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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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

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

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

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

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

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

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

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

Today, as I again read the first two chapters of Job, I am reminded anew that though God does not cause the trials in our lives, He does allow them. Often they have nothing to do with sin, but rather are a test of sorts, meant to deepen our dependence on Him. In the case of Job, God saw his faith, and allowed Satan access to him, with the condition that Job was not to be killed. Even after losing everything and all of his children, in the midst of being chided by his wife to curse God, Job’s faithfulness remained.

 

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. – (Job 2:10)

 

When trials and struggles come our way, do we remain upright and confident in Christ? Are we able to keep from sinning in what we say? It is one thing to quickly cry out to Christ when calamity comes our way, yet it is entirely another, to continue to trust for a long season of suffering or despair. As we choose Him in the midst of our heartache and struggles, He is faithful to be present. Just as Job’s friends initially sat beside him in silence (as he actually needed), God is present, and will remain. Christ whispers the words that our hearts need to hear, and holds us up when we cannot take even one more step forward. He is faithful forever; we need simply place all of our trust in Him, no matter how things appear. May we fix our eyes on Christ and allow Him access to our whole heart, so that we become rooted and established in He who will help us weather every storm.

 

God is always good,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

even though life’s not;

His hope will remain,

our eternal lot.

When the trials come,

His presence is clear;

if we’ve invested,

we’ll know He is near.

No matter the ache,

how great or how small;

He sees and He knows,

upholds us through all.

For the Lord is good,

His love shall remain;

both now and always,

let Christ come and reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of struggles and suffering, You remain present – helping, holding, loving and granting Your hope. Thank You that no matter what comes, our hope is held in You. Thank You that what awaits in eternity is well worth the temporary trials that we endure on earth. Forgive us for our lack of endurance and faith when struggles seem unending, and teach us how to persevere in Your promises and Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always good. Lead us to love and be faithful to You, no matter what comes, just as You so clearly demonstrated through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, draw many unto Yourself, so that those who are lost, may be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we stand strong in You, even in the struggles. 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

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

Though Gamaliel was a member of the council whom Peter and John were standing before on trial, he became an unlikely ally when he spoke the wise words above. Gamaliel recognized that if these men were moving in their own strength, that they would not be sustained for very long, and the whole movement would soon die out. However, if it was in fact a true manifestation and movement of the living God, then there would be no stopping it anyway. His wise council gave the disciples room to breathe, as they continued to faithfully follow that which they had been called to do. Many of the movements that people claim are from God that occur today, must also be approached in much the same way. Watch, wait, and see if it stands the test of time. If it is of God, there will be no stopping the power of His presence as He moves mightily through His people. Likewise, if it is of human origin, it will not be sustained, and will quickly lose momentum and fade away. May God grant us the wisdom to know when to wait and see, and when to walk away from that which is not of Him. Let us have Your heart to discern what is good and pleasing before You, O God.

 

The power of God,Bless You

propels us to move;

to step out in faith,

and plainly speak truth.

When others speak out,

words leave us unsure;

seek God for wisdom,

the truth shall endure.

Weigh everyone’s words,

with the Word of truth;

allow His Spirit,

to shine His light through.

Where Christ’s light reflects,

we can clearly see;

what we should embrace,

and from what to flee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom and discernment when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that there are times when we must wait and see whether or not something is truly a movement from You, or if it is a movement of men. Thank You that You are good, and that You guard our hearts and minds, as we fix our eyes on You. Forgive us for our misconceptions that we may be holding onto, and please shine Your light and reveal to us what is true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may release our wrong thinking and embrace everything You have for us to hold fast in our hearts. Lead us to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come to know the power and presence available to all who call on Your Name, personally. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your wisdom and truth. 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

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. – (Acts 4:13-14)

 

Even the most skeptical Sadducees could not deny the truth when it was standing before them. With their own eyes, they had seen the man both before and after his healing. They heard the wise words spoken by men who had not the upbringing nor the schooling to speak in such a manner. The power of the living God dwelling in the hearts of the men, was irrefutable. Astonished and dumbstruck, they had nothing to say, and could not silence the boldness before them, as the power in the hearts of Peter and John was far greater than the futile attempt to silence the faithful from speaking the truth. In the heart of every believer, lies the same Spirit, with the same power to speak the truth. Christ will make us brave before all brethren, if only we choose to allow Him access to our whole heart, and place our trust completely in Him. May we invest our hearts and minds in the truth of God, so that we too, may be bold before all who draw near. Let us speak truth without fear, for far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world.

 

Ordinary men,IMG_0268

so faithful to Christ;

stood strong in the truth,

they did not think twice.

All trust in the Lord,

for they knew His strength;

were willing to risk,

their lives at great length.

Boldly the men spoke,

the truth about God;

they could not refute,

nor call them a fraud.

For they too had seen,

the clear evidence;

of Christ’s mighty hand,

awestruck reverence.

We too are the same,

with access to God;

He grants us boldness,

that fills us with awe.

Allow His Spirit,

to move in His might;

He shall grant all things,

to go and shine bright.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us brave. Thank You that You take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through us, if we are only willing and available unto You. Thank You that it is not by our own strength nor wisdom nor power, but anything good that we do for You, is by Your grace, equipped by Your Spirit in us. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have the proper training nor ability to go forth and do what You ask of us; for even the most learned among us would not be enough without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come to know the power present in a life lived with You. Let those who are looking, find and choose You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to strengthen us to go forth with boldness. 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

When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” – (Acts 2:3-6)

A man crippled from birth, was begging at the temple gates, just as he did every other day. However, this day, was to be like no other day before. Pious people had given him enough in the past to get by, yet on this day, he was to receive so much more! Though he was asking for money, he was given something far better – the use of his legs. So often, it is the same for us. We seek God, asking for something that we think will be a solution to our situation, yet His provision comes as something far greater – a need met that we may not have even perceived, nor had the courage or faith to ask. God’s plan for us is to provide a whole new life, not just a quick fix to a temporary situation. He wants to grant freedom where we are held captive, joy where there is despair, and peace where anxiety reigns. Christ’s answers far exceed the expectations of what we ask. May we earnestly seek Him as we faithfully pursue His plans for our lives. For His faithfulness, let us also give praise and rejoice.

 

Faithfully seeking,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
we timidly ask;
what we think we need,
to complete a task.
The Lord sees our hearts,
and the road ahead;
He knows what we need,
and gives that instead.
We simply must trust,
and ask of the Lord;
for His grace and help,
all things, He’ll afford.
Whatever He asks,
He’ll prepare us too;
He’s more than enough,
as He makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not always give us the things that we want or that which we think we need, but rather You supply what we really need. Thank You that Your grace is greater than our ignorance. Forgive us for our shortsightedness and lack of faith when things do not appear to be anywhere near being answered, and help us to trust You, knowing that You are always at work, and that Your solution is for our greater good. Lead us to love others as You so faithfully love each of us, and may many come to know just how great You are, as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love, completely trusting Your faithfulness in all things. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – (Acts 2:37)

 

On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples who were gathered together, they were empowered as they had never been before. As they went out to address the crowd who had heard them speaking in other languages, Peter told them the truth of Christ. He proclaimed that which had been foretold, and all that had come to pass. Peter was equipped in power to preach the truth to the people, and those who were present, could not help but hear and respond. The truth that had been told helped them to see their own need for the Savior, and compelled them to ask the very question, “What shall we do?” What follows is Peter’s unpacking of the basic necessity of all believers to repent and be baptized, resulting in a multitude being added to the number of new believers that day.

 

That very same power that was present in Peter, is alive and active in all who believe. Christ equips each of us to tell the truth to those around us in such a way, that each have the opportunity to be set free from sin, and come into His Kingdom. We need not be great orators nor Biblical scholars; we need only be willing and available to hear from Him, and choose to open our mouths to speak as He asks. Our own story of salvation and redemption cannot be refuted, as it is our own experience of how God out there, became God right here. May we faithfully go forth, ready to share our story of God’s faithfulness, so that all whom we encounter may have the opportunity to come to know the truth.

 

Faithfully waiting,Present Within

in the upper room;

group of disciples,

unsure what to do.

When suddenly fire,

came like a loud wind;

empowering each,

Christ’s Spirit came in.

All began speaking,

in various tongues;

language not their own,

these daughters and sons.

Those gathered outside,

were shocked and amazed;

in their native tongue,

they heard the Lord praised.

Once Peter explained,

the truth in power;

many chose believe,

in that very hour.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that when we choose to give our life to You, You grace us with Your presence within. Thank You that You are no longer God out there, but You are living in the hearts of all who follow You. Forgive us for neglecting all that You are offering each of us at times, and help us to slow down and listen for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are completely dependent on You in all things and at all times, regardless of our circumstances. May we move in love, responding to that which You so generously pour out upon us. Let our light shine bright before all whom we encounter, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we embrace the gift of Your Holy Spirit within. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – (Nehemiah 8:9-10)

Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. – (Nehemiah 8:12)

 

When the people heard God’s word and recognized just how far they had fallen from His will, they wept. God saw their sincerity and rather than smite them, He called for celebration. His people who had wandered and lost their way, were now found and on the road to restoration. God’s heart was for them to go out and share their abundance with those who had none, so that all could partake in celebrating His goodness and grace. There is great joy that He brings, when we choose to celebrate and honor our Holy King. May we come before Him with repentant hearts, grateful for His mercy and grace, celebrating what a glorious and good God we serve!

 

Each day is sacred,Great Joy in His Grace

a gift from our King;

may we give glory,

our whole offering.

Let’s set our hearts right,

repentantly seek;

our Heavenly Lord,

Who strengthens the weak.

Give glory to Him,

celebrate with joy;

all His righteousness,

free gifts to employ.

He makes His word known,

allows our hearts hear;

the truth of His love,

as He holds us near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You open our understanding and forgive us as we come to You with repentant hearts. Thank You that You do not want us to dwell on our past mistakes, but rather You invite us to celebrate Your goodness and grace, and share of all that You have done with those around us. Forgive us for dwelling on our errors and not embracing the grace that You freely give so that we can then go forth and share of Your goodness and grace with those around us. Teach us to trust You more so that we will turn away from all unrighteousness, and seek to serve You alone. May we love others as You so generously love each of us. Let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we go forth giving thanks for Your grace. Amen.

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

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

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