Archive for January, 2015


Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Advertisements

For more than a year now, I have been committed to running consistently. Since early spring, I have had a running buddy who has become a dear friend. What used to be a labor-intensive chore to talk myself into walking out the door, is now something that I eagerly anticipate. There is a dramatic difference between having to tackle the miles alone, verses having a friend to run beside, encouraging each other and striving together to accomplish whatever goal we have set for ourselves.

 

Our walk with Christ is no different. If we try and go it alone, we can be committed, yet it is far easier to stay on track if we are invested in a body of believers. We need others who are pursuing the same path to walk beside us and encourage us, just as we need to be useful in building up others in the body of Christ.

 

An additional parallel between running and our walk with Christ has to do with pain. When running, there are different types of pain. Some pain is good, as it is simply the body working harder than it is used to, and strength is on the rise. There is other pain that is the body’s warning of injury, that deems rest and recovery a necessity. With Christ, we do not have any guarantees to be free of pain, in fact, we are certain to face trials at times. However, in Him, we are provided what we need to either press through the pain, or to pause, rest and recover, so that we may continue in the direction He has called us to go.

 

Mile after mile,Life Lessons Realized on the Road

He calls us to run;

His path to take,

and work to be done.

Though we’re each called,

to run our own race;

He grants people,

to help set the pace.

Each step we take,

He remains with us;

our strength and help,

precious Lord, Jesus.

Even through pain,

His presence remains;

power when weak,

hope that shall sustain.

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11)

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only commit ourselves to You, but to be invested in Your body. Thank You that You meet us as we move, and You grant us what we need to continue in the direction You are calling us to go. Thank You that even in the places of pressure or pain, You provide Your strength, help and rest, so that we may continue as You are asking. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of perseverance in the press of pain, and teach us to cling to You so that we will rely on Your strength rather than our own. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your majesty. Be exalted O God, as we spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up in our meeting together. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

After Peter and the other apostles had been arrested for sharing the good news of Jesus in the temple courts, an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and set them free to return to sharing the message of hope. The next day, the religious leaders were up in arms, as they found the cell still locked and guarded, yet the men were free and back to preaching, once again. Brought before the Sanhedrin and high priest for questioning, the apostles answered with wisdom and courage. Religious leaders were so infuriated with their response, that they wanted to put them to death at once. However, one Pharisee, Gamaliel, who was greatly honored and admired by all, stood up and spoke. “…Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

There is much to be gleaned from this particular passage. Three things stand out to me the most.

(1) What God calls us to do, He will make a way, even in the face of great adversity.

(2) If we are doing God’s work, He will be with us.

(3) We ought not get in the way of anyone pursuing what they feel God has called them to do. If it is of their own origin, it will likely fail. If it is from God, why on earth would we stand in the way?

 

The call of the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

not for faint of heart;

it takes all our trust,

to each do our part.

The path we’re to walk,

won’t always be smooth;

yet God is faithful,

His goodness He’ll prove.

Stand not in the way,

of those who pursue;

what they feel that God,

has asked them to do.

If what they pursue,

is their origin;

then it’s sure to fail,

before they begin.

Yet if it’s from God,

stand not in their way;

for who wants to fight,

the Lord any day?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue the path You have placed before us, You are present and walk beside us. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, who speaks to our hearts and minds, leading and guiding us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for not listening well, or for questioning the calling of others. Grant us Your wisdom to discern that which is from You, and that which is not. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Lead us to love well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many eyes be opened to the light of Your truth, and hearts tender to receive all that You have to offer. Be exalted O God, as we pursue the path You have placed before us, trusting You no matter the terrain. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

What is the best news you have heard in recent months? For me, a recurring theme is new lives are on the way. I have several friends who are expecting. The anticipation and preparation paired with dear ones readying their hearts and homes to welcome new tiny wonders, is some of my favorite sort of news.

 

The great news of hope in Christ, should carry even more enthusiasm. Not only does coming into a relationship with Him bring new life, but it is a life that is everlasting in Christ’s presence! Jesus takes our brokenness and sinfulness, and heals and restores so that we are whole and considered righteous before Him. Christ’s love is so transformational, it should be a struggle to stay silent about all the wonders He has done. Just as Peter and John replied to the Sanhedrin when ordered to stop speaking and teaching about Christ, so too should our response be the same. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) May we go forth in wonder, sharing of all that He has done.

 

The great news of Christ,

My own tiny blessings a few years ago... <3

My own tiny blessings a few years ago… ❤

a message of hope;

He removes our stains,

and leads as we lope.

A wondrous exchange,

our sin for His grace;

His love that transforms,

bright light in dark space.

How can we not speak,

of what we have heard;

in Him we have hope,

our future, secured.

Let us all go forth,

with great joy, speak out;

point all to the Lord,

the One secure route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the best news we have ever received. Thank You that in You, we have forgiveness, grace, love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more! Thank You that You welcome all who come with repentant hearts seeking after You. Forgive us for staying silent when Your truth needed to be told. Grant us boldness, so that we will speak of what we have seen and heard as You call us to share, and give us wisdom to know how much or how little You would have for us to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be still before You, listening intently for Your voice to whisper words to our heart. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they cannot help but see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we love and serve those around us. Be glorified O God, as we speak of the great news we have in You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

After Peter and John had been used to heal a beggar in Jesus’ Name, they suddenly had a captive audience that was ready to hear what they had to say. Peter capitalized on the opportunity, as he unpacked all that had recently taken place with Jesus, before the open onlookers. As he did so, Peter pointed out (1) who Jesus was, (2) how they had rejected Him, (3) why their rejection was fatal, and (4) what they needed to do to change the situation. (NIV footnotes for Acts 3:11) The solution Peter presented was delivered a few verses later. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. – (Acts 3:19)

 

Restoration and refreshment from God, come when we repent and turn in trust to Him. In doing so, He wipes away all of our sin and shame, and refreshes our hearts and minds in Him. To repent, we must turn away from our own unrighteousness, and turn toward Christ. Repentance is both an act of our will and an exercise of His power within us. We cannot turn away from what entangles us if we do not trust that He will set us free. God is far greater than anything that attempts to attack or create anxiety – we however, must trust that God is who He says He is. May we turn to God, repent, and receive His refreshment.

 

The Name above all,Refreshment Through Repentance

rejected and killed;

a fatal mistake,

change need be instilled.

The solution clear,

presented quite plain;

repent before God,

Who wipes away stains.

Refreshing shall come,

when God has been sought;

for He sets us free,

our redemption bought.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with repentant hearts, and You receive us as we come. Thank You that You forgive us, refresh and renew us, so that we are made right before You again. Forgive us for our reluctance to repent, or for keeping hidden that which is seen by You anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might keep short accounts before You, quick to confess and rapid to receive, all that You have for each of us. Lead us to love one another with the same sort of mercy and grace that You extend to each of us. May many come to know You personally, as we live and love according to Your purpose. Be glorified O God, as we repent and receive Your refreshment. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – (Exodus 15:13)

 

Just as God led the Israelites, whom He had set free from captivity out of Egypt, and ultimately brought them into the Promise Land, He will still do the same for us today. It is the Lord’s unfailing love that leads us, as He is patient and kind, despite our grumbling and lack of faith along the way. Any of us who are in Christ, have been redeemed. He has paid the penalty for our sin, and is leading us away from where we once were, into a new space of freedom in Him. The holy dwelling to which He is leading, is not a temporary stop along our path, but rather is our final destination, which will be our eternal home with Christ forever. May we receive His unfailing love, and allow His strength to guide us to the holy dwelling that He has prepared for us all.

 

It’s unfailing love,Unfailing Love Leads

that leads us all home;

that sets our hearts right,

draws back when we roam.

Those who have sought Christ,

have become redeemed;

considered His own,

in love, He shall lead.

His strength will guide us,

His ways He will tell;

He’ll grow and guide us,

’til heaven we dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us in Your unfailing love. Thank You that You redeem all who call on Your Name. Thank You that by Your strength You guide us to Your heavenly home. Forgive us for our fear and grumbling that lead us to wander aimlessly in the desert, rather that follow the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and obey all that You are asking. Help us to love others as You so patiently love each of us. May many come into a new space of freedom forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we are led by Your unfailing love. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

So often we want instant results, or at least answers that will give an inkling of an idea as to when resolution will come, healing will happen, or breakthrough will be brought forth. Faith, however, does not work that way. God’s timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Just as God led Moses and the Israelites on a longer route around the Philistines to protect them from unseen obstacles, so too may His purpose be in the delay or different direction than we had hoped for. When the disciples gathered and were anxiously awaiting the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Jesus responded to them. He said to them; “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. 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 1:7-8)

 

Jesus has plans for us all, even as we wait. We are called to share of His goodness and grace, here in this place. When we choose Christ, He equips and empowers us to do that to which we have been called. Often it is in the delays, the distractions and redirections that we discover the depth of His provision and power, granted to us for a time such as this. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth in His grace, even as we wait for that which is yet to come.

 

May our hearts prepare,Discovery in Delays

for this is the time;

to rise up in faith,

to seek the Divine.

Though there is waiting,

there’s much to be done;

our pause has purpose,

to point to the Son.

Empowered by Christ,

His Spirit indwells;

the grace to go forth,

His presence propels.

Let nothing deter,

from God’s loving plan;

listen and follow,

He’ll lead us to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your timing is not our timing, and though we don’t necessarily understand why there are delays and detours, we know that You are good and can trust that Your way is for our benefit. Thank You that You have our very best in mind. Thank You that You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit as we wait, and entrust us to go forth and share of all that You have done. Forgive us for not trusting Your timing or for staying stuck when You are calling us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will make the most of the wait, and discover all that You will do in the detours and delays. Lead us to love others as You so thoroughly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we allow Your power to prevail in our pauses. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Today, my reading plan had me reading both Exodus 6-8, and Luke 23. Though there were many individual verses that I could have highlighted, the thing that stood out to me the most, was the way in which both Moses and Jesus chose to remain faithful to their calling in captivity. Moses, was appealing to Pharaoh for the people of Israel to be set free to go into the desert to worship, and Jesus was being held after His arrest, as He was bruised, beaten and tried six times before various courts – none of which could find Him guilty, in obedience to be the sacrifice for all of our sins.

 

In both portions of scripture, God had called each to a specific task. For Moses, he was being asked to lead a nation out of captivity when the ruler of the nation paid no regard to his requests. Jesus, was being asked to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He knew the pain He was called to endure. Neither story seemed to go smoothly. Both bore the burden before them, and endured enormous adversity to ultimately arrive in the place to which they had been called. This can be a bit overwhelming, yet completely encouraging, as we know that in all things, God is faithful to those who trust in Him. Though we may not see what He is doing in the midst of adversity, we can trust that He has a plan and a purpose for everything that we endure, and that He will utilize each trial and triumph for our ultimate good. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ alone, as He is faithful to walk beside us, be it in trial or triumph.

 

When life surrounds you,Tether Our Hearts

forced captivity;

choose trust in the Lord,

to keep your heart free.

For only in Christ,

is true freedom known;

set free from our sin,

where His grace is shown.

Though often unseen,

His purpose is clear;

to love each of us,

as we choose draw near.

Let us seek the Lord,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to the truth,

Christ, the faithful One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us great examples of those who have endured tremendous trials by depending on You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, Your presence is promised, and Your hope is secure. Thank You that You are faithful to remain with us, even when we are unaware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and faltering faith when the fight becomes too much, and teach us to tether our hearts and minds to You alone. Give us Your eyes to see things through an eternal perspective, so that we may remember that all that is in the here and now is only temporary, yet that which is yet to come, is forever. Lead us to love intentionally, just as You so purposefully and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

God often calls us to step out in areas where we feel the most ill-equipped. Moses was a man who claimed to be slow in speech, yet God called him to go and speak to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. He was being asked to speak not only before the powerful ruler of a nation, but to gather and speak before those whom he was called to lead as well.

 

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on the mountain.” – (Exodus 3:11-12)

 

Moses felt inadequate and afraid for the task to which he had been called. God understood his fears, and assured Moses that He would be with him and that there would be clear evidence of His presence when all was said and done. God still does the same for us today. Though He calls us to that which we often feel the most ill-equipped, His presence is promised and His help, assured. It is far better to be in a scary space of total dependence on God, than a fearless space that we try to traverse on our own. May we rise up and respond in faith to that which Christ calls us to do, trusting that Him who calls us will also provide all that we need to navigate in the new.

 

God calls us to go,Trust in the Asking

where we think we can’t;

and asks us to do,

what we think we shan’t.

Inadequacies,

our personal fears;

the true barriers,

that make paths unclear.

Lord help us to hear,

Your promises true;

that You will be near,

to see us each through.

May we each rise up,

take heart and obey;

Lord, grant us the strength,

to walk in Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if You call us to do something, You will provide what is needed to see us through. Thank You that Your calling us to the difficult teaches us to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for focusing on our own inadequacies rather than on how great You are, and help us to reset our focus. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what You ask, we are willing to say “YES” and trust You to provide what is needed to accomplish what You are asking. Help us to love others as You so willingly and wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus, as we move in obedience, even when we feel ill-equipped. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

%d bloggers like this: