Seek Love that Lasts

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

 

Fear of the Lord is a healthy reverence for who He is. It is not the sort of fear that causes us to cower in a corner because there is a lack of love, but rather it is a respect that is filled with awe for who God is and the incredible power He holds in His hands. When we operate our lives in wonder and awe, this healthy fear of the Lord, we begin to love God and love people in the ways that we are called to love. *Charm, or the power of pleasing or attracting through personality or beauty, is not love. (*dictionary.com) Love is a decision that chooses to speak truth, rather than seeks to please, and though love is attractive, it is not given selfishly with the hope of something in return, but rather, it is a pure intention to give of ourselves freely, as we are loved by God. Beauty is an interesting attribute as well, as what one eye perceives as beautiful, another finds ordinary. However, those with beautiful hearts are most often remembered as beautiful. So often, the more I know the heart of someone, the more beautiful they become in my eyes. Physical beauty fades, but beauty of the heart continues to grow as we walk more closely with the Lord. The to be praised portion of this verse reminds me that there are eternal benefits to loving God and loving people. Great is our reward when all is said and done. He blesses us here, but has prepared so much more for us when our time on earth is through. It all points back to loving God and loving people. May we be filled with awe and reverence for the Lord who loves us with an everlasting love, and go forth and love others with a love that is pure and selfless and otherly, exactly as love was designed.

 

Be not deceived, Seek Love that Lasts

By beauty or charm;

Seek love that lasts,

And does not do harm.

With reverence,

Stand in awe of God;

All love’s from Him,

For now and beyond.

Rise up and choose,

To love as we’re called;

God and people,

By grace, love for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are what lasts. Thank You that as we invest in relationship with You, we come to know and understand love as You intended it to be. Thank You that as we choose to walk forward in the love You call us to, You show us the goodness that is for now and all that is yet to come. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked reverence for You or love for others. Teach us to live out each day in love, according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love others well, so that they may know the depth and breadth of love found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You and love people well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the eyes of the Lord are on all those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

Hope While We Wait

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hand on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:10-13, NIV)

He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, He called her over. ”Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. – (Luke 13:10-13, MSG)

Around this time, He was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. A woman there had been sick for 18 years; she was weak, hunched over, and unable to stand up straight. Jesus placed His hands on her and suddenly she could stand straight again. She started praising God. – (Luke 13:10-13, VOICE)

 

At first, this passage made me curious as to what the woman had been suffering from for so long. After a bit of pondering, and reading a bit further, I realized there was so much to grasp from the story, that it really was irrelevant as to what caused her crippled state for so many years, but rather that on that particular Sabbath, she was healed. Not only was her long-awaited hope realized, but Jesus silenced the piousness of the synagogue leader, who claimed it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus, in His great wisdom, pointed out the purpose of the healing, and how it was far more important than watering an animal, which everyone did, even on the Sabbath. As His opponents were silenced, the woman who was healed could not contain her gratitude. She stood tall for the first time in eighteen years; with her hands extended toward heaven, she gave glory to God. I do wonder if she had shown up on that particular Sabbath hoping to be healed, or simply had come to hear the teaching of Jesus and be encouraged. Either way, Hope had come. After eighteen long years, she had been restored, and immediately, she gave all glory to God.

This both encourages and challenges me in this season. I woke at 2:30 this morning, for no apparent reason. Immediately, my thoughts went to my mom. I searched for the number to call the front desk at her senior living community to check in and see how she was doing, but the number I reached, rang off the hook. Defeated, I sat on the steps and prayed for her. Perhaps that was what I was meant to do all along; just pray. In the same way that healing came to that woman in the synagogue, I am contending for in my mom. God has done some miraculous work, as He spared her life and is actively restoring much of what was lost due to her stroke, yet I am continuing to pray for total healing – full and complete. God is good, and He is able to move and heal and grant hope; always. May we be encouraged to hold hope, even in the waiting, for God is good and His love endures forever.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

To which we can hold;

Steady and secure,

Sure strength to behold.

For God is our rock,

When all else gives way;

He won’t be shaken,

By wind, storm or waves.

So, cling close to Christ,

All doubts, choose ignore;

God will be with us,

Beside and before.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who heals. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, even when the wait seems long. Forgive us for forgetting how incredibly powerful Your love is for each of us. Teach us to trust You more – both for healing and in the waiting. Show us how to love well, all those around us, with encouragement, strength and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love that first heals hearts and then touches lives in countless other ways. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. 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

True Eternal Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. – (Proverbs 31:30, MSG)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

 

The persona and package we present may matter to mankind, but what matters into eternity is our relationship with God. Incredibly, some of the most beautiful and charming women I know are those who love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and strength. The beauty within radiates to the external and draws others unto themselves. Their charm is not something that they manufacture, but rather it is an outpouring of the inward work that God is doing that overflows to all those who are near. Loving kindness and compassion that is poured out through their words and actions is attractive and tends to transform the way in which we perceive people as a whole. May we seek to prioritize our relationship with the Lord above all else, as He is the One who does the work within us that draws others near.

 

Seek not to make charm, given-to-show-goodness

Nor beauty the aim;

Instead seek the Lord,

Choose trust in His Name.

For growth in the Lord,

Is lovely to see;

As the overflow,

Lasts eternally.

So, let us choose God,

Love Him and others;

That’s where beauty lies,

Like loving mothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what matters into eternity is our relationship with You. Thank You that as we grow in You, there is an overflow of the good that You are cultivating within us. Thank You that the thing within us that draws others near is You. Forgive us for focusing too much on the things that do not last. Teach us to trust You more so that our eyes would focus on You above all else. Show us how to love those around us well. Please bless mothers and those who play a maternal role in the lives of those around them today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to grow in You above all else. Amen.

 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

The Greatest Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. – (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into the world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately, He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. – (Galatians 4:4-5, VOICE)

 

God knew that humanity needed a Savior. For most, the law was a list of do and do not from a distance out of fear and reverence, rather than being rooted in relationship. The arrival of Jesus changed everything. God out there, became God is here. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension gave way for us to be adopted into God’s family as His children. No more are we simply subjects attempting obedience out of fear, but rather we are children of the Most High, saved by grace and dearly loved. From this position of freedom, it is difficult not to desire to do what is pleasing to the very One who set us free. May we rise up and recognize the sacrifice that was given so that we could be free, and walk out our days honoring God with our words, deeds and praise.

 

God saw all our need, The Greatest Gift

And set forth a plan;

Redemption and grace,

By His loving hands.

Hands that chose to send,

His beloved Son;

To bear all the weight,

Of what we have done.

Freely He took on,

All our ugliness;

So we may be called,

His in righteousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You saw mankind’s need for a Savior and sent Your Son to redeem us. Thank You that not only do You forgive us of all of our sin, but You adopt us as sons and daughters of Your own. Thank You that You lovingly receive all who come seeking You. Forgive us for forgetting the magnitude of Your sacrifice to be called sons and daughters. Teach us to treasure the gifts of Your mercy and grace far more than we do. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the same sort of mercy and grace to others, so that they might see glimpses of You through the good we give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the greatest gift ever given through the sending of Your Son. Amen.

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Seen and Known

When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12)

A woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, to the point where she could not straighten up at all, happened to be in one of the synagogues on a Sabbath when Jesus was teaching. Jesus, in His love and compassion, saw the woman’s need, and called to her personally, and spoke aloud words of healing, wholeness and new life, right then and there. I imagine a woman who was never able to truly make eye contact with anyone because of her condition, yet here she was, called forward, by the Savior on the Sabbath. Did hope that had all but died at last rise up again as she made her way to the front? I envision that may have been the case, for her response to being healed was to “…immediately straighten up and praise God.” (vs. 13)

Jesus sees us in the same way. He knows our needs before we ask, and loves us so much, that He exchanged His life for ours. I wonder if the woman wrestled with the question of whether or not she should go forward where Jesus called? For many of us, that is the very thing that stands between us and that which Jesus is waiting to do in us or through us. We have to be willing to step forward where we are called, even in the moments of uncertainty. His plans for us are far greater than we could ever hope or imagine, so it is worth walking forward in obedience to where we are called. May we move when He says move, and stand tall and give Him praise both now and forevermore.

Bent over and bound,Truth that is Tangible

we all have been there;

weighed down by the weight,

of all of life’s cares.

Each with hidden needs,

known well by the Lord;

Who’s willing to heal,

all grace He’ll afford.

It takes open ears,

a heart to respond;

as He calls our name,

His love goes beyond.

Beyond what we lack,

to our place of need;

in Him we are healed,

from burdens, we’re freed.

All glory to God,

Who sits on the throne;

He sets people free,

from bondage they’ve known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are, and know our every need. Thank You that we matter to You. Thank You that You call to us to come before You, so that You can heal us where we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not willingly walking forward when You call us to come. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the giver of good gifts. Lead us to love others with the same kindness and compassion that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we willingly walk forward where You call, and give You praise all the while. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Internal Investments Exceed External

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30)

 

How we present ourselves, may or may not be the whole picture. We deceive even ourselves, if we do not look at our lives through the lens of Christ. The external, what is seen, grows weary and worn; yet in Christ, our minds and spirits may be refreshed and renewed, day by day. A woman who recognizes who the Lord is, and invites Him to be seated in His proper position in her life, operates as He is calling her to live. As we choose to allow Christ to reign in our lives, His gifts flow through us, and we bear fruit, as others too, may come to see and know who He is, and what He has done for us all. May we rise up in reverence for the Risen Lord, and invite Him to rule and reign in our every word and deed.

 

Be not deceived,Internal Investments Exceed External

by beauty nor charm;

false illusions,

that unchecked, bring harm.

Beauty, it fades,

and charm is deceit;

fearing the Lord,

is wise, praiseworthy.

Christ is our rock,

on Whom we must stand;

all other things,

are just sinking sand.

Rise up in faith,

in our Holy Lord;

all unto Him,

our shield and our sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though external things are fleeting, that which we invest in You, lasts forever. Thank You that as we grow in our understanding of who You are and how much You love us, You are pleased with our pursuit, and use us to turn and bless others. Forgive us for allowing the external voices to deceive our hearts into believing anything that would tie our value to what is seen on the outside, rather than what You are doing and have already done on the inside. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make our priority the pursuit of You. Help us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we see through deceit and beyond packaging, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love, as we walk in reverence of who You are and the splendor of all whom You have created. 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

Because He Loved

Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday, especially among middle schoolers the day prior. While some students were over-the-moon with excitement, others were nearly manic, as they mourned their mate-less state. Most, however, took it upon themselves as an opportunity to binge on copious quantities of confections, and were bouncing off the walls. The pivotal point that so many get hung up on, is what exactly is love, and how do we celebrate it?

 

If our priorities are kept in place, and we opt to spend the day focusing on loving God and loving people well, then it can be a day worth celebrating, rather than one to view with disdain. One of the most powerful examples of Jesus’ love for us is how He endured all things for our sake, so that we could come to know Him.

 

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself!” – (Mark 15:31)

 

Though Jesus could have saved himself, He endured this suffering because of His love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; He could have killed those who mocked Him – but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies… Jesus died on that cross for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid by His death. – (NIV footnotes for Mark 15:31)

 

Because He loved, we too may love.

 

What beautiful love,Good Gifts

would lay down His life;

choose to sacrifice,

despite all our strife?

He came not because,

we deserved His grace;

but because He loves,

the whole human race.

The sinners and saints,

man, woman and child;

He came for us all,

to be reconciled.

Let us each embrace,

this glorious gift;

go forth and love well,

encourage and lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son.  Jesus, thank You that You came to set us free from the chains of our sin, and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You endured endless suffering on our behalf, because You loved. Forgive us for not choosing to love You and others as we are called to love, or for focusing inward instead of out. Teach us to trust You more, so that as we reach out in faith, we will recognize the remarkable ways in which You provide return to refill our hearts again. Lead us to love well, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we bring the blessings of Your love to a world in need. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1