Saved and Supplied to Bless

“So will I save you, and you will be a blessing.  Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.” – Zechariah 8:13b

photo by Aysha Schurman

Though this verse is part of a passage that speaks of promised blessings to Jerusalem, it leapt off the page and reminded me that He who calls us, will keep us and use us to be a blessing, when we are willing.  We do not need to fear, and He will be our strength.

Today, this is my hope and my prayer as I go forth in obedience to the new and totally terrifying.  On Thursday afternoon, I received a call from my pastor, asking if I would be willing to be one of three, whom he would interview as a part of today’s sermon about “Sharing Our Stories”.  As my heart sank to my stomach and settled there, I told him that I was terrified, but willing.  Normally, my immediate response would have been an emphatic “NO!”  However, He has been whispering to my heart that a time is coming that He will be asking me to use my voice, and not just my pen…

So, after time with trusted friends yesterday, and the covering of all who care to pray, I am up and ready to trust Him to use my story to bless those who need to hear.  I am nervous, but I know He is bigger than my crippling fears, and that He will be with me, holding my hand and heart in His, supplying the words He has for me to speak.  I am so glad that He is not finished with me yet…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You save us from ourselves, and that You use us, despite our brokenness, to bless others and draw Your

photo by Bryn Blankinship

created unto Yourself.  Father, please keep fear far from us, and supply our hearts and hands with Your strength.  May our stories speak volumes of Your goodness and grace, and may we be used to turn hearts toward You.  Amen.

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

Acceptance As We Acknowledge

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.” – Luke 12:8

photo by Joan Davis

If we give honor and glory to God before the people around us, He will hold high our hands as His kids, before all of the heavenly hosts.

I find it easy and natural to talk or write about anything that is exciting to me.  When passion is present, it becomes contagious.

How much more easily ought I communicate about the Lover of my soul; my Source and Supply in every circumstance?

Sometimes, it does seem easy.  When conversations come, and it is clear that Christ has prepared each heart for a moment such as this – it feels as if every breath is ordained by God, and our very souls sing of His glory, as we speak freely of our forgiving and faithful Father.

However, there are times when wisdom eludes me, and weakness and weariness have found way into my walk.  The hurt of another heart threatens harm to all who hear, yet Jesus would still have drawn near.  He needed not an invitation to be present.  His touch, His kindness, His healing, and His provision, provided way to get to the heart of the matter, and guide lost souls toward a safe and forever dwelling place.

We can only acknowledge Him before others, if we know Him for ourselves.  We can only know Him if we hold fast to He who dwells in our hearts, and spend time in His presence, soaking in His word.

I don’t know about you, but the very image of God the Father being pleased with me and proudly presenting me as His daughter before all of the hosts of heaven, is such a sweet space of hope that I can hold.  It is not dependant on perfection; rather it is reliant of the receiving of redemption.  Freely He offers, and it is lovingly granted to every heart that asks…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us each by name, and that You long for us to become Your beloved as we turn to trust in You.  Lead us in love so that we too, might love well as we share of all that our Savior has done before everyone whom You have prepared to hear.  Grant us wisdom and courage, grace and direction, so that we might share the story You have scripted on our hearts.  Let our very lives lead others straight into Your sweet and holy presence.  Amen.

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

There is No Neutral

photo by Rudy Atallah

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” – Luke 11:23

“This is war, and there is no neutral ground.  If you’re not on My side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” – (The Message)

Idleness, the space of inaction, is a form of opposing the Omnipotent.  He calls us to move, to act in His loving kindness, sharing His light with the world.  If our light does not shine, we are living in and perpetuating darkness.  God is the Father of Lights, and in Him, there is no darkness.

After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, He sent His Spirit, who is a light that cannot  be snuffed out.  If He dwells in us, He is our ever-present flame, present so that we may go out and illuminate the darkness.  Where there is light, darkness dissolves.  It is impossible for darkness to remain when light is present; which must be why He asks us to go and be a light unto the world.

Because our Heavenly Father loves us so immensely, how could we possibly refuse that which He is asking us to do?

Nothing – not fear, not fighting, not fleeing, nor lack of faith, can separate us from His love.  Knowing that, why would we run and hide?  For He has promised to remain present and be our guide.

The fruit of a life spent seeking the Savior, serving and loving like Him; yields an abundant harvest. He will take whatever we are able to give of ourselves, and make it great for the furthering of His kingdom. Every willing heart that acts, that takes the action that the Almighty is asking, is helping to gather, in His glorious grace. We have the privilege to be part of His plan!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to be our source and supply, our light and our guide, as we seek to serve.  May Your light burn brightly within us, so that we may illuminate the path that leads into Your loving arms.  As we receive Your mercy and grace each time we miss the mark, may we move forward and go forth to help gather as You ask.  Teach us, lead us and love us, so that we might shine brightly with Your light, before all who draw near.  Amen.

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

Rightful Rejoicing

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” – Luke 10:20

photo by God’s Daily Word

In this passage, Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two disciples who had been equipped and sent out to share the good news of His Name.  Upon their return, they were overjoyed that even the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name.  Despite His joy in their enthusiasm, He reminded them that what mattered more than anything that they had seen or experienced, was the assurance that they had been granted the gift of eternal life, by the grace of God, when they had chosen to follow Him.

To each of us, a measure of gifts are given so that we might glorify God and guide others to Him, through our faithful obedience to utilize what we have been granted.  That being said, our focus ought to be on the Giver and not on the gift.  Our greatest “possession” is the peace that passes all understanding by the hope that is presented through the promise of our ultimate destination, when we give our hearts to God and learn to live for Him.

Some will reap and others sow, and still others will witness the harvest.  Rather than revel in the glory we see today, we are to fix our eyes on our eternal prize that is found in He alone, who is our heavenly hope.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You empower and equip us to accomplish things in Your Name.  Keep us from losing sight of You, our Source, and may we always rejoice as we remember that we have been redeemed.  Teach us, lead us and love us, so that we too might love one another as You have called us to do.  Help us to always keep a heavenly perspective as we press on in all that You have prepared for us.  May our faithful obedience fulfill the great commission so that we may soon see You, our great and coming King.  Amen.

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

Natural Need Provides a Path for Miracles

image by The Crossroads Initiative

“Late in the afternoon the twelve came to Him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’  He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.” – Luke 9:12-13

The disciples were recognizing the natural need of the vast crowd through a lens that was based on what they could see – there was no natural way to feed the multitude with their meager supply.  However, Jesus, with His heavenly perspective, placed a challenge before His disciples to look not to the lack, but instead to the Source.  He, in His wisdom and grace, told them to give the masses something to eat.  Again, the disciples looked at their lack, rather than their Source.  It was not until Jesus gave them specific instructions, that they could see the set up Jesus was providing for the presentation of the miraculous.

Aren’t most of us much like the disciples at one time or another?  We are given a word, and find our eyes cannot even begin to imagine how in the heck we can possibly do what is being presented before us.  Until we receive specific instructions, our eyes are blind to the power of our Provider in the midst of the seemingly impossible places.  It is in the press, the spaces where we have no choice but to seek Him, that we discover He has had a perfect plan all along, and has remained patiently present, waiting for us to pursue the path that He has prepared.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our ever-present help, and that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us.  Please teach us to trust, to seek, and to move, in whatever direction You lead.  Help us to not miss the miraculous by giving in to the impossibility of what we perceive.  Prepare us, equip us, lead us and empower us, so that we might be ever aware of the potential You make possible when we seek You as our Source of strength.  May our momentum in both the mundane and the miraculous move others to seek You alone.  Amen.

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

Healing Happens as Fear Flees

“Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe and she will be healed.” – Luke 8:50

These words were spoken to Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue who had asked Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter.  In the chaos of the crowd, he received word that she had died.  Jesus, despite the seeming impossibility, instructed Jairus to not be afraid and to believe that she would indeed be healed.  Though he was likely swimming in a sea of emotions, Jairus turned to trust and believed that Jesus would do what He had said He would do.

God is a God of making what is seemingly impossible in the natural, entirely possible in His supernatural strength and grace.  He is willing to take our tiny traces of faith and hope, and turn them into something miraculous.  Not by anything that we do or don’t do, rather when we seek Him instead of self, we provide a place for our Heavenly Father to move in His might.

This whole faith and healing pairing can easily become muddied when He does not do what we want Him to do.  It can be difficult to see the miraculous, when we feel that it all has missed the mark.  Sometimes, the healing does not happen until the afflicted are held in His loving arms in Heaven.  It is challenging to understand the “why” when we do not witness His wonder in the natural.  This is where hope and faith and trust in He alone who is trustworthy, must become our lifeline.  Our prayers never go unnoticed.  However, we see but a glimpse of His grand plan for people and how He can best use lives (and sometimes deaths) of His beloved, to bless and lead others unto Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help our hearts to hold all hope in You, and keep fear far from us.  Help us to believe for the unbelievable, and give glory to You through our every circumstance.  Teach us to trust You at all times, that Your good and perfect plan is present, despite what we may see.  Grow our faith God, so that we may be prayerful people who present Your perfect peace to all who need to know that You are near.  Amen.

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

Our Source and Supply

photo by Garry Schlatter

“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” – Psalm 84:11

God is our warmth and our protection.  He alone bestows blessing and honor that last.  For all who are in Christ, are seen as blameless before Him, and have access to every good and perfect gift that He has placed before us.

Grace and wisdom, endurance and peace, are among the great gifts that God so generously gives.  What we are granted here is but a glimpse of the glory that is yet to come, when we one day may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Though I am far from blameless, I am blessed because I am covered by the cross of Christ and seen as clean before my Heavenly Father.  All I have and all that I will one day receive, is only by the blood of Jesus, whose sacrifice made way to save my soul.  Nothing I could ever say or do would make it so, yet in surrender to the Son of God, I am saved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and our Supply, and that we become blameless in Your sight as we are covered by the veil of Your Son.  Thank You that every good and perfect gift that we are given both now and forever, come from You.  Thank You for Your blessing and protection, as You provide all that we need.  Teach us to trust You in trials and times of peace,  as You alone are our Rock to which we may hold fast forever.  May our gratitude guide others to the gift of Your glorious grace.  All glory and honor and praise unto You, our loving Lord.  Amen.

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

Splendor and Strength are His Sanctuary

“For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord has made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are His sanctuary.” – Psalm 96:4-6

God’s Sanctuary by Sam Coleman

God is great and worthy of all of our praise.  He is far greater than all other gods, and should be respected as such.  Anything other than God that is receiving our time, energy and adoration, is an idol.  God, who made the heavens and spread out the stars in the sky, is surrounded by splendor and majesty, and His sanctuary is built by His strength and glory.

The first phrase is the most straight-forward, as we can easily recognize that our Redeemer alone, is most worthy of all of our praise.  All that surrounds us, including our very existence, comes from Him.  It is impossible to see the setting sun or the stars in the sky and not marvel at the majesty of His creation.

To fear God, means to honor and respect our Heavenly Father with reverence, as He is God, and we are not.  In all things and at all times, we ought to offer our gratitude and ask if the moves we intend to make are in the middle of His good and perfect plan for our lives.  This is much easier in theory than in practice when the craziness of life comes our way.  My default tends to be suck it up, stay strong, and keep pressing forward, even if it is not mine to take on.

Anything and everything that takes our attention away from God, has become a god, an idol, in our world.  Work, wealth, fashion, furnishings, vehicles, homes, having more…  All can become idols if they take our attention away from God’s intention for our lives.

He has made the heavens.  Yep, another easy one, as the big bang theory can’t touch the creative and awesome power of our amazing and loving Lord.

The image of splendor and majesty being before Him, reminds me that the glory of heaven is far beyond what I can even begin to imagine.  All I know, is that I want to be there, belting it out in the heavenlies, singing of His goodness and His glory at the foot of His throne.  I want to be invited into the glory of His sanctuary, climb up onto the lap of Daddy God, and soak in the strength and sweetness of His splendor.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so much more than we can begin to put into words.  Teach us to place You above all else and help us keep our focus on You, our Father in heaven.  May our lives be lived as a song of praise, sung before You with each breath that we take here on earth.  Lead us so that our love brings all honor and glory to You, now and forever.  Amen.

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

He Came to be Our Help and Our Hope

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:32

photo by Debra Ayis

That means He has come for each and every one of us, as “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

Jesus did not come for those whom thought they had it all right by following the letter of the law, yet harbored pride and self-righteousness in their hearts.  Rather, He came for the broken, the hurting, the helpless and the hopeless; ready to restore, renew and heal all who turn toward and place their trust in Him; recognizing the magnitude of their own need for help from Him alone.

Without Him, we would be but weary and worn wreckage at the end of our days, as our own strength runs out and our resolve becomes ruined.  However, in Him, our strength is secure and our hope is assured, as He is all that we need to faithfully navigate this life.  This is not to say that we will not stumble and fall down, but in Him, when we do, He is right there, ready to return our resolve to rely on Him and lead us in His lavish love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to have it all together.  Thank You that as we turn away from our pride and self-reliance and learn to look to You and listen to Your leading, You are faithful to remain present and be our perpetual help as we press on to pursue the path You have placed before us.  Teach us to trust that You will lead us, guide us, and grant us Your grace as we go.  May all whom we encounter, see You in us.  Amen.

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

Invited to Stay

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them.” – Luke 4:42

photo by Julia Boston Antiques

As I read through the passage found in Luke four, verse forty-two seemed to shed some new light on the character of Jesus, and the desire of people.

Every time scripture speaks of Jesus going off to a solitary place, His purpose is to pray – to spend intentional time with God the Father.

My second observation is that the people were looking for Him.  This alone, presents plainly that people longed to be in His presence.  It goes on to say, “they tried to keep Him from leaving them.”  In other words, they desperately desired that the Divine stay near.  I imagine that they were well aware of their own desperate need, and had become cognizant of the care and concern that Christ offered.  They did not want to miss a minute of this man, Jesus, and likely pleaded with our Provider to stay present.

Don’t we all do this at one time or another?  When we are at long last in the company of a close companion and the time nears for parting, do we immediately stand up and say goodbye, or do we stay seated, keep speaking, and secretly hope that we can somehow stretch out our time together?

I am so thankful that with our Savior, we no longer have to say goodbye and part ways.  For through His death and resurrection, Jesus provided a way for His Presence to always remain not only with us, but in us, by His Holy Spirit.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled how we are meant to seek solitude with You so that life’s distractions will not disrupt the words You want us to hear.  Thank You too, for Your glorious gift of Your Son and of Your Holy Spirit.  Teach us to be intentional with our time as we turn to You, and help us to clearly hear Your heart as we listen.  May we always remember that we don’t have to convince You to stay.  Once You have been invited in, You remain forever faithfully with us.  Supply our spirits with Your strength and grace, so that we may do all that You ask of us.  Amen.

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