Love is an Active Choice

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

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Wise Words and Hard Work are Worthwhile

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Words spoken wisely result in much good, and working with your hands pays a large reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, VOICE)

 

What we say and what we do have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Hard work and well-chosen words bring blessings, as we reap what we sow. When we give good, good is returned. Kindness begets kindness and hard work wields wages by which we can live. As my family continues to prepare for the upcoming wedding and move, the truth of these words is made evident. Yesterday, I let my boys know that there was yardwork that needed to be done at the new house. Additionally, I let them know how much I appreciated their willingness to jump in and work, and that their efforts would be rewarded at the end, if the job was seen through to completion. Encouragement was extended to each of them as we worked, and neither young man complained, but rather worked steadily and with determination to get their given job done. In a few short hours, the front, back and side yard were vastly improved. My guys were rewarded for the work of their hands, and good things came as I had chosen my words carefully. May we ever be mindful of the words that we speak and choose to work as if unto the Lord.

 

Good things come our way,

From well-chosen words;

For we’re rewarded,

When wisdom is heard.

And likewise we reap,

Whatever we sow;

The work of our hands,

Bring reward, we know.

So, let us in word,

And work that we do;

Do as unto God,

From Love’s point of view.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that our words and our work have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Thank You that You strengthen and empower us to choose our words wisely and to work as unto You as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we speak without thought or slack on the work that we are called to complete. Teach us to trust You and seek You for the strength we need to continue all that to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us with our words and through hard work. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose our words wisely and work as if we are working for You. Amen.

 

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

 

Do your work, and be happy to do it. Work as though it is the Lord you are serving, not just an earthly master. – Ephesians 6:7

The Skies Speak of His Splendor

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Some of the many blessings found in living in the Pacific Northwest, include the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges out in plain sight, the glistening waters of the Puget Sound, and the plentiful places of green found in the woods, as the forests and parks are still abundant in our area. Each time I catch a sunrise making its debut over Mt. Rainier as I drive into work, I am reminded of the incredible work of God’s hands that are all around me. In the evening, as the sun fades in a flame of orange against the purple sky atop the waters of the Sound, and the first stars begin to make their appearance, the tale of God’s glory is being told. Reminders of His goodness and glory are all around us, as is the evidence of His intentional and overwhelming love. May we take the time to recognize the tale of God’s splendor being told and give Him all thanks and praise for the goodness of His love.

 

The heavens declare, Breaking Free from Barriers

The glory of God;

Announcing His work,

Worthy of applaud.

The sun and the moon,

The stars in the sky;

Hand-crafted in love,

As each testify.

They show God’s glory,

The work of His hands;

Hand-crafted in love,

So we’d understand.

All of creation,

And all that draws breath;

Made by the Father,

To bring life from death.

Let’s look all around,

See with heart and eyes;

Beauty created,

Glory recognized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the beauty You have created all around us declares Your glory and the work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking pause to stand in awe of all that You have made, as Your craftsmanship tells the story of Your incredible love and intentional design for each one of us. Teach us to slow down and appreciate the work of Your hands, as the beauty of Your creation is all around us. Show us how to love and encourage those with whom we interact, so that they too, may come to understand the purpose and precision with which they were created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the incredible work of Your hands that is all around us and in each one of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Do As We Want Done

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and the Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG)

This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you. – (Matthew 7:12, VOICE)

 

When I am angry, frustrated or fed-up, I tend to still speak as calmly and as kindly as possible. Students are often baffled by this phenomenon, as they recognize that their behaviors and choices might warrant a different response. I think that I give what I would like to see returned, and that the truth of God’s word has deep roots that have a way of reeling in my response so that I reply much more gently than I would have done otherwise. This is not to say that I have perfected this method of interacting with others, yet it is a priority to try to choose love, even when what is given is far from it. On most occasions, kindness disarms the heat others are holding when it is extended, despite their own anger that is spewing out. In my own moments of frustration, the times that I have been met with loving kindness, those were the very examples that squelched the flame and left me looking at the real reason my circumstance was upsetting. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness to fill us up, so that we may go forth and give to others what we would like given to us.

 

In all that we do, Do As We Want Done

Let love lead the way;

Choose give to others,

At home, work and play.

For we are all called,

Do as we want done;

How we treat others,

Leads to battles won.

For goodness given,

Squelches anger’s heat;

Love that’s extended,

Brings hatred’s defeat.

So, choose to love well,

Do as we want done;

This is obeying,

Scripture’s rule-of-thumb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You treat us with loving kindness; always. Thank You that You call us to do for others what we would like done unto us. Forgive us for not responding in a way that we would want to receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we give to others what we would like to be given, regardless of what we think they deserve. Thank You that You give us mercy and grace, though we are not deserving. Help us to do the same. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we desire to be loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do unto others what we would want done unto us, in everything and every circumstance. 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

The Power of Gentleness

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)

 

People will typically meet us in tone and sentiment as we interact with one another. Even when a person is having a rough day, and kindness is far from the forefront of their mind, as kind words and gentleness are extended, the same seem to easily flow in reply. I have found, on many occasions, just how much truth these words hold. When I choose to respond to someone who is angry with gentle, softly spoken words, most often, the heat of their anger is diffused. However, when I respond from a space of my own frustration and meet their anger with my own, the intensity of the flame burns all the hotter and goes from heated to volatile. May we seek the One who always answers us gently with love, so that we may go forth and do the same.

 

May we choose answer, Gods protection

Forever with grace;

For each choice of love,

Is living God’s way.

Those who are angry,

Need answers of peace;

Gentleness given,

Grants fury’s release.

Tenderness given,

Will turn away rage;

For love overcomes,

The toughest of days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your gentleness diffuses our frustration and anger, and in You, we can do the same for others. Forgive us for the times that we have met fury with words that only fueled the fire of frustration rather than diffused. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend tender words that offer hope and help, no matter how we feel. Show us how to love others well in all situations and circumstances so that Your heart may be heard and Your love may be felt. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to extend gentleness and to speak words softly, especially when those around us are heated and in need of Your tenderness. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

Quiet Faithful Work

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NIV)

Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Mind your own business, and earn your own living, as we told you before. If you do these things, then those who are not believers will respect the way you live. And you will not have to depend on others for what you need. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, ERV)

Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, MSG)

 

When we are peaceful and faithful to do what we are called and designed to do each day, people notice a difference and respect the way we live. We are not called to judge or determine the path another person is meant to take, but rather we are to love them where they are, as they are, and allow God to be God. May we ever pursue a quiet life of loving God and loving people as we go about our days doing the job to which we have been called and equipped to do.

 

Lord, help me to live,

A life led in peace;

Where love is the aim,

And control’s released.

Faith to Listen

Show me how to work,

Each day unto You;

Doing all I can,

To honor the truth.

Let how I choose live,

Gain other’s respect;

So that they desire,

With You to connect.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love for each of us. Thank You that You call us to live a life of peace, working as if unto You. Thank You that as we do, people notice You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not stay calm or choose to do things without considering those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our peace in all that we do, and that You would equip us to work daily, as unto You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they recognize Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work as unto You in peace. 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

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Rendering Reconciliation

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I met with a student who often struggles to make good choices behaviorally and academically in the classroom for our one-on-one reading conference, I was reminded of how much truth lies in the words of this verse. As we began, he did an excellent job of explaining what he had learned in the book he had read, and then easily defined words from the vocabulary list. Throughout our meeting together, I praised and encouraged him, as I let him know how impressed I was with his hard work and reminded him how much I believed in his ability to do well each time he invested himself in whatever task the class was being asked to take on. Seemingly out of nowhere, his gaze dropped to the floor, and tears silently began to slide down his cheeks. In disbelief, I sat there for a moment, unsure of what I was meant to do. After taking a moment, I encouraged him a bit more and then asked him if there was anything that I could do to help. He shook his head “no”, so I followed with the question, “I can see that things are pretty tough right now. Do you have hope that they will get better?” He nodded his head up and down and accepted the tissue I offered. Our brief exchange reminded me yet again, just how much kind words matter. May we ever seek the Lord for His guidance to fill us with the words that others need to hear most that are sweet to hear and bring healing to places that are hurting.

 

Kind words do matter, Patient Acceptance

Far more than we know;

They heal the hurting,

And help goodness grow.

Sweet, just like honey,

Such help to the soul;

A salve for our wounds,

As His mercy flows.

Let us choose kindness,

With words that we say;

Healing can happen,

When Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word that You continue to show us again and again in tangible ways. Thank You that kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to the body. Forgive me for the times that kind words were not the first thought to come to mind or that which escaped my lips. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would listen to Your leading and speak the words that You would have me say. Show me how to love others well with my words, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend kind words to others in such a way, that healing comes to the recipient. Amen.

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Promise to Save

“For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, NLT)

I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, CEB)

For I am with you to save you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, ESV)

 

When I am with people and my mind is occupied, I am in a reasonably good space, considering I am not allowed to do the very things I long to do the most. However, in the quiet moments, when I am alone, I find fear and anxiety try to find a foothold, as I become acutely aware of my own mortality and the potentially ticking time bomb that is currently calling a vein deep in my calf, home. I know that not one of us knows the number of our days, nor have we been given any sort of guarantee nor shelf life. However, I do know that this verse in Jeremiah is a great reminder this morning, as God is with me, and He will save me from this season in His time. For whatever reason, it is a road that I have to currently walk. I do not know if it is to learn patience, perseverance, or to simply be shown in an even greater capacity, how He remains present through all things. Whatever the reason, I will keep fixing my eyes on the reality that He is with me and that He is present to save. May we set our hearts and minds on the truth and trust in the Lord who is mighty to save.

 

Allow not the fear, Ready to Rescue

To find a way in;

For God is present,

He fights from within.

Ready to rescue,

The Lord’s ever near;

Let anxiousness go,

As He calms all fear.

Rise up in His strength,

Keep moving, be brave;

For God is with us,

He’s mighty to save.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and You save us. Thank You that Your presence preserves and strengthens us as we keep pressing forward. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety over the unknown, as lack of faith fuels these things. Teach us to trust You more, for You have promised to be with us, always. Show us how to hold fast to Your promised presence, so that we will walk boldly into all that You ask of us. Lead us to love others in Your strength, so that we would encourage and support those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and Your promise to save. 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

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