Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

The Lens of Love

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, NLT)

God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, ERV)

God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans only see what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, CEB)

 

I am so grateful that God sees beyond the exterior that we present to the world and gets to the heart of the matter. He sees faith, hope and love, even when the world cannot. God will take the smallest seed of good and grow it into something greater. People tend to notice faults, whereas God sees strength and beauty and potential in the glory of His created. The more we seek and depend on Him, the more we begin to see others through His eyes. May we pursue the Lord with our whole hearts so that we may see others through the lens of His love.

 

Judge not appearance, the-lens-of-love.jpg

Of all those you see;

But look at the heart,

And love lavishly.

For that which is seen,

It never will last;

Yet the heart God sees,

Created, steadfast.

Let’s look at others,

Through Love’s lavish lens;

To see true beauty,

And choose grace extend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not look at us the same way that people do. Thank You that You look past how things appear and get straight to the heart. You see and You know the heart of the matter, and You love us through it all. Thank You that Your love shows us how we are meant to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we judge people or circumstances based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You to learn the heart rather than superficial appearances. Show us how to see others through Your lens of love so that we can extend the same goodness and grace to others that we have so generously been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see others through Your lens of love. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Seeing Past a Sordid Past

People should never be discounted for who they appear to be, or what they may have done in the past. God can redeem and raise up the unlikeliest of people to do great things for His purposes.

This morning, my daily reading covered Joshua 2:1-21, which is the story of Rahab and how she helped the Israelite spies that Joshua had sent ahead to Jericho.

“Rahab is a woman in a male-centered world; and she is a prostitute, the kind of person we typically vilify. But if she doesn’t rescue these men – and help them escape with the information they have gained – this first campaign in the land of Canaan will fail, and the larger outcome may be complicated  – or worse.” (VOICE footnotes)

As a result of Rahab’s protection of the spies when the king had sent his guards to find them, she and her family would ultimately be spared. The spies spoke the following to Rahab: “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.” – (Joshua 2:14, NLT)

Not only would her life be spared, but all of her family.

I love that a woman with such a sordid past, was used by God to do something so remarkable. Her act of kindness propelled the movement of an entire population into the promise so long sought after. No one should ever be discounted. We all have a past, yet each one has potential. God can do ANYTHING through a heart that is willing. May we rise up and look at the world around us through a lens that sees possibilities rather than just problems. Great things begin with the seemingly insignificant…

 

Do not choose discount,Finding Freedoms Flight

A colorful past;

For last shall be first,

And first shall be last.

God does not do things,

The way we foresee;

But rather He moves,

To set captives free.

Perceptions at times,

Are the thickest walls;

That limit our sight,

And disrupt His call.

Lord, give us Your eyes,

To see as You do;

Each person with gifts,

That You long to use.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see every single person as someone with potential to do great things according to Your purposes. Thank You that our past does not discount us, nor does our present status. Forgive us for discounting ourselves or others from being useful to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may see ourselves and others through Your lens, not our own. Show us the potential in those around us, and help us to encourage and draw out the good in all. Help us to love others well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for opportunities to move where You are calling, and to encourage those around us as they step out in faith. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Living a Legacy Life

Yesterday, the task to which I charged my students, was for each one to select a “legacy” word for the year. The word that they choose is to be accompanied by a symbol or image that represents that word to them, and each card with word and image will be posted on a designated wall in my classroom. Our discussions throughout the day about what a legacy is, were rich and rewarding. These 7th graders understand the value in passing something down to those who come after them. Additionally, each of them desires to achieve their highest potential, both this year, and in life. The goals and dreams held in the hearts of young people are truly inspiring.

It is good to have something to pass down to your grandchildren. But wealth hidden away by sinners will be given to those who live right. – (Proverbs 13:22)

What we pass on to the next generation and beyond, matters. If we share wisdom and insight that steers them in the right direction, and leads them on the path of righteousness, hope, light and life will lie before them. However, if we shatter dreams and shut down the hopes that kids hold in their hearts, we may be missing out on a promising leader, artist, doctor, inventor, discoverer, or the like. Our wealth is not just monetary. Our time, our heart, our concern, our love, our energy – kids need adults who care to invest in their lives. If a child knows that at least one grown up in their world is for them, they are more confident to move toward their dreams. May we share the wealth that we have, with those who will follow in our footsteps – be it our time, experience, wisdom or resources. Let us make the choice to be a champion for every child.

Living legacy,Living a Legacy Life

is a choice to make;

how to be recalled,

despite our mistakes.

Do we choose rise up,

and try, try again;

or do we choose fold,

give up and give in?

How we choose respond,

matters very much;

young ones are watching,

our words, deeds and such.

We shape their thinking,

of what’s right and wrong;

we model respect,

and how to belong.

Let’s make the right choice,

be a champion;

instead of limits,

kids see dreams begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the privilege and the responsibility of caring for the next generation. Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but rather You equip and empower us with You grace, goodness and love, to care well for all whom we are given charge. Thank You that You intentionally create each individual with gifts and talents that are waiting to be discovered. Forgive us for not seeking to find those hidden treasures in every human, and teach us to see people through Your eyes. Help us to trust You in us as we are placed positions where we are desperately in need of You. Lead us to love and care for kids well, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Show us how to leave a legacy of faithfulness in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You in all that we do, and leave a legacy of loving You and people well. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Teach in Love

The earth is filled with Your love, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64)

As I prayerfully prepare to greet my new students for the first time today, this verse seems quite fitting. If I learn His decrees and follow His ways, I can be a part of perpetuating His great love that goes out into all the earth. My charge is to begin with one child at a time. Each student that walks through the door of my classroom needs to know that they are safe, valued, cared for, loved, and that an adult on campus believes in their potential. It is no small task to be a champion for children. We must love those who resist it the most, and encourage the elusive and errant, to help them find their way to the road that leads to their greatest success. This is the most rewarding and challenging job on the planet, and even after eighteen first days of new students, I still feel nervous for this one. I am continually challenged to stretch, grow, and discover new and better practices to accommodate the needs of my students. All it takes is one student responding to that which is extended, to know that it is all worth it. Each of us has a call to follow His decrees and recognize and pour out His love to all the earth. Though it seems to be a monumental task, it is really us beginning with one. Who is one person that we can love as Christ loves us? Our neighbor? Our employer? Our coworkers? In Christ, we have the capacity to do as He did, as we are meant to be His hands and heart to the world. May we go forth this day, following His decrees, and love well, all whom we encounter.

Please teach me O Lord,

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school... :)

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school… 🙂

so I too, teach well;

let me love like You,

as in You, I dwell.

Help my eyes to see,

Your love everywhere;

and lead me to love,

the lost in despair.

May my words bring life,

help all kids to know;

that their life matters,

may I help them grow.

Let safety be known,

as they enter in;

and peace overwhelm,

despite where they’ve been.

May love and laughter,

fill my classroom walls;

as we learn and grow,

discovering calls.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of teaching young people. Thank You that parents send us their very best, and we get to love and care for their kids as if they were our own. Thank You that You teach us and grow us in Your ways and Your love, so that we can love others as You call us. Forgive us for fearing failure, as that is a space where You teach us and grow us all the more. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can be transparent with kids, creating a safe space where we learn from failure and build on success. Above all, lead us to love well, so that students leave at the end of the day, in a better place than when they arrived. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn Your decrees and love as You love us. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Sharing Scars

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

Regardless of her shameful past, the Samaritan woman had a powerful encounter with the living Christ as she had gone to draw water from the well. She was so moved by what she saw and heard, that she lost herself in the enormity of what was being offered to her, and went into town and told everyone she could find about what Jesus had spoken to her, despite the public potential for her to be further ostracized. Jesus moved, and she was forever changed. So too, were many within that town. If we are willing to respond to the invitation that Jesus extends to each of us, not only will we be changed, but so too, will all whom we encounter. May we readily receive all that our Redeemer has to give, and then share our story with those who are willing to hear.

 

Christ Jesus, our Lord,One to Many

what wonder is He;

Who looks past our sin,

to what we can be.

No matter our scars,

sin, guilt and our stains;

He washes us clean,

so just love remains.

It is by that love,

that we are compelled;

to share the great news,

how Christ loves so well.

May we rise and go,

without fear of past;

for what we can share,

will forever last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our testimony is irrefutable, as it is our story that You have redeemed and made beautiful. Thank You that You have always loved us, and that Your love does not change nor fade. Thank You that You deposit in us, that very same love for others. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving out where we are being called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will go without concern for where we have been, but will look forward with anticipation to all that You will do. Lead us to love others with the same sort of zeal that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share the story of how You have touched our hearts and lives. 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

Withholding Wayward Words

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Our words matter. The thoughts that we choose give a voice have the capacity to cut or to heal those who are around us. Typically, because words are of such great worth in my world, I choose quite carefully. However, when pressed and pushed from every direction, I had a moment the other day, where discernment went out the window, and I went off. My words were not life-giving, but rather they were reactive and ugly, without looking at the potential for their lasting impact. Throughout the day, the Holy Spirit showed me where I went wrong, and how I might repent and bring reparation for what should not have been given “voice”. That evening, after the apology and appropriate words for the situation were extended, communication that had been strained, somehow became much more bearable. Words of repentance followed by kind words of encouragement, lifted the weight of ugliness that had been lurking between our exchanges. Since then, our conversations have been kinder and gentler, with more consideration for one another. Healing does happen when wisdom is used through our words. May we choose wisely each word we give voice today, so that what comes from our mouth and heart bring healing, rather than hurt.

 

Reckless words bring pain,Constructive Permission

they cut like a sword;

wounding tender hearts,

when angst is outpoured.

The tongue of the wise,

brings healing and life;

it builds others up,

the ender of strife.

So let us choose well,

the words we give voice;

in wisdom, speak love,

obedient choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are life-giving and that Your word brings healing and wisdom to all who seek to hear and know the truth. Thank You that when we trust in You, Your Holy Spirit will guide us in the words we speak, if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for our reckless words, and please bring healing and restoration to all whom our ill-spoken words have injured. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent before You and listen well, before we ever give voice to what may cause contention. Help us to speak the truth in love, so that others may receive what is said without being wounded, but rather by being encouraged to draw still nearer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we silence the reckless words waiting to escape, and instead, give voice to the wise words that extend Your healing and Your hope. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

One to Many

We never quite know the far-reaching impact that one act of obedience may have. For Paul, when he had arrived on Malta via shipwreck and snakebite, he was invited into the home of a chief official on the island. Upon arrival, Paul learned that the father of Publius, the chief official, was sick in bed and suffering. Paul went to him and prayed for him and he was healed. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. – (Acts 28:9) Paul’s following of the Holy Spirit’s prompting to touch one who had fallen ill, resulted in the healing of many, and consequently, the further spreading of the good news of Jesus, throughout the island.

 

What potential impact do our acts of obedience have on others? Kindness to a stranger, a touch to the hurting, encouraging words to one who is discouraged? We need not know the outcome to act as Christ calls us to move. For each of us, have also been the recipient of another’s faithful obedience. May we go forth this day in obedience to all that the Lord asks.

 

A moment in time,One to Many

responding in faith;

to what God has asked,

most memorable wraith.

All who are open,

ready to go forth;

will be granted word,

sent out by the Lord.

He looks for the heart,

that’s ready to serve;

does tremendous things,

His strength to observe.

May we be ready,

with yes and amen;

to go where He asks,

and do as He says.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You show us that You use hearts that are willing and faithful to follow what You ask, regardless of circumstances or appearances. Thank You that Your ultimate good will come, even out of the most ugly of circumstances. Forgive us for our lack of faith in the midst of trials, or for our lack of movement when You are asking us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move mightily in all things and at all times, as You ask us to move. Let us love and encourage and be Your hands and heart to those around us, as You so clearly make You love evident to each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. Be exalted, O God, as we follow Your leading today. 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