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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Son of God

Invited to Follow

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

 

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

 

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

 

When Christ comes along,MSH29

and calls us by name;

what will we lay down?

Money? Fortune? Fame?

Where He asks we go,

requires us move;

giant steps of faith,

our fears He’ll remove.

All trust is needed,

as are faithful steps;

when we go in peace,

we’re His righteous reps.

Help our hearts let go,

of temporal things;

and to You, Lord God,

we forever cling.

 

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

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

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

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Character Testifies Truth

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

 

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

 

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

 

May we stay true,Character Testifies Truth

to You, O Lord;

in word and deed,

Your love outpoured.

Let love and light,

both freely flow;

so all we meet,

may come to know.

Allow Your grace,

be evident;

and all desire,

You be present.

For You endure,

our Holy One;

forevermore,

O Three-in-One.

 

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

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

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


Receive Life

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

 

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

 

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

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

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

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

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



The Sheep of His Pasture

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

 

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

 

May we be faithful,The little lamb

whole-heartedly seek;

our Savior and Lord,

as His humble sheep.

He is our Shepherd,

Who tends us with care;

provides safe pasture,

delivers us there.

When He is our God,

He forgives our sin;

He rules and He reigns,

our Lord, sovereign.

 

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

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19


Your Compassion Never Fails

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6


Our Map and Our Guide

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

 

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

 

For God is our God,Our Map and Our Guide

both now and always;

He will lead and guide,

for all of our days.

When the trials come,

He stays by our side;

our heart in His hands,

for our souls, He died.

Whatever we face,

His strength is enough;

His peace and presence,

the most hopeful stuff.

So, fear not my friends,

the evil around;

for in Christ we’re saved,

our hope has been found.

 

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

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

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


Not Home Yet

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Though strangers on earth,IMG_0197

and not quite at home;

we’ve a job to do,

while on earth we roam.

Our task is quite clear,

He’s called us above;

to live in His light,

and share of His love.

We are meant to be,

His ambassadors;

to offer His hope,

from mountains to shores.

Wherever there’s life,

the truth’s needed too;

may we choose love well,

so His light shines through.

 

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

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

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

 


A Champion for Every Child

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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


The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

This morning, as I read Ezekiel 16, I found myself astounded at the discovery of truth that I had somehow not noticed before. In regard to Sodom, I had always thought that they had been destroyed due to their violence and flagrant sexual sin as a nation. Yet in Ezekiel 16, I found that God destroyed Sodom because the people were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned about the needy people within their own reach. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

 

It is easy to look back at Sodom and compare our sin to theirs. Most of us, on the surface, feel as if we are doing fairly well, as most are not murderers nor adulterers. However, in light of this verse that had previously escaped me, how do we measure up now? Are we proud? Do we have too much? Do we overindulge? Do we care for those in need, as we ought to? Granted, we are not meant to compare our sin to anyone else, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts to correct and direct us in the ways in which we are to go; yet in light of this passage, there is much to ask as we earnestly seek Him. May we place our lives in His hands, and allow His Spirit command, so that we are not proud, nor gluttonous, and that we are concerned about the needs of those within our reach.

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see all sin the same, and that there is not one of us that is without it. Thank You Jesus, for coming and taking our sin away, as You suffered and died on our behalf. Thank You that death could not defeat You, and that in power, You rose again, so that You could send Your Spirit to dwell in us and remain with us forever. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your ways, if we seek You. Forgive us for our pride, our overindulgence, and our neglect of those in need. Give us Your eyes to see the needs of others and the lens by which to view ourselves. Thank You that Your love compels us to make changes. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King, as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be Your hands and heart to the needs of those around us. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16


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