass. What God says, He will do, for His word endures forever. Though disruptions and detours often come along the way, we learn and grow as we discover how to find our footing back on the path where the Lord is leading. Additionally, God’s timing is not our own. His plans stand firm and cannot be shaken, and they are good throughout all generations. Most of us want to see the fulfillment of a promise spoken within the hour, day, week or at least month in which it was heard. Things that last take time, and the Lord does not operate on our time table. His ways are higher than ours, so we have to trust that His timing is far better than our own, despite our desire to see the fulfillment unfold right now. May we ever trust the Lord and His plans, for His decisions are good and His plans cannot be shaken over time.

 

The Lord’s plans shall stand,Rediscovering Dreams

Firm forevermore;

They can’t be shaken,

Always, they’ll endure.

For His plans are good,

They are made to last;

Awakening hearts,

To do as we’re asked.

As we choose to go,

Wherever He calls;

We see faithfulness,

As hope He installs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever. Thank You that Your intentions cannot be shaken, despite our lack of faith or patience in the process. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You are patient with us as You lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for where we lack, and attempt to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay the course to which we have been called by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that stirs hearts and minds to seek You, as they see Your faithfulness in action. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans that stand firm forever, and Your intentions that cannot be shaken. 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

We Are Commanded to Love

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:20-21, ERV)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

 

We cannot both love and hate and still live as children of God. The command that we have been given is to love God and love people. It does not mean that we will adore everyone we meet, but rather our hearts can have His intentions for all – kindness, compassion, and light, just as He loves us. Often, it takes time and prayer to view others through Christ’s lens. Everyone has a story and each of us have been created with a purpose. No one is more or less valuable to God. When we come to a place where we allow our eyes to focus through His filter, we become better equipped to see the good, or at least the need, to love those around us. Though we cannot see God, clear evidence of His existence is everywhere. Likewise, though we may not know why a person is the way they are, if they have life and breath, they are here for a reason and need and deserve love – the same as each of us. May we seek the Lord and His loving grace, so that we may go forth and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

God calls us to love,Faith and Hope in Action

Love cannot be earned;

Brothers and sisters,

True love can be learned.

For as we love God,

He changes our heart;

Gives us eyes to see,

And grace He imparts.

For we aren’t of God,

If love’s not our choice;

To extend to all,

With heart, hand and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love You and love those around us as sisters and brothers, but You show us how to love and grant us what we need so that we may love as we are loved. Forgive us for our lack of love toward our sisters and brothers, and teach us to love others in tangible and practical ways. Show us how to love those whom we see, so that they might seek You, whom they do not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and depend on You and Your direction and grace, to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

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

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

His Plans Are Firm Forever

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time; the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

The plans and purposes of God cannot be altered nor changed by human persuasion. Just because we think we know what may be best, God’s ways are always higher than our ways, and His plans higher than ours. God wants the very best for us, His created, so He will not allow our short-sightedness to shake His plans for our ultimate good. Instead, He stirs in us, a desire to seek Him and His will. As we follow after Him, He draws us unto Himself, and points us to the path that leads us on to life everlasting. May we choose to give ear to His leading, so that we might walk in the light of His love where He is calling. Let every heart seek the Lord, and answer that which He is asking.

 

The plans of the Lord,Faith for Forever

Stand firm for all time;

They can’t be shaken,

Holy and divine.

What He is asking,

Draws us to His side;

Where hearts awaken,

Cross faithful divide.

Let us choose to seek,

Pursue the Lord’s will;

Fulfill what He asks,

By faith, pray, be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever, no matter what goes on in the world around us. Thank You that Your intentions can never be shaken. Forgive us for the lack of security in our stance at times, as we are easily shaken when things around us fall apart or go sideways. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what goes on in or around us, we know that Your ultimate plan remains. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see You through what we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow the plan that You place before us, and to trust in the way You call us to walk. 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

 

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Is there any task or chore that you despise? For me, I am not a fan of housework. There are a million things that I would rather do, outdoors, than be stuck inside cleaning. The worst part for me, is when I set my intentions to get after it and get the job done, I might begin strong, but often become distracted by something that I find, and end up not finishing what I began.

It is the same with sin. We know which way is right and determine in our hearts that we will follow what is good before God, and then end up doing the very things we wanted to avoid. Our inability to navigate without sin reminds us of how desperately we are in need of a Savior. His word, His laws – are all for our benefit to identify the right way and to know the way we’re meant to walk. Without His Spirit dwelling within us, there would be no way to consistently follow His commands. By His grace, we are forgiven when we fall, and in His strength, we can choose what is right.

 

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. – (Romans 7:15-16, MSG)

 

Paul was well aware of his own short-comings. He recognized the pull of his own broken humanity to lead him away from that which he knew he was meant to do. It was through his recognition of his own need, that he became dedicated to dependence on Christ. We too are in need of Christ to lead us in the way we are meant to go. Without Him, we continue to do the very things we despise. May we embrace the grace that God gives through the gift of His Son, and allow Him access to lead us on the path we are meant to travel.

 

When I long to go,The Direction of Discipline

The way of the Lord;

Do what He deems right,

I try, but then fold.

For the sinfulness,

That dwells deep within;

Will rise up and rule,

When not seeking Him.

The way God commands,

Is not to bring harm;

But rather to save,

To righteously arm.

By God’s saving grace,

We’re able to do;

What He asks of us,

By His strength, ensue.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our battle with our own sinfulness, You come near and love us to life. Thank You that by Your grace, we are forgiven and set free to do what is right before You. Forgive us for attempting to do things our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue You in all that we do, and walk upright before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and grace, so that they might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, so that we might do that which You are calling us into. Amen.

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

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

Facing the Giants

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. 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