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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Christ

Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

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

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Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. 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


Decide to Trust

Not only is the story of Paul’s conversion a remarkable one for him, but those who were involved, made monumental decisions of obedience in order for Saul’s sight to be restored and his new identity in Christ to come to pass. Ananias, whom the Lord had called to go to Saul to restore his sight, knew of Saul’s reputation. Ananias had reason to fear interaction with Saul, as Saul had been chasing down Christians, persecuting and imprisoning them. However, Ananias was faithful, and his trust in God was greater than his fear of man. When God told him that the man he was to heal was His chosen instrument to carry His Name before many, Ananias opted to obey.

 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – (Acts 9:17)

 

Not only did Ananias obey, but he greeted Saul in love. By calling him Brother Saul, he was already demonstrating an acceptance through Christ, despite all the despicable deeds he had done. It is not always easy to extend acceptance to others who enter in, especially when we are unsure of their motives. Yes, wisdom must be exercised, but if we listen to the Lord and lean on Him, He will teach us how to trust Him and how to love others as He would have us do. May we listen well, so that we can love others as He calls us to love.

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, in spite of our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us to come before You, and You love us to life. Thank You that just as You have loved us to life, You desire the same for all who are still stuck in their sinfulness. Forgive us for fearing approach those whom have been in darkness unknown to us, or for questioning the motives of those whom have pasts that are different than our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well to hear Your instruction, and be quick to obey whatever You ask. May we love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so generously love us. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to step out in obedience. 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


Boldness Before Them

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. – (Acts 4:13-14)

 

Even the most skeptical Sadducees could not deny the truth when it was standing before them. With their own eyes, they had seen the man both before and after his healing. They heard the wise words spoken by men who had not the upbringing nor the schooling to speak in such a manner. The power of the living God dwelling in the hearts of the men, was irrefutable. Astonished and dumbstruck, they had nothing to say, and could not silence the boldness before them, as the power in the hearts of Peter and John was far greater than the futile attempt to silence the faithful from speaking the truth. In the heart of every believer, lies the same Spirit, with the same power to speak the truth. Christ will make us brave before all brethren, if only we choose to allow Him access to our whole heart, and place our trust completely in Him. May we invest our hearts and minds in the truth of God, so that we too, may be bold before all who draw near. Let us speak truth without fear, for far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world.

 

Ordinary men,IMG_0268

so faithful to Christ;

stood strong in the truth,

they did not think twice.

All trust in the Lord,

for they knew His strength;

were willing to risk,

their lives at great length.

Boldly the men spoke,

the truth about God;

they could not refute,

nor call them a fraud.

For they too had seen,

the clear evidence;

of Christ’s mighty hand,

awestruck reverence.

We too are the same,

with access to God;

He grants us boldness,

that fills us with awe.

Allow His Spirit,

to move in His might;

He shall grant all things,

to go and shine bright.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us brave. Thank You that You take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through us, if we are only willing and available unto You. Thank You that it is not by our own strength nor wisdom nor power, but anything good that we do for You, is by Your grace, equipped by Your Spirit in us. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have the proper training nor ability to go forth and do what You ask of us; for even the most learned among us would not be enough without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come to know the power present in a life lived with You. Let those who are looking, find and choose You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to strengthen us to go forth with boldness. 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


Present Within

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – (Acts 2:37)

 

On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples who were gathered together, they were empowered as they had never been before. As they went out to address the crowd who had heard them speaking in other languages, Peter told them the truth of Christ. He proclaimed that which had been foretold, and all that had come to pass. Peter was equipped in power to preach the truth to the people, and those who were present, could not help but hear and respond. The truth that had been told helped them to see their own need for the Savior, and compelled them to ask the very question, “What shall we do?” What follows is Peter’s unpacking of the basic necessity of all believers to repent and be baptized, resulting in a multitude being added to the number of new believers that day.

 

That very same power that was present in Peter, is alive and active in all who believe. Christ equips each of us to tell the truth to those around us in such a way, that each have the opportunity to be set free from sin, and come into His Kingdom. We need not be great orators nor Biblical scholars; we need only be willing and available to hear from Him, and choose to open our mouths to speak as He asks. Our own story of salvation and redemption cannot be refuted, as it is our own experience of how God out there, became God right here. May we faithfully go forth, ready to share our story of God’s faithfulness, so that all whom we encounter may have the opportunity to come to know the truth.

 

Faithfully waiting,Present Within

in the upper room;

group of disciples,

unsure what to do.

When suddenly fire,

came like a loud wind;

empowering each,

Christ’s Spirit came in.

All began speaking,

in various tongues;

language not their own,

these daughters and sons.

Those gathered outside,

were shocked and amazed;

in their native tongue,

they heard the Lord praised.

Once Peter explained,

the truth in power;

many chose believe,

in that very hour.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that when we choose to give our life to You, You grace us with Your presence within. Thank You that You are no longer God out there, but You are living in the hearts of all who follow You. Forgive us for neglecting all that You are offering each of us at times, and help us to slow down and listen for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are completely dependent on You in all things and at all times, regardless of our circumstances. May we move in love, responding to that which You so generously pour out upon us. Let our light shine bright before all whom we encounter, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we embrace the gift of Your Holy Spirit within. 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


Strengthen Our Hands

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” – (Nehemiah 6:9)

 

What do we do when opposition comes our way as we are doing the work that God has called us to do? Do we cry out for strength, or do we seek escape? Nehemiah encountered intense opposition when he went to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Everywhere he turned, there was someone seeking to stop the work that he had been sent to carry out. Nehemiah was steadfast and secure in his faith, and prayed for strength to persevere, even in the face of adversity. We too, are called to do likewise. Just because we are called to do something, it does not mean the road to completion will be a smooth and straight path. Often, there are obstacles to overcome, and foes to face, as we persevere in faith, despite opposition. Regardless of how things appear, we are to be faithful to what He has called us to do. Christ alone, is the One who supplies the strength that is needed to successfully complete our tasks. May we continually seek Him and His strength, as we faithfully walk forward in obedience to all that He asks.

 

Though rocky the road,Strengthen Our Hands

that Christ takes us on;

we’re never alone,

and He’ll make us strong.

We need to seek Him,

with all that we are;

trust His strength, not ours,

and we will go far.

His way is the best,

no matter how rough;

all can be conquered,

in Christ, we’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though on our own we grow weary and weak, in You, we can do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank You that You are our Source and Supply. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our cries, and You are near. Forgive us for seeing obstacles before us and running the opposite direction or standing stuck, rather than seeking You for strength to persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will see obstacles as opportunities for growth and further dependence upon You. May we stand in awe of the obstacles You have brought us through, and may we share our stories with those who need to hear. Let us love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and their strength, as we seek to serve You well. Be glorified, Lord God, as we prayerfully go forth, depending on Your strength as we go. 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


Alive in Him

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive. – (Luke 20:38)

 

There is much hope that is held in this word, as it is a reminder that all who have gone before us who had invested their hearts and lives in the Lord, have not died a spiritual death, but rather they are alive in Christ, living with Him for all of eternity. This brings much comfort, as I find myself caught in glimpses of grief over the loss of my dear friend, Anne. Though she passed a little over a year ago, the end of her life was a battle, and I had the rare privilege of walking beside her for much of it. Over the weekend, I encountered a few situations that hit too close to home, and triggered a heaviness I was not aware I was carrying. Mere moments passed over the last few days, where I would feel a sudden flash of sadness. When I spoke with a friend yesterday, it was only then that I realized what had been tugging at my heart. One particular situation that I chose to walk in, mirrored a portion of the road I walked with Anne. It is no wonder that a bit of sorrow seeped in. Fortunately, sorrow and sadness need not stay long, as Anne was firmly rooted and established in Christ. She is very much alive in Him. I have the blessed assurance that she is Home, and that I will one day join her on the streets of gold. May we each hold fast to the gift of God, that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All are alive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

who invest in God;

let Christ come rule,

and our praise applaud.

In Him, is life,

after earthly death;

His peace pours out,

as we draw each breath.

Hope for today,

promise for always;

life abundant,

for all of our days.

Be rooted well,

in the Holy Vine;

to bear fruit now,

and embrace Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Thank You that in You, all are alive. Thank You that our earthly death is not the end, but only the beginning of the fullness of life that You have for us. Thank You that those who have gone before us who loved and invested their hearts in You, are secure in the safety of Your presence forever. Forgive us for our lack of vision for the future, and help us to hold fast to our eternity, as our time on earth is but the blink of an eye in comparison. Help us to make our time here matter, as we love others by loving like You love us. May many come to know the hope of eternal life in You, as we live as You call us to live. Be glorified, O God, as we live out the life You have gifted us. 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


He Seeks to Save

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. – (Luke 19:10)

 

Jesus broke down every barrier of expectation that people had for the coming Messiah. They expected One who was high and lifted up, to come in power, and claim what was rightfully His. Instead, Christ came as a humble servant, One who came close to the sick, the sinners, and those whom society deemed unworthy and lost. Jesus sought out the seeking, and they were found by Him.

 

Christ continues to come close to the seeking today. He does not have a checklist of qualifications required in order for us to draw near, rather He longs for us to choose Him, to invite Him in, and allow Him access to our life and our heart. Jesus alone, will bring about the necessary changes, we need only allow Him access, followed by willing obedience to that which He asks of us. May we go forth in our sweet salvation, and share His hope with those who are still in search of Him.

 

Humbly He entered,He Seeks to Save

by lowly a birth;

no pompous fanfare,

when He came to earth.

Born in a stable,

announced by a star;

worshipped by angels,

wise men from afar.

The nearby shepherds,

were stricken by fear;

when angels proclaimed,

that Christ had come near.

The Savior, He grew,

wise and without sin;

it took many years,

for His call begin.

He healed the broken,

and touched the disdained;

showed that there’s new life,

and washed away stains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that was approachable, reachable and touchable. Thank You that You came near, rather that remaining God out there. Thank You Jesus, that You came and made the way for us to seek You and find You forever. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we are found by You. Thank You that You love and forgive and grant us new life in You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not give glory unto You. Help us to live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that brings salvation to the seeker. Be glorified through our every word, act, and deed today, Lord God. Amen.

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

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


Genuine Faith

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – (Luke 17:6)

 

Jesus was speaking to his disciples about faith. They were concerned about how much faith they should have to accomplish all that He was asking, yet His response reminded them that it was not about how much faith they had, but rather their need for even a small seed of genuine faith. For a seed of genuine faith, though small, is alive and growing. It will take root and grow. Though almost invisible at first, it will begin to spread, change and ultimately produce major results. We don’t need more faith; a tiny seed of faith is enough, if it is alive and growing. – (NIV footnotes for Luke 17:6) May our small seeds of faith that are actively pursuing God, take root, grow, thrive, and spread to the vast reaching circles of our spheres of influence. Grow our faith, Lord God.

 

What starts as a seed,Genuine Faith

so small and unseen;

shall grow when tended,

effects unforeseen.

Our faith shall take root,

in Christ, the Divine;

we are the branches,

and He is the vine.

In the growth process,

our hearts learn to know;

the truth that is certain,

so onward faith grows.

In the assurance,

rooted in the Lord;

we lay hold of faith,

trusting our Adored.

May our tiny seeds,

be genuine, strong;

as we go boldly,

as His, whom belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not require us to have giant faith, in order to move, but rather You look for a small seed of genuine faith that is seeking to grow, and You do the miraculous within us. Thank You that You cultivate and nourish the soil and tend the seed of all whom seek to plant themselves in You. Forgive us for neglecting to invest our hearts and minds into matters that allow our faith to grow, and help us to seek You and trust You in all things and at all times. Grow our faith, Lord God. May our small seeds spread into something that touches many. Let us love as You so tenderly love each of us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth in genuine faith. Amen.

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

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


From Sorrow to Songs of Joy

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. – (Psalm 126:5)

 

“Grief is not a permanent condition. Our tears can be seeds that will grow into a harvest of joy because God is able to bring good out of tragedy. When burdened by sorrow, know that your times of grief will end and that you will again find joy. We must be patient as we wait. God’s great harvest of joy is coming!” – (NIV footnotes for Psalm 126:5,6)

 

With all of the tragedy taking place on the planet, it seems hard to imagine a space without sorrow. However, just as we experience seasons where the weather and the world around us continue to transform, so too, are there seasons that we walk through during our lifetime. Though the times of greatest loss and grief feel as if they will never end, God’s grace is far greater, and gradually His gift of good in the midst of the horrible, rises up. Often, He uses our greatest heartache to touch the hearts of those who are hurting in a similar space, bringing new life where all had felt lost. Joy will come again, and sweet songs of His faithfulness will flood hearts and minds to overflowing. Take heart, dear ones who are hurting, for He will restore your joy.

 

When sorrow surrounds,From Sorrow to Songs of Joy

and grief overwhelms;

the tears seem endless,

in destruction’s realm -

hope is not yet lost,

for joy will be found;

good from the sorrow,

God’s love shall abound.

He sees all our tears,

each of them that falls;

none go unnoticed,

He catches them all.

The grief will be grown,

into something good;

a testimony,

of grace understood.

His love unto us,

shall then be passed on;

restoring some joy,

despite what is gone.

Take heart, dear hurting,

for He truly sees;

all of the anguish,

He wants to relieve.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our sorrows and turn them into joy. Thank You that though we may walk through seasons of grief that seem as if they will never end, You are with us, and they do, eventually, roll into seasons of joy, as You somehow bring good out of tragedy. Forgive us for our fear and sense of hopelessness, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You. May we trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Teach us to allow You to use our sorrows and struggles to speak life into those who are stuck in similar spaces. Help us to offer Your hope, as You have given us a story of new life as You have and continue to faithfully walked us through each season. Let the lost and the hurting find forever help and hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your joy to radiate from the places where sorrows once stood. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5


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