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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Christ

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

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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

 


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

 

 


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


Psalm 91: The Lord Protects Me

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

 

Lessons I learned reading Deuteronomy 1-2

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

Limited Access

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

 

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

 

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

 

Give no one access,Limited Access

to your heart and mind;

except for the One,

Who’s Holy, Divine.

For anyone else,

will lead us astray;

the ways of the world,

end in death, decay.

When we’re invested,

rooted in the Lord;

He safeguards our hearts,

His wisdom outpoured.

Our eyes learn to see,

what’s false and what’s true;

His Spirit within,

shows us what to do.

 

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

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

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

 

 

 


Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. 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

 

 


No More Darkness

For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9)

 

Because we are in Christ, our actions ought to reflect our faith. Morally, we are meant to magnify our Maker with our every move. All that we say and do, is either shining His light into darkness, or casting a shadow where light needs to shine. We are called to live as light. May we operate in such a way that His goodness, righteousness and truth are made evident through every move we make.

 

Though once steeped in sin,No More Darkness

living in the dark;

we now know the truth,

flame grew from a spark.

Called to be children,

that live as His light;

to shine in darkness,

show His path that’s right.

Gone are the shadows,

that chained us to sin;

where light is shining,

darkness cannot win.

In goodness go forth,

both righteous and true;

shine on for the Lord

let our lives bear fruit.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rescued us from the darkness that surrounded us in our brokenness, and filled us with Your light. Thank You that You call and equip us to be Your children, who You allow to share Your light with the world. Forgive us for not consistently expressing goodness, righteousness and truth in all that we do, and help us to do just that, in all things and at all times. Let our lives be lived as light unto You. May many come to know salvation in You, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified, O God, as we live as Your children of light. 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

 

 


Rooted In Relationship

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his (or her) friend can help him (or her) up. But pity the man (or woman) who falls and has no one to help him (or her) up! – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

 

We are created for relationship. In the beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created a help mate for him. Today, we are no different. As His created, we were never intended to exist in isolation. God’s purpose for us, is rooted in relationship. Ideally, our priority ought to be our relationship with Him first, followed by that with those around us. If we prioritize our relationships as God intended, we benefit from the plan and purpose He set in motion. People are strengthened, encouraged, and able to be more productive in every area of their lives, when our relationships are rooted in Christ.

 

Establish well,Rooted In Relationship

foundation in Christ;

invest in friends,

as the Lord supplies.

Seek His wisdom,

rely on His grace;

allow Him to guide,

each step of our days.

Be the body,

together as one;

stand strong in Christ,

for His Kingdom come.

Lift those who fall,

support those who stand;

walk side by side,

to fulfill His plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for relationship. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us and have a relationship with each one of us, individually – as Your beloved children. Thank You that You call us to be in relationship with one another as well. Thank You that You do not ask us to walk through this life alone, but rather intend for us to be established and invested in communities. Forgive us for not investing in the relationships that we ought to, and grant us wisdom to know how we should interact in every relationship, so that we are honoring You, above all else. Let those who are looking, see You in us, and come to a saving relationship with You. May we love and invest in others, as You invest in us. Be exalted, Lord God, as we relate to one another. 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

 


An Appropriate Answer to Anger

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – (Proverbs 29:11)

 

Considering the multitude of injustices taking place in the world around us, it is easy to become angered at the outrage. However, when we are in Christ, we are called to handle ourselves in such a way, that the world sees a difference – even when we are angry. This does not mean we are to sweep offenses that need attention under the rug, but rather we are to approach them in the opposite spirit, with the intent to bring healing and wholeness to the offender as God provides opportunity.

 

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

“The Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan an opportunity to divide us. Are you angry right now? What can you do to resolve your differences? Don’t let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

There are times when reconciliation is neither possible, nor wise. In such cases, all that we can do is continually give our anger to God, and trust Him bring about His justice. Despite what we see in the here and now, all will have to one day answer for what we have or have not done. May His wisdom grant us control, so that we may properly deal with anger.

 

Be not a fool,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

that rages in sin;

choose His control,

Christ’s peace from within.

Allow it not,

to fester and grow;

go deal quickly,

don’t grant a foothold.

God’s great wisdom,

will show us the way;

to make amends,

and forgive each day.

Vengeance is not,

for us to decide;

pray for a change,

His justice preside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace, yet You show us time and time again throughout Your word, that vengeance is Yours. Thank You too, for helping us to understand that anger in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rather it is what we do with our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness. Thank You that if we choose to listen to You and follow what You ask, we need not sin in our anger. Forgive us for our outbursts and for the times that we have stayed silent and harbored anger in our hearts. Teach us to trust You enough to act according to Your good and perfect will for us – even as anger arises. Thank You that anger is a call to action. May we answer the call and act accordingly. Let us love when those who have offended expect spite, and may they come to know that You are the reason for our love. Let the lost find You. Be glorified God, even as we act on what has angered us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

 

 


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Making Exceptions

 We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments.  The person who says, “I know him,” but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person.  But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ.  Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived. Dear friends, it’s not as though I’m writing to give you a new commandment. Rather, I’m giving you an old commandment that you’ve had from the beginning. It’s the old commandment you’ve already heard.  On the other hand, I’m writing to give you a new commandment. It’s a truth that exists in Christ and in you: The darkness is fading, and the true light is already shining. Those who say that they are in the light but hate other believers are still in the dark.  Those who love other believers live in the light. Nothing will destroy the faith of those who live in the light.  Those who hate other believers are in the dark and live in the dark. They don’t know where they’re going, because they can’t see in the dark. – 1 John 2:3-11 http://bit.ly/SFl890

I was reading a post that Pastor Rob Barkman reblogged this morning and it struck me how some churches are making exceptions and excuses for continuing in sin. The church in Pastor Rob’s post was dealing with homosexuality and part of the church wanted to embrace and make exceptions for those who wanted to continue in the practice. Because of this, the church divided.
The Pastor of this church has a son who embraced homosexuality and in doing so, his actions forced his father into making a hard decision. The Pastor of this church choose to accept the sin and declare it really was not a sin. In doing so,  he made an exception.
I wonder if he would have made an exception for other sins? If his son had committed murder would he have made an exception for that sin? What about adultery? Or theft? Do we get to choose what is sin? Do we have a right to make exceptions for sin when it is a difficult decision and affects us personally?
If we are followers of Christ, do we simply pick and choose what part of the Word we are given? In making exceptions which ones should we chose? Should we decide that adultery is acceptable? Or murder? Or perhaps some churches may decide that becoming a church of thieves is acceptable.
If we are into making exceptions, when do we simply begin to go our own way and just do whatever we want?
http://settledinheaven.com/2014/06/03/there-is-no-third-way-southern-baptists-face-a-moment-of-decision-and-so-will-you/


Cling to Hope

No one whose hope is in You

will ever be put to shame,

but they will be put to shame

who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me Your ways, O Lord,

teach me Your paths;

guide me in Your truth and teach me,

for You are God my Savior,

and my hope is in You all day long.

– (Psalm 25:3-5)

 

After a trying week, I knew as I woke, that the Lord was reminding me anew of my need to cling to Him, in hope. To hope in Him, is to look forward believing, trusting with complete confidence, that He will work all things together for the ultimate good of those who love Him, regardless of how things appear in the moment. He hold us in the palm of His hands, and leads us on the path He has prepared for us. There are no guarantees that the road with be smooth and simple, in fact we are assured that there will be times of trial; yet our hope, (the assurance that all will turn out for the best), remains, when we place our trust in Christ.

 

When every wall,Cling to Hope

begins closing in;

what we thought sturdy,

we find paper thin -

let hope, rise up again.

When what was certain,

has become unclear;

when waves are crashing,

and we cannot steer -

allow hope, to draw near.

When pain overwhelms,

and it’s hard to breathe;

when what was assured,

has taken a leave –

to hope, let our hearts cleave.

Lord, show me Your ways,

teach me what to do;

for You are my God,

You lead me in truth -

all hope, made new in You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope comes from You. Thank You that when we trust in You, we need not fear, for You hold us in the palm of Your hands. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us the way that we are meant to go, and You grant us all that is needed to do whatever You ask of us. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as it is so difficult to trust when we get weighed down by the weight of the world. Free us from that which binds us, and grant us Your peace. May we walk in the freedom of Your hope, and share the assurance our hearts hold with all whom we encounter. May many come to know salvation in You, as we love people, as You love us. Be glorified in all that we say and do. 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


Prepare for His Presence

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. – (I Thessalonians 3:12-13)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians, is an encouragement for us still today, as well. As we invest our hearts in Him, He increases the love that we have for one another, and strengthens our hearts. If we come to Him and keep short accounts, we remain blameless and holy before Him, ever prepared for the day when we meet our Maker – be it when our days are done, or when Christ returns with all those who have trusted in Him before us. May our love increase and our hearts find peace, as we pursue Him even more…

 

Pursue the Lord,Prepare for His Presence

passionately;

love will increase,

and sin shall flee.

Our hearts made strong,

in God’s power;

the Protector,

from what devours.

Remain in Him,

blameless, holy;

to be prepared,

for when we meet.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow Your love in us to overflowing, as we increase our dependence on You. Thank You that You strengthen our hearts and make us blameless and holy in Your sight, not by being “good enough”, but by our repentant hearts that are ready to receive what You freely give, and love You, who gives all unto us. Forgive us for thinking any of it can be done in our own strength, and help us to be completely reliant upon You. Be our Strength and our Source, our Hope and our Peace. Let Your love be what is most evident in us. May many come to know the holy hope that is held in You alone, as we live and love as You call us to do. Be glorified 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


Darkness into Light

You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – (2 Samuel 22:29)

 

These words are part of the Song of Praise, penned by David, when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies. David had known some desperately dark times, as he had been on the run, hidden out in caves and acted insane, in order to escape with his life. All the while, he had known the Lord’s provision and protection. As the promises that had so long ago been spoken, at last came to pass, David gave God the glory. He recognized that it was the Lord alone, who had turned the dismal into dancing and the darkness into light.

 

The very same God who was with David, is alive and active in the hearts of all who believe today. We have access to all that David had and more. Jesus came to be the light of the world, and when we place our trust in Him, darkness cannot remain. Though trials and heartache still happen, we have a Help and a Healer who is present always. As we allow His light in, all of our darkness dissipates. Darkness and light cannot coexist. Where there is light, darkness no longer remains.

Darkness into Light

Where darkness resides,

and freedom is lost;

desperate our need,

to look to the cross.

For Christ is the lamp,

Who will light the way;

all darkness must flee,

when He comes to stay.

So invite Him in,

grant access to all;

no darkness shall last,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn our darkness into light, and that You are the lamp unto our path. Thank You that as we invite You to take Your proper place in our lives, You lead us and guide us in the light of Your love. Thank You that You are not put off by our darkness, but rather Your light brings life to places where it has been absent. Forgive us Father, for fearing exposure of our own dark places before You, and grant us courage to allow You to illuminate and dissipate all that does not belong in our lives and hearts. Lead us in the light of Your love, to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know Your saving grace, as we walk out each day living for You. Be glorified through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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


Firm for Our Forever

But he who stands firm in the end will be saved. – (Matthew 24:13)

 

A life fixed on faithfully following the Father, is not for the fearful nor faint of heart. Temptations and trials are guaranteed, and choosing to willfully set aside our own pride and plans for those prepared for us by our Father in heaven, is not an easy undertaking. Daily, we must decide to either do His will, or our own. Though our way may lead to momentary satisfaction, His way, leads to a life everlasting. Temporary discomfort is well worth our eternal exchange. He has given His life for ours, so that we may lay hold of all that He has promised, and claim it as our own. The Lord is our strength and our supply, and will provide all that we need to weather every storm. Often He will ask us to step out of the boat to walk toward Him through the wind and waves, but He is always within an arm’s reach, ready to lift us up if we begin to sink.

 

Stand firm in the Lord,Firm in Our Forever

hold fast to the end;

to our Lord Jesus,

our Savior and friend.

Though trials will come,

and seas will get rough;

our Lord Jesus Christ,

is always enough.

His strength when we’re weak,

His peace in our storm;

His hope is secure,

in Him, we’re reborn.

Hold fast to the One,

whose preparing room;

for all who follow,

to be with Him soon.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the trials and tribulations that come our way, if we stand firm in You, we are assured of our eternal security. Thank You that though at times days seem long, they are but a blink of an eye in comparison to our eternity with You. Forgive us for our faltering faith, and help us to hold fast to You in all things and at all times. May our confidence in You encourage others to seek the security found in You alone, and may many find safety in You. Let us love others as we are loved by You. Be exalted in all that we say and do. 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

 


The Presence of His Power

Mere man is no match for the power of the living God. Three times in Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadducees, (the most educated minds of the day) attempted to trap Jesus with their questions. Each time an attempt was made, the people were amazed at the power and authority with which Jesus answered. Jesus knew their evil intent, and was able to expose it each time. “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” – (Matthew 22:46)

 

The power of God at work in Christ, granting wisdom and knowledge, power and strength, is available to all who believe. We too, have access to answers when challenged with difficult questions. When we seek Him, we will find Him, if we seek Him with all of our heart. Jesus was intentional to take time alone to be with the Father to pray. He modeled for us, what is needed to access the very same power that dwells within the hearts of all who have invited Him in. Christ is present and available, and willing to be our help and our hope.

 

The power of God,The Presence of His Power

is alive and free;

I need only ask,

it’s given to me.

Wisdom and knowledge,

power and the strength;

to withstand struggles,

and traverse great lengths.

Greater is the One,

whose dwelling in me;

than all who challenge,

cause adversity.

His presence is found,

as I choose to seek;

He is my true strength,

when I’m feeling weak.

All that is needed,

is found in the Lord;

there’s no other name,

my shield and my sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that was in Jesus that granted Him wisdom and power to face all who opposed Him, is alive and available to us. Thank You that we too, can move in wisdom and power as You have commissioned us, if we place our trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely, in the mighty power that dwells within us. Make us strong to trust You as we move in faith, and help many come to know the fullness of a life lived in Your love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may we move mightily in Your strength today. 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


Wanting the World for Our Children

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Him.

“What is it you want?” He asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at the left in your kingdom.”

- (Matthew 20:20-21)

 

As a mom, I can understand the motivation that was driving Zebedee’s wife’s question. She wanted assurance that her boys would be secure and established not only now, but in Christ’s kingdom, forever. Though the question was a bit over the top, the heart that had the audacity to ask, was one of a mama who wanted the very best for her boys.

 

Based on the response that Jesus gave, our charge as parents to help establish security for our children, is to teach them to have a heart to serve Him, rather than to pursue recognition. If we keep in mind that our children are not our own, but rather are a precious gift from God, granted for a tender time to raise in the way that He calls them, and then are meant to be released to go forth to pursue whatever path He has placed before them, we may continually be in a space of lifting them up before Him. Our prayers do not go void, and our children never stop being our kids.

 

Faithful the love,Wanting the World for Our Children

of a mother’s heart;

seeks to provide,

safety from the start.

The greatest gift,

granted as they grow;

roots deep in Christ,

so His path, they’ll know.

Lead them in love,

show a heart that serves;

quick to forgive,

give praise that’s deserved.

Not in our strength,

but clearly in His;

faith, hope and love,

great blessings He gives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the treasures that children are to us. Thank You that You consider us Your children, regardless of our age or upbringing. Thank You that You are loving and full of grace, and that You provide all that we need to parent and love children well. Forgive us for our own selfish desires for our kids, and help us to submit our children wholly unto You. May Your purposes and plans for their lives come to pass. Teach us how to love and raise them in the way that they are meant to go, and help us to cover them in prayer, always. May many come to know the gift of Your goodness and grace through our precious progenies. Be glorified through the faithfulness of our families. 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

 


The Mouth Makes the Heart Known

Though caring for our bodies is quite important, the care and condition of our hearts is critical.

 

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those make a man unclean.” – (Matthew 16:17-18)

 

The condition of our heart is what matters most to God. He sees where others cannot, and only He can shed light where darkness dwells. As we allow Him to rule and reign in our hearts, minds and entire lives, that which comes out of us, becomes pure and pleasing before Him. If we keep things hidden, or do not allow Christ full access, that which escapes from our mouth reveals the darkness dwelling within. May our every move be motivated by our magnificent Maker.

 

Whatever’s let in,The Mouth Makes Known the Heart

will soon be revealed;

is it light and love,

or darkness, concealed?

For out of our lips,

flows what’s in our heart;

may each word we speak,

shed light where it’s dark.

Words that encourage,

grant hope, offer peace;

go forth when Christ reigns,

and set captives free.

May the words we speak,

come straight from the Lord;

let His light flood in,

as love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that more than the external, You care about our heart condition. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for each of us to have clean hearts before You. Thank You that You provide Your word, Your Holy Spirit, and Your Presence to instruct us, correct us, and cleanse us so that we may be considered clean and worthy before You. Forgive us for the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, and consequently, for the ugliness that comes out of us. Create in us a clean heart, and restore a right spirit within us. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, and may we receive Your forgiveness and grace, and go forth, extending the same to all those whom we encounter. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything that we say and do, so that our entire lives are a reflection of You. Amen.

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

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


He Hears Our Cry

“O Lord, I say to You, ‘You are my God.’ Hear, O Lord, My cry for mercy.” – (Psalm 140:6)

Yesterday afternoon, just prior to setting out for a gathering with dear friends, I learned that a gal whom I had grown up with, had lost her seventeen-year-old son. My heart filled with heaviness on her behalf, and all I could do was cry out to God, to cover she and her family with His peace and His presence in this horrific time of grief.
Too often, young lives end long before they seemingly should. These treasures that we are given from God, are cut short, leaving so many to grieve and wonder why. There is hope, despite the desperate tragedy. When we raise and instruct them in the ways that they are meant to go, the truth will be hidden in their hearts. Our ultimate hope is held in our eternal reunion. Though there is a seemingly agonizing season of separation on earth, imagine an eternity together…

When precious lives lost,Shan

young taken too soon;

hearts torn and broken,

with Christ, come commune.

He is the sweet space,

where healing begins;

He is the hope held,

as anguish extends.

Every cry heard,

that we offer up;

He’ll hold heart and hand,

and carry our cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God, and that You hear our every cry. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, and that You are able to bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to place all into Your hands. Please provide Your peace and comfort to those who are in desperate spaces of despair, and move hearts and minds to surround the hurting to extend Your comfort and calm, simply by being present. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the security and safety found in salvation in You. Be exalted in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

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


Expressing Gratitude

“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on Him.” – (Matthew 8:14-15)

 

Peter’s mother-in-law’s response to the miraculous was immediate. She did not delay, but set right away, to serve the Savior, out of her heart of gratitude. She is an excellent example of how we ought to express our gratitude to God, as He too, has so often rescued and healed each one of us. Additionally, we have the promised hope of our heavenly home to hold, as our reason to give thanks. How we love and serve others, is a way that we are able to express our gratitude to God.

 

The touch of His hand,Expressing Gratitude

has made our hearts whole;

let our lives give thanks,

praise to Christ, extol.

May we serve others,

as He has served us;

let our existence,

reflect Lord Jesus.

With hope in our hearts,

and praise on our lips;

may we serve Him well,

as we’ve been equipped.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us as we are, and that Your love brings healing to our hurts – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank You that we can respond immediately to Your touch by stepping up to serve. Forgive us for thinking we have nothing to offer, or for being “too busy” to step out. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, so that we may be ever aware of what You have done, and what we have to hold in hope, so that we cannot help but long to serve out of a heart full of thanks and praise. May many come to know You, as we express our gratitude to You, our great and glorious God. Be glorified in all that we say and do. 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

 

 

 


Worry Versus Concern

Though my daily reading plan does not coincide with the events surrounding our celebration of Easter, I cannot help but recognize within each reading, how the words must have moved the hearts of the various men and women who were present at the events leading up to the cross, and beyond. This morning is no exception.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – (Matthew 6:27)

 

The NIV footnotes explain that “worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” Clearly Christ was concerned for our well-being, as He moved forward to suffer for our sake. Additionally, I think of the disciples who deserted Him in His hour of need. Clearly they worried about their well-being, as each of them scattered in the face of adversity. However, there were those who were clearly concerned, rather than worried. Concern compelled Joseph of Arimathea to risk his reputation and ask to take Jesus’ body to the tomb. Likewise, concern moved Mary Magdalene and many other faithful women to be present at the foot of the cross.

 

Worry kept Pilate from standing strong in his convictions that Christ was indeed innocent. Though he knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, Pilate allowed the worry of his reputation to dictate death for One undeserving, simply because the crowd was calling for it. Can you imagine what the remainder of Pilate’s days must have been like, after the events that occurred from the cross to the empty tomb? Surely Pilate heard the news…

 

Let not worry,Worry Versus Concern

seize your heart with fear;

for no good comes,

when panic is near.

Concern compels,

wills us to action;

trusts Christ to lead,

faithful transaction.

Don’t let worry,

come immobilize;

instead, let faith,

sink in, globalize.

Rise up, dear ones,

release pending doom;

on that third day,

stood the empty tomb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry when our trust is in You. Thank You that You who provide for the grass of the fields and the birds of the air, even more abundantly provide for Your people. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for allowing fear to seep in and freeze us up from moving forward. Grow in us an unshakable faith, that is compelled to action by concerns, and that carries out Your will rather than our own. May we love others as You love us, and honor You in all that we say and do. May many come to know the help and hope available in You, because of what You did for us during this Easter season. All glory and honor unto You, our perfect Prince of Peace. 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

 


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