Love Covers

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)

One who seeks love conceals an offense, but one who repeats it divides friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, CEB)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Choosing to love and forgive when others hurt or offend us through their mistakes, preserves the friendship. Sometimes love needs to talk to the offender, however repeating what transpired to others only deepens the divide. If we do not walk in love with those around us, we will be hurt and offended often. We must assume positive intent, and go directly and gently to the source when we cannot clarify without conversation. Loving relationships last because love seeks to understand, rather than holding the offense and discussing it with others. Sometimes, wise counsel is needed to understand. In such cases, it is a confidential working through what transpired with the intent to make reparations, rather than being bent on returning harm. There are times when what has developed has destroyed trust and created a need for safe distance, yet even then, our charge is to walk in forgiveness and not speak ill of the one who has done harm. May we ever seek the heart of God, who in His very nature, loves and forgives us, so that we too may go forth in love and forgiveness, giving thanks for the gift of others whom He has placed in our lives.

 

Let love lead the way,

dsc078507199877344294618322.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

No matter what comes;

Seek to understand,

Like the Holy One.

For the Lord forgives,

Though it’s undeserved;

Such love leads to change,

And friendships preserved.

Don’t speak ill of those,

Who’ve made a mistake;

Choose love as they learn,

Preventing heartache.

For we too will fail,

Do things that cause hurt;

As we receive grace,

Love makes us alert.

Alert to others,

With grace to forgive;

Let’s love as we’re loved,

In His peace we’ll live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that gives grace and forgiveness when we fall short. Thank You that we are called to love in the same way, as no relationship would last without grace. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the harm caused by the words or deeds of others. Teach us to rely on You to give us Your grace to love through the hurt. Show us how to walk in love in a way that seeks to understand, forgive and love well, without conditions. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your forgiveness and grace, seeking to understand rather that holding onto hurts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we overlook the mistakes of others with love, knowing that all fall short and need grace. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Pardon Brings Peace

God blesses those who are merciful, for they are shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, CEB)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

Mercy is an incredible gift that is given to us from God. The very definition of mercy, is compassionate kindness, favor and forgiveness that is undeserved; pardon when punishment is warranted. As recipients of God’s tender mercy, we ought to be quick to extend the same to those who “offend” us. Sadly, in our broken humanity, often our first thought is retaliation or revenge. It takes an intentional act of our will to choose to seek the Lord and His help, to extend mercy to those whom we feel deserve punishment. A great example of Jesus demonstrating mercy, was to the woman who was caught in an adulterous act, and an entire squad of Pharisees were ready to stone her for her crime. Jesus, spoke to the men, and told them that whomever was without sin, should go ahead and throw the first stone. One by one, they all eventually walked away. Soon, it was just she and Jesus standing there. Rather than casting stones, as He was indeed without sin, He extended mercy and told her to “go and sin no more.” Can you imagine the impact that His act of mercy had on the woman who was likely prepared to die that day? Though public stoning is not such a concern in society today, our sins, mistakes and missteps can weigh just as heavily on our hearts. When someone extends mercy when we deserve otherwise, the impact is powerful and long lasting. May we go forth with hearts full of grace, ready to extend mercy to those who need it most.

 

Those who give mercy, Pardon Brings Peace

Are given the same;

God grants full pardon,

And removes all shame.

For He forgives us,

As we choose forgive;

So hold not a grudge,

Be free, in peace live.

Merciful are blessed,

With hearts full of joy;

True pardon is known,

And peace is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first show Your mercy to us while we are yet sinners. Thank You that You forgive, though we do not deserve forgiveness. Thank You that mercy is a choice that we can decide to extend with Your help, regardless of what we feel. Forgive us for the times that we should have been merciful and were not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give mercy to others, just as mercy has been given to us. Show us how to love in a way that is compassionate and kind, with favor and forgiveness, even to those who do not “deserve” it. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we show mercy to others, just as we are shown mercy by You. 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

Grace Unearned

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. – (Romans 11:6, NLT)

And if He chose them by grace, then it is not what they have done that made them His people. If they could be made His people by what they did, His gift of grace would not really be a gift. – (Romans 11:6, ERV)

Grace is central in God’s action here, and it has nothing to do with deeds prescribed by the law. If it did, grace would not be grace. – (Romans 11:6, VOICE)

 

God’s grace at first glance, seems to be a paradox, as how could He possibly give such undeserved goodness and love to a sinner, such as myself. That is the amazing thing about His grace, He gives to the undeserving, and loves without limits. Each time I am made aware of His goodness and grace, I recognize just how incredible His love is for me, despite all of my flaws and failures. Yes, I love Him and long to serve Him, but I am a work in progress, and am far from having “arrived“. Perhaps that is the point. As we recognize our own shortcomings and see how His goodness is complete, we are ever aware of our need for Him in our lives. May we rise up in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and grace, and give Him thanks for the gifts that we’re given, though we deserve them not.

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness to us. Thank You that it is not given for good works that we do to somehow earn it, but rather You give grace out of the abundance of Your love for us. Thank You that it is free and undeserved, reminding us that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we either take Your grace for granted, or try to somehow earn our way into a good space before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is motivated by our love for You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they too, will long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You freely give, and praise You for who You are. 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

Freedom to Love

For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

 

When we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we are set free from the bonds of sin. No longer are we enslaved to our sinful selves, but rather we are forgiven and granted the freedom to move forward as Christ is calling us to move. This freedom is not our ticket to do whatever we please, but instead, to seek to do that which pleases the Lord. In Christ, there is nothing that hinders us from loving and serving those around us, and as we do, we are living our lives as God intended. May we rise up in freedom from our former selves, and seek to love and serve all those whom God places on our path.

 

Where we were once trapped,butterflies

Enslaved by our sin;

In Christ we’re set free,

Made right from within.

The freedom we gain,

To love and to serve;

Offering our thanks,

For life undeserved.

As we extend love,

Others may too see;

The goodness of God,

And how love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have freedom. Thank You that our freedom is not to do whatever we want, but rather we are set free from our former sinful selves, and granted the strength and grace to go forth and love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Forgive us for abusing the freedom that we have been granted, and teach us to trust You more so that we would walk in Your ways and live in the light of Your truth. Show us how to love and serve others, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the freedom that You have granted, and go forth to serve one another in love. 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

He Calms the Storms

Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:39, ERV)

He got up, shouted words into the wind, and commanded the waves. “That’s enough! Be still!” And immediately the wind died down to nothing, the waves stopped. – (Mark 4:39, VOICE)

 

Just as Jesus commanded the physical storm to be still as the disciples were attempting to cross to the shore, He will calm the storm in us as we seek to move in the direction to which we are called. It takes but a whisper from His Spirit, and all that is unsettled, suddenly becomes calm. The peace of God can come and comfort us, even when all that is around us is in turmoil or simply does not make sense. His love and comfort, though undeserved, always bring peace to a troubled heart. He who can calm the water and the wind with but a word, can settle the storm within us as well. God is good, and His faithfulness is unending, regardless of what we are experiencing in our own present circumstance. May we seek our Savior who can calm our storms within, and trust Him to bring peace in the places where the waves are overwhelming.

 

Be still my heart Lord,Sense in Storms

from all that’s within;

the wind and the waves,

that I’ve allowed in.

The trembling and fear,

where the unknown dwells;

please speak to it now,

so all shall be still.

It takes but a word,

spoken in Your love;

to settle the storm,

and trust You above.

There’s nothing on Earth,

nor anywhere else;

anyone can run,

to find peace themselves.

Please lead us Lord God,

through storms and in peace;

so we will seek You,

and our faith increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only can You calm the storms that surround us with but a word, but You can calm the storms within us and grant us Your peace. Thank You that there are times that the storms continue to rage on, but You whisper to our hearts and we are granted Your peace in spite of the storm. Forgive us for not seeking You, as You are the way to find rest and hope and peace where there seems to be none. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your peace, even in the eye of the storm. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be Your instruments of peace when they are in the throes of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to calm the storms within us, no matter what we see. 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

 

Believe Instead of Striving

Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One He sent.” – (John 6:29, ERV)

God wants us to trust and believe in His one and only Son with all that we are, rather than complete some check list of accomplishments. When we are fully invested in faith in Christ, we are compelled to love and serve as He did. Our motivation for what we do, matters. If we are working to somehow try to earn God’s favor, we are toiling in vain. Anything God wants accomplished, He can do with a thought or a word. His ways are so much higher than our ways. However, if we believe in Him with our whole being, and love Him with all that we are, we cannot help but long to serve Him and do whatever He calls us to do. Acting in love is a far different scenario than obligation or fear. May we rise up and take inventory of what we are doing today. If our to do list is merely to appease or earn favor, let our hearts be changed so that we are motivated purely by His love, and a heart to serve Him and all whom He has created.

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You want from us is our whole heart – our trust and our belief. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make Yourself tangible and approachable, to a world lost and desperately in need of Your grace. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves, and raise us up to who You call us to be, if we choose to seek and trust in You. Forgive us for our attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in You. Teach us to trust in You, and allow You to do the transforming of us, so that we can go forth and be used by You to touch lives and transform communities. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe with all that we are, in the One You sent. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Appealing for Approval

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

When we try to win the approval of men, we eventually end up disappointed. However, if we are seeking God’s approval, our goal shall be accomplished simply in the seeking. God does not expect us to get it all right, rather He asks that we seek Him whole-heartedly, and live a life in pursuit of Him and His will for our lives. His grace greets us where we fall short, and His love leads us along the path that He has prepared for us. In Christ, even our disappointments can become appointments that are used for His glory. Where we have failed or life has knocked us down, may be the very places that God is preparing us to encourage another in the same position. In Christ, all things can be worked together for the good of those who love Him. May we spend our days seeking the Lord and serving Him, rather than concerning ourselves with capturing the attention or affection of those around us.

 

Seek not approval,Appealing for Approval

the pleasing of men;

the search is fruitless,

and it never ends.

Rather seek the Lord,

with a heart to serve;

His grace abundant,

and love undeserved.

The Lord, He approves,

the moment we seek;

though we come weary,

scarred, broken and weak.

His arms open wide,

He turns lives around;

beauty for ashes,

the lost become found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we are meant to serve You. Thank You that when we seek You, You are pleased, and You love us as we come. Thank You that even our brokenness can become blessings when placed in Your hands, as You often use what we see as ugliness or weakness as opportunity to encourage another in a similar space. Forgive us for trying to please people rather than You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times. Help us to find our identity and value in You alone. Lead us to love others unhindered by our own scars, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve You with all that we are. 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

To Bear Fruit

Early in the morning, as He was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. – (Matthew 21:18-19)

 

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree? He, who was without sin, would not simply act out in anger. Instead, Jesus was showing an illustration to His disciples as to how He viewed religion without substance. Though the fig tree had looked good from a distance, upon closer inspection, it was found to bear no fruit. Similarly, if our lives appear to be aligned just so at first glance, yet have no genuine investment in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot simply settle. How is our heart behind what we do? Are we seeking to serve out of faith, as an act of worship; or are we trying to jump through hoops to be enough? “If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s kingdom.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

Let our lives speak,To Bear Fruit

may we each be found;

bearing good fruit,

with a faith that’s sound.

Our hearts ready,

to seek and to serve;

to give God’s grace,

when it’s undeserved.

May love be shown,

to the lonely, lost;

joy to lowly,

Christ covered the cost.

Peace to chaos,

kindness to the gruff;

goodness to worn,

He’s faithful enough.

Be gentle still,

when violence erupts;

use self-control,

let Christ lift us up.

It’s by our love,

that others might know;

that God is good,

so let His light show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are much more interested in our hearts, than how things appear. Thank You that You want all of us, not just our time or our sense of duty. Thank You that as we whole-heartedly bring You our lives, You cultivate good fruit that helps nourish others. Forgive us for not exposing every branch and root, and help us to allow You to trim away, anything that prevents good fruit from growing in our lives. May we bear fruit that lasts, and may hearts turn toward You as we seek to serve You with our whole heart. Be glorified as we go forth in genuine faith. 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