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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Christmas

When Love Came Close

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” – (I John 3:16-18)

“Real love is an action, not a feeling. It produces selfless, sacrificial giving. The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others. How can we lay down our lives? By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.” – (NIV footnotes)

The greatest example ever given, was born to us, and is remembered each Christmas. Jesus was the ultimate example of what love is, for He loved with His very life. He stepped down from heaven, and became God with us – demonstrating again and again how to love with actions and in truth. As the only One who was fully God and fully man, there were so many “could have done’s” along the way, yet He chose instead, each time, to model love. He drew near to those whom society deemed undesirable, and He touched the untouchables. His love broke down social, racial and religious barriers, and encouraged all who came near, to love as He loved.

Though this blessed day of remembering is nearing an end, our command to love will remain. How can we carry Christmas with us as we approach the coming year? What can we give of ourselves to others, as He has given unto us?

What can I give?

What gift shall I bring?The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

Unto You Lord,

my great, mighty King.

My heart, You have,

and likewise, my life;

what of my time,

resource and supply?

Anew I ask,

how might I show love;

to honor You,

so You’re known above?

Lead me, I pray,

show me how to move;

let Your love shine,

so people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to come close – to draw near to us and show us that You are love. Thank You that You loved so much, that You sent Your One and Only Son, so that we may receive all that You are offering. Forgive us for giving with expectations, or for withholding, where You would have us to give more of ourselves. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly hear Your voice and Your instructions for the coming year. May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. All glory to You, our great and mighty King. Amen.

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

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and God bless you all! Thank you all for the wonderful and most interesting year. It has been a time of growing in God and I hope that those of you who contribute as well as those of you who read, have found it worth your time! Thanks to Darrell Creswell for the beautiful card!jesus-gift-of-the-season


Rejoice

Rejoice! Rejoice! Oh you crazy and sad world, rejoice! This season is a reminder of a promise fulfilled in the birth of a child from a virgin, and a promise of hope to all who believe. Upon His shoulders all the weight and the sin were given to pay for those of us who choose Him. Rejoice all you believers and even those who are looking for a reason to believe. He brings an even greater promise for the future. A promise of no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears! A world of peace! A promise of true hope! Have faith and know that His promises are kept. God bless you and rejoice!

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Merry Christmas


Thought for the Day

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.Luke 2:16-20 KJV

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Count Your Blessings

I really think that this old song is one of the greatest reminders that we could have everyday. I know how easy it is to look upon the negative in our lives. To consider what we need or want for ourselves or even for the world. But what if every day we considered our blessings first, before we went to prayer and ask God to give us what we think we need, what if we spent the time just considering what He has already done for us and give thanks for that.

When we consider this season that we use to celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus, what could be more of a blessing than the promise that the Lord has already kept when He sent His Son to save all of us who are sinners upon this earth. The blessing of being adopted into His family! How wonderful it is to know that our eternity is secure in the promise and the knowledge that He keeps His promise. God bless you and have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!


When Love Came Down

As we have traveled through the season of Advent, my pastor has taught a series on the attributes of God, which He imparts to us, as a gift through the sending of His Son. The four weeks have covered, peace, hope, joy, and finally yesterday, love.

Jesus, is God’s gift of love to us, as He sent us His one and only Son. (1 John 4:9-10) The love of God is so great, that it covers us with the commitment of His very life. His love is agape – love that genuinely and exclusively seeks the good of others, rather than one that might expect something in return. Christ’s love was so vast, that He set aside the robes of majesty, and took on the role of a man, so that we might know love. (paraphrasing Pastor Jon McIntosh)

In John 13:1-12, Jesus shows the full extent of His love for the disciples, as He takes on the role of the lowliest of servants, and kneels to wash the filth from the feet of His friends. The washing of another’s feet, would have made the one who was washing, completely unclean. Feet were filthy, and to touch them, would have been a wretched violation of plenty of purity laws. Jesus was modeling to the men that it matters not what it takes, when we love, we must be willing to set aside ourselves, and serve. His serving, left the disciples cleansed and refreshed, despite personal cost.

Philippians 2:5-8 encourages us to have the attitude of a servant, just as was seen through Christ. The love described in Philippians, is humble and obedient to God, willing to love with His very life. Such love is unshakeable, and will remain forever. (See also: Isaiah 54:10, Romans 8:38-39)

And Love came down,When Love Came Down

so the world might know;

the height and depth,

of love truly shown.

Love seeks not self,

records not the wrongs;

is patient, kind,

fills hearts with sweet songs.

Where there is Love,

peace too, shall be found;

for where Christ dwells,

all goodness abounds.

Love seeks to serve,

do unto others;

cares for each one,

as sisters, brothers.

Love will endure,

forever, always;

none can remove,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to us so that we might know Love. Thank You that we set aside this season to remember the blessed birth, the arrival of God with us. Forgive us for allowing anything to distract or taint the significance of this season, and help us to hold fast to that which truly matters. May we learn to love as You loved, and be Your hands and heart to those who are hurting this Christmas. May many come to know the limitlessness of Your everlasting love this season. May our every attitude and action be as You would have us do, and may our every offering be pleasing unto You. We love You, Lord. Amen.

*Scripture references taken from yesterdays sermon at http://www.gcfw.org

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


The Good Shepherd

Christmas is a remembrance of when Love came near. God, came in flesh, so that all might know the saving grace that is available through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Light unto the world, and the good Shepherd to all whom believe.

In John 10:11, it says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Though few of us have much exposure to present-day shepherds, what I can gather from footnotes and other resources that I have read, is that shepherds treat their sheep as family, and are willing to lay down their own life to keep each of them safe from harm. A shepherd’s love and commitment to care for his flock is not a paid position, but rather one’s chosen duty as he cares for each sheep as if it were his own precious progeny.

Jesus, throughout scripture, is called the Good Shepherd. He is the ultimate example of one who loves us with His very life, and cares for each of us, individually. When we make the decision to follow Him, we become the sheep of His flock – the people of His pasture. The cross was endured on our behalf, so that we are forgiven and freed from all that would lead us away from the security of our Good Shepherd; and His resurrection and the sending of His Holy Spirit, provide us with the ability to hear and obey His voice, as well as the power to hold fast to the promise of our eternal hope. What a treasured song to sing, when His glad tidings we choose to bring.

The Savior came near,The Good Shepherd

in flesh, became man;

still fully holy,

for us, came to stand.

The Light of the world,

came down to the earth;

an innocent child,

lowly stable birth.

Announced by angels,

to shepherds in field;

for they knew of love,

sacrificial yield.

Baby became man,

Good Shepherd to all;

who choose to follow,

and answer His call.

For He gave His life,

so our life we’d gain;

eternal promise,

the truth to proclaim.

Sing out, fellow sheep,

glad tidings to share;

for His hope is ours,

rejoice in His care.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Good Shepherd. Thank You that You know us and love us, individually. Thank You that You willingly laid down Your life, so that we could have life with You forever. Forgive us for allowing the worries of the world to steal our joy, and help us to rejoice in the promises that are ours forever. Help us to share the great news of who You are, and may many receive the gift of You this Christmas. May we love as You love, so that Your light is evident in all that we say and do. May our actions be announcements of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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


Brandon Heath – Go Tell it on the Mountain (Audio)


Treasures to Hold

Just over three months ago, a very dear friend of mine breathed her last breath. She had fought long and hard, a battle that would have caused many to quit, yet never in the nine years of the invasion of that devastating disease, did Anne even once, allow cancer to define her. She knew with all certainty that she was above all, a child of God. Her faith in our Heavenly Father did not waiver, regardless of what the doctors had told her.

Her perseverance and unwavering faith, are two of the things that I most admired about Anne. So often, she would extend encouragement to those who were providing her medical care. Laughter and light-hearted banter were common during many of her appointments. The verse that brought her great comfort in her final days was 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” For she had indeed fought and finished in firm faith.

A dear friend asked me how I might remember Anne this Christmas. I was a bit taken aback, as avoidance has been my coping mechanism of choice. However, it is nearly impossible to navigate this season without reminders of my dear friend, as we have had many outings in this most blessed of seasons gone by. As we spoke, I realized that perhaps part of me had avoided actual shopping in stores for gifts this year, as that is something that Anne and I have done together many times over the past few years.

I do not yet know if I am meant to do anything in particular to remember Anne, but I do know that I am to embrace her memory – the gift of friendship that I was given in her – and to be grateful for the example she set in perseverance and faith, and for the assurance that I have, knowing that she fought the good fight and is home, where I will one day see her again.

My heart will now hold,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

memories so dear;

treasures of friendship,

hope that is secure.

The faithful fighter,

no more needs to fight;

now in heaven’s hold,

our Savior’s delight.

I will remember,

the blessings I’ve known;

modeled endurance,

such steadfast faith shown.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

for Your gifts of grace;

may we be steadfast,

secure in our faith.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give us in friends. Thank You for the blessings that they bring, be it for a season or for a lifetime. Thank You for the lessons that we learn from one another, when we are securely rooted in You. Forgive us for not facing painful or sorrowful things, and help us to embrace each of the experiences that You bring, trusting that You have a purpose and a plan to use each experience for our ultimate good. Teach us to persevere when things are difficult, and to have a faith that is unwavering, even when all seems to be shaking around us. May our confidence and security in You, be a living testimony to all who are around us. May many come to call You King this Christmas. Be our hope and our help, Lord God. Amen.

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


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