Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. 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

So Much More

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. – (Ephesians 3:20, MSG)

 

When we are willing to invest our hearts and lives in the Lord and His plans, He takes us places we would have never imagined we’d go, and does so much more than we ever believed was possible. In my own life, I am in awe of the things He has done and the places He has taken me. Because I have been willing to go places that I have not known, He has shown me things that I never even dreamed that I might be able to one day see. The glorious gift in it all is that the journey is far from over. In a few weeks, I will be traveling with a team to Belize, to serve in whatever capacity He asks of me. Though I am going with a medical team, I am NOT a medically trained (nor equipped) person. As I go, I will be leaving simply with a heart to serve; whatever that looks like. God has given me a strong body and a capable mind. If I am being called to move heavy equipment to set up clinics – great. If my job is to file paperwork to help organize what is being established – I’m in. Whatever He is asking, I am willing. So often when He takes us out of our comfort zone, it is more about the work that He does in us, than what He is going to do through us. It ought to be quite an adventure! No matter what He has in store, I know that He is gentle and kind, and will do more than any of us can even hope or imagine as we prepare to go, even now. May we ever trust in God, who is able, through His mighty power, to work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

 

To God, all glory, So Much More

Who’s able to do;

Infinitely more,

To carry us through.

More than we can dream,

Imagine or ask;

God can accomplish,

Impossible tasks.

He will never force,

Nor push us around;

But by His Spirit,

Gives strength to gain ground.

So rise up in faith,

Follow where He leads;

Watch what He will do,

As His plans succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask or imagine through us by Your power within in, when we trust and follow You. Thank You that it has nothing to do with us or our strength, but rather with our willingness to listen to Your leading and follow where You call us to go. Forgive us for neglecting to do as You ask, or for staying stuck when we are meant to move forward from where we are now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way, and give You room to move in us and through us to accomplish the things that You have in mind. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have intended for our hands and hearts to help, hold or heal. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory for the incredible things You do in us and through us. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

What We Can Do

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

 

To love well, we must see the need around us and do what we can with what we have. Christ came and modeled what it is to not withhold good when it is within one’s power to help. His willingness to be present in the midst of people’s pain, is the very thing that helped them most. If healing was needed, He not only touched the physical ailment, but He heard their need and brought a love that truly listened, and healed hearts as well. Where there was hunger and seemingly not enough, Christ had the disciples share what they did have, and it was multiplied before their eyes. The very same power that was working in Jesus, is at work in us today. In the spaces where we think we don’t have enough time, talent, or resource, the Lord meets us and provides as we reach out and share what we have to help another in need. Often, the greatest need around us in others, is to be heard and known, as humans are designed to crave connection. May we navigate our days with our eyes open to see the need all around us, so that we might do what we can to be extensions of God’s hands and heart to a hurting world.

 

In our call to love,The Power of the Tongue

May we clearly see;

Help where it’s needed,

Give kindness; it’s free.

Do not withhold good,

But rather, choose give;

Whatever we can,

To better lives lived.

Whatever we do,

When love’s our command;

Is light to the world,

As God’s heart and hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our paths to show us Your hands and heart for us. Thank You that You call us to do what we can for those around us, just as You have done for us. Forgive us for neglecting the needs we see, or for allowing our hearts to become overwhelmed rather than seek You for direction. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your guidance as to how we are meant to meet the needs we see. Show us how to love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we can for those who need help around us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Sore

When muscles are reactivated that have not been utilized in a while, the morning after tends to be a bit sore. This applies both physically and emotionally. The very tangible and real version of this is the physical for me this morning, as yesterday morning I actually ran up sets of stairs at a local high school stadium. I’d hoped that a short run in the afternoon would help prevent this sort of soreness this morning, but too much time had passed and the muscles were already taxed. I have experienced this emotionally as well. After allowing myself to actually sit and experience, process or be present in whatever I was meant to face, I would discover that the next day I felt the same sort of weariness within my heart.

Our minds, bodies and hearts are meant to be utilized in the unique way that God designed them. For some, that includes strenuous exercise often, whereas with others, it is simply to move each day. However, with our minds and hearts, we are all meant to pursue Him with all that we are, and be willing to allow Him access to all. For me, the access portion is the hardest part, as it requires vulnerability and a willingness to face the difficult. I know for some, the physical is far more taxing; for others, the investing of the mind. Each of us are designed with different strengths, yet we are all called to continue to pursue Christ, even in our areas of weakness.

 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)

 

Though we will become weary and sore, He calls us to keep moving towards Him. The more we move our hearts, bodies and minds, the stronger they become and the less frequent the episodes of fatigue. The Lord sustains and renews all who hope in Him. May we choose to persevere in our pursuit of Christ, as He answers all who call on His Name.

 

When we do the things,Sore

We’ve not often done;

Weariness invades,

Leaving us undone.

The Lord’s ever near,

Ready to supply;

Strength to the weary,

Hope that helps us fly.

When our feet stumble,

The Lord takes our hand;

Shows us solid ground,

Where it’s safe to land.

Let not the weary,

The fear of the sore;

Keep hearts from pursuit,

Of all of God’s more.

With body and mind,

And with our hearts too;

Let us keep seeking,

The Lord and His truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may become sore, weary and tired when we seek to use that which You’ve given us in ways that we haven’t in a while, You meet us where we are and show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that the more often we utilize that which we have been given, the less often soreness from inactivity seeps in. Forgive us for not utilizing our bodies, minds and hearts in the ways in which You have designed them for us, individually. Teach us to trust You more, allowing You access in all areas, so that we would grow ever closer to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too would see the strength that You provide and the loving kindness You give to all those who choose abide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are unto You, and trust You to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. 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

Willing to Share

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. – (Psalm 9:1NLT)

All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works. – (Psalm 9:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening was the final gathering of ladies for our six-week study on “Telling Our Stories“. We gathered as a large group, but were seated in small group tables, to provide opportunity for discussion. What I loved hearing throughout our time together, was the common thread of God’s faithfulness through difficulties, and that He was somehow now using those very experiences to lead us to care well for others in similar struggles. The very things that He was so faithful to bring us out of or lead us through, were the same spaces that our hearts were being drawn to love others well. Though we have countless reasons to praise Him with all of our hearts, we tend to gravitate toward that which resonates the most clearly for us, personally. As He provides opportunity for us to share our own stories, even in small ways, it is overwhelming to see how He uses our willingness to share. May we continue to give thanks and praise to Him who grants us all of our days, and may we share of all of the wondrous works that He has done in us and for us, so others too might see the light and life found in Him.

 

May we give our praise,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and thanks to the Lord;

with all of our hearts,

let Christ be adored.

For His great wonders,

the work of His hands;

for how He loves us,

and fulfills His plans.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

that we have to tell;

a story of grace,

how You’ve loved us well.

Grant us the courage,

the time and the space;

to share with others,

Your goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well, no matter where we are or what we are going through. Thank You that You are faithful and full of love and grace. Forgive us for not giving You the praise that You deserve, or for not sharing of the wonders that You have done to make the difference in our own lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You with all of our heart, and be quick to share with others, the wonders of Your mighty works in our own lives. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be Your instruments of grace and peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and share of the mighty things that You have done. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Giving Ourselves Away

Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” – (Mark 12:43-44)

Jesus looks at our heart as we give of ourselves. Are we giving out of our excess of time, energy and resources, or are we intentionally setting aside some of ourselves to give away, even if it is costly? It takes faith to give in areas where we do not have an abundance, yet it is often in those very spaces of trust, that we see the mighty hand of God, move in ways we could have never began to imagine. Our willingness creates opportunities to see God’s plan unfold before us. Though God is God, and can move mightily whether we partner with Him or not; we have the incredible blessing of being called to walk beside Him, and partake in His plan as He points us along the path that He has placed before us. Often that road includes giving our time, energy and resources beyond what we would choose to do on our own. That being said, it is in that very space, that we witness the wonders of the work of His mighty hand as He moves in us and through us. May we choose to listen to the Lord’s leading, and freely give of ourselves as He calls us to give.

Give not out of wealth,Listen Learn and Love

but where the Lord calls;

for His ways are best,

for one and for all.

Despite how things seem,

the Lord plans to move;

He does not call us,

to Himself remove.

For His way is blessed,

in that space of trust;

as He moves mountains,

He’s faithful and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You so often call us to give more of ourselves than we would freely choose to give, when we walk in obedience, You move in miraculous ways. Thank You that You are faithful and trustworthy, and that we need not fear that which You call us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of obedience, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to be generous with our time, our talents and our resources. Lead us to love others well, so that they might clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give ourselves away, as You have so generously given unto us. Amen.

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

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

Faithful to Move the Fallen Forward

David is remembered as a man after God’s own heart. This is not because he always did everything right in the eyes of the Lord, but rather it was his relentless pursuit of redemption and restoration, even when he had done wrong in the sight of the Lord. He knew that all that he had was a gift from God, and was not at all what he deserved. David’s attitude of gratitude is expressed over and over in the Psalms, and his willingness to praise publicly and put aside his position of prestige, proved to the people that God alone, was deserving of all worship and praise.

 

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (1 Chronicles 17:16)

 

David approached God from a position of humility, despite being king. His beginnings as a shepherd boy were not forgotten, nor was the Lord’s faithfulness that had brought him through the trials and tribulations that led to his long before predicted position of leadership. Just as David took time to reflect on all that the Lord had done in his life thus far, so too we ought to do likewise. When we look back and reflect upon all that the Lord has done, we cannot help but stand in awe of His love and faithfulness granted unto us. Even if we are in the midst of messiness, we have previous examples and present provisions, that prove to us that He is for us, and that His promises shall stand the test of time. May we remember the Lord’s faithfulness forever, and look forward with faith in the Lord’s goodness and grace that He grants to all who call on His Name.

 

Lord, help us recall,External Appearance

all that You have done;

to bring us this far,

O Great Holy One.

For You Lord, are good,

Your love will endure;

despite that which comes,

Your faithfulness sure.

Help us move forward,

with trust that’s secure;

thank You for Your grace,

and presence so near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter where we are in our journey with You right now, we can look back and see that You have brought us a great distance from where we once were. Thank You that You are faithful to transform, renew and restore us, as You lead us forward into the promise of all that You have planned for us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us from moving forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may quickly recall all that You have done for us before, raising up in our hearts, a renewed strength and sense of purpose that will propel us forward toward who You are calling us to become. Lead us to love others with the same tender and relentless love that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how far You have brought us, and lead us to move boldly forward into what we are to become. 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

The Outlook of the Open

For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face. – (Psalm 11:7)

 

If it were not for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, this verse would be completely daunting. Not one of us is able to be upright on our own; however, in Christ, we are called clean, forgiven and free, and He sees us as upright before Him. That being said, we are charged to live a life devoted to Him. As He loves us, so we too, must love. Christ’s goodness and grace are not our free ticket to do whatever we please, but rather our point of redemption and reconciliation from our wrong living, so that we may turn from our wicked ways and live upright before Him for the remainder of our days. May we receive the gift that the Lord has freely given, and respond with a life lived justly, as He empowers us to be upright before Him. Let us hold fast, knowing that our hope is in the promise that we will one day see Him face-to-face.

 

The Lord is righteous,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in all of His ways;

and He loves justice,

truths that will not change.

Those who live upright,

and receive His grace;

live lives of promise,

and shall see His face.

Christ’s love sacrifice,

created the way;

for us to follow,

and on His path stay.

May we each receive,

all that He’s given;

so we tell of how,

to be forgiven.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and that You love justice. Thank You that the upright will see Your face. Thank You that righteousness, justice and our status as upright, are not dependent on our abilities, but rather on our willingness to allow You into our hearts and lives to make changes. Forgive us for withholding any area from You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will release all unto You, granting You full access to clean, refine, restore and renew that which needs to change. Lead us to love others justly and with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path You have placed before us with willing hearts, that are open to all that You want to do both in us, and through us. Amen.

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

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

Chosen With Purpose

“You did not choose me. I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in My Name. This is my command: Love each other.” – (John 15:16-17, ERV)

 

Each and every one of us have been created and chosen by God. He has made us with purpose to do good works, not dependant on our own ability, but rather based on our availability and willingness to go where He calls and obey what He asks. The greatest stumbling block between us and the fulfillment of our purpose, is if we allow the voices in and around us that try to dictate our identity to speak louder that the voice of He who created us. “And therein lies a danger: If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. We may never get to those who need our help.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Which voice will we choose listen to? Voices that tell us that we are ill-equipped, not strong enough, not smart enough, not educated enough, just plain not enough; or do we listen to Christ, who calls us His own? In Him, we can do all things to which we are called. Not because we are enough on our own, but because He is enough, and He is faithful to provide all that we lack. What is impossible with people is possible with the living God. We have to choose faith over fear, and grace over perceived gifts. Obviously there are areas where specific giftings are necessary, however, to love others well, requires only a heart that is willing to walk where He calls and faith to do as He asks. May we each embrace our status as chosen by God, and go forth loving people well.

 

The Lord God of all,Chosen With Purpose

He somehow chose me;

He loved me so much,

His love set me free.

The freedom granted,

drives me to obey;

to honor and serve,

and walk in His way.

I know on my own,

I am not enough;

yet through Christ in me,

I’ve strength to stand up.

The places He calls,

where I’m scared to go;

He comes alongside,

makes His presence known.

Help me be willing,

to do all You ask;

and grant me Your strength,

to complete each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved, created, and chose each of us for Your purposes. Thank You that above all, You love. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to accomplish. Forgive us for our fearfulness and self-doubt. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen not to the voices that surround us, and instead will be tuned in to Your voice so that we hear clearly that which You have to say. Lead us to love others without hesitation, just as You so relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we walk out our purpose with resolve. 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

How Great the Father’s Love

I never grow weary of the parable of the lost son, as each time I read it, I am reminded of just how great the Father’s love is for each of us. In this story, the son had squandered wealth he should have never asked for, and had sunk to rock bottom. His found himself in the lowliest of positions, destitute and desperate. When the son assessed his situation, he realized that repentance before his father, and a willingness to work as a hired hand were far better options than his present position. So he got up and went to his father. “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (Luke 15:20)

 

The son recognized his sin, repented, and merely hoped to be made a hired hand. Instead, his father ran to meet him from a long way off, embraced him and celebrated his homecoming. God does the same for each of us when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though we may come, simply hoping to somehow be seen as “okay”, He does so much more. Christ welcomes us, gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God Himself. We are granted an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken, and provided promises to propel us along our path. May we receive the glorious gift of God’s grace, and welcome with open arms, the compassion conveyed in His embrace.

 

Foolish and selfish,How Great the Fathers Love

the arrogant son;

ran off and rebelled,

lowly position.

When he had squandered,

all that had been his;

he started longing,

for what he fed pigs.

It was then he knew,

that he must repent;

for his father’s men,

lived far more decent.

Perhaps he would hire,

give a chance, employ;

no longer worthy,

to be called dad’s boy.

So the son set off,

he headed for home;

imagine the awe,

as grace was made known.

For while still far off,

his father, he ran;

to greet and embrace,

this shell of a man.

The gifts that he gave,

assured him his worth;

a chance for new life,

a sense of rebirth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with a repentant heart, You do for us, just as the father did for his son. You meet us where we are, shower us with Your grace, robe us in Your righteousness, celebrate our homecoming, and call us Your own! Thank You that we are welcomed into Your family, no matter where we have come from. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to cover our sin and shame, and that You celebrate and embrace each of us as we choose You. Forgive us for thinking that You could not possibly forgive us for what we have done, or that another around us does not deserve the mercy and grace that You give. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, so that we too, will celebrate and embrace each and every individual who comes into Your kingdom. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize how ready You are to receive everyone who comes. Be glorified O God, as we give and receive Your great love. 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