Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

To Love Likewise

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, VOICE)

 

In this season where love is celebrated and elevated, it is important to realize what love is and is not. God’s love is our ultimate example, be it in love between family, friends, or the one whom we have been given as our person with whom to share life. To love and be loved, we need to be patient and kind. We are not meant to be jealous, proud, nor rude. If we love others as ourselves, we will not be easily upset nor keep record of wrongs. Because God forgives us, we must forgive. Just as He loves, we need to do the same. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. Likewise, we are called to walk in love with those around us, even when they do not treat us the way we desire to be treated. Our patience and kindness are an avenue to express the very same love that we have been given, to those around us. May we ever choose to walk in His love, extending love, just as God loves each of us.

 

Love that is patient,wp-1518363553391117403764.jpg

And kind to others;

Is like the Lord’s love,

For sisters, brothers.

True love is not rude,

Won’t seek its own way;

Instead love prefers,

To give good away.

Love will not record,

Wrongs that have been done;

But instead forgives,

By grace from the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what love is and is not. Thank You that as we seek You, You provide patience and kindness and correct us when we get caught up in ourselves rather than preferring one another. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the wrongs against us, or have chosen anything other than patience and kindness when that is what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prefer one another in love, just as You love us. Show us how to be patient and kind, extend forgiveness and grace, and love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your lavish love, and go forth and seek to love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – Psalm 31:21a

 

 

Write Upon My Heart

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – (Psalm 40:8, NIV)

I want to do Your will, my God. Your instruction is deep within me. – (Psalm 40:8, CEB)

I am pleased to live how You want, my God. Your law is etched into my heart and soul. – (Psalm 40:8, VOICE)

 

The more we choose to invest our hearts, minds and time into God and His word, the more it takes root, deep within us. Each time His love is made evident through a decision I make, I am in awe of who He is and how He loves. Recently, I received a message that initially irritated and frustrated me. I began to respond in sarcasm, rather than in love. My spirit stirred within me, and I slowed down, and thought about what might have motivated the original message that I received, and I was filled with compassion and changed my response to one that was motivated by love, rather than selfish reacting. How I replied may or may not have had an impact on the recipient, but it had a significant impact on me. No matter what I “think” the intent might be, I must slow down, listen to the Lord, and respond in love. Even if my response is clarifying questions or silence until I am able to respond according to that which He has etched upon my heart, it is my intent to do so, regardless of how things appear in my own eyes. May we desire to do the will of our loving Heavenly Father, and allow Him to continue to etch His instruction into our hearts.

 

O Lord, I desire, Write Upon My Heart

To do well, Your will;

Follow Your leading,

Love as my heart’s filled.

For deep in my heart,

You’ve written Your ways;

To lead and guide me,

For all of my days.

Lord, above all things,

May Your great love lead;

So my life’s pleasing,

In word, thought and deed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we desire to do Your will, and choose to invest time with You and in Your word, You refine us and write Your instruction upon our hearts. Forgive us for ignoring Your still small voice within us, that shows us what to do and say that abides by Your way. Teach us to listen to Your leading in all things and at all times, so that we would extend the same love and grace to others that You give to us. Show us how to love those around us, even when we think that they do not deserve it, as that is usually when it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek after You and Your will, and allow You to etch Your instruction deep within us so that we will walk in Your way for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

 

 

Don’t Let Pride Guide

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbor’s interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

Following this one can be a bit tricky. Even if our mode of operation is to look out for others and prefer one another in love, there are times when we feel that we have been the recipient of someone’s selfishness or lack of humility, and a sense of self-righteousness may rise. Despite being the recipient of less than we choose to extend to others, it is not our charge to hold grudges and walk in unforgiveness. When we do, we become prideful in our own sense of being right. Rather, we are meant to be humble and extend love, even to those who offered us less. With sincerity and genuine care for one another, healing where the relationship was fractured can take place. Without it, there is no way to repair the damage that has been done. May we choose to be humble and kind in all things and at all times, and allow the love of the Lord extended through us to be the very thing that brings restoration where damage has been done.

 

Be humble and kind, Faith and Hope in Action

In all that we do;

Look out for others,

Give grace and love too.

Don’t let selfishness,

Or personal pride;

Be what is leading,

Let Christ be our guide.

For as we extend,

Love to each other;

We rise up in peace,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be humble and selfless, You move mountains that seemed impossible to move. Thank You that when our focus is outward, You do mighty works inward. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride, that makes us think only of ourselves and not of those around us. Show us the places where pride or selfishness have crept in and are keeping us from being who You have called us to be. Help us to love others with humility and selflessness, preferring others before our own agenda to be right. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we choose to be humble and honor others first. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in humility and grace, giving others as You have given unto us. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Take Delight in Honoring Others

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:10, MSG)

 

God calls us to love people like family; His family. This sort of love runs deep, and draws others in. It is not selfish nor rude, but rather delights in honoring others above ourselves. When we show love as God loves us, we give a window to the world to the very heart of God. May we love each other in a way that makes us feel close like sisters and brothers, and honor one another more than ourselves. Let our love be light that points people to Christ.

 

Love from the center,Generous Giving

Of who you’ve become;

Let your heart delight,

In all He has done.

Because of His grace,

We can go love well;

With all that we are,

Of hope let us tell.

May we all find joy,

Honoring others;

Let us choose lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

For as we delight,

Love as we’ve been shown;

God’s grace evident,

And He is made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in the very way that You call us to love others. Thank You that You draw near and delight in us. Forgive us for not loving those around us as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love with all that we are, and honor others above ourselves. Show us how to love like You, so that all might see Your love made evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other as we are called to do. 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

Love Fulfills the Law

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

You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. – (Romans 13:10, MSG)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

When we choose to walk in love, we are opting for obedience to all that God asks of us. If we love God and love people, we are fulfilling all that the law requires. Just as God perfectly loves each of us, He equips and empowers us to go and do likewise to all whom we encounter. It is up to us to choose to share what He has granted, so that those around us might come to see and know the goodness and grace that is given through the Lord’s love. The love that God gives is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, proud, rude or selfish. Love delights in the truth and does not remember wrongs. Love never gives up on people, as it never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May we each go forth and love as we are loved by God, so that in doing so, we walk in obedience to all that the Lord requires.

 

Love does not choose hurt,Purposeful Prayer

No matter what comes;

Instead it endures,

Like the rising sun.

All that is required,

Through the law of God;

Is truly fulfilled,

Despite all our flaws.

For God’s very heart,

Is clearly made known;

When we opt to love,

Just as we’ve been shown.

So let us go forth,

And love each other;

With goodness and grace,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as we are loved by You, we fulfill the requirements of all laws. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love by Your Spirit within us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to love as we are called to do, and teach us to trust so that we might love like You. Show us how to love as we are loved, so that many might come to know the fullness of Your grace and the blessings of Your unending love. May many choose to follow You, all the days of their lives. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. 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

How Great the Father’s Love

I never grow weary of the parable of the lost son, as each time I read it, I am reminded of just how great the Father’s love is for each of us. In this story, the son had squandered wealth he should have never asked for, and had sunk to rock bottom. His found himself in the lowliest of positions, destitute and desperate. When the son assessed his situation, he realized that repentance before his father, and a willingness to work as a hired hand were far better options than his present position. So he got up and went to his father. “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (Luke 15:20)

 

The son recognized his sin, repented, and merely hoped to be made a hired hand. Instead, his father ran to meet him from a long way off, embraced him and celebrated his homecoming. God does the same for each of us when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though we may come, simply hoping to somehow be seen as “okay”, He does so much more. Christ welcomes us, gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God Himself. We are granted an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken, and provided promises to propel us along our path. May we receive the glorious gift of God’s grace, and welcome with open arms, the compassion conveyed in His embrace.

 

Foolish and selfish,How Great the Fathers Love

the arrogant son;

ran off and rebelled,

lowly position.

When he had squandered,

all that had been his;

he started longing,

for what he fed pigs.

It was then he knew,

that he must repent;

for his father’s men,

lived far more decent.

Perhaps he would hire,

give a chance, employ;

no longer worthy,

to be called dad’s boy.

So the son set off,

he headed for home;

imagine the awe,

as grace was made known.

For while still far off,

his father, he ran;

to greet and embrace,

this shell of a man.

The gifts that he gave,

assured him his worth;

a chance for new life,

a sense of rebirth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with a repentant heart, You do for us, just as the father did for his son. You meet us where we are, shower us with Your grace, robe us in Your righteousness, celebrate our homecoming, and call us Your own! Thank You that we are welcomed into Your family, no matter where we have come from. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to cover our sin and shame, and that You celebrate and embrace each of us as we choose You. Forgive us for thinking that You could not possibly forgive us for what we have done, or that another around us does not deserve the mercy and grace that You give. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, so that we too, will celebrate and embrace each and every individual who comes into Your kingdom. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize how ready You are to receive everyone who comes. Be glorified O God, as we give and receive Your great love. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

His Beauty Shines

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body is also full of darkness. – (Luke 11:34, NIV)

 

The only source of light for the body is the eye. When you look at people and want to help them, you are full of light. But when you look at people in a selfish way, you are full of darkness. – (Luke 11:34, ERV)

 

Jesus modeled light and life unto the world. Everywhere He went, His light shone brightly before all mankind. He touched the hurting, healed the sick, spoke to the forgotten, and loved those deemed unloveable by society. Christ was not afraid to associate with sinners, in fact, that is the very reason He came. We live in a world where darkness dwells, yet with Christ in us, His light still shines. “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” – Francis Bacon. We are more glaringly aware of just how brilliantly Christ’s light shines, when we recognize both the darkness in and around us. If we allow His light in, no darkness can remain. For where there is light, darkness disappears. May we allow the light of Christ to so consume us, that we cannot help but reflect His light to the world.

 

The eyes of our heart,

reflect to the world;

Kari Jobe shining for Christ. :)

Kari Jobe shining for Christ. 🙂

darkness and dismay,

or freedom unfurled.

In one we are trapped,

stuck still in our sin;

the other, by grace,

we’ve let Jesus in.

As Christ dwells in us,

His beauty shall shine;

we can’t help but change,

when touched by Divine.

Through Him there is light,

for eternity;

all darkness dispels,

and we become free.

Free from the darkness,

unchained from despair;

bathed in His glory,

light and life to share.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we come to You in darkness, You willingly and lovingly shine Your light in. Thank You that where Your light shines, no darkness remains. Forgive us for allowing the darkness that surrounds us to block the view of Your light that dwells within us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will shine brightly before all, regardless of situations or circumstances, and trust that You are in control. May Your love and light be what is seen through us, and may many come to trust in You for themselves as a result. Be glorified, Lord God, as we reflect Your radiance before mankind. Amen.

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

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

Redemption for the Repentant

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. – (Joel 2:13, NIV)

 

Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and merciful. He does not become angry quickly. He has great love. Maybe He will change His mind about the bad punishment He planned. – (Joel 2:13, ERV)

 

God is indeed merciful; slow to anger, abounding in love. However, we must make a choice. We either elect to turn from our selfish and independent ways and choose to trust Him, or we continue on our self-made road to ruin. Jesus made the way so that all who call on His Name, may be saved. All of our sin and shame has been covered at the cross; we need only be willing to repent and receive what He is offering. Each of us have a finite time on earth. Not one of us know the number of our days. Sitting idly by, saving the decision for “someday“, is playing roulette with our eternity. There is no better time than now. He has been waiting since the moment He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows your name, and everything you’ve ever done – yet He still love you and is ready to call you His own. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12) Repent, receive, and believe, for we are meant to be His.

 

Today is the day,Redemption for the Repentant

to turn to the Lord;

don’t let it slip by,

seek in one accord.

For He is waiting,

with arms open wide;

to call you His own,

to stay by your side.

No matter your past,

the sin you have done;

covered at the cross,

that battle’s been won.

All that still remains,

is you choose receive;

to trust in His word,

have faith and believe.

There’s no greater choice,

to ever be made;

O child of the King,

embrace Him today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that You receive us into Your kingdom when we call on Your Name and repent from our sinful ways. Forgive us for overcomplicating Your love or Your grace, and help us to both receive and extend all that You are offering. May we be living examples of lives transformed by You. Let those who are looking, find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Help us to hold fast to Your truth, and live and love as You love us. Be exalted, O God, as we share of the goodness and grace You grant all who seek Your face. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  – Psalm 23:6