Archive for January, 2012


The Weapon of Wisdom

“But they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.” – Acts 6:10

The Spirit of the living God grants wisdom and authority when slanderous speech is spoken against His children.

God is our guardian.  We need not listen to the lies, and are to open our hearts and minds to hear what He has to say.  His words breathe life into believers; His words never belittle.  Even in times of correction, He lovingly gives us direction.  He is not the accuser, and promises to provide protection in the face of fire.

When we trust Him in those moments meant for malice, His wisdom and authority make such mutterings fall to the ground, and truth tramples that which was intended for harm.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “No weapon formed against us shall prosper.”  Please teach our hearts to embrace and employ the wisdom and authority You offer us by Your Spirit in the throws of the torrential trials.  Thank You that You who are in us, are far greater than anything that may come against us.  Teach us to lay hold of the weapon of wisdom that You so willingly impart to all who call on Your Name.  Amen.

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

“Is this not God who armed me, then aimed me in the right direction?” – Psalm 18:32

God both equips us and directs us to fulfill our purposes on this planet.  He gives us what we need as it is needed to walk where He calls us to go. 

After spending a wonderful weekend with  women from my Discipleship Training School (YWAM), we took some time to remember and relay stories from both our time together, as well as the stories of how we ended up in that place all of those years ago.  We also told of what He had brought each of us through since our school.  All of us had a common thread of God’s faithfulness to us, that again knit our hearts together in Him.  His calling, equipping, and direction echoed in each of our stories.

Though each of us has endured our share of heartaches since we parted all those years ago, each of us could clearly see His strengthening and support that had brought us up unto this day.  The remarkable realization is that our stories are not finished being told.  Each day that we draw breath provides a new opportunity to hear His heart, trust His timing, and allow our Savior to strengthen and support us to do all that He is asking of us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide for us as You direct our path.  Please teach each of us to hear You, to trust You, and to embrace Your equipping as we walk in obedience to all that You are asking.  Thank You for the blessing and encouragement that You provide for each of us as we hear stories of Your faithfulness through one another’s testimony.  Lord, let our lives speak of Your strength as we love You and love one another as You call us to do.  May our lives tell the stories that they have been created to tell.  Amen.

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

Anointed Assembly

Kindred hearts              

again collide

tender souls

open wide.

Powerful peace

loving grace

laughter, tears

delighted space.

Rejoined again

after far too long

sweet surrender

to heaven’s song.

The tunes were told

through happenstance

serenaded souls

as heaven danced.

For by His grace

each heart was blessed

as joys were shared

heartaches confessed.

Each one parted

with treasures found

our hearts uplifted

by heaven’s sound.

Though but a whisper

the sound rang true

He blessed, refreshed

gave hope anew.

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

Remarkable Roadblocks

When the alarm began to chime at 4:10am, I was ready and bolted right out of bed.  Despite numerous clock checks during the night, my exuberance for my upcoming excursion fueled my adrenalin driven madness as I manically prepared the boys backpacks before organizing and packing my own things.  Miraculously, everything seemed to move at a well-orchestrated pace and the car was packed and I was ready to roll.  As I pulled away from the driveway, I determined that I would wait for breakfast and coffee, just to ensure my that my rendezvous with my travelling buddy would be timely.

Off I drove into the icy, foggy mist.  Traffic was steady and my music was blaring.  Then, for some reason, my radio fell silent.  So, rather than really recognizing that there might be a serious problem, I simply looked at it as an opportunity to pray.  As I passed familiar landmarks and drew nearer to my necessary exit, strange things began to take place in the cab of my car.  Lights began flickering on and off, my ability to accelerate became completely compromised and I could only get the van to go about 40mph on the 60mph stretch of I-5…  Fortunately, this did indeed send up the red flags and neon, and I took the next exit.  Coasting cautiously onto the off ramp, I was vaguely familiar with my surroundings.  Between calling my sweet friend and desperate prayers, I managed to safely roll into an Albertson’s parking lot. 

Momentary panic began to permeate my peaceful persona, and all I could think was “How are we going to get to the airport to meet our dear friend on time?”  I called AAA and renewed my service contract and they promised to have a tow truck to me within an hour…  Between the grace of God and my travelling trustee’s rapid research and reassurance, calm came back and I hunkered down with a quality coffee and my fabulous phone to wait it out.

Time ticked slowly by, and my patience again began to dwindle.  The tow truck was promised by 7:55, and it was now 7:58!  Argh!!!!  As I stood in the frosty morning air, and breathed in the brilliant colors of the sunrise, I again asked for peace, and for the tow truck to hurry up.  Moments later, the tow truck arrived.  The driver was calm and kind and extraordinarily patient with my calling frenzy and flexible with my ever-changing locations to take my van with it’s dead alternator.  Twenty minutes later we were at shop number one that my fabulous friend had found through research and recommendations.  Sadly, the kind woman before me said that she was so sorry, but they would not be able to get to it until Monday.  “Oh God, You know my need, please…”  The wonderful woman was quick to give me a recommendation of a shop nearby, and even found the phone number for me.  Shop number two not only was able to take and repair my van, but was happy to deliver my finished vehicle to my travelling sister’s home! 

In the midst of the madness, I knew that somehow, God had protected me.  The van did not break down on the side of the freeway in the frigid darkness, rather it remarkably rolled into a safe and lighted space of civilization.  Further confirmation of His protection was presented as the tow driver told tales of the early morning’s icy roads and of the wretched wreck several miles ahead on the path I was to take.

Though we did not make it to the airport for pickup with another of our treasured friends and fabulous hostess, we did arrive at our lunch location within moments of the other ladies we were to meet.  All it took was the first glimpse of these long-treasured friends that have not all gathered together since we parted eighteen years ago, and my heart was full to overflowing with gratitude for His grace and His goodness.  His love for us is so great that He uses things that we see as roadblocks and obstacles to show us His faithfulness and grace.   

Today, I am more aware of how I am to embrace even the roadblocks, for His plans and purposes are far greater than my own.

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

Reunited

This morning my soul is soaring as I anticipate a reunion that has been eighteen years in the making!  Eighteen years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to Montana to meet up with a group of strangers to prepare for and then pursue the mission field.  I essentially knew no one, and had just graduated from university.  Upon my arrival, I was thrust into a group of 30+ young adults, and spent every waking moment in their presence. 

This weekend, today in fact, I will be reunited with six of these amazing women, all these years later… 

Our lives have taken numerous twists and turns over our time apart, yet our hearts have remained connected, as our time together so long ago, created this wonderful, crazy community that became considered family. 

I am blessed beyond what my heart can hold, to again spend time with my sisters in Christ. 

My departure time is in mere minutes, so I am off to pack the car and hit the road.  I look forward to sharing what He teaches me through my time with these wonderful kindred spirits.

Blessings to all,

Shannon

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

“Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your might.” – Psalm 21:13

God is to be lifted high in songs and praise.  His strength will provide us with power to praise Him properly.

Our words, our songs, our very lives, ought to sing and praise our powerful Provider.  In order to truly have a valuable voice, it must be equipped and operating in His strength.  We are to set our eyes, hearts and minds on “whatever is true, 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 

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45

Though not one among us is “good” in our own strength, each of us can be a vessel that pours out God’s goodness and grace when we choose to fully fix our hearts and minds on Him.  We must allow Him to touch even the most tender of spaces in our souls, so that He may heal hurts and mend minds that are ready to receive Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, be exalted in our songs, our praise, and our very lives.  Equip us in Your strength, as we surrender our own unto You.  May each voice be a vessel used to vocalize how You value all of Your created, and in turn,  may each soul lift our every song and sacrifice unto You, our Savior.  Amen.

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

This morning as I was reading the story of Moses and his pleas for the freedom of his people, what stood out to me was how hard our hearts can become.  Pharaoh’s heart was hardened after each extreme plague that plighted the Egyptians.  It was only after the final plague that took the very life of Pharaoh’s firstborn son, that he at last listened to Moses and allowed the Israelites to go. (Exodus 7-11)

Man’s heart often becomes so hard, that it is only extreme and horrific circumstances that will at last encourage our hearts to seek our Savior.  No, I don’t think that every tragedy or trial exists for the sole purpose of getting our attention, but I do believe that God can and will use tragedy for our ultimate good.

It is interesting to me that those that I know with the closest connection to Christ, have often known the deepest of despair.  Trials and tragedies are the places where the rubber meets the road.  We either call on Christ and depend on Him, or we look to our own lack and succumb to sorrow.  I know in my own life, it has been through the most difficult seasons that I have seen the steady strength of the Savior, and my dependence on Daddy God has deepened.

Again I am reminded of both the significance and the reality of Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

My take away this morning is both a recognition and remembrance of all that He has done through times of trial, and a resolve to recall the hope we may hold in knowing our ultimate outcome has already been determined when our hearts are held by Him.  He has already won!  We just have to wait a little while to see the full beauty that has been built from our ashes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use our times of trial to teach us just how trustworthy You are and how You will “work all things together for good for those who love You.”  Thank You for Your faithfulness and for the blessings that come through times of trial.  Amen.

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

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”…  – Luke 23:34

Even there, atop the hill and upon the cross at Calvary, hanging accused between two criminals – though He had done no wrong – even in the midst of agonizing pain and malicious mockery, Jesus thought not of Himself, but of those who were against Him, and did not yet know of His great love.  He could have called down fire and destroyed His foes, yet instead, He called out to His Father in heaven to forgive them.  To forgive us…

What a lofty standard He has set before us!  Bless those who persecute?  Ouch.  His example demonstrates how forgiveness is a faithful and deliberate choice, not a feeling that is driven by emotion.  It requires complete reliance on our Redeemer.

I have never endured the sort of savage persecution that our Savior was subjected to, but I do know how difficult it can be to forgive.  For me, forgiving both foes and friends is far easier than forgiving myself for my own mistakes and failures.  In my moments of madness, when my gaze has gone away from God and I find myself doing or saying something that is both detestable and disobedient to Daddy God, I am snapped speedily back into immediate recognition of my wrong-doing.  I am usually quick to repent and request forgiveness from my Father and anyone else who may have been impacted by my bad behavior, but I tend to beat myself up for my regrettable wrongs long after it has been submitted to our Savior.  I allow the shame to stay, rather than really recognize that His words cried out from the cross, were spoken for me.

We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  When we ask, He forgives.  He remembers our sin no more.  As humans however, perhaps our own memories do not fully fade so that we might remember how great is our redemption – not so we wallow in our own unrighteousness, but rather so we recognize and remember how remarkable our Redeemer.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your sacrifice redeems us from our every sin that we lay at Your feet.  Teach us Father to not stay in the seat of shame, but to instead recognize and embrace the magnitude of Your magnificent mercy and the goodness of Your generous grace.  Thank You for loving us just as we are, yet loving us too much to leave us stuck in sin or strapped in shame.  Blessed are You Lord, in Your heavenly Name.  Amen.

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

“The Lord said to him (Moses), ‘Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  Who gives him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4:11-12

God, who intricately and purposefully created man, will surely give us words when He calls us to speak on His behalf.

It is interesting to me that this is my third encounter with this specific passage of scripture within the last 24 hours.  Yesterday, a fellow blogger quoted this particular passage in Exodus in response to my reflection on Luke 21:14-15, about God providing words and wisdom as we need it.  In the evening, as I was reading a book, these very same verses from Exodus 4 were quoted in response to the main character’s fear about sharing her faith.  After having read these very words twice yesterday, I again encountered the very same verses as I did my devotional reading this morning.  The words seemed to leap off of the page and into my heart.  Okay God, I get it…

I have always had a paralyzing fear of public speaking.  The very thought of it has always caused an involuntary physical response.  Rapid heart rate, perspiration, and actual trembling, are all a part of my personal place of panic at the very thought of speaking before the masses.

In high school, I dropped my A.P. English class when it became a requirement to read our own writing.  In college, I changed my major from education (which I had been called to from a very early age) to graphic design when I discovered that education majors were required to take a speech class.

Ironically, after graduation and my entry onto the mission field, I found myself in a position where I was being asked to share my testimony before enormous student bodies in India.  Somehow, by the grace of God, I survived it.  Each time I was asked to share, God gave me the words and the strength to stand.  (I think that having to speak through an interpreter helped some too)

After a few years of such adventures around Asia, the message became quite clear – back to grad school I went to pursue my teaching credentials…

Now, despite fifteen years of teaching, I still tremble at the thought of public speaking.

Thankfully, God is not finished with me yet!  As I have been walking through this new season of vulnerability and transparency in writing what God is placing on my heart, He keeps presenting me with passages that point to His faithfulness as He calls me to further find my voice.  What exactly this all means, I do not know.  Honestly, I am certain that it is best that I not yet know.  What I do know is that He is faithful to fulfill all that He says He will do, and that is all that I need to know…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me multiple times that You who made me, will always equip me.  Please remove fear and self-doubt, and teach me to trust You, as You lovingly value each voice.  God grant courage and grace as You send us to speak into the lives of Your beloved.  Amen.

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

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” – Luke 21:14-15

God not only promises to provide for our physical needs, but He promises to provide words and wisdom when our adversaries come against us.  If God is for us, who can stand against us?  Knowing that God is before us, behind us, and in us, we have no reason to worry about what may come against us.

In my own life, I have just come out of such a season.  As I found faith to trust in Him in the face of the fire, He not only provided words and wisdom on my behalf, but He also provided advocates to be my voice when I was unable to speak.  Though it was a long and dark season, His footprints can still be seen in the sand – reminding me of how tenderly and lovingly He carried me when my strength was all but gone.  His faithfulness was the most clearly seen when I was at my weakest.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness, came and breathed life into my weary soul.

God is faithful to provide for His people.  Provision rarely looks as we anticipate it ought to, yet as I look back from where I was, to where He has brought me – I stand in awe.  His resolution to the rough stuff was far beyond what I could have fathomed a few years ago.  For as deep as was the despair, that is how great the blessing before me.  No, life is not always easy, as trials are guaranteed as we walk out our days; but He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us as we trust in Him for our every need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide words and wisdom when we need it most, and that because You are faithful, we need not worry.  Please continue to teach us all how to truly trust, for You alone are trustworthy.  Thank You that You provide abundant promises of Your presence, and that Your faithfulness has no end.  Thank You for remaining faithful, even when we are faithless.  Grow our faith Lord.  Amen.

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

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