Archive for January, 2014


The stoning of Stephen is an overwhelming example of an individual responding just as Jesus did, in the face of suffering and persecution.  “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’  When he had said this, he fell asleep.” – (Acts 7:59-60)  As Stephen was actively in the throes of being killed, he prayed for forgiveness for those who were murdering him.

Though I have never faced trial for my faith, nor have never had my life threatened for who I am in Christ, I have been spoken to harshly, and have had to make a choice as to how to respond in the moment.  When people speak to me angrily or with unkindness, I have come to a place where I am most often able to respond in the opposite spirit.  However, I recognize that I don’t necessarily pray right away for forgiveness.  Typically, I find that I am grateful to God that something gracious came out of my mouth, yet in order to do as Christ did, I ought to also release the offender from the offense, immediately.  Often, it is not until much later, that I realize that I am still carrying some sort of irritation about the offense, and have to stop and release that which should have been let go, hours earlier.  It is not an intentional carry, yet it is a burden that I take on, adding to a load I am not meant to tow.

As others lift up,Settling Stones

their stones set to throw;

help me to release,

the anger they sow.

For I can’t control,

what others will do;

yet I can let go,

give the reigns to You.

Help me to forgive,

the moment deeds done;

so I don’t carry,

battles You have won.

May my heart respond,

with Your heart of grace;

so they may soon know,

Your loving embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us amazing examples in Your word of those who have gone before us and have forgiven others, as You ask us to forgive.  Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, who by His sacrifice and ultimate example of forgiveness and grace, made way for the Holy Spirit to come dwell in us, and empower us too, to extend the same forgiveness to others.  Forgive us for not listening to Your still small voice, or for holding onto grievances that You have asked us to lay down.  Help us to release wrongs against us – regardless of how great or small.  Lead us to love as You love, and to respond as You respond to all whom we encounter.  Let Your light be evident in all that we say and do.  May many come to know You as their Lord and Savior, through the grace that is given unto them.  Be glorified, our gracious God.  Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.  – Ephesians 2:4-5

When a problem was identified among them, the leaders gathered the disciples together to discover the source of their dissent.  Once the issue was identified, the Twelve determined a need to appoint others to assist in administrative tasks, so they selected those who were full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.  “They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6)

We are given a great model of how to run things well, through the example set by the early church.  Even if the arena is not a church setting, wisdom ought to direct leaders to gather and identify those who are gifted with strengths in the areas of need, and then those selected ought to be placed in a position to perform the given tasks, with the blessing of the leadership.  Thriving businesses, schools, corporations and churches, all seem to utilize this model.  No one leader attempts to do everything, but rather those meant to lead, keep the main things the main things, and delegate administrative tasks to individuals who are gifted in those given areas.

How can we be a part of the solution, rather than perpetuating the problem?  If we see a need, we can help fill it if we are able; if not, we can identify the lack, and bring it to the attention of those who are in charge.  Our ability to help is often limited more by our willingness, rather than our skill set.  If we have a heart after God and a mind set to serve, there is likely something that we can contribute.  May we each be willing to do whatever He calls us to do.

Leaders gather,As We Are Available

recognize a need;

seeking helpers,

to the Lord, they heed.

For the faithful,

in whom Spirit dwells;

ready to move,

to answer Him well.

May we be those,

on whom they can call;

willing to answer,

trusted to install.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us an example of how things ought to be, through the example of the early church.  Thank You that You still provide the very same faith and Holy Spirit in us, that You did in them, to allow us to operate in the same way.  Forgive us for grumbling rather than taking action or seeking answers, and help us to be willing and available to be part of the solution.  May we help take the weight off of those You have placed in leadership positions, so that they may best do that which You have called and equipped them to do.  Let our lives lived in love be both an encouragement to the faithful and a witness to those who know You not.  May many be drawn unto You, and come to know You as their personal Savior.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and let Your authority be evident among the body of believers.  Amen.

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

In this increasingly “go with what feels good” culture, it is essential to not only be aware of what God deems right and wrong, but to also be in a close relationship with Him, so that we are able to hear His still small voice as He speaks to us, individually, about what is and is not permissible for us.  There are some things that the Bible clearly defines as right and wrong.  Yet there are other areas, that are a bit muddy.  These are the places where it is paramount to pursue Christ for answers, rather than just going with whatever society says is good.

Acts five conveys the story of Peter and the apostles being arrested and jailed, simply for speaking the truth of what they had witnessed through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  The Sadducees jealousy got the best of them, and they threw the men of faith in prison.  When brought to trial, the high priest asked them why they had gone against what they had been told (to stop teaching in His Name).  “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!” – (Acts 5:29)

Though few of us face the fear of prison for sharing our faith, we do deal with social pressures to stay silent, and to go along with societal norms that directly disregard what God has spoken.  There is a delicate balance in loving others, yet speaking the truth in love.  We cannot go around shouting to people that they “must turn or burn“.  Rather, our charge is to live in such a way, that people are drawn unto us, and begin to ask questions as to why we are the way we are.  God will provide opportunities for truth to be told in His time.  He is tender and kind, and longs to draw people unto Himself.  May we be living examples of His love, and may we choose to obey God first, always.

In tune with You, Lord,Obeying God First

we shall hear the way;

to do as You ask,

to honor, obey.

We must truly seek,

to hear still small voice;

then choose to follow,

obedient choice.

Let not fear of men,

keep us from what’s true;

our final answer,

will be unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have access to mighty examples of those who have faithfully followed You.  Thank You too, that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You provide us all that we need, through Your word, and Your Holy Spirit.  Forgive us for folding to social pressures, or for staying silent when we were meant to speak.  Teach us to hear Your voice clearly, so that we may be Your voice to those who know You not.  Let our lives lived in love, speak volumes to all who are around us.  May many come to know Your goodness and Your grace, as they enter into a personal place of seeking Your face.  Be magnified, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3

This morning, as part of my reading plan led me through Acts 4, my heart fixed on verse twenty. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) A multitude of moments passed through my mind, as I thought of the Lord’s faithfulness – again and again.  However, the display of His goodness that is the most recent and readily recalled in my heart and mind, is how He so graciously provided for my dear friend Anne, in the final few months of her life.

AineFor those who have read the various things that I have written about Aine (pronounced On-ya, Gaelic equivalent to Annie), this may be a bit of repetition, but for those who have not, this is some of what I have seen and heard that I cannot help but speak of now.  Aine, began battling stage four breast cancer in 2004.  After a mastectomy, she actually seemed to be doing very well, and the cancer was under control – or so she thought.  Fast forward to 2008, and spots of bone cancer were discovered in her femur, spine and a few other small spaces.  At the time, radiation was done for the largest spot on her leg, and was left at that.  She maintained her busy, active life, and gave little attention to the cancer that was trying to creep in.  In 2011, the cancer had become invasive enough that she at last relented, and decided to go ahead and give chemo a try.  At first, the chemotherapy did bring her numbers down.  And then it seemed to stop working.  It was a roller coaster of treatment trial and error, and all the while, Aine was upbeat, positive, and trusted that the Lord would heal her.  Late 2012, she began getting migraines.  She had never had them before, so this led to a series of tests.  By January 2013, we knew that she had multiple brain tumors.  In February, she underwent full-brain radiation.  Remarkably, the tumors responded very well.  Most of them shrank or disappeared, and the migraines ceased.  Unfortunately, the bone cancer had been unattended during this time, and was spreading like wild fire.  She faithfully rallied, enduring a few emergency hospital stays, fighting what we thought was the end, because she had become so ill, all the while, holding fast to her faith in our Heavenly Father.

On to the part that I can’t help but speak of…  By late July, Aine was in bad shape.  We knew the end was near, and she needed care and a place to stay.  Aine had no family nearby, and was single.  Her church family gathered around her and truly held her up and provided for her every need.  Dear friends poured out resources she did not anticipate, and a home for her to stay in was provided by the perfect hosts, those whom God had clearly called.  Aine was loved and cared for until she drew her last breath, and though she was essentially an orphan by the world’s standards, she had not ever been alone – either spiritually, nor tangibly.  Today, I know with utmost certainty, that my sweet sister, Aine, who loved to dance and hike, is dancing and moving freely on streets of gold – surrounded and held.

Stay not silent,Speak of Whats Seen

the blessings, do share;

for they build up,

reminders HE cares.

Let others know,

how He’s been right there;

they too can trust,

in Christ’s tender care.

Speak of His good,

tell of His great grace;

make known His peace,

accept and embrace.

As we reach out,

give ourselves away;

we’re living words,

our actions do say.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great faithfulness, even in what seems to be such a space of struggle.  Thank You that above all things, You are good.  Help us to speak about what we have seen and heard of Your faithfulness; for You are worthy of all of our praise.  Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the struggles, rather than on the remarkable provisions You grant in the midst of them.  Teach us to hold fast to our hope in You, and lead us to live in such a way, that our very lives speak of Your goodness and grace.  May we live in love, so that others too, may come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified in both the struggle and the standing strong.  Amen.

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

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” – Job 8:21 NIV

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” – (Exodus 17:12)

This passage comes from the story in Exodus 17, when the Amalekites came to attack the Israelites.  Whenever Moses’ hands were raised, the Israelites were winning, yet if he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would take the lead.  Though Moses was a strong leader, called by God, he was still subject to human frailty.  He grew weary, as all of us do.  Fortunately, Moses had men who came along side him, and saw the need in their leader, and extended the practical help that was possible for them to supply.

We too, need to lift up our spiritual leaders.  Our pastors shoulder a tremendous responsibility, and readily work around the clock.  Though they may be physically present during office hours, their hours of service extend well beyond the traditional work day.  Medical emergencies, family crisis, and personal problems are just a few of the after hours calls that these selfless servants readily answer.  They too, grow weary, despite their being both called and equipped for the position.  Praying for our pastors is a must.  Offering encouragement and whatever else the Lord may ask, are practical ways in which we too, can lift up the hands of our leaders.  “Let us not grow weary of doing good…” (Galatians 6:9)

For those who serve,Lift Up Our Leaders

give tirelessly;

let us lift up,

support prayerfully.

Reach out our hands,

speak words to exhort;

let gratitude,

be what we report.

Let our hearts hear,

how we might too, bless;

encouragement,

ways to offer rest.

Father, be near,

to the ones You’ve called;

protect them, Lord,

these blessings installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those whom You have called and equipped to lead.  Thank You for their faithfulness to listen to You, so that they may answer all that You ask, and serve You and the body whom You’ve called them to lead.  Please protect them and their families, and bless and refresh them with sweet rest.  Forgive us for not always lifting up our leaders, and help us to do a better job of praying for and encouraging our pastors, as You call us to do.  May we come along side them and lift up their hands when they grow weary, and may we bless and encourage them as You ask us to do.  May many come to know You as we love one another well, and may they recognize a place where people are loved and cared for – from pastor to each person that is present.  Let Your light and love be evident in us, through all that we say and do.  Be glorified, our good and gracious God.  Amen.

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

Though the Israelites were notorious for their grumbling in the desert, there was a time, early on, when they really got it right.  After the Lord had saved them from the hands of the Egyptians by parting the sea until each of them had safely passed through, and then covered all of the Egyptians with the great wall of water that led to their untimely demise.  After such a mighty display of unbridled power, the Israelites not only feared the Lord, but they placed their trust in Him, and in Moses, whom God had appointed to lead them.

Their response was one of worship, as they say a song unto the Lord.  Among the lines that stand out, is “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” – (Exodus 15:2)  Because they were in the midst of wandering in the desert, recording things in writing was not such a viable option.  However, reciting the remarkable in song, was a wonderful way to give thanks to the Lord, and to pass down the historical happenings of the people, as they celebrated the victory that God had granted.

All of us have seasons of wandering through the desert.  We must choose to either look for and celebrate the miraculous moments, despite the desolation around us; or we are left grumbling, perhaps missing out on the miracles, as our eyes and hearts are averted inward, rather than looking up.  When our hearts are set to worship the One who is with us, be it in the desert or in the lush valley, our awareness of what He is doing, tends to increase.  May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him, and let words of praise be ever-present on our lips.

Our strength and our song,Miracles in the Desert

in famine or feast;

the Lord God on high,

our hope to increase.

Present in dry lands,

He quenches our thirst;

with us in plenty,

as we seek Him first.

Let our hearts hold praise,

regardless of way;

trusting His goodness,

is with us to stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our surroundings.  Thank You that often the most miraculous moments come as we are wandering through the driest deserts.  Forgive us for our grumbling when we are uncomfortable, or have to persevere longer than we think we ought to, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You.  Grant us the ability to keep our eyes up and our hearts on You, so that we do not miss out on the miraculous that You are doing all around us.  May we be available to love as You love us, and please use us to touch hearts and show those who are looking, the way unto You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do, our mighty, miraculous God.  Amen.

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

Each of us, whether we are aware of it or not, has an assignment.  God has created and gifted each one of us with something special in mind.  However, we are not born with an instruction manual, nor do we receive a special guide book at our moment of redemption, thus we find ourselves in a space of needing to seek Him to find out what He has planned.

We do have an instruction manual of sorts for our lives, as the Bible shows us how to live in love and trust in Him, among other essential things found in a life formed by faith.  Also, because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are able to call out to God in prayer, any time, and ask whatever we need.  The critical element in helping discover our given assignments, is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – (Acts 1:8) When we invite Christ into our lives, we invite the Holy Spirit as well.  Just as the early disciples received God’s power to do as He had called them to do, we too, can receive the very same power to do all that He is asking of us.

Three things that the disciples did, that we must still do today, are: to join together with fellow believers, pray together in faith, and wait.  It seems that the first two are the easier of the three to manage.  In this instant gratification society, waiting is a tough sell.  Patience and perseverance are characteristics that seem a rarity, rather than the norm.  The standards that were established all those years ago, still apply today.  All things that are worthwhile take work and waiting.  We are told that the same is true with our walk with Him.  “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” – (Romans 5:3-5)

The disciples were told to go and wait after Jesus had ascended into Heaven.  We also, are meant to wait on Him, when we need to know what comes next.  As we are faithful to wait, the blessings discovered by spending time intentionally in His presence, are well worth the investment.  He is faithful to answer as we ask, we simply must press in and persevere, trusting that He hears our every prayer.

Call on the Lord,Supplied by the Spirit

then faithfully wait;

for His answers,

not early nor late.

Patiently pray,

for the Lord is good;

He knows our need,

we are understood.

Allow access,

to both heart and mind;

trust Him to touch,

He is gentle, kind.

God will equip,

us to do each task;

know what He says,

and do as He asks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to be in a relationship with You, and that the very same power You poured out on the early disciples, is available, ready and dwelling in the hearts of those who believe.  Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask, and that You strengthen and encourage us as we listen and wait on You.  Forgive us for forgetting to slow down, or for growing impatient in the waiting.  Teach us to trust in the wait, and help us to persevere, so that we may hold the holy hope You have for us.  May we live in love as we walk in obedience to all that You ask, and may many come to know You as a result.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” – (Luke 24:13-15)

Though these men were confused and upset about what had happened, they were talking together, genuinely seeking answers.  As they were attempting to make sense of that which seemed so unclear, Jesus showed up.  He did not reveal Himself right away, but He spoke to them, giving them insight and understanding as to what had previously been unclear.  Eventually, the men did recognize Him, as He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

Jesus is still the same today.  When two or more of us gather, and genuinely seek Him for answers, He shows up, and provides wisdom and insight.  Though His presence is never-ending in the hearts of those who believe, there seems to be something powerful about gathering together as His people, to pray and to seek His wisdom and will, for whatever lies before us.  “For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20)

Gather together,Gather Together

partner in prayer;

united in heart,

the Lord will be there.

In unity seek,

ask Him what we need;

trust He is faithful,

our requests, He’ll heed.

As we are seeking,

we must listen too;

to hear God’s own heart,

and know what to do.

Lean not on ourselves,

but fully on Him;

for His way is best,

to find peace within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You.  Thank You that You tell us that gathering together in Your Name is good.  Thank You that as we do, You are faithful to speak to our hearts, as we are willing to listen.  Forgive us for not slowing down to truly listen, and for neglecting our need to gather with other believers to seek You together.  Teach us how to trust one another, and how to pray and commune together in a way that honors You.  Lead us and guide us I pray.  May we love one another as You love us, and may the fullness of Your goodness and grace in us, overflow and pour out to all of those who are around us.  May many come to know of Your great love, and enter into a relationship with You.  Be magnified, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

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

Hardened hearts struggle to hear the still small voice within.  When we become cold and calloused to the world, whispers seem impossible to discern.  However, when we are in constant communion with Christ, our hearts remain tender and receptive toward Him.

As the story of Moses continues in Exodus, I have arrived at the passage where he and Aaron are told by God to go to Pharaoh to again ask to let the people go.  God warns them that Pharaoh’s heart will be hard, so He tells them to speak of the impending plague that will befall the Nile, if Pharaoh refuses to allow the people to go.  Pharaoh, of course chooses to not allow the people their freedom, and Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded, and all the water in the Nile changed into blood.  “But the Egyptian magicians did the same by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” – (Exodus 7:22)

Pharaoh responded in the same way to plagues of frogs, gnats, and flies.  Though he would call out to Moses and Aaron in the midst of the struggle, and began to seem as though he was willing to allow the people to go, the moment relief was found, his heart was again hardened and his mind set against their going.

Often, we are just like Pharaoh.  Our hearts are hardened until a need is present, and then – then we are ready and willing to call on Christ.  Suddenly, we are passionately pursuing the One we have all but forgotten for so long.  When the crisis is over and all is well, we set Him aside and go back to business as usual.  No more.  I am not called to live like Pharaoh.  My example of how to be in a right relationship with God, is found through Jesus.  He lived out His days loving God, and loving people.  Detours and difficulty did not deter Him from that call.  Always, even as He was hanging on the cross between two criminals, with one hurling insults at Him – He chose to love.  May our hearts be ever tender towards Christ, and may we live out our days, loving God and people, just as we are loved by Him.

Let not our hearts,Let Not Our Hearts

become cold and hard;

self-sufficient,

to Him, no regard.

Rather, let’s love,

as He has loved us;

with heart’s tender,

open to Jesus.

May our ears hear,

the tender small voice;

that will direct,

if we seek His choice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to suffer and die in our place.  Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into a relationship with You, not just for now, but one that lasts into eternity.  Forgive us for being fickle in our faith, or for hardening our hearts to hearing You.  Help us to be plugged in and present, so that our hearts may be tender and full of trust in You.  May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the blessings found in belonging to You.  May the words of our mouth and the direction of our path, be pleasing unto You.  Amen.

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

Moses is remembered as a mighty man of faith, yet his journey between the promise and its fulfillment, was not an easy one.  It all began well, as God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and spoke to him personally.  God told him He had heard the cries of his people, and that “He had come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” – (Exodus 3:8) 

What God next told Moses, however, brought up Moses’ own insecurities, and made him question God.  God told Moses that He was sending him to Pharaoh to bring His people out of Egypt, so Moses started asking questions.  At first, the questions seemed practical and reasonable, yet soon, they revealed his own insecurities about his ability to speak publicly.  In fact, Moses then said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” – (Exodus 4:13) God was none too pleased with Moses’ response, yet chose to answer his request by allowing his brother, Aaron, to partner with him in this endeavor.

Once Moses and Aaron had met up, and Aaron too had heard the charge from God, they went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had asked them to do.  Pharaoh did not exactly agree to what they asked.  In fact, it seemed as if the promise that had been spoken, was even farther off than it had been prior to their powwow with Pharaoh.  “Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people?  Is this why you sent me?” – (Exodus 5:22)

Isn’t it easy for us to do the same thing?  A promise is spoken, or a dream discovered, and we expect the fulfillment – the fruition to be found – immediately.  Often, there is a long and arduous road in between a promise and it’s fulfillment.  Our character is shaped and developed, as we overcome obstacles and learn to trust Him more.  As we learn from the Israelites, grumbling in said deserts, often delays the promise all the more…

A promise spoken,Waiting On a Promise

the birth of a dream;

hope that is chosen,

God’s blessing, it’d seem.

Then comes the waiting,

and patience grows dim;

weariness finds us,

don’t let darkness in.

The doubt and the fear,

lay each of them down;

fix eyes on the Lord,

where fulfillment’s found.

Despite what is seen,

continue to trust;

for what He has said,

will be done for us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to do what You say You will do.  Thank You that Your timing is not our timing, nor Your ways, our ways.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You lovingly lead us where You call us to go, even if it takes years of wandering in the desert to reach the promised place of peace.  Forgive us for our doubts, fears, and our grumbling, and help us to trust completely, despite what we see.  Make us aware of Your persistent presence, and help us to be satisfied in knowing that You are at work in us.  May we live in faith and love with trust, so that others may see You in us.  Let those who are looking, come to know You as their Savior, soon.  Be glorified, even in our waiting.  Amen.

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

%d bloggers like this: