We Must Love Those We See

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? – (1 John 4:20, MSG)

 

This is a place where we have to remember that love is not a feeling, but rather it is a decision that we make. For some, the choice to love is easy, as the love that we give is returned. However, for others, the hurt they carry, or the burdens they are bearing, can at times, make some people very difficult to decide to love. An attitude of kindness and grace, extended in the same love that we have been given by God, is a choice that we make in His strength, not our own. Though not one of us gets it perfect all of the time, I find that the more I choose to love, even those whom are the most difficult to love, the more I see the hand of God move in both my heart and that of the one whom I choose to love anyway. Sometimes, we see healing and restoration in remarkable ways, just because of our decision to do the very thing to which we are called. Yet, there are times, that we see little change, and have to hold hope that God is moving, even when we cannot see. May we go forth this day and choose to love others because we love the One who is love.

 

It’s impossible, Love Made Known

To truly love God;

If we’re holding hate,

For our own home squad.

We can’t love unseen,

If our hearts won’t choose;

To love each other,

The ones in plain view.

Love’s not what we feel,

But rather a choice;

God grants us the strength,

As we hear His voice.

So let us choose love,

Give kindness and grace;

The Lord will supply,

What we need each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others, just as we are called to love You. Thank You that You grant us the strength that we need to choose to love those around us if we look to You to be our Source. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love those whom we can see, and yet claimed to love You, whom we cannot. Teach us to love everyone according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to extend kindness and grace to those who need it most, even when it is difficult to choose to do so. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those we see, just as we love You, whom we cannot. 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

We Are Commanded to Love

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:20-21, ERV)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

 

We cannot both love and hate and still live as children of God. The command that we have been given is to love God and love people. It does not mean that we will adore everyone we meet, but rather our hearts can have His intentions for all – kindness, compassion, and light, just as He loves us. Often, it takes time and prayer to view others through Christ’s lens. Everyone has a story and each of us have been created with a purpose. No one is more or less valuable to God. When we come to a place where we allow our eyes to focus through His filter, we become better equipped to see the good, or at least the need, to love those around us. Though we cannot see God, clear evidence of His existence is everywhere. Likewise, though we may not know why a person is the way they are, if they have life and breath, they are here for a reason and need and deserve love – the same as each of us. May we seek the Lord and His loving grace, so that we may go forth and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

God calls us to love,Faith and Hope in Action

Love cannot be earned;

Brothers and sisters,

True love can be learned.

For as we love God,

He changes our heart;

Gives us eyes to see,

And grace He imparts.

For we aren’t of God,

If love’s not our choice;

To extend to all,

With heart, hand and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love You and love those around us as sisters and brothers, but You show us how to love and grant us what we need so that we may love as we are loved. Forgive us for our lack of love toward our sisters and brothers, and teach us to love others in tangible and practical ways. Show us how to love those whom we see, so that they might seek You, whom they do not. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and depend on You and Your direction and grace, to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

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

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

Share of Shackles No More

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. – (Psalm 107:1-2, NLT)

 

The first portion of the passage is fairly self-explanatory. God deserves our thanks, for He is good and His love lasts forever. As for redemption, that can be a bit trickier to grasp, as we are not living in the same times as when the original text was written. In some parts of the world, redemption, as in the buying back or paying a price for freedom, is still relevant. However, for those of us who have always known freedom, it is a bit more of a learning curve. We must first recognize that we were held captive in our hearts. Our chains tend to be spiritual and emotional, not physical. At times, the unseen can be more difficult to be rid of, because we must first acknowledge that they exist. Chains in the physical are obvious. If a person is shackled, they want to be free. In the same way, if a person is trapped in the tangles of sin, or locked in the lies that they have been told for far too long, ideally, the desire would be for freedom to be found immediately. Invisible chains must first be identified, recognized for the burden that they truly are, and then help must be sought to rid ourselves of the weight.

Thankfully, God is patient and faithful. He is willing to wait for our readiness for His help, and He loves us to life when we call on His Name. When we have been rescued from ruins, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, we ought to let others know what the Lord has done. Our story may be their opportunity to recognize their own unseen chains. May we give the Lord thanks for His faithful love, and tell those around us of all that He has done.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,Shackles No More

For He’s always good;

His love shall endure,

His grace understood.

He sets captives free,

When we call on Him;

Removes the shackles,

That tie us to sin.

He takes all the weight,

Of the burdens worn;

And loves us to life,

Our souls are reborn.

So bring all the chains,

That keep us from free;

And trust in the Lord,

Where all praise should be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You have redeemed us and You call us by name. Thank You that we have a story of how You have set us free from the chains that held us captive to the weight of sin or lies that we were never designed to carry. Thank You for setting us free. Forgive us for keeping our own story silent, when so many might benefit from hearing the truth of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to share all that You have done in us and for us, as You are such a good and faithful Father. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and speak out of all that You have done. 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

Awe in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

This season is full of wonder. It is a joy to see through the eyes of a child. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my niece, who is three. She is smarter than most, yet completely child-like in her awe and wonder. Her faith in what is good is untainted, and she has high hopes for all that she cannot see. Just as she trusts that treasures will be waiting under her tree on Christmas morning, she knows that Jesus loves her and watches over she and her family. She cherishes with anticipation all that lies ahead, and firmly believes in the goodness of her family’s love. May we too have a child-like wonder in this joyous season, as we remember the reason we celebrate. May our hearts be confident in what we hope for, and assured about that which we do not see.

 

Let awe and wonder,

Awe in the Unseen

fill our hearts this year;

as we celebrate,

that Christ chose come near.

May each heart choose trust,

in the hope we hold;

faith in the unseen,

as Christ’s love unfolds.

We need simply look,

around us to see;

proof of the unseen,

to humanity.

All thanks be to God,

for hope that is found;

through Jesus, His Son,

let praises resound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to earth to make that which is unseen, seen. Thank You that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we can be confident in what we hope for and have assurance about what we do not yet see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, remembering all that You have done and continue to do on our behalf so that we need not fear. Show us how to cherish this season of Your arrival with anticipation, and how to love others in a way that conveys the very same sort of sacrificial love that You have given us, unto others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Love Makes No Distinction

He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts through faith. – (Acts 15:9, NLT)

God does not discriminate nor give preferential treatment when it comes to receiving people into His kingdom. All have fallen short, and all must earnestly seek Him to be saved. It is only by His grace that we are saved when we come before Him in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is. In the same way, we must not discount anyone, nor assume that they are too hard to receive the love and grace that God has set in place for us to extend toward them. It is not up to us to determine how it is received, but rather to be obedient to extend His loving kindness to all whom we meet. God will be God, and He will do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine if we do our part and then get out of the way. Let love and faithfulness be our motivation, as we love well and allow God to reign.

To say, “God so loved”,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

where grace was begun;

when God sent for us,

the gift of His Son.

Because Jesus came,

each can become clean;

by faith, seeking God,

trusting the unseen.

This gift is for all,

all people of earth;

cleansing, renewing,

blessed second birth.

Please open our hearts,

help reach out our hands;

so we may love well,

just as You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not make a distinction between us, as You receive ALL who call on Your Name in faith. Thank You that when we trust in You and give our hearts to You, You purify all that is sinful within us, and call us clean before You. Forgive us for thinking ourselves or anyone else is too far gone to be reached by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow You to be God, as You move in ways that only You can move. Lead us to love all those around us, even if they seem unloveable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wondrous ways that You move in our midst, despite our doubts based on what we see. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Pleasing in His Sight

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the one who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

The cry of David’s heart was to please God with his thoughts and his words. He was acutely aware of the role that the Lord filled in his own life, as God had shown Himself faithful to save and protect, even when his very life was on the line. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is still the Rock on whom we can rest, and our Redeemer who will rescue us from ruin. Because the Lord is worthy of all honor and glory and praise, it would indeed be good if we took captive every thought and word, so that all that leaves our heart and lips are things that please the Prince of Peace. May our words and thoughts be pleasing unto the Lord, for He is our Rock and our Redeemer.

Let every thought,The Power of the Tongue

and word that I speak;

be pleasing to You,

as my heart You teach.

For You are my Rock,

the One who redeems;

who rescues my heart,

from chaos unseen.

All praise unto You,

my God and my King;

it is by Your grace,

I’ve reason to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Rock and our Redeemer. Thank You that You are our safe and stable ground, and that You rescue us from chaos and trouble that comes near. Forgive us for the words that leave our lips and the thoughts in our hearts that have not brought glory to You. Teach us to take captive every thought and word, so that we would more clearly reflect Your heart to all those around us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through the way in which we care. May many choose to live their life for You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely, and seek to make the words of our mouth and meditations of our heart, pleasing in Your sight. 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

He Sees and Attends to His Created

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen – don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? – (Matthew 6:30, The Message)

When life gets hard and we want to hide, it is easy to feel unseen. In the midst of our own struggles, our isolation often leads us to feel as if we are alone in the battle, despite quite the opposite being true. We have to hold fast to what is true, and not allow ourselves to isolate when we question the direction to which we have been called. Just yesterday, I had an interaction that made me question what I knew was the truth. My initial response was to withdraw and busy myself, so that I could ignore that which was right before me. However, it wasn’t long before the gentle nudge came, and opportunities were provided for His truth to be spoken in the very space that I needed to hear. He attended to my need in a way I could again lay hold of the truth that I already knew, and stand firm in the soundness of His word. God made tangible, that which was not clearly seen. It is okay to be an unseen wildflower for a season, as long as we know that the Lord who created us, delights in us, and created us for a purpose. Even if we can’t clearly see it, there is a plan and a purpose for every life, and He is present and powerful to supply all that is needed to grow us and equip us for the fulfillment. May we stand strong in faith, trusting that God will attend to us and do His very best for each of us, His created.

Whether we are seen,

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travelportland.com

or hidden between;

the Lord will attend,

to all that we need.

Each are created,

with purpose and plan;

not an accident,

we’re called to love man.

God’s love runs so deep,

He attends to all;

no one is hidden,

hears each cry and call.

May we choose rise up,

by faith, let’s receive;

His grace and goodness,

for all who believe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care so deeply about us, Your created. Thank You that You attend to us, take pride in us, and do Your best for us. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for every life that You have granted. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us or divert our attention from the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stand firm in who You are, and the promises that You have made. Lead us to love others well, so that we might be Your hands, heart and voice made tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us with confidence, knowing that You will attend to us and do Your best for us. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Hope in What is Unseen

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1)

 

Perhaps that is why the term “leap of faith” is so often used. In order to demonstrate our faith, our certainty in what we do not see, we must move forward into the great unknown. Inevitably, this sort of movement can be likened to leaping headlong off of the edge of a cliff, uncertain of what lies below. Is it warm and inviting water, meant to refresh and renew our souls, or is it jagged cliffs, ready to destroy all that remains? This is where the being sure of what we hope for is absolutely necessary. If we are not certain that God is good, and that His plans are for our ultimate good in His kingdom, our faith falters and we cannot be certain of what we do not see. It becomes far easier to rely on what our eyes take in, rather than the truth that is being whispered within the walls of our hearts. May we turn to Christ in trust, allowing Him to grow our faith so that we are sure of what we hope for, and certain of that which we do not see.

 

How to be certain,Hope in What is Unseen

of what is unknown;

is found when we hope,

in Christ’s love that’s shown.

For His evidence,

wherever we look;

from heaven to earth,

written in His book.

We must make the choice,

to hope and be sure;

for though He’s unseen,

the Lord’s way is clear.

Allow faith to rise,

choose nurture and grow;

ever seek the truth,

and His way we’ll know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith, being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see because of Your ongoing, unchanging love for all. Thank You that Your faithfulness has been the same throughout the ages, and that Your love for us is so great, that You laid down Your very life so that we might live. Forgive us for our uncertainty in the unseen, and give us Your eyes to see the hope that lies before us, even when our own minds and hearts cannot begin to conceive anything hopeful ahead. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may find faith to hope in what is unseen. Be glorified O God, as we are sure of what we hope for, and certain of that which we do not yet see. Amen.

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

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

Facing Fears

Fear is a funny thing. It sneaks in the side door of our soul, and tells us that we are not capable of the very things for which we are called. Jesus asks us to take new and courageous steps of obedience so that we might experience more of Him, yet each new step requires risk that is often accompanied by fear. However, the fear is not from God. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

 

“Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to persevere even in the face of fear.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) The power of God living in us, is greater than anything that will ever come against us. His love propels us to continue on the path He has placed before us, and the hope that we hold in Christ forever, secures a sound mind in the storms. May we invest in the truth found in His word, as He tells us three hundred and fifty times throughout scripture, to “Fear not.”

 

Fear not, O my soul,Facing Fears

for you have been called;

to rise in courage,

go beyond your walls.

God has not given,

a spirit of fear;

but one of courage,

for He’s ever near.

His love shall lead us,

to places unseen;

His power, present,

as love intervenes.

Safety in the storm,

our hope in despair;

fear not with the Lord,

He’s always aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to make the way, so that we would not be stuck in our sin and shame, forever fearful of what was yet to come. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to be restored unto You, so that we could find courage, power, and strength in You, even in the face of fear, knowing that You are present and You are greater than anything that might stand against us. Forgive us for folding in the face of fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand strong and trust in Your unfailing love for us, and Your power that far exceeds anything that could come against us. Lead us to love others with a love that demonstrates courage, even in the face of fear. May many come to hold their eternal hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up in courage and face the fears in front 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

Tether Our Hearts

Today, my reading plan had me reading both Exodus 6-8, and Luke 23. Though there were many individual verses that I could have highlighted, the thing that stood out to me the most, was the way in which both Moses and Jesus chose to remain faithful to their calling in captivity. Moses, was appealing to Pharaoh for the people of Israel to be set free to go into the desert to worship, and Jesus was being held after His arrest, as He was bruised, beaten and tried six times before various courts – none of which could find Him guilty, in obedience to be the sacrifice for all of our sins.

 

In both portions of scripture, God had called each to a specific task. For Moses, he was being asked to lead a nation out of captivity when the ruler of the nation paid no regard to his requests. Jesus, was being asked to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He knew the pain He was called to endure. Neither story seemed to go smoothly. Both bore the burden before them, and endured enormous adversity to ultimately arrive in the place to which they had been called. This can be a bit overwhelming, yet completely encouraging, as we know that in all things, God is faithful to those who trust in Him. Though we may not see what He is doing in the midst of adversity, we can trust that He has a plan and a purpose for everything that we endure, and that He will utilize each trial and triumph for our ultimate good. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ alone, as He is faithful to walk beside us, be it in trial or triumph.

 

When life surrounds you,Tether Our Hearts

forced captivity;

choose trust in the Lord,

to keep your heart free.

For only in Christ,

is true freedom known;

set free from our sin,

where His grace is shown.

Though often unseen,

His purpose is clear;

to love each of us,

as we choose draw near.

Let us seek the Lord,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to the truth,

Christ, the faithful One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us great examples of those who have endured tremendous trials by depending on You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, Your presence is promised, and Your hope is secure. Thank You that You are faithful to remain with us, even when we are unaware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and faltering faith when the fight becomes too much, and teach us to tether our hearts and minds to You alone. Give us Your eyes to see things through an eternal perspective, so that we may remember that all that is in the here and now is only temporary, yet that which is yet to come, is forever. Lead us to love intentionally, just as You so purposefully and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6