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The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

When Jesus was teaching the disciples the meaning of a parable He had told, Jesus went on to ask them a few questions to reveal to the disciples the importance of their position as they were to go forth to share the truth. He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?” – (Mark 4:21, NIV) Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that if others could not see His light in them, it would be useless.

 

We are created and called to shine before all; not to hole up in our tidy little Christian circles, never to get out of the church’s four walls. He calls us to be a light wherever we are. Are there “bowls” in our hearts that keep us from shining? If so, how might we get out from under them, so that Christ can again shine brightly through us, wherever we go? May we seek Him, keeping short accounts, so that as we go forth, His light in us shines bright before all whom we encounter.

 

He grants us His word,Made to Shine

so that we shall know;

the hope of His truth,

peace that makes us grow.

In our very hearts,

His Spirit resides;

to shine before men,

truth can’t be denied.

Let nothing cover,

what shines from within;

for His light is life,

to all steeped in sin.

Use us Lord, Jesus,

so many will know;

the hope we now hold,

let Your freedom flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and give You our hearts and our lives, You use us to shine brightly before others. Thank You that it is nothing that we do in our own strength, but rather it is Your Spirit dwelling in us that others may see. Forgive us for anything in us that has caused Your light to grow dim in us, and help us to remove the “bowls” so that Your light is clearly seen. Lead us to love generously and shine brightly, just as You so do unto us. May many come to know You as Lord and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as Your light shines through us, unhindered and in plain view. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. – (Mark 1:20)

 

This verse is in reference to when Jesus called James and John to come and follow Him. “Although it took time for Jesus’ call and His message to get through, the disciples followed. In the same way, we may question and falter, but we must never stop following.” – (NIV footnotes for Mark 1:16-20) It is our charge to do likewise. Though we may not always understand, and we make mistakes and have questions, our call is to keep following Christ. As we do, our faith will grow and our understanding of His ways and His will shall multiply. He is faithful to meet us where we are, if we are willing to choose to follow Him. Following Christ will not necessarily be convenient, nor easy, but it will always be worthwhile. May we set aside our nets, and simply follow Him.

 

To heed the call,Choose to Follow

forego delay;

set aside all,

and choose obey.

All that He asks,

of us today;

may we stand up,

trust in His way.

Despite unknown,

do anyway;

He shall remain,

now and always.

He is faithful,

and hears us pray;

He will answer,

rest in His stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to follow You, we need not always understand everything, or be without flaw, as long as we continue after You. Thank You that the longer we follow You, the more You reveal Yourself to us. Forgive us for our flawed thinking and understanding about who You are, and how You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may grow in Your grace and gain deeper insight as to who You are, and just how much You love each one of us. May we go forth and love others, as You so generously love each of us. May lives be changed and hearts be healed as Your love is revealed to those who seek You. Be glorified, O God, as we follow You in faith. Amen.

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

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

We never quite know the far-reaching impact that one act of obedience may have. For Paul, when he had arrived on Malta via shipwreck and snakebite, he was invited into the home of a chief official on the island. Upon arrival, Paul learned that the father of Publius, the chief official, was sick in bed and suffering. Paul went to him and prayed for him and he was healed. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. – (Acts 28:9) Paul’s following of the Holy Spirit’s prompting to touch one who had fallen ill, resulted in the healing of many, and consequently, the further spreading of the good news of Jesus, throughout the island.

 

What potential impact do our acts of obedience have on others? Kindness to a stranger, a touch to the hurting, encouraging words to one who is discouraged? We need not know the outcome to act as Christ calls us to move. For each of us, have also been the recipient of another’s faithful obedience. May we go forth this day in obedience to all that the Lord asks.

 

A moment in time,One to Many

responding in faith;

to what God has asked,

most memorable wraith.

All who are open,

ready to go forth;

will be granted word,

sent out by the Lord.

He looks for the heart,

that’s ready to serve;

does tremendous things,

His strength to observe.

May we be ready,

with yes and amen;

to go where He asks,

and do as He says.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You show us that You use hearts that are willing and faithful to follow what You ask, regardless of circumstances or appearances. Thank You that Your ultimate good will come, even out of the most ugly of circumstances. Forgive us for our lack of faith in the midst of trials, or for our lack of movement when You are asking us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move mightily in all things and at all times, as You ask us to move. Let us love and encourage and be Your hands and heart to those around us, as You so clearly make You love evident to each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. Be exalted, O God, as we follow Your leading today. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

When Paul was on trial before Felix for his faith, he eloquently captured the heart of why we as Christians, seek to do God’s will. I have the same hope in God that these Jews have – the hope that all people, good and bad, will be raised from death. This is why I always try to do what I believe is right before God and before everyone. – (Acts 24:14-16, ERV) It is our hope, our looking forward with confidence in Christ, that we are compelled to act in alignment with what we believe. This is not something that we are able to do in our own strength, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus, our example, spoke these words: The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him. – (John 8:29) May we go forth this day, seeking to do right before God, as we hold fast to the hope we have in Him.

 

Our hope is held,Confidence in Christ

in Christ alone;

Who’ll raise us up,

before His throne.

May we do right,

as He has shown;

speaking the truth,

so it is known.

Let all the lost,

make God their own;

as they too trust,

in Christ alone.

May our actions,

and words be sown;

as light and life,

so Christ is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because we have hope in You, we have reason to seek You in all things. Thank You that when we come to You, You hear us and receive us as we are. Forgive us for not keeping short accounts before You, and help us to do right before You, always. Lead us and guide us in all that we do and say, so that Your light is evident in everything. Teach us to trust You more, so that our fervent faith is contagious. Help us to love well, as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as Your light shines through us. Be glorified, O God, as we pursue the path of righteousness in You. 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

As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?

 

The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.

 

When facing giants,Taking Courage in Trials

mountains we must climb;

His nearness constant,

for now and all times.

Our courage is found,

in Christ, the true King;

He supplies power,

and all needed things.

In trial, in loss,

in wholeness, in grace;

circumstances don’t,

determine His place.

For God is on high,

He’s still on His throne;

no matter what comes,

Love will be made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.

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

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

As Paul was parting company with the Ephesian elders for what he knew would be the last time, he spoke words of warning, comfort, and exhortation. After all of the time and energy invested in Ephesus, Paul simply had to continue to where he was called, trusting that the Ephesians would be covered in Christ’s tender care. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” – (Acts 20:32, NIV) Another version states, “Now I am putting you in God’s care. I am depending on the message about His grace to make you strong. That message is able to give you the blessing that God gives to all His holy people.” – (Acts 20:32, ERV)

 

Just as Paul so diligently invested in those he was given charge over, so we ought to do likewise. Though we may not part company in such a dramatic fashion, it is essential for me to be certain that my charges are properly equipped in the ways in which they are meant to go, even in the short span of time that we part ways while they are at school, or are out with friends. As they go, I must commit them to God, and trust that they are in His care (using wisdom in what and where I allow them to go). His word is rooted and established within them, thus His grace will make them strong. May we each invest in God and His word of grace, so we may be built up and receive the inheritance that He gives to those He calls His own.

 

Invested in Christ,Committed Care

deep-rooted in grace;

immersed in His care,

by seeking His face.

He grants us the strength,

to do right by Him;

His blessings given,

His presence within.

As company parts,

let leaders not fear;

for those invested,

His Spirit, can hear.

Father, please protect,

both leader and charge;

in Your tender care,

wherever we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and protect us, and grant us Your strength and grace when we choose invest in You. Thank You that we have an inheritance of eternal life in You, which is far more valuable than anything we could pursue on earth. Thank You that You value people, not possessions, and You want us to do likewise. Forgive us for not investing enough in those around us, or for not trusting You completely with those in whom we invest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may commit all into Your care, as Your hands are far stronger and more capable of holding those whom we love, than we are. Give us Your heart to love, as You so lavishly love each of us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we invest in others and commit them to Your care. Amen.

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

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

One of the greatest strengths that we have, is found through the power of choice. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God gave Moses a choice, and the choice that was offered to Moses, is the same choice that we are offered still, daily. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. – (Deuteronomy 30:19)

 

In order to choose life and blessings, we must choose Him. If we choose God, we also choose to follow His commands. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. – (Deuteronomy 30:11) Christ does not ask anything of us, that He is not also willing to strengthen and equip us to do. We have been granted a free will, yet if we truly believe that we are His workmanship, created to do good works for Him, then our choices should be a clear reflection of such. May we go forth this day choosing life, so that His light may clearly shine through us.

 

A mighty strength,The Power of Choice

in each of us;

power of choice,

through Christ Jesus.

Free will granted,

we each may choose;

to walk in light,

in all we do.

No task too great,

nor out of reach;

if we depend,

on Him to teach.

For each new step,

He will make known;

how we’re to move,

way shall be shown.

For He is good,

His love endures;

He grants His strength,

and hope secured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a free will to choose which way to go. Thank You that when we choose You, we are choosing life. Thank You that You bless and equip us to do all that You ask, and that nothing is too difficult nor beyond our reach, if we are empowered by You. Thank You that we are Your workmanship, created by You, to do good things. Forgive us for making choices that do not reflect who we are in You, and help us to choose wisely, as we listen and learn through Your Holy Spirit within. Make us strong to trust You more. Lead us to say yes and amen to all that You ask, and may many come to know You as a result of our obedience. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us. Be exalted, Lord God, as we choose You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

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

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. – (Acts 14:19-20a)

 

Perseverance is steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. It is also the continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation. – (www.dictionary.com)

 

Paul’s unwavering commitment to deliver the message he had been commissioned to preach, is the epitome of perseverance. He endured every possible obstacle, difficulty and discouragement, yet he continued in the grace that God gave. The very same power that resided in him, dwells in the heart of all who believe. We too, have the capacity to persevere in difficulty, and are able to overcome obstacles to accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to rely on His grace as we go. Paul never delineated from the purpose of his calling, and stayed the course of sharing Christ with all whom he encountered. How has God called us to persevere? Where are we meant to persist and stay the course, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement? May we take heart in He who is faithful, for in Him, we are more than conquerors.

 

Let not opposition,The Purpose of Perseverance

steer our hearts off course;

for our faithful Father,

has for us, much more.

If we will persevere,

when trials come near;

the truth shall be made known,

dispelling all fear.

To overcome challenge,

rely on His grace;

and seek the Lord always,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find the strength and grace that is needed to persevere. Thank You that no difficulty, obstacle or discouragement is too great for Your grace. Thank You that You are more than enough. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the problem, rather than on You, our solution. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may fully embrace the grace that You are granting. Lead us to love and encourage all whom we encounter, just as You so love and encourage each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as our hearts respond to the grace You bring. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere in Your glorious grace. 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

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