Archive for December, 2013


Make more room.  On Sunday, we had a guest speaker at church who spoke about how God can take our Plan A, with all of its fears, failures, and foolishness, and turn it into His perfect Plan B; but only when we willingly give both our permission and our participation.  God is gentle and kind, and does not force His will upon us.  Rather, He stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20)   We either open our hearts and our lives completely unto Him, or we miss out on the very best that He has for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That being said, surrender is not a simple thing.  Surrender involves sacrifice.  We must give up our perception of how things ought to be, and allow God to shape and show us what we are to do, and where we are to go.  Often, His directions make little sense, and lead us into the middle of a mess.  What may appear to be a mistake, may very well be the exact place that He has called us, in order to give others glimpses of His grace and point people to His majesty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I stand at the end of 2013, awaiting the arrival of 2014, am I willing to allow God to inconvenience me?  Will I be able to recognize that I perhaps am meant to be in the midst of the messes I find myself in, to shine the light of His glory?  Will I get out of the way, and make room for the miraculous?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             God is not looking for our ability, He is looking for our availability. I do not have to have certain qualifications to serve and honor Him, for He has called me from the moment that I invited Him into my life.  We are chosen to communicate His hope, when we give Him full access, and are willing to participate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Let this be the year,
where room shall be made;Make More Room
space to help others,
salvation prayers prayed.
May we be ready,
to lend hand and voice;
to do what You ask,
make You our first choice.
Let us freely move,
wherever You ask;
even in the mess,
accomplish Your task.
For sharing Your light,
You ask for more room;
so hope may shine forth,
dispelling the gloom.
May we surrender,
our whole lives to You;
may mountains be moved,
as we walk in truth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our Plan A in all of its messiness, and turn it into Your perfect Plan B, when we willingly surrender all that we are unto You, and are choose to step out in faith, participating in the plan that You have prepared for us.  Thank You that You have a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and that when we trust You, and move forward faithfully in You, You meet us where we are and guide us where we are meant to go.  Forgive us for attempting to hold fast to our own plans, or for submitting ourselves without movement.  Teach us to trust You fully, so that we shall surrender, sacrifice, and MOVE.  Give us faith to trust You, even if the place You call us to is in the middle of a mess.  Be our strength and our song.  May we love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You in the coming year.  May we make room for all that You have planned for us in 2014.  Amen.

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

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Revelation 15-18, today’s portion of scripture in my personal reading plan, continues to cover the calamities yet to come at the end of days.  For those who are in Christ, our hope and future are secure; yet those who know Him not, or have turned away from Him – devastation awaits.  His grace is greater than all of our sin and failures, and He waits with open arms, for all who choose to call on His Name.

As this particular passage unfolds, it foretells of horrific happenings yet to come.  However, in the midst of the devastation and destruction, we are reminded again, of Who will win, and that all who identify with Christ, will also be secure.  “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.” – (Revelation 17:14)  

No one ever promised that this life would be an easy one.  In fact, Christ assured us that trouble would come.  “I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me.  In the world you will have much trouble.  But take hope!  I have power over the world!” – (John 16:33 NLV)  Despite the challenges and heartache, in Him, we have hope and security, knowing with total assurance that He is always with us, and that our future is certain and our space secured in our eternal home with Him.  Enduring all things with Him, is well worth our eternal reward.  For the day will come, when there is no more suffering, nor pain, nor tears – only light, life, peace, joy, and glorious Presence.

Times of trouble,

shall certainly come;To Hold Hope

do not dismay,

if you love the Son.

For though wars wage,

His peace shall be ours;

if we’re in Him,

He’ll be where we are.

Fear not the day,

when peace is no more;

if found in Him,

our future’s secure.

Take hope, dear friends,

for the Light is here;

ever present,

let us all draw near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have overcome all that we are facing, and defeated death, so that we might live eternally with You.  Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to grow in confidence in Your faithfulness to all who trust in You.  Help us to hold fast to our hope in You, and may Your peace be present in us, even when chaos surrounds us.  May we love others as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as we prepare to press into a brand new year.  Let Your light shine through us in all that we say and do.  May Your majesty be made evident through our every action.  Amen.

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

Any time there is repetition in scripture, I tend to take notice.  This morning, is no exception.  In reading Revelation 10-14, in between the intensity of angels and trumpets, dragon and beast, witnesses and warriors, a woman and child, the Lamb and the ensuing end, to name just a hint at the happenings – one sentence repeats both in Revelation 13:10b, and again, in Revelation 14:12.

“This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” – (13:10b)

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – (14:12)

Patient endurance is the God-given ability to suffer without yielding.  This comes as an impartation granted to the people of God – those who choose to faithfully follow Him.  It does not mean that only the “holier than thou” will endure to the end, but rather those who embrace the grace that He gives, and are intentional to earnestly seek Him.  He is faithful and just, and honors the hearts that call on His Name.

When trials come,

and temptations play;Patient Endurance

call on His Name,

and steadfast you’ll stay.

For He will grant,

all that we shall need;

to in Him endure,

evil’s frenzied feed.

We are each called,

to be faithful, true;

He will remain,

when trials ensue.

Don’t trust in sight,

but instead, in Him;

the world may fade,

His light never dims.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to model patient endurance and faithfulness.  Despite persecution, trouble, trials, and ultimately death on the cross, He patiently endured, never yielding to the temptation to claim His rightful power and authority, for He came to fulfill the purpose You had placed before Him, and He was faithful to endure to the end.  Thank You Jesus, for not only showing us the way, but for sending Your Holy Spirit, so that we are never on our own when we need Your wisdom and strength.  Forgive us for taking lightly the magnitude of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf, so that we might approach Your throne of grace, and enter into an eternal relationship with You.  Help us to live in such a way, that we honor You and all that You have done.  May many come to know Your saving grace as we live our lives in love, just as You have loved us.  We lift up all those who are currently patiently enduring suffering for the sake of Your Name.  Please strengthen and encourage each one, and grant them favor with their captors.  Grant them freedom soon, I pray.  All glory and honor to You.  Amen.

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

From the opening of the scroll to the list of calamities that will come to the earth, I have always found this portion of Revelation to be particularly unsettling. (Revelation 5-9)  However, today, something new seemed to stand out to me.  In the midst of a series of devastating displays, those who were sent to destroy, stopped, and made sure to mark those who belonged to God, so that we would be left alone by those who would later come to torture and destroy.

“Wait!  Don’t do anything yet – hurt neither earth nor sea nor trees – until we have placed the seal of God upon the foreheads of His servants.” – (Revelation 7:3, Living Bible)

In a list of darkness and destruction that is to come, this is our ray of light.  Our reminder of hope and help – that we are known, marked and set aside for something far greater than the here and now.  Though the series of seals being broken and the events that are to unfold are nothing to look forward to, I am comforted in knowing that as His daughter, I shall somehow bear His seal upon my forehead, and be known.  (As is true for all who call on His Name and place their trust in Him)  I still hope to have lived out my life and already be in heaven when what was foretold comes to pass; but if I am not, there is much comfort in knowing that I am His.  And, the best part that has not yet been covered in this portion of scripture, is how it all ends.  Christ wins!  Death and destruction will all pass away, and His peace and presence will reign forever.  For that, I look forward with eager anticipation!

A sealed scroll,The Scroll and the Seven Seals

that none can open;

yet there is One,

the Lamb, who’s Chosen.

With every seal,

comes horse and rider;

sent to destroy,

human dividers.

Plagues and disease,

death from brutal wars;

much of the earth,

lost both near and far.

Such loss and pain,

who’d even survive?

Those with His mark,

kept safe for a time.

Yet even those,

in destruction lost;

if in the Lord,

paid is final cost.

For in the end,

His kingdom shall reign;

all found in Him,

will live free from pain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to show us more of Yourself as we earnestly seek You.  Thank You that though we naturally fear what we do not know or understand, that You reveal to us that You are with us, and will remain with us in all things and at all times.  Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever, and that Your faithfulness has no end.  Forgive us for our fearfulness of that which we do not know, and grant us wisdom and insight into that which You would have us to know.  For the things we are not yet meant to grasp, give us faith to trust You more.  May our hearts hold fast to You in faith, regardless of the world around us.  Help us to love as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You, so they too, may bear the seal upon their forehead…  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Despite the name of this blog, the book of Revelation, has always intimidated me.  Every year, as  this time rolls around, I find myself back in the book of Revelation, as I follow a yearly reading plan.  I eagerly anticipate His return, however, it is the time of trial and tribulation that I get hung up on.  This morning, I was extra intentional to ask that He grant me new insight, that would perhaps make this book a bit more approachable over the next several days.  The following is what I found, as I chose to first read Revelation 1-4 in The Message translation:

“Look at Me.  I stand at the door.  I knock.  If you hear Me call and open the door, I’ll come in and sit down to supper with you.  Conquerors will sit alongside Me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, to the place of honor at the side of my Father.  That is My gift to the conquerors!” – (Revelation 3:20-21)

My heart began to soar, as I recognized that I am a conqueror, not because I am strong enough or good enough, but rather because I have opened the door of my heart and invited Him in.  It is not what I can do, but what He can do through me, if only I choose to be willing.  Oh Lord, You know I am willing!  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – (Romans 8:37)

You called to me,

I opened my heart;To Be Called Conquerors

You welcomed me,

and granted fresh start.

You sit with me,

and call me Your own;

You strengthen me,

beyond what I’ve known.

Fear need not be,

present in trials;

times of testing,

shall be a short while.

And through it all,

one thing shall remain;

Your love, present,

the hope we can claim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are more than conquerors!  Thank You that with You, we have nothing to fear.  Though struggle and trials shall come in this life, our hope is assured for all of eternity in You.  Forgive us for our fearfulness of the unknown, and help us to recognize that we are more than conquerors in You.  Give us strength and endurance to remain steadfast in that which You have called us, and teach us to trust You even more.  May we love like You, so that many others too, may come to know the overwhelming gift of grace that You freely give.  May many come to know the overcoming power that is present in a lifelong relationship with You.  All praise to You, our Overcoming One!  Amen.

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

There are days where darkness and dissent seem to dominate every media display, and the very same mood is mirrored in the hearts of many whom I encounter.  However, there are times when light seems to seep in.  It finds way to work into the hearts of even those seemingly dominated by darkness; and grace, gratitude and love, begin to pour out of a place of thankfulness, by seemingly all who surround me.

This Christmas season, has been a beautiful observation of shadows shifting into light.  On Facebook alone, my feed transformed from controversial media topics to photos of families and blessings that had been bestowed upon those I hold dear.  What a wonder to watch, as even all these years later, I was able to see Christ come near.

My heart is full, and I am again reminded that His love is great, and His faithfulness endures for all time.  The following Psalm that I read this morning, captures well, my sentiment for the season:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples.  For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord.” – (Psalm 117)

Where darkness dwells,

He shines His light;Praise Anyway

dispelling fear,

dissent’s delight.

For Christ did come,

so we might know;

His love and grace,

peace He bestows.

More than Christmas,

or once a year;

for God with us,

is always here.

Seek Him always,

and you will find;

His love and grace,

for all mankind.

Give praise to Him,

for He endures;

our Prince of Peace,

and hope secure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came near so that we might know You, personally.  Thank You that Your nearness is not limited to a day nor a season, but rather is available at all times for all who call on Your Name.  Forgive us for not keeping our focus as fine-tuned as we ought to every day of the year, and help us to keep the beauty, wonder and awe of Christmas in our hearts throughout the year.  Help us to praise You forever, for You are great and faithful, and forever worthy of all of our praise.  May we love as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Praise You, Lord.  Amen.

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

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” – (I John 3:16-18)

“Real love is an action, not a feeling.  It produces selfless, sacrificial giving.  The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others.  How can we lay down our lives?  By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.” – (NIV footnotes)

The greatest example ever given, was born to us, and is remembered each Christmas. Jesus was the ultimate example of what love is, for He loved with His very life. He stepped down from heaven, and became God with us – demonstrating again and again how to love with actions and in truth. As the only One who was fully God and fully man, there were so many “could have done’s” along the way, yet He chose instead, each time, to model love.  He drew near to those whom society deemed undesirable, and He touched the untouchables.  His love broke down social, racial and religious barriers, and encouraged all who came near, to love as He loved.

Though this blessed day of remembering is nearing an end, our command to love will remain.  How can we carry Christmas with us as we approach the coming year?  What can we give of ourselves to others, as He has given unto us?

What can I give?

What gift shall I bring?The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

Unto You Lord,

my great, mighty King.

My heart, You have,

and likewise, my life;

what of my time,

resource and supply?

Anew I ask,

how might I show love;

to honor You,

so You’re known above?

Lead me, I pray,

show me how to move;

let Your love shine,

so people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to come close – to draw near to us and show us that You are love.  Thank You that You loved so much, that You sent Your One and Only Son, so that we may receive all that You are offering.  Forgive us for giving with expectations, or for withholding, where You would have us to give more of ourselves.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly hear Your voice and Your instructions for the coming year.  May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You.  All glory to You, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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

“Paid in full.”

Our debt erased.

The final words of our Savior before He breathed His last breath – “It is finished.” (read John 19:26-30) The long journey of His humanity had led up to this moment, this defining time in history where He willingly chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that we might have eternal life through Him.  God’s glorious gift granted unto us in a stable, born in Bethlehem, grew into a man, and showed us what it is to live a life unto God.  However, the story did not end at the cross.  For three days beyond the cross, the grave was empty.  Our risen Lord, appeared to many before returning to the Father to send His Spirit unto all who had chosen to place their trust in Him.  Our hope is held in the whole story.

The hope we hold, allows us to freely approach God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  All who believe, can live eternally with God, and are forgiven, escaping the eternal penalty that is deserved for the sum of our sins.  Christmas is our reminder to focus on Christ.  Not just on the baby born in the manger, but on the One who saves, and dwells among us now.  May you and your loved ones be ever aware of the closeness of Christ, and may the blessed peace of His presence fill your hearts and homes.

Sweet baby came,

to bear such weight;

His act of love,

our sins erased.

Upon that cross,Paid in Full

He bore our shame;

He paid the price,

took all the blame.

‘Twas not the nails,

that kept Him there;

but His great love,

and tender care.

Both fully God,

and fully man;

He did fulfill,

salvation plan.

He made the way,

so we might live;

He sacrificed,

His life to give.

Not even death,

could keep Him down;

for in three days,

disciples found.

The empty grave,

our Risen King;

the promised hope,

glad tidings bring.

Heaven’s return,

then Spirit came;

we’re given charge,

to spread His Name.

Go forth in joy,

to all the earth;

share of His love,

from lowly birth.

(response to today’s reading of John 19-21)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to have life in You.  Thank You that “it is finished” and the price for our sin, has been paid in  full, when we come to You and ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart.  Thank You that we can freely approach You, as we are seen through the covering of Christ, who is the One without sin.  Forgive us for that which we have done that has not been pleasing unto You, or for that which we have neglected that we should have done.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to act on that which You are asking, immediately.  May many come to know Your goodness and grace, as You are the greatest gift we have ever been given.  Let our light shine brightly before all, and may Your love be evident in all that we say and do.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.  Let us hold fast to the reason we celebrate the season.  Amen.

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

As we have traveled through the season of Advent, my pastor has taught a series on the attributes of God, which He imparts to us, as a gift through the sending of His Son.  The four weeks have covered, peace, hope, joy, and finally yesterday, love.

Jesus, is God’s gift of love to us, as He sent us His one and only Son.  (1 John 4:9-10)  The love of God is so great, that it covers us with the commitment of His very life.  His love is agape – love that genuinely and exclusively seeks the good of others, rather than one that might expect something in return.  Christ’s love was so vast, that He set aside the robes of majesty, and took on the role of a man, so that we might know love. (paraphrasing Pastor Jon McIntosh)

In John 13:1-12, Jesus shows the full extent of His love for the disciples, as He takes on the role of the lowliest of servants, and kneels to wash the filth from the feet of His friends.  The washing of another’s feet, would have made the one who was washing, completely unclean.  Feet were filthy, and to touch them, would have been a wretched violation of plenty of purity laws.  Jesus was modeling to the men that it matters not what it takes, when we love, we must be willing to set aside ourselves, and serve.  His serving, left the disciples cleansed and refreshed, despite personal cost.

Philippians 2:5-8  encourages us to have the attitude of a servant, just as was seen through Christ.  The love described in Philippians, is humble and obedient to God, willing to love with His very life.  Such love is unshakeable, and will remain forever.  (See also: Isaiah 54:10, Romans 8:38-39)

And Love came down,When Love Came Down

so the world might know;

the height and depth,

of love truly shown.

Love seeks not self,

records not the wrongs;

is patient, kind,

fills hearts with sweet songs.

Where there is Love,

peace too, shall be found;

for where Christ dwells,

all goodness abounds.

Love seeks to serve,

do unto others;

cares for each one,

as sisters, brothers.

Love will endure,

forever, always;

none can remove,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to us so that we might know Love.  Thank You that we set aside this season to remember the blessed birth, the arrival of God with us.  Forgive us for allowing anything to distract or taint the significance of this season, and help us to hold fast to that which truly matters.  May we learn to love as You loved, and be Your hands and heart to those who are hurting this Christmas.  May many come to know the limitlessness of Your everlasting love this season.  May our every attitude and action be as You would have us do, and may our every offering be pleasing unto You.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

*Scripture references taken from yesterdays sermon at http://www.gcfw.org

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

Before the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, coming close to God, was but an annual option, available only to a select few priests.  Once a year, the high priest would be allowed to enter the holy of holies to offer sacrifices for the people.  For all else, the temple courts were about as close to God as folks could come.  Life was a rigid set of rules and regulations; and when an infraction was made – blood had to be shed on the offender’s behalf.  Not to say that God didn’t move and do mighty things, for surely He did; however, the opportunity to truly understand and know Him, was rather elusive.

One holy night in Bethlehem, changed the course of human history forever.  God out there, became God with us.  Jesus came so that  the barrier between God and man could be broken down; providing the path to a personal relationship with the Redeemer, Himself.  He later told the disciples during the last supper, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” – (John 14:6) 

His statement, though seemingly narrow to some, is actually expansive enough for the whole world.  He died, so that ALL who come to Him and choose to accept what He has done, will be welcomed into eternity with Him.  Jesus is the only way  to the Father.  When we receive Him, we receive the One who sent Him.  Christ too, is truth.  He is the reality of all of God’s promises.  Old Testament prophesies were fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection, and His very nature, shows that God’s word is true.  As the life, Jesus joins His holiness to our brokenness, covering all of our sin and shame, making us acceptable and righteous before the Father – ready and welcome to enter eternity with Him.

O Holy Night,Only Through Him

born unto the earth;

sweet blessed sight,

Christ-child, Savior’s birth.

God had come near,

sending His own Son;

friends, do not fear,

He shall overcome.

Jesus, the way,

our lifeline to God;

follow today,

His path we’re to trod.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to send Your Son, so that we would have a way to come close to You.  Jesus, thank You that You stepped down from Your throne, and willingly endured all of the anguish on our behalf, so that we would be made righteous in You.  Forgive us for taking lightly this magnitude of this most glorious gift that You have freely given to all who choose to receive it, and help us to daily receive and embrace this treasure anew.  May we live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the way, the truth and the life found in You.  Be glorified, our Prince of Peace.  Amen.

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

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