Upright Unto Him

photo by picable.com

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” – Titus 2:11-13

God has shown His grace that leads to salvation to all of us.  That very grace, by His Spirit in us, leads and guides us to live the life to which we have been called, while we wait with great hope for the day He either returns or we see Him face to face.  His Spirit instructs us as to what we should and should not do, in order to live upright and godly lives all of our days.

None can do right by God without His gift of grace.  For His Spirit that dwells within us is a great gift that is given by Him.  The still small voice that speaks softly to our soul, will lead and guide us to the life everlasting, if we are willing to listen and heed His instruction.

Not one of us has the innate ability to live upright before Him on our own.  Without grace, there would be no hope.  Without hope, the heaviness of this life would leave us listless in our lack.  I am so thankful that we have hope in Him.  Knowing that we have all of eternity in His presence awaiting us in our heavenly home, makes the misery in the moments, more manageable.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and removing the separation that once stood between man and Thee.  Thank You for Your Spirit that You grant to each of us who asks, to lead and guide us by Your grace, that we might live godly and upright lives that are pleasing to You.  May each of us extend the same grace that we have been given to all who walk among us.  Let Your light shine through us as we live and love like You, by Your grace.  Amen.

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

Train in Truth

“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name.” – Psalm 86:11

“Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow Your true path.  Put me together, one heart and mind; then undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.” (The Message)

I need God’s instruction, His training, to walk in truth and do as He asks.  Only by His grace, will my heart and mind be aligned for this race.  When all of me, is fixed on all of Him, my heart and mind become aligned, so that I may joyfully and reverently pursue the path that He has placed before me.

photo by The Palm Beach Post

To run this race,

at God’s perfect pace,

I must seek His face,

and trust His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for all that divides my attention.  Thank You that You are quick to forgive and have abundant grace for Your children.  Grant me an undivided heart, and teach me to walk in Your way.  Train me so that I might run the race that You have set before me.  May both my joy in You, and reverence for You, draw others into Your tender embrace.  Amen.

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

The Testament of Truth

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2

photo by Truth and Life

I am meant to be a reflection of my Redeemer in all things and at all times.  My speech must be seasoned by His Word, so that as I love others, I might do so with great patience and care.  If I am to correct, it must be paired with kindness; if I am to rebuke, it must be in love by the authority of the Author of our faith; and as I encourage, the words of exhortation ought to be spoken in truth and contribute to the deepening of another’s faith.
To preach the Word, I must know the Word.  To know the Word, I have to spend time studying it, and be ever listening to the still small voice of His Spirit.  I am only prepared when I am in tune with my Heavenly Father, and that is meant to be always – not just when I feel like it or it seems convenient.  I can do nothing good nor worthwhile, if I am not dependent on His deity in my life.
Jesus modeled just such a life.  He spoke truth in love everywhere He went.  His life was a living testament of the truth of God’s Word.  He corrected, encouraged, rebuked and helped with great patience and careful instruction.  Even when it was not convenient or comfortable, He loved.  He sought times of solitude, yet if people came in need, He set aside His agenda and gave.  He helped, He healed, He listened, and He loved.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word, where Your heart is so clearly heard; and direct instructions for how we ought to live are laid out before us.  Thank You for sending Your Son to model a life lived for You.  Thank You for Your Spirit, Who dwells in the hearts of all who believe, and will ever whisper to each heart what You want us to hear.  Teach us to listen so that we may live lives that are pleasing to You, so that we may be at the ready to share of Your amazing love whenever and wherever You ask.  May our lives tell Your story in all things and at all times.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

God-Breathed Guidance

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Breath of God by Safe in the Shadow

God’s word, empowered by the Holy Spirit, provides all that we need, in order to learn to live the life to which we are being called.  If we are intentional to spend time in the study of scriptures, He is faithful to teach, train, correct, and equip us for every good work He is asking us to do.

I am amazed at how the longer I live a life that is led by His word, the more clearly I can hear Him whisper to my heart.  The truths found in His word, flood my mind in moments of need or uncertainty.  His instruction and direction are at the ready, when we are slow to speak and quick to listen.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word, and the provision of the permanent presence of Your Holy Spirit.  Please continue to teach us to hear Your instruction and correction, so that we may be thoroughly equipped to answer Your call.  May our hearts to hear help others come to know Your voice as well.  Lead us Lord, to the life everlasting, as You soothe our souls with Your sweet song sent in scriptures.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Satisfied in the Savior’s Supply

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – I Timothy 6:6-8

When we are in active pursuit of God, we find great gain. The peace of God and His loving mercy and grace, paired with eternal hope, are the true treasures we ought to seek. There are no physical things that follow us when our days are done, so it is foolishness to hold on to anything too tightly. If our basic needs are met, we ought to count ourselves blessed and be content in His ample provision.

I am currently visiting family on the other coast, for a bat mitzva extravaganza. This is a place of plenty plus, and I am ever aware of just how essential it is to guard my heart with gratitude, so that I do not desire the decadence that seems to surround me in this space. I have a super spouse, two healthy and happy children, a home to lay my head, and phenomenal friends. Though I have not the excess that seems to be everywhere in these parts, I have everything I will ever need in the eternal hope held in my Heavenly Father, and all that He has graciously given to take care of my loved ones well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we will ever need is held in Your hands. Thank You that the only things that will remain, are those which we hold in our heart. Teach us to walk in gratitude, be it in times of lack or in plenty, and guard our hearts from envy and greed. Give us grace to walk upright before You, and help to be ever generous with the goodness You have given. May our lives lead others to seek You, our Savior, that they too may find their treasure in You. Amen.

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

Favor as Family

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.  Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” – I Timothy 5:1-2

photo by Colleen Loehr

We are called as a community to be like family to one another.  Paul, in his letter to Timothy, (who was teaching in Ephesus) gave clear instruction as to how the family of God ought to treat one another.  Those who are older than ourselves, ought to be given the same concern and respect as our parents.  To those who are younger, we are to treat them as sisters and brothers, with utmost purity and protection.

This is an excellent reminder of both the call to care for one another in community, and how to interact with those whom God has placed around us.  Despite our own disgust with or distaste for the behaviors, actions and attitudes of others, we are to extend the same love and grace that God grants to us, to all of the members of our community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are sinful, You are merciful and grant grace as we come before you in repentance.  Teach us to treat all those in our community in the same way, as You have charged us to love one another as You first loved us.  May we exhort and respect our elders, and look out for and protect those who are younger, as brothers and sisters in You.  Teach us how to treat others as You have treated us.  Thank You that You are merciful and gracious, generous and loving, as You lead us in the way that we ought to go.  May the way we live our lives extend the very same love to all whom we encounter, so that they too may learn of Your loving kindness.  Amen.

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

Each as an Entrusted Example

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” – I Timothy 4:12                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                                    Do not let anybody put you down or discourage you because you are young in years or new in your faith. Allow your actions (your words, your demeanor, your love, your faith and your integrity) to speak on your behalf as His ambassador.
                                                                                                                                                                  Our lives, no matter what our age, are meant to bear the sweet scent of Christ. “for we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are saved and those who are perishing.” – 2 Corinthians 2:15 If we are walking upright before Him, trusting and dependent on God; our scent is sweet and draws others unto Christ. However, if our words and our deeds do not align with what He asks of us, we are a stench that repels those in need of our Redeemer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Every single person on this planet has the potential to provide the promises of God to others, regardless of age, if we choose to seek Him and walk in His way.

Some of the sweetest reminders of the goodness of God in my life, have come from kids. One of my favorite stories that my mom loves to tell from my early childhood, is just such an example.

We were at the grocery store at the checkout counter and some woman came up to me and asked me where I got my pretty red hair. In my innocent and unashamed youth, I responded, “from God!”. No hesitation, and complete confidence that the truth stood on its own. Mom says the woman was momentarily taken aback, then simply smiled at the truth that had been spoken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive us for our every word and deed that have not smelled sweet before You. Empower and equip us so that our actions, our very being, might draw others unto You. Remind us always to value the faith found in everyone; for even a small child can be an amazing ambassador for You. Thank You that each of us has the capacity to carry Your sweet scent to all. May all that we say and do, be a faithful and pleasing aroma to You. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Battle Belongs to Him

“You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17

photo by Becky Wolfe

The same God who sent these words to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah and Jerusalem as they faithfully sought Him in the face of a vast army ahead of them, is still alive and active today; willing to faithfully fight for those who follow Him.

As yesterday concluded the school year with my students, I felt a sense of fear for the battles that many of them may face as they will be without the constant that school supplies.  Meals provided, friends surrounding, and staff members that genuinely care about their well-being, will be absent through the summer months.  Loneliness, fear, ridicule, and far more responsibility than a young person ought to have, will be before them.  I even had one young lady ask if we had an extra room in our home…

These treasures need hope, protection, and provision, as they face the “giants” of summer.  I have to trust that He will be faithful to fight the battles that each cannot fight on their own.  He knows them each by name and has a plan and a purpose for their lives.

Though I can do little practically, I can lift them before the Lord daily, and trust that He will protect and provide for these treasures.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing You have provided me in having been a teacher to Your treasures.  Father, You know the need of each child by name and I ask that You would be their Provider.  May each have an encounter with You, and recognize that You are the ultimate resource for all our needs.  Please protect and provide for each one, and keep depression and destruction far from them.  Father, may Your Spirit surround them and provide Your peace.  Thank You that the battle is not ours, but Yours.  Please teach me how to pray for these treasures each day, and show me what I can do practically as well.  Move the mountains before them, and grant them the strength to keep climbing where You are calling.  Amen.

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

Pray for Our Leaders

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” – I Timothy 2:1-2

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, implores him to pray for government leaders and those in positions of authority.  By doing so, we may live peaceful lives as we obediently walk out our purpose on this planet.

photo by ofbyoragainst.com

Today, this is a powerful reminder that I am called to pray for our president, both current and future, our government, and all who hold positions of power and authority over His people.  It has nothing to do with personal preference, and everything to do with obedience.

We, His people, are purposed to pray.  As we lift up our leaders before the Lord, may we recognize the magnitude of importance of this task to which we are called.  Persons placed in positions of such authority, have the capacity to cause calamity or keep the calm.  Our very freedoms were founded in the faith that we are to operate as one nation under God.  We can only be “one nation under God”, if we are people of prayer, participating as our Provider calls us.

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my complacency in answering the call to pray purposefully for the leaders and governing bodies of our nation.  Please quicken our hearts and minds to be a praying people for those placed in such positions.  Lead us Lord, to listen and learn, so that our land will be a place of peace, where Your word may be freely heard, by all who long to hear.  Amen.

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

Guiding in Grace

“It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say.” – I Timothy 1:8 (The Message)

We all need guidance, correction and counsel; but if it is not spoken in love, it is seldom received.  Where grace is given, moral guidance is accepted and acted upon.

The heart behind His instruction, is one full of mercy and grace; as He is always at the ready to lovingly lead us away from a life of sin, and onto His path of peace.

In our places and positions of authority, be it as a parent, a teacher, an employer or friend, it is essential that we seek His wisdom in the way in which we are to guide in His grace, so that our counsel might be that which mirrors Christ.  As we instruct according to His leading, lessons are learned in love, and they are more likely to last.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate example of how moral guidance and counsel ought to be given.  Rather than roar out ridicule in redirection, You sent Jesus to come alongside and humbly walk among us.  Thank You that He did not just speak the words and then split, but He modeled a life lived in willing submission to You, and ever extended Your mercy and grace to those in need of guidance.  Father, teach us by Your Spirit, what we are to say, and supply the strength to speak always in love.  May the message of Your goodness and grace be made evident to all, as we live lives fully submitted unto You.  Amen.

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