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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “jesus

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

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

 

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

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

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

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

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

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An Undivided Heart

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

 

Though the Israelites had been sent away and scattered, and had become divided from God and each other, the Lord was making a promise to His people. God gave word that He would restore them back to their land once again. Verses nineteen and twenty were further promises to His people that He is faithful.

 

The promises spoken for the Israelites, are still available for us today. When we seek Christ, He will give us an undivided heart and place His spirit within us. He takes our hardened, calloused heart, and exchanges it for one that is soft, tender and vulnerable. His Spirit directs our path as to what we should and should not do, and He calls us His own, and He is our God.

 

A heart undivided,Renewing Our Minds

once as hard as stone;

transformed by Jesus Christ,

through whom love is shown.

He grants us His Spirit,

to dwell in our heart;

so each of us will know,

His path from the start.

He makes us His people,

and He is our God;

He transforms and grows us,

let the earth applaud.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us an undivided heart and a new spirit within us. Thank You that when we seek to find You, You are ready and waiting for us. Thank You that You exchange our hard hearts for ones of flesh that are soft and open to all that You ask. Thank You that Your Spirit within us makes known the paths we’re meant to take, and helps lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that we are Your people and that You are our God. Forgive us for our words and deeds that do not reflect that relationship. Help us to be a rightful representation of You before the world, as we go forth in love, just as You love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as they too, grant You full access to their hearts and lives. Be glorified, Lord God, 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


To Walk in Obedience

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV)

 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

 

To truly love, is to live in the love that the Lord gives unto us. He commands us to love Him and love each other. Though seemingly simple, it is not always the easiest task, as we live in a world full of broken people that do not always seek the good in one another. However, while we were still steeped in our own sin, Jesus chose to love us with His very life. The love He gave, made way for us to come to Him and be made new. It is in this space of new, that we are then able to extend His love to others, despite whether or not they are deserving. When we are in Christ, He equips and empowers us to extend love in spaces where love has never been. May we go forth this day, walking securely in His love.

 

Obedience,Show Me Your Ways

to all Christ commands;

is truly love,

and life in His hands.

To walk in love,

even when opposed;

extending grace,

that hearts long to know.

For just as Christ,

loved with His last breath;

how great that love,

that defeated death.

The same power,

that raised Christ again;

dwells in our hearts,

to overcome sin.

May we go forth,

and love as He will;

pointing people,

to seek and be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Love. Thank You that You sent Your Son to demonstrate what it means to love with one’s entire being. Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life so that I can truly live. Thank You that the very same love that lives in You, dwells in the hearts of all whom believe. Forgive us for not loving You or loving people as You call us to. Teach us to continually walk in love, even when people are difficult to love. Grant us wisdom to know what our responsibilities are, and what are not. Give us ears to hear You clearly and Your eyes to see as we walk in faith. Let Your love be evident in us, and may many come to know You as we walk faithfully in love. Be glorified, O God, by our obedient walking in love. Amen.

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

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


The Breath of God

And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – (John 20:22)

 

All life and truth is God-breathed. At creation’s beginning, there was no life until God breathed into people, the very breath of life. Here in John, is a foretaste of the breath of Jesus and the power presented when He breathed on mankind. The context of this verse is when the disciples were in the upper room and Jesus appeared before them after He had risen. At this point, His breath was an impartation of His power to do God’s will on earth. Breathing is our reminder of just how near our Savior is to each of us. With each breath, He is present, and His power is available to all who have invited Him to be Lord of their lives. May we go forth this day, breathing deeply, knowing His nearness and operating in the power He has already presented.

 

Our very first breath,Do Everything in Love

was His gift of life;

hand-crafted, unique,

and bought with great price.

We’re given a choice,

to receive His breath;

the Spirit-filled one,

that saves us from death.

With His sweet Spirit,

too, comes His power;

to rise and obey,

our great Strong Tower.

Allow Him to breathe,

His life into you;

the power and grace,

to live a life true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us life and breath and our very being. Thank You that when we choose to follow You, You grant us the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and is available with each breath that we take. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same power that raised You from the grave, is alive and dwelling within us who believe. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and move in faith as You are asking. Lead us and guide us in Your love. May we love others in such a way, that they clearly come to see who You are. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified as we go forth today, with every breath we take. 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 Basis for Truth

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.” – (John 18:38)

 

Pontius Pilate was no different from much of the world at large today. He believed truth was relative to whatever the majority of people agreed to, or whatever helped to advance his own political or personal agenda. “When there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong. Justice becomes whatever works or whatever helps those in power. In Jesus and His Word we have a standard for truth and for our moral behavior.” – (NIV footnotes for John 18:38)

 

Without Jesus, we become a society that slips further and further in our own moral decay. Countless examples are present in the Old Testament of kings who ceased to follow God’s way. For each of the kings that did evil in the sight of the Lord, warnings and prophesies were presented. If the warnings were not heeded, destruction surely followed. May we be a people pursuing His path of truth. Jesus is the truth and the light, and in Him there is no darkness. Let us fix our eyes on the Author and finisher of our faith, so that we may run our race with endurance.

 

There’s only one truth,Tending Our Talents

found in the Lord’s Word;

receive nothing else,

as truth to be heard.

For all must agree,

with what the Lord says;

for if it does not,

the words are not His.

Invest in learning,

the biblical facts;

be wise and weary,

of twisted attacks.

There’s only one right,

it’s following Christ;

He opened the way,

with His sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Truth, the Life and the Way. Thank You that we can come to You, and You have made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and for demonstrating Your power as You defeated death. Thank You that You grant the very same power to dwell in each of us when we choose to trust in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we have access to the truth and can study and learn more of who You are and what You ask of us. Forgive us for not investing in Your word, or not quieting ourselves before You to allow You to speak that which You want us to hear. Teach us, instruct us, and lead us in every area of our lives. May we go forth as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of You and the truth, and may we love others as You so lavishly love us. Let those who are looking, come to know the Truth. Be exalted, Lord God, in everything we do today. Amen.

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

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


Bless the Lord , O my Soul and all that is within me. Psalm 103

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone ,And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant,And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word,Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

  Yes, today I will bless the Lord. Even though annoying things try to interfere, the words of rude people try to shake me, I will still bless the Lord. I feel like a memo went out to the world : “make her life difficult in every way” – that’s how the last two weeks have felt. How can I have so much interference everywhere I turn? Why isn’t everything going my way? Why are the simplistic things turning into long dragged out trials? Why am I dealing with so many problems?  Whatever! I’m going to bless the Lord and refuse to be brought down.

   I will bless the Lord, with all my soul and forget not His benefits. I will lift my head up and wait for my King. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases, He redeems my life from destruction and crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies. How awesome is that?!? He makes all my problems disappear as I refocus. I will rejoice for this is the day that the Lord has made. He will strengthen me and renew my youth  like the eagles. Amen, it just doesn’t get any better than that.


Compassion Leads to Action

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. – (John 11:33)

Jesus wept. – (John 11:35)

When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” – (John 11:43)

 

These three verses are pivotal points in the story of Lazarus. Though Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead prior to His arrival, His compassion for people was made evident through how He came alongside those who were mourning and wept as they wept. However, Christ continues beyond compassion. Jesus, after demonstrating His love for both Lazarus and those who loved him, chose to do more. He opted to make His mighty power known, as He had the gang of grieving lead Him to the tomb where Lazarus had laid for four days. Jesus stepped up, and in a strong voice, spoke the words that were more than His friends could have hoped for. Their lost loved one was being brought back to life!

 

As we are moved by compassion to act, it is necessary that we too, listen for His still small voice. Though we may not be raising people from four days dead, our acts of obedience can create hope where there has only been despair. We never know the impact our actions might have, unless we opt to actually step out in faith. He is faithful to use us as His vessels, if only we are willing to make ourselves available. May we go forth, allowing His compassion to propel our hearts to action.

 

Compassion compels,Care Over Comfort

our hearts to reach out;

to act in His love,

to fill those without.

Just as His kindness,

came near in our need;

so we’re called likewise,

to give and to feed.

Out of our plenty,

and even our lack;

He calls us to love,

He’s loving us back.

May those who don’t know,

come to know His grace;

for once it is known,

there’s no greater place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us what love in action should look like. Jesus, thank You for loving us without limits and for equipping us to love as You love us. Thank You for placing people in our lives to be Your hands and heart made tangible. Thank You that we too, can be the same for others, if only we are available to listen to Your leading. Forgive us for neglecting to act on that which You are asking, and help us to be willing to go and do whatever You ask of us. Give us Your eyes to see, and Your heart of compassion for all whom we encounter. May the compassion You grant us, compel us to action. Lead us in the way You want us to go, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified as we act with compassion today. 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


Intentional Retreat

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself. – (John 6:15)

 

Jesus only did that which His Father called Him to do. He knew His charge was not to become a king on the earth, so He did not even entertain the idea of praise nor power from the people in that way. Instead, once He heard what they intended, He withdrew; left the location so that the option was not available. Jesus passed up temporary pleasure and power, and took on tremendous pain. His only concern was doing the will of His Father. May we each go forth and do likewise, recognizing that His Holy Spirit equips us to flee from that which is not meant for us, and empowers us to embrace that which is His good and perfect will for our lives.

 

Let not power,Intentional Retreat

nor pleasure or praise;

be a road block,

to walking Christ’s way.

Do what He says,

invest in His word;

seek only truth,

let His voice be heard.

When all the noise,

around is too much;

retreat alone,

seek His tender touch.

He is faithful,

He’ll answer our cry;

and grant us strength,

to trust and rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled a life of perfect obedience before You. Though He was tempted in every way, He was without sin. Thank You that the very same power that kept Christ from sin, is available to us today. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces of temptation and giving in, and teach us to trust You more, so that we might fully rely on You as each temptation comes our way. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to retreat. May we operate in all things in Your love as You lead us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to obey You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1


Hidden No More

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

This verse from the often told story of the woman at the well, struck me anew this morning. Not only was she powerfully impacted by her encounter personally, but she found a new boldness where she had previously remained hidden, and that boldness in stepping out to speak of what she had experienced compelled many from her town to go and see Jesus for themselves. She was so dramatically different, that those who had shunned her, gave ear to her words. What a powerful testimony indeed! God used her transformation to tell others of Christ’s goodness and grace. Imagine the interactions at the well after the town’s two days with Jesus!

 

In isolation,Hidden No More

alone and afraid;

there is a Savior,

Who will come your way.

He’ll always draw near,

no matter your past;

He’ll wash you anew,

grant peace that will last.

The Granter of hope,

the Giver of grace;

Restorer of life,

He’s present always.

All that is hidden,

is already known;

He’ll use it for good,

story of your own.

The glorious thing,

as you choose to share;

others will seek Him,

trade hope for despair.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and allow You to move in our lives, You do a deep transformational work that others can see. Thank You that even the ugliest part of our past can become the most triumphant part of our testimony, by You grace. Thank You that when others see change in us, they want to know why. Forgive us for not being quick to answer, or for not always modeling the internal transformation that has taken place. Teach us to trust You in the transformation, and grant us strength to stand strong in all things and at all times so that Your will be done. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come to seek You as a result. Let the lost be found, and testimonies of transformations abound. Be glorified as we go forth boldly as You have made us to do. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8


A New Name

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). – (John 1:40-42)

 

There are several remarkable occurrences in this short passage of scripture. First, Andrew, after only hearing what John the Baptist had said, and then meeting Jesus, he immediately believed and felt compelled to act on his belief. He wanted to not only follow Christ, but he wanted to be sure to share the good news with his brother as well. Second, Simon trusted his brother enough to listen to what he had to say, and chose to follow him to where Jesus was staying. When Simon met Jesus face-to-face, Jesus saw Simon not only for who he was, but for who he would become. The name Peter, in Greek, means “a rock“.

 

When we encounter Jesus, He sees us the same way. Christ knows who we are today, but He also knows what we will become. Each one of us has a new name from the moment we are saved. He calls us confident, joyful, overcoming ones, faithful, friends of God, and ones who seek His face. He counts us as His children, and we are adopted into His holy family forever.

 

No matter our name,A New Name

or state when we come;

Lord Jesus, He hears,

and all are welcome.

He loves us right now,

wherever we are;

and knows what’s ahead,

our bright Morning Star.

He takes what’s been crushed,

and grants us His strength;

joy for our sorrow,

He’ll go to great lengths.

He calls us His friends,

despite what we’ve done;

He forgives, makes new,

the battles, He’s won.

Let go of the things,

that will hold us back;

surrender it all,

and nothing we’ll lack.

For in Him, all things,

we have all we need;

an eternal hope,

from our past, we’re freed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, yet You see where we are going and all that we can become. Thank You that You give us a new name in You. Thank You that You bring beauty from our ashes, and hope from our despair. Thank You that You utilize the things that we once thought were the most ugly or broken, to help others for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing the old names to have a voice, and help us to silence the lies and allow Your voice to be heard. May our hearts hold fast to what You call us – confident, overcoming ones – Your children. Let us live and love as such, and may many be led unto You as a result. Be glorified as we walk boldly in the new names that You call us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

To watch a lovely visual to an old favorite, I Will Change Your Name, click the highlighted song title in blue.


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