Love in Action

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, or love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Today is a day off for many of us, as we celebrate and honor the men and women who have and still serve in our armed forces. These individuals have demonstrated what it is to love with action in truth, as they willingly chose to honor, serve and protect our nation and the freedoms we all enjoy. For most of us, today becomes a bonus day to either rest or accomplish items on our to-do list. Not only are we called to love with actions and in truth, but we ought to take time to appreciate and remember those who have modeled this before us. May we make time to honor, thank, remember or pray for those who have loved with actions in truth, and for those who are still making the decision to do so for the good of all. May the peace and protection of Christ be with each man and woman who has served, and those who still serve, as they understand what it is to love in action and in truth.

Love in action is exactly what is taking place in mom’s current location as she navigates this road to recovery. My sister and her family demonstrate love daily, as they honor and include Mom in their everyday lives. A favorite set of images that I caught on Instagram from Meg were of she, Scott, Mom, and their friends at an event in Corvallis. Smiles were abundant, and it was clear that Mom was enjoying herself and included. Love in action, again and again; chosen daily.

 

Limit not our love,

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My favorite veteran.

To mere words or speech;

But rather allow,

Our actions to teach.

For the things we do,

Each act done in love;

Makes God evident,

As truth shines above.

Words are forgotten,

But feelings remain;

How we are treated,

Oft’ love’s greatest gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to demonstrate love through the truth of our actions, not just in words. Thank You for the powerful example set before us by so many who have chosen to sacrifice to protect. Forgive us for taking their sacrifice for granted, as we enjoy our freedoms every minute of each day. Father, quicken our hearts to remember to pray for Your protection, peace, presence and blessings over each man and woman who has served or is currently serving. Show us how to love all those around us with actions and in truth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ultimate sacrifice that You made on our behalf, so that we could have a relationship with You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

This is my command: Love each other. – John 15:17

Selected to Serve

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. – (Philippians 2:5-7, ERV)

And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet He gave no thought to seizing equality with God as His supreme prize. Instead He emptied Himself of His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! – (Philippians 2:5-7, TPT)

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of how we ought to relate to one another. He let go of who He was so that He could love all in a way that was tangible and approachable. Heaven came to earth and walked among us. The Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, set down His deity to become like us, so that we might understand what love means. Jesus did not come as a king demanding to rule, but rather as one who served and loved, helped and healed, touched and taught. By serving in love, Jesus influenced the hearts of humans for all of eternity. We are called to do the same. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may love and serve with the same mindset that Christ has for us.

 

How vast is the love, Healed Hands Reach Out

That set throne aside;

To be made like man,

Deity denied?

And O so much more,

Jesus came and gave;

He taught, lived and loved

Healed, sacrificed, saved.

O how the Lord loves,

Still unto this day;

Contending for us,

To walk in His way.

We are also called,

To choose do the same;

To love and to serve,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus. Thank You Jesus for the example You lived, and for Your ongoing help through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You showed us what it looks like to serve and love. Forgive us for not following the example that You are calling us to walk out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose loving kindness, regardless of what we receive. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to walk in Your ways and do Your will, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7

Wise Words and Hard Work are Worthwhile

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Words spoken wisely result in much good, and working with your hands pays a large reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, VOICE)

 

What we say and what we do have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Hard work and well-chosen words bring blessings, as we reap what we sow. When we give good, good is returned. Kindness begets kindness and hard work wields wages by which we can live. As my family continues to prepare for the upcoming wedding and move, the truth of these words is made evident. Yesterday, I let my boys know that there was yardwork that needed to be done at the new house. Additionally, I let them know how much I appreciated their willingness to jump in and work, and that their efforts would be rewarded at the end, if the job was seen through to completion. Encouragement was extended to each of them as we worked, and neither young man complained, but rather worked steadily and with determination to get their given job done. In a few short hours, the front, back and side yard were vastly improved. My guys were rewarded for the work of their hands, and good things came as I had chosen my words carefully. May we ever be mindful of the words that we speak and choose to work as if unto the Lord.

 

Good things come our way,

From well-chosen words;

For we’re rewarded,

When wisdom is heard.

And likewise we reap,

Whatever we sow;

The work of our hands,

Bring reward, we know.

So, let us in word,

And work that we do;

Do as unto God,

From Love’s point of view.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that our words and our work have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Thank You that You strengthen and empower us to choose our words wisely and to work as unto You as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we speak without thought or slack on the work that we are called to complete. Teach us to trust You and seek You for the strength we need to continue all that to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us with our words and through hard work. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose our words wisely and work as if we are working for You. Amen.

 

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

 

Do your work, and be happy to do it. Work as though it is the Lord you are serving, not just an earthly master. – Ephesians 6:7

Take Delight

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Enjoy the Lord, and He will give what your heart asks. – (Psalm 37:4, CEB)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

 

God is so good. As we seek and serve Him, our desires are shaped by who we are becoming in Him, and He shows us in ways beyond what we could hope or imagine, how He will give us the very things that we are hoping for in His Name. As my fiancé and I are preparing for our wedding in July, we have begun the process of searching for a home that will accommodate he and his son and me and my two boys. It is a challenging task to find a space that meets the needs of three teenage boys, two adults, several vehicles, and the need for space to spread out, as the personalities of each need room of our own. Additionally, we would love a space that has room to welcome others into our home to share a meal, come and visit from out-of-state (as we both have extended family far away), and space to decompress from the hurried pace that is required in both of our jobs. Yesterday, we were shown our dream home. It fulfilled everything on our wish list and more. The price was higher than we had hoped, and we did not think it would be feasible until we went back, sat down, and really analyzed numbers on paper. We both were in awe as we ran the numbers and discovered that as two heads of household merged into one, we would indeed be able to afford the home we desired most without overextending ourselves. God continues to remind me that as I delight in Him, He will bless me with the desires that He has placed in my heart. The hopes and dreams that my heart holds are not simply random thoughts that came out of nowhere, but rather they are things birthed and nurtured within my design, intentionally. May we ever delight in the Lord and seek to serve Him, as He is the One who gives us what our hearts desire most.

Asking for Amazing Answers

Delight in the Lord,

For He is the One;

Who knows our heart’s cry,

As each day is done.

The more that we seek,

The Lord and His will;

Our hopes shall align,

And dreams be fulfilled.

For when He’s our joy,

Desires come from Him;

Blessings are bestowed,

Both outside and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You give us the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You love to bless Your children. Thank You for the incredible ways that You move beyond what we could hope or imagine, and that the hopes and dreams that dwell within us come from You. Forgive us for our doubts or for thinking that anything is impossible for You. Teach us to trust You more, and to place our hopes, dreams and desires in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and courage and joy in the wait between the dream and the fulfillment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You and give all glory to You as You bless us with the very things our hearts are longing for. Amen.

 

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Working On Our Why

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

What a perfect reminder on a Monday following a long, holiday weekend. This final push prior to Christmas, takes some serious digging deep. However, it is so good to remember Who we are ultimately working for – in all things, all that we do should be unto the Lord. If we keep that in proper perspective, there is an urgency in our call to action as we rise and return to work this morning. Whatever our job or position, we are called with purpose, and have things to accomplish unto Him. No matter what we do, we can work as unto the Lord. If it is teaching, be it with kindness and grace; if it is serving or helping or leading, let patience and goodness reign – in all things, whatever we do, may His love be evident as we commit ourselves to working as unto Him.

 

May we choose to work, Generous Giving

In all that we do;

As unto the Lord,

So His love shines through.

When heart and soul,

Are in what we do;

Our best is put forth,

And grace is renewed.

In everything,

Our best for the Lord;

So His love light shines,

And peace is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminders of truth that You give us in Your word. Thank You that ultimately, we are not working for people, but rather unto You. Forgive us for approaching anything that we do with an attitude that is less than our best. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do all things as unto You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we do, unto You, giving our very best. 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

Loyal to Listen

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, NLT)

You must only follow the Lord your God. Respect Him. Obey His commands and do what He tells you. Serve the Lord your God and never leave Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, ERV)

Remain loyal to Him! Fear Him and obey His commands. Listen to His voice. Worship Him alone. Be fervently devoted to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, VOICE)

 

We are called to love God and love people. If all that we say and do is filtered through the lens of that love, then we are being obedient to God and serving Him according to His commands. In order to love well, we must listen to His voice, and spend intentional time with Him. Just as we cannot possibly know a friend, family member or potential life partner without intentional time spent together, the same is true with the Lord. To walk in His ways and give proper praise, we need to know whom we serve. Let us seek the Lord with intention, so that we may know His voice and walk in His ways, serving Him alone, for all of our days.

 

Let us choose to serve, Anxious for Answers

Our great God alone;

Obey His commands,

Make our heart His home.

As we hear His voice,

And cling to His word;

Devotion’s made known,

As love’s felt and heard.

So, cling to the Lord,

Fear our God alone;

He’s ever faithful,

Choose Love as your own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God to whom we can cling. Thank You that when we are faithful to You, Your presence is with us and will never leave us. Thank You that as we are called to walk in Your way and do Your will, You equip and strengthen us to do that which You ask. Forgive us for lacking trust to go forward in that which You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey, clinging to You, as You are trustworthy and our Source in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, so that all might rise up and move in the direction for which they have been created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow and obey You for all of our days. 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

Joining Together

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Hope Overflowing

I pray that God, the Source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

 

Though this is my prayer for all, it is lifted intentionally for my pastors and their family today, as this will be their final Sunday serving our church family. They are leaving to answer a calling that is clear only in the where, but not particularly certain as to what it will entail. Their hearts to serve and obey have been transparent and exemplars of true servant leaders, as they have been raw and real about the struggle to walk out this new path, as their hearts are so securely planted here. Sorrow, anticipation and uncertainty surround this transition for all. Not one of us is sure of what the “new” will look like, but we all have the assurance that God has not orchestrated this by accident. We have the hope that He has good things in store for each of us, and in Him, we can find joy and peace as we choose trust, despite our despair over our losses. May the God of all hope fill you completely with joy and peace as you trust in Him, and may you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

In uncertainty,hope-overflowing

The sweet Prince of Peace;

Fills us with His hope,

And joy He’ll release.

As we trust in Him,

Confidence shall rise;

And hope overflows,

His Spirit supplies.

Let us place our trust,

Where all grace is found;

And boldly go forth,

As His hope abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You, You fill us with Your joy and peace, and provide hope in abundance so that it will flow from us by Your Spirit. Thank You for the gift that You have given me and so many through Pastors Jon and Wendy and their family. Please fill them completely with Your joy and peace because they trust in You. May they overflow with confident hope by Your Spirit to all whom they encounter in their new community. Bless them as they are such a blessing to others. Forgive us for not trusting You enough. Teach us to trust as You alone are trustworthy. Fill us with Your joy and peace so that we may pass the same on to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely, and in turn overflow with the confident hope that we receive by the power of Your Holy Spirit. 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

Freedom to Love

For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

 

When we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we are set free from the bonds of sin. No longer are we enslaved to our sinful selves, but rather we are forgiven and granted the freedom to move forward as Christ is calling us to move. This freedom is not our ticket to do whatever we please, but instead, to seek to do that which pleases the Lord. In Christ, there is nothing that hinders us from loving and serving those around us, and as we do, we are living our lives as God intended. May we rise up in freedom from our former selves, and seek to love and serve all those whom God places on our path.

 

Where we were once trapped,butterflies

Enslaved by our sin;

In Christ we’re set free,

Made right from within.

The freedom we gain,

To love and to serve;

Offering our thanks,

For life undeserved.

As we extend love,

Others may too see;

The goodness of God,

And how love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have freedom. Thank You that our freedom is not to do whatever we want, but rather we are set free from our former sinful selves, and granted the strength and grace to go forth and love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Forgive us for abusing the freedom that we have been granted, and teach us to trust You more so that we would walk in Your ways and live in the light of Your truth. Show us how to love and serve others, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the freedom that You have granted, and go forth to serve one another in love. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19