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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Bible

The Breath of God

And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – (John 20:22)

 

All life and truth is God-breathed. At creation’s beginning, there was no life until God breathed into people, the very breath of life. Here in John, is a foretaste of the breath of Jesus and the power presented when He breathed on mankind. The context of this verse is when the disciples were in the upper room and Jesus appeared before them after He had risen. At this point, His breath was an impartation of His power to do God’s will on earth. Breathing is our reminder of just how near our Savior is to each of us. With each breath, He is present, and His power is available to all who have invited Him to be Lord of their lives. May we go forth this day, breathing deeply, knowing His nearness and operating in the power He has already presented.

 

Our very first breath,Do Everything in Love

was His gift of life;

hand-crafted, unique,

and bought with great price.

We’re given a choice,

to receive His breath;

the Spirit-filled one,

that saves us from death.

With His sweet Spirit,

too, comes His power;

to rise and obey,

our great Strong Tower.

Allow Him to breathe,

His life into you;

the power and grace,

to live a life true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us life and breath and our very being. Thank You that when we choose to follow You, You grant us the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and is available with each breath that we take. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same power that raised You from the grave, is alive and dwelling within us who believe. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and move in faith as You are asking. Lead us and guide us in Your love. May we love others in such a way, that they clearly come to see who You are. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified as we go forth today, with every breath we take. 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

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The Basis for Truth

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.” – (John 18:38)

 

Pontius Pilate was no different from much of the world at large today. He believed truth was relative to whatever the majority of people agreed to, or whatever helped to advance his own political or personal agenda. “When there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong. Justice becomes whatever works or whatever helps those in power. In Jesus and His Word we have a standard for truth and for our moral behavior.” – (NIV footnotes for John 18:38)

 

Without Jesus, we become a society that slips further and further in our own moral decay. Countless examples are present in the Old Testament of kings who ceased to follow God’s way. For each of the kings that did evil in the sight of the Lord, warnings and prophesies were presented. If the warnings were not heeded, destruction surely followed. May we be a people pursuing His path of truth. Jesus is the truth and the light, and in Him there is no darkness. Let us fix our eyes on the Author and finisher of our faith, so that we may run our race with endurance.

 

There’s only one truth,Tending Our Talents

found in the Lord’s Word;

receive nothing else,

as truth to be heard.

For all must agree,

with what the Lord says;

for if it does not,

the words are not His.

Invest in learning,

the biblical facts;

be wise and weary,

of twisted attacks.

There’s only one right,

it’s following Christ;

He opened the way,

with His sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Truth, the Life and the Way. Thank You that we can come to You, and You have made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and for demonstrating Your power as You defeated death. Thank You that You grant the very same power to dwell in each of us when we choose to trust in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we have access to the truth and can study and learn more of who You are and what You ask of us. Forgive us for not investing in Your word, or not quieting ourselves before You to allow You to speak that which You want us to hear. Teach us, instruct us, and lead us in every area of our lives. May we go forth as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of You and the truth, and may we love others as You so lavishly love us. Let those who are looking, come to know the Truth. Be exalted, Lord God, in everything we do today. Amen.

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

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


Boast in the Beloved

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

 

Though we often value wisdom, strength, riches and kindness in ourselves and others, they are nothing if they are not rooted and established in Christ. God is exhorting us to focus our energy and attention on knowing and understanding Him. As we do, kindness, justice and righteousness will flow from us, and He will delight in us. Any wisdom, strength, riches or kindness that we have, are gifts given from the Lord. Our only boast ought to be of Him and how great He truly is. Let us lift our hearts and hands in thanksgiving for who He is unto us.

 

Wisdom and strength,A House of Hope

and riches galore;

all that man has,

are gifts from the Lord.

No one should boast,

in gifts of delight;

but boast in He,

Who sets all wrongs right.

As we invest,

in Christ our true King;

kindness pours out,

equipped offerings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we may boast in You. Thank You that You exercise kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for those in whom You delight. Thank You that You delight in Your children. Thank You that when we choose to place our trust in You, we are adopted as Your sons and daughters forever. Forgive us for thinking too much of ourselves or others for gifts that You have given. Help us to recognize the strengths as gifts, and give You glory for them. May we use all that You have given us for Your glory, and may many come to know You personally, as we go forth in loving obedience to all that You ask. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to understand and know You more today. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23


Compassion Leads to Action

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. – (John 11:33)

Jesus wept. – (John 11:35)

When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” – (John 11:43)

 

These three verses are pivotal points in the story of Lazarus. Though Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead prior to His arrival, His compassion for people was made evident through how He came alongside those who were mourning and wept as they wept. However, Christ continues beyond compassion. Jesus, after demonstrating His love for both Lazarus and those who loved him, chose to do more. He opted to make His mighty power known, as He had the gang of grieving lead Him to the tomb where Lazarus had laid for four days. Jesus stepped up, and in a strong voice, spoke the words that were more than His friends could have hoped for. Their lost loved one was being brought back to life!

 

As we are moved by compassion to act, it is necessary that we too, listen for His still small voice. Though we may not be raising people from four days dead, our acts of obedience can create hope where there has only been despair. We never know the impact our actions might have, unless we opt to actually step out in faith. He is faithful to use us as His vessels, if only we are willing to make ourselves available. May we go forth, allowing His compassion to propel our hearts to action.

 

Compassion compels,Care Over Comfort

our hearts to reach out;

to act in His love,

to fill those without.

Just as His kindness,

came near in our need;

so we’re called likewise,

to give and to feed.

Out of our plenty,

and even our lack;

He calls us to love,

He’s loving us back.

May those who don’t know,

come to know His grace;

for once it is known,

there’s no greater place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us what love in action should look like. Jesus, thank You for loving us without limits and for equipping us to love as You love us. Thank You for placing people in our lives to be Your hands and heart made tangible. Thank You that we too, can be the same for others, if only we are available to listen to Your leading. Forgive us for neglecting to act on that which You are asking, and help us to be willing to go and do whatever You ask of us. Give us Your eyes to see, and Your heart of compassion for all whom we encounter. May the compassion You grant us, compel us to action. Lead us in the way You want us to go, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified as we act with compassion today. 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


Be Silent Before Him

But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him. – (Habakkuk 2:20)

 

As I was reading in Habakkuk this morning, I came to verse twenty of chapter two, and could not help but linger. How often do I stop and really recognize just how holy He is? Am I intentional to be silent before Him? His holy temple is the heart of each of us who believe, and that alone, ought to cause us to be silent before Him. It is far too easy to get so occupied with the list of things to do, that communication with Christ becomes a series of sincere requests, and the silence before Him, comes to a halt. He has much to speak to our hearts. How can we possibly hear Him if we do not still ourselves long enough to truly listen? May our day be filled with moments of silence before Him, who alone is holy.

 

The Lord is holy,Be Silent Before Him

where does He choose dwell?

In the very hearts,

with trust in Him swell.

In reverent awe,

may the earth be still;

for He is the Lord,

hope and peace fulfilled.

May we be silent,

before You today;

please speak to our hearts,

and help us obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are holy and worthy of all reverence and awe. Thank You that You no longer dwell in buildings made of mortar and stone, but rather You come and dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Forgive us for not being silent before You, or for not giving You reverence due. Teach us how to be still before You, so that we may be more aware of Your presence and Your peace. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know Your goodness and holiness, personally. Be glorified in our going and in our silent stillness before You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23


Intentional Retreat

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself. – (John 6:15)

 

Jesus only did that which His Father called Him to do. He knew His charge was not to become a king on the earth, so He did not even entertain the idea of praise nor power from the people in that way. Instead, once He heard what they intended, He withdrew; left the location so that the option was not available. Jesus passed up temporary pleasure and power, and took on tremendous pain. His only concern was doing the will of His Father. May we each go forth and do likewise, recognizing that His Holy Spirit equips us to flee from that which is not meant for us, and empowers us to embrace that which is His good and perfect will for our lives.

 

Let not power,Intentional Retreat

nor pleasure or praise;

be a road block,

to walking Christ’s way.

Do what He says,

invest in His word;

seek only truth,

let His voice be heard.

When all the noise,

around is too much;

retreat alone,

seek His tender touch.

He is faithful,

He’ll answer our cry;

and grant us strength,

to trust and rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled a life of perfect obedience before You. Though He was tempted in every way, He was without sin. Thank You that the very same power that kept Christ from sin, is available to us today. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces of temptation and giving in, and teach us to trust You more, so that we might fully rely on You as each temptation comes our way. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to retreat. May we operate in all things in Your love as You lead us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to obey You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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


Hidden No More

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

This verse from the often told story of the woman at the well, struck me anew this morning. Not only was she powerfully impacted by her encounter personally, but she found a new boldness where she had previously remained hidden, and that boldness in stepping out to speak of what she had experienced compelled many from her town to go and see Jesus for themselves. She was so dramatically different, that those who had shunned her, gave ear to her words. What a powerful testimony indeed! God used her transformation to tell others of Christ’s goodness and grace. Imagine the interactions at the well after the town’s two days with Jesus!

 

In isolation,Hidden No More

alone and afraid;

there is a Savior,

Who will come your way.

He’ll always draw near,

no matter your past;

He’ll wash you anew,

grant peace that will last.

The Granter of hope,

the Giver of grace;

Restorer of life,

He’s present always.

All that is hidden,

is already known;

He’ll use it for good,

story of your own.

The glorious thing,

as you choose to share;

others will seek Him,

trade hope for despair.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and allow You to move in our lives, You do a deep transformational work that others can see. Thank You that even the ugliest part of our past can become the most triumphant part of our testimony, by You grace. Thank You that when others see change in us, they want to know why. Forgive us for not being quick to answer, or for not always modeling the internal transformation that has taken place. Teach us to trust You in the transformation, and grant us strength to stand strong in all things and at all times so that Your will be done. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come to seek You as a result. Let the lost be found, and testimonies of transformations abound. Be glorified as we go forth boldly as You have made us to do. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8


A New Name

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). – (John 1:40-42)

 

There are several remarkable occurrences in this short passage of scripture. First, Andrew, after only hearing what John the Baptist had said, and then meeting Jesus, he immediately believed and felt compelled to act on his belief. He wanted to not only follow Christ, but he wanted to be sure to share the good news with his brother as well. Second, Simon trusted his brother enough to listen to what he had to say, and chose to follow him to where Jesus was staying. When Simon met Jesus face-to-face, Jesus saw Simon not only for who he was, but for who he would become. The name Peter, in Greek, means “a rock“.

 

When we encounter Jesus, He sees us the same way. Christ knows who we are today, but He also knows what we will become. Each one of us has a new name from the moment we are saved. He calls us confident, joyful, overcoming ones, faithful, friends of God, and ones who seek His face. He counts us as His children, and we are adopted into His holy family forever.

 

No matter our name,A New Name

or state when we come;

Lord Jesus, He hears,

and all are welcome.

He loves us right now,

wherever we are;

and knows what’s ahead,

our bright Morning Star.

He takes what’s been crushed,

and grants us His strength;

joy for our sorrow,

He’ll go to great lengths.

He calls us His friends,

despite what we’ve done;

He forgives, makes new,

the battles, He’s won.

Let go of the things,

that will hold us back;

surrender it all,

and nothing we’ll lack.

For in Him, all things,

we have all we need;

an eternal hope,

from our past, we’re freed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, yet You see where we are going and all that we can become. Thank You that You give us a new name in You. Thank You that You bring beauty from our ashes, and hope from our despair. Thank You that You utilize the things that we once thought were the most ugly or broken, to help others for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing the old names to have a voice, and help us to silence the lies and allow Your voice to be heard. May our hearts hold fast to what You call us – confident, overcoming ones – Your children. Let us live and love as such, and may many be led unto You as a result. Be glorified as we walk boldly in the new names that You call us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

To watch a lovely visual to an old favorite, I Will Change Your Name, click the highlighted song title in blue.


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

 

 


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