About these ads

Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Christ

Prepare the Way

Preparations in advance make the way anywhere more easy to navigate. John the Baptist fulfilled his calling, as he faithfully went out into the Desert of Judea and preached repentance to prepare the hearts and minds of all who would hear him for the message that Jesus would soon deliver. “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” – (Matthew 3:3)

 

John helped prepare the way for Jesus. With Easter mere days away, how can we “prepare the way for the Lord” and “make straight paths for Him“? Our charge as followers of Christ is to do just that. Our lives ought to speak volumes, without a single word. Do people see a difference in how we live? If our conduct demonstrates kindness and grace, opportunities are opened to share what He has done for us, personally, and “paths may be made straight” as we can correct misconceptions that people may be holding in their hearts about their own capacity to come to Christ. May His good news be made known as grace is lovingly shown.

 

Prepare the way,Prepare the Way

for our loving Lord;

make His heart known,

live in one accord.

Make straight the paths,

that lead unto Him;

offer His hope,

so His light shines in.

Give others grace,

as we have received;

Love drew us in,

when we first believed.

May that same love,

given lavishly;

draw others in,

so they too believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You. Thank You that He prepared the way and made the path straight for our minds and hearts to hold all hope in You. Thank You that we too, can be a part of preparing the way for others to come to know You. Forgive us for neglecting to do what You call us to, and for doing that which You ask us to not do. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace, and may it compel us to depend on You more in all times and in each place. Help us to love and extend grace as You do unto us, and may many come to understand the eternal significance of Your death and resurrection this Easter. Let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, Lord God. 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

About these ads

Acts of Obedience

We are in the middle of a series called Surprised by Hope at the church I call home. Yesterday’s message was centered around “The Death of Jesus”, as we remember what went on during this sacred week so many years ago. The consequence of sin is death, and we are powerless to escape the hold of sin, unless God breaks in and rescues us from ourselves. In order for Him to do so, He requires a faith response on our part.

 

Jesus made His entry during the Passover celebration. This celebration is ultimately a remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the people’s obedience. God told the people that He would bring judgment on every household, unless a lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked on the doorposts. Though it likely made little sense, the people chose obedience to protect their precious families. As a result of their obedience, the angel of death passed over their homes, and they were all safe, while those who had not obeyed, were in the midst of great mourning. God delivered them because He loved them.

 

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of obedience. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could take on our sin and bear all of our burdens so that we could come to know redemption. Jesus knew what He would have to endure on our behalf, yet He was willing anyway.

 

What God asks of us does not always make sense, but He wants our heart, our will, our faith to trust Him, even if what He asks is not what we would expect. “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22b)

 

The consequence,Acts of Obedience

of sin is death;

without the Lord,

we’re powerless.

As we seek Him,

surrender all;

He’ll hear our heart,

and heed our call.

Prepare to do,

all that He asks;

regardless of,

the bizarre tasks.

For what He wants,

is our whole heart;

obedient,

each precious part.

So seek the Lord,

follow His ways;

redemption ours,

now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for us to be considered righteous before You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the weight and suffering that should have been mine to bear. Thank You for redeeming us from our former ways, and granting us new life in You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to sacrifice enough or do enough to earn Your favor, and help us to receive that which You freely give. May we embrace the grace that You grant us, and respond in faith to whatever You ask. Lead us to live confidently as Your redeemed children. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed deliverance that comes from You alone. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

 

 

 


Sufficient Grace

When trials come, it is easy to default to the “O Lord get me out of this mess,” sort of posture. It is an automatic response to want difficulty to go away. However, God does not see the struggles the same way that we do. Rather than a chance of us being pulled under, He sees struggles as an opportunity for His strength to be shown. Paul, who had some sort of ongoing affliction, asked the Lord to take it away. Three times He asked God to take it away, and alas, God did not. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Though Paul’s initial request was for the Lord to take the affliction, the very struggle that hindered him away; when the Lord answered him, Paul’s perspective shifted. What he had viewed as a hindrance, he began to see as an opportunity to show the Lord’s strength. Once he recognized that it was only by God’s grace that he could do anything that the Lord was asking, he was empowered to embrace his weaknesses as opportunities for Christ’s strength to shine.

 

The challenge is how are we to do this practically? I have seen brilliant examples, as faithful warriors press on and pursue all that God has for them, despite the obstacles that life throws their way. Their resolve is deep-rooted in a firmly established relationship with the Father. Each of them fix their eyes and hearts securely on Him, and trust in His unwavering faithfulness. We are called to press in and persevere, regardless of what comes our way. As our roots run deep, His strength becomes more evident, even when we are weak.

 

We’re all in a boat,Sufficient Grace

somewhere off the shore;

some simply adrift,

while others want more.

Some paddle, pursue,

a course set afar;

and some are content,

to float where they are.

Both will endure waves,

and boats will be rocked;

one self-sufficient,

and one faith unlocked.

Both will come to know,

their own sense of need;

one calls on the Lord,

allowing Him lead.

For in our weakness,

His strength clearly shows;

may we boast in Christ,

as we daily grow.

May His power rest,

so powerfully;

that all who draw near,

will see Christ in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need to get through our greatest challenges. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that You utilize every challenge as an opportunity to grow us in Your grace, and make Your presence and power known. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are not enough to carry us when we are unable to stand. Give us wisdom to know when to ask for You to remove something and when to have Your strength come and carry us. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we are completely aware of Your will in all things and at all times. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the power and presence that is available through the gift of Your grace. Be glorified as we go forth today, and be the strength of our lives. 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


Promises to Purify

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” – (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

The promises that Paul was referring to, were mentioned only a few verses earlier in the previous chapter. “…I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – (6:16b) “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – (6:18) Reminders that we are His, not only as His people, but as His own children, both promises to which we can cling.

 

To purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, is a two-part process. It requires us to both turn away from the sin that entangles us, and turn to God, who is our help and our hope.

 

Perfecting holiness is not something that we can do, but rather is what the Lord does in us, as we operate our very lives out of reverence for God. To live in reverence for God, is to be in ongoing awe of Him. The more we seek to know Him, the more we come to realize just how worthy He is of our deep respect and awe. May we turn from all that would ensnare our souls, and cling to Christ, who is our help and our hope, forever.

 

Your word unto us,Promises to Purify

promise for all time;

in Christ we are Yours,

and by faith, You’re mine.

Not only as Lord,

but as Father too;

You call us Your kids,

sons and daughters, new.

May we purify,

our lives from the things;

that contaminate,

peace that Your truth brings.

Help us turn away,

from unrighteousness;

and cling unto You,

God of faithfulness.

May we stand in awe,

forever in You;

our Hope and our Help,

the God of all truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that if we come to You and place our trust in You, that You will be our God, and that You call us Your people. Thank You that You go beyond that – that You call us sons and daughters. Thank You that You help us turn from the sin that entangles us, and draw us unto Yourself. Forgive us for trying to do things on our own, thinking that we somehow are strong enough to stand. Teach us to turn to You, and to trust completely, as You alone are our Source. Help us to love as You love us, and lead many to come to know You as not only their God, but as a loving Father too. Be exalted in our every word and deed. 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

 

 


The Fragrance of Life

“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” – (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

 

When we give our lives to Christ, we are commissioned and sent out as His ambassadors to the world. His Holy Spirit enables us to speak His words, and it is Christ in us, that makes us competent and useful in carrying out our calling. On our own, we are ill-equipped to do all that He is asking. However, with Christ in us, there is nothing that He calls us to, that He will not also see us through. Rather than focus on what we lack, we ought to focus on our Source. He is the One equal to all tasks, so in and through Him, Thy will be done.

 

When we are in Christ,The Fragrance of Life

our scent is secure;

the sweet smell of grace,

He has made quite clear.

As we all go forth,

may we smell of life;

that turns lost to Him,

brings an end to strife.

For the Christ in us,

is who people see;

so let His light shine,

so captives are freed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You use the least of us to touch the lives around us, if only we are willing. Thank You that when we invest in You, Your light is made evident in us. Forgive us for questioning our capacity to be utilized by You, or for getting in the way of what You want to accomplish in and through us. Teach us to trust You completely, and to recognize the possibilities presented by Your presence. Lead us to love as we are loved, and may many come to know the sweet fragrance of salvation in You. Be exalted, O God. 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


Do Everything in Love

As Paul was coming to the close of his letter to the people of Corinth, he gave some basic instructions. One small verse spoke volumes, both at the time, and still today. “Do everything in love.” – (I Corinthians 16:14)

 

What would that actually look like? If EVERYTHING we said and did was motivated by love, imagine the peace in our households, our neighborhoods, our churches and beyond… We need not look too far to find evidence of how a life lived this way, practically played out. Jesus was our perfect example of doing everything in love. When He approached people, He loved them where they were. They felt His acceptance, and found His love brought life, healing and opportunity that they had never known. Christ’s ability to love through all that He said and did, brought life where it had not previously been found.

 

The very same power that equipped Jesus to “do everything in love”, dwells in the hearts of all who believe. We too have the capacity, through Christ, to “do everything in love”. It is merely a matter of surrender and ongoing dependence. Have we surrendered all that we are unto Him? Do we depend on Him daily, in all things and at all times, to be our help and our hope? Each of us are a work in progress; moving toward our heavenly home. The more we invest in our relationship with Christ, the more readily we will respond in love. All that we do is a reflection of Him who dwells in us. May we be a radiant reflection, as we love well.

When early we rise,Do Everything in Love

may our eyes fix above;

as we work and play,

may all be done in love.

When we interact,

let our deeds point above;

and grace guide each word,

as we speak too, in love.

When trials do come,

let our hearts get rid of;

all doubt and all fear,

and hold fast to His love.

As day draws to close,

may all praise point above;

for another day,

He’s granted by His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are LOVE. Thank You that because You sent Your Son, You made the way for us to draw near and know Your perfect love, personally. Thank You that You equip and empower us to move in love in all that we say and do, if only we are willing. Forgive us for attempting to rely on our own strength rather than Yours, and help us to trust You more so that we may do all things in Your love. Lead us and guide us to love as You love. May many come to know You as the Lover of their soul, and know the hope that is held forever in You. Be exalted through our love. Amen.

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

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

 


Finding Common Ground

“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)

Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement. First, we must find common ground with those around us. That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts. Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude. Humility is the only way we will ever be heard. Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are. There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him. We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs. When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.

(Italics above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)

To find common ground,Purple flower

we need open our eyes;

take time to invest,

in other people’s lives.

For if we’re not known,

why would they lend an ear?

No one will listen,

’til another draws near.

We must first listen,

hear each heart and each voice;

notice what’s needed,

sincere service our choice.

When we invest time,

and let love be our choice;

our heart will be heard,

despite chaos and noise.

Let Love lead the way,

be faithful to the Lord;

people will notice,

His light can’t be ignored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well. Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved. Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You. Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us. Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement. May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything we say and do. 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


The Mind of Christ

“As the Scriptures say, ‘Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind? Who is able to give Him advice?’ But we have been given Christ’s way of thinking.” – (I Corinthians 2:16 ERV)

Not one of us has the capacity to comprehend our Creator. However, by His Holy Spirit, those who commit their hearts and minds unto Him, are granted insight and understanding into some of God’s plans, thoughts and actions. In a sense, we are granted access to the mind of Christ. As we invest in an intentional intimate relationship with our Redeemer, He reveals more of Himself to us, by His Spirit. Time spent in His word, in worship, and in prayer, provide opportunities for us to grow closer to our Creator, as we learn more of who He is, and all that He has done for us.

Who can come to know,The Mind of Christ

the mind of the Lord?

Those who will invest,

choose time to afford.

Time spent with Jesus,

will not return void;

understanding comes,

when our heart’s employed.

Lean not on our strength,

but fully on Christ;

to know how He gave,

His great sacrifice.

Let our hearts receive,

all He has to give;

so by His Spirit,

we shall truly live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and reveal to us, more and more of Yourself. Thank You that by Your Spirit, we may come to know Your thoughts, which are far higher and greater than our own. Forgive us for not investing our whole hearts, or for turning a deaf ear to what You are speaking to our hearts. Help us to give You our whole heart, and may our ears and hearts be open to hear and obey all that You are asking. Let us live in worshipful obedience, so that our love for You and for others is evident. May many be drawn unto You as a result. Let Your light be bright in us. Be magnified through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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


As One

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” – (Galatians 6:1-3, The Message)

None of us ought ever think ourselves so strong, that we have no need for one another, nor that we are above bearing one another’s burdens. As a body of believers, we are called to love, encourage, correct, help, and hold up one another, as Christ freely does unto each of us. We need each other to help encourage and stay the course to which we are called. If one of us begins wander, a gentle correction, presented in love by a sister or brother, is far more likely to reset proper bearings, than gossip or glares felt from afar. One welcomes a return to what is right, the other shames the sinner to stay stuck in their straying.

May we reach out,As One

a helping hand;

when there is need,

in our fellow man.

Let us respond,

in love alone;

to help correct,

point back to Your throne.

May we lift up,

the poor, oppressed;

bring what we can,

as we have been blessed.

Let us do life,

in purpose, one;

to honor God,

the glorious One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to live out our walks on our own, but You call us to community – to be a body of believers together. Thank You that You created us to work together, helping and encouraging one another to grow more deeply in our faith in You. Forgive us for neglecting needs around us, or for ignoring something spoken for our benefit by another. Teach us to trust You more, and use us to encourage and build up the body. May we be humble and loving, patient and kind; wiling to speak and to listen as You instruct us to do. Let our hearts see others as You see them, and help us to be Your hands and voice to those around us. May many come to know You as their Savior, as we walk in obedience to all that You ask. Be glorified in how we live as community. 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


Protecting Our Priorities

Priorities and values matter. Despite what society would like us to believe, it is not all about us. Jesus told His disciples, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – (Mark 8:35) This does not mean He wants us to set out to die, but rather to set aside our own selfish ambitions and allow His heart to be heard.

The NIV footnotes for the same verse, explain it this way: “We should be willing to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel, not because our lives are useless, but because nothing – not even life itself – can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us to choose to follow Him, rather than to lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let Him direct us. This makes good sense because, as the Creator, Christ knows better than we do what real life is about. He asks for submission, not self-hatred; He asks us only to lose our self-centered determination to be in charge.”

When our priorities are in place, we realize that we need Christ to be in charge. Without Him, we have nothing. In Him, light and love, wisdom and strength, and all that we need to navigate this life according to His will, are provided. Our choice and our charge is to protect our priority in Him. Is He first in our lives, or is He simply a go-to God when we feel that we need Him?

A hope secure,Protecting Our Priorities

invested in Christ;

chooses to make,

Him first place in life.

Seeks not to save,

temporary things;

gladly gives all,

to honor the King.

Releases reigns,

submits all control;

to One worthy,

our God to extol.

All that is lost,

consider a gain;

eternity -

the promise is plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we freely give our life to You, You give us something far greater in return – a future that is secure forever with You! Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to lay down His life on our behalf, so that we would have a way to come to You. Thank You that You want us to spend time with You. Thank You that You consider us worthy, because of what Jesus has already done on our behalf. Forgive us for not protecting our priorities, for allowing anything or anyone to come before You. Teach us to keep our priorities in order, and help us to depend on You to be our wisdom and strength. Guide us in how we are meant to navigate the hectic lives we lead, so that we may be effective for You, and refreshed and renewed in You. May we live and love as we are loved by You. May many come to know the provision of Your grace and mercy as they understand who You are and how to make You their priority. Direct our days, dear Lord. 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


Calling for Counsel

Acts 15, for me, has two terrific take-aways. The first, is when there is a question or dispute about what is right according to God’s will, seek the word and the wisdom of godly counsel. Second, if there is a point of disagreement that seemingly has no resolution that is not foundational in our faith – agree to disagree and move on.

It was brought to the attention of Paul and Barnabas, that some men from Judea and Antioch were teaching in such a way, that they were attempting to place the yoke of the old law upon the necks of Gentile believers, rather than recognizing that the inner working of the Holy Spirit in their lives was more than enough. “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” – (Acts 15:2) After meeting with the counsel of elders, who examined the scriptures, they recognized that there was no longer a need to place the former regulations required for Jewish believers upon the neck of the Gentiles who had come to Christ. Instead, they were given a few simple instructions to follow that were to protect their physical and spiritual well-being.

Paul and Barnabas were great friends and brothers in Christ. They had traveled many miles together, and shared miraculous moments that the Lord had provided both through them and in them along the way. After they had met with the counsel, the two men disagreed about whom they should bring along on the next leg of their journey. Ultimately, they parted company and each took a new traveling companion, thus doubling the ministry teams that were sent out. Both men had very effective ministries, that were eventually reunited and ultimately combined (as the point of contention had been over bringing Mark along, and Mark later became a vital part of Paul’s ministry).

When things are unclear,Calling for Cousel

seek that which is true;

first God, then the word,

then wise counsel, too.

If disputes arise,

try first to resolve;

let not opinions,

true friendships dissolve.

For there will be times,

when it will be best;

let disagreements,

lay down, put to rest.

If we truly love,

then we’ll be okay;

if not eye to eye,

in every way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You provide us with Your wisdom through Your Holy Spirit and through Your word. Thank You too, that there are godly men and women around us whom we can seek together, when questions arise, or answers seem unclear. Thank You that You create us for community so that we may learn and grow with one another. Thank You too, that as humans, it is okay to disagree on some things. Forgive us for attempting to make snap decisions without seeking You and further counsel when necessary, and also for not being okay with others having opinions that differ form our own. Please grant us the wisdom to know to always seek You first, and to know when we are meant to seek further counsel. Help us to know when it is okay to agree to disagree. May we live in the light of Your love, so that those who know You not, might come to see the goodness and grace that is available through a relationship with You. May many choose to live for You. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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


Who May Dwell?

“Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” – (Psalm 15)

My initial reaction is, “I am hosed.” Then I remember that I am not expected to be blameless in my own strength. My source and supply, my hope and my help, are all firmly established in the Lord. On my own, I would never measure up. However, in Christ, He sees me as blameless before Him, as I earnestly seek Him, and do my best to walk upright before Him. By faith, I become a bit more equipped each day, to do as He calls me to do.

To do what is righteous, is to do the right thing, even when no one is looking. God sees, and He honors the heart that longs to do His will.

Speaking the truth from the heart is not always easy, but it is what we are called to do. It does not mean speaking unkindly, nor casting judgment upon others, but it is a call to speak the truth in love, always.

Slander is the poison that pricks the hearts of both the speaker and the hearer. Unkind words about another passed on, perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

If the greatest command is to love God and love others, then how could we do wrong to our neighbors or slur our fellow man?

To despise a vile man and honor those who fear the Lord, seems to mean honor those worthy of recognition in God’s eyes, not in the sight of what’s popular. Certainly a paradigm shift from what is popular in much of the media today.

Keeping an oath even when it hurts, is keeping our promises, no matter what. If we give our word, we must be men and women of integrity in order to represent well, our Redeemer.

Lending money without usury, is a matter of choosing to be generous with our resources. If we have the means to lend money, we should do so with open hands, without looking for an exorbitant return. The purpose of lending is to assist, not devastate our fellow man.

Accepting a bribe against the innocent, seems to explain itself. Bribes are bad. The innocent are meant to be protected. End of story.

Lord, who may dwell,Who May Dwell

in Your holy house?

Those unto You,

the faithful, devout.

Speakers of truth,

who speak not the lies;

wrong not others,

vile men, despise.

Those who honor,

the ones who fear You;

who keep their word,

forever, stay true.

Those who will lend,

to others in need;

without taking,

for those who’ve been freed.

All who will choose,

to live unto You;

won’t be shaken,

for You make us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are able to live upright before You. Thank You that our righteousness is not dependent on our ability or strength, but rather on our trust in Yours. Forgive us for failing to trust You completely in the times where we have failed and fallen short, and help us to be quick to repent and return to You. Thank You that You receive us each time that we call on Your Name, and that You are patient and loving as You instruct us in the ways we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might more clearly reflect Your character in all that we say and do. May many come to know You as their Savior and Redeemer, as we live in the light of Your love. Be glorified, our loving and gracious Father. Amen.

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

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


An Attitude Adjustment

Though the story of Peter being called to go and share the good news in the home of Cornelius has an overarching theme that the gospel is for everyone, the thing that struck me as I read the account in Acts this morning, was Peter’s attitude adjustment, in such a short time.

Back in Matthew 18:1-6, as the disciples were traveling with Jesus, and learning and growing beside Him as He led them, they were arguing one day, about which among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Somehow, in all of the attention, their priorities had become askew. Jesus quickly set the record straight, “And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -(Matthew 18:3-4)

Fast forward past Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and the impartation of the Holy Spirit. While in Joppa, Peter had been assured in a vision that he was to go to the home of Cornelius, to share the good news of Christ. He willingly went with the men Cornelius had sent, when they had arrived to lead him. “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.” – (Acts 10:25-26) Peter was quick to humble himself and point Cornelius to Christ. Despite the potential draw of being adored by such a powerful person, Peter prioritized the presentation of truth, and maintained his position of humility as a servant of Christ. Because of Peter’s willing submission to God’s call, Cornelius and his entire household came to Christ. Being a man of high position, I imagine Cornelius had a tremendous impact on many people.

Be humble and kind,An Attitude Adjustment

allow the Lord lead;

be willing to give,

as we see a need.

Trust Him to show us,

what we’re meant to do;

listen to His voice,

faithfully pursue.

Seek not position,

of honor, nor fame;

and if it’s given,

point straight to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply, and the reason we are able to do anything good in this life. Thank You for such great examples of change, as You show us how to be more like Christ in what we say and do. Forgive us for not walking in humility, or for not giving credit where credit is due. Thank You that all good that we do, is done in Your strength, and that the life You are calling us to, is only possible in You. May we be invested in You, so that Your light shines through us. May many come to see Your light through our love, and ultimately, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted, our great and mighty God. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; … my hope is in You all day long.

- Psalm 25:4-5


Obeying God First

In this increasingly “go with what feels good” culture, it is essential to not only be aware of what God deems right and wrong, but to also be in a close relationship with Him, so that we are able to hear His still small voice as He speaks to us, individually, about what is and is not permissible for us. There are some things that the Bible clearly defines as right and wrong. Yet there are other areas, that are a bit muddy. These are the places where it is paramount to pursue Christ for answers, rather than just going with whatever society says is good.

Acts five conveys the story of Peter and the apostles being arrested and jailed, simply for speaking the truth of what they had witnessed through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The Sadducees jealousy got the best of them, and they threw the men of faith in prison. When brought to trial, the high priest asked them why they had gone against what they had been told (to stop teaching in His Name). “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!” – (Acts 5:29)

Though few of us face the fear of prison for sharing our faith, we do deal with social pressures to stay silent, and to go along with societal norms that directly disregard what God has spoken. There is a delicate balance in loving others, yet speaking the truth in love. We cannot go around shouting to people that they “must turn or burn“. Rather, our charge is to live in such a way, that people are drawn unto us, and begin to ask questions as to why we are the way we are. God will provide opportunities for truth to be told in His time. He is tender and kind, and longs to draw people unto Himself. May we be living examples of His love, and may we choose to obey God first, always.

In tune with You, Lord,Obeying God First

we shall hear the way;

to do as You ask,

to honor, obey.

We must truly seek,

to hear still small voice;

then choose to follow,

obedient choice.

Let not fear of men,

keep us from what’s true;

our final answer,

will be unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have access to mighty examples of those who have faithfully followed You. Thank You too, that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You provide us all that we need, through Your word, and Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for folding to social pressures, or for staying silent when we were meant to speak. Teach us to hear Your voice clearly, so that we may be Your voice to those who know You not. Let our lives lived in love, speak volumes to all who are around us. May many come to know Your goodness and Your grace, as they enter into a personal place of seeking Your face. Be magnified, our great and mighty King. 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


Supplied by the Spirit

Each of us, whether we are aware of it or not, has an assignment. God has created and gifted each one of us with something special in mind. However, we are not born with an instruction manual, nor do we receive a special guide book at our moment of redemption, thus we find ourselves in a space of needing to seek Him to find out what He has planned.

We do have an instruction manual of sorts for our lives, as the Bible shows us how to live in love and trust in Him, among other essential things found in a life formed by faith. Also, because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are able to call out to God in prayer, any time, and ask whatever we need. The critical element in helping discover our given assignments, is the gift of the Holy Spirit. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – (Acts 1:8) When we invite Christ into our lives, we invite the Holy Spirit as well. Just as the early disciples received God’s power to do as He had called them to do, we too, can receive the very same power to do all that He is asking of us.

Three things that the disciples did, that we must still do today, are: to join together with fellow believers, pray together in faith, and wait. It seems that the first two are the easier of the three to manage. In this instant gratification society, waiting is a tough sell. Patience and perseverance are characteristics that seem a rarity, rather than the norm. The standards that were established all those years ago, still apply today. All things that are worthwhile take work and waiting. We are told that the same is true with our walk with Him. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” – (Romans 5:3-5)

The disciples were told to go and wait after Jesus had ascended into Heaven. We also, are meant to wait on Him, when we need to know what comes next. As we are faithful to wait, the blessings discovered by spending time intentionally in His presence, are well worth the investment. He is faithful to answer as we ask, we simply must press in and persevere, trusting that He hears our every prayer.

Call on the Lord,Supplied by the Spirit

then faithfully wait;

for His answers,

not early nor late.

Patiently pray,

for the Lord is good;

He knows our need,

we are understood.

Allow access,

to both heart and mind;

trust Him to touch,

He is gentle, kind.

God will equip,

us to do each task;

know what He says,

and do as He asks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to be in a relationship with You, and that the very same power You poured out on the early disciples, is available, ready and dwelling in the hearts of those who believe. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask, and that You strengthen and encourage us as we listen and wait on You. Forgive us for forgetting to slow down, or for growing impatient in the waiting. Teach us to trust in the wait, and help us to persevere, so that we may hold the holy hope You have for us. May we live in love as we walk in obedience to all that You ask, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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


What if Ninevah had not listened to Jonah?

Source: tumblr.com via Ashley on Pinterest

The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.

Jonah 1

King James Version (KJV)

1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,314428_189607997781575_188738997868475_422680_285128613_n

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion  to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.

No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”

God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!


Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you

2 Peter 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:12-20
Our knowledge of God comes not from myths but from eyewitness testimony from those who were participants on the path of Jesus. Not a single testimony but multiple words that show no disagreement!


The Runaway Bride

If you are thinking about the movie The Runaway Bride featuring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, I am so far from that! Sorry. Not sure if it is a good movie or not but…… when I get a word from the Holy Spirit I either move in obedience or I don’t. The title came to me out of nowhere. I was sitting down minding my own business when a spoken word came. Things that make you go Hmmmm.

The video will do all the talking for me but as a fellow sister and blogger, I wanted to reach out through typing as well. I’ve missed writing to you all! Please know that I continue to write but I will also be sharing messages through my YouTube vlogs. I’m becoming a bit more comfortable doing it so here we go! Remember that God loves you and adores you. I did not speak or emphasize this portion of scripture on video but I wanted to share it with you  here. And the Word tells us in the book of Ephesians:

Instructions for Christian Households

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

So I implore you brothers and sisters in Christ to cleave to Him as the Head of your life whether you are single or married. Be the best bride you can be and do it with all your might and strength in the Lord with love and adoration.

Be blessed and encouraged always in the Lord,

Terra

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)


What if Freedom Meant Exodus?

David Wilkerson said:

“Consider the plight of Israel in Egypt. God’s nation was in incredible ruin, with widespread apostasy. Satan had Israel under his heel, manipulating the political powers of the day to make laws against them and persecute them. The enemy was ridiculing and mocking God’s testimony on earth.

It was a dark hour in Israel’s history and over time the people grew discouraged. They began backsliding, indulging in the pleasures and sensuality of Egypt. Idolatry and fornication became rampant. Israel’s situation seemed hopeless and the faith of the nation was slowly dying.

What was God’s response to this rising power of darkness? Did He stir up surrounding empires to act as His rod against Egypt? Did He incite a civil war among the Egyptians? Did He send avenging angels? No– God did no such thing. He had a totally different plan and laid His hand on a single man, raising up Moses!”

Think about that for a moment! Christians in America are increasingly seeing the same thing here! With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.

We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?

“The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plentous in mercy.” Psalms 103:6-8


Un-Approved By The Age

Christ and His gospel will always be spoken against. If you know a gospel that is approved of by the age and patronized by the learned, that gospel is a lie. Sermon 2396, C.H. Spurgeon 1895

People are always looking for the easy way, but that is not the path that a follower of Christ can expect. There is truly not much difference between the snake-oil salesmen in the days of old and preachers of today who promise eternity while lining their wallets with your money. If they had faith and truly believed in the word of God, they would follow His instruction and build up their treasures in heaven and not on earth!

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20

Enhanced by Zemanta

Walk Worthy of the Vocation

Ephesians 4

King James Version (KJV)

4 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thought for the Day

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:26-28 KJV

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ye Are All One in Christ Jesus

Galatians 3

King James Version (KJV)

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Enhanced by Zemanta

One Body in Christ

The congregation of the church works as separate members but all too often forget that they exist as one body and need each other. The Pastor often is the heart of the church, although sometimes there is another who functions in that place. If the heart is damaged or diseased it affects the whole of the body. If it is healthy it circulates well and the gospel and intent of the church are usually healthy as well. But when there is disease in part of the body and it is not treated, eventually in spreads to the whole and can easily kill it. We know that when we have a diseased limb and it can’t be saved, it must be removed, but do we consider the church the same way? Or do we just accept the diseased portion because it adds to the whole?

1 Corinthians 12

King James Version (KJV)

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,961 other followers