Choosing to Live in Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

If we love God, we will do whatever He tells us to. And He has told us from the very first to love each other. – (2 John 1:6, TLB)

 

It is easy to love those who love us well, yet it is quite another thing to actively choose love again and again, those who do not display behaviors that reflect anything that has to do with love.  I find myself in a very disenchanted space with one of my classes at school. There is an especially large group of students that act out in the most unloving of ways, that exhaust my patience and desire to persevere, daily. Each day is new, yet the same struggles and trials continue to present themselves over and over again. Love is patient and love is kind, and love keeps no record of wrongs. My patience and kindness have been extended day in and day out, granting a new start each day, however, we have come to a place where something has to give. I guess this is a space where I simply throw up my hands and say to the Lord, “Show me how to love in a way that makes a difference.” God is good and He is faithful to meet us in our space of need. May we ever seek Him with our requests, as He longs to help us love as we are called to love.

 

Show me how to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As Your word commands;

Lead me in this life,

To follow Your plans.

Despite what I get,

Help me choose to give;

Love that is like Yours,

By grace, help me live.

Help me to extend,

Your love to others;

So Your light is seen,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You command us to love because You first loved us. Forgive us for growing weary in extending love to those who are less loveable. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as You are our Source of strength and light and life, and You refresh, renew and refill us again and again as we actively call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do what You have commanded us by choosing to live in love. 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

 

 

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Growing Good

Large cypress trees will grow where there were thorn bushes. Myrtle trees will grow where there were weeds. All this will happen to make the Lord known, to be a permanent reminder of His goodness and power. – (Isaiah 55:13, ERV)

In place of the thorn the cypress will grow; in place of the nettle the myrtle will grow. This will attest to the Lord’s stature, an enduring reminder that won’t be removed. – (Isaiah 55:13, CEB)

Prickly thorns and nasty briers will give way to luxurious shade trees, sweet and good. And they’ll remind you of the Eternal One and how God can be trusted absolutely and forever. – (Isaiah 55:13, VOICE)

 

Just as God promised to replace the harsh and harmful places with those that are beneficial and blessed, He does the same in the lives of those who place their trust in Him. It takes little to look back and discover the spaces within our own hearts and lives where God has taken the things that brought harm and redeemed us with His blessings that overflow and offer good to those around us. God is faithful, and each place where we see new growth of good, we have a lasting reminder of His goodness and power – both in us and for us forever. May we seek the Lord and His everlasting love, as He is the One who brings new growth of good where destructive and harmful things once stood.

 

In place of the thorns, How Faith Grows

God will grow new good;

As we see Him move,

His heart’s understood.

This amazing grace,

That makes broken new;

Shows with great power,

That His word is true.

For as bad gives way,

To new, good and sweet;

The Lord is made known,

Our sacred retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that where dead and destructive things once grew, You have brought new that is good and beneficial. Thank You that in every space where You have turned the harmful into good, we have an enduring reminder of Your goodness and power. Forgive us for our frustration and fearfulness of the prickly and nasty spaces – both inside and out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our strength in the pruning process, and our guide to navigate through the new. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be reminders of Your faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes and hearts open to be aware of the good that You are growing in and around 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

Rise and Press On

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my Source of strength. He is mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, VOICE)

 

Learning something new can be the most exhilarating and frustrating thing on the planet. I know from experience that everything worthwhile, requires hard work. Currently, I am in a space where the learning curve is a bit overwhelming, as my mind attempts to grasp all the new and I commit my body to conform to the physical demands that are unlike anything I have ever done before. Nagging aches and strains are challenging my resolve, and my mind’s capacity to recall play after play as it is called seems to be compromised. Despite my feelings of lack, weakness and brokenness, the strength He provides within me, drives me to press on. Each day is new, and He refreshes and rebuilds us in our spaces of lack and leads us forward in His strength. May we ever seek God in our areas of weakness, trusting Him to empower us to move forward forever in His goodness and grace.

 

On days that we fail, You Make Me Strong

Feel broken and weak;

Let’s trust in the One,

Provides those who seek.

For strength from within,

Is from God alone;

Forever He gives,

And makes His heart known.

Power presented,

To rise and press on;

Strengthening of heart,

Resolve is made strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we feel broken and weak, You are strong and You are our Source of strength to press forward in You. Thank You that You are our portion forever. Forgive us for our frustration with our own humanity, as we fall short and fail. Teach us to turn to You to be our Source of strength in our every weakness. Show us how to love and encourage those around us when they feel broken or weak. May many rise up and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength where we are weak and give You all praise for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

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

Our Strength and Safety

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV) 

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV) 

O my Strength, to You I sing my praises; for You are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, TLB) 

 

This morning, I wake with nervous excitement, as it will be the first day that we will practice together as an entire team. Veteran players will join us rookies as we take the field today, and the intensity with which we have been working, will surely increase even more. Physically, God has been my strength, and I have felt good, however, remembering all of the plays is a challenge, and my mind often draws a blank when I need to recall. With praise on my heart for the opportunity for the new, I will continue to review that which I need to know and trust the process. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and safety and give praise to God who loves us and on whom we can depend. 

 

O God, You’re my strength, You Make Me Strong

My hope, help and song; 

I bring You my praise, 

Through all the day long. 

You are my safety, 

You bless me with peace; 

In You I can trust, 

As grace You release. 

Help me to rise up, 

In Your strength and grace; 

Protected in power, 

To run well this race. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safety, as You love of best. Thank You for the opportunity for new things, and for strong healthy bodies that can do so much more than we would have thought or imagined. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength, or for avoiding the new that You bring us to out of fear. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need to do the new that we are brought into. Be our strength and safety, Lord. Show us how to love and encourage one another, so that we each might find the strength and courage to rise up and be who You have created us to become. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and safety that You supply and give thanks for Your faithful love. 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

Strength and Rest

God is the One who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)
He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go. – (Psalm 18:32, TLB)
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

The need for strength seems to be a recurring theme this week, as the intensity of my time commitments and lack of sleep seem to be catching up with me. I am in a space of not having time to be sick, yet my body is fighting a bug that has claimed my voice and my energy. It is a challenge to navigate between seeking Him for the strength I need to get through the day, and using wisdom to know when rest is needed. My mode of operation is to say, “Oh God, help me get through this day,” and then suck it up and press on. Yesterday evening, there was time for rest. As my fiancee and I got together to spend a few hours catching up, our conversation soon turned into a nice nap for me, snuggled beside him on the couch. With a gentle hand on my shoulder, he simply let me sleep. About an hour later, he encouraged me to head home so that I could get a full night’s sleep. My body has become so accustomed to lack of sleep, that I woke at 1am, thinking that it was time to rise for the day. The gift of a few more hours of sleep did strengthen me, and I woke this morning feeling a bit more refreshed than I have the last few days. Whatever I end up needing to do, I trust that He will provide the way for it to be done. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and trust in Him to clear the path we need to take.

The Lord is my strength,wp-15174038102471151763153.jpg
When my strength is gone;
He makes clear a way,
To keep keeping on.
He fills where I lack,
Makes my way secure;
Loves me by His grace,
Remains ever near.
He meets all my needs,
Shows me what to do;
He faithfully gives,
As He makes me new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and grace. Thank You that You give us strength and keep our way secure, as You show us what we need to do. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength or wisdom in our space of need, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to listen to Your leading so that we may be refreshed and renewed in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives strength and rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction in all things, as You refresh and renew those who seek You. 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

Saving Strength

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NLT)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

 

Going to Minnesota with my fiancée was an incredible blessing, as I was able to meet so many of his extended family members, hear stories of his life growing up, and see the places that were significant in his formative years. The challenging part of an escape such as that, is the responsibility that waits upon one’s return home. Throughout my entire flight back, I was grading papers that students had spent last week finishing up or rewriting. Upon arriving home, there was little time for much visiting, but rather I had to get right back to grading and entering scores, as semester grades were due by midnight. Though my body had adapted to Minnesota time, I was incredibly enabled to stay alert until the last grade was entered and posted. Today is an equally hectic day, as a new semester begins, it is the first day of gymnastics, and I have football practice this evening. I will trust in Him to be my strength and song, as He provides what I need as it is needed most. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and song, as He is our God and worthy of all of our praise.

 

The Lord is my strength,

Strong Heart

My joy and my song;

He grants victory,

To continue on.

For He is my God,

Whom I’ll ever praise;

For goodness and grace,

He gives all my days.

On days I’m weary,

He’s still faithful true;

He fills me again,

With strength, makes me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my song. Thank You that You give us all that we need to navigate each new day as we depend on You. Thank You that though things seem impossible or overwhelming in our own strength, in You, we can do far more. Forgive us for attempting to power through when things pile up, and teach us to turn to You in trust for strength. Show us how to lovingly walk beside others who are heavy burdened too, so that they may find new strength and hope and joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our song, and praise You for Your faithfulness, always. 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

The Wisdom We Seek

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. – (James 1:5, CEB)

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. – (James 1:5, VOICE)

 

I am so grateful that God does not grow weary of us asking for answers when we are uncertain, as life requires much wisdom to navigate well. There are so many areas of new that come along in our daily lives, that without Him, we would be walking in the dark. However, when God is with us, His Spirit leads and guides us, as we so often know which way we are meant to go, as our hearts and minds know that which aligns with His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and direction where we need His navigation, and trust His heart within us when we already know the way that He is calling us to go.

 

We all need wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

To live this life well;

And as we choose ask,

His way, God shall tell.

He does not withhold,

The wisdom we seek;

But gives lavishly,

He’s faithful to speak.

He speaks to our hearts,

And to us makes known;

The answers we need,

As His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to answer as we ask for wisdom. Thank You that You do not withhold nor keep score, but rather You lavishly give as we ask. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces where we need Your wisdom the most, and teach us to trust You more so that we would turn to You for the wisdom to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is wise and encourages each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom in all things, as You are the answer we need to navigate our days in strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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

All Things Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

The first day of the new year is great time to remember and recognize that we are made new in Christ. God is the God of fresh starts, and He is ever making us new as we seek and trust in Him. What better time to seek and listen for direction, as we begin the first page of what He will do in 2018? What are we holding in our hands to utilize for Him right now, and what are the dreams that He has given that are not yet? Our charge is to walk forward in what we’ve been given, love as we are loved by Him, and to be faithful to each new step we are shown along the way. May we take time to recognize all of the places in our hearts, minds and lives that the Lord has made new as we begin this brand-new year with eager anticipation for all that He has in store.

 

All things are made new, All Things Made New

New year, a fresh start;

To choose be faithful,

As God’s work of art.

Each with a purpose,

A plan God designed;

Let’s follow in faith,

Heart, body and mind.

Wherever we are,

And where we choose go;

If lived out in love,

The newness will grow.

Goodbye to the old,

Hello to the new;

Each step that we take,

Chance for love shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You for the blessed reminder that all things are new in You, as we begin day one of a brand-new year. Forgive us for dwelling on the past, and teach us how to embrace what we are given now and the promises that lie ahead. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that they would be encouraged to embrace all that is made new in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. 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