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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “Lord

Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

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

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Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15


Decide to Trust

Not only is the story of Paul’s conversion a remarkable one for him, but those who were involved, made monumental decisions of obedience in order for Saul’s sight to be restored and his new identity in Christ to come to pass. Ananias, whom the Lord had called to go to Saul to restore his sight, knew of Saul’s reputation. Ananias had reason to fear interaction with Saul, as Saul had been chasing down Christians, persecuting and imprisoning them. However, Ananias was faithful, and his trust in God was greater than his fear of man. When God told him that the man he was to heal was His chosen instrument to carry His Name before many, Ananias opted to obey.

 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – (Acts 9:17)

 

Not only did Ananias obey, but he greeted Saul in love. By calling him Brother Saul, he was already demonstrating an acceptance through Christ, despite all the despicable deeds he had done. It is not always easy to extend acceptance to others who enter in, especially when we are unsure of their motives. Yes, wisdom must be exercised, but if we listen to the Lord and lean on Him, He will teach us how to trust Him and how to love others as He would have us do. May we listen well, so that we can love others as He calls us to love.

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, in spite of our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us to come before You, and You love us to life. Thank You that just as You have loved us to life, You desire the same for all who are still stuck in their sinfulness. Forgive us for fearing approach those whom have been in darkness unknown to us, or for questioning the motives of those whom have pasts that are different than our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well to hear Your instruction, and be quick to obey whatever You ask. May we love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so generously love us. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to step out in obedience. 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


Alive in Him

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive. – (Luke 20:38)

 

There is much hope that is held in this word, as it is a reminder that all who have gone before us who had invested their hearts and lives in the Lord, have not died a spiritual death, but rather they are alive in Christ, living with Him for all of eternity. This brings much comfort, as I find myself caught in glimpses of grief over the loss of my dear friend, Anne. Though she passed a little over a year ago, the end of her life was a battle, and I had the rare privilege of walking beside her for much of it. Over the weekend, I encountered a few situations that hit too close to home, and triggered a heaviness I was not aware I was carrying. Mere moments passed over the last few days, where I would feel a sudden flash of sadness. When I spoke with a friend yesterday, it was only then that I realized what had been tugging at my heart. One particular situation that I chose to walk in, mirrored a portion of the road I walked with Anne. It is no wonder that a bit of sorrow seeped in. Fortunately, sorrow and sadness need not stay long, as Anne was firmly rooted and established in Christ. She is very much alive in Him. I have the blessed assurance that she is Home, and that I will one day join her on the streets of gold. May we each hold fast to the gift of God, that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All are alive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

who invest in God;

let Christ come rule,

and our praise applaud.

In Him, is life,

after earthly death;

His peace pours out,

as we draw each breath.

Hope for today,

promise for always;

life abundant,

for all of our days.

Be rooted well,

in the Holy Vine;

to bear fruit now,

and embrace Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Thank You that in You, all are alive. Thank You that our earthly death is not the end, but only the beginning of the fullness of life that You have for us. Thank You that those who have gone before us who loved and invested their hearts in You, are secure in the safety of Your presence forever. Forgive us for our lack of vision for the future, and help us to hold fast to our eternity, as our time on earth is but the blink of an eye in comparison. Help us to make our time here matter, as we love others by loving like You love us. May many come to know the hope of eternal life in You, as we live as You call us to live. Be glorified, O God, as we live out the life You have gifted us. 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


Character Testifies Truth

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

 

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

 

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

 

May we stay true,Character Testifies Truth

to You, O Lord;

in word and deed,

Your love outpoured.

Let love and light,

both freely flow;

so all we meet,

may come to know.

Allow Your grace,

be evident;

and all desire,

You be present.

For You endure,

our Holy One;

forevermore,

O Three-in-One.

 

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

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

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



The Sheep of His Pasture

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

 

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

 

May we be faithful,The little lamb

whole-heartedly seek;

our Savior and Lord,

as His humble sheep.

He is our Shepherd,

Who tends us with care;

provides safe pasture,

delivers us there.

When He is our God,

He forgives our sin;

He rules and He reigns,

our Lord, sovereign.

 

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

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

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


Your Compassion Never Fails

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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


Not Home Yet

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Though strangers on earth,IMG_0197

and not quite at home;

we’ve a job to do,

while on earth we roam.

Our task is quite clear,

He’s called us above;

to live in His light,

and share of His love.

We are meant to be,

His ambassadors;

to offer His hope,

from mountains to shores.

Wherever there’s life,

the truth’s needed too;

may we choose love well,

so His light shines through.

 

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

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

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

 


A Champion for Every Child

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

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

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

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


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