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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

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Invited to Follow

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (also known as Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him. – (Luke 5:27-28)

 

There are several really remarkable steps to Matthew’s story. First, he was a tax collector, and therefore, no friend to the Jews. Additionally, his position had likely been a very lucrative one for him, yet at Jesus’ invitation, he willingly walked away from it all, to faithfully follow Him. Even more than Matthew’s willingness to leave his life of luxury behind, He desperately wanted others to discover what he had found in Christ, so he held a great banquet, inviting all his friends, so that they too, might meet Jesus and choose to follow Him. Matthew laid down his material possessions to gain spiritual wealth, as he was overjoyed to be associated with Jesus.

 

Each of us has a story; a moment in time when we heard Him whisper an invitation to come and follow Him. What have we set aside to serve Him? Do we go out of our way to share the joy that we have found with those whom we care most about? May our stories each include passion, promise, and pride in He who grants us new life, as we willingly set aside whatever He asks, and choose to follow Him with all that we are.

 

When Christ comes along,MSH29

and calls us by name;

what will we lay down?

Money? Fortune? Fame?

Where He asks we go,

requires us move;

giant steps of faith,

our fears He’ll remove.

All trust is needed,

as are faithful steps;

when we go in peace,

we’re His righteous reps.

Help our hearts let go,

of temporal things;

and to You, Lord God,

we forever cling.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the remarkable examples of men and women that have gone before us, that willingly walked away from what was comfortable and known, into the unknown, as they trusted in You. Thank You that the benefits far outweigh the burdens for all of eternity, no matter what the cost seems to be in the here and now. Forgive us for our hesitation when we hear You call, and help us to move immediately, just as Matthew did. May our willing obedience be a blessing to all whom we encounter, and may many come to know of Your loving kindness as a result. Help us to love as You love us, and keep our hearts tender to hear from You. Be glorified, O God, as we faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

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

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Character Testifies Truth

Our faithfulness where we are planted, matters. People notice consistency over time. When our character testifies truth through our ongoing actions, Christ is seen through us. Daniel was an incredible example of this. He was an exile in a foreign land, torn from all that he knew. Though he entered the land under less than ideal circumstances, he was honorable to complete every task assigned to him, and faithful to honor God first, in all that he said and did. Never did he compromise his beliefs for what was asked of him. Daniel found favor before God and men, through his ongoing commitment to the Lord. Ultimately, after a series of unfortunate events and some jealous satraps seeking to destroy him, King Darius was so moved by what he witnessed in and through Daniel that he commanded his kingdom follow God.

 

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” – (Daniel 6:26-27)

 

How do we impact those around us? Do our words and actions align in a way that is a positive witness for Christ? Our faithfulness in even the smallest of circumstances, can speak volumes to those who do not yet know Him. May we walk in His truth, as our words and deeds align with all that He would ask of us.

 

May we stay true,Character Testifies Truth

to You, O Lord;

in word and deed,

Your love outpoured.

Let love and light,

both freely flow;

so all we meet,

may come to know.

Allow Your grace,

be evident;

and all desire,

You be present.

For You endure,

our Holy One;

forevermore,

O Three-in-One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, and that You remain present with those who are faithful to follow You. Thank You that even in the most dire of circumstances, You remain present. Thank You that You can use our faithfulness to follow You, in all things at all times, as a testimony before those around us. Forgive us for the times when we have been inconsistent, and help us to remain steadfast in Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light to all whom we encounter. May many come to know and revere You as their Savior and King. Be exalted, O God, as we are faithful to You in our words and deeds. Amen.

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

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

Receive Life

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, NIV)

 

Great blessings belong to those who have washed their robes. They will have the right to eat the food from the tree of life. They can go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, ERV)

 

Our “robes” are washed, when we receive what Christ freely offers. We are cleansed by the sacrifice He made for our sin, when He suffered and died in our place. If we embrace what He lovingly gives, and choose to follow Him all of our days, we will be granted entry into Christ’s eternal presence, and allowed to eat from that which people were previously not permitted. All that is good, right, lovely, holy and true, will be the eternal surroundings of those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Imagine a day when God’s glory alone is what lights our surroundings so brilliantly, that there is no longer need for the sun, nor lamps, nor any other source of light. May we receive what Christ has to offer, and allow His healing hands to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness.

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, if we seek You with our whole heart. Thank You that You forgive us and cleanse us, washing us clean, as if we had never sinned. Forgive us for either taking Your grace for granted, or for somehow thinking that Your grace is not enough to cover what we have done. Teach us to have a proper perspective of who You are, and what You have done for us. May we love others well, as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of Your forgiveness and grace as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You offer, and walk in the fullness of Your grace. Amen.

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

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

The Unadulterated Truth

There are some who absolutely declare that all religious roads lead to the same end. For these people the celebration of God comes in many ways and many forms. These conclusions are despite the fact that Christian foundations are quite different than the founding of other organizations and thoughts. However the difference in these sects is more than obvious especially when you consider the way that many of the organizations were started. For instance cultic organizations such as Buddhism and Islam were started by individuals said to have matured to the level of deity while in Christianity its founder is part of the Triune Godhead.

John 3:16 clearly shows that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not parish, but have everlasting life.” Academically and theologically terms such as “hypostatic union” can be used to show the relationship between God and His Son. The idea of “kenosis” can also be employed to show how Christ emptied somewhat of His attributes in order to walk with man. However the point of this essay is to call attention to the clear truth that there are stark differences between the God of love which is the Christian God and the purported god of peace which is the Islamic god. You see the God of love seeks only to reconcile man by way of acts of love such as the love Christ showed as he laid aside some of His attributes in order to live as man lives. Herein begins the juxtaposing of Christianity and Islam.

Love is the founding factor of Christianity. God loved and so He sent His Son. Christ so loved the world that He was in full agreement with the Father (I John 5:7) to the extent that He humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. This was not out of hatred or disdain for mankind rather love became the hallmark of the ministry of Christ not to condemn the world but rather that the world through Him might be saved. This is not the case with the founder of Islam. Islam (by many accounts) was born out of its founder’s disdain for Christianity. This disdain was a great reason for the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries wherein it could be argued that Islam sought to overtake the world by ridding it of Christianity. It is doubtful that the Crusades were born out of love.

The practice of Christianity is to love fellow man. It is not to harm him rather the practice of Christianity is to embrace individuals while hating the sin. With this in mind compassion coupled with love creates for the Christian a life of showing the love of the Father by expressing love even to those that reject Christ. On the other hand millions have had blood spilled because of Islam and those that purport that terrorism is the act of a “religion of peace.” Love did not crash into the World Trade Center more than a decade ago. Love had nothing to do with imprisoning a pastor only because he was a pastor. Love was not shown when three men were beheaded only because they were not Islamic. Additionally acts of love do not seek to force submission rather love allows choices such as Christians choose to serve the One and only God.

The truth of the matter is that many Muslims seek to force their view on “infidels” or they will suffer dire consequences. Christians seek to compel through the Love of Christ. Herein is the difference between Christendom and Islam; the former prefers love while the latter seeks conformity by force and even death. There are no true Christians that seek harm of anyone; not even Muslims. Yet there are some Muslims who cling to the idea that the only good Christian is a dead Christian. In this is the unadulterated truth concerning those that choose Christ and those that prefer Islam; the one works with the idea of love bringing forth reconciliation while the other prefers destruction in the hopes of gaining seventy-two virgins. So, the question must be asked; who will you serve? The One true and living God or the god of this world? I must say as the prophet of old once declared and say that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

The Sheep of His Pasture

You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord. – (Ezekiel 34:31)

 

These words were spoken by the Lord through Ezekiel, at the end of a prophesy of warning to those who were in leadership positions who had abused their authority and not cared for those whom they were meant to provide care. For those who had remained faithful, the Lord promised a covenant of peace and His blessing. God reminded them that He counted the faithful as His own, and that He would care for them, as would a good shepherd. Even more than that, the Lord assured them that He was their God, and His sovereignty was their assurance that He indeed has the supreme power and authority over all. The word given then, remains true throughout the ages. The Lord is still our Good Shepherd. He is our God and is sovereign over all. If we draw near to Him and give Him our heart, He counts us among His people. May we seek our Savior with our whole heart, and know His sovereignty in our lives.

 

May we be faithful,The little lamb

whole-heartedly seek;

our Savior and Lord,

as His humble sheep.

He is our Shepherd,

Who tends us with care;

provides safe pasture,

delivers us there.

When He is our God,

He forgives our sin;

He rules and He reigns,

our Lord, sovereign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, You count us among Your people. Thank You that You shepherd us with Your loving kindness, and that You are sovereign over all. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are God, and You are greater. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith, and help us to trust in Your unfailing love. Teach us to love as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know You as their God, as we faithfully follow You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we go forth as the people of Your pasture. 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

I Will ALWAYS Be A New Yorker – My September 11, 2001 Story

loopyloo305:

A reminder of 9/11/2001 from Zilla! God bless!

Originally posted on Femininican:

This is my personal story of September 11, 2001 and what happened after – as I experienced it 60 miles away from Ground Zero…

 

My father’s grandparents, (both sets) Irish Catholics, somehow managed to survive the Famine in Ireland which killed so many. They came to America to escape the oppression in Ireland and landed in New York City. It would be a hundred years before anyone in that family line ever moved out of the City to other places.

My mother is from a tiny country called Grenada. She saw there were few opportunities for a young lady there, so she packed her bags and came to find the “American Dream” in New York City. She found it. She also found my father and it was love at first sight. They met at the famous Rainbow Room in NYC and were married a few months later.

They started…

View original 2,256 more words

Your Compassion Never Fails

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – (Lamentations 3:21-23)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   As I navigate my way through nearing the one-year mark since we lost my dear friend, Anne, the truth found in this passage resonates within me. Hope is assured in Him, both in the security of knowing that Anne is dwelling in His presence forever, and in the promise that I too, will one day join her in His glorious grace, for all of eternity. His love prevents my heart from becoming overwhelmed by grief, and His compassion reminds me of His continual presence and ongoing comfort as He transforms the sorrow into sweet remembrances of a beloved sister and friend. Each day as I wake, His mercies are made new again. How great His faithfulness remains, always. May we call to mind His mercies that are made new every morning, and trust His faithfulness to keep us from being consumed.

 

Each morning I wake,His Compassion Never Fails
and I call to mind;
the truth of Your love,
new mercies I find.
Your love is so great,
I’ll not be consumed;
and Your faithfulness,
each day is renewed.
Help my heart to hope,
when all hope seems lost;
for You paid the price,
the ultimate cost.
No matter what comes,
our future’s secure;
if we hope in You,
Your promise is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, we have hope for all of our days. Thank You that because of Your great love for us, we will not be consumed by anything that may come against us. Thank You that Your compassions never fail us, and that they are new every single morning. Thank You that Your faithfulness is beyond what we can comprehend. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our growing faint in heart when the storm strikes against us. Help us to hold fast to You, our Safe Harbor in the storm, and our security no matter what comes. May we live and love as You call and equip us to, and may many come to know Your compassion and faithfulness as a result. Let lives be changed and hearts hold fast to You forever. Be exalted as we embrace Your compassions that are new every morning. 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

Our Map and Our Guide

For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. – (Psalm 48:14)

 

There is such reassurance in these words, as the companion chapter in my reading plan today included Revelation 13. In Revelation 13, we are told of the captivity and persecution that will happen in the end times for all who faithfully follow Christ. I find that to be a bit unnerving, yet there is such reassurance in this particular verse in Psalm 13. God will be our God and our guide unto the end. He will be our map and our Companion, leading, guiding, directing, strengthening and remaining present, no matter where we are called; regardless of what we may face. Our charge is to continue to pursue Him through the study of His word (our map), seeking Him in prayer, and to allow our hearts to be tender toward Him, so that we may hear His direction and guidance. All glory, honor and praise unto You, our God and our guide for all of our days.

 

For God is our God,Our Map and Our Guide

both now and always;

He will lead and guide,

for all of our days.

When the trials come,

He stays by our side;

our heart in His hands,

for our souls, He died.

Whatever we face,

His strength is enough;

His peace and presence,

the most hopeful stuff.

So, fear not my friends,

the evil around;

for in Christ we’re saved,

our hope has been found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God forever, and that You will be our guide until the very end. Thank You that no matter what comes, nor what trials we face, You remain present, holding our hearts and our hands. Thank You that though harm may befall our bodies, our spirit is safe forever in You. Forgive us for our fears when we see all that is going on in the world that points to potential discomfort, and grant us Your strength and courage to trust in You and Your plans and purposes for us. May we love without limits, as You love us, and may those who know You not, come to know the hope found forever in You. Be glorified, O God, as we trust You to lead us and guide us all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Not Home Yet

Revelation is a book that baffles me. It used to be one that terrified me. As I read this morning’s portion of my reading plan that had me read through chapter eleven, the verse that stood out anew, was verse fifteen: The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15, NIV)

 

Often, thanks to the accessibility of numerous versions available online, I opt to read the same verse in a variety of translations of the Bible, just to make sure that I have a firm grasp on what I am reading. The Voice, expands the verses in a sort of story form, and really struck a chord for me with this one.

 

When the seventh messenger blows his trumpet, the kingdom of this world comes to an end. The rule and reign of God and His Anointed has arrived in full to eclipse the rogue kings who rebelled against the Creator and mocked His good name. God’s kingdom entered our world in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It slipped in almost unnoticed beneath the noses of the powers that be. It grows silently as a seed in the earth until it fills the cosmos.

Today Christians live between the times: we live as aliens and strangers rescued from this present darkness, but we also live as citizens who long for the Kingdom that is to come. Until then we are to seek His kingdom and help carve out the territories for Him. - (Revelation 11:15, The Voice)

 

Though strangers on earth,IMG_0197

and not quite at home;

we’ve a job to do,

while on earth we roam.

Our task is quite clear,

He’s called us above;

to live in His light,

and share of His love.

We are meant to be,

His ambassadors;

to offer His hope,

from mountains to shores.

Wherever there’s life,

the truth’s needed too;

may we choose love well,

so His light shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much that in You, we have the hope of being with You forever. Thank You that though there will be trials and tribulation on earth, there will come a day, when there is no more suffering, nor pain – only peace and the joy of Your presence for all of eternity. Forgive us for losing sight of You when trials come, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You, and to stay true to the course to which You have called us. Grant us courage and strength to remain steadfast all of our days, and lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and Lord. Be glorified as we go forth as You call us to do. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

 

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