The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. 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

Ragnar Reminders

This is a different sort of post, as today is no ordinary day. Today, I will embark on a journey of epic proportions. Eleven friends and I will be running a 200-mile relay from the Canadian border to Whidbey Island. This endeavor begins at 6:30am, and will likely not conclude until late tomorrow afternoon. Our team is separated into two vans, containing six runners each, and van 1 is already nearing the start line for the prerace meeting. As a part of van 2, we get to have a bit more leisurely start, yet our second legs run, will be run in the wee hours of the night, prior to dawn’s early light. Van 2 has fewer opportunities for sleep, so perhaps that is why there is a bit of kindness as to when and where our first leg begins. The next 30+ hours will be a test of perseverance, stamina, and mental toughness. However, they are also hours of support, kindness, encouragement, and the best bonding in a shared experience that a person could ever imagine. Ragnar is a race that reminds me what life is like, and how it is meant to be run.

 

…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

 

We are meant to persevere and run the course that is marked before us. Our eyes are meant to be fixed on the path that Christ has prepared for us, not on the distractions and detours that could hinder us as we run. For the joy set before Him, He endured; so we too, ought to endure, trusting that there is so much more yet to come. In this race, the reward at the end is well worth the struggle. There is a huge celebration at the end, with medals, a meal, photos, and the reuniting of the two vans, to run the final quarter mile of the race, together. The joy found in our fleeting race ending, will be but a glimpse of the glory that we will find if we choose to faithfully follow our Heavenly Father for all of our days. Jesus is seated on His throne, and has prepared a place, just for us. He is always available, and ever present. May we rise up and run our own race, just as Christ has called us to run, and may we persevere, trusting in He who is faithful to see us through to the finish line.

 

Let us each rise up,Ragnar Team 2014

be ready to run;

whatever the race,

we’re called by the Son.

Ever persevere,

with eyes fixed on God;

for He is our strength,

our hope to applaud.

With joy, He endured,

for all of our sake;

so that we could run,

with swiftness, our race.

Endure the struggles,

for though there is pain;

the future glory,

is all that remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for life and health and the ability to run the race that You have set before us, whatever that looks like for us, individually. Thank You that You strengthen us and keep us, so that we may persevere, trusting in Your faithfulness to see us through. Thank You that no matter the pain we endure in the here and now, our hope remains in our future glory with You forever. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the temporary things around us, and help us to focus our hope in You. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we run our race with perseverance, giving You the glory for every good thing that happens along the way. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

The Benefit of Broken Barriers

Before Jesus, a barrier had been built that kept people from entering into the most holy place of God’s presence. Sin had separated mankind from God, leaving all of humanity deserving death. Jesus made the way for us to return to relationship with the Father, as He willingly laid down His life for ours. He alone was without sin; therefore the only worthy way for mankind to be made right before Him. “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” – (Matthew 27:50-51) Not only had the barrier of our sin been removed, but the barrier in the temple that kept everyone out of the most holy place, was split in two – granting tangible evidence of the spiritual truth.

 

We serve an approachable God. There is no barrier separating us from Him – for the price has been paid and the path has been laid. Our part, is to choose. Though He knocks on the door of our heart, God is gentle, and always waits for an invitation. His arms are extended and open wide, yet we must reach out our hands and heart to His. Any thought that tries to tell us that He could never forgive something that we have done, is a lie directly from the pit of hell. The price has been paid, yet we must be willing to receive what He is offering by faith. May we embrace His astounding grace, and enter into the most holy place, found in His perpetual presence within.

 

Gone is the curtain,The Benefit of Broken Barriers

that kept me from You;

barrier laid low,

for a way that’s new.

By Your sacrifice,

You took on the cross;

all our sin and shame,

so we won’t be lost.

The depth of Your love,

didn’t end on that hill;

You rose, ascended,

Spirit with us still.

Your grace makes us clean,

to You, our hearts praise;

lead us and guide us,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus for coming and willingly laying down Your life for ours. Thank You that You endured suffering and darkness that we cannot even begin to fathom, so that we would no longer be separated from You by our sinfulness. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your grace. Thank You that we can come to You, no matter what, and You will hear our hearts and love us the same. Forgive us for not bringing our brokenness, sin and shame before You, and help us to trust You with even the ugliest of our actions. Thank You that You are loving and trustworthy, and that You receive us as we come. Help us to extend mercy and grace to all whom we encounter, so that they may see You in us. Let Your love in us lead those who are looking, into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted in everything we say and do. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

In or Out?

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” – (Matthew 12:30)

 

There is no middle of the road with Christ. We cannot linger on the line of indecision and expect our souls to be secure. The word clearly states that we are either actively pursuing Christ, or we are against Him. Inactivity and idleness are equated to the rejection of our Redeemer. Choosing to be separated from God, who alone is good, is not a viable option. There is no room for neutral in an authentic relationship. He asks for all of us, and in return, gives us: forgiveness, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, hope, and the promise of His presence both now and forever. For me, the choice is clear. I am all IN. My life is not my own…

In or Out

Identify with Christ,

Name above all names;

Or reject the Lord Jesus,

Redeemer, the same.

Options are presented, it is

Up to each of us,

To receive or reject, Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t love us just a little, but rather You love us so much that You sent You only Son, so that we might choose life in You. Thank You for making the way for us to come to You, wholeheartedly, and be received as Your own. Forgive our places of indecision, or seasons of settling, thinking that sitting idly by would be okay. Help us to passionately pursue You, daily, so that we may know You more. Lead us to love others as we are loved by You, and grant us Your grace and goodness to give. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as they too, passionately pursue You with their whole being. Be glorified as we choose to be all in each day we draw breath. 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