Real Love

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Real love is that which comes from God. Before we even knew Him, He loved us. His love is so great that He chose to make the way for what had been fractured by our own sinfulness to be restored through the sending of His one and only Son. As we believe and receive the mercy and grace that God grants to all who seek Him, we grow in our own capacity to love as we are loved. May we ever remember the magnitude of His mercy that we have been shown, so that we might go forth and give grace as God has given to us.

 

The love of our God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Abundant in grace;

As He loved us first,

So we’d find our way.

The way to seek God,

Is open, secure;

Through His precious Son,

Our hope is made sure.

Remember the truth,

That God first loved us;

Forgiveness is ours,

When we trust Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real love comes from You, as You loved us so much that You sent Your Son so that our broken relationship with You could be restored. Forgive us for allowing anything or anyone other than You to set the standard for what love truly is meant to be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we allow Your love to surround and shape us into who You are calling us to become. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that many may come to see the truth of Your love. May hearts be stirred and lives be changed forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and go forth to love others likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

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To Honor the Dream

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)

Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

You shall not take revenge nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor (acquaintance, associate, companion) as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, AMP)

 

Historically, there have been many groups of people that have had reason to hold a grudge for the wrongs done against them, yet for change to occur, the right to revenge had to be released, and love had to prevail. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a phenomenal example of choosing love, despite his circumstances. Dr. King found ways to bring truth in love, and fight for change through peace. Hate was not his motivation, but rather a heart of love. As a husband, father, minister, leader and spokesperson for civil rights, he let his faith shape the way in which he lived and loved. His words, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”, still remind us of the way in which we ought to choose to live. Be it an acquaintance, an associate, or a companion, may we choose to stick with love; for it is the very way in which we are called to live.

 

The only true way, mlk

To find peace at last;

Is to stick with love,

Let go of the past.

When we choose forgive,

Our hearts are set free;

The burden of hate,

Is far too heavy.

May we stick with love,

And choose to redeem;

Value all people,

And honor the dream.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to rise up and stick with love, despite the barriers and difficulties that have stood before them. Thank You that when we choose love, You move mightily among us. Forgive us for the times that we have held grudges rather than chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stick with love, and not allow the weight of hate to destroy that which You intend for good. Show us how to love every acquaintance, associate and companion as You would have us love ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. May your peace prevail, and love win where hate has tried to reign. Be glorified O God, as we choose love again and again, knowing that You will use every decision of love to bring the dream to further fulfillment. 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

Friends Sharpen Each Other

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

To Be Equipped

May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever. Amen. – (Hebrews 13:21, NLT) 

 

As our team continues to prepare for Saturday’s departure for Belize, it is my prayer that the words of Hebrews 13:21 would be felt tangibly for each of us. Just as it requires careful and thoughtful preparation and organization to fit all that we need for our time in Belize into one hiking backpack, so too does it require intentional time with our Heavenly Father to prepare our hearts for all that He intends to do in us and through us while we are there. May we each be equipped to do His will as we seek Him with our whole heart. For every good thing that is pleasing to Him, comes from the power of His Spirit at work within us.  

 

Prepare our hearts, Lord, To Be Equipped

Equip us anew; 

To rise up in faith, 

Where You call us to. 

It’s by Your power, 

That we can do good; 

All that is pleasing, 

Your grace understood. 

Shape us and mold us, 

By Your mighty hands; 

To serve with our hearts, 

And fulfill Your plans. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us with all we need to do Your will, if we come to You and depend on You. Thank You that through Your power in us, You produce good things that are pleasing unto You. Forgive us for trying to go our own way, or attempting to do things in our own strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow Your power to produce in us, that which is pleasing to You. Show us how to walk out this journey in a way that demonstrates Your amazing love to the people of Belize and to each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. All glory to You, God, forever and ever. Amen. 

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Obey Without Delay

Immediate obedience is what the Lord asks of us, but so often, it takes a bit of time to either wrap our heads around what exactly it is that He is asking, or to find the faith to step out and do that which we are being called to do.

 

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and His mother,” the angel said…”because Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, His mother. (Matthew 2:13-14, NLT)

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel…” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and His mother. (Matthew 2:19-21, NLT)

Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for a region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth… (Matthew 2:22b-23a, NLT)

 

Joseph is acknowledged for his obedience to marry Mary, despite what was perceived. He listened to the angel of the Lord, and did what was right in the eyes of God. That being said, I’ve never given much thought to the steps of obedience that he carefully took after the birth of Jesus. I wonder if he had been so eternally changed by his initial visit by an angel, that he was on constant standby to hear the instructions of the Lord, as he was well aware of the significance of his role in raising the Son of God? Joseph was human and he had a free will. He did not have to obey what was asked of him, but he did – and he did so immediately. His decisions had an impact on all of history. God guided him, but Joseph chose to obey.

 

How often are we in such circumstances? Though we are not raising the Son of God, what if we are raising the next leader of a church, a city, an organization or a nation? What we do matters. Our obedience has the capacity to shape not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. We never really know the significance of our decisions, until long after they have been made. May we listen well for His voice, and choose to step out in obedience as soon as we hear what He is asking. Let the Lord be our strength, courage and light, as we move in the direction that He calls us to go.

 

When God speaks to us,

do we choose obey?Break Camp and Move Out

Does our heart move now,

or wait one more day?

What is the impact,

of obedience?

It’s not about us,

nor our convenience.

Our one decision,

could open the way;

for His light to shine,

on the darkest day.

Our obedience,

matters a great deal;

for God uses us,

to show that He’s real.

Let hearts be open,

and ears set to hear;

may we choose obey,

without pause or fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples in Your word of those who boldly and without hesitation, obeyed that which You asked of them. Thank You too, that it is clear why it was necessary for obedience to be immediate. Thank You that You speak to our hearts, and we need simply to listen to know what we are to do and where we are to go. Forgive us for our hesitation and delay to those things that we know You are asking of us. Grow in us a faith that says “Yes and Amen” immediately, to whatever we hear You asking. Show us how to love others in a way that makes Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and then take steps of obedience as soon as we know what we have heard. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Living a Legacy Life

Yesterday, the task to which I charged my students, was for each one to select a “legacy” word for the year. The word that they choose is to be accompanied by a symbol or image that represents that word to them, and each card with word and image will be posted on a designated wall in my classroom. Our discussions throughout the day about what a legacy is, were rich and rewarding. These 7th graders understand the value in passing something down to those who come after them. Additionally, each of them desires to achieve their highest potential, both this year, and in life. The goals and dreams held in the hearts of young people are truly inspiring.

It is good to have something to pass down to your grandchildren. But wealth hidden away by sinners will be given to those who live right. – (Proverbs 13:22)

What we pass on to the next generation and beyond, matters. If we share wisdom and insight that steers them in the right direction, and leads them on the path of righteousness, hope, light and life will lie before them. However, if we shatter dreams and shut down the hopes that kids hold in their hearts, we may be missing out on a promising leader, artist, doctor, inventor, discoverer, or the like. Our wealth is not just monetary. Our time, our heart, our concern, our love, our energy – kids need adults who care to invest in their lives. If a child knows that at least one grown up in their world is for them, they are more confident to move toward their dreams. May we share the wealth that we have, with those who will follow in our footsteps – be it our time, experience, wisdom or resources. Let us make the choice to be a champion for every child.

Living legacy,Living a Legacy Life

is a choice to make;

how to be recalled,

despite our mistakes.

Do we choose rise up,

and try, try again;

or do we choose fold,

give up and give in?

How we choose respond,

matters very much;

young ones are watching,

our words, deeds and such.

We shape their thinking,

of what’s right and wrong;

we model respect,

and how to belong.

Let’s make the right choice,

be a champion;

instead of limits,

kids see dreams begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the privilege and the responsibility of caring for the next generation. Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but rather You equip and empower us with You grace, goodness and love, to care well for all whom we are given charge. Thank You that You intentionally create each individual with gifts and talents that are waiting to be discovered. Forgive us for not seeking to find those hidden treasures in every human, and teach us to see people through Your eyes. Help us to trust You in us as we are placed positions where we are desperately in need of You. Lead us to love and care for kids well, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Show us how to leave a legacy of faithfulness in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You in all that we do, and leave a legacy of loving You and people well. 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

Obedience Leads to Peace

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Paul was speaking to the Philippians, as he was emphasizing how imperative it is to actually act in obedience to that which they were learning about the Lord. We cannot simply read the Word, listen to great sermons, or talk about how great God is, but rather we have to allow what we have heard, learned and received to shape whatever we do. Every word, thought and deed are opportunities to put into practice that which we have received. As we walk in obedience to what the Lord has shown us, His peace is present, and our path becomes more clear. May we embrace all that we learn, receive, hear and see that is of the Lord on this day, and then take it and put it into practice; and may His perfect peace be with us as we go.

 

Let His words we hear,Breaking Free from Barriers

dive deep in our hearts;

and may we embrace,

each God given start.

As we read His word,

may we become changed;

allowing Him room,

to clean, rearrange.

Each word from the Lord,

that we know we hear;

help us to obey,

and draw ever near.

In our going forth,

may the God of peace;

make His presence known,

and wisdom increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You teach us, give us and show us who You are, and how You want us to live. Thank You that as we choose You and Your ways, Your peace is present with us. Forgive us for not placing into practice what we know to be Your will and Your way, and teach us to trust You more so that we will live out our lives in the way in which we know that You are calling us to live. Help obedience to be our immediate response to what we hear You say. Lead us to love others in a way that they may see You through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we take what we learn, receive and see from You, and put it into practice through obedience. 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

May We Sharpen One Another

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – (Proverbs 27:17)

 

When we keep good company, we are challenged to be the best versions of ourselves. As we actively engage in sharing life together, we are better able to see things with new clarity, refine what may have been askew, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape what was being whispered, into brilliant insights. This can only take place if we are willing to engage in deep discussions where we can be honest and challenge each other, setting our egos aside. When we are able to receive critique of thought without making it about us as a thinker, the friends who engage in such conversations, sharpen one another. May we invest in the relationships that allow us to sharpen one another, so that we may be refined and ready to go forth as the best version of ourselves.

 

Let company kept,Keep Careful Watch

among those who bring;

out the very best,

in everything.

Those who are honest,

no matter the cost;

words spoken in love,

so we won’t be lost.

May we do the same,

as we walk beside;

sharpen each other,

allowing Lord guide.

Invest with wisdom,

seek the Lord, always;

heed His instruction,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that You give us one another to sharpen and refine each other to more clearly reflect Your character. Forgive us for allowing anyone who has intentions that are not good to gain a voice into our lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may clearly hear whom we are to engage in a “sharpening” with, and who we are to simply show kindness, but not allow their voice to penetrate the walls of our heart. Grant us discernment and wisdom, I pray. Lead us to love well, so that we may be Your instruments that help sharpen others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen one another in our mutual pursuit of You. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

As Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – (Proverbs 27:17)

 

Good company helps sharpen our character. As we spend time with one another sharing ideas, discussing insight, and challenging each other, God utilizes conversation to shape and refine us. The sharper we are, the more effective we become for His purpose in and through us. We ought not shy away from passionate discussions with safe people, but rather check our egos at the door and allow the Holy Spirit to do the speaking to our hearts and minds. May we all find friendships that help sharpen us further for God’s glory.

 

Iron meets iron,As Iron Sharpens Iron

and sparks, they may fly;

yet through the process,

impurities die.

The strengths, they rise up,

and soon they are seen;

as it is with us,

exchanges between.

We’re called to relate,

one to another;

bound as believers,

sisters and brothers.

May we safely speak,

and truly be heard;

sharpen each other,

speak truth from His word.

Let go of ego,

be set free from pride;

allow God to work,

He’ll refine inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You change us from the inside out to more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Thank You that You utilize each of us with one another, so that we may sharpen each other to be more effective for You. Forgive us for our egos that get in the way, or for our fears that keep us silent. Lead us to safe friendships where we can sharpen each other with the truth and insight You infuse into our hearts. May many come to know the gift of Your saving grace, as we go forth, sharpened by one another. Be glorified, Lord God. 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