Love Extends

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, TLB)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Love extends patience and acceptance in humility and gentleness, always. We are called to love in the same way that Christ loves each of us. The Lord does not limit His love according to who we are or how we measure up, rather He loves generously, patiently, and accepts us each as we come before Him. So often we fall short of truly walking out our days according to His ways, yet He remains gentle and patient with us, as He lovingly redirects our steps. Our charge, is to do the same. I appreciate the phrasing of The Passions Translation so much, as it is phrased in a way that feels veritably relevant in my world of working with middle school students, who at times, tax my patience. We are called to love as Christ loves us. No limits. No exceptions. To do so requires humility, patience, gentleness and generous love. May we seek the Lord, who in His gentle kindness, loves us so well that we are equipped to go and love likewise.

 

Tender and gentle, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Humble and choose kind;

It’s how we’re to love,

All of human kind.

God’s love is lavish,

Full of patience too;

As we seek His heart,

His love is made new.

So, let us go forth,

And love like the Lord;

May all come to know,

How much they’re adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that as we seek You and depend on You, You equip us to love with patience, gentleness and humility. Thank You that Your love can flow through us, if only we are willing. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas or egos have been barriers to bestowing love upon those who needed it most. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love gently and humbly, with patience, even toward those who try our patience the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love in the same way that You so wonderfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  – John 13:34

Blessed

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, NIV)

Her children bless her; her husband praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, CEB)

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise. – (Proverbs 31:28, MSG)

 

Though I cannot even begin to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, I am beyond blessed by both my children and my husband. God has granted me the greatest gift I’ve ever known through the lives of my boys, and a love I never knew was possible through the loving union of marriage to my husband, partner and friend. I am blessed and praised by these guys, even when I am least deserving, and each one of them is fiercely protective and willing to help whenever I ask. Perhaps it is a recognition of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, far more than a living up to a certain standard or expectation. Because I am loved well, I desperately desire and am driven to do the same. I imagine that is God’s intention for all of us. As we realize the depth and breadth of His love for us, we are inspired to go and love likewise. May we seek our Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, so that we too, can go and love those around us without reservation.

 

Such wonder indeed,

wp-15350288286757860031671821938770.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Is love we receive;

The blessings bestowed,

When we are in need.

The gift of children,

The love of a spouse;

Love made tangible,

Within my own house.

Let’s freely receive,

God’s love and His grace;

So we too can love,

In His tender ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the loved ones whom You bring into our lives – be it children, spouses, family or friends. Thank You that You make Your pleasure known through the words of others in a way that inspires us to ever pursue You and Your ways. Forgive us for taking Your love or that of those whom You have blessed us with for granted. Teach us to appreciate and value the goodness and grace that You generously give in tangible ways. Show us how to lavishly love those whom You place in our path, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and the grace, and the tender embrace, that You wrap around us through the people whom You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely You have granted him/(her) unending blessings and made him/(her) glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

Ananias told me, “The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV)

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Start to Finish by Faith

The Good News shows how God makes people right with Himself. God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. As the Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live forever.” – (Romans 1:17, ERV)

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” – (Romans 1:17, NLT)

 

We are only made right before God through faith in Christ. It is in that space of trust that we are redeemed and made righteous before Him, and granted life everlasting in the Lord. The Good News is that it is God at work in us, rather than us somehow having to measure up on our own. Our part is to seek Him and trust Him, and allow His Spirit to reign and rule in our lives. As we do, we are transformed more and more into His likeness, and His plans and purposes are accomplished both in us and through us. May we choose to seek and trust the Lord, as He is the One who makes us right in His sight by faith.

 

The Good News of God,No Matter What Comes

Is that we’re made right;

When we seek the Lord,

Redeemed in His sight.

It’s only by faith,

That new life is ours;

All is accomplished,

Trust Him where we are.

Life everlasting,

Is granted to all;

Who choose to seek Him,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us right in Your sight by faith. Thank You that when we seek You and trust in You, You supply what is needed to further fuel our faith. Thank You that You are the Author and Finisher of our faith. Forgive us for not seeking You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are who You say You are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and goodness through our kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our faith in You, trusting You to accomplish all that You promise that You will do in us and through 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

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

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

Firm in Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – (Galatians 5:1)

                                                                                                                                                                Christ came so that we would no longer bear the burden of having to attempt to follow the letter of the law and make sacrifices for our every sin, reminding us that we would NEVER measure up.  In Christ, we are covered, and can rise up with courage, knowing that we are forgiven and free, ready to go forth and love well, because all of the sin and shame that would have once hindered us, is gone.  No more do we have to fear our getting it wrong, but rather we can rely on our Redeemer to help us get it right.  A few verses later in Chapter five of Galatians, Paul goes on to say that “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” – (Galatians 5:6b)  As we trust Christ, His love is made evident in how we live.  May we stand firm in our freedom in Christ and go forth allowing His love to flow freely through us.
                                                                                                                                                             It is for freedom,Glory to God
that Christ set us free;
He removed the yoke,
of sin’s slavery.
As we choose embrace,
in faith, what He gives;
His love freely flows,
each day that we live.
May we each rise up,
in faith, choose love well;
extending Christ’s hope,
all glory to tell.
 
                                                                                               Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to set us free from the yoke of slavery to sin and shame, and to the burdens that we could never bear.  Jesus, thank You for living a sinless life, so that You could take all of our sin and shame upon Yourself and make the way to set us free from the burden that we were meant to bear.  Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to somehow earn Your favor, and help us to embrace the forgiveness and grace that You give, so that we will rise up and stand firm in the freedom that You have granted.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may hold fast to our faith in You.  Let our faith fuel a free flow of love to others, just as You so generously love each of us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in our freedom from You, moving forward to love well by faith.  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

Refined to Reflect Radiance

In the midst of tremendous loss, and in the face of his friends who were making false assumptions about why he was suffering, Job stood firm in the truth. He did not know nor understand why he was suffering, but he knew that when it was over, he would once again feel God’s favor upon him. Job’s confidence in God, despite his misery, is clearly defined in the following: But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. – (Job 23:10)

 

No, none of us are without sin, nor could we ever measure up on our own. However, when we are actively pursuing God’s very best for our lives, Christ in us covers and cleanses us from our sin, and allows us to be seen as blameless before Him. Regardless of the struggles or trials we are facing, He is with us, and when we get through them having clung to Christ, we more clearly reflect His heart and His character to those around us. More than that, our hope is not merely for what may become here, but rather for all of eternity. Our future in Christ is secure, and He alone is on whom we can depend forever.

 

Our ways are all known,Refined to Reflect Radiance

each turn that we take;

He sees each triumph,

each choice that we make.

In times of trial,

He knows where we cling;

He remains present,

through our suffering.

When we don’t feel Him,

He still is right there;

present forever,

our answer to prayer.

Through the press and rub,

of trials foretold;

when the testing ends,

we shall be as gold.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us and remain with us, even when times are tough. Thank You that though trials and suffering are never pleasurable, You use them for our ultimate good, by refining us and helping us to more clearly reflect You. Forgive us for not clinging completely to You in the midst of our messes, and help us to seek You with our whole heart in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be confident and secure in Your nearness, regardless of what we feel. Help us to keep the end in sight, knowing that You will see us through. May we love as You love us, and may many who are seeking, come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we are refined to reflect Your glory. 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

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

This morning, as I read Ezekiel 16, I found myself astounded at the discovery of truth that I had somehow not noticed before. In regard to Sodom, I had always thought that they had been destroyed due to their violence and flagrant sexual sin as a nation. Yet in Ezekiel 16, I found that God destroyed Sodom because the people were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned about the needy people within their own reach. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

 

It is easy to look back at Sodom and compare our sin to theirs. Most of us, on the surface, feel as if we are doing fairly well, as most are not murderers nor adulterers. However, in light of this verse that had previously escaped me, how do we measure up now? Are we proud? Do we have too much? Do we overindulge? Do we care for those in need, as we ought to? Granted, we are not meant to compare our sin to anyone else, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts to correct and direct us in the ways in which we are to go; yet in light of this passage, there is much to ask as we earnestly seek Him. May we place our lives in His hands, and allow His Spirit command, so that we are not proud, nor gluttonous, and that we are concerned about the needs of those within our reach.

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see all sin the same, and that there is not one of us that is without it. Thank You Jesus, for coming and taking our sin away, as You suffered and died on our behalf. Thank You that death could not defeat You, and that in power, You rose again, so that You could send Your Spirit to dwell in us and remain with us forever. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your ways, if we seek You. Forgive us for our pride, our overindulgence, and our neglect of those in need. Give us Your eyes to see the needs of others and the lens by which to view ourselves. Thank You that Your love compels us to make changes. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King, as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be Your hands and heart to the needs of those around us. 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