Archive for December, 2012


Wearing White Robes“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” – Revelation 22:14

The washing of the robes is the symbolic cleansing of ourselves from sin.  It comes only through our asking and receiving that which Jesus has freely given by His great grace.  Going “through the gates into the city”, is our promised entry into eternity with Him, for all who believe and receive Him in our hearts.  I imagine “the tree of life”, though it was once the one thing not allowed in the garden with God, even that, will be ours to take part in, because of the perfect sacrifice given by our Savior, and by the defeat and destruction that will come to the deceiver.  Blessed indeed, will be every believer, on that great and glorious day when we are welcomed into our eternal home with Him!

As we arrive at this eve of yet another new year, it is good to both reflect upon what He has done, and anticipate what He will do.  I tend not to make resolutions, but rather resolve to continue to passionately pursue Christ to the best of my ability, daily, leaning not on my own understanding, but on His, and trust that He will continue to lead, guide and direct my every step in the direction He wants me to go.  A year and a half ago, I would have never have believed that I would willingly make what God places on my heart in writing, publicly available for so many to access.  Though it is still a bit intimidating, I never question His faithfulness to meet me each morning and whisper His words to my heart as I study His word.  He has held my hand and guarded my heart, as I have been grown and encouraged, challenged and loved well by both Him and the hearts of His people in this kind and loving community.

A very blessed 2013 to you all as we wait, wearing our freshly washed robes of white – for we are His, and He is preparing a place for us, far greater than our minds can conceive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the perfect sacrifice for all of our sin.  Please forgive us and help us to embrace the grace You give so that we may wrap ourselves in Your robes of white.  Thank You that we are blessed with the assurance of knowing the ultimate outcome, regardless of how things appear right now.  May this new year bring bountiful opportunities to be a blessing on Your behalf.  May many come to know You in this new year.  Amen.

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

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“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish His purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.” – Revelation 17:17

holyspiritglass.jpg

holyspiritglass.jpg

Were it not for the footnotes, I fear I would still feel a little lost.  The following are the accompanying footnotes in my NIV Study Bible:

“No matter what happens, we must trust that God is still in charge, that God overrules all the plans and intrigues of the evil one, and that God’s plans will happen just as He says.  God even uses people opposed to Him as tools to execute His will.  Although He allows evil to permeate this present world, the new earth will never know sin.”

I find much comfort and reassurance in the reminder that God’s ultimate purpose and plans will be accomplished, regardless of the ruin and wreckage the existing evil may cause.  Sadly, we have seen so much of it with shootings and stabbings – both locally and globally.  However, we have also see a nation grieve the losses of a small northern town, and rally behind them with a monumental outpouring of love and support.  The goodness of God, supplied in the aftermath of inexplicable evil.

Yesterday, my mom, my boys and I, traveled a few hours south, to meet my sister and her boys at the very same mall that was the site of one of the recent shootings.  Upon arrival, I anticipated a sense of fear or anxiousness within me, yet I felt neither.  Instead, I felt joy in our happy reunion, and peace in the perfect protection provided by our Heavenly Father.  People were kind to each other, and I was delighted to be in such wonderful company.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your purpose will always prevail, regardless of our present perception.  Thank You that greater are You who is in us, than that which is in the world.  Teach us to trust You and Your perfect plans, and forgive us for allowing fear a foothold.  Lead us to listen well, so that we might love like You.  Let our light shine brightly before all in need of Your loving light and life.  Amen.

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

“We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.” – Revelation 11:17

image by Birru Sadhu

image by Birru Sadhu

John heard the twenty-four elders speaking these words as they fell to their faces in worship of God in heaven, as the seventh trumpet was sounded to announce the coming judgments on the earth.

Though God has always ultimately reigned, He has restrained Himself until His chosen time, when the end times will come to pass, so that all people will have the opportunity to hear of the hope held in Him, and choose whether or not to make the decision to follow Him forever.  I can only imagine the anticipation in heaven.  Those who are in His eternal presence have been waiting, and are likely eager for the promised passing of all evil on the earth, and the return of His perfection to come once again to all.  Imagine restoration everywhere – not just in heaven.  To return to the glory where walking beside God in the garden was commonplace, and within that space, there is only good – gone are suffering, sin and pain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who is, who was, and who will always be.  Thank You that regardless of what is happening or what will happen, You are God, and You are good.  Forgive me Father, for the fear that creeps in when I read about the events that will unfold in the end times.  Help us to remember that You will strengthen and sustain us through any and every trial that we will encounter, or we might be so lucky as to be among those who are raptured…  More than that, please help us to keep our eyes securely fixed on You.  Open our understanding so that we might more clearly see You and comprehend Your ways.  Teach us to trust You and Your perfect plan.  Lead us in love so that we may love others as we are loved.  Be evident in all that we say and do today, and place people in the path of those we hold dear to tell them of Your great love.  In Your Holy Name, Amen.

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

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:  Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” – Revelation 7:9-10

The Wave - Worship Art by Rik Berry

The Wave – Worship Art by Rik Berry

The Holy Spirit revealed to John, that which is yet to come at the end of days.  The verses above give a glimpse of the scene he saw in heaven.  What a wonder to know that as a believer, though I have not done, nor cannot do anything to deserve it, but because I have accepted God’s grace and daily seek His face, I too, will one day be among those in that magnificent multitude!

My challenge today, is that the reading did not end at verse ten.  By the time I reached the end of Chapter nine, I felt ready to weep for all who still need to know Him.  I do not want for anyone to have to endure end times without eternal hope.  The faces of friends and family members who need to know Him, flashed through my head and my heart.  I guess more than anything, my takeaway today, is a call and a reminder to pray for those who still need to know Him.  When there is opportunity, I will present as I am led, but in the meantime, I will pray today, pray tomorrow, and keep praying after that.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty in the promise that people from every nation, tribe and language will be gathered in purpose to praise You.  Thank You that though I am undeserving, I too, may take part in that jubilant celebration one day.  Father, please forgive me for not being more diligent to pray for my family and friends who still need to know You.  Please place people in their path that can clearly communicate Your heart to theirs, so that they too, might find their hope in You.  Lead me to be a light for You before everyone I encounter, through both my word and deed, and may many come to join in the multitude that will unite together to worship You in all of Your majesty, both on earth and in heaven.  Amen.

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

image by Terry L. Brown

image by Terry L. Brown

My personal devotions had me in the first four chapters of the book of Revelation this morning.  Despite the name of my blog, Revelations in Writing, I always feel a bit gun-shy when I come to the book of Revelation.  Perhaps it is because I understand it the least, and the teacher in me really wants to comprehend what I try to convey to others.  That being said, today, what stood out to me anew, is the repetition of “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, ___________________________.”  Multiple times in both chapters two and three, this quote is followed by a promise.  The promises are as follow in the order that they appear in the text:

I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (2:7)

He will not be hurt at all by the second death. (2:11)

I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it. (2:17)

I will give authority over the nations. (2:26)

I will also give him the morning star. (2:28)

I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father. (3:5)

I will write on him the name of my God, and I will also write on him my new name. (3:12)

I will give the right to sit with me on my throne. (3:21)

Though I know not the exact interpretation in Hebrew or Greek for each of these symbols mentioned, I do know that they are promises for me, from a loving and protective God.  He is a God who gives good gifts to His children, and He longs to share all that He has with each of us, if only we would be willing to receive.  God is for us, and He gives us wisdom and insight, protection and perseverance, power and provision, authority and acknowledgement, adoption into His family, a new name, light, life, and lasting love – all for now and into eternity in our heavenly home with Him forever.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal to us the glory and goodness found in You.  Forgive us for fearing what we do not understand, and help us to persevere until the day You reveal all understanding, when we finally see You face-to-face.  Thank You that You are a kind and patient Papa, and that You love to teach Your kids, whose hearts are seeking understanding.  May what we learn burn brightly as light before all men, so that many may come to seek You, Father.  Amen.

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

(*he/him/man/men used to mean people; men and women)

image by Michelle Bersell

image by Michelle Bersell

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalm 119:105

Just as we need light to direct our path in the darkness so that we do not stumble and fall; so also do we need the light of His word, which is our instruction manual for right living.

As we take time to treasure in our hearts all of the joys and blessings that accompany this wonderful Christmas season, may we also anticipate with eager expectation, what He has for us in the coming year.  Whatever that “it” is for us as individuals, “it” will be more readily known and navigated if we are spending time in His word.  When we know His word, we better understand His heart.  As we better understand His heart, our own heart becomes better equipped to hear His.

For those of you who have been following for a while, I am pleased to pass on to you with praise, that the results from my MRI were perfectly normal, and the most recent medication that I have tried to treat my migraines, is working wonderfully!  At last, I

Izzy and me <3

Izzy and me ❤

am feeling very much myself again.  Another blessing for those who have been following a while, is that baby Izzy, who was born on June 1st, five weeks prematurely, is thriving and quite a beauty.  In fact, the photo I am including is one from my most recent cuddle session with this little cutey!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the great gift of Your word.  Thank You that as we study it, Your Holy Spirit teaches our hearts what You need us to know.  Thank You that You are our light in every darkness, and that in You, there is not even so much as a single shadow!  Help each of us to be intentional to invest our time with You, in Your word, and in a community of believers.  May we be transformed to reflect more clearly, Your light of love to those in darkness.  Light our path Lord, and teach us to trust so that we will walk boldly where You ask us to go.  May we do so joyfully, with words of worship in our heart.  Amen.

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

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” – I John 1:5

image by Martha Orlando

image by Martha Orlando

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the light of the world. “Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable.  Darkness represents what is sinful and evil.  The statement ‘God is light’ means that God is perfectly holy and true and that He alone can guide us out of the darkness of sin.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

Before the birth of Jesus, the light of God had to be pursued through perfect adherence to the letter of the law, accompanied by various sacrifices for shortcomings.  To live such a life was nearly impossible, and few found way into God’s favor.

Nearly two millennium ago, everything changed.  God out there, became God right here – Emmanuel, God with us.  His loving light entered earth as an infant, who grew into a man who instructed and taught us how we too, might live in His light.  In our sinful state, instruction was not nearly enough.  Without atonement and ongoing help, our own darkness would surely destroy us.  Not wanting even one of us to be destroyed by darkness, Jesus lovingly and willingly decided to die in our place.  Death could not defeat His deity, and on the third day, He rose again.  When He returned to the right hand of His Father in heaven, He sent us a helper through His Holy Spirit – to be our Counselor and Comforter.

Today, we have great reason to rejoice, as we celebrate the coming of Christ – the Light of life unto the world!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for sending Your Son to be the Light of the world.  Thank You for the life and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the hope and help provided to all who believe by Your Holy Spirit.  May our love reflect Your holy light to one and all always, and on this Christmas night.  Amen.

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

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:6-7Perception vs Reality

Mary and Joseph had each been visited by an angel, bearing news of the baby that Mary was to carry.  Imagine the care and concern taken as those two traveled in adherence to an order to take part in a census, many months after Mary had in obedience, said to the angel of God, “May it be so.”

Weary and worn, likely wracked by labor pains, they arrived to find that there was no room for them to stay, anywhere.  I imagine a kindly innkeeper took pity on the woman in pain, and pointed them to the place out back, where the animals were kept.

Perhaps grateful for a somewhat private place to push, baby Jesus was brought forth.  Though His arrival so humble, His significance shone above the earth as the angels spoke to the shepherds in the fields, and the star shone brightly before the magi.  The splendor of His majesty did shine, just not in a way that would be ordinary to man.

Swaddling the Savior, Mary treasured it all in her heart.  Though she knew not the full extent of the path that lay before her Son, she knew that she was holding God with us, as she loved baby Jesus with her whole heart.

His humble beginnings in a stinky stable grant grace and hope for us, and are a reminder that even when there seems to be no way, or the conditions seem to stink, He has a plan for us, and will make a way for His will to be done.

May our hearts come humbly before our King with thanksgiving, as we celebrate this eve of His blessed birth.  It was not merely the birth of a baby boy, but the birth of our Savior – the One who has made the way for us to be with Him forever!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans are perfect and ours are not.  Thank You that You show us again and again both throughout scripture and in our own lives, that You are love and You are good.  Forgive us for our doubts when things don’t appear as we think they ought to, and please remind us that Your plan is perfect, regardless of how we perceive it.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and may many come close to You this Christmas.  Amen.

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

“This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:17

Jesus did not mince words with His disciples.  He kept it simple and straightforward – Love each other.  If we do, then we inadvertently will abide by the commandments as well.

image by Kimberly B

image by Kimberly B

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to brave the crowds, and went out to try to finish up some of the last of my shopping.  Typically, this time of year is a total zoo, and people tend to neglect manners and niceties in their attempt to acquire more stuff.  However, yesterday was different.  When my first stop took me into the grocery store for one quick item, I picked a line where I was third.  Third in line a few days before Christmas on a Saturday, was super.  To my astonishment, the lady in the front of the line with a full cart, signaled the gal in front of me to go before her, as she only had a handful of items.  As I was grinning to myself at her act of kindness, her love for another, she then looked at me, smiled, and said, “go ahead, I am not in a hurry.”  I smiled, asked a quick, “are you sure?”, thanked her, wished her a very Merry Christmas through my ear-to-ear grin, and was able to exit much more quickly than anticipated.

At the mall, I witnessed similar sentiment, as shoppers seemed to slow down and smile more, perhaps taking time to appreciate the ability to even be out at all.

Though the 26 Acts of Kindness may or may not be intentionally answering Jesus’ command to love one another, it most certainly and wonderfully does just that.  Despite the devastation and heartache, people are choosing to love.  Love, brings healing.  What an awesome God we serve, who has begun to build beauty out of ashes already, as we prepare to celebrate His blessed birth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not just say, “Love one another,” but You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what love looks like.  Thank You for loving us so that we might know love and pass it on.  Forgive us for not always preferring one another, and lead us to consider others, so that we might love like You.  Lead us Lord, to love selflessly, so that many may see You, by and through our love.  Amen.

For a great read on the 26 Random Acts of Kindness, click here: http://thislittlelight516.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/the-fruit-tree/

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

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

These words were spoken by Jesus, to His disciples, in the upper room at the last supper.  He knew what lay before Him in the coming hours, yet His priority was to offer comfort and hope to His disciples.  He was not concerned for His own suffering, rather He was reminding His dear and devoted friends of what was true, regardless of how things appeared.  In this wonderful, yet sometimes challenging season, I too, find comfort in His word.  He is truth.  He is life.  In Him, we can place our trust and let fear be far from us.

Peace came and made His presence known

image by Stevan Lasorella

image by Stevan Lasorella

when He entered earth and left His throne.

Though Christ the King, His entry here,

in a meager stable, the babe came near.

No fanfare, nor an ornamental throne,

yet the heavens declared and made it known.

Unto us, the Son is given.

Unto us, we’d become forgiven.

The shepherds in the fields that night,

took in such a monumental sight.

For from the birth of one so small,

would come salvation, for us all.

Imagine, as upon Him they did gaze,

the awe and wonder, at the Ancient of Days.

God and King, yet infant child,

powerful and mighty, yet meek and mild.

He came to seek and save the lost,

He lived and loved and paid our cost.

Trouble and fear He’s overcome,

His peace He leaves, in Him, it’s done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are our Peace.  Thank You that Your very presence is the promised peace on which we can depend.  When fear and trouble come, help us trust in You.  Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold, and grant us strength to grasp the magnitude of Your love and grace.  Teach us to live each day as if it were our last, and to make each moment matter.  Thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, that provided the path for our salvation.  Lead us in love today and always, Lord, so that the light we share may lead many to come to call You King.  Amen.

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

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