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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Religion

Go Forth in Joy

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. – (Isaiah 55:12)

 

As we grow in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot help but praise Him for who He is. He fills our hearts with joy, and covers our countenance with peace, even in the midst of life’s storms. All of creation has been made to praise Him; nothing is excluded. In fact, Jesus spoke these words in Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” He replied, “if they (the people who were wanting to praise Him) keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Let everything that has breath, praise Him!

 

As we go forth,There is Freedom

our hearts filled with joy;

may songs of praise,

be what we employ.

Let His peace lead,

as we choose invest;

our time, our heart,

into His sweet rest.

All around us,

creation shall sing;

of Christ’s great love,

the freedom He brings.

If we speak not,

truth will still be known;

the trees will clap,

cries will come from stone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your majesty, everywhere. Thank You that we have the privilege of partnering with You in sharing of the great things that You have done, and letting others know Who You are in our lives. Thank You that You are forever faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You grant us joy and peace, even in times of trouble, and that You lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for staying silent when we were meant to speak, and grant us the courage to be bold on Your behalf. Make us brave for Your glory. Let our love for You be evident in all that we say and do, and may many be led unto You through our active faith. Be glorified, Lord Jesus, as we seek to praise You on the path You have placed before us. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

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Strength in Suffering

And the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – (1 Peter 5:10, NIV)

 

Yes, you will suffer for a short time. But after that, God will make everything right. He will make you strong. He will support you and keep you from falling. He is the God who gives all grace. He chose you to share in His glory in Christ. That glory will continue forever. – (1 Peter 5:10, ERV)

 

Struggling and suffering are inevitable parts of dwelling in a broken world. Hurting people hurt people, and often bad things do happen to good people. This does not mean that we have somehow fallen from Christ’s favor, nor does it mean that we are receiving our punishment due; there are times when a struggle is allowed for a season so that we may grow to truly understand His strength and His grace in our lives. Every single time that I have gone through a trial of sorts, Christ has been present. His grace gave me the strength to keep moving forward, even when I wanted to retreat, and His love summoned me to cling to Him – He who is firm and steadfast, always. As I relied less on me and more on Jesus, my footing became more firm, and my resolve, ready and steadfast in He who does not change. His strength and hope restored what I’d feared might be lost, and His grace abounded all the more. He who has promised is faithful to fulfill His every word.

 

Though life becomes hard,Strength in Suffering

there’s suffering, pain;

we have hope in Christ,

His presence remains.

He will restore us,

make us strong, steadfast;

firm, as He’s faithful,

eternally lasts.

We have been chosen,

to share Christ’s glory;

let us stand in strength,

and tell His story.

Receive His great grace,

to us it abounds;

all who were once lost,

but now have been found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all grace. Thank You that even in our suffering, You remain present. Thank You that You are our strength and our firm foundation, and we may remain steadfast in the hope not only for today, but of our eternal glory that awaits in Christ. Forgive us for our lack of awareness of Your presence in the struggle, or for doubting Your faithfulness when suffering seems long. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that our struggles and suffering are only a short time, when compared to all of eternity in Your Holy presence. Let us live with an eternal perspective. May we live and love as if each day could be our last, and may our every word and deed point people straight to You. Let those who are looking be found in You. Be glorified as we trust You in both the blessings and the suffering. 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


Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

 

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

 

So often, actions speak louder than words. Many people are only ready and willing to hear what we have to say, after they have witnessed consistently faithful behavior over time. As God is made evident through our ongoing outpouring of self, it is then that people become curious and want to know why. Questions are asked and answers are discovered. Opportunities are created where they had never been before. Additionally, when we are consistent in our faithful walk with the Lord, and our actions are an ongoing reflection of such, people know that if a slanderous statement is made – they see it for what it is – a lie. His truth reigns and we are beyond reproach when we commit our lives to serving Him.

 

Choose to do God’s will,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

our actions be true;

abiding in Christ,

as He makes us new.

Doing what is good,

hushes foolish men;

as the Lord desires,

truth shines forth again.

We pour out our hearts,

generously give;

He lets His light shine,

so more loved ones live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and protecting us and our reputation. Thank You that as we do Your will, You allow our actions to speak on our behalf, silencing those who might speak untruth against us. Thank You too, that You utilize our obedience to open opportunities to share with those who do not yet know You. Forgive us for our inactivity when You have called us to action, and help us to step out faithfully – trusting You to be our strength every step of the way. May we make the most of every opportunity You present us with to share of Your goodness and faithfulness, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we do all things in Your love. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 


Confession and Community

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – (James 5:16)

 

Christ’s death on the cross took away the barrier that required us to go to a priest to confess. However, there are times when we need audible reassurance that we have indeed been forgiven, or perhaps a person present to keep us accountable so that we do not repeat the offense. Still other times, we must make amends with one whom we have offended with our actions. “In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers.” (NIV footnotes, James 5:16) May we go forth keeping short accounts before God and everyone, so that hearts may be healed and our prayers become powerful and effective.

 

We must confess,

all of our sin;Who Do You See

before the Lord,

know peace within.

At times we need,

help of others;

to grasp the grace,

voiced by brothers.

Our healing comes,

when we’ve come clean;

point of release,

as sin is seen.

Those forgiven,

are called righteous;

their prayers are heard,

power, priceless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to come to You directly when we sin. Thank You that we can approach Your throne of grace, no matter what we have done, and know that You love us and will receive us. Thank You too, that You call us to be in community together, and that when we struggle, You provide safe sisters and brothers in You, in whom we can confide to confess and go to for prayer. Thank You that when we are right before You, our prayers by Your Spirit within us, are powerful and effective. Forgive us for bearing burdens that we are not meant to carry, or for not reaching out to those who can help keep us accountable where we may struggle. Help us to invest in relationships that point our hearts heavenward. May we love, encourage and pray for others as You call us to do, and may many come to know the freedom that is only found in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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


Steadfast in Trust

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. – (Isaiah 26:3)

 

Though strife and struggle are inevitable in this life, the perfect peace of Christ, is not. When we are devoted to Him in all of our ways, we remain steady, even in the raging storms. That does not mean that we are not aware of the wind and waves surrounding us, but rather in spite of the storm, we know our Source of safety, and we find peace in the midst of storms, as we fix our eyes on He alone who is far greater than anything that comes against us. May we keep our mind steadfast on Christ, and ever trust in the mighty power and unchanging love of our great God.

 

There is perfect peace,Steadfast in Trust

in the midst of storms;

when we cling to Christ,

our outlook transforms.

We need not look at,

the wind and the waves;

but rather at Him,

Who makes our heart brave.

Not by our own strength,

but in His alone;

peace covers our hearts,

as truth is made known.

His mighty power,

and unchanging love;

can silence our storms,

grant peace from above.

So trust in the Lord,

be steadfast in mind;

no matter what comes,

His peace we will find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us Your perfect peace, even in the midst of raging storms, when we fix our minds and hearts on You in trust. Thank You that Your Spirit in us grants us the strength that we need to hold onto what is true. Forgive us for our fearfulness at all that is seen, and help us to truly trust You with all that You are doing in the unseen. Thank You that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Help us to be steadfast in our faith, and love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know Your mighty power and unchanging love personally, and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to stay steadfast in trust. 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

 

 


Faith Assured

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

 

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

The sure and certain hope recorded here are foundational in our faith. They are both the beginning and the end of what we believe. First, to be sure of what we hope for requires that we believe in God’s character – that we trust He is who He says He is. Our certainty comes as we discover His promises, and realize that He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful, and will fulfill and follow through, even when we do not see evidence that is tangible in the here and now. May we allow hope to fill our hearts and minds, as we grant Christ access to further grow our faith.

 

In the dark of night,Faith Assured

we see no evidence;

of new morning’s light,

with faith, reassurance.

So it is with Christ,

though our hearts may not see;

He has paid the price,

for all hearts to be free.

A promise of hope,

His presence for today;

our answer to cope,

the only faithful way.

Allow faith to grow,

may it rise up in you;

as you come to know,

all He’s promised to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something that we are expected to somehow muster on our own, but rather when we seek You, we find You, and You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we invest our hearts in You, we come to know both Your character and Your promises, which assure us of our hope for both today and forever with You. Forgive us for thinking that we could somehow grow our faith on our own, and help us to trust You to increase our understanding and deepen our dependence on You as we seek You. May we shine Your light and extend Your love to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8


Breaking Free from Barriers

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

 

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into Heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

 

Before Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, the high priest was only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people with a blood offering. When Jesus came and suffered on our behalf, He broke down the barriers that limited our access to the presence of our great High Priest. When Christ sacrificed Himself, the price was paid – once and for all. No longer do we have need for an earthly mediator to communicate with God. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually contending for us. We are seen through the veil of His righteousness, and received as coheirs with Christ. Let us boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace, as we seek to serve Him all of our days.

 

No barrier,Breaking Free from Barriers

exists between;

a longing heart,

and Christ unseen.

Each honest cry,

by Heaven’s heard;

our great High Priest,

values each word.

Look to the Lord,

in suffering;

let gratitude,

from our lips, sing.

Direct access,

to His mercy;

let love and grace,

set our hearts free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to have direct access to You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring our sin and shame on the cross. Thank You for conquering the grave and returning to the right hand of the Father, so that You can advocate for us. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks that we have to do or be enough to somehow earn what You freely give. Teach us to embrace Your mercy and grace, and to go forth in gratitude to serve. May we extend Your love and light to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be magnified as we move past every barrier that might hinder 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

 


The Unchanging Nature of God

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. – (Hebrews 6:17-18, NIV)

 

God wanted to prove that His promise was true. He wanted to prove this to those who would get what He promised. He wanted them to understand clearly that His purposes never change. So God said something would happen, and He proved what He said by adding an oath. These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when He says something, and He cannot lie when He makes an oath. So these two things are a great help to us who have come to God for safety. They encourage us to hold on to the hope that is ours. – (Hebrews 6:17-18, ERV)

 

If God says it, He does it. Who He is, will not change. We can trust God to be true to both His nature and His word. Our hope is secure forever in Him. May we grasp the truth that we are sons and daughters – heirs of God – called His children, promised both His presence now and a permanent place dwelling with Him forever, in Heaven. Because He does not change, neither should our hold on hope.

 

True to His word,The Unchanging Nature of God

His promises true;

He will not change,

nor lie unto you.

He is safe space,

to Whom we can run;

our hope to hold,

’til our day is done.

Heaven awaits,

for the faithful ones;

those who choose trust,

as daughters and sons.

Rise up in hope,

children of the King;

may our lives be,

pleasing offerings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not change and that You keep Your promises forever. Thank You that You are a space of safety whom we can run to, and are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that not only do You forgive and redeem us, but You adopt us as sons and daughters; heirs of Your holy inheritance. Thank You that when we choose to place our trust in You, our hope is secured in Heaven forever. Forgive us for our faltering faith, and for our lack of trust. Teach us to see things through Your lens, so that we might have an eternal perspective, recognizing that You will have the final say in all things. Help us to live our lives in love as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know the peace of Your promises as we pursue Your path for our lives. Be glorified in all that we say and do, and may our lives be a pleasing offering unto You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28


Approaching the Throne of Grace

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16)

 

Approaching the throne of grace is a fancy way of saying that we are meant to pray, to call on Christ, in our times of need. He wants us to come before Him with confidence, trusting that He is merciful and that His grace is enough to cover all that is required to continue on. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually interceding on our behalf. He understands our weaknesses and our struggles personally, as He Himself, experienced the same – without sin. His heart is for us, so we can come confidently, trusting that His grace is more than enough.

 

Let us approach,Approaching the Throne of Grace

the throne of His grace;

with confidence,

our hope to embrace.

Mercy awaits,

His grace is enough;

to meet our needs,

when the times are tough.

Pray to the One,

Who hears our heart cries;

our Source of strength,

Love never denies.

Answers may not,

look how we had hoped;

His way is best,

let’s trust His approach.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can approach the throne of Your grace with confidence, because You sent Your Son and made the way for us to receive mercy and find grace in our times of need. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that Your love for us is unending. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things do not align with the way we think they ought to go, and help us to trust You, in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are more than enough. Help us to live and love as You have designed us to do. May many come to know the saving grace available in You, as we walk with confidence as You have called us to do. Be glorified, O God, in every word, deed and prayer presented before You this day. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

 


Anyone who loves Me

 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:22-27 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John14:22-27&version=NIVimg_25331.jpg


Finding Freedom

On this Independence Day, my heart cannot help but fix on the freedom I’ve found in Christ. My freedom is not a ticket to do as I please, but rather is my redemption from sin, and the recognition of my need for total dependence on Him to be righteous before God. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – (Romans 6:18)

Our exchange the moment we choose to give our lives to the Lord, is that He takes the shackles of all of our sin and shame that have been binding us, and sets us free, so that we may live the lives He has prepared for us. Rather than being bound by the things we know we ought not do, we find the freedom to follow Him, listening to His still small voice, as He leads us and guides us in the ways in which we are meant to go. The former is fleeting and finds nothing but devastation and destruction. Choosing to follow Him, to place our dependence on Christ, is the only way to have eternity secured.

May we celebrate,Finding Freedom
the freedom we’ve found;
not to run amuck,
but in Christ, abound.
Redeemed from our sins,
all unrighteousness;
Christ has set us free,
robed in righteousness.
The freedom we have,
must not be squandered;
may we be His voice,
to those who’ve wandered.
On this freedom day,
may His love impart;
redemption for lost,
and seekers fresh start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You above all, for the freedom we have in You – the freedom from being stuck in sin and shame. Thank You that You covered all as You paid the price on the cross. Thank You that when You look upon us, You see us as righteous, through the veil of Your Son. Thank You for the freedom that we know in our nation – to gather, to worship, and to speak freely of what we know to be true. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, and help our hearts to overflow with gratitude for all that You have done for us. Teach us to be completely dependent on You, so that we might better reflect who You are to all whom we encounter. May many come to know true independence today, and may they give You all the glory. Be exalted, O God, in all that we say and 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


To Be At Rest

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7)

 

Though I know God is good, I am always surprised by His goodness to me, personally. When my soul is stirred up, and rest is far from me, He makes His heart for me tangible, through the kindness of the people He has placed around me. Continually, I am in awe of how He cares for us, and does not want dismay to dominate our hearts and minds. Though the road may be rough at times, He does not ask us to travel alone. He is always with us, and often He sends the faithful to walk beside us – acting as His hands, heart and voice, when we need it the most. My soul finds rest, even in the midst of stormy seasons, because He is always good.

 

Be at rest once more,To Be At Rest

O my weary soul;

for the Lord is good,

when life takes it’s toll.

His presence remains,

no matter the storm;

in His sweet embrace,

we’ll stay safe and warm.

The gift of His grace,

often tangible;

as His heart is shown,

to us by faithful.

His hands and His heart,

His voice and His peace;

extended to us,

grant unrest release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our soul finds rest in You. Thank You that You are so very good to us, though we deserve it not. Thank You that Your goodness is not dependent on our faithfulness. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of all who believe, and for Your tender mercy that makes Your love for us tangible through the hands, hearts and voices of those whom You send to walk beside us. Forgive us for our unrest, and help us to fix our eyes and hearts on Your goodness and grace that grant us life everlasting. May we live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know who You are, and how much You love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You as we remain at rest within our souls, seeking to serve You with all that we are. Amen.

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

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


Knowing the “No”

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12)

 

The grace that God has given, is the gift of His Son. Jesus died so that we might live – His life ransomed for ours. After He rose and ascended into Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and Comforter, so that we would have help in an uncertain world. That still small voice within us that whispers “No“, to the things that we know we ought not do, is His voice, teaching and protecting us so that we might live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. May we each choose to receive what He freely offers, so that we are able to live the lives He has for us.

 

Abundant grace,Knowing the No

poured out for mankind;

to open hearts,

give sight to the blind.

His Spirit shows,

the way we’re to go;

when it’s a “Yes”,

and where it’s a “No”.

No to the things,

ungodly and wrong;

and yes to those,

that make our walk strong.

All by His grace,

His love, it abounds;

receives the lost,

His power, profound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made way for us to brought back into a relationship with You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, and for the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, for laying Your life down for mine, so that I could truly live. Thank You for Your still small voice that teaches us to say “No” to that which we ought not do, and compels us to move forward in those things to which You are calling. Forgive us for ignoring the “No“, or for standing stuck when we were meant to move forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will move either forward toward that which You are calling, or flee from that which You are warning us away from. May our life of obedience be an example to those around us, and may many come to know who You are and how much You love them as a result. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we receive Your grace and obey all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


To Fight the Good Fight

Last summer, much of my free time was spent driving back and forth to Seattle to spend time with my dear friend, Anne, and to take her to various medical appointments. Anne had been bravely battling stage four cancer for nearly nine years. Many of those years had been extremely victorious. However, the unpredictable and ugly disease had spread its corrosive cells throughout her entire body. Though Anne presented a valiant fight, the cancer was finding a foothold that nothing could seem to stop. By summer’s end, she needed a place to stay where she would not be left alone for long stretches of time, but rather where there would continually be a person present in the home. God provided the perfect place – a home with a loving Christian couple and their eldest daughter, who happened to be an in-home care medical person. Additionally, the new location was a mere fifteen minutes from my home, rather than forty.

 

One of the many things that Anne loved about their home, is that they would talk with her and spend time reading the Bible aloud to her, as she requested. There was a verse that came to be very significant to Anne as she became increasingly frail, and barring a miracle, it was apparent that her end was near. This morning as I read through the passages in my daily reading plan, there was a hitch in my heart as I came upon that particular verse. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – (2 Timothy 4:7) Anne, although her days were far shorter than any of us would have liked, she fought the good fight, she never wavered in her faith, and she finished her race strong, even unto her final breath. It is my prayer that I would learn from her example, and that no matter what comes my way, that I would continue to fight the good fight and keep the faith. When my days are done, I want to know that I have finished the race He has set before me, with no regrets.

 

Whatever we do,To Fight the Good Fight

may it give God praise;

with all of our heart,

for all of our days.

To fight the good fight,

means stay in the game;

trust that He is good,

have faith in His Name.

We must run the race,

that He’s called us to;

for He’s qualified,

and equipped to do.

View not the struggle,

nor look to the task;

instead to the Source,

our Strength as we ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us numerous examples of those who have gone before us and have fought the good fight, have finished the race, and have kept the faith. Thank You that this is not something that we are meant to do in our own strength, but rather in Yours. Thank You that You supply all that we need to stand strong and stay in the fight for as long as we are meant to run our race. Forgive us for allowing weariness to let our hearts wander off course, and help faith to rise up as we grow in our understanding of who You are, and just how much You love us. Thank You that Your mercy is new every morning, and that Your grace is enough. May we stand strong in faith in the fight, and run our race as You call us to run. Let Your love be what people see in us, and may many come to know You as their Lord and Savior, as our path points people to You. Be glorified through how we are running our race. 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

 

 

 


Redemption for the Repentent

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. – (Joel 2:13, NIV)

 

Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and merciful. He does not become angry quickly. He has great love. Maybe He will change His mind about the bad punishment He planned. – (Joel 2:13, ERV)

 

God is indeed merciful; slow to anger, abounding in love. However, we must make a choice. We either elect to turn from our selfish and independent ways and choose to trust Him, or we continue on our self-made road to ruin. Jesus made the way so that all who call on His Name, may be saved. All of our sin and shame has been covered at the cross; we need only be willing to repent and receive what He is offering. Each of us have a finite time on earth. Not one of us know the number of our days. Sitting idly by, saving the decision for “someday“, is playing roulette with our eternity. There is no better time than now. He has been waiting since the moment He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows your name, and everything you’ve ever done – yet He still love you and is ready to call you His own. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12) Repent, receive, and believe, for we are meant to be His.

 

Today is the day,Redemption for the Repentant

to turn to the Lord;

don’t let it slip by,

seek in one accord.

For He is waiting,

with arms open wide;

to call you His own,

to stay by your side.

No matter your past,

the sin you have done;

covered at the cross,

that battle’s been won.

All that still remains,

is you choose receive;

to trust in His word,

have faith and believe.

There’s no greater choice,

to ever be made;

O child of the King,

embrace Him today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that You receive us into Your kingdom when we call on Your Name and repent from our sinful ways. Forgive us for overcomplicating Your love or Your grace, and help us to both receive and extend all that You are offering. May we be living examples of lives transformed by You. Let those who are looking, find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Help us to hold fast to Your truth, and live and love as You love us. Be exalted, O God, as we share of the goodness and grace You grant all who seek Your face. 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

 


What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? Yesterday, as we gathered together for our Sunday service, that was the morning’s topic. The question was not posed in a typical sermon format, but rather our pastor had several different people from our church come forward and share part of their own story. About six months ago, just as we began the new year, we invested together in a series called Into the Wild. The premise of the series was all about how we are called on a journey, and as we journey it is wild, but we have His promises and His presence as we go. Each person who shared their story, spoke of a portion of the adventure God had been taking them on over the past many months. All had the common thread of His promise and His presence that they held onto, even when the path before them seemed to be unmarked, and the ground unstable. Each one, was evidence of His faithfulness, as they had walked in obedience where they had been called.

 

This morning, I caught a glimpse of the bulletin. There in the top row, sits my smiling face, waiting to tell a story. At first, I kind of complained to the Lord, as I do not have as concrete of a path as some of the stories told yesterday. The gentle nudge did not let up, so I shall attempt to speak of the story He has been writing in me, as I have willingly walked into the wild…

 

By nature, I am an introvert. To those who know me, this is no great surprise, especially if observed in a large group. Also, as a result of both environment and of choice, I had become a very closed individual emotionally, and was unwilling to allow others to see past the smile. “The Wild” for me, has been a journey of learning to be vulnerable with trustworthy individuals. Willingness to share my heart, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes – without reservation, has been both a foreign and freeing phenomenon. Though I have in no way “arrived“, there is a visible change in my willingness to be “real” with those whom I trust, and I find myself opening my heart to more people than I ever thought I would. I know that I am still wandering in this portion of wilderness, yet He is with me, leading me, guiding me, and holding my hand as I travel in trust. Greater things are yet to come, and I look forward to all that He has for me – for all of us.

 

You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. – (Acts 22:15)

 

We are His, and no one can dispute what He has done in our lives, personally. Our story, is ours. He uses what we are willing to offer. May we be His mouthpiece to touch lives and transform communities.

 

What is your story?

What has Jesus done?

The trials you’ve faced,

the battles you’ve won?

Where have you wandered?

Where has your heart been?

Has He brought you through,

time and time again?

Think of the little,

as well as the large;Your Story

He’s ever present,

wherever you are.

Every aspect,

of each of our lives;

matter to Jesus,

that is why He died.

He willingly took,

every stain and scar;

so as we journey,

we’ll know Whose we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us has a story. Thank You that our story is not a quick read, but rather one with many chapters. Thank You that our adventure into the wild does not end when You walk us through a challenging season, but rather, You call us to adventure with You our entire lives. Thank You that You are always present, and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we step out into the unknown. Make us courageous and strong to trust You in all things and at all times. Help us to clearly hear Your voice, so that we know which way we are meant to travel. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as an obedient offering. Be exalted, O God, through the story You are writing on our hearts. 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

 

 


The Battle Belongs to The Lord

…This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. – (2 Chronicles 20:15)

 

Though the original writing of this verse was God’s message to Judah as the enemy bore down upon them, God’s words still apply to us today. When all that would come against us seems to rise up, we need not fear nor be discouraged at the vastness of what lies before us. Ultimately, it is all in His hands. He goes before us, and He knows how it all ends. No matter the immediate outcome, our final victory is secure in Him forever. Our place of peace, even as we face that which appears daunting, is assured because He has gone before us, He is with us, and He surrounds us. We are not alone, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

 

Do not be afraid,The Battle Belongs to The Lord

shun discouragement;

trust not in what’s seen,

but in heaven sent.

Every battle,

is God’s and not ours;

place each in the hands,

of Him who heals scars.

He takes what we bring,

and grants strength within;

the Lord is for us,

He knows where we’ve been.

Fear not, faithful one,

despite what you face;

our God is greater,

He’ll deliver safe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not be afraid nor discouraged by what stands before us, when we have the assurance that You are for us, and will remain with us. Thank You that every battle we face is not really ours, but Yours. Thank You that You fight on our behalf, and that You supply all that we need for that which we are called to do. Thank You that You will never leave us nor forsake us, so we need not fear abandonment in the battle. Forgive us for our fear, as we fix our eyes on the obstacles before us, rather than on You, our Redeemer. Help us to focus on You, our strength and our solution, rather than that which robs us of the richness of all that our relationship with You offers. May we fully embrace Your grace, strength, and love as we walk forward in obedience. Let those who are looking, see You in us, and come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted, Lord God, as we rely on You in every battle we face. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.

- Acts 2:28

 

 


Psalm 91: The Lord Protects Me

I live in the shelter of the Most High
And I find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty
This I declare about the Lord on High,
He alone is my rock and my safety
He is my refuge and where I go to hide
When my enemies surround me
And a thousand fall at my side
Traps and snares try to grab me
But the Lord rescues and I rejoice gladly
Deadly diseases and a world of evil things
Yet My God covers me and protects me under His wings
His promises are yes and true
Our armour, protecting me and you
I will not be afraid of the terrors in the night
Though the world tries to fill each heart with fright
The Lord goes before me, He strengthens me with His might
No evil can touch me, my prayers reach His heights
For I know He hears each word I pray
Protecting me each night and every day
I have made the Lord my refuge, a shelter is He
Therefore He’s promised no evil can conquer me
Plagues cannot touch those I love
His angels protect me, commissioned from above
They hold me up with their hands
And protect me as I walk through this land
I love my God, whose throne is on High
And Jesus, His Son, on His right Side
He is with me through all my troubles and fear
Always besides me, always near.

 

Lessons I learned reading Deuteronomy 1-2

  1. Don’t fear the giants nor be dismayed with their strength
  2. The Lord goes before me and fights for me
  3. I remember all He has done for me – and I strengthen myself as I remember His good works
  4. Deut 1:17: Do not be afraid in any man’s presence
  5. Deut 1:21 Do not fear nor be discouraged.
  6. Do not speak words of doubt or fear – nor allow yourself to worry and ponder on them in your thoughts
  7. Though the evil that has begun to show itself in the world seems powerful and mighty,  we can trust in the Lord to fight for us- and protect each one of us from evil
  8.  The Lord does not want us to be terrified. He goes before us and He will fight for us
  9. “and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you cam to this place” – and so he will carry us though the times that lie ahead, as a father carries his son.
  10. The Lord was angry with all those who worried, doubted and were full of fear. Fix your thoughts – Phil. 4:8
  11. Don’t fear – even if they are mighty and powerful
  12. Treat your brothers and sister’s right. Be fair and kind
  13. Stand up! For the Lord you God goes before you.
  14. ” This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you” Deut 2:25

He Makes Me Brave

Music has a way of touching spaces deep within us, and every so often, a song comes along and every word seems to hit home as if it were written just for you, individually. Sunday, as we sang a song that we have sung before, I had this very experience. I don’t consider myself to be a fearful individual, yet anxiety tends to rise when I am overwhelmed with too many unknowns or uncertainties. A place that always brings peace to my soul, is any space that is near water, so the song You Make Me Brave, by Amanda Cook, (click highlighted to listen and view lyrics) struck home on multiple levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         After a very full last day of school, as I was leaving a retirement celebration for our fabulous school finance secretary, a kind friend, and former teacher and colleague, reminded me of a favorite verse of mine in casual conversation. He had no way of knowing what uncertainties are standing before me, yet what he spoke, was clearly a reminder from God. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3) This will be my life verse, imprinted on the tender and tremulous places in my mind and heart, to remind me that I do not have to know what is coming nor what I am to do, I just have to choose to trust in Him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       When I stand on shore,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
in awe of the sea;
as mighty waves crash,
You stand, holding me.
Your love lifts me up,
replacing the fear;
I will choose to trust,
for I know You’re near.
Let Your waves of grace,
come wash over me;
remove all the fear,
of what I can’t see.
May I give to You,
all that is unknown;
and trust that You will,
take care of Your own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can trust in You. Thank You that Your waves of grace wash over us, and make us brave beyond what we could ever be without You. Thank You that You call us to so much more than just standing at the shore. Thank You that You want us to go far beyond what we could ever imagine on our own. Forgive us for the fear that hinders us, and help us to hold fast to the promises that You have made. May we go forth boldly in Your love and Your grace, and may many come to know the safety of Your eternal embrace. Be glorified as we trust in You. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

Limited Access

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. – (Colossians 2:8, NIV)

 

Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is not from Christ. It is only human tradition and comes from the powers that influence the world. (Colossians 2:8, ERV)

 

When we are rooted in Christ, His Holy Spirit dwells in us and grants us wisdom to know what is of Him, and what is not. Our charge is to be on guard, with our eyes and ears open, aware of the motives and intentions of those around us as they speak. If we are invested in our relationship with Christ, spending time in His word and intentional to allow Him to speak truth in our lives, we will be sensitive to hear His still small voice that whispers warnings when something being presented is not of Him. The basic principles of the world or the powers that influence the world, are not from God. He calls us to something far greater. What the world offers is temporary, what Christ offers, is eternal. May we each be rooted and established in Christ, so as to not be deceived by anything or anyone that is not of Him.

 

Give no one access,Limited Access

to your heart and mind;

except for the One,

Who’s Holy, Divine.

For anyone else,

will lead us astray;

the ways of the world,

end in death, decay.

When we’re invested,

rooted in the Lord;

He safeguards our hearts,

His wisdom outpoured.

Our eyes learn to see,

what’s false and what’s true;

His Spirit within,

shows us what to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are rooted and established in You, You safeguard our hearts and minds from that which would contend for our attention away from You. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, whom You pour into each of us as we make You Lord of our life. Forgive us for any area where we have given ear to the voice of the world, and help us to hear You clearly as to what is truth. Lead us in Your way, and help us to follow fast, the path that leads to abundant life in You. May our life lived faithfully in love, lead many away from the deceptive ways of the world that lead to death, and unto You, where life everlasting is found. Be glorified, O God, as we are strengthened in faith and trust in You. 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

 

 

 


Pray for Maggie and her family

“This is the post none of us ever want to have to write. Our son, in his mid-30s, has been diagnosed with two cancers, advanced and serious. We will leave for an out-of-state cancer specialty hospital within the next few days, if possible. If not within the next few days, as soon as he receives word that he will be admitted.”

The message above was on Maggie’s Notebook this morning. Please add her son and family to your prayers!


Knowledge Requires Action

Part of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians included a reminder that simply hearing or knowing the truth is not enough. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we must also put what we learn into practice. It is not enough to simply have heard the word, and let it lie forgotten. It must take root and grow in our hearts, as we allow the Holy Spirit to point us to the places of application in our lives.

 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Back then, the people of Philippi did not have access to a Bible as we do. They had to rely on what they had heard and what Paul and other early disciples modeled for them. We have the benefit of both the Bible and an abundant history of faithful followers whom have demonstrated a life lived in obedience before Him. To know that the God of peace will be present with me, makes any sacrifice required, more than worth the price. His presence is far greater than anything we may need to give up out of obedience to Him. May we each be willing to put into practice all that He is showing us, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with the presence of His perfect peace.

 

Let my heart take hold,Knowledge Requires Action

of Your every word;

may truth penetrate,

where Your voice is heard.

Please open my ears,

my mind and my heart;

so all that’s received,

I’m willing to start.

Lord, grant me Your peace,

so I will press on;

no matter the storm,

our true battle’s won.

Let hope be our hold,

as eyes fix on You;

we’ll trust and obey,

as You make us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to live. Thank You that so many have gone before us, modeling a life lived faithfully in You. Thank You that You do not expect us to just figure it out, but You promise to provide Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, as we press on in faith. Forgive us for neglecting to put what we know into practice, or for not allowing the truth to shape how we live. Teach us to give all of ourselves unto You, so that we may become who You have called us to be. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, loving and full of grace. Thank You that You long for us to come to a place where we surrender and choose total obedience unto You. Help us to be disciples, as You call us to be, not just fans. May many come to the place of total surrender, as we walk in loving obedience before You. Let our knowledge lead to action that inspires others too, to make a choice. Be glorified, Lord God, as we move. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6


Don’t You Dare Quit

There are times when you just have to walk in faith. This is to say that in life an absolute dependence on God and His Word become paramount in good times as well as bad times. I can attest to faith on God on both levels. There is no doubt that God has been nothing less than incredible in my life and to speak of things most recent would take a book just to begin to understand the many twists and turns that have led me to this point. Let me explain.

Many may be familiar with the fact that I am in Texas as a result of the Fort Worth veteran’s health clinic offering me a chaplaincy internship. Now, the Fort Worth clinic is part of the larger Dallas VA medical system. Still, with that offer I quickly accepted the position while I was still in Baltimore and began in earnest to make my way to Texas. Of course this was not an easy task because I had been unemployed for some time and was unable to pay for any means of transportation. Well, this was nothing for God. As a matter of course I was put in touch with the founder of an organization called The Open Table (http://theopentable.org/). Without hesitation the founder sponsored my trip to Texas and provided other financial aid. So, someone please tell me that God does not take care of His own!

Still, that is far from the end of the story. I also needed a place to stay and while researching what could be done I learned of Veteran’s Community Outreach (http://www.vetsco.org/). I received the same type of response from its founder as I did with The Open Table. Without hesitation the founder simply said, “I’ll help you.” And with that he did help. I was picked up at the train station in Fort Worth, transported to a hotel that Sunday evening, picked up Monday morning and transported to a wonderful four-bedroom house in Arlington, TX. It is true that God does put people in our way to be a blessing to us. The fact is that God uses people to bless people so I would encourage all that have a hard time receiving to open wide your hands so that God can do what He does best.

To my dismay the Veteran’s Administration was not nearly as accommodating. After getting to Texas and doing all that was required I soon learned that things within the Veteran’s Administration are far from honorable. No doubt that many have heard of the atrocities at the hands of the Veteran’s Administration in which a number of veterans died waiting to be served. While my situation is not as dire as that suffice it to say that I served in the United States Marine Corps. I was honorably discharged in 1985. From that time I have had no problems because of my not registering with the Selective Services. In fact the Selective Services letters I have clearly show that because of my service I should be denied nothing from the Federal Government.

Well, this did not matter to the Dallas Veteran’s Administration. I had already started my internship and was fully seated. My background was clear; I was able to get through a very intense interview process among other things. And while human resources did not fire me they did say that my package had to be sent to Washington, D.C. for clearance. The process could take as much as ninety days. So, after much hard work my program was suspended impacting not just me but also my co-workers. With that it seems that well qualified veterans such as I deserve extra scrutiny in order to work with veterans. For real? Is this the way veterans should be treated?

It needs to be made painfully clear that my experience with Human Resources of the VA has nothing to do with my immediate supervisor. In fact my supervisor in the Fort Worth clinic, insofar as I am concerned, is a superior and wonderful person. In fact all the chaplains I have met in the Texas VA have proven to be high quality people many of whom are themselves veterans. My issue is the administration and the administration alone. The fact of the matters is that  my supervisor was kind enough to refer me to a chaplain at Huguley Hospital (http://www.texashealthhuguley.org/) in Fort Worth. After meeting with him his words were “I can see why they hired you” and immediately offered me a position. Yes, there was some red tape but nothing like that of the Veteran’s Administration. My work at Huguley is to start Monday the sixteenth.

Now, this will be a very intense program. Within two and a half months I will put in at least four hundred hours and about ten on-call days. This means that I will be spending much less time online as I walk further into my destiny. And while I will not be online a lot my plan is to chronicle my experience with the Huguley Hospital internship weekly. Please be sure to follow what is going on in my walk as I continue to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

With that said it is my hope that all be encouraged. It took several years for me to get to this point with considerable opposition. Some have said that I was not qualified while others mocked my faithfulness. Some saw no reason for me to perform academically while others have chosen to smother themselves in the stench of jealously. This will also happen to you if you choose to go after what God has for you. But, be not dismayed. Do not give up. Keep on moving toward your destiny and your end will be most victorious. No, don’t you dare quit!


Love

 I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal.  I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing.  I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.  It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.  It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.  Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used.  Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete.  But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways.  Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 http://bit.ly/PoBlls


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