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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Thought for the day

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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Intimately Known

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than the sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

 

“Our true value is God’s estimate of our worth, not our peers’. Other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform, what we achieve, and how we look. but God cares for us, as He does for all of His creatures, because we belong to Him. So we can face life without fear.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 12:7)

 

We each are valued by God, not for what we have or have not done, but because we are His. He loves us to life, and sent His only Son to conquer death so that we might live. All that we have done, He knows, yet He still loves us the same. May we go forth in His great love, and love too, in His holy Name.

 

Intimately known,Intimately Known

and still loved the same;

of infinite worth,

in Christ’s holy Name.

Of whom shall we fear,

with God on our side;

Spirit ever near,

in us, He resides.

His love isn’t earned,

we can’t do a thing;

to make Him love more,

grace-filled offering.

He wants us to come,

to Him, as we are;

give Him everything,

our soul, mind and heart.

Our small gift of self,

He can truly bless;

beauty from ashes,

glory from our mess.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are known and loved by You. Thank You that with You, we need not be afraid. Forgive us for our fears, and help us to hold fast to the truth of Your power and presence in our lives. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that regardless of what we see, You are present, and You are in control. You have gone before us and You are by our side. Help us to go forth in love, as You so richly love us. May many come to know Your care and covering as we share of all that You have done in our lives. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3


Position of Privilege

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” – (Luke 11:23-24)

 

Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two, whom He had sent out ahead of Himself to prepare the way in every town that He was intending to go. All of the individuals living in that time and in that place, had the unique privilege and opportunity to be eyewitnesses of Christ. So many people of that day and age took Jesus for granted. They did not really listen nor obey, despite His divinity displayed before their very eyes. We too are in positions of privilege. Though we are not eyewitnesses to Jesus in the flesh, we have access to more than two millennium of church history, countless translations of the Bible, collections of churches and a plethora of pastors in every city, as well as the vast resource available through technology at our fingertips. Additionally, when we come to Christ today, His Spirit dwells in us and speaks to us – leading and guiding us in the ways we are to go. With such great privilege and power that we have been given, so too, do we have a great responsibility. May we choose to carefully follow Christ, and represent Him well to all whom we encounter.

 

Blessed are my eyes,Position of Privilege

for what they have seen;

the touch of God’s hand,

as He washes clean.

He takes the sinful,

the broken and scarred;

and loves us to life,

our great Morning Star.

His glory witnessed,

His power, divine;

the prophets and kings,

longed to grasp what’s mine.

With His sweet presence,

we have so much more;

let’s follow with care,

Christ whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are so blessed to live in this day and age where we have endless access to You. We can read about You, listen to teaching and preaching about You, worship You, and come before You in prayer. Thank You that You place Your Spirit in us when we give our lives to You; and You speak to us, teaching, correcting, leading and loving us as we go about our days. Forgive us for taking our position of privilege for granted, or for neglecting Your accessibility that is all around us. Teach us to utilize our resources to grow more deeply in love with You daily, and help us to share our passion for You with all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we are careful to carry out all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16


Forgiven to Love

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. – (Luke 7:47)

 

Jesus spoke these words in response to Simon, the Pharisee, as he questioned Jesus about allowing a sinful woman to remain at His feet as she washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. In His presence, she had come to repent, and her faith was both seen and acknowledged before all who were present.

 

When we come to recognize just how much we have been forgiven, how can we help but love? The very same grace that has been given to us, begins to flow freely from us, as we embrace the height and depth and breadth of His forgiveness and grace granted to all who believe. May we go forth in love, as we have been forgiven much.

 

The sins of our past,Modeling Our Maker

exposed, in full view;

how will He respond,

what will the Lord do?

As we come in faith,

with repentant hearts;

He forgives and loves,

grants each a new start.

The greater the gift,

of mercy and grace;

the stronger the drive,

to give love away.

His love is mighty,

granted without bounds;

restores the broken,

and lost become found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we are forgiven, we are filled with Your love to overflowing. Thank You that as we recognize the fullness of Your mercy and grace, we cannot help but be compelled to love others. Forgive us for placing limits on love, and help us to love in Your strength as You lead us. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to hear You clearly, and to allow You to direct our every step. May many come to know the magnitude of Your mercy and grace, as they are shown Your love through us today. Be glorified, Lord God, as we love as You love us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19


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


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


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