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It is easy to become comfortable in our familiar routine, and settle in the surroundings that we know best. Sometimes, we may even find ourselves in seasons of wandering, yet that too can become so routine, that we become fearful of moving into something new. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for forty years. They had seasons of movement and seasons of staying in place, each with a purpose to hear from the Lord and see the power of His provision and faithfulness in action. When at long last they came to the point where God was calling them forward, fear entered in and prevented the older generation from receiving the promise that the Lord had provided all those years prior.

 

The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev, and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore He would give to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and to their descendants after them.” – (Deuteronomy 1:6-8)

 

Sadly, when Moses sent men to spy out the land to determine WHERE to enter, they came back and began to spread false reports about the conditions, because they were afraid of the risk involved with obeying what God had asked. Only Joshua and Caleb spoke truth and trusted that God would do all that He had promised. The faithful who trusted, saw God’s promises fulfilled, whereas those who chose to live in fear, missed out on all that God had for them.

 

The same principles are in play for us today. Where is God calling us to break camp and move out? What new territory is He asking us to step into, that He has already prepared in advance for us? Movement can be terrifying, especially when there are giants in the midst of plentiful land. If we give fear a foothold, we miss out on the abundance of what the Lord has prepared for us in advance. May we rise up in courage and obedience, break camp and move out into all that He is calling us to do.

 

Let not our comfort,Break Camp and Move Out

keep us from the Lord;

all He has prepared,

the grace He’ll afford.

When we hear Him call,

may we quickly say;

“Oh Lord, here am I,

help me to obey.”

No matter what’s seen,

make us strong in You;

for where You call us,

You will lead us through.

Rise up in courage,

break camp and move out;

embrace His calling,

our Help and safe route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises and Your presence. Thank You that You lead us to new places of discovering more of You, that go beyond what we would hope for. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see the obstacles in front of us between here and there, and grant us Your strength and courage to rise up and move out into all that You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would focus on the promises rather than the obstacles that seem to stand in the way. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that would attempt to keep us from entering into the new You are calling us into. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we break camp and move out into the new things You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

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

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible.” – (Mark 10:27)

 

Though Jesus was speaking to His disciples in regard to a rich man entering the kingdom of God, this applies to all that He asks us to do. For whatever He calls us, He also equips and empowers us, despite the seeming impossibility that lies before us. On our own, we are ill-equipped for the road He asks us to travel. Even when we are called to operate in an area of our strength, there always seems to be an element of impossibility or difficulty so that we must rely on the Lord and His wisdom and strength, to effectively complete what He has asked us to do. May we go forth trusting in Him to make the seemingly impossible, possible, where He has called us to go.

 

So often we’re called,Making the Impossible Possible

to rise to a task;

much larger than us,

yet the Lord has asked.

Where there seems no way,

in Christ we can do;

far more than we think,

for His word is true.

When He calls us forth,

He’ll too, make a way;

for us to rise up,

by faith, we obey.

Impossible things,

no longer are so;

rather, steps of faith,

to help us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though much is impossible on our own, with You, all things are possible. Thank You that what You call us to do, You also equip and empower us to accomplish. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, but You remain present, wherever we are. Forgive us for our fear and hesitation when the road before us seems impossible, and teach us to trust You more so that we might see the obstacles through Your eyes. Lead us to love others with Your love that knows no limits, and help many to discover a personal relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and trust You to make the impossible, possible. Amen.

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

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

So often the mountains that lie before us seem insurmountable. We look at the grade and terrain, forecast and trail conditions, yet fail to look to Him who created the mountains before us. Regardless of what stands before us, Christ who is in us, is greater. In essence, we observe the obstacle, then perhaps, hesitantly, ask God, “If You can help, will You?”

 

Just as Jesus responded to the father of the demon-possessed boy, who sought Him for the healing of his son, Christ answers us in the same way today. “If you can?” said Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – (Mark 9:23-24)

 

We serve a loving and faithful God. He longs to grow and expand our faith, and lead us to understand all the more the depth and breadth of His power and grace for those who earnestly seek Him. May we rise up in faith and seek His help in overcoming our unbelief. Lord, let us see possibilities where the obstacles currently lie before us.

 

Troubles and trials,Overcoming Our Unbelief

insurmountable;

we ask but don’t know,

all things possible.

Though man on his own,

cannot overcome;

through the Lord, Jesus,

impossible’s done.

Despite our belief,

we need faith to rise;

Lord Jesus, help us,

Your strength, realize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite what lies before us, all things are possible in You. Thank You that You are loving and faithful and that You want the very best outcome for Your children. Forgive us for our focus on the obstacles, rather than on You, the solution, and please help us to overcome our unbelief. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You and find You regardless of what lies before us. Lead us to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they find new possibilities through a hope and a future with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe in word, thought and deed, and help us to seek You to overcome our spaces of unbelief. 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

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people: they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” – (Mark 8:1-3)

 

Jesus identified a practical need of the people before Him, and went beyond simple concern. Christ’s compassion compelled Him to action, and He carried out another miraculous feeding of the masses. Likewise, the Lord sees and knows our daily needs. He is concerned for us, just as He was for those who had gathered to hear Him. God is never too busy to hear us, nor too callous to not care for our needs. He provides what we need when we need it, though often in ways we would never expect. We are meant to be available vessels, as often He uses us to be His hands and feet to supply what is needed for another. Our hearts ought to be ever open to hear Him, so that we may be ready to reach out however He may ask. Likewise, we need also be willing to receive that which the Lord provides through others, as they may very well be the supply to where we are lacking. May we go forth with open hands and hearts, ready to give and receive all that the Lord has for us.

 

The Lord knows our need,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

far better than us;

that is why He sent,

precious Lord Jesus.

Not one of us could,

live life without sin;

we needed saving,

so Christ entered in.

Beyond the big needs,

Christ cares for the small;

He sees where we lack,

and provides for all.

May hearts be open,

to do as He asks;

to give or receive,

trust Him in each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our needs before we do. Thank You that You care for us and provide in ways that we could not even fathom. Thank You that You invite us to partner with You as Your instruments of peace, to go forth and be Your hands and feet to a world in need. Forgive us for not going where You call us to go, or for refusing to receive what You are providing through another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have Your eyes to see what is right before us. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be exalted O God, as we allow compassion to lead us to action wherever You call us to go. Amen.

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

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

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 

God gives gifts to each of us. The intent of these gifts is that we would use them to love and bless others in such a way, that they may see Him through us. Just having the gifts is not enough. Our motivation and purpose must be fueled by love. For if we have not love, we cannot accomplish the purpose that God has set before us. In fact, the greatest command we are given is to: love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. – (Luke 10:27) If we are loving God and others as we utilize the gifts that He has placed in us, the mountains will be moved, and much shall be accomplished in His strength. May we go forth and love well with all that we have been created to be.

 

Despite the great gifts,Nothing Without Love

found in each of us;

if we have not love,

they are meaningless.

For each of the things,

that God has granted;

purposefully placed,

love’s power planted.

May our focus be,

on those who surround;

and how to love well,

so lost may be found.

With all that we are,

heart, soul, strength and mind;

may we love and serve,

the Lord and mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us good gifts, but even more than that – You give us Your unconditional, incomparable, outrageous and lavish love. Thank You that it is Your love that covers and carries us, and gives us worth. Thank You that when we act in love, we honor You. Forgive us for the times that we have been nothing but ugly noise or empty actions, as we did not act in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that everything we do, will be done in love. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your mighty love for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we do all things in Your love. 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

Wherever we are, and whatever circumstances happen to be surrounding us, Christ is present. Though we may be unaware, Jesus is still right there. As the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oar as a storm had suddenly come upon them, Jesus appeared beside them, and they were afraid. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)  Jesus was aware of their need before they were, and He was present, despite their oblivion to His walk across the water, until He came into plain sight.

 

Waves and wind may be barriers that keep us from clearly seeing Christ in the midst of the storm, yet regardless of what we see, His presence remains. When at last we open our eyes, ears and hearts, our experience will be much like that of the disciples. Jesus reminds us to “take courage“, as He is with us; and when He is present, we do not need to be afraid. May we hear His voice, take courage and be not afraid, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

 

When waters are deep,Seeking Solace in the Storm

and waves crash around;

all hope seeming lost,

in One, we are found.

For Jesus draws near,

He comes where we are;

grants courage and strength,

to carry us far.

His presence is now,

we need not choose fear;

when we call to Him,

His hope is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our hope, and that in You, we need not be afraid. Thank You that when we are standing in the storms, You either calm the storms or soothe our struggling souls. Forgive us for seeking solace anywhere other than in You, and help us to call out to You and listen for Your voice, even in the raging wind and rain, trusting that You will answer. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and find You in all times, so that we will be quick to recognize Your voice calling through the chaos around us. Lead us to love others with Your love that is everlasting. May many come into a place where they will fully receive Your grace for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we take courage and fear not as we go forth. 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

Compassion defined, is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. – (dictionary.com) Meeting together with my book study group, session four unpacked Part 4 – Be the Change, as we continued to discuss the book Undaunted, by Christine Caine.

 

Caine defines compassion in a far more tangible way: “Compassion is never compassion until we cross the street and get involved in someone else’s pain.”   The Bible shows us again and again, examples of what it means to be compassionate towards others. In Luke 10:25-37, both a priest and a Levite pass by a man who had been robbed, beaten and broken on the side of the road. Despite their positions of leadership and their vows to honor God, they disregarded a man in need, and continued on their way. A Samaritan, one whom would have been a sworn enemy of the injured man, looked past societal status and stooped down to help one who would have normally looked down upon him. The Good Samaritan first moved toward the man in the midst of his pain, then attended to his immediate needs, and finally, carried him to a place where continued recovery could be made. (Which he also provided for…) Indeed, the Samaritan crossed the road and got involved in someone else’s pain.

 

How can we do the same? What need to we see that we can cross the road to go and meet? If we attempt to look at every need that exists and try to go out and meet them all, we will become overwhelmed and end up meeting none. Our charge is to listen to the Lord and hear where He is leading us, and then go and do that which He asks. Sometimes it is going to coffee with a struggling friend and just being a listening ear. Other times, He calls us to go out into the trenches and get in the mire and the muck to help dig another out of the ditch. Whatever He asks, He will also equip us to do. May we go forth in His grace and strength, with true compassion that crosses the street to get involved in another’s pain.

 

May we have a heart,Compassion Crosses the Road

that’s willing to hear;

where You are calling,

be it far or near.

Let us be ready,

to do as You ask;

Lord grant us Your strength,

to complete each task.

Help us cross the road,

fear not get involved;

in another’s pain,

may we show resolve.

Let our every act,

show that there is hope;

may our compassion,

help the hurting cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that are the ultimate example of compassion, as You stepped down from heaven and came near, so that we would have a way to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us in the midst of our pain, and that You remain present, no matter how ugly it gets. Forgive us for our reluctance and excuses for not crossing the road to be present in another’s pain, and grant us the wisdom and the strength to hear Your voice and act on every opportunity to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not hesitate to move and jump in, even if we do not feel qualified nor equipped, understanding that if You call us, You too will provide what is needed. Lead us to above all else, love well, just as You have so lavishly loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the fullness of Your grace in the compassion of another’s face, who is obeying You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to cross the street and get involved in another’s pain. Amen.

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

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11)

 

I don’t know about you, but for me, this time of transition between winter and spring, happens to be my busiest season of the year. It is the start of a new semester at school, the time of gearing up for state test preparations, gymnastics season, and all the while I attempt to continue to maintain my usual responsibilities at home, church and within the community. Additionally, I have signed on to take a year-long intensive Bible study course. All of these things are commitments that I am passionate about, yet in my own strength, there is no way that I can complete all that is required and still find time to rest. That being said, God gives me the strength to do that which He calls me to do, and shows me what I can let go for a season, and what I am meant to maintain. All the while, despite the seeming chaos, His peace is present.

 

There are times when God’s strength and peace are provided through other people whom He sends along side me to offer help. Often it is with a simple task, yet typically, it is with the one more thing that has become overwhelming in the moment. We serve a good and loving God, who wants the very best for His children. He desires for us to be strong in Him, and to know His peace as we pursue the path He has placed before us. We will find the Lord and know His strength and peace, when we seek Him with all of our heart.

 

May we seek the Lord,Steady in the Storms

for all of our days;

Source of strength and peace,

for now and always.

Be not overwhelmed,

but rather, seek Him;

His blessings ready,

to pour out again.

For the Lord is good,

His love never ends;

He’s our place of peace,

our Father and Friend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to You people, and that You bless us with Your peace. Thank You that Your strength and peace are not dependant on our circumstances, but rather on our posture toward You. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for choosing to panic and run when chaos and storms come our way. Help us to anchor our souls to the safety of You, so that we may find the security of our safe harbor, no matter what the storms blow in. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response is always to run to You. Lead us to love others with the same sort of love that You lavish upon each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in the storms and receive Your strength and peace. 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

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. 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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