Recognizing and Responding to Good

Mary responded, “Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, NLT)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, ERV)

My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, VOICE)

 

Mary both recognized and responded to the glory of God and the good gifts that He gave. This morning, as I rose long before it was necessary, I find myself in a similar space of gratitude. Though Mary’s circumstances were far different than my own, I share the very same God, and He comes closer still, because of what was done so long ago through the willingness of His faithful. I am regularly in awe of His grace and mercy, and can see how His hand has carried me through the times of trial. He is good, and my whole heart celebrates His loving kindness. May we look to the Lord in awe and praise, for His love and goodness granted all of our days.

 

Let us set our hearts, Believe Instead of Striving

In a poise of praise;

Because the Lord saves,

For all of our days.

The Lord is our help,

May spirits rejoice;

Celebrate our God,

With mind, heart and voice.

Praise for what He’s done,

And who the Lord is;

Our life, love and song,

Why all praise is His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, whom You sent to us to save us. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us, in us and through us. Thank You that we can call You our Savior. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and praise for all that You have done throughout all of our days. Teach us to take time to look around and see the work and wonder of Your hand, help and great love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and points people to Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in all that You have done; for You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So, loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

 

When we choose love, we are choosing to follow and fulfill that which God requires. If we make love our priority in how we navigate our days, we are walking in obedience to His will. Love is a word that is often overused, yet it is clearly defined in God’s word. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we are told that love does not: envy, boast, dishonor others, delight in evil, keep record of wrongs, it is not self-seeking, and it is not easily angered. On the other hand, love is: patient and kind, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, rejoices with the truth and love never fails. Though some of these come more naturally than others, love is a choice. Each time that we make the choice to love, even when we would rather not, we are walking in obedience to the will of God. May we look to the Lord and His endless love to empower and equip us to go and do likewise with all whom we encounter. Let love be our motivation for all that we say and do, so that we may ever honor You.

 

To love is a choice, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

In Christ, we’re made strong;

To love as He loves,

For love does no wrong.

Patience and kindness,

Choose hope and protect;

Persevere, rejoice,

Won’t envy, reject.

Love won’t keep record,

Of others mistakes;

Will celebrate good,

As Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love, we are walking in obedience to You. Thank You that love does not hurt others, but rather it protects and builds up. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would seek Your wisdom and strength to know how to love in at all times and in every circumstance. Show us how to love those around us in a way that protects and conveys kindness and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love in all things and at all times, so that we may fulfill all that You require. 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

Trust, for He is Good

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NLT)

 

This morning, for whatever reason, I am just plain tired. The good news is that today is not an ordinary school day. It is an early dismissal day for the students, so the energy required on these days is different than on typical school days. Shortened classes go quickly, and after the students leave for the day, the remainder of the afternoon is spent collaborating with colleagues. In a sense, this is a bit of a rescue from my own exhaustion. Just knowing that I need only rise up until 12:40, is an encouragement in and of itself. At just the right time, there is a break in my ordinary routine, and I feel rescued from the weariness that is threatening. God knows what we can take, and provides precious rest in places where it is needed most. His love never fails, and I am so grateful that He cares about the smallest of details. May we ever trust in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rejoice in the salvation that He has provided. Let our hearts sing praise, for He is always good.

 

I trust in Your love,Be Transformed 1

My God and my King;

For You’re always good,

And rescue, You bring.

Salvation from death,

But also You give;

Love, strength, hope and life,

So we truly live.

Let our hearts choose sing,

All praise unto You;

For Your loving grace,

That carries us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that saves. Thank You that You rescue us when we lose our way, and You lead us with Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You meet us where we are but do not allow us to stay stuck in spaces we do not belong. Forgive us for not seeking You when we feel stuck, and help us to ever trust in Your grace and strength to be our help and our hope at all times. Show us how to rejoice and give praise to You, as to You alone, all praise is due. Help us to love those around us in tangible ways that help them to see how much You care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and sing praise to You forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

 

If we love with the same love that God gives to us, we are obeying the word of God. His love is patient, kind, hopeful, and enduring; it does not get jealous, nor proud nor rude. God’s love does not keep record of wrong, but rejoices in the truth. Christ came and set the standard so that we would know how we are meant to love and live a life in obedience to God. May we seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we learn how to love others as He has loved us, thus fulfilling the requirements of God’s law.

 

Let us each seek good,

Healed By His Hands

photo by Panthercut

to love as we’re called;

by the grace of God,

may hearts be enthralled.

For love does no wrong,

but only delights;

in mercy and grace,

and showing what’s right.

Each time that we choose,

to love people well;

we uphold God’s laws,

and of His hope tell.

May our hearts delight,

in choosing to love;

and many find hope,

in the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus for coming and showing us how to love as You loved, and for sending Your Spirit, so that we might go and do likewise. Forgive us for withholding the love and grace that You have given when we are hurt or afraid. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let Your love lead us in all things and at all times, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love like You, so that all that we do is pleasing to You. Lead us to love others with patience and kindness, so that they might come to see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love like You, walking in obedience to all that You are asking. 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

Loved Like Lazarus

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. – (John 11:33)

 

Jesus was not God out there, He was God came near, who felt what we feel, and loved people through their points of pain. This particular verse was Jesus’ response after He saw and spoke with both Martha and Mary after Lazarus had died. Little did the ladies know, that when Jesus was moved in spirit, it would bring back to life, the brother that they thought they had lost… The very same God who loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their spaces of sorrow, loves each of us and knows our needs. He is moved when we weep and hears every prayer. We never know how He intends to answer our requests, and we can always count on His coming close in our space of need. May we never forget that He is close to the brokenhearted, and He hears every cry of our hearts. He is faithful to meet us in our brokenness, and love us back to life.

 

There are times like Lazarus,Internal Investments Exceed External

when light gives way to pain;

all the heart knows is weeping,

we need new life again.

In those places of darkness,

if we call on the Lord;

He’s faithful to draw near us,

love and peace He’ll afford.

Healing this side of heaven,

is held in His great hands;

as we submit and trust Him,

His love reveals His plans.

He stays with brokenhearted,

and hears each cry we pray;

He’s near us every moment,

His light will point the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how You love. Thank You that Your love is not from afar, but it is love that comes close, that feels, and touches, and weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. Thank You that You are moved by what moves us. Forgive us for forgetting how very personal and near You are in the throes of our own pain, and help us to know Your nearness in tangible ways. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in our chaos and give You thanks for the gifts of grace. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know Your nearness personally, and choose to enter into a relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we come before You with both thanksgiving and petitions, grateful for Your nearness and understanding of each one of us as You provide new life for us in You. 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

Glorify with the Gifts

On this first day of a brand new year, a world of possibilities awaits. God has not called us to live ordinary and mundane lives, hiding the gifts that He has granted each of us, but rather He has called us to rise up and walk with Him, into the extraordinary, as we operate in the gifts that He has given. When we go where He calls and do as He asks, lives are touched and dreams are made new. He moves when we are willing to step out in faith. The Lord’s faithfulness is not because we are somehow worthy, but because He, as God on high, is good. It seems fitting that we respond just as Mary did, as follows:

And Mary said: “My soul glorified the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-49)

What we do now matters. Our children and our children’s children will be impacted by our faithfulness. If we model a life pursuing Christ, they will notice and seek to serve Him as well. Let us share of His faithfulness, for He has done great things for each of us, and is worthy of all of our worship and praise.

May we humbly seek,

IMG_0603 the will of the Lord;

in all faithfulness,

the gifts we’ll afford.

All He has given,

for us to return;

so others may come,

and of Christ they’ll learn.

Let our hearts rejoice,

in the Mighty One;

He’s mindful of us,

Spirit, Father, Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mindful of us. Thank You that when we come to You, You receive us as we are, and transform our hearts and minds to be more like Yours. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us. Thank You that we have Your presence now and hope for all of eternity. Forgive us for not glorifying You, or rejoicing in You for who You are, regardless of our circumstances. Help us to remember that You never change. Teach us to trust You more, so that we have a proper perspective on whatever comes our way. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may understand the blessings that You provide as our God and Savior. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be exalted O God, as we glorify You with the gifts You have granted each of us, and rejoice in who You are. Amen.

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

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:3

Robed in Righteousness

As followers of Christ, our charge is to always be prepared. “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” – (Revelation 16:15) Upon reading this verse, the first thing that came to mind was another verse in Isaiah that is more specific about what being clothed actually means. I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. – (Isaiah 61:10)

 

The point of the verse in Revelation is that we are to be ever prepared. We must not take our salvation for granted, nor grow weary in our walk with Him. Our delight ought to be in Him, and our response should be full of rejoicing. He has clothed us in salvation and robed us in His righteousness. In Him, we shall not be ashamed. Let our lives be lived ever prepared and always grateful, for He is so very good!

 

May our delight,Intentional Retreat

be found in the Lord;

our souls rejoice,

at grace He affords.

For we are clothed,

in His righteousness;

saved by mercy,

endless faithfulness.

Ever alert,

aware He is near;

always prepared,

protected from fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You will return at an unknown time, we need not fear if we are invested in a relationship with You. Thank You that You clothe us in salvation and robe us with Your righteousness; not because of anything that we have done, but because of what You did for us on the cross. Thank You Jesus, for loving us with Your life. Thank You for conquering death and sending Your Spirit to dwell in us to lead and guide us in the wait. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our inability to listen at times, and help us to trust You more, so that we will give all unto You. Lead us to listen and obey in all things and at all times. May we love others well, just as You love each of us, and may many come to know You personally, as a result. Be exalted O God, as we remember that we are robed in Your righteousness, and operate our lives accordingly. 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

Creating Bonds in the Body

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. 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

Wondrous Worth

Worth is a weird and wondrous thing. Though we perhaps perceive our own worth based on our packaging or productivity, God holds us in highest esteem, simply because we are His created. Each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made; planned, and created with purpose. Each part of who we are is intentional, and has value in the kingdom of God. Luke 15 unpacks three different parables about just how passionately Christ pursues us, and how all of heaven rejoices when even one, chooses to follow Him. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – (Luke 15:10) He takes us as we are, regardless of our wrapping, and brings out the beauty that He intended all along. His light, life and love that shine through us, are the things that matter most, and those which can be passed on through our hands and heart to the world. May we go forth today, embracing our worth in the wonderful way He created us to be, so that we may let His light shine.

 

You are more precious,Wondrous Worth

than silver or gold;

your infinite worth,

can hardly be told.

You were intended,

for far greater things;

to rise up in strength,

share what His grace brings.

You were created,

as perfectly you;

with gifts and talents,

things you’re meant to do.

Allow your heart hear,

all Christ has to say;

receive His great love,

then give it away.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that You value each of us far more than we can comprehend. Thank You that our worth is not determined by our perception of our productivity or our packaging, but rather because we are Yours – created by You with a plan and a purpose. Forgive us for comparing ourselves to one another, and help us to embrace the gifts and callings that You have placed in our own lives. Teach us to fix our eyes securely on You so that we may go forth, looking at others through Your lens. Help us to see needs and respond in love. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we go forth in obedient offering. Be glorified Lord God, as we go. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

If We Love

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:12)

 

When we are in relationship with Christ, His Spirit lives in us. Our love that comes from the Father, extended to all whom we encounter, is a glimpse of God Himself, to those who know Him not. This is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility. Imagine with joy, knowing that we get to represent His hands and His heart to the world. However, in doing so, it is essential that we love others as He loves us. Christ’s love is patient and kind, not envious nor boastful, nor rude. It does not seek recognition nor return. It is not easily angered and does not keep score. Christ’s love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. His love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Jesus’ love never fails. In order for us to love as He loves us, we must fully rely on Him. On our own, we will fall miserably short. In Him, we are equipped to love beyond what we would have thought possible. May we go forth in His love, so that many may gain a glimpse of just how glorious our God truly is.

 

Though no eye has seen,Adventurous & Cautious
the face of the Lord;
we have seen in part,
through love He affords.
His Spirit within,
faithful human hearts;
grants us all glimpses,
His glory, in part.
Christ’s love is selfless,
it’s given away;
no expectations,
to somehow repay.
It always speaks truth,
it never keeps score;
it always protects,
leaves us wanting more.
God’s love always hopes,
ever perseveres;
it will never fail,
it wipes away tears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have never seen You face-to-face, we have been given glimpses of Your glory through the hearts of those whom love and serve You. Thank You that when You dwell in us, Your love is made complete in us. Thank You that we have the privilege of being extensions of Your hands and heart to the world. Forgive us for falling short – for not loving as You would love. Please grant us Your eyes to see others, and break our hearts for what breaks Yours. May we be moved by the things that stir Your heart, and then act upon those things in love. Lead us and guide us in Your goodness and grace. Let the lost be found as they are given glimpses of who You are through the love of those faithfully following You. Be glorified, O God, through our love. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19