How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

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

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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He Grows Us in Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. – (Philippians 1:6, TLB) 

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE) 

 

God is not finished with us yet. When we choose to walk with Him, He refines us from the inside out. Our sin and shame are removed, and He shows us how to walk in His way as He grows His grace within us. None of us ever “arrive”, as we all are a work in progress until our final day when we at last meet Him face-to-face. May we rise up and remember that He who began the good work within us will continue to carry it out to completion. 

 

The good God began, He Grows Us in Grace

Is not finished yet; 

Each works in progress, 

Daybreak to sunset. 

It is a process, 

For our whole life long; 

He grows us in grace, 

And makes our hearts strong. 

Refined from within, 

Sin and shame removed; 

Love lavished on us, 

As goodness is proved. 

Let us choose rise up, 

In love, opt do good; 

Rely on His help, 

To do all we should. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who began a good work in us will continue until it is completed on the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You grow us in Your grace so that we may go forth and love as You love us. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to grow Your grace within us so that we are able to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the same good that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest assured that You will continue to grow Your grace within us as we seek You until we one day see You face-to-face. Amen. 

 

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

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

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV) 

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT) 

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, VOICE) 

 

Last evening, I was the grateful recipient of patient acceptance, as my teammates and coach were humble and gentle, allowing for my very “off” time at practice. After sleeping so little the night before, I was exhausted and struggling to recall plays. Rather than respond with irritation or unkindness, I was surrounded by people who gently and patiently helped remind me of the routes that I could not recall, and continued to encourage, despite my exhausted state. After sleeping so little the night before, I was struggling to remember routes for the different plays. Rather than grow weary of my questions and seeming memory lapse, those around me gently reminded me of that which I could not recall, and encouraged, even when I did a less than stellar job. Having been on the receiving end of humility, gentleness and patience, I am all the more refueled to go and do likewise in love for those around me. No one has it all figured out, and we are all a work in progress. We tend to thrive and grow exponentially in an atmosphere where we are given grace where we fall short, and encouraged by those who walk in humility, gentleness and love. May we ever go forth with patience, humility and gentleness, accepting others as we are accepted by God. 

 

Always be humble, Patient Acceptance

Choose gentle and kind; 

Patient, accepting, 

With others in mind. 

When we act in love, 

Encourage, build up; 

The empty places, 

Soon become filled up. 

Acceptance in love, 

Provides room to grow; 

So let us choose love, 

As grace is made known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, despite our faults and failures. Thank You that You call us to patiently, humbly and gently do the same for one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not tolerated one another in love. Teach us to look to You to walk in patience, humility and gentleness, so that we may love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love and accept others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your example of humility and gentleness, patiently accepting one another in love. 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

Tangible Good

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. (Micah 6:8, ERV)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NLT)

But Hes already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. Its quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

God has shown us what is good and what He requires. How we are meant to live is a tangible demonstration of loving God and loving people. Those who love God and are actively seeking to live it out in their daily lives do what is fair and just, they are compassionate and loyal, and keep the main things the main things. No one has achieved perfection, as we are all a work in progress. God is gracious and merciful, and will pick us up each time we fail and fall, if we ask Him to be our help. Each day we are provided a fresh start to love well. May we seek the Lord and His love as we go forth this day, so that we may be fair, loving, kind, loyal and humble as we walk in the grace that He has granted.

 

Joining Together

The Lord has told us,

What His goodness is;

Fairness and kindness,

Through love that we give.

We’re called to mercy,

And humility;

As we extend love,

His heart can be seen.

Let’s rise up in faith,

Do as God requires;

Love as He loves us,

For goodness inspires.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You explain how and showed us through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning, and Your love for us knows no end. Forgive us for not loving according to what You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do what is good and what You require of us. Show us how to do right, love mercy and walk humbly with You in ways that bless and tangibly demonstrate Your love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and faithfully follow that which You show us do to demonstrate Your lavish love to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Grace Unearned

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

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

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

 

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

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

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

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

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

A Forward Focus

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. 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

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

 

If God, the Creator of the Earth and all that exists, chooses to be patient and gentle with us, how much more should we extend patience and gentleness to those around us? Jesus humbled Himself to step down from heaven and make His love known in a tangible way. By His grace, we each have the opportunity to love and be loved by God; for He forgives our faults and loves us as we come. In the same way, we are called to accept others in love, just as they are, knowing that each of us is a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived“, and we all need grace. May we walk in humility and gentleness, extending patience, as we accept one another in love.

 

Always be humble,Gods protection

Extend gentleness;

Be patient and kind,

To show God exists.

For when we accept,

Each other in love;

Christ’s love is made known,

As hope points above.

Let us overlook,

The faults of others;

Instead choose to love,

Sisters and brothers.

From this sort of love,

Our hearts shall know peace;

As grace is granted,

Barriers release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be humble and gentle and patient with each other, but You have shown us how through Jesus. Thank You Jesus, for demonstrating what it is to overlook other’s faults in love, as You looked past what was, and saw who people could become. Forgive us for not having patience with imperfections, as we all are fallen and flawed. Teach us to view others through Your lens, so that we would see the good in everyone whom we encounter. Show us how to love others with patience and gentleness, leading us in humility as we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we humbly extend patience, gentleness and love to all whom we meet. 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

Press On to the Goal

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

 

I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason He made me His. – (Philippians 3:12, ERV)

 

We are all a work in progress. It is our choice to either remain stagnant and refuse to move forward, or we can press on, in spite of ourselves, trusting God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do – allowing Him to change us from the inside out. Christ does not call us to a life that is standing still, stuck in the pain of our past, but rather He calls us to take His hand and allow Him to lead us into so much more with Him. From the moment we choose Christ, we are His new creation. Our total transformation transpires as we choose to trust Him with more of our heart and life. May we surrender all unto You, as we press on to take hold of all that You have for us.

 

I have not arrived,Press On to the Goal

I am not there yet;

but I am closer,

than I thought I’d get.

For each choice I make,

to further trust Him;

He’s faithful to show,

it’s worth pressing in.

We’re each created,

with purpose in mind;

if we choose seek Him,

the answers we’ll find.

We must keep seeking,

in faith, choose to move;

transformed in likeness,

pressing on in truth.

We surrender all,

unto You, O God;

make us like You, Lord,

light our path to trod.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are in the process of being made more like You. Thank You that You take hold of the hearts of all who believe, and willingly transform us as we submit ourselves unto You. Thank You that You do not grow weary of our imperfections, and You embrace us where we are. Thank You that You love us beyond what we can see, and draw us out of our limited foresight for ourselves. Forgive us for staying stagnant in our stuff, fearing that our junk could somehow disqualify us from being used by You. Thank You that You often use the places that appear to be the most broken or devastated, to bring the most beauty. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us, Your created. May we press on to take hold of that which You are calling us to, and may many come to know You as we walk out our purpose in love. Be glorified, O God, as we press on toward the goal, held in our heavenly home. 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