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

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Trust Completely

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Trust in the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5, ERV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5, MSG)

 

Trusting completely without interjecting our own slant on situations is far more challenging than it ought to be. So much of the struggle comes from a space of not wanting to wait for answers or some sort of forward momentum in circumstances that seem stuck.  So often, I tend to try to do something rather than just be still in the seeming quiet where I cannot see that which is or is not being done. What I discover each time that I finally slow down and give things to Him, is that He is my help and the solution. God provides the path through the pain and leads me where I am meant to be. May we ever choose to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding, for as we submit our ways to Him, He will show us where to go.

 

Let us trust the Lord, Compassion in Confrontations

With all of our heart;

Lean not on our own,

It’s no way to start.

For God is faithful,

To make our path straight;

If we choose seek Him,

In quietness, wait.

He will bring answers,

And make the way clear;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You with all that we are and know that You have us completely. Thank You that You lead us and guide us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see beyond the step directly in front of us. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith that takes our eyes off of You and has us attempting to power through things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to navigate every new path we need to take, no matter how the terrain appears. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength, encouragement and peace as they traverse new trails as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding. 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

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Givers of Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (1 Corinthians 1:3, NLT)

 

Yesterday was a perfect reminder of how abundantly God pours out His grace and peace when we are in need. So often, He uses the people around us to make His hands and heart for us tangible. Saturday evening, I was visiting dear friends and got blasted with the worst migraine of my life. Between the intensity of the pain in my head and the continuous vomiting, I was completely miserable. Rather than rush me home, these dear friends sacrificed their own comfort to tend to me through the night, despite multiple wake-ups to be ill, and made sure I was still hydrated enough to be safe. In the morning when I was brought home, my treasured friend asked if there was anything else I might need. It wasn’t long, and she was back again, just to be present so that I wouldn’t be home alone. Despite the pain, there was peace, as it was made tangible through the presence of one willing to be near. Additionally, I was supposed to be in the nursery at church yesterday morning, and could not move without being ill. I received a text asking if I was coming, and when I let her know that I had a migraine and was ill, I was again showered with grace. The few dear friends who heard of what was going on, checked in to see how I was doing, and my own boys were tender hearts as they made sure mom was okay throughout the day. All this to say that His grace and peace are true and tangible. I never cease to be amazed at how He demonstrates His loving kindness to us. May God our Father give you a fresh grace and peace today as you go.

 

The Lord of all grace,photo (16)

Is so good to give;

His hands and His heart,

Bring peace where we live.

He makes His heart known,

As His love surrounds;

Tangible friendships,

Where goodness abounds.

Oh what a treasure,

To know grace and peace;

Amazing blessings,

Through friends are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace and peace that You give to us. Thank You that You use the hands, hearts, and voices of those around us to show us in tangible ways, just how great Your love is for us. Thank You for the gift of treasured friends. Forgive us for not trusting You enough to slow down and seek You for the grace and peace that we so desperately need in the midst of our busy lives. Show us how to be grace givers and peace providers to all of those around us, so that we can love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace and peace that You so generously give, and then go forth and do likewise. Amen.

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

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

 

 

For Faith to Flourish

By faith, ordinary people have done extraordinary things throughout human history.  The size of their faith as each individual began, did not matter nearly as much as in Whom their faith was held.  As each one took the next obedient step, His faithfulness was there to meet them, encouraging them to press on and continue to forge forward and further move in faith.  “Faith is total dependence on God and a willingness to do His will.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 17:5,6)

In Luke 17, Jesus and the disciples are having a discussion about forgiveness.  When Jesus informed them of how often we are meant to forgive if a person repents and asks to be forgiven, the disciples then recognized their own need for more faith to do just that.  “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’  He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – (vs. 5-6) 

Though a mustard seed is tiny, it grows into one of the largest among plants, with deep roots and vast, far-reaching branches.  The same holds true with faith.  God will take a small speck of genuine faith in Him, and help it take root and grow.  We too, will gain deep roots and be far-reaching, if we whole-heartedly invest in Him.  As we allow Him to prune, water, and tend to the soil of our heart, we grow and take shape that becomes something beyond what we could have envisioned.  Before we even realize our own capacity to reach, He will utilize our faith to touch lives around us.  May we each choose to depend on Him and be willing to do His will.

For faith to grow,For Faith to Flourish

it is not on us;

but by His grace,

as we trust Jesus.

Lean into Him,

and not on our own;

He’ll show the way,

and make the path known.

Spend time with God,

and He will refine;

He shall increase,

so through us, He’ll shine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something we somehow must summon, but rather is what You grow and increase in us as we invest our time getting to know You more.  Thank You that as we depend on You and are willing to do Your will, You meet us where we are, and do far more than we could have imagined.  Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, as You are the God of ALL creation and are capable of ALL things.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to walk confidently in our faith in You.  Help us to love well, even those who are difficult to love; and may many come to see You, as we walk out our days in faithful surrender to You.  Be glorified, our faithful and loving Lord.  Amen.

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