Archive for November, 2011


Joy Joined in Gratitude

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.” – I Thessalonians 5:16-18

These verses are not a mere suggestion, rather they are a set of instructions for life abundant in Him.  Through the gift of God’s own Son, Jesus, we are redeemed and set free.  He is our reason to always give thanks, and the source of all joy in our hearts.  He desires that we be in constant communion with Him, and that we pray without ceasing.

In this season of celebrating the Savior, I need to continually communicate with Christ, lest I lose sight of the reason for this sacred season.  Regardless of the ebb and flow found in each day, He deserves my gratitude.  His grace provides potential for joy, even when things seem bleak.  When I am assured that my hope is in Him, the external pales in comparison to the joy found in His dwelling place.  My heart is home to He who is the source of all joy.

Thankful Cautious, full of joy at the prospect of a fun family activity...

My prayer is that I will give thanks and be joyful always as I express my ongoing gratitude for the very gift of life that He has given.  As I am constant in prayer, may I remain ever aware of His powerful presence and divine purpose presented even in the press that life provides.  He is good, and joy abounds in a grateful heart.

May His joy and peace permeate your every pore as you present your praise to Him in this most wonderful season of all.

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

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Context Clues

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” – Matthew 28:18

He who has all power and authority in heaven and on earth, dwells in me.

It is far too easy, in my mere humanity, to make Jesus less than He is.  Not to say that I can in any way impact His power and authority, but rather I can limit my own access to such when I fix my eyes on the problem rather than on He who is the solution.

Yesterday, as I was conducting reading fluency tests with my students, there were several words in the passage that at first, appeared impossible to pronounce.  Those who focused their eyes on just the word, rather than looking a little further to where the word was written phonetically in parenthesis, became stuck.  Several students skipped the word, rather than allowing their gaze to scan to what was right before them.  A few students did take a moment to carefully read the phonetic spelling, and found that the pronunciation of the seemingly difficult words, came easily.  For many others, it was only as we went back through the article together and I pointed out the helpful text feature, that they were able to refocus their eyes on what was before them and see the solution that had been there all along.

I wonder if that is how Daddy God sees me? 

Sometimes I see the problem and look to Him immediately, recognizing that He is the answer waiting before me.  There are other times, (far too often I’m afraid) that I see the obstacle and keep attempting to skip it and read on, rather than recognize that He provides the “text tools” to help me overcome that which seems daunting before me.

Like with my students, I imagine that He is equally pleased when at last I recognize what has been before me all along.  The “aha” moments remain reasons to celebrate, regardless of whether they come in the initial read, or after some guidance and redirection is provided.  Just as my students learn to recognize and utilize the tools that are before them, I too am learning to look more quickly to He who is in me, rather than that which lies before me.  He who has all power and authority, dwells in me!  There is no obstacle that He cannot overcome.

My prayer is that He would continue to teach me to recognize His presence, His “context clues”, and that I would allow Him to lead and guide me through the various “articles and passages” that present life’s challenges as I go.  I am so grateful that He is with me always. 

Be blessed as you see the Source standing before you today.

 

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

To Stay Surrounded

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forever more.” – Psalm 125:2

God surrounds His people, just as the mountains surround Jerusalem.  He always has and He always will.

The Father is our source of safety and of peace.  He has laid the foundation that encircles and protects us, yet allows us to choose whether or not we remain in the safety of the shelter that He has provided. 

The foundation of these mountains is found in His word.  Truth and trust combined with His commands and His promises, provide protection that He has willingly placed around us.  It is up to us to choose to remain in this place of safety.  It is not some sort of prison, rather it is a safe haven to which we are granted access as we call on His name.

He hears our cries and honors the righteous requests of His children.  Our Heavenly Father welcomes us into the folds of His arms, regardless of where we have been.  He protects and provides as we remain on the path that He has laid out before us.

Though there are always obstacles along the path, He is ever present with heart and hand, ready to help us hang onto Him and all that He has promised, in the hope that is yet to come.

Thank you Father for Your loving protection and Your guidance as You lead us ever onward toward our Heavenly home.  Amen.

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

Do Unto Others

What we do to help others, matters to the Father.  Anything that we do unto others, He counts as done unto Him.  Matthew 25:40 – “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
 
If I show kindness, He sees it as kindness extended to Him.  If I neglect others, or turn a blind eye to a need, He sees it as neglectful of Him.
 
This is a remarkable reminder that my words and deeds matter.  How I choose to respond to those in need impacts how He will respond to me when I am in need.  “Do unto others as you want done unto you,” finds direct application as I allow my mind to meditate on Matthew 25.
 
My prayer is that He would grow greater in me, His heart, His eyes and His hands, so that I might love others well.  He has modeled how to love, live and serve as God intended.  I want to grow to be more like Him each day that I draw breath. 
 
Heavenly Father may I be equipped to serve as You call me to serve so that all glory be given to You for Your great grace.  Amen.

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

Patient for the Promise

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.” – Matthew 21:22

God listens to the prayers of faithful hearts and honors the requests of the righteous.

He sees and knows our need before we speak it.  He provides all that we need and more.  The greatest obstacle between the request and the receiving is the recipient.  His measure of time is not my own.  His timing is perfect, mine, not so much…  The challenge comes in being patient as I wait, sometimes a very long while (by my timeline, not His) between the promise and the fulfillment.

I get in His way and perhaps create a delay, when I map out in my mind what I believe His fulfillment ought to look like.  I need to trust that His solution, His provision, is far better than I could even begin to imagine.  The challenge churns as I am asked to trust. 

Did He really hear me?

Will He really honor my heart’s cry to Him, even after all this time?

His word says He will!

He is the hope that I am to hold on to in the waiting.  He is faithful to do as He says He will do, and He hears every beat of my heart.  He has my very best in mind, and loves to bless me, His daughter.

My prayer is that He will grant me patience as I wait for the provision of His promises, and teach me trust even more that He will honor the prayers of His people.

 

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

Grace As We Gather

“For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” – Matthew 18:20

“In the Huddle” by Kristye Addison Dudley

He promises to be present when we gather in His name.  This verse speaks volumes as to His intent for us to fellowship with other believers in His name.  He alone is worthy of our worship, and there is little quite as sweet as knowing His tangible presence in the company of others.  He does not intend for us to be independent warriors on some sort of quest to conquer life’s struggles solo.  He provides people, so that none of us has to go forward in our faith alone, and makes way for the unseen to become tangible through the hands and heart of those who follow Him.

Gathering with fellow friends in the faith, does much to encourage and grow our relationship with the Redeemer.  As we meet in His name, we demonstrate His grace, share gifts that He has given, fend off fear, encourage each other, and provide accountability to walk forward in His good and perfect will.

It is not good for any of us to always be alone.  In His goodness and grace, He gifts us with His created.  His power is present when we gather in His name.  He moves mountains in our hearts, minds, and very lives when we together, ask Him to do so.

He hears and honors the prayers of His people, and provides His presence as we come together in Him.

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for the gifts and grace that He has provided as I have been intentional to join together with others in His name.

My prayer is that He will teach me to be ever present in this place, and to recognize the redemption that He provides in the place of His presence as I come together with others in His wonderful Name.

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

“What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” – Matthew 15:11

It is not food that determines whether or not I am clean.  Rather it is the words of my mouth that flow from my heart that demonstrate whether or not what I have taken in and held in my heart is of Him.

“For whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

God provides a path for clean consumption.  If I take in – if I fix my eyes and heart on that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, then the words of my mouth will be sweet, seasoned by His Spirit.

Today, on this day of giving thanks, my eyes and heart hold secure on the abundant blessings that I have been granted:

For life and love

I give Thee praise

for hope and health

and each new day.

For warmth and safety

I’m thankful too

for friends and family

for all made new.

On this day

and every one

may the words of my mouth

ever speak of all that He has done.

May your day of thanks be blessed with His overwhelming presence, and His heart for you be made tangible in the presence of loved ones.

To each of you, thank you for being among the many blessings in my life, as I share my story soaking in the safety of our Savior.

 

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

Obvious Overflow

“…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” – Matthew 12:34

The condition of my heart is made evident by my words.

Words are like weapons of the heart.  When used to defend or dispute, they can either destroy or distinguish truth.  The power of praise permeates the thickest of walls and yields joy in the hearts of both the presenter and the recipient.

My words, or that which is given a voice, paint a clear picture of the condition of my heart.  When my words are loving and kind and laden with truth, it is clear that He is present and working within me.  If I am short or sharp with my words, or if that which hides in my heart is not invested in Him, what escapes these lips lacks life and causes harm to the hearer.

As I fix my heart and mind on my Heavenly Father, my prayer is that every word that flows forth from my mouth, would be founded in faith and flavored with truth, so that His love for all will be the evident overflow of my heart.

Blessings to all as we enter this poignant season of thanks.

 

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

Sleep in the Storm

“Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.” – Matthew 8:24

Jesus was so secure in His relationship with His Father, that He was able to rest, to actually sleep, in the middle of a storm as it came upon the lake and threatened to sink the boat.

The imagery in this is astounding.  Personally, I know that even if I had somehow fallen asleep in the calm, the jostling and jarring of a boat being tossed to and fro by the wild wind and waves would not only wake me, but likely fuel some sort of frenzied state of panic.  The fear of death by drowning would likely dominate my thoughts.

Yet Jesus did not even wake until the panic of those present persisted to the point that they at last sought He who held the solution.  It took only two words, “be still“, and all again became calm.  Though the disciples had walked with Him and watched as Jesus had healed and helped the masses, they still stood awestruck at the amazing power presented as He spoke so that even the wind and waves obeyed Him.

Jesus modeled how I am to trust the Father.  Though Jesus was tried, tested, and even tortured, His faith in the Father never faltered.  He knew that His Divine Dad had Him in His hands.  I need to remember that He who redeems, remains ever present, regardless of the intensity of the storm.

My prayer is that my Heavenly Father might forge a faith in me that does not falter, even in the eye of the storm.  Faithfully, He delivers me from my fears, and continues to teach me to trust Him more.  He is so good and I am so thankful that He holds my heart and my hands, and He lovingly leads me as I learn to surrender and trust Him with my all.

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

Presenting Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will become sons/daughters of God.” – Matthew 5:9

From early on in childhood, I took on the role of a peacemaker.  This role was not necessarily to present and pass on His peace that passes all understanding (though that is exactly what my heart needed), rather it was a desire to crush conflict so that my soul might feel settled and calm could come.  Alas, my desire for harmonious living in the household became a peace-at-any-price pursuit.  I was quick to compromise if it meant contention was cast out.

Though there are times that I am called to compromise, there are other times that I am meant to take a stand and hold fast to truth, even if it initially unpacks an uprising.  So often I find that I only really know His peace if I pass through the storm.  His peace, His truth – He alone, permeates peace with His presence, whether in or out of said storm.  If I have Him in me, then His peace may pass through me and be present, even in the midst of chaos.  In my own strength, though I desire peace, there is nothing truly peaceful about me.  Yet He who is in me, is the Presenter of the Peace that I so passionately pursue.  That peace, His peace, comes as I quiet my countenance and fix my eyes on Him.  His peace is found as I submit myself to the Savior.

To be a peacemaker, a cherished child of God, I must exchange my heart for His, so that His peace escapes, rather than my panicked pursuit of calm.  He comes in the quiet and whispers the words that provide His perfect peace.  “You are loved and you are mine.”

Perhaps the way that I am best able to pass on His peace to others, to truly be a peacemaker, is simply by speaking truth in all situations so that His peace may reign, even if it is not initially received.  If I extend the same sort of encouragement given to me in God’s grace, then His truth may take hold of hearts and minds and mend that which causes the conflict.

I am so thankful for His perfect peace that passes all understanding in both my heart and mind.  Blessings as we walk as His cherished children, and present the only Peace that lasts.

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

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