The Lens of Love

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, NLT)

God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, ERV)

God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans only see what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, CEB)

 

I am so grateful that God sees beyond the exterior that we present to the world and gets to the heart of the matter. He sees faith, hope and love, even when the world cannot. God will take the smallest seed of good and grow it into something greater. People tend to notice faults, whereas God sees strength and beauty and potential in the glory of His created. The more we seek and depend on Him, the more we begin to see others through His eyes. May we pursue the Lord with our whole hearts so that we may see others through the lens of His love.

 

Judge not appearance, the-lens-of-love.jpg

Of all those you see;

But look at the heart,

And love lavishly.

For that which is seen,

It never will last;

Yet the heart God sees,

Created, steadfast.

Let’s look at others,

Through Love’s lavish lens;

To see true beauty,

And choose grace extend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not look at us the same way that people do. Thank You that You look past how things appear and get straight to the heart. You see and You know the heart of the matter, and You love us through it all. Thank You that Your love shows us how we are meant to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we judge people or circumstances based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You to learn the heart rather than superficial appearances. Show us how to see others through Your lens of love so that we can extend the same goodness and grace to others that we have so generously been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see others through Your lens of love. 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

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To Leave Fear Far Behind

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

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

 

This has been a verse that has been a constant in my life for many years. I am not a particularly fearful person, yet discouragement and trepidation can creep in when life takes a turn that seems to lead in the opposite direction of where we thought that we would go, or circumstances mount up to mountains rather than the hills we have trained to climb. God promises to be present wherever we go, and He commands us to be strong and courageous. He does not command what He will not supply, and in His presence, there is no fear. Discouragement disappears and resolve rises as we look to the Lord to be our help. May we ever move forward with strength and courage in Christ, leaving fear and discouragement far behind as He leads us on.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Bold in Battle

When fear tries creep in;

When we’re discouraged,

In trust, turn, seek Him.

The Lord is our hope,

Our help in our need;

His presence promised,

He’ll faithfully lead.

Do not be timid,

And turn from all fear;

For God is our strength,

As He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not be afraid or discouraged, even when life seems to dictate such a response. Thank You that You are greater and stronger than anything that we have to face. Thank You that Your presence is promised forever. Forgive us for allowing fear and discouragement to take root when what we see seems to dictate such a response. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be strong and courageous in You for whatever lies before us, knowing that You are with us and You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and courage, as they see Your presence and help provided in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek strength and courage from You, no matter what we face. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Action to Attain Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (Psalm 105:4, NIV)

Search for the Lord and His strength; continually seek Him. – (Psalm 105:4, NLT)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)

Pursue the Lord and His strength; seek His face always! – (Psalm 105:4, CEB)

 

God’s strength is more than enough for all that we need, no matter what we face. However, this verse reminds us in four different ways that it requires action on our part. We must look to the Lord, search for Him, depend on the Lord and pursue Him, ever seeking Him for help. Though the Lord is gracious and kind, He wants us to actively participate in our pursuit of Him and His strength. In His kindness, God often provides people who point our hearts to Him in our spaces where we have stopped seeking. Again and again, the Lord shows us that He is for us and that His strength is available to all who seek Him. May we ever search for, depend on and pursue the Lord and His strength, for He is faithful to all who seek Him for help.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Pardon Brings Peace

For He is our strength;

Ready to provide,

As we seek His path.

In good times and bad,

Let’s always choose seek;

For He’s always there,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

He’s our Source of help,

On Whom we depend;

His love fills our lack,

Beginning to end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look to You, search for You, depend on You and pursue You for strength, ever seeking Your face. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You supply the strength we need to navigate all of our days. Forgive us for the times that we have sat passively, hoping for things to change, rather than pursuing You and Your strength to know how to best proceed through our every circumstance. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever depend on You to be our strength. Show us how to love those around us in Your strength so that they too may come to depend on You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and Your strength each day that we draw breath. 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

His Peace to Pass On

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know the plans I have in mind for you,” declares the Lord; “They are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, CEB)

 

In my personal life, I have watched as God has brought beauty from ashes and is leading me forward into so much good. My hope is secure and I know He has my future in His hands. However, professionally, it is difficult to see the future and hope that lies before us, considering the direction that education seems to be going. With school shootings and violence on the rise, and fear among students, staff and families elevating at an equally alarming rate, I have to look at the promise presented in God’s word and trust that it is true, even when I cannot see His hand at work. His plans are for peace and not disaster… The same God who set captives free, parted the Red Sea, healed the blind, the broken and raised the dead, can meet us where we are in our current mess and bring peace and hope for the future. May we set our eyes on the One who is our solution and seek His peace to pass on to those around us.

 

The plans of the Lord, Quiet Hope

Are always for good;

To grant future hope,

His grace understood.

He does not plan harm,

Though bad’s in the world;

He has overcome,

Hope He shall instill.

So, look to the Lord,

Where our hope is found;

Seek His direction,

For the path that’s sound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for us that grant us a future and a hope. Thank You that Your plans are for peace, not disaster, despite what we see around us. Forgive us for allowing what we see with human eyes to dictate how much hope we permit our hearts to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to Your promise of plans for peace that give us a future filled with hope. Show us how to love others in a way that extends hope and promotes peace in places where chaos seems to reign. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your plans because You are always good. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Live as Lifelong Learners

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. – (Proverbs 4:7, NLT)

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom. Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, VOICE)

 

We should never stop seeking to learn and grow. Not one of us has the capacity to obtain all wisdom and understanding in existence, yet the more we know and understand, the better we are able to love as we are loved. One of the greatest examples of this that I have ever known, was my grandmother. During her 98 years on earth, she never stopped seeking to learn and understand more. She was the wisest person I have known and had deep understanding of so many things. Even the most stubborn of her offspring would give ear to her words, as each knew and understood the wisdom that came with the words that she spoke. May we seek to be lifelong learners, as we pursue wisdom and understanding so that we too may love those around us, as we are loved by the Lord.

 

Let’s choose seek wisdom, Live as Lifelong Learners

May we become wise;

Chase understanding,

So truth’s realized.

Sound judgment follows,

When we choose pursue;

Ever we’re learning,

What we’re meant to do.

So, look for wisdom,

Seek to understand;

Ask for the Lord’s help,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue wisdom and understanding so that we are not left wandering around in ignorance. Thank You that good judgment comes as we develop into lifelong learners. Forgive us for thinking we know enough, or for not seeking to understand further. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually pursue more wisdom and insight for all of our days to love others well and walk in Your ways. Show us how to love others as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live lives as lifelong learners. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Do Not Withhold Good

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

 

If our eyes are open to truly see, we can perceive plainly that the need for good to be given is everywhere. Too often, it can become overwhelming if we look to see the lack and take it upon ourselves to somehow “fix” things. Instead, we ought to be ever alert to that which we can do to bless those around us. Often, it is a kind and encouraging word, a simple gesture of holding a door or extending a smile that makes all the difference in the direction a day is going for another. Yes, there are far greater needs, but we are called to do what we can do whenever and wherever we are able. When we consider our words and actions are representation of Jesus to the world, how we maneuver matters most. Are we intentional in the words we choose and generous and kind in our actions? May we look to the Lord as our example of how to give good to those who need it and go forth in the light of His lavish love.

 

Do not withhold good, wp-15187855050751138593129.jpg

For we are each called;

To do what we can,

To love one and all.

For those who need help,

Let us choose rise up;

Extend hands of grace,

Choose fill empty cups.

Each time we reach out,

And choose to love well;

We represent God,

Of His grace we tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not withhold good from us. Thank You that You call us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us as we go forth and do good. Forgive us for withholding that which You have freely given and teach us to trust You more so that we will do everything that we can to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to help where help is needed so that Your love is made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we possibly can to help those around us, just as we are helped by You. 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

Be Our Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT) 

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV) 

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG) 

We ask You, Eternal One, to give Your strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE) 

 

In this seemingly crazy, busy season, this is my prayer for us all. Where there is chaos, may His calm come and reign in our hearts. In places where we are unsettled or uncertain of how we will press on, may we find His strength. He is faithful to provide what is needed when we trust in Him. May we call on the Lord to be our strength, and trust in His grace to grant us the gift of His perfect peace. 

 

O Lord, here we stand, Provision of Peace and Strength

Where chaos surrounds; 

We need strength and peace, 

Your presence, be found. 

What joy in knowing, 

That as we choose pray; 

In love, You answer, 

By grace, make a way. 

In chaos, there’s peace, 

As we look to You; 

Strength in our weakness, 

For You lead us through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that as we call on You, You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your presence provides our hearts the assurance that grants calm, regardless of our circumstances, and strength of heart, when we feel our strength is all but gone. Forgive us for not seeking You for the strength and peace that only You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, no matter what state we are in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and brings peace to places where it has not previously been present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the strength and peace that You plentifully provide as we approach Your throne of grace. 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

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)

Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Matthew 7:7-8, ERV)

 

In this passage, Jesus was reminding His followers to be persistent in their pursuit of God. Just because we don’t see answers right away, does not mean that we are to give up and let go of the very thing we are asking. Often it is a matter of us continuing to seek faithfully, trusting that the One whom we seek, hears and will answer in His perfect timing. God is never late, yet again and again, we grow impatient and quit asking or seeking before He is done developing our resolve to persevere. This is where being rooted in the body is so important. We can come alongside one another and encourage each other to continue in our quest for answers, wisdom and open doors. May we rise up with resolve to keep asking, searching, seeking and knocking, so that we may continue to find direction and answers according to His good and perfect will.

 

We must first choose ask, Asking for Amazing Answers

For answers to come;

Our God is faithful,

The All-Knowing One.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord we shall find;

He’s always ready,

With our hearts in mind.

When we choose to knock,

He opens new doors;

Shows us the new paths,

We’re meant to explore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we ask, You hear our prayers and provide answers. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to open new doors as we knock, and make Yourself known in our pursuit of You. Forgive us for not persevering in our quest to discover more of You – be it answers, wisdom or direction for our lives. Teach us to trust You in the process, so that we will persevere, no matter how long it takes to discover the answers we seek. Show us how to love and come alongside those who are in need of knowing You or Your will, so that we may encourage and lift one another up to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask, seek and knock all of our days, so that we may always pursue the path that follows Your ways. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Listen to Live in Peace

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV)

First pay attention to Me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy – you’re in good hands. – (Proverbs 1:33, MSG)

 

God does not promise that we will not have fear nor trouble come our way, yet when we listen to Him, His peace will be our protection and comfort, despite what we encounter. Our focus determines our feelings. If we fix our eyes on that which lies before us, fear can tend to take over. However, if we allow our gaze to reset on our Redeemer, peace is present in knowing that He is far greater than anything that lies ahead. May we look to the Lord, who is our peace, and listen to Him, as He is our provider of protection and comfort, even when chaos comes close.

 

When days seem too long, Established Peace

And fear tries find space;

May we choose to seek,

The God of all grace.

For in Him, there’s peace,

Safety to find rest;

He is far greater,

Than our biggest mess.

Those who seek the Lord,

Have nothing to fear;

For peace is present,

When the Lord is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen to You, we find Your peace and are not troubled by fear. Thank You that we can find comfort in You. Forgive us for allowing the troubles of the world to overwhelm us, rather than run to You for comfort. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our safe space and our comfort, no matter what sort of chaos comes our way. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be extensions of Your peace, safety and comfort to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You to live in Your perfect peace, no matter what surrounds us. 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

On the Eve of New

This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, NIV)

The Lord is making roads through the sea. He is making a path for His people, and even through rough waters. The Lord says, “So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through the dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, ERV)

The Lord says – who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters… Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I am doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, CEB)

 

I love that the Lord reminds us to not dwell on the past, and to look and see the new things that He is doing. Rather than calling 2018, change; it is a NEW year. God has new things in store for each of us. Change can be scary, yet there is excitement and anticipation with things that are new. Personally, 2018 holds much in store that is new, and I am eager to walk forward in faith into all that lies ahead. He is good, and I can trust Him in all things and at all times. New does not necessarily mean easy, but growth takes work – just as a seed has to stretch and push to break through the darkness to reach the nourishing light needed to grow further, we must do likewise. May we outstretch arms to heaven, and trust in all of the new that our Heavenly Father holds in His hands for each of us in the upcoming year.

 

On the eve of new, On the Eve of New

May we each embrace;

The hope that new holds,

In light of God’s grace.

For where there was once,

No possible way;

New things now spring up,

As we trust and pray.

Once raging waters,

Part with open road;

Set path before us,

Equipped to now go.

Eyes looking forward,

Trust filling each heart;

Blessings this new year,

Each day a fresh start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make a way through what seems impossible. Thank You that You remind us not to dwell on what has been, but rather to see what You are doing now and anticipate the new that You bring. Forgive us for dwelling on the past or not opening our eyes to Your mighty hand at work all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the new that You have in store for us, knowing that You are good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to see the new that You are doing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anticipate and embrace all the new that You are bringing in the coming year. 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