The Lens of Love

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, NLT)

God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, ERV)

God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans only see what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart. – (1 Samuel 16:7b, CEB)

 

I am so grateful that God sees beyond the exterior that we present to the world and gets to the heart of the matter. He sees faith, hope and love, even when the world cannot. God will take the smallest seed of good and grow it into something greater. People tend to notice faults, whereas God sees strength and beauty and potential in the glory of His created. The more we seek and depend on Him, the more we begin to see others through His eyes. May we pursue the Lord with our whole hearts so that we may see others through the lens of His love.

 

Judge not appearance, the-lens-of-love.jpg

Of all those you see;

But look at the heart,

And love lavishly.

For that which is seen,

It never will last;

Yet the heart God sees,

Created, steadfast.

Let’s look at others,

Through Love’s lavish lens;

To see true beauty,

And choose grace extend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not look at us the same way that people do. Thank You that You look past how things appear and get straight to the heart. You see and You know the heart of the matter, and You love us through it all. Thank You that Your love shows us how we are meant to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we judge people or circumstances based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You to learn the heart rather than superficial appearances. Show us how to see others through Your lens of love so that we can extend the same goodness and grace to others that we have so generously been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see others through Your lens of love. 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

Advertisements

No Fear of Bad News

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, NIV)

They will not be afraid of bad news. They are confident because they trust in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, ERV)

They won’t be frightened at bad news. Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I had a check back  appointment about my whole leg situation, I had a very emotional response to the words spoken. The prognosis given was a far longer recovery time than I had originally been told, and he did not pull any punches as he spoke of the gravity of the condition residing in my calf. Though tears did not fall at the time, they were threatening, and I am not a crier. Not sure what to do with my own spinning thoughts, I scooted out of the office as quickly as possible. As I drove home, I saw such a perfect representation of the verse above. On the road before me, there were dark, heavy storm clouds, yet at the base of them, there was light in the form of a rainbow. What it told me in the moment, was that even in the darkness, He promises to be present. Additionally, the song that was playing on the radio was incredibly timely too. Fear is a Liar, by Zach Williams flooded my heart as I took in the truth of what was unfolding before me. Still overwhelmed by everything, the dam burst as I finally processed what had taken place at my appointment, with my fiancé. After a few minutes of actually giving voice to my frustrations and fears, I was comforted and reminded anew that I was held in His hands. God is good even when our circumstances are not. He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. May we be confident in Him no matter what comes, as He is greater than anything that we will ever face.

 

When news comes my way, wp-1523626205021976056124.jpg

That is hard to take;

I’ll choose trust in God,

Light on darkest days.

For we need not fear,

No matter what comes;

Because God’s greater,

And He is not done.

Our heaps of ashes,

One day soon shall be;

Redeemed by His grace,

Turned into beauty.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to fear bad news, as You have us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for being fearful when news is not what we hope it will be and teach us to be steadfast in trusting You. Show us how to love those around us with confidence and grace, so that we may extend love in fearful and needed space. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are steadfast in trusting You and do not fear when bad news comes our way. Amen.

 

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

…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Established Peace

Lord, You have established peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – (Isaiah 26:12, NIV)

Lord, You have succeeded in doing everything we tried to do, so give us peace. – (Isaiah 26:12, ERV)

Eternal One, You are preparing peace for us; in fact, everything we have accomplished has come from You. – (Isaiah 26:12, VOICE)

 

Peace has already been established on our behalf; it is a matter of choosing to receive what the Lord freely offers and allowing it to take root rather than continue in the chaos that corrupts contentment and steals joy. No matter what is going on around us, peace is available within us. Emanuel means God with us, and His presence provides perfect peace, regardless of our circumstances. Each time that I find peace in places where chaos surrounds me, I am acutely aware of God’s goodness and grace, as He meets me in my need and provides His peace despite my circumstances. The Lord is willing to grant us peace in all things. May we ever seek our Savior and His perfect peace, recognizing the remarkable resilience He provides as we turn in trust to Him.

 

All that we have done, Established Peace

The good that’s in us;

Is because of You,

Our Savior, Jesus.

You establish peace,

Where chaos seems reign;

And bring us comfort,

To places of pain.

O Lord, You are light,

In each darkened space;

The depth of Your love,

Gives hope through Your grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You establish peace for us, and provide the strength and the grace to do any good that we have done. Thank You that You are with us, be it in chaos or calm. Forgive us for seeking peace and comfort anywhere other than in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide Your perfect peace in all things and at all times, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to those in chaos, and brings hope to those in despair. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your perfect peace that You establish for us, and gratitude for all that You have done in and through us. Amen.

 

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

 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Steady Our Restless Souls

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is. – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

 

Our hope is in God and His promises. Because His love does not waiver, our hope is secure and our souls have an anchor by which to stand steadfast. No more does a curtain separate us from the presence of God, but rather we are welcome and invited to come before our Maker, as Christ covers us and makes the way. Let us hold fast to the hope that is real and true, as we trust in the One who is our anchor, and He steadies our restless souls.

 

The hope that is real,

The Anchor for Our Soul

Is steady, secure;

It’s found in the Lord,

Our anchor assured.

When restless our souls,

Let Christ lead us back;

The goodness of God,

That keeps us on track.

For in His presence,

The restless find peace;

Our hope is restored,

And fears are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope in You is real and true, and that You are the anchor that steadies our restless souls. Thank You that there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You, because Jesus made the way for us to draw near. Forgive us for not seeking You to steady our restless souls when the weight of the world makes us weary. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember where our hope dwells, and bring all things before You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may see Your heart and hope through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold our hope in You – the One who is real and true, who steadies our restless souls. 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

Our Strength and Our Rescue

“They will fight against you but not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 1:19, NIV)

“They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken! – (Jeremiah 1:19, NLT)

Eventually, they will all give you trouble, but you will be safe. They will fight you, but they will not win. Remember, I am with you. I promise I will always deliver you. – (Jeremiah 1:19, VOICE)

 

Though these words were spoken by God to Jeremiah in a time of great turmoil, His promise still remains true for all who trust in Him. Trouble and trials will come our way, as it is part of living in a broken world. However, the Lord will be with us and will care for us, and will not allow us to be overcome if we place our trust in Him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so His word remains steadfast and secure. May we seek the Lord and place our trust in Him, knowing that He will be with us and will care for us in all things and at all times.

 

Opposition comes,Seeking Solace in the Storm

Fear not, it will fail;

When we trust in God,

His strength shall prevail.

For the Lord is good,

His promises true;

He will keep us close,

And carry us through.

Let all that draws breath,

Seek God and give praise;

For His faithfulness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and place our trust in You, You take care of us and rescue us from falling in the fight. Thank You that You are our strength and our supply, and that You promise to remain present as You walk us through whatever comes our way. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength and security when struggles come. Teach us to turn and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with the faithfulness and endurance that You give to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and our rescue in the midst of life’s storms. 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

Being Loved Well

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

 

As I sat down to write, after reflecting on my week, I am in awe as I recognize that I have been the recipient of not only Christ’s love, but people who love me well. Despite the busy and chaos that seem to accompany this season that I both teach and coach, I have been loved well in multiple ways in my world. At school, we kicked off a secret pal exchange among staff members. Not only was it a joy to select a surprise for a colleague, but I was blessed by the kindness of whomever treated me. A beautiful bouquet was delivered to me at work on Valentine’s Day, and I was overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and sweet sentiment that accompanied the card. My fellow coaching staff continues to step up and work together to coach our 135+ gymnasts well, and their kindness and encouragement to kids blesses my heart. Treasured friends remain steadfast, and grant ongoing love and support as I navigate my days. Last evening, I was swept away for a fancy dinner out, and treated like royalty. Both the words spoken and the actions shown, were tangible demonstrations of loving well. My heart is bursting because it has been filled to overflowing, and I am loved, just as I am called to do likewise. May we each embrace the grace that God so generously gives, and go forth in obedience and love each other well.

 

What a joy to see,being-loved-well

The tangible ways;

Where we are loved well,

Throughout all our days.

We’re not only called,

To go forth and love;

But He shows to us,

The hope from above.

Where we have been placed,

He often will show;

His love through others,

So we see and know.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all I’ve received;

Help me to love too,

So Your love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what love is through the hands and hearts of those who surround us. Thank You that You call and equip us to go and love likewise. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hear Your heart for those around us, and know how to love as we are loved. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to all whom we encounter, allowing Your light to shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You shower upon us with gratitude, and as we go forth and love others well. 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

He Won’t Take It Back

For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn. – (Romans 11:29, NLT)

God never changes His mind about the people He calls. He never decides to take back the blessings He has given them. – (Romans 11:29, ERV)

You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. – (Romans 11:29, VOICE)

 

When God calls us and equips us to do that which we are designed to do, He does not change His mind and ask us to change direction. As broken and fallible humans, we often interpret difficulties we face as either a change in His plan, or a removal of His equipping us to do that which we thought we had been called to do. God is not like man that He changes His mind. What He calls us to, He empowers and equips us to do – despite hardship and adversity. Our charge is to persevere and continue to trust Him, even when all that surrounds us no longer seems to make sense. His plans and His ways are far higher and greater than our own, so it doesn’t matter what we see, but rather what we believe that is essential. May we rise up and trust the Lord in all that He has called us to do; for He is for us and He will not remove the gifts that He has given to go forward, nor will He change His mind about us being a part of His plan.

 

The Lord is gracious,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Gifts given are good;

Granted for purpose,

His call, understood.

To all we are called,

He also equips;

Gives us what we need,

Trust relationship.

He’ll never take back,

Nor choose change His mind;

For what the Lord gives,

We always shall find.

Blessings flow freely,

Of His love and grace;

As we keep moving,

In this lifelong race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not like mankind – for You are not fickle nor foolish, and You do not change Your mind. Thank You that when You call us, You equip us, and You do not withdraw either the call nor the gifts granted to move forward, regardless of our decision to stand. Forgive us for our foolishness that would doubt You and the calling and gifts that You place in each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to move confidently in the direction to which You have called, trusting that You will walk beside us, lead and guide us, no matter what surrounds us or stands before us. Show us how to love others in the same way that we are loved by You, as Your loving kindness grants us the courage and strength necessary to keep moving in the direction to which we have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the steadfastness of all that You are and all that You give, as You remain the same both now and forever. 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

 

Gratitude is Not Conditional

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

Give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:18, VOICE)

 

Gratitude is the attitude that should be ever present among believers. Though our circumstances may be less than stellar sometimes, we have the assurance that our ultimate outcome will be far greater than we can even begin to imagine. This hope that we hold is reason enough to be thankful at all times, regardless of what we are going through. Additionally, even when we walk through our darkest times, we are never alone. Christ comes near and remains present, granting us further reason to be thankful in all things. May we give thanks with a grateful heart, not necessarily for what we are going through, but for He who walks beside us, and gives us help and hope and strength to get to the other side.

 

No matter what comes,The Benefit of Broken Barriers

give thanks to the Lord;

not for circumstance,

but hope He affords.

For all in this life,

is but a season;

hope is eternal,

our thanking reason.

Let every heart,

rise up and give praise;

not for what we see,

but for the Lord’s ways.

In each circumstance,

know that the Lord’s near;

each cry of our heart,

is heard by His ear.

Thanks be to the Lord,

for now and always;

in each circumstance,

let us choose to praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You goodness and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that when we belong to You, our hope is steadfast and secure forever. Forgive us for forgetting our reasons to give thanks in ALL things and at ALL times, despite the difficulties we endure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember our reasons to give You thanks and praise, even when the things around us are less than ideal. Show us how to love others in a way that offers hope and help in the midst of challenging seasons, so that they may see the light of Your hope in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give thanks to You no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, for You are ALWAYS worthy of our thanks and praise. Amen.

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

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

Wise Builders

“Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, ERV)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the wind beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, NLT)

 

The foundation on which we build our lives, matters. If we seek the Lord and pursue understanding as we walk in obedience to His ways, we establish the foundation of who we are in Him, who cannot be shaken. Though storms will come, as they inevitably do, when we are firmly rooted in Christ, even the scariest of storms may shake us, but it will not destroy us. He upholds us through the wind and waves, and grants us safety in the storm. Christ keeps us and cares for us, despite the seemingly destructive force around us. May we listen to His voice and obey all He asks, as His word and His way are the foundation that set our lives secure to withstand every storm.

 

True wisdom displayed,

is through how we build;The Word of God

our true foundation,

where our hearts get filled.

If we seek the Lord,

pursuing His ways;

we won’t be shaken,

on the stormy days.

For our God remains,

steadfast and secure;

true place of safety,

when all is unsure.

Let our hearts delight,

in Christ we can trust;

in Him we’ll remain,

marked as God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we build our lives listening and obeying You, we have a firm foundation that will not fall when the storms of life come our way. Thank You that You are God with us, when all is being tossed and turned about. Thank You that You keep us steady and secure, regardless of what is going on around us. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and fixing our gaze on the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the storm and recognize that it is simply another opportunity to see Your mighty power at work in us and around us as You lead us through it. Show us how to love others well, as they feel stranded in their own storms. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen and obey what You have to say, so that we establish a firm foundation in You. 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

Hope in Unchangeable Things

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. – (Hebrews 6:18, NLT)

 

What a remarkable blessing we hold in Christ. Whatever God has promised, He will do; for He does not lie. We can place all of our trust in Him to be our refuge and our source of strength. All confidence is ours in Christ, when we hold fast to the hope that lies before us in the promises present for both today and forever. Though people and circumstances change around us, the Lord is steadfast and remains the same yesterday, today and forever. There is such reassurance in knowing that the very same God who gave us life and breath and being, is He who will never leave us nor forsake us. His faithfulness knows no end. May we flee to our Redeemer to be our refuge, and rise up in confidence knowing that we can be certain of what is hoped for in Him.

 

God, He has given,Bold and Unhindered

both promise and oath;

unchangeable things,

with all hope to hold.

The Lord cannot lie,

He remains the same;

our place of refuge,

in His holy Name.

With great confidence,

we have hope to hold;

for what lies ahead,

as each day unfolds.

Let the God of grace,

fill our hearts and minds;

with the good He gives,

let us love mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us both Your promise and Your oath. Thank You that these are unchangeable things, because You do not change. Thank You that we can trust You to be our place of refuge and can hold fast to the hope that lies before us, because You alone are good. Forgive us for forgetting that You are not like man, and all that You say is worthy of all of our trust. Teach us to trust You and Your word with all that we are, so that we cling to the hope that we hold in You. Show us how to love others so that they too may find confidence in the hope to which we hold for all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our refuge, and hold tightly to the hope we have in You for all that lies ahead. 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