Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

The Reality of Rest

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1)

Rest is a remarkable thing.  Our soul craves it, yet rest does not always come from idleness; sometimes it comes from contact with others – from being surrounded by others who are like-minded in their pursuit of God.  This weekend has been all about connecting with other women, sisters, from my church, as we are on retreat.  Though I have not physically rested much, nor slept anymore than usual, my soul feels rested and new life is being birthed within me again.  Places that were weary and worn, are being restored, as God has used others to speak His truth into my life.  Likewise, He is further equipping and preparing each of us, to go out and do the same for others.  May we each find rest for our soul through our precious Savior, as our salvation comes from Him alone.

Find rest, O my soul,Hearts of Thanks

in the Lord alone;

for there is none like,

Him who makes heart home.

Our sweet salvation,

is promised in Him;

if our heart’s open,

inviting Him in.

For our weary souls,

there is rest to find;

as sisters gather,

with purpose in mind.

With hearts for the Lord,

and for each other;

refreshment is found,

thanks to our Father.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our souls find rest in You.  Thank You that You made the way for salvation for all who place their trust in You.  Thank You that when we are weary and in need of rest, You alone, know what that rest should look like for us, individually.  Thank You for the sweet blessing of community in the body of Christ.  Thank You that You have created us for relationships.  Forgive us for the times that we are weary and we isolate ourselves, rather than seeking You and one another.  Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the One who brings refreshment to the weariest of souls.  Lead us to love and refresh those around us, so that they too, may come to know the salvation that is found in You alone.  May many choose to give their lives to You.  Be glorified O God, as we find rest in You, our Savior and King.  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

Hold My Hand

Just as many of us were blessed with mothers who took us by the hand when we were afraid as little children and walked us into the new and the unknown that was frightening, so too, will God do for us now.

 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Though my mom is a mighty woman in whom Christ dwells, my God is far greater. He sees me as His daughter, and will not hesitate to take hold of my hand and lead me through the scary spaces that I am called to walk.

 

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3)

 

The Lord is our help and our hope, and His intent for us is not to stay stuck in fear. He calls us to look to Him, and allow Him to hold our hand and lead us in His strength into the trials where terror once reigned. God is greater than anything that we face, and His strength is mightier than any weapons formed against us. We need not be afraid, when we place our trust in Christ. May we go forth this day celebrating the strength that God has placed in His daughters; as birth mothers, adoptive mothers, spiritual mothers, and those ladies who love others well, as they have released fear, and simply chosen to love, just as the Lord has called them to do.

 

Take me by the hand,mother and child

when I am afraid;

for You are my help,

I’ll not be dismayed.

I will choose to trust,

in Your strength, not mine;

for You are the Lord,

most holy, divine.

Thank You for the ones,

whom You’ve given us;

the mothers who’ve shown,

the heart of Jesus.

Help me too, to walk,

with a heart like Yours;

so fear melts away,

and Your strength endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who takes hold of our hand and tells us to not be afraid. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that when we trust in You, we need not fear. Thank You for the precious gift of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and wonderful women that You have blessed us with to demonstrate Your strength in action. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stay stuck in fear, and help us to extend our hearts and hands to You, as You are our help and our hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response is to reach for You. Lead us to love others well, just as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we take hold of Your hand and trust Your help to walk us through the fearful places, in Your strength. 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

Love One Another Well

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are My followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

 

Christ has commanded us to live differently than the world. People should know there is something different about us, before we have even so much as whispered a single word. We are called to love. How we love each other, speaks volumes. When we are truly walking according to the calling of Christ, His love for others ought to be evident through us, in all that we say and do. May we love well, just as He has loved us.

 

The Lord, He commands,The Look of Love 2

us love each other;

sister to sister,

brother to brother.

We are called to love,

just as Jesus gave;

Who spent His whole life,

from cradle to grave.

Words that encourage,

feet willing to go;

hands ready to serve,

heart learning to grow.

May we each be known,

not for accolades;

instead by the love,

that we freely gave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t just command us to love one another, but You love us, and show us how to love. Thank You that when we love, You allow Your light to shine through us, so that others may see You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not love others well, nor reflect You through what we say and do. Help us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You in all things and at all times, so that our response is rooted in Your love. May many come to know the glorious gift of Your lavish love this Holy season. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to love one another, just as You have loved us. Amen.

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

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

When Love Came Down

As we have traveled through the season of Advent, my pastor has taught a series on the attributes of God, which He imparts to us, as a gift through the sending of His Son.  The four weeks have covered, peace, hope, joy, and finally yesterday, love.

Jesus, is God’s gift of love to us, as He sent us His one and only Son.  (1 John 4:9-10)  The love of God is so great, that it covers us with the commitment of His very life.  His love is agape – love that genuinely and exclusively seeks the good of others, rather than one that might expect something in return.  Christ’s love was so vast, that He set aside the robes of majesty, and took on the role of a man, so that we might know love. (paraphrasing Pastor Jon McIntosh)

In John 13:1-12, Jesus shows the full extent of His love for the disciples, as He takes on the role of the lowliest of servants, and kneels to wash the filth from the feet of His friends.  The washing of another’s feet, would have made the one who was washing, completely unclean.  Feet were filthy, and to touch them, would have been a wretched violation of plenty of purity laws.  Jesus was modeling to the men that it matters not what it takes, when we love, we must be willing to set aside ourselves, and serve.  His serving, left the disciples cleansed and refreshed, despite personal cost.

Philippians 2:5-8  encourages us to have the attitude of a servant, just as was seen through Christ.  The love described in Philippians, is humble and obedient to God, willing to love with His very life.  Such love is unshakeable, and will remain forever.  (See also: Isaiah 54:10, Romans 8:38-39)

And Love came down,When Love Came Down

so the world might know;

the height and depth,

of love truly shown.

Love seeks not self,

records not the wrongs;

is patient, kind,

fills hearts with sweet songs.

Where there is Love,

peace too, shall be found;

for where Christ dwells,

all goodness abounds.

Love seeks to serve,

do unto others;

cares for each one,

as sisters, brothers.

Love will endure,

forever, always;

none can remove,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to us so that we might know Love.  Thank You that we set aside this season to remember the blessed birth, the arrival of God with us.  Forgive us for allowing anything to distract or taint the significance of this season, and help us to hold fast to that which truly matters.  May we learn to love as You loved, and be Your hands and heart to those who are hurting this Christmas.  May many come to know the limitlessness of Your everlasting love this season.  May our every attitude and action be as You would have us do, and may our every offering be pleasing unto You.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

*Scripture references taken from yesterdays sermon at http://www.gcfw.org

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