The Character of God

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15, NIV)

My Lord, you are a kind and merciful God. You are patient, loyal, and full of love. – (Psalm 86:15, ERV)

But Lord, your nurturing love is tender and gentle. You are slow to get angry yet so swift to show your faithful love. You are full of abounding grace and truth. – (Psalm 86:15, TPT)

 

Last evening, after a bonus dinner date night and a few games of Cribbage, the Viking and I began watching The Shack. I had read the book years ago and had loved it, so I was eagerly anticipating the movie version for comparison. What I loved most about the portion of the movie we have gotten through so far (we have about an hour to go), is that they did an excellent job of portraying the nature of God. All of the attributes listed in the various translations of the Bible above, came through in the character who played God. Compassion and grace, kindness and mercy, were clearly conveyed through a tender, gentle and nurturing love. The character of God was one whom was approachable, and could love and soften even the hardest of hearts. Though it is a human interpretation of the heavenly realm, it grants us a great reminder of the depth and breadth of His love for us all. May we ever seek the Lord, who is kind and merciful, patient, loyal, and full of love.

 

Tender and gentle, The Shack

Ever rich in love;

Full of compassion,

The Lord God above.

Slow to be angered,

And quick to forgive;

A heart that knows us,

With goodness to give.

May we ever seek,

The Lord God above;

For He’s always near,

With arms full of love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving, kind and compassionate; slow to anger and full of grace. Thank You that You are gentle and nurturing, and that You answer all who seek You. Forgive us for our distorted perception of who You are, and show Yourself to us so that we better understand who You are and how You love. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants kindness, compassion, gentleness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek to know You more, so that we may become more like You. Amen.

 

 

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

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. – Genesis 1:31a

Honor Captivates Kindness

Like a parent feels compassion for their children – that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor Him. – (Psalm 103:13, CEB)

As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor Him. – (Psalm 103:13, GNT)

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. – (Psalm 103:13, NLT)

 

As the One who spoke the world into existence, God deserves all honor and reverence, for all things are subject to His might. Incredibly, as we walk in awe and recognize the power present in our Creator and Savior, He has kindness, compassion and tenderness for us. Just as a good earthly father is both fiercely protective of His children and also deeply loves them with kindness and compassion; God loves us perfectly, despite our imperfections. May we stand in awe of the One who gives us light and life and love and seek to honor Him in all that we say and do, extending kindness and compassion, just as He lovingly lavishes upon us.

 

Just as a parent,wp-15291591867885875988528188491956.jpg

Loves deeply each child;

So too does the Lord,

His grace reconciles.

As we choose to trust,

Seek to honor Him;

The Lord’s tenderness,

Finds way to come in.

God’s great compassion,

Abundant for all;

Who ask in His Name,

Seek answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind, tender and compassionate to us as we seek to honor You and are in awe of who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not honored You with our words or deeds. Teach us how to live life in response to the lavish love that You have given, so that we would ever pursue a path that honors You. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in reverent awe of who You are and all that You have done, giving thanks for Your kindness and compassion toward us. 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

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Right Word at the Right Time

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

The right words at the right time are a gift from God that come when we are sensitive to His leading and choosing to love. There is joy in it for both the speaker and the hearer, and peace in knowing that what has been spoken has been done from a heart that has His very best in mind. So often, God will use those around us to convey that which He wants us to hear. A word of encouragement, correction, exhortation or affirmation – each is well received when it is delivered in love at the time that it is needed most. May we have hearts that are tender and ears that are open, so we are willing to speak what He places in our hearts, and hear that which is spoken for our benefit.

 

May we each find joy, Watching Our Words

In knowing what’s right;

Through words that we speak,

And hear with delight.

For God knows our need,

He longs to lift up;

Grant us words to speak,

That fill others cups.

And in the same way,

God gives unto us;

Words that encourage,

Hope when we’re hopeless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your heart in all that we do, You provide the answers that we seek. Thank You that You give us the right words to speak at the right time when we depend on You for wisdom. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or ignoring words of wisdom spoken unto us. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide the answers that we are seeking, if only we slow down and listen for Your voice. Show us how to love those around us well, and give us the words that encourage and build them up, and point them to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your voice and speak what You place on our hearts so that there may be joy in the answers that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people… – Psalm 85:8

 

 

The Kiss of Honesty

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Good That Overcomes

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, MSG)

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, NLT)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

 

Though a seemingly simple concept, it is often difficult to carry out. Humans have a natural inclination to seek justice when we have been “wronged“. When someone intends us harm, the last thing we want to do, is extend kindness or grace. Jesus was the ultimate example of not allowing evil to overcome Him; for even as He hung on the cross He cried out for the forgiveness of those who placed Him there, rather than for their destruction. Most of us struggle to not use ugly words when we are cut off in traffic. I had a friend growing up that used to yell, “Bless you, in Jesus Name!“, each time someone cut him off or did something stupid on the highway that could have potentially caused harm while driving. When I asked him about it, he replied that it was a way to begin to train his heart to do good, even when he wanted otherwise. He intentionally chose words that were for good, rather than for harm, even if the tone did not yet match. Granted, I know that traffic violations are hardly comparable to gross acts of evil, but if we are able to do good with the small things, perhaps our hearts will be tender and receptive as God asks us to choose to overcome evil with good in the larger things later on. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom and strength, so that evil may not get the best of us and we can rise up and do the good He asks of us.

 

Flying Butterfly

Do not let evil,

Get the best of you;

For it’s overcome,

By good that we choose.

God provides the strength,

To rise and do well;

As we move in grace,

We overcome hell.

Evil cannot stand,

Where grace and love flow;

Let’s keep doing good,

So all may come know.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that evil can be defeated when we choose to do good in Your Name. Thank You that this is not something that we have to attempt to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to do, so that we may overcome the darkness that would attempt to destroy us. Forgive us for thinking that we have to fight alone, or for allowing the darkness around us to overwhelm us, rather than looking to the light within. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You alone can overcome anything that would try to get the best of us. Show us how to love those around us, so that we would be light in dark places and do the good that overcomes that which attempts to destroy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we conquer evil by doing the good that You call us to do. 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

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

A Homecoming to Celebrate

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. 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

A New Heart

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

God promises to make our hearts new within us when we submit our lives to Him. All that has been hardened, unresponsive, and stubborn shall be made tender and filled with the love of the Lord. As He fills, we cannot help but respond, for the walls that once stood, begin to break away in the light of His lavish love. May we turn to the Lord and His loving kindness, allowing Him access to our whole heart. Let His love change us from the inside out, so that we might become beacons of hope for a world that needs to know there is hope in Him.

 

Oh Lord, change in me,Receive Life

My hard heart of stone;

Make my heart tender,

As Your love is shown.

Fill me with Your love,

So Your light may shine;

Lead me in Your ways,

Lord, Your will, not mine.

Help me to respond,

To all that You say;

Lead me and guide me,

Lord, show me the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new heart and place Your Spirit within us when we submit our lives to You. Thank You that You transform our hard and unresponsive hearts to ones that are tender and willing to do as You ask. Forgive us for our stubborn self-reliance. Teach us to turn to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with the same lavish love that You give so freely unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our hearts and our lives, trusting You to make us new and lead us where we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Remove the Barriers of Unbelief

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV)

 

Just as God promised these things to the faithful who were in exile, His words and promises remain true for us today. If we seek the Lord and follow His ways, He will remove the things within us that are barriers to believing and becoming all that He has for us. He calls us His own, and we are reminded and reassured that God is for us and making us new in Him. May we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and follow His ways in truth. Let every heart allow God to give us an undivided heart and a new spirit that is a reflection of His love.

 

For this hard old heart,Being Made New

Must choose seek the Lord;

In faithful pursuit,

His grace He affords.

He takes our hardness,

Replaces within;

Tender, full of love,

As new life begins.

We are His people,

And He is our God;

Hearts undivided,

As we choose respond.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You and choose to faithfully follow You, You give us an undivided heart and a new spirit within. Thank You that You remove the barriers in our hearts that keep us from fully following after You. Thank You that You call us Your people, and we in turn can call You our God. Forgive us for not carefully following Your leading, or for failing to trust in You. Remove the obstacles within us that keep us from fully trusting You. Show us how to love others with an undivided heart through Your Spirit within us, so they may seek to know You for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You so that we may follow Your every leading as Your people, and honor You, our great and loving God. Amen.

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

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