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For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – (1 Peter 1:23, NIV)

 

You have been born again. This new life did not come from something that dies. It came from something that cannot die. You were born again through God’s life-giving message that lasts forever. – (1 Peter 1:23, ERV)

 

When we commit our lives to Christ, it is not a fleeting action, nor based on something that may someday fade away. God remains the same yesterday, today and forever, so our hope is assured and His promises secured, for now and forever more. God with us, is His Holy Spirit that comes to dwell in us when we invite Him in, and remains until we are united with the Lord face-to-face on our final day of drawing breath. As we enter His presence in Heaven, we are assured that our space is secured forever. Imagine an eternity of dwelling in the lavish light of His love, with no more worldly woes…

 

The very moment,Imperishable Truth

a heart invites You in;

You grant us new life,

set free from all our sin.

This life we’re given,

lasts for eternity;

for You cannot die,

and You have set us free.

Your word is alive,

it forever endures;

shows us what is truth,

and our future secures.

Help us to hold fast,

to Your truth that remains;

may we spend our days,

glorifying Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have new life in You. Thank You that our new life is based on Your word and Your truth, which endure forever. Thank You that our salvation is not only for now, but for all of eternity. Forgive us for not viewing life through an eternal lens, and for allowing the troubles of this life to overwhelm us. Thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that Your presence and Your promises remain forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when we are unaware of Your presence or of how You are moving in the midst of our mess. May we walk forward in faith, trusting You are who You say You are. Let us love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know new life in You for themselves. Be exalted O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – (James 5:16)

 

Christ’s death on the cross took away the barrier that required us to go to a priest to confess. However, there are times when we need audible reassurance that we have indeed been forgiven, or perhaps a person present to keep us accountable so that we do not repeat the offense. Still other times, we must make amends with one whom we have offended with our actions. “In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers.” (NIV footnotes, James 5:16) May we go forth keeping short accounts before God and everyone, so that hearts may be healed and our prayers become powerful and effective.

 

We must confess,

all of our sin;Who Do You See

before the Lord,

know peace within.

At times we need,

help of others;

to grasp the grace,

voiced by brothers.

Our healing comes,

when we’ve come clean;

point of release,

as sin is seen.

Those forgiven,

are called righteous;

their prayers are heard,

power, priceless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to come to You directly when we sin. Thank You that we can approach Your throne of grace, no matter what we have done, and know that You love us and will receive us. Thank You too, that You call us to be in community together, and that when we struggle, You provide safe sisters and brothers in You, in whom we can confide to confess and go to for prayer. Thank You that when we are right before You, our prayers by Your Spirit within us, are powerful and effective. Forgive us for bearing burdens that we are not meant to carry, or for not reaching out to those who can help keep us accountable where we may struggle. Help us to invest in relationships that point our hearts heavenward. May we love, encourage and pray for others as You call us to do, and may many come to know the freedom that is only found in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. – (James 1:5, NIV)

 

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

 

Wisdom is goes beyond our own ability to seek understanding through simply studying something. Rather, “wisdom is the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances.” (NIV footnotes) Such wisdom is a gift given generously by God, as we seek Him. God does not think less of us for asking. He sees our heart and knows our need. We are not meant to shoot in the dark as we attempt answers; He is for us, and longs to lead and guide us as we ask Him. May we be quick to seek the Lord where we are lacking, and trust in His unfailing love that He so generously pours out upon us.

 

When the road ahead,From Whom Wisdom Flows

splits, branches apart;

too many choices,

confusing our heart.

Turn and ask the Lord,

from whom wisdom flows;

faithful, He’ll answer,

He wants us to know.

He’ll make our path plain,

and leave it to us;

we must move forward,

have faith in Jesus.

Even when answers,

seem to make no sense;

His ways are higher,

so trust and commence.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are lacking wisdom or discernment, we can come to You, and You are generous to grant us answers without thinking less of us for it. Thank You that You love us where we are, and supply what we need as we seek You. Forgive us for not asking or seeking when we are stuck, and help us to be quick to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You in every decision – great and small. Lead us and guide us in all of our ways. May we love others as You love us, and may many come to find salvation in You, as a result. Be glorified as we seek You for wisdom in all things. Amen.

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

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

 

 

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. – (Isaiah 26:3)

 

Though strife and struggle are inevitable in this life, the perfect peace of Christ, is not. When we are devoted to Him in all of our ways, we remain steady, even in the raging storms. That does not mean that we are not aware of the wind and waves surrounding us, but rather in spite of the storm, we know our Source of safety, and we find peace in the midst of storms, as we fix our eyes on He alone who is far greater than anything that comes against us. May we keep our mind steadfast on Christ, and ever trust in the mighty power and unchanging love of our great God.

 

There is perfect peace,Steadfast in Trust

in the midst of storms;

when we cling to Christ,

our outlook transforms.

We need not look at,

the wind and the waves;

but rather at Him,

Who makes our heart brave.

Not by our own strength,

but in His alone;

peace covers our hearts,

as truth is made known.

His mighty power,

and unchanging love;

can silence our storms,

grant peace from above.

So trust in the Lord,

be steadfast in mind;

no matter what comes,

His peace we will find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us Your perfect peace, even in the midst of raging storms, when we fix our minds and hearts on You in trust. Thank You that Your Spirit in us grants us the strength that we need to hold onto what is true. Forgive us for our fearfulness at all that is seen, and help us to truly trust You with all that You are doing in the unseen. Thank You that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Help us to be steadfast in our faith, and love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know Your mighty power and unchanging love personally, and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to stay steadfast in trust. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1)

 

This verse is particularly poignant as I am preparing for a big race at week’s end. I will be participating in the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay for the first time. It is a 200-mile, twelve person relay, that is run from Blaine, Washington (near the Canadian border), to south Whidbey Island. The race will be run continuously, by each of our twelve members, until every mile is complete. Markers will be set along the route to keep our path assured, and proper planning and training have prepared us to bring appropriate layers that do not hinder us, and our miles logged will help each of us persevere on the path set before us. Stories told by those who have run this race before, claim that there are runners along the way, cheering the participants on.

 

In life, we must do much of the same. It takes ongoing preparation and training for each of us to know and understand the race that He has set before us. When we spend time with Him, we gain understanding and insight as to what may hinder and entangle us on the path that He has placed us on. Perseverance grows as we continue to press on in our pursuit of all that He has for us. God is faithful to meet us, mile after mile, if we are only willing to continue to seek Him. We are surrounded by those who have successfully run the race that God had set before them; those who faithfully pursued and persevered until their final breath. May we too, one day be among those who have run their race according to Christ’s race plan.

 

May each of us run,Running His Race

the race He has planned;

with perseverance,

in His strength, we stand.

Let us each throw off,

the things that ensnare;

so nothing can stop,

us from running there.

By faith, as we move,

may we be aware;

of those before us,

who’re already there.

Be not discouraged,

but rather, pursue;

for He is present,

running beside you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have marked out a race for us to run. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each and every one of our lives. Thank You that when we come to You and seek You, You answer and remain present with us, always. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be hindered or become entangled by anything that is not a part of Your race plan for our lives, and help us to throw off anything that would be a barrier in our running the race marked out for us. Teach us to persevere, even when it hurts or the hills are steep and long, and grant us strength to endure far more than we think we can. May our perseverance be a testimony to those who do not yet know You, and may they too, come to know You as their Savior and King. Let us love others as You love us. Be glorified as we run with perseverance, the race You have marked out for each of us. 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

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

 

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

The sure and certain hope recorded here are foundational in our faith. They are both the beginning and the end of what we believe. First, to be sure of what we hope for requires that we believe in God’s character – that we trust He is who He says He is. Our certainty comes as we discover His promises, and realize that He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful, and will fulfill and follow through, even when we do not see evidence that is tangible in the here and now. May we allow hope to fill our hearts and minds, as we grant Christ access to further grow our faith.

 

In the dark of night,Faith Assured

we see no evidence;

of new morning’s light,

with faith, reassurance.

So it is with Christ,

though our hearts may not see;

He has paid the price,

for all hearts to be free.

A promise of hope,

His presence for today;

our answer to cope,

the only faithful way.

Allow faith to grow,

may it rise up in you;

as you come to know,

all He’s promised to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something that we are expected to somehow muster on our own, but rather when we seek You, we find You, and You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we invest our hearts in You, we come to know both Your character and Your promises, which assure us of our hope for both today and forever with You. Forgive us for thinking that we could somehow grow our faith on our own, and help us to trust You to increase our understanding and deepen our dependence on You as we seek You. May we shine Your light and extend Your love to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

 

In our instant gratification culture that tells us to do whatever “feels” good, it is critical that we take this verse to heart. We need one another to be encouraged to continue to do the next right thing, even when the world is suggesting otherwise. Christ came and modeled a life lived in love. His heart was for everyone who came near. Our charge, as disciples of Christ, is to live likewise. Both Christ in us, and Christ in those around us, spur our spirit to let His love lead, even when it is difficult. May we consider how to encourage one another to show love in our every word and deed.

 

Let us consider,Encourage Each Other

how we may show love;

both to each other,

and to God above.

We must encourage,

lift each other up;

give mercy and grace,

as He fills our cup.

Spur each other on,

to love and good deeds;

give what we’re given,

to all those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us so much more than we deserve. Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace. Thank You that You forgive and receive us, just as we are, and encourage us to love and serve. Forgive us for fixating on our failures, and help us to instead, fix our eyes on You, so that we may consider and recognize how we may encourage each other to best love and serve as You call us to do. Help us to love and encourage well, just as we are loved and encouraged by You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as You call us to do. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

 

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

 

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into Heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

 

Before Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, the high priest was only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people with a blood offering. When Jesus came and suffered on our behalf, He broke down the barriers that limited our access to the presence of our great High Priest. When Christ sacrificed Himself, the price was paid – once and for all. No longer do we have need for an earthly mediator to communicate with God. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually contending for us. We are seen through the veil of His righteousness, and received as coheirs with Christ. Let us boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace, as we seek to serve Him all of our days.

 

No barrier,Breaking Free from Barriers

exists between;

a longing heart,

and Christ unseen.

Each honest cry,

by Heaven’s heard;

our great High Priest,

values each word.

Look to the Lord,

in suffering;

let gratitude,

from our lips, sing.

Direct access,

to His mercy;

let love and grace,

set our hearts free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to have direct access to You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring our sin and shame on the cross. Thank You for conquering the grave and returning to the right hand of the Father, so that You can advocate for us. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks that we have to do or be enough to somehow earn what You freely give. Teach us to embrace Your mercy and grace, and to go forth in gratitude to serve. May we extend Your love and light to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be magnified as we move past every barrier that might hinder us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

 

I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him. – (Isaiah 8:17)

 

The prophet Isaiah had heard many promises spoken from God, but was not seeing the fulfillment. Though he could have grown weary and tired in the wait, he chose to place his trust in God. Isaiah knew that regardless of whether or not he saw the fruit of the fulfillment, God is faithful, and worthy of all of our trust.

 

How do we respond when it seems that the Lord has hidden His face from us? Though He never leaves us nor forsakes us, there is often more time between the promise and the fulfillment than people have patience to wait out. It is impossible to wait on the Lord if we do not fully place our trust in Him. The tug-of-war between holding and handing our hope to the Lord during the wait, is an internal battle. In order to successfully navigate, we must allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, and take captive every thought that would hinder our trail to total trust. None of it is possible without the Lord. May we place our trust in He who is truth, as we wait for the fulfillment of that which He has promised.

 

A promise spoken,Waiting in Trust

no answer in sight;

the Lord seems absent,

when all is a fright.

Regardless of how,

things seem or they feel;

His presence remains,

a truth none can steal.

So wait on the Lord,

always faithful, true;

worthy of all trust,

our safe passage through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though there are times that we struggle to hear You, or know Your nearness, You always remain present with us. Thank You that as we wait for the fulfillment of what You have promised, You are with us, and You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in You, we find peace and strength and hope, even in the struggle. Forgive us for not trusting completely, or for attempting to run ahead, rather than wait on You. Teach us to listen well, and obey all that You are asking, so that we might experience all that You have for us. May we love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we wait in total trust. Amen.

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

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

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