To Give as We’re Given

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

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Our Story, His Glory

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. – (Philippians 1:29, NLT)

God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. – (Philippians 1:29, ERV)

 

At first read, this verse does not seem all that encouraging. Who wants to suffer? And suffering as an honor? Eesh… However, the more I think about it, the more I can see present day application in our area. Currently, in the U.S., there are few examples of people suffering for their faith. That being said, there are those who are in the midst of trials and tragedies that cling closely to Christ. The way in which they hold fast to their faith is a witness to all who know their story. I know I stand in awe when I hear stories of Christians who stand their ground in countries where people are persecuted for their faith. Additionally, I am amazed by the resilience and perseverance of people in the midst of personal pain who cling to Christ with all that they have. When we go through trials of any kind and choose to trust in the Lord, and allow our faith to flavor everything we do, people cannot help but notice and wonder why. God uses our circumstances to draw others unto Himself. It is in the throes of trials that we discover how great God is, and the hope we have in Him. As we come to grasp with certainty the hope we hold, others cannot help but desire what we have. May we recognize the privilege we have to walk out our lives in faith, and trust Christ in all things so that we might bring glory unto Him.

 

We have been given,Being Made New

Privilege in Christ;

In times of blessing,

And when it’s not nice.

For how we choose trust,

In good and in pain;

Will show to the world,

The hope in His Name.

So let us hold fast,

And give God glory;

As we choose to trust,

Him for our story.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to trust You in all things. Thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your grace, strength, presence and peace in times of suffering. Thank You that You can use our suffering for Your glory. Forgive us for wanting to hide away in our suffering, rather than to rise up and move forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Author of our story, and You have prepared the perfect ending. Show us how to love people well through their seasons of blessing and of suffering, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, allowing You glory for whatever happens in our story. 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

Obey the Impossible

So Moses did as he was told… – (Numbers 20:9a, NLT)

 

Despite the seemingly impossible and at times, absurd, Moses did as the Lord asked. As he did, God moved miraculously to provide for the people. In this particular passage, when Moses struck a rock with his staff, enough fresh water to satisfy all of the people and their livestock in the middle of the desert flowed forth.

There were times that Moses wrestled with obeying the things that God had asked of him, and as a result, he at times, missed out on the fullness of what the Father had for him. The same holds true for us. God does not ask us to do the seemingly impossible or apparently absurd, just to isolate and let us suffer. Rather He calls us to trust so that we might see the mighty move of His hand on our behalf, if only we will trust and allow Him to be God. When we do that which He has called us to do, His provision and purpose present themselves in phenomenal ways. However, when we do not move where we are called, we miss out on what He has prepared. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and then in faith, do as He asks so that we may know the fullness of the Father’s goodness and grace.

 

So often the times,Be Transformed 1

That we’re called to move;

Seem impossible,

Yet His strength shall prove.

In Christ, no mountain,

Shall stand in the way;

When we trust in Him,

There’s strength to obey.

In obedience,

Miracles take place;

God goes before us,

And grants us His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need and more, to walk in obedience to that which we are called. Thank You that You make the impossible, possible in You. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to hold fast to the promises of Your presence and provision to all who place their trust in You alone. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see the hope that is found in You alone through how we care for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and obey all that You say, even when it seems completely impossible. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

Our Source in the Struggles

Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18)

 

Christ suffered pain and faced temptations and trials. He knows our struggles, as He too, faced them when He walked the earth. Because He knows what we endure, He also knows what we need to overcome that which stands before us. When hardships and temptations come, Christ is the one who is able to provide the strength and endurance necessary to navigate, as He understands and is able to help. May we run to Jesus, our strength and our supply, whenever struggles come our way; for He is our help and our hope.

 

Through trials on earth,Healed Hands Reach Out

He was tempted, scorned;

yet He overcame,

His righteousness worn.

Because He has faced,

all kinds of trials;

He’s our source of help,

through life’s many miles.

So run to Jesus,

our strength and supply;

our help and our hope,

He’ll never deny.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly sent Your Son to suffer and die on our behalf, so that we would not only be able to endure temptations and trials, but have life eternal in You. Jesus, thank You for enduring all things so that You would know how to be our strength and supply, loving us as You laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for attempting to stand strong on our own, or for forgetting all that You endured so that You would truly know and understand what we are facing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will run to You in all things and at all times. Lead us to lean on You. May we love others as You love us, and let those who are looking, come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your help in every circumstance that we endure. Amen.

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

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

The Comfort of Christ

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV)

 

Not all pain and suffering are bad. Often our pain has a purpose. The very comfort that we receive from Christ, grows in us a compassion and empathy for others who suffer in a similar way. God can use our experiences to express His goodness through us, as we are able to listen and understand others in a way that those who have not experienced similar suffering could not. May we embrace His goodness and grace in our times of trial and trouble, so that we may be equipped to offer comfort and compassion to those who experience similar trials one day.

 

God is our comfort,The Comfort of Christ

through trial and pain;

when troubles do come,

His presence is plain.

Look for His goodness,

despite suffering;

kindness extended,

Love’s true offering.

Just past our trials,

Christ often brings due;

a chance to extend,

how He loved us through.

Embrace His goodness,

regardless of pain;

trust in His purpose,

allow Him to reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, and that You comfort us when troubles come so that we too, can comfort others as we have been comforted by You. Forgive us for thinking that there could not possibly be a purpose in our pain or trials, and help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You. Thank You that even in the midst of our suffering, You provide Your peace, Your presence, and tangible evidence of Your love for us. Help us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, allowing You to speak through our places of pain to touch lives for Your glory. May many come to know of Your loving kindness, and come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we trust You to be our comfort, so we too, can comfort others. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Above All Else – Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

– (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth. The point Paul was driving home, is that no spiritual gift is of any value, if it is not utilized in love. If the purpose for our actions (our exercising of our spiritual gifts) is not to build up the body as we love the Lord, there is no point. It is love that makes the gifts that God gives, useful. His love is available to everyone. Though we all have different gifts, we all have the same God, who loves each of us with His everlasting, sacrificial, unconditional love. We cannot earn it, we must choose to receive that which is available before us. As we choose His love, we are supplied to love others as He loves us.

 

If we speak out,Above All Else Love

but have not love;

the sound’s in vain,

not for God above.

If we foretell,

what God reveals;

yet have not love,

its value’s repealed.

If we give all,

to them with none;

yet have not love,

our reward is done.

If we suffer,

for the Lord’s sake;

yet have not love,

it’s all a mistake.

All that we do,

all that is done;

must be in love,

unto everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You give us and value love. Thank You that the gifts You give us to encourage and build up the body, are only meant to be used if they are fueled by Your love. Thank You that it is Your love that makes our actions and gifts useful, and that Your love is available to all of us. Forgive us for thinking that we don’t have enough to offer, or for doing anything that was not fueled by Your love. Teach us to trust You completely, and let Your love lead us in everything that we say and do. May many come to know Your great love, as we love others as You love us. Be glorified as we love, above all else. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Patient Endurance

Any time there is repetition in scripture, I tend to take notice.  This morning, is no exception.  In reading Revelation 10-14, in between the intensity of angels and trumpets, dragon and beast, witnesses and warriors, a woman and child, the Lamb and the ensuing end, to name just a hint at the happenings – one sentence repeats both in Revelation 13:10b, and again, in Revelation 14:12.

“This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” – (13:10b)

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – (14:12)

Patient endurance is the God-given ability to suffer without yielding.  This comes as an impartation granted to the people of God – those who choose to faithfully follow Him.  It does not mean that only the “holier than thou” will endure to the end, but rather those who embrace the grace that He gives, and are intentional to earnestly seek Him.  He is faithful and just, and honors the hearts that call on His Name.

When trials come,

and temptations play;Patient Endurance

call on His Name,

and steadfast you’ll stay.

For He will grant,

all that we shall need;

to in Him endure,

evil’s frenzied feed.

We are each called,

to be faithful, true;

He will remain,

when trials ensue.

Don’t trust in sight,

but instead, in Him;

the world may fade,

His light never dims.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to model patient endurance and faithfulness.  Despite persecution, trouble, trials, and ultimately death on the cross, He patiently endured, never yielding to the temptation to claim His rightful power and authority, for He came to fulfill the purpose You had placed before Him, and He was faithful to endure to the end.  Thank You Jesus, for not only showing us the way, but for sending Your Holy Spirit, so that we are never on our own when we need Your wisdom and strength.  Forgive us for taking lightly the magnitude of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf, so that we might approach Your throne of grace, and enter into an eternal relationship with You.  Help us to live in such a way, that we honor You and all that You have done.  May many come to know Your saving grace as we live our lives in love, just as You have loved us.  We lift up all those who are currently patiently enduring suffering for the sake of Your Name.  Please strengthen and encourage each one, and grant them favor with their captors.  Grant them freedom soon, I pray.  All glory and honor to You.  Amen.

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

Called to Love

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf we long to follow,

the greatest command;

it is all about love,

for God and for man.

We are called to love God,

with heart, strength and soul;

and love well our neighbors,

our worship made whole.

This love is not showy,

it is kind; sincere;

all glory points to Christ,

His presence so near.

May our every action,

line up with belief;

even when no one sees,

let love bring relief.

To live our lives for Christ,

an eternal gain;

those who deny the truth,

suffer senseless pain.

So let us rise up, church,

be people who love;

may the difference they see,

reflect God above.

(Responding to Mark 12:29-31, 38-40)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that You created us to give and receive love. Thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model how we might love with all of our heart, soul and strength; and how to love our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us for not loving as You love. Remove any wrong motive in us, and help us to love with pure hearts, expecting nothing in return. Teach us to rely on You for our filling, as You alone can satisfy the empty spaces within us. Lead us to love well, even when no one sees. Thank You that the only opinion of us that matters, is Yours. Thank You that You already love us beyond what we can fathom, just as we are, yet love us enough that You are willing to walk beside us in all things, so that we may more clearly be reflections of You. May many come to know Your saving grace through our obedient outpouring of Your love. Amen.

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

We truly are made to love. Enjoy Made To Love, by Toby Mac. (Click the title in green.)