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After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (also known as Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him. – (Luke 5:27-28)

 

There are several really remarkable steps to Matthew’s story. First, he was a tax collector, and therefore, no friend to the Jews. Additionally, his position had likely been a very lucrative one for him, yet at Jesus’ invitation, he willingly walked away from it all, to faithfully follow Him. Even more than Matthew’s willingness to leave his life of luxury behind, He desperately wanted others to discover what he had found in Christ, so he held a great banquet, inviting all his friends, so that they too, might meet Jesus and choose to follow Him. Matthew laid down his material possessions to gain spiritual wealth, as he was overjoyed to be associated with Jesus.

 

Each of us has a story; a moment in time when we heard Him whisper an invitation to come and follow Him. What have we set aside to serve Him? Do we go out of our way to share the joy that we have found with those whom we care most about? May our stories each include passion, promise, and pride in He who grants us new life, as we willingly set aside whatever He asks, and choose to follow Him with all that we are.

 

When Christ comes along,MSH29

and calls us by name;

what will we lay down?

Money? Fortune? Fame?

Where He asks we go,

requires us move;

giant steps of faith,

our fears He’ll remove.

All trust is needed,

as are faithful steps;

when we go in peace,

we’re His righteous reps.

Help our hearts let go,

of temporal things;

and to You, Lord God,

we forever cling.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the remarkable examples of men and women that have gone before us, that willingly walked away from what was comfortable and known, into the unknown, as they trusted in You. Thank You that the benefits far outweigh the burdens for all of eternity, no matter what the cost seems to be in the here and now. Forgive us for our hesitation when we hear You call, and help us to move immediately, just as Matthew did. May our willing obedience be a blessing to all whom we encounter, and may many come to know of Your loving kindness as a result. Help us to love as You love us, and keep our hearts tender to hear from You. Be glorified, O God, as we faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

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

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. 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

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

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – (Luke 2:15)

 

Ordinary shepherds with extraordinary faith, had been tending their flocks by night. Suddenly, the night sky was illuminated with the glorious light of the Lord, and the shepherds were full of fear. An angel offered them comfort, and let them know that he was there to share great news, and that there was nothing to fear. As the heavenly hosts praised God after the announcement of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds were so moved by what they had seen and heard, that they dropped everything to go and see for themselves. I can’t imagine it was convenient, nor easy; yet clearly the shepherds were determined to see the Savior whose birth had just been declared to them in the dark of night.

 

How often are we compelled to move where we have been called, despite the inconvenience, as a result of the recognition of His voice? He still speaks to us today. Though few have the experience of the heavenly hosts bringing an announcement by song in the night sky, His Spirit now dwells in the very hearts of all who call Him Lord of their lives, and His words are whispered to our hearts continually. Our response ought to be to eagerly go and see what He will do, rather than fear or anxiousness of the unknown. Learning to trust Him more, is an ongoing, ever-growing, challenge in life with Christ. May we seek to hear Him clearly, and ask for His strength to trust Him more.

 

Let our hearts receive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

each word from the Lord;

with strength to trust Him,

by faith He affords.

May we quickly heed,

whatever He speaks;

choose walk in His ways,

as Christ our heart seeks.

May we learn to trust,

with all that we are;

no matter the call,

be it near or far.

For the Lord our God,

will ever remain;

present, God with us,

truth we can proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to us and challenge us to go and see and do things we never thought possible. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who trust and believe. Thank You that as we choose to take steps of faithful obedience where You call us to go, You remain present, with us, strengthening and equipping us, for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to grow in our trust in You. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love us. May many come to know Your faithfulness and Your grace, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth trusting You. 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

For nothing is impossible with God. – (Luke 1:37)

 

Though these words were spoken by an angel unto Mary, as he told her of what was yet to come, both in her life, and in the life of her relative Elizabeth, they ring true for each of us today. What God speaks, He will do. Even the seemingly impossible, shall be accomplished if the Lord has said it will be so. Often, it is a matter of our willingness to faithfully take that next step in the direction He is calling, regardless of how outrageous or insurmountable it may appear. God does not call us to failure; He calls us to totally trust in Him. As we do, mountains are moved, and broken are mended, in ways we never thought possible. May we turn toward trust in He who makes all things possible.

 

The battles we face,Nothing is Impossible

insurmountable;

yet when we’re in Christ,

they’re conquerable.

It is up to us,

to choose trust each day;

only in His strength,

will we find the way.

For God is our Source,

our Beacon of Light;

our strength in battle,

our power to fight.

Over the mountains,

through valleys below;

His presence remains,

wherever we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. Thank You that You are greater than every obstacle that we face, and every battle that lies before us. Thank You that You remain with us, and You fight on our behalf. Thank You that You supply the strength and stamina that we need for every step of the way, even when we feel weary and worn. Forgive us for our fears and for our lack of faith when the barriers before us seems insurmountable. Give us Your eyes to see what lies before us, and the faith to move as You call us to move. Help us to love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone, as we faithfully move forward, wherever You are calling. Be exalted O God, as we see the possible in the obstacles before us, because of who You are. 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

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, NIV)

 

Great blessings belong to those who have washed their robes. They will have the right to eat the food from the tree of life. They can go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, ERV)

 

Our “robes” are washed, when we receive what Christ freely offers. We are cleansed by the sacrifice He made for our sin, when He suffered and died in our place. If we embrace what He lovingly gives, and choose to follow Him all of our days, we will be granted entry into Christ’s eternal presence, and allowed to eat from that which people were previously not permitted. All that is good, right, lovely, holy and true, will be the eternal surroundings of those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Imagine a day when God’s glory alone is what lights our surroundings so brilliantly, that there is no longer need for the sun, nor lamps, nor any other source of light. May we receive what Christ has to offer, and allow His healing hands to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness.

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, if we seek You with our whole heart. Thank You that You forgive us and cleanse us, washing us clean, as if we had never sinned. Forgive us for either taking Your grace for granted, or for somehow thinking that Your grace is not enough to cover what we have done. Teach us to have a proper perspective of who You are, and what You have done for us. May we love others well, as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of Your forgiveness and grace as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You offer, and walk in the fullness of Your grace. Amen.

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

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

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – (Revelation 21:4)

 

God has granted us a hope far greater than the hard that we face on earth. No matter the trials or difficulty we endure, we are assured that one day, all will be different. As the one-year anniversary of the loss of my sweet sister-in-Christ, Aine, has arrived, I am blessed to hold onto the words Christ whispers to us through this verse. She has been in such a space for a year now. I imagine to her, it has felt like the blink of an eye. All of the pain and suffering she endured in her latter days on earth, as the cancer invaded every inch of her being, gone – no more. Her ultimate freedom was found as Christ welcomed her home. For those of us who are still in waiting, we are left to navigate the precarious road between grief and celebration, as we mourn our personal losses, yet rejoice for the faithful who have left us too soon’s gain. I am so grateful for the blessed hope that is held in the hearts of all who know Christ and believe. One day, we too will join the multitude in singing, knowing that the tears, death, mourning, and pain have all passed permanently. May we hold fast to this holy hope in Him.

 

Aine

Remembering Aine…<3

Though tears may fall,

and pain that runs deep;

death soon shall pass,

for our hearts He’ll keep.

Mourning shall end,

as will all our pain;

the old will go,

and His new, remain.

Holy city,

with twelve giant gates;

made of jewels,

our entry awaits.

To enter in,

our name must be known;

receive His grace,

our Foundation Stone.

Trust in the One,

Who loves us to life;

He’ll take the old,

and set each heart right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have hope not just for today, but for all of eternity. Thank You for the promise that there will be a day when there will be no more death, nor mourning, crying or pain, and that You will remove the old order of things to bring the glorious new. Forgive us for our fear and frustration with the pain and sorrow present today, and grant us Your strength to endure, knowing that Your are with us, and that whatever we face today, will not be our battle forever. Teach us to love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone through our love. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to share the hope we’ve found in 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

This morning will not be a typical Sunday morning for me. It will be strange to gather with a different group, for a different purpose; yet ultimately, in my heart, to Him, all glory is given. Normally, I would be gathering with my church family for our Sunday worship service. However, today, I will be running the You Go Girl Half-Marathon with a dear friend, and countless other women who have signed on.

 

People have vastly different reasons for running, yet there is a sense of community and a bond between runners, as we brave the elements, and tackle the miles, together. For some, weight loss or weight maintenance is the only motivation for running. For others, it is to set and achieve goals. Others still, are in it for the endorphins, while some see it as an opportunity to connect with our Creator and with friends. Honestly, there is no better place to pound out frustrations, fears, and failures, than on the pavement. Every step forward is distancing oneself further away from the former, and closer to the future. When I run, I feel His pleasure. I am aware of His presence with every breath, His nearness with each step, and His awesome power as I take in the magnificent views all around me, that He has created.

 

Today as I run, I will be running for those who cannot; for the dear ones who have been called home too soon for my liking, yet can now run freely – unhindered by what burdened them here. Though we are not all runners on the pavement, we are all runners in the race of life. Let us run the race that is set before us with endurance. – (Hebrews 12:1) He equips us for all that He is calling us to do, we simply must start stepping forward. At times, the series of steps are exhausting, yet He remains, and His presence is ALWAYS enough. May we each go forth in His strength, as we run the race He sets before us.

 

Let us run the race,Running With Purpose

laid out by the Lord;

run with endurance,

to know the reward.

For those who persist,

even when it’s tough;

will find that His strength,

is more than enough.

Keep moving forward,

no matter the height;

one step at a time,

His way that is right.

And on that great day,

when our race is run;

a crown we’ll receive,

from the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us to run our own race – whatever that may look like. Thank You that You prepare, strengthen and equip us, so that we are properly trained to take on the race You call us to run. Thank You that You do not ask us to run alone, but rather You remain present beside us, every step of the way. Forgive us for our lack of fortitude when we grow weary and for our fear when we cannot see the end in sight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will lean on You to be our strength in the struggle and our safety in the storm. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know who Your personally, as we faithfully run the race to which we are called. Be glorified, O God, as we run our race with purpose and endurance. 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 71:9

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

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