Perfectly Loved

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48, NIV) 

You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. – (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – (Matthew 5:48, CEB) 

 

When I read “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”I cannot fathom doing or being what I ought to become. However, the other two translations grant a bit more clarity as to what is being asked of us. Living generously and graciously toward others, and showing love toward everyone – these are tangibles to work with that are realistic with His help. Being “perfect” is the ongoing pursuit to live a life of love, just as we are loved by God. Though not one of us will get it right 100% of the time, continual pursuit of Him and His help, will lead us to better reflect the Lord through how we live. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may go forth and love completely, as we are completely loved. 

 

When we love fully,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We are doing well; 

To live as we’re asked, 

Of God’s grace, we tell. 

May we choose pursue, 

God’s help in all things; 

So we may reflect, 

The good His love brings. 

Wherever we go, 

Whatever we do; 

Allow His love lead, 

So His light shines through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “perfect” is the purposeful pursuit of loving completely, as we are completely loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek You to lead us and equip us to love like You. Teach us to operate in love in all things, so that Your heart will be evident to all. Show us how to love those around us perfectly, as Your love for us is perfect. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Comfort for the Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)  

 

This morning, I woke to discover the devastating news of another former student’s passing. His sweet mama posted the news on Facebook, likely as a quick way to communicate, without having to retell the heartbreak time and time again. When the seeming natural order of life is disrupted, and a parent outlives their child, the heartache over what should have been can steal all hope, if comfort is not sought through Him alone, who is our Comforter. Sadly, I have seen both sides of this sorrow as it has run its course in the lives of people near me. For some, comfort came as they pursued God and were not afraid to ask “WHY?!” For others, something within them died at the loss, as they seem to be stuck in a space where they cannot be comforted and restored. Though there is nothing nor anyone that can ever take the place of a loved one lost, God can heal the hole that is left in our heart over time. He turns the grief into grace, and utilizes it to comfort others in a way that only one who has walked such a road, can do. May peace and grace be poured out upon the mourning, as God is our Comfort and ready to embrace every hurting heart. 

 

In the midst of grief, Compassion in Confrontations

May we seek the Lord; 

True Source of comfort, 

All peace He affords. 

Present in heartache, 

Faithful, He won’t leave; 

He’ll love us to life, 

Grant hope to believe. 

Allow His embrace, 

Bring comfort and peace; 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Yield sorrow’s release. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who mourn with Your comfort. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source. Teach us to turn to You in our every need, and to offer Your comfort and peace to those around us. Show us how to be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting by loving people through their sorrow and loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our comfort in mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

 

 

Choose Love Anyway

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

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

 

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

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

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

 

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Pardon Brings Peace

God blesses those who are merciful, for they are shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, CEB)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

Mercy is an incredible gift that is given to us from God. The very definition of mercy, is compassionate kindness, favor and forgiveness that is undeserved; pardon when punishment is warranted. As recipients of God’s tender mercy, we ought to be quick to extend the same to those who “offend” us. Sadly, in our broken humanity, often our first thought is retaliation or revenge. It takes an intentional act of our will to choose to seek the Lord and His help, to extend mercy to those whom we feel deserve punishment. A great example of Jesus demonstrating mercy, was to the woman who was caught in an adulterous act, and an entire squad of Pharisees were ready to stone her for her crime. Jesus, spoke to the men, and told them that whomever was without sin, should go ahead and throw the first stone. One by one, they all eventually walked away. Soon, it was just she and Jesus standing there. Rather than casting stones, as He was indeed without sin, He extended mercy and told her to “go and sin no more.” Can you imagine the impact that His act of mercy had on the woman who was likely prepared to die that day? Though public stoning is not such a concern in society today, our sins, mistakes and missteps can weigh just as heavily on our hearts. When someone extends mercy when we deserve otherwise, the impact is powerful and long lasting. May we go forth with hearts full of grace, ready to extend mercy to those who need it most.

 

Those who give mercy, Pardon Brings Peace

Are given the same;

God grants full pardon,

And removes all shame.

For He forgives us,

As we choose forgive;

So hold not a grudge,

Be free, in peace live.

Merciful are blessed,

With hearts full of joy;

True pardon is known,

And peace is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first show Your mercy to us while we are yet sinners. Thank You that You forgive, though we do not deserve forgiveness. Thank You that mercy is a choice that we can decide to extend with Your help, regardless of what we feel. Forgive us for the times that we should have been merciful and were not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give mercy to others, just as mercy has been given to us. Show us how to love in a way that is compassionate and kind, with favor and forgiveness, even to those who do not “deserve” it. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we show mercy to others, just as we are shown mercy by You. 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

Comfort in Mourning

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a very heavy day for me. As I made my drive in to work, word of the tragedy that had taken place the previous night in Las Vegas flooded the airwaves. Grief gripped my heart like a vice, as I thought of the families who were suffering both with loss, inexplicable harm to loved ones, and the wait in not knowing if those dear to them were safe or had fallen in harm’s way. Sadly, my grief grew as I learned of the loss of an incredible woman, who had been lovingly invested in her church, community and family, and tragically died shortly after childbirth. It is in these moments, these seasons of sorrow, that I look to the Lord for comfort and some sort of sense to be made out of all of that which seems so senseless. Though I do not think I will ever completely understand why such horrific acts and terrible tragedies occur, I must cling to the promise that God blesses and comforts those who mourn. He is our comfort and our place of peace, even when nothing seems steady nor secure. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our comfort, as He will bless and embrace those who mourn.

 

God brings His blessing,Comfort in Mourning

To all those who mourn;

He’s our safe harbor,

Through all of life’s storms.

He’ll be our comfort,

When flooded with grief;

The One to embrace,

As love grants relief.

When tragedy strikes,

And hope seems but gone;

Bring grief to the Lord,

He’ll carry us on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of sorrow and heartache and so much tragedy, You are present to provide Your comfort. Thank You that Your arms embrace us, even when we cannot bear to lift our eyes from the weight of our sorrow. Thank You that You meet us in our mourning and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for not turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the Provider of comfort and the One who blesses us in the midst of heartache. Show us how to love and comfort those who are grieving, so that they may know Your comfort in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort in our times of mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

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

When the Sun Shines In

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT)

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

 

This has been the longest week that I have walked through in a very long time. Between the loss of my grandmother, the final push of gymnastics season, and the last week of school prior to spring break, I had many doubts in my moments of mourning as to whether or not I would be able to get through the week with my sanity intact. Incredibly, God provided comfort in the quiet moments when my heart felt overwhelmed by loss, and fortified my body and mind with strength to stand, even in the instances when I did not think I could. Little things mean everything to me, and as the week wore on, countless blessings brought hope and cheer to my hurting heart. Yesterday, at the close of the school day, the sun was shining and I was smiling. His grace had gotten me through what at the start of the week, seemed impossible. My day closed with sushi, more sunshine, and company with one who makes my heart feel cherished. As I returned home and began to drift off to sleep, rather than grief, I was overwhelmed with gladness. God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is the One who removes our doubts, grants comfort in our grief, and renews our hope and cheer.

 

In our space of doubt,When the Sun Shines In

Brought forth by our fear;

The God of all grace,

Will wipe all our tears.

He’ll be our comfort,

For He’s ever near;

Renewing our hope,

Blessings of His cheer.

No matter what comes,

In mourning or doubt;

God will be present,

If we seek Him out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all comfort and the One who renews our hope. Thank You that when we grieve, You are near to comfort and bless us with Your presence and Your hope. Thank You that You remove our doubts and supply all that we need to continue to do what You have called us to do. Forgive us for entertaining our doubts rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to renew our hope and cheer, and seek Your comfort in times of mourning. Show us how to love those around us so that we may extend Your comfort, hope and cheer to those struggling with doubt and those who are mourning. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our comfort and to renew our hope and cheer, as You are ever near. Amen.

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

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

To Be Light and Life

You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT)

 

When we are in Christ, we are called to be light and life. If the light of Christ lives in us, it cannot be hidden. Rather, it is meant to shine forth in every area of our lives, so that all may see and know that it is Christ in us that brings any good forth from us. The challenging part is that we are flawed and sinful beings. We fall short, EVERY SINGLE TIME. So often we do the very things we don’t want to do, or don’t do what we know we ought to do. In our own accord, nothing we do will ever measure up. However, Christ in us, can accomplish far more than we could ever hope or imagine, when we are firmly rooted and established in Him. He takes our broken bits and somehow turns them into something beautiful that can reflect His goodness in our own story, and can be used again and again, for His glory. May we receive and embrace the grace that God gives when we trust in Him, and go forth to shine His light for all to see through how we choose to follow Him.

 

The light of the world,Enter With Thanksgiving

We are called to be;

So our deeds through Christ,

Are what people see.

May it be made clear,

That all good that’s shown;

Is because of Christ,

And His love made known.

Do not choose to hide,

The glory of grace;

But go forth and love,

So all seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are light and life and hope for all who seek You. Thank You that Your light lives in us when we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for hiding who You are in us, or for not following the leading that You call us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow Your light to shine brightly, wherever we may go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that our good deeds direct hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live as Your light in all that we say and do. 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

Generous and Gracious Love

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – (Matthew 5:47-48, NLT)

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:47-48, MSG)

 

We who have invested our hearts and lives in Christ, are called to live differently. Anyone can be kind to those who extend kindness to them, however, it takes God’s grace to extend kindness to those who have treated us poorly, slandered our character, or devalued who we are. As children of God, that is exactly what we are called to do – to pray for those who persecute us, to be kind to those who are unkind toward us, and to extend love to those who are anything but loving to us and those around us. While we were yet enemies of God, He loved us. He gave His only Son so that we could come to know Him and have life everlasting. There is no greater example of how to love than this. May we rise up and embrace our role as children of the King, and go forth extending love and grace to all we encounter – especially those who are most in need, as their current state is a lost and loveless place.

 

Whom shall we choose love?Healed Hands Reach Out

Just those who love us?

For we have been called,

to love like Jesus.

He loved the sinners,

all who were unkind;

even the haters,

who were still yet blind.

It was by His love,

that minds could conceive;

a grace that gives life,

when we choose believe.

We too have been called,

to love like Christ did;

so all may come know,

how they might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what it is to love and live generously to all those around us – even those who are unkind or cruel. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, but You equip and empower us to love and give grace, just as we have been graciously given by You. Forgive us for being selective about whom we show kindness to, and help us to extend Your love and grace to ALL whom we encounter – regardless of how they behave toward us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow Your Spirit within us to speak through us, the words that You would have us say. Show us how to live generously and graciously toward all others, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You love us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Where Blessings Belong

“Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God’s kingdom belongs to them.” – (Matthew 5:3, ERV)

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – (Matthew 5:3, NLT)

 

It is only when we recognize our desperate need for God, that we actively and whole-heartedly pursue Him. When we seek Him, we find Him. God blesses all who earnestly seek Him with His presence and His promises. Hope is found when we identify our need for Christ and allow Him to come and rule and reign in our lives. The security of salvation is the greatest blessing that anyone can ever behold. To confidently claim the Kingdom of Heaven as our ultimate destination, is a space of blessed assurance granted to all who realize and act upon their need for God. May we rise up and respond, recognizing that we all desperately need the Lord in our lives. Let us lay hold of the promises He has granted and the hope we hold forever in Him.

 

Come all you weary,

broken and in need;

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

for God’s great blessings,

are for souls to feed.

He promises hope,

where none has been found;

He holds a future,

that in Him, is sound.

The greatest treasure,

is granted to all;

who earnestly seek,

on God, choose to call.

For heaven awaits,

all who trust in Him;

blessed assurance,

day out and day in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we recognize our own need for You and seek You, we find You and are granted Your great blessings. Thank You that as we place our trust in You, we receive the blessed assurance of both Your presence now and life everlasting in heaven. Forgive us for not laying hold of the great blessings that You have already granted to us, and help us to trust You more so that we would embrace the promises that You have given and hold fast to the hope we have both now and forevermore. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may feel loved and blessed beyond what makes sense. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize our own need for You, and embrace all that You have given to us. 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