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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May We Be Unoffendable

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NLT)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

Because we are loved by God, we ought to go and love likewise. In order to love as He loves us, we must show mercy to others, extend kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and be unoffendable in our patience with others. Each of these are clear, and are relatively simple to do, until they are not. Our mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience often come to a crashing halt if we are offended by another. Rather than recognize that we are all humans that fall short and fail, it becomes personal and bitterness attempts to creep in. When this occurs, I have to stop and think about how offensive I must be to God at times, and yet, He still loves me the same. It is because of His mercy and kindness, patience and gentleness with me, that I eventually recognize the ridiculousness in my own sensitivity to offense. There are times that safety and security dictate that we distance ourselves from one who offends, however, if we cling to the offense rather than He who grants us grace, the wrong will lead to our ruin. May we ever seek our Savior who has called us His own and lavishes us in His love, so that we may go forth and extend mercy as we seek to understand, be compassionate, show kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and be patient with others, not allowing offenses to limit how we choose to love.

 

We have been chosen,

May We Be Unoffendable

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Beloved of God;

To go forth in love,

As by faith, we trod.

Be clothed in mercy,

Extend kindness too;

Humble and gentle,

As He is with you.

Let not offenses,

Take patience away;

But rather seek Him,

To love and give grace.

May we see clearly,

How well He loves us;

So we do likewise,

By His grace choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose us and You love us without limits. Thank You that You are not offended by our faults and failures, but rather You love us to life again. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for allowing offenses to limit our love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in forgiveness and grace, ever extending mercy, compassion and patience as we humbly seek to understand others with kindness. Show us how to love like this so that many will recognize You heart within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the mercy and grace that You give to us in love and lead us to rely on You to go forth and do likewise. 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

Nothing Without Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging symbol. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, NLT)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, ERV)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, MSG)

 

Yes, wisdom, knowledge and faith are all good things, but without love, they are nothing. Our first priority ought to be love. We are called to love God and love people. As we do both, we grow in wisdom, knowledge and faith. The choice to love, despite what we are given, opens our understanding, and shows us more of His heart for us. Often, as we make love our priority, God changes both the hearts of the recipients and the perspective of the giver. Love is patient and love is kind, and love always protects. The challenge is when we are caught in between caring for one and protecting many others. God is faithful and just, and I will trust that He will bring light where darkness is trying to reign, and that His love will lead the way. May we make love our priority in all things, so that every word and deed are shaped by His love.

 

Gifted with speaking, Faithful Obedience

Linguistic wisdom;

Is all meaningless,

If not done in love.

Wisdom and insight,

Vast understanding;

Along with great faith,

Less love, lack meaning.

So seek understand,

But let’s choose love first;

For that is how God,

Loves despite our worst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You call us to love. Thank You that love is unpacked for us further as we read on in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Forgive us for turning to wisdom or our own human understanding without love. Teach us to trust You more, so that love would lead us in all things. Show us how to love others as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. 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 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

Pray Expectantly

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NLT)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Most mornings, I am up long before the sun has risen. This is a treasured time of solitude in the silent stillness, where I am able to invest time in His word and reflect on God’s goodness. Though I am spending this time intentionally, my prayers are fairly familiar each day, as my main request is to be equipped to love well. The Lord is faithful and kind, and grants far more patience than I would ever have on my own. However, I imagine there is far more that I ought to be asking for. There are dreams and desires that He has planted in my heart that lie dormant and hidden, rather than being placed on the altar with anticipation before Him – hopes of mighty movement in lives, circumstances, and things yet to come, that I need to present before Him and watch expectantly for Him to answer. God is faithful forever, if we only choose to come before Him in trust. May we begin each day presenting our praise and petitions before our faithful Father, and watch expectantly for Him to answer, as He always hears.

 

O Lord as I rise, Approaching the Throne of Grace

I come first to You;

With all that I am,

Trusting Your word’s true.

Listen for my voice,

At the dawn’s first light;

I know You’ll hear me,

In us, You delight.

I’ll offer requests,

And all of my praise;

Watching for answers,

You’re faithful always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You each morning and present our requests to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that we can pray anytime about anything, and You are available and willing to listen. Thank You that You long for us to be in communication with You. Forgive us for neglecting to bring forth the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, as You already know them anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for all things, and wait in expectation, knowing that You are moving on our behalf to bring answers. Guard our hearts from discouragement when answers do not come in the time frame we are hoping to see. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love and pray for those around us in meaningful and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our prayers and praise before You each morning, and wait expectantly for You to answer. 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

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. 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

Loving the Next Generation

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

This verse is a powerful reminder of my purpose; not only with my own children, but in my classroom each day. My role as a classroom teacher goes beyond the curriculum that I am asked to deliver. If I can meet kids where they are, and help them know that they matter, the learning that takes place is far more significant than the reading and writing that is required. I know in my own life, there were people, teachers, youth leaders, my mom, my grandmother, and various other family and friends, who greatly impacted the path on which I chose to travel. Their words often echoed in my mind as I reached crossroads, and aided me in choosing wisely, when I could have decided differently. Each of the voices that spoke to my heart had met me in a way that fit my own need, individually, and made an impact that has lasted a lifetime. We are able and called to do the same. May we love the next generation by meeting them where they are, and pointing them in the direction that they are meant to go.

 

Help us to teach kids, 1506783915220

The ways they’re to go;

Meet each in their need,

So Your path’s made known.

When we’re shown what’s right,

Through love on our way;

We’re drawn to follow,

On the right path stay.

Let us show our kids,

The right way to go;

So when they’re older,

They will always know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when children are started off in the right direction, You are faithful to continue to call them to remain close to You. Thank You that though educators are not in a role to spiritually lead students, we have the ability to meet kids where they are in a way that fits their need, and help them know that they are valued, loved, and capable of great things. Forgive us for not investing enough into pointing kids in the right direction, as each future has eternal value. Teach us to turn to You for wisdom as to how we can love best, each young person that You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we point kids in the right direction, trusting You to keep them close as they grow older. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithful to Love

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” – (John 15:9-10, NLT)

“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Now continue my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and He continues to love me. In the same way, if you obey my commands, I will continue to love you.” – (John 15:9-10, ERV)

 

As Jesus spoke to the people of Corinth, He was urging them to remain faithful, just as He had stayed faithful to His Heavenly Father. Obedience leads us to a space where we are right with God. He loves us because we are His, but the favor of the Lord is granted when we are walking in His will, rather than walking away from that which we are called. If God calls us to love Him and love people, it only makes sense that it is through our obedience that we would experience more of His love in our own lives. As we give love, we better understand and recognize what it is to receive love in return. May we love as we are loved in obedience to what the Lord is asking, and come to know and understand the riches of remaining in His love for us.

 

To love and be loved,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

 

Is God’s hope for us;

That is evident,

Through His Son, Jesus.

No matter what came,

To Him on His way;

He still chose to love,

In God’s will, remain.

So let us choose love,

As done unto us;

In obedience,

Love in faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to remain in Your love. Forgive us for not obeying Your command to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love one another according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us might see Your faithfulness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You have loved us in obedience to Your commands. 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

Discarding Doubt

I cried out, “I am slipping!” But Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy. – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

 

When fear, doubt, anxiety or worry enter in, we tend to get a bit rattled. Incredibly, it takes little time in the presence of God, to find comfort and calm where chaos was attempting to reign. As we call on the Lord, His love brings comfort, and renews our hearts and minds with hope, which changes our countenance from doubtful to confident in Him. Some situations and circumstances are longer lasting, and require our ongoing pursuit of our Provider. It is in such times that He often surrounds us with dear ones to rally around us, that remind us daily that He is near, through the tangible presence of people who love and support, just as He does. May we always remember to cry out to the Lord of unfailing love when doubts fill our minds, and be ever available to walk beside those who are in a season of distress.

 

When worry and doubt, Discarding Doubt

Rise up and draw near;

Cry out to the Lord,

Our calmer of fears.

It is by His love,

That comfort is found;

Calm and hope renewed,

And minds are made sound.

Let’s ever cry out,

To God of all grace;

For He’s our comfort,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that supports us and comforts us when doubts fill our minds. Thank You that You renew our hope and cheer. Forgive us for wallowing in our worry rather than crying out to You for help and comfort. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You the second that fears or doubts attempt to enter in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort and peace in the midst of trials, and offers hope when little is felt or seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You and trust in Your unfailing love, as You support, comfort and renew our hope with 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

Fathering Well

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. – (Ephesians 6:4, MSG)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. – (Ephesians 6:4, NLT)

 

I know that this is a tough topic for so many. Fathers are placed in our lives to fill such a significant role, yet without the grace and help of God, there is little chance of them measuring up to the expectation presented in the title alone. That being said, some of the best fathers that I know, did not have the most stellar examples in their own lives. God’s grace covered them as they grew, and He provided men of integrity to walk beside them and show them what it is to love well as a dad. There is no one who always gets it right, except our Heavenly Father, but the men who seek to lead their kids by the hand and show them by example, correcting and redirecting with love, are setting the standard for our future generations of fathers. May we celebrate the fathers we know, and encourage them as they help their kids grow.

 

Thank You, dear Father, Be strong and courageous

Despite what we’ve had;

You shall always be,

Our Heavenly Dad.

Thanks too for the men,

Who take by the hand;

Each child to love,

And shows them Your plan.

Not by being harsh,

Instead, they choose lead;

Lovingly guiding,

Direct to succeed.

Instruct with wisdom,

Discipline with grace;

Do all things in love,

So they seek Your face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our ultimate Father. Thank You for the fathers that You have placed in our lives to teach us, grow us, and bless us. Forgive us for not recognizing and encouraging the fathers that are all around us, seeking to do things according to Your will. Teach us to have Your eyes to see and Your heart to bless and encourage our brothers who are seeking after You. Show us how to love well, all the people whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for being the best Father of all, and praise You for the gift of fantastic fathers that You place in our lives and the lives of our children. 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