Clothed in Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. – (Colossians 3:14, NLT)

Together with those things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG)

 

Some families are casual and some are formal as they gather for the holidays. However, the most lasting and lovely garment we can don on any given occasion, is that of love. Love breaks down barriers and brings people together in peace. Where tension once reigned, kindness comes in and conveys the calm that Christ intended. For some, the garment of love that we choose to wear, may be the only glimpse of goodness that exists in their environment. As one receives such love, they too are equipped to go and do likewise. May we begin each day by clothing ourselves with the love of Christ, so that we may go forth and love others as we have been loved.

 

The greatest garment, Clothed in Love

That we can choose wear;

Is that of God’s love,

He intends we share.

As we choose share love,

His peace enters in;

For harmony comes,

Where love is given.

No matter the day,

Event or reason;

Let’s dress up in love,

This lovely season.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your goodness and grace, You clothe us in Your love. Thank You that as we go forth in Your love, we are bound together in unity in You. Forgive us for not clothing ourselves in the love You give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to fill us and equip us so that we can love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clothe ourselves in Your everlasting love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

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Rise Up United

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

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

Bring Peace & Build Up

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

 

Though many things are permissible, they are not all beneficial to all. What is good to one, may be harmful for another. As we navigate, it is our responsibility to make decisions that will keep the peace among the body of Christ. If we know a sister or brother struggles with something that is a non-issue for us, it is best to not participate in their presence, lest they be tempted to fall back into old patterns. Instead, we are encouraged to choose the things that will build up the body of Christ. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – these are the things that we ought to focus on and put into practice. For what we have learned and received from God will be our peace. May we go forth this day making every effort to do that which leads to peace and builds up those around us, so that each of us may be encouraged to grow stronger in our faith.

 

As much as we can,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

let us strive for peace;

preferring others,

makes our faith increase.

We build others up,

when they’re kept in mind;

removing what tempts,

a way to be kind.

For our common goal,

should be unity;

together in peace,

for eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though many things are permissible, You care about how our choices impact those around us, and give us charge to choose in such a way that we build others up in their faith, rather than tempt them to either judge us or be tempted to do something that is not acceptable for them, individually. Thank You that if we listen, You will give us direction as to how to walk in a way that will bring peace and build up those around us. Forgive us for walking in the freedom we have been given with no consideration for those around us, or for seeing the freedom of others and perceiving that it is the same for us, rather than seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first in all things and at all times, listening for Your heart and direction as to what is beneficial for us, individually and corporately. Show us how to live and love in a way that leads to peace and builds up those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to do that which leads to peace, and do things that help grow one another stronger in our faith. Amen.

 

*(Whatever is true… -Philippians 4:8)

© 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

Unity, Liberty and Love

Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas. – (Romans 14:1, ERV)

 

There will always be differences of opinion among believers, as there are things that the Bible does not deem right nor wrong; and therefore each are a matter to be taken up individually, between God and man, personally. What is acceptable for one, may be off limits for another. Our charge is not to dispute our differing views, but rather to be accepted and handled with love. If each of us is acting according to our conscience (the leading of the Holy Spirit), then we are doing right in the eyes of the Lord – even if it is not the same as our sister or brother. “Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 14:1)

 

What the Bible clearly establishes, these are non-negotiables. The things that have not been clearly laid out nor established, for these we must trust each to walk in the wisdom and counsel that the Lord provides, so that we may maintain united as a body of believers. In all things, whether we stand in agreement or not, we are called to operate in love. May we accept one another in love, choosing our conversations with wisdom and grace. Let the Lord be our guide and example as to how we are to operate in unity, liberty and love.

 

For the Lord calls us,Intended for Obedience

to accept in love;

any uncertain,

of His law above.

For some things it’s clear,

God’s way is laid out;

yet still there are some,

we must pray about.

We’re not to argue,

with differing views;

in love, just listen,

God’s voice will ring true.

What is yes for one,

not for another;

we’re not meant to judge,

sisters and brothers.

Stand firm in the truth,

liberty in grey;

all things done in love,

is walking God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and know us individually. Thank You that what may be acceptable and safe for one, can be a resounding “NO” for another, because of Your love and protection for us individually. Thank You that You know our hearts and minds, and You determine what will lead us down a path of destruction, and what will not bring harm at all. Forgive us for either assuming that Your answer should be one way or another for those around us, or for not listening well to the answer that You are clearly offering before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we may be united in the essentials, grant liberty in the nonessentials, and in all things, operate in love. Lead us to love with Your wisdom and grace, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are united as a body, and gracious and loving to all. 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

Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Unity of the Spirit

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3)

 

Make daily, an earnest attempt, to be united in one purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Who holds together and seals our state of order as we follow our Heavenly Father’s good and perfect plan for our lives. God wants us to work together with fellow believers, to be His body. Our charge is to be the church, so that lives may be touched and communities changed. Both are only possible if we are choosing to be united in purpose, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us as we go. May He equip our every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit, as we pursue His bond of peace.

 

Seek the Lord daily,Unity of the Spirit

to find unity;

only by His strength,

can peace flow from me.

He grants us order,

plants community;

in hearts that seek Him,

that choose to believe.

Trust in His leading,

for His ways are good;

all things together,

as one, understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united by Your Spirit, and that You equip us to be bound together as one in You, by Your peace. Thank You that Your plans for us are good, and that they include us working together with members of a body of believers. Forgive us for seeking to do things in our own strength, or for neglecting to be united peacefully with the body of believers. Teach us to allow You to reign and rule in our hearts and lives, so that Your peace may pour out upon each relationship we invest in, and may Your love through us be evident to all. Let those who are looking, find a lasting relationship with You forever. Amen.

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

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

Gather Together

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” – (Luke 24:13-15)

Though these men were confused and upset about what had happened, they were talking together, genuinely seeking answers.  As they were attempting to make sense of that which seemed so unclear, Jesus showed up.  He did not reveal Himself right away, but He spoke to them, giving them insight and understanding as to what had previously been unclear.  Eventually, the men did recognize Him, as He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

Jesus is still the same today.  When two or more of us gather, and genuinely seek Him for answers, He shows up, and provides wisdom and insight.  Though His presence is never-ending in the hearts of those who believe, there seems to be something powerful about gathering together as His people, to pray and to seek His wisdom and will, for whatever lies before us.  “For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20)

Gather together,Gather Together

partner in prayer;

united in heart,

the Lord will be there.

In unity seek,

ask Him what we need;

trust He is faithful,

our requests, He’ll heed.

As we are seeking,

we must listen too;

to hear God’s own heart,

and know what to do.

Lean not on ourselves,

but fully on Him;

for His way is best,

to find peace within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You.  Thank You that You tell us that gathering together in Your Name is good.  Thank You that as we do, You are faithful to speak to our hearts, as we are willing to listen.  Forgive us for not slowing down to truly listen, and for neglecting our need to gather with other believers to seek You together.  Teach us how to trust one another, and how to pray and commune together in a way that honors You.  Lead us and guide us I pray.  May we love one another as You love us, and may the fullness of Your goodness and grace in us, overflow and pour out to all of those who are around us.  May many come to know of Your great love, and enter into a relationship with You.  Be magnified, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

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

Unity in the Body

Unity is a necessary component for any group to grow.  In order to be unified, time and energy must be invested and mutual respect extended, or an organization will never truly become united.

As a department, the Language Arts team at my school was able to block out a few hours to meet together for a previously determined purpose.  We always begin with a time of connections, recognizing the importance of opportunity to simply air where each of us are coming from.  This tremendous team has inadvertently tapped into the importance of unity in a body.  Safety and confidentiality have been established (TRUST), and each of us are available to help one another as we are able.  Though we may not have accomplished as much of the task as we had intended, our team walked away from our time together, feeling more united and supported than before.

Paul was encouraging the people in Corinth to do the same, as he wrote the following: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – (I Corinthians 1:10) I don’t think that he meant that they had to agree about inconsequential things, but rather that they were to be united in purpose, and were to follow the ways of Christ, steering clear from the immorality that was widely accepted in society.  I am amazed that the very same appeal, still applies today.  The immorality that is widely accepted runs rampant, yet we are called to stand firm in our faith, staying true to our Father in heaven.  He is our Judge, not our neighbor nor our friends.  Ultimately, our decisions must be made by referring back to His word, and asking Him.

Together as one,Surrendered to See

in purpose and plea;

become the body,

through true unity.

Called to follow Christ,

stay true to His word;

let the Spirit lead,

not just what is heard.

Honor each other,

don’t argue and fight;

prefer each in love,

in purpose unite.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united together as a body in You.  Thank You that we are not meant to live out this life alone, but rather we are meant to walk together, learning and growing, side-by-side, so that we may strengthen and encourage each other.  Forgive us for any attitudes that can cause division among the body, and help us bring unity where it has been lacking.  Teach us how to come together as one in purpose, in You and for You, and may lives be changed on Your behalf.  Let our ability to be united appeal to those who are standing alone, and help all who come near, feel welcomed in.  May we love and welcome others in as You do.  Let lives be changed and hearts be healed.  Amen.

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

Softening Stone

Softening StoneAs we come to God,

He will give to us;

heart undivided,

unity in trust.

He will take hard hearts,

made of solid stone;

replace them with flesh,

to receive truth known.

We will then follow,

all He has decreed;

careful to obey,

His laws we shall heed.

God’s people we’ll be,

as we give Him throne;

and He’ll be our God,

making His ways known.

Lord, please take the stone,

away from our heart;

show us how to trust,

with whole self, not part.


“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)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You accept us when our hearts are hard, yet love us so much that You do not allow us to stay that way. Thank You that You woo us unto Yourself, and You soften the soil of our hearts to plant truth, so that we may flourish and grow in You. Father, forgive us for withholding hardened places in our hearts, and help us to allow You to touch those spaces so that they too, may be ready to receive all that You offer. Teach us to faithfully follow You, and use our obedience to lead those who are looking, to the foot of Your throne. May we love others well, so that You are made known. Amen.

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Anne update: Anne is very grateful to be back home, and God is so faithful as He is orchestrating all that Anne needs. Please join me in giving God all glory and thanks for the wonderful ways that He is moving in hearts and making way for Anne. May we continue to contend for the miraculous, despite the doctor’s diagnosis. Thank You God that You are ALWAYS good!

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

Perfect Love

Perfect LoveLet us love one another,

for all love comes from the Lord;

it unites us together,

moves us all in one accord.

Each person who truly loves,

has been born of and knows God;

yet those who do not show love,

shall hear not heaven’s applaud.

It’s not that we have loved God,

but that He loved with His life;

His sacrifice for our sins,

He paid the ultimate price.

Since our God has so loved us,

so we too are meant to love;

though we’ve not seen the Father,

He lives in and completes us.

Those who acknowledge Jesus,

have Father God in their heart;

His love made complete in us,

so we know He’ll not depart.

There is no fear in God’s love,

for perfect love drives out fear;

even in scary spaces,

we know our Savior is near.

(Responding to 1 John 4:7-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect, and as we grow to know You more, You are perfecting Your love in us. Thank You that true love is sacrificial, and is chosen regardless of return. Thank You that You love us with Your everlasting love, even when our ways are not aligned with Yours. Forgive us for not fully following You, and for looking to man to model what You meant for love to be. Thank You Jesus, that You showed us what love looks like, even unto death. May Your lasting love be the lens through which we view the world, and help us to shine brightly before men so that we may be beacons of light that lead those who are looking, unto You. Help us to embrace all that You are, so fear will flee, and boldness shall come. Amen.

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