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

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Every Detail Done

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

 

It is a bit intimidating to think about all things that we do, be it word or deed, being done in the name of the Lord. In our broken humanity, we do not always get it right. So often, our words or our actions do not align with what Jesus would do, and we fall short – again and again. This is where we are reminded of our desperate need for our Savior. We need Him to choose and do well each step of the way. Thankfully, if we seek Him and place our trust in Him, He will lead us and guide us in the way we are meant to go, and we can give Him all the glory for His goodness and guidance. May we turn in trust to the Lord to lead us in word and deed, so that we would demonstrate His love through the details of our lives.

 

In all that we do, When the Sun Shines In

Both word and in deed;

May we show His love,

As we seek, He’ll lead.

All thanks be to God,

For His word is true;

He’ll show us the way,

To do as He’d do.

So rise up and seek,

Ask the Lord to guide;

In action and word,

In Him, let’s abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and ask You to lead us and guide us, You will direct our steps so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You or listen to that which we know is Your best. Teach us to trust You more, as You will give us the words to speak and the steps to take if we only ask You to lead us. Show us how to love those around us as You love, so that all may see Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do Your will and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Keep Nothing Back

 

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. 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

Hold On to the Faith You Have

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. – (Revelation 3:11, NLT)

I am coming soon. Hold on to the faith you have, so that no one can take away your crown. – (Revelation 3:11, ERV)

 

Our hope is found in Christ alone. What we have is the security in knowing that no matter what happens in the here and now, our ultimate destination is assured if we have given our heart to Him. There are days that faith is the only thing that we have to hold, as what is seen seems to dictate anything other than hope. However, when we know the Lord and have seen the work of His hand in our lives, we can trust His word to be true and hold fast to the faith that we have come to know. May we trust in the One who has given us life and breath, as He will be the One to ultimately lead us home.

 

The God of all grace, Compassion in Confrontations

Has promised to us;

A future secure,

Through our Lord Jesus.

The part that’s required,

Is we must hold fast;

To the faith we know,

For His word shall last.

If to Christ we’re true,

Hold tight to what’s found;

Our future’s secure,

As is kingdom crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our future is secure. Thank You that we have faith for today and hope for tomorrow. Thank You that we are called sons and daughters when we choose to follow You. Thank You that no one can take away our faith. Forgive us for being fickle or wavering in our walk with You. Teach us to trust You in all things, so that we hold fast to all that we have in You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and fervor by which You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold on to what we have in You forever. 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

The Value of Friendship

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, NLT)

Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, ERV)

Friends come and go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – (Proverbs 18:24, MSG)

 

There is nothing quite like an escape together, to discover the depth of a friendship with the person you love. As a birthday surprise, I brought my guy to Nevada for a long weekend of sunshine and adventure. Yesterday, we braved the masses of the Las Vegas strip, to people watch, dine, and take in a great show. What I discovered in all of this, is how much I truly enjoyed spending time with my Viking. Despite the crowds, which I am not really a fan of, I felt safe, protected, and enjoyed walking mile after mile, hand-in-hand. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of one another, and had fun taking in the new. His presence feels familial, and I am at ease, knowing he is near. I am blessed to have friends who are like family, and family, who are friends. May we each recognize and value the gift of those who have been given unto us as family and friends, and invest the goodness God has given us to share.

 

Friends are a treasure, IMG_3743

A gift from the Lord;

Blessings straight from Him,

Who could ask for more?

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For those whom You give;

Family and friends,

Goodness as we live.

Help us invest well,

In those whom You bring;

All thanks unto You,

As we rise and sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You bless us with. Thank You for those whom You have given me. Thank You for the fullness and grace that I know because of Your heart that shines through the love I receive from these treasures. Forgive us for not investing our time and energy into the family and friends that You provide, and teach us how to manage our time well so that there is balance as You would call us to have. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the gift of friendships that You have given. 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

 

Faith in the Fight

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

I do not understand why some people are healed in an instant, while others continue to battle day in and day out with sickness and disease. What I do know is that God is able to heal, so my charge is to contend for those who are still fighting, as they wait for healing to come. I have witnessed both healing and heartache, and through it all, have seen the goodness of God. Today, as I learned of a dear one’s relapse in her battle against cancer, I will rise up with resolve to continue to contend on her behalf, just as she will fight with fervor. May His healing come quickly to those in the wait, and may each of us who know Him, be utilized to strengthen and encourage those who are fighting.

 

O Lord hear our cry, Faith in the Fight

As we choose contend;

For those in the fight,

Your healing, please send.

Each word we offer,

To You up in prayer;

Is heard and received,

As Your hope is shared.

Come near, Lord Jesus,

With Your healing hands;

Restore what’s broken,

May Your peace advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we call out and contend for Your touch for those who are fighting sickness and disease. Thank You that You are our Help and our Healer. Thank You that You give us strength and sustain us in the fight, and that You can do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as it is difficult to see beyond a diagnosis or statistics. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us who are fighting for restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry to You for help, and trust You to bring healing. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

To Give as We’re Given

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Sit Not in Suffering

Yet it was our suffering He carried, our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness. – (Isaiah 53:4a, VOICE)

Yet it was our weakness He carried; it was our sorrow that weighed Him down. – (Isaiah 53:4a, NLT)

 

Every pain and every sorrow is known by our Savior. He willingly and lovingly bore the weight on our behalf as He hung upon the cross. Death and darkness were defeated on that day, so though trials and tragedies will come our way, in Christ, the ultimate victory is ours. May we rise up in hope as we trust in the Lord, knowing that our eternal outcome will be in the precious peace of His presence forever.

 

The pain and sorrow,Refreshment Through Repentance

That happen to us;

Don’t escape notice,

Of our Lord Jesus.

He already bore,

The weight of our woes;

As we come to Him,

He gets it, He knows.

It was His great love,

That bore all our strife;

So we could be free,

As His love brings life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly chose to bear our suffering, sin, weakness and pain, so that You not only could identify with us, but could love us back to life again. Thank You that You forgive us and set us free from the things that weigh us down, and offer new life in You. Forgive us for sitting in our suffering rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer and our Hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that ease pain and offer comfort, allowing Your heart to be made visible through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our trials to You, and trust You to be our ever-present help and hope. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Being Loved Well

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

 

As I sat down to write, after reflecting on my week, I am in awe as I recognize that I have been the recipient of not only Christ’s love, but people who love me well. Despite the busy and chaos that seem to accompany this season that I both teach and coach, I have been loved well in multiple ways in my world. At school, we kicked off a secret pal exchange among staff members. Not only was it a joy to select a surprise for a colleague, but I was blessed by the kindness of whomever treated me. A beautiful bouquet was delivered to me at work on Valentine’s Day, and I was overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and sweet sentiment that accompanied the card. My fellow coaching staff continues to step up and work together to coach our 135+ gymnasts well, and their kindness and encouragement to kids blesses my heart. Treasured friends remain steadfast, and grant ongoing love and support as I navigate my days. Last evening, I was swept away for a fancy dinner out, and treated like royalty. Both the words spoken and the actions shown, were tangible demonstrations of loving well. My heart is bursting because it has been filled to overflowing, and I am loved, just as I am called to do likewise. May we each embrace the grace that God so generously gives, and go forth in obedience and love each other well.

 

What a joy to see,being-loved-well

The tangible ways;

Where we are loved well,

Throughout all our days.

We’re not only called,

To go forth and love;

But He shows to us,

The hope from above.

Where we have been placed,

He often will show;

His love through others,

So we see and know.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all I’ve received;

Help me to love too,

So Your love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what love is through the hands and hearts of those who surround us. Thank You that You call and equip us to go and love likewise. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear Your heart for those around us, and know how to love as we are loved. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to all whom we encounter, allowing Your light to shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You shower upon us with gratitude, and as we go forth and love others well. 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

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