Peace in the Press

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.” – Psalm 107:6,13,19,28

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Four times in the same chapter, the very same words appear again and again.  When something is repeated in scripture, I find that I am meant to take notice.  First and foremost, I notice that in times of trouble, we are to cry out to our Creator.  Fortunately, this has been fairly forthright, and is almost automatic when times of trouble travel my way.  My big “ah-ha” comes in the second half of the verse, “and He delivered them from their distress.”  Trouble, to me, is the actual situation or scenario that is causing distress.  It does not say He will take away our trouble, rather it says, “He delivered them from their distress.”  He will take the punch out of the panic and provide His peace in the press.

He does not promise a trouble-free life, in fact, the Bible tells us that we will have trouble, but we will always have His presence to provide peace.  “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 

Not only does He promise to be present and provide peace, but He will also use our tests, and turn them into testimonies.  He ultimately uses all things for good for those who earnestly seek Him.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we cry out to You in our times of trouble, Your permanent presence will provide peace, even in the middle of the press.  Teach us to trust and turn to You, be it in times of trouble, or in peace.  May we be ever willing to wait on You when the waves are crashing all around, and may our every test become a testimony that gives all glory to You.  Great is Your faithfulness forever!  Amen.

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

Beheld as His Bride

One of my favorite things about attending weddings, is the watching of the groom as he awaits and then at long last, sees his bride being brought forward to become his wife.  The anticipation as the groom awaits the bride’s arrival, followed by the pure joy and delight that is displayed on the face of the groom when he first sees his bride, is such a beautiful illustration of Christ’s love for us as His bride.  Though frail and flawed in our own humanity, glimpses of a grooms great love for his bride, grant but a hint of how our Heavenly Father sees each of us.

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Isaiah 61 & 62 hold multiple references to how God sees us as His bride.  The verse that resonated most clearly this morning, was the second half of verse five, in chapter 62: “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  What a remarkable reminder of just how great is His love for each of us!  The very notion that God, the Creator of the Universe, would rejoice over me like a bridegroom over his bride, is both beautiful and beyond my mind’s ability to fully grasp.

Such love and adoration from the King of Kings, makes my whole heart long to sing. “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…” – Isaiah 61:10a.  Not only does He rejoice over us, but He clothes us in couture that clings to our core for all eternity.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we could be clothed in salvation and righteousness because of His sacrifice for us.  Forgive us for not fully grasping the glory in the garments You have given.  Teach us to fix our eyes forward to You, our glorious Groom, who sees us with the greatest and purest love ever bestowed upon a bride.  May we ever rejoice in our royal reception as Your bride, and let our love for You inspire the same desire to draw near in the hearts of all who come near.  All blessing and honor and glory and praise to You, our beloved Bridegroom.  Amen.

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

Passing On the Promise

“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the Lord.  ‘My Spirit, who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,’ says the Lord.” – Isaiah 59:21

photo by creativeone59

“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” – Psalm 103:17-18

Both of these verses were found in my reading this morning.  I am again reminded of the significance of how I live my life and lead my children.  Because His Spirit is with me, His words will remain in me, and will find way to the lips of my children, and those of the generations that follow.  As I seek Him to walk in right relationship, and give Him proper respect and authority in my life, I am modeling a life of obedience to the Omnipotent, and showing my sons the way in which they are to go.

In my own life, I can look to a long lineage of loved ones who have lived and are still living their lives for the Lord.  Great-grandmothers, my grandmother, and my own mom, all have modeled obedience and faithfulness to our Heavenly Father.  Their love for the Lord has influenced and inspired my own pursuit of a relationship with our Redeemer.  I learned at an early age what the love of the Lord looked like, and soon longed to love likewise.

As a parent, the desire to pass on such a rich heritage of hope to my own offspring, inspires my determination to depend on His deity, and trust Him to display His heart in me and through me, to my children and to future generations.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

This portion of David’s prayer, found in Psalm 96:11, is my own prayer this morning: “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name.”  Thank You Father, that You are faithful forever and that You meet us in our moments and lead us in love.  May we walk in Your way and instruct our offspring to ever look to You, Lord.  Amen.

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

Time to Turn

photo by Claudia Lee

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.  Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” – Isaiah 55:6-7

“Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand.  Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil way of thinking.  Let them come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.” – (The Message)

The time to seek God and repent from our rebellious ways, is now.  We must turn away from temptation, and toward God.  As we ask, He will answer.  God is merciful and full of grace; at the ready to redeem the repentant, and restore right relationship unto Himself.

Just as a loving parent is quick to extend forgiveness and lavish with love, the child who has seen the error in their way and come clean by confessing their crime, so is our Father in heaven, for us.

No one knows when He will return.  “No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” – Matthew 24:36  For that  very reason, we ought to be ever at the ready, keeping short accounts with our Coming King.  It is His kindness that has granted us the time we have already been given, and His mercy that has made way for hope for tomorrow.

We know not our number of tomorrows, so we ought to live each day as if it is our last.  I want to lavish my loved ones like He has loved me, and allow His light to shine through me, as I listen and follow His lead.  This is only possible if I am equipped and empowered by Him.  I must trust for today, and turn far away from temptation.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and our faith is further fortified.  Forgive us Father, for all that has detracted from Your deity.  Lead us Lord, in the way we are to go, so that we may march triumphantly in the grace that we have been given.  May we shine Your light in this place, and lead others to Your throne of grace.  Amen.

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

Shedding Silence

photo by Le Mal

There’s a deep sort of sorrow

that comes from the years,
where silence claimed constant
a keeper of tears.
Each drop of the anguish
when denied its escape,
builds into the bundle
that causes great ache.
For such sorrow kept quiet
winds into the knots,
that steal away slumber
and slowly they rot.
Bitter, or angry
distraught and denied,
forever the feelings
trapped on the inside.
What will relieve
such a cover of years?
In safety and silence
the shedding of tears?
When at last some escape
will they be denied?
Kept longer in silence
and hidden inside?
Out of the ache
and escaping of tears,
His covering comes
the Reliever of fears.
Each tear that is shed
will not fall in vain,
for He captures each one
til’ just love remains.
And He, even He –
the Savior of all,
wept in His sorrow
allowed tears to fall.
For nothing we’ve known
is not known by Him too,
His arms are extended
to embrace and renew.
Death to the silence
that keeps hurts hidden inside,
and life to the longing
that’s so long been denied.
With arms in the air
extended to Him,
just give Him the ache
the pain that’s within.
The tears yet unshed –
please give Him those too,
for who better to handle
than the One who makes new?

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

Strength in the Suffering

photo by Karen Holden

“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – I Peter 5:10

Though we may suffer for some time, our Heavenly Father, who is full of grace, sent His Son so that we might be restored in strength, in faith, and firmly established in our purpose; unwavering in our adherence to the Almighty.

Often, our seasons of suffering seem that they will sink our soul, yet it is in that very place of desperation, that His deity becomes most clearly displayed.  When we reach the end of ourselves, we begin to discover just how much more we have in Him.  His grace guides us and His goodness grants hope, even in the most dismal of circumstance.  Our purpose becomes plain, and He provides His help to remain on the path that is placed before us.

The greatest gift is in knowing that no matter how long our suffering lasts here, it is but a moment when compared to eternity in His glory.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in Your glorious grace, You promise to restore us and strengthen us so that we may stand firm and steadfast in You.  Please strengthen and encourage all who are in the midst of suffering, and grant them hope.  Teach us Lord, to tether our hearts to You in times of trial and in times of blessing.  May we stand steadfast and secure in You through every season, and may our strength in You encourage others to find the only hope that can truly be held, in You.  Let our light shine before men (and women), even in our seasons of suffering.  Amen.

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

Gifts for His Glory

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.” – I Peter 4:10-11

photo by Whatever Happened to COMMON SENSE

“Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.  That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything – encores to the end of time.  Oh, yes!” (The Message)

Each of us has been given gifts from God.  When we utilize these gifts, if our focus is on that which our Heavenly Father is asking of us, God’s goodness will be made evident and all glory will go to Him.

In order to honor Him with our gifts, we must know His will and walk in His way.  This is only possible if we are invested in our Instructor.  He is happy to guide our hearts, yet we must listen to actually hear Him.  When we spend time in His word, we don’t have to wonder whether or not we know His will.  His Holy Spirit speaks to our heart and mind, and writes the message on our soul.  All we need to ask ourselves is: Does it line up with His instruction?  Does it draw others unto Him?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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

The gifts He gives are good, and He will guide us in grace to use them for His glory.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give each of us good gifts.  Teach us to utilize every gift given, for Your glory.  May Your guiding light burn brightly through each of us as we give of ourselves for You.  All glory and honor, power and praise to You, now and forever.  Amen.

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

Bless Because He Blesses Us

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – I Peter 3:8-9

photo by Lori Thomason

“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” (The Message)

To be agreeable, our character need be one that is pleasant, likable, accommodating, gracious, amiable, compatible and harmonious.  In order to be sympathetic, we are to commiserate with kindness and tenderness, with those who are hurting.  To be loving, we are to extend the same profound tenderness that God has given us, to all those who are around us.  Humility and modesty go hand-in-hand.  For anything that is good that we have to give, is a gift from God, for which we cannot claim credit.

As we allow Him the reigns, our Redeemer reconstructs our wreckage, so that we may more clearly become a reflection of Him.  As we acquire His attributes (by His Holy Spirit), we learn to respond in love at all times, even as we are under attack.  We are asked to bless and not to harm.  As we allow His heart to help and heal our own, we become better equipped to extend blessings to others, even when the intent toward us is evil.  Our ultimate reward is the promised blessing of being in His eternal presence in heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You will not also equip us to do.  Teach us to depend on You to shape our character, so that we may better reflect the remarkable mercy and grace that You have given each of us.  May we be sympathetic and loving, humble and harmonious, even when all that is within us wants to repay evil with evil, so that we may offer blessings as we live in Your lavish love.  Equip us to extend blessings, so that ultimately, the recipient will want to receive You.  Amen.

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

Sharing Our Story

image by Janet Oberholtzer

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” – I Peter 2:9-10 (The Message)

He has called and created us to love Him and to love people.  Each one of us who has sought our Savior, and seeks to serve only Him, has a story to tell of His faithfulness, and how in Him, our lives are forever changed.  Regardless of our circumstance or surroundings, we are accepted and valued in Him.  Our significance to Him was made plain, when He suffered for our sake on the cross.

When we slow down, it is simple to see our Savior’s significance and faithfulness in our own story.  In the blessings and in the blame, in the joy and in the shame, His hand has led and guided, touched and transformed, the hearts of all who believe.

What is your story that can be shared for our Savior’s glory?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us Your own and have chosen each of us to play a part in the sharing of Your story.  Thank You for Your faithfulness and kindness in our own.  Forgive us Father, for allowing fear to sway us from sharing, and grant each of us opportunities to open our hearts and our mouths to share of Your great love and perfect plan, that allows each of us to enter into eternity with You.  Teach us how to tell of Your great love, so that all may taste and see of Your goodness and grace.  Amen.

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

Coming Clean Creates Community

“Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16

photo by iKAN Ministries

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.  The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (The Message)

When we hold one another accountable, we tend to be more in tune with God.  Hidden sin, guilt and condemnation, all create barriers that come between our hearts and His.  As we confess and contend for one another in prayer, our walls crumble and we become aware of the ever closeness of Christ.  When we are right before Him, covered and cleansed by the cross Christ bore on our behalf, we are better equipped to come before our Creator and contend for that which we are being called.  He hears and answers prayers that are prayed with a sincere heart and pure motives.

Again, this seems to be a clear reminder that we are called to be in community.  He created us to be companions to one another and to come close to Him, so that right relationship could again be restored.  Jesus made plain the path to pursue our Provider.  As we draw near to Him and encourage one another, His power within us is made evident as He heals hearts and transforms communities.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our need and provide people to partner with in prayer.  Thank You that Your presence is promised where two or more gather together in Your Name. (Matthew 18:20)  Forgive us for the times we forego accountability and attempt to do it all alone.  Thank You that You are gracious and merciful as You are faithful to meet us in our moments and guide us back to You.  Teach us to trust You more, and provide people to walk beside us as we fix our eyes on You.  May our mutual encouragement and confession to one another keep our hearts right before You so that we may be used mightily to touch lives and transform communities, placing You alone in the center.  Amen.

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