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As I read again in Matthew 26-27, the account of all that Jesus endured on my behalf, I could not help but be overwhelmed with gratitude.  No matter the trials nor struggles that we face, in Christ, our hope is secure forever! Forever is far beyond the limited existence of anything that I may face in the here and now.  Though struggles and trials are real and can leave the soul feeling ravaged, we have a Savior who has promised to be with us, even in the worst of times, who will never leave us nor forsake us.  He will fight on our behalf and be our strength when we are weak.  He is our strength and our song, and the very breath that we breathe.  Why wouldn’t we give Him all of our thanks and praise?

 

For eternal exchange,Praise the Lord O

the pain He endured; give thanks.

For protection and peace,

our future secured; give thanks.

For the help and the hope,

Love’s true offerings; give thanks.

For grace and redemption,

our dear Savior brings; give thanks.

For fresh starts and new life,

and His healing touch; give thanks.

For the dawn of new days,

He’s given so much; give thanks.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your one and only Son.  Thank You that You loved so much that You made a way for us to return to a right relationship with You.  Thank You Jesus, for all that You willingly endured in my place.  Forgive us for taking all that You have given for granted, and help us to go forth each day with hearts overflowing with gratitude.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be ever more aware of Your presence and Your promises as we learn to rely on You.  Lead us to love one another out of the overflow of the love that You have lavished upon us. May many come to know the glory and grace that is available to all who seek Your face.  Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise.

 

© 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 keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. – (Matthew 24:42)

 

We are called to a continuous and ongoing relationship with Christ, not one to simply call upon when a need arises. God wants our whole heart, all the time, not just occasional acts of service we feel might be pleasing unto Him. As we choose invest our heart, our time, our resources and our entire being into our relationship with our Redeemer, we grow to know and understand who He is, and what is and is not of Him. If we are in ongoing communion with Christ, we will be prepared for His return, regardless of when He comes. May we be ever mindful and keep watch, as we guard our hearts and minds from anything that would lead us away from Christ.

 

To keep careful watch,

Painting by Kay Crain - please click image to find out more :)

Painting by Kay Crain – please click image to find out more :)

our sight must begin;

by seeking the Lord,

staying true to Him.

May we each invest,

our heart, soul and mind;

in He who redeems,

and blesses mankind.

Grant us eyes to see,

what’s holy and true;

so we choose to move,

still closer to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind. Thank You that when You will return does not matter nearly as much as whether or not we are prepared. Thank You that You made the way for us to come into Your folds and be kept safe. Forgive us for allowing anything other than You to take center stage in our hearts and lives, and help us to hold fast to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on You to be our strength as we guard our hearts and minds, entrusting all into Your care.  May many come to know You and understand who You are, so that they too, will be on their guard and keeping watch.   Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we keep careful watch. Amen.

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

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

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away. – (Matthew 22:22)

 

As the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus, He responded in wisdom, as He knew the evil intent behind their inquiry. Though the Pharisees and Herodians were rarely rendered speechless, Jesus often left them with nothing to say. The truth could not be countered nor contested, as they knew that Jesus was correct in all that He had spoken.

 

How often are we left in awe? Do we give God room to speak into our lives? His wisdom, grace and goodness for us, ought to open our eyes to the awesome power that is present in God with us. In the heart of every believer, His Holy Spirit resides. So often squabbles would be silenced and storms would settle, if only we would give ear to His word. May our hearts be open and our ears be ready to hear, as Christ whispers His words that leave us awestruck by the glory of His goodness and grace.

 

In awe and wonder,

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton – please click image to see more :)

we stand here, amazed;

at the Lord’s wisdom,

given by His grace.

He looks to the heart,

He knows our intent;

His grace as our guide,

leads us to repent.

May we give God room,

to move in power;

let obedience,

move us each hour.

Lord, as we listen,

help us follow through;

choose to walk Your way,

life faithful to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that who You are leaves us in awe. Thank You that when we slow down and make time to listen, You speak to our hearts. Forgive us for not recognizing the awesome power that is present in You (present in us) through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, and help us to stand firm in the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may give You room to move in our hearts and our lives. Let the lost be found as we live in love, listening to Your leading. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in awe of just how great You are. Amen.

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

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

He replied, “… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – (Matthew 17:20-21)

 

Jesus was responding to the disciples’ questions as to why they could not heal a boy who had been suffering from seizures caused by demon possession. They were not being condemned for their lack of faith, but rather He was showing them how essential faith would be in all that they would be called to do in the future. The seeming mountains that stand in our way cannot be moved in our own strength. However, in Christ, the mountains are mere molehills, and He can accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to allow Him room to be Lord. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and allow Him access to our whole heart so that our small seeds of faith may flourish and grow great in Him.

 

Let not our eyes,Seek to Sow

fix on our trial;

look to the Lord,

all hope to beguile.

The smallest seed,

can grow, multiply;

tended by Christ,

bear fruit, fortify.

All things can be,

established in Christ;

mountains made plain,

needs become sufficed.

He is enough,

for our hearts to trust;

small seeds of faith,

He’ll grow and raise up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to do things in our own strength, nor do You call us to somehow muster mountains of faith on our own. Thank You that You take our small seeds of genuine faith, and You grow them in Your grace. Thank You that You move in spite of us, and that all things are possible in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the mountains, rather than on You, the Maker of mountains. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might see all things as opportunities for You to move, rather than road blocks in our path. May we live and love in the faith You are growing in us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You alone. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to sow the seeds that You are growing in us. 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

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

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

 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – (Matthew 12:28-30)

 

The burdens that we take up and try to carry are far too heavy and not meant for our shoulders. Some of these may include: our sin, excessive demands, oppression and persecution, and weariness in the pursuit of paths we were never meant to walk alone. Christ sets us free from the weight of the yoke our shoulders should not bear, and grants us rest in Him. Through our relationship with Jesus, the seemingly meaningless and mundane, can become spiritually productive and purposeful, as Christ comes and provides us with His peace, love, healing and help. He makes our yoke easy and our burdens light, in comparison to the weight of the way we were attempting to walk alone. May we lay hold of the rest Christ provides for our souls as we sincerely seek Him.

 

When life’s burdens,Come Close to Rest

are weighing us down;

we need seek Christ,

where answers are found.

Jesus is kind,

and humble in heart;

He is gentle,

where solutions start.

Rest for weary,

strength when we feel weak;

gone are burdens,

we’re not meant to keep.

His peace given,

healing and help too;

restored purpose,

refreshed and renewed.

Come near, dear ones,

He will grant us rest;

sweet interlude,

Christ’s great faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire for us to carry the weight of the world. Thank You that You ask us to come to You and give You our burdens, and allow You to carry the weight that was never meant for us, and You replace it with that which You equip us to bear. Thank You that You are gentle and humble and have rest ready for our weariness. Forgive us for trying to carry things that we were never meant to bear, and help us to lay down the loads before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may continually come before You and hear clearly what we are meant to carry, and what we are to hand over to You. Lead us to walk in love, unburdened by loads not meant for us. May many come to know You, as they witness the freedom we have found in the ease of Your yoke. Be exalted, Lord God, as we learn from You each new day. 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

Jairus was a synagogue ruler and a man of societal standing.  He had a tender father’s heart, and an unlikely faith in Christ. Despite his elevated position in society, he went and knelt before Jesus after his daughter had died, and asked Him to come and heal her. Jesus, who recognized his faith, went with Jairus at once.

 

When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, He said, “go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all the region. – (Matthew 9:23-26)

 

The synagogue ruler did not come to Jesus until his daughter was dead – it was too late for anyone else to help. But Jesus simply went to the girl and raised her! In our lives, Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for anyone else to help. He can bring healing to broken relationships, release from addiction, and forgiveness and healing to emotional scars. If all looks hopeless, we must remember that Christ can do the impossible. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Where have death, brokenness, despair, or hopelessness entered in? Though we can do nothing in our own strength to restore life where such destruction lies, we serve the One who can. May we, like Jairus, set aside our pride, and kneel before Him who heals and restores all hope.

 

When all hope seems lost,Approaching the Throne of Grace

we need not despair;

for we serve a God,

Who’s present, aware.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He’s faithful and true,

with us through each task.

Where brokenness reigns,

and hope seems far gone;

healing can occur,

if Christ we lean on.

Forgiveness is found,

and scars are made whole;

impossible done,

O God, we extol.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when all hope seems lost, there is always hope in You. Thank You that the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave, can restore relationships, heal illness, bring health and wholeness, and grant new life in You. Forgive us for losing sight of just how powerful You truly are, and help us to remember that all things are possible in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may walk by faith and not by our limited sight. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know the saving power found in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we kneel before You, trusting You to do the seemingly impossible in and around 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

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Matthew 6:20-21)

 

Storing our treasures in heaven is really a matter of where we are investing our hearts and our resources. It is not merely a matter of money, but how too do we spend our time and our talents? Do we seek to serve God and fulfill His purposes with what we have been given, or is our agenda self-serving? If we seek to accumulate “stuff”, and squander our time and talent on that which is self-serving, our reward is only in the here and now, rather than a return that lasts for all of eternity. May we seek to serve Christ with what we have been given, and may our hearts hold fast to our heavenly treasures, rather than that which is temporary.

 

To each one of us,The Holiday of Hope

He has granted gifts;

resources to share,

down-trodden to lift.

What we choose to do,

with what He’s given;

determines what’s stored,

treasures in heaven.

No one can destroy,

what’s given in grace;

the Lord’s light won’t dim,

as we seek His face.

May we invest well,

all that is growing;

so many may come,

into a knowing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents that can be used to honor You. Thank You that all that we have can be trusted in Your care, and utilized for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to treasure anything that is not of eternal value, and help us to hold fast to You, so that our heart will treasure that which lasts forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not limit our investments in Your Kingdom, but rather that we would be willing to be obedient however You ask us to give. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light is made evident through each of us. May many come to know Your saving grace as we seek to invest all that we are and all that we have, into that which is eternal. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in obedience in how we invest the gifts that You have granted. Amen.

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

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

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)

 

This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.

 

The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. 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

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – (2 Corinthians 12:10)

 

Considering Paul’s experiences, he had plenty of practice in each of the above-mentioned trials. Paul had been ship-wrecked, stoned, beaten, slandered, suffered some sort of ongoing ailment, and had the constant concern of the development of the young church to contend with. Despite all of these things, Paul chose to delight in his struggles, for in them, he was drawn closer and more dependant on Christ. In fact, it was in the spaces that were likely perceived as weaknesses, that Christ spoke the most mightily through Paul.

 

Though I do not necessarily delight in my struggles, I am grateful that Christ is the One to whom I can cling. In the midst of suffering, He is my comfort. When I feel as though I do not have the strength to move forward, He provides the strength necessary to keep taking each next step. As I trust, I am constantly in awe at what He does through seemingly small steps of obedience. Christ takes our weakness, and shows His strength in ways that we never could. May our hearts hold fast to He who is our strength, and may we be thankful for new opportunities to depend on Him alone.

 

To delight in trials,Bless You

in hardships and such;

to embrace our weakness,

appears crazy stuff.

Yet when we are weakest,

Christ will be our strength;

we allow Him the space,

to go to great lengths.

So seek not our own strength,

but rather trust His;

all things are possible,

when Christ handles this.

Lord, teach us to delight,

in spaces we’re weak;

for those are the places,

You most clearly speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weak, You are strong. Thank You that we need not worry what comes against us, as You are for us and are our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials come, and teach us to cling to You in faith. Teach us to trust You as Paul did, so that we may delight even in our struggles, as they are opportunities for Your strength to shine. Let Your faithfulness be evident as we love others through the strength that You provide. May many come to know the saving power that is present through knowing You as our Savior and King. Be glorified, Lord God, as we delight in the spaces where Your strength is made most evident. 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

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