Learn to Do Good

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – (Isaiah 1:17, NLT)

Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. – (Isaiah 1:17, MSG)

 

There are many practical and tangible ways that we can love people. A true testament of learning to love as Christ loves us, is when we choose to do for those who can do nothing for us in return. The choice to do good and help those who are unable to help themselves is an act of love that expects nothing in return. Orphans and widows are among those mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, indicating that they are a priority to the very heart of God. Sadly, we need not look far to discover people who would benefit from tangible and practical acts of love done on their behalf. It does not require great quantities of cash, or public platforms to make a difference in the lives of those around us. When we open our eyes to needs nearby, we are able to see small things that matter and can then step up and do to offer comfort and care to those who are hurting. May we go forth this day with eyes and hearts open, so that we are able to see and know what we can do practically and tangibly to extend good into the lives of those who need it most.

 

With heart wide open,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

I suddenly see;

Not only the needs,

But answers through me.

Small acts of kindness,

Extended in love;

God uses for good,

His grace shines above.

Choose to seek justice,

Give help to oppressed;

Defend defenseless,

For God’s way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do good on our behalf. Thank You that You provide help to the oppressed, You defend the orphans and the widows. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not ask us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for thinking that we are unable to do anything to help those in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the circumstances of those around us through Your eyes, and the possible solutions and care that we can offer. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways so that those in need would know Your love is real. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek justice, help those in need, defend those who are unable to defend themselves, and learn to do the good that You call us to do. 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

The Next Right Thing

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

We are not all charged to do everything, but we are each called to do something. Each of the needs mentioned in the verses above exist both globally and locally. There are orphans, kids in foster care, there are poor, imprisoned, there are those who are in need, and many trapped in the hands of the wicked and unable to set themselves free. We are called to walk through life with our eyes, ears and hearts open. When we do, we are willing to hear the Lord’s call, and answer however He asks. Sometimes, it is in a way that seems small and insignificant to us, yet our willingness to respond will mean the world to the recipient.

 

Welcome Boxes 1A few days ago, I had the joy of working with some ladies from my church to put together welcome boxes for kids being pulled from their homes by CPS and placed in foster care. Some of these kiddos barely have the opportunity to pack even a change of clothes, so these boxes are a special way to offer comfort in the midst of crisis. Each box contains encouraging notes, gifts and toiletries, to remind the child that there are people who do care, despite the chaos that is currently surrounding them. If it weren’t for the obedience and listening ear of one of my friends, none of us would have been aware of the need, nor would we have gathered to do a small thing that we each could do. May we each go forth this day, with eyes, ears and hearts open, ready to hear how the Lord might call us to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, or how we can help rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked.

 

Welcome Boxes 2

To find out more about making Welcome Boxes, please contact: JenniferJoyKeener@gmail.com

Lord help me to walk,

with eyes open wide;

aware of the needs,

that others may hide.

Let me be Your hands,

where I can go serve;

show me how to love,

as the lost deserve.

Help me see the need,

and then show me how;

to do what You ask,

not later, right now.

Each day, may I rise,

ready to go be;

Your heart and Your hands,

to set captives free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Defender and Rescuer. Thank You that You saved us from all of our ugliness and delivered us from the calamity that was to come. Thank You that You call us to be a part of moving beside You in defending those who cannot defend themselves, helping those in need, and rescuing those who are stuck in situations that are too great for them to get out of on their own. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to need, or for standing still as we allow the great need to overwhelm us, rather than simply listen to Your call and how we can do the next right thing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and be ready to do each next thing that You ask of us. Lead us to love with all that we are, just as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do each next right thing. 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

Beyond Brokenness

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – (Psalm 34:18)

 

God does not promise that we will never become brokenhearted, rather He assures us that He will remain close. Though our spirits may seem crushed for a season, Christ saves us from our sorrow and helps us rise again. In fact, it is often in the midst of heartache that beauty begins to rise from the ashes. I know in my own life, I am constantly in awe of how quickly He can utilize my own experiences of brokenness to encourage someone who is experiencing something similar. When we are willing to share our story, no matter how tattered and torn it may appear, God can use it to build up, challenge, encourage, and touch the lives of others. May we remember how very near our Savior stays, even in our brokenness, and trust Him who saves, when we are crushed in spirit; for His plans are good, and He turns tragedy into triumph when we trust in Him.

 

The Lord remains close,Chosen With Purpose

He is ever near;

to brokenhearted,

and those wracked with fear.

He saves the oppressed,

whose spirits are crushed;

His presence breathes life,

His love is enough.

Even in mire,

when ashes surround;

as we trust in Him,

true beauty is found.

Let the Lord’s light shine,

in darkness and pain;

as we trust in Him,

His hope will remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are close to the brokenhearted and that You save those who are crushed in spirit. Thank You that though we all go through seasons of sorrow and heartache, You are present and You utilize such seasons to refine us and draw us closer to You. Thank You that even in the midst of the ugliest of ashes, You can bring beauty as You give life to others through our willingness to share what You have done and are doing in our own lives. Forgive us for forgetting how very close You are when we are in the midst of our own brokenness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow You room to move, as You stretch and grow us in the painful places where we would rather not be. Lead us to reach out and love well, even when we want to isolate because of our own issues. May many be lead to You, as they see the truth of Your light and love, even in the midst of our own darkness. Be glorified O God, as we walk well with You, even in our brokenness. 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

Love Your Enemies

Love is an act of the will, not a feeling of affection. We always have a choice as to whether or not we choose to love. With those who love us and are kind toward us, love is an easy decision. However, to those who mistreat us, who speak poorly of us, or are downright unkind to all whom they encounter – those are the individuals that we are specifically called to love. But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – (Luke 6:27-28)

 

In Jesus’ day, the Romans oppressed the Jews. Jesus told them to love anyway. He was not speaking of affection for their enemies, but rather He was talking about making an intentional effort to act in their best interest, in spite of their unkindness. We can pray for those who persecute, and we can extend grace to the gruff. God’s goodness transcends our guilt, so we are called to extend His love to ALL. Jesus loved all of us, despite our sinfulness. He chose to take all of our guilt and shame upon Himself, in love. May we choose to love, even those who are the most difficult for us to love.

 

An act of the will,Love Your Enemies

is our choice to love;

not something we feel,

but modeled above.

For Christ came to show,

that love is a choice;

an act of the will,

not vain empty noise.

Love chooses to act,

to pray and serve well;

it fends off the hate,

sent forth straight from hell.

May we choose to bless,

even the unkind;

so they too may know,

His glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not simply ask us to do the seemingly impossible in our own strength, but rather You sent Your Son, Jesus, who modeled a life of loving His enemies, doing good to those who hated Him, blessing those who cursed Him, and praying for those who mistreated Him. Thank You Jesus for sending Your Holy Spirit to equip and empower us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we do not act in love, but rather react in our own hurt. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response will be the choice to love, even when we are hated, cursed or mistreated. Show us how we can love, bless, pray for and do good to those whom we might struggle to love. Let Your love be what is evident in me. May many come to know You, as a result of our choosing to love. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love those who are most challenging to love. Amen.

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

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

As One

“Live creatively, friends.  If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself.  You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.  Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed.  Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.  If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” – (Galatians 6:1-3, The Message)

None of us ought ever think ourselves so strong, that we have no need for one another, nor that we are above bearing one another’s burdens.  As a body of believers, we are called to love, encourage, correct, help, and hold up one another, as Christ freely does unto each of us.  We need each other to help encourage and stay the course to which we are called.  If one of us begins wander, a gentle correction, presented in love by a sister or brother, is far more likely to reset proper bearings, than gossip or glares felt from afar.  One welcomes a return to what is right, the other shames the sinner to stay stuck in their straying.

May we reach out,As One

a helping hand;

when there is need,

in our fellow man.

Let us respond,

in love alone;

to help correct,

point back to Your throne.

May we lift up,

the poor, oppressed;

bring what we can,

as we have been blessed.

Let us do life,

in purpose, one;

to honor God,

the glorious One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to live out our walks on our own, but You call us to community – to be a body of believers together.  Thank You that You created us to work together, helping and encouraging one another to grow more deeply in our faith in You.  Forgive us for neglecting needs around us, or for ignoring something spoken for our benefit by another.  Teach us to trust You more, and use us to encourage and build up the body.  May we be humble and loving, patient and kind; wiling to speak and to listen as You instruct us to do.  Let our hearts see others as You see them, and help us to be Your hands and voice to those around us.  May many come to know You as their Savior, as we walk in obedience to all that You ask.  Be glorified in how we live as community.  Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

– Genesis 21:6

Praise Him

Praise HimI will praise the Lord,

with my heart and soul;

praise Him with my life,

to Christ I extol.

Trust not in princes,

mortals cannot save;

for their lives will end,

all land in the grave.

But blessed are those,

whose help is from God;

the Maker of all,

to Whom we applaud.

Faithful forever,

He upholds the oppressed;

He feeds the hungry,

helps the poor, distressed.

Grants sight to the blind,

lifts up those bowed down;

loves well the righteous,

helps lost become found.

Keeps close the displaced,

sustains those without;

frustrates the wicked,

protects the devout.

He reigns forever,

generations, all;

give praise to the Lord,

on bended knee fall.

(Responding to Psalm 146)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You that no matter our circumstance, songs of praise unto Your rise up in our hearts as we fix our eyes on You. Thank You that our hope is held in You, not in mere men and women around us. Forgive us for placing our trust anywhere other than in You. Please show us how to pray for those You have placed in leadership positions, and grant each one the strength and courage to do what You are calling them to do. Help us to love one another in such a way, that those who know You not, might come to ask for answers that ultimately lead to a lasting relationship with You. May all that I do and say bring praise to You today. Amen.

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

Speak for the Silent

image by Awakened Vibrations

image by Awakened Vibrations

Many are they,

who have not a voice;

be it age, lot,

circumstance or choice.

Trapped in the grip,

of hell’s ugly snare,

no way to stand,

with no one to care.

May it be so,

that we take a stand;

may we speak out,

return freedom’s land.

Speak up for those,

who are poor, in need;

speak for what’s right,

wage ware against greed.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because Your Spirit dwells in us, You grant us wisdom and ways to use our voice on behalf of those who are not heard.  Lord, we lift up the orphans, the widows, the abused; the outcasts, the oppressed, and those who hear not good news.  Forgive us for staying silent or standing idly by, and show each of us how we might use our voice to demonstrate Your love to those who feel so unlovable.  Lead us Lord, in how You might want us to move – be it locally, nationally or globally, on Your behalf.  May our voices echo the sound of Your loving kindness to the hurting and the hopeless, and may the hearts of oppressors repent and turn to You.  May many lives be changed and souls be saved, as we take a stand to speak out for those without a voice.  Amen.

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