Gaining Life

When both blessings and trials come our way, the thing which matters most, is where we choose to stand. Are we being tossed to and fro by the tides of change, or are our feet securely planted on the Rock that cannot be moved? By standing firm you will gain life. – (Luke 21:19)

 

To stand firm, is to place our hope and faith in Christ, no matter how difficult the situation. Christ has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort, protect and provide for our every need. Our assurance in Him ought to grant us the courage to stand strong in the Lord, as He alone is the way to eternal life. May we hold fast to His promises, and know that all in this life is fleeting, but that which is yet to come, is eternal.

 

Blessings and trials,Gaining Life

will both come our way;

how will we choose stand,

throughout day to day?

Thrown, tossed to and fro,

by changing of tides;

or trusting in Him,

where all hope resides.

The Lord is the rock,

that cannot be moved;

He’s safe and secure,

His promises proved.

May we choose stand firm,

and set aside strife;

hold fast to the Lord,

and in Him, gain life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Rock on which we can stand secure. Thank You that no matter what goes on around us, You will not be moved. Thank You that when we stand firm in You, our future is secure for all of eternity. Forgive us for our fearfulness and weariness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hold fast to You, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You so tenderly and generously love each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You, so that futures are forever secure in You. Be exalted O God, as we stand firm in You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Intended for Good

Joseph’s story is one of great faithfulness and forgiveness. Despite Joseph having been sold into slavery by his brothers, he chose to trust God, and remained faithful in each situation he found himself in. It was evident each time injustice or false accusations befell him, that Joseph did not get angry, bitter, nor hold a grudge. Each time, he opted to forgive and focus on what God was asking of him in his present circumstance, no matter how dismal it appeared. Ultimately, Joseph’s faithfulness resulted in his rise to second only to the Pharaoh, and what God had taught him through his trials,ended up preserving not only he and his extended family, but an entire nation.

 

After Joseph had reestablished relationship with his brothers and his father, his brothers became fearful once Jacob, their father died. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly. – (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery, but he reassured and spoke to them with kindness. Joseph modeled the very same sort of grace and forgiveness that God affords us, though we deserve it not. May we receive what Christ freely gives, and go forth and offer the very same grace to all those who surround us.

 

Despite harm’s intent,MSH29

God used it for good;

by trusting the Lord,

his heart understood.

Though likely unknown,

the number of tests;

his faith still remained,

in He who grants rest.

For Joseph, he knew,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

through times of trials,

and seasons of rest.

His faith remained strong,

no matter what came;

for He knew that God,

would triumph and reign.

May each one of us,

have faith as he had;

no matter what comes,

trust our Holy Dad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of unwavering faithfulness presented through Joseph, despite the many trials that he endured. Thank You that it is obvious to see Your faithfulness as he was faithful. Thank You too for such a remarkable story of forgiveness and redemption. Forgive us for our unforgiveness or our lack of faithfulness when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most dire of circumstances. Lead us to love others as Joseph loved his brothers – with kindness and graciousness, no matter what has been done unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord, as they come to understand who You are, and how You love and forgive by Your glorious grace. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to love and forgive as You love and forgive each of us. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Blessing Our Boys

Though not intended to be read in isolation, the portion of the passage that stands out to me the most this morning, is a verse from Jacob’s blessing to Joseph’s sons. The Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth. – (Genesis 48:16)

 

Today, our household celebrates the coming of age of our two boys, as they traverse into the trials and triumphs of their teen years. Cautious and Adventurous made their debut into the world thirteen years ago. It is my ongoing prayer that they be protected from all harm, that they walk in the way of the Lord, and follow Him all the days of their lives. Both are tender-hearted young men, who love the Lord and are seeking to serve Him. God’s grace and an army of faithful family and friends have brought them from premature newborns to the bright and kind young lads that they are today. May Christ continue to grow them into the men they are called to become, and may they serve Him all of their days.

 

Double the blessing,Blessing Our Boys

two times as much grace;

so lavished in love,

in seeking Your face.

For given to us,

our duo of joy;

far more than we’d hoped,

from our little boys.

God keep them from harm,

in Your tender care;

may they bear Your light,

O Lord, hear my prayer.

Grow them in Your grace,

and strong in Your love;

proud to praise You, Lord,

our Father above.

Let their life purpose,

be known early on;

grow them and lead them,

in You, make them strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings that my boys have been. Every single day I am in awe of how You grow and use them to show me more of Yourself. Thank You for the gift of children. Forgive me for my frustration and lack of patience at times, and grant me wisdom and grace to grow them ever closer to You and Your purpose for their lives. Lead me to love them as You love me. May we together, love others, so that they might see You. Let many come to know You as Savior and King, as we each pursue the fulfillment of our purpose. Be glorified O God, as we love our children as You love us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the dream that has come so far, enjoy a previously written poem by clicking the highlighted link. Let Freedom Ring.

Weighty Words

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” – (Luke 18:38-42)

 

Though a seemingly simple exchange, the weight of the words are extremely significant. Religious leaders who had studied scriptures and seen Jesus speak and do the miraculous before their own eyes, did not recognize Him as the Messiah. A blind man, who begged by the side of the road and likely only heard stories of what Jesus had done, believed and called out to Christ by Name. He knew that the One passing before him on the road, was Him alone who could restore his sight. Though desperate and destitute, the blind man had enough faith to cry out to Christ. Even when he was hushed, he called out all the louder, in hope of being heard. His act of faith resulted in his being seen, heard and healed. May we too, recognize the power present in our Messiah, and call on Him in faith in all things and at all times. May our response also be to follow, praising God for all that He is.

 

Merciful Savior,Weighty Words

He hears when we call:

He gives us His time,

and loves us through all.

Christ beckons us near,

draws us closer still;

hears each faithful cry,

with His peace, He’ll fill.

We need to persist,

choose trust and believe;

the Lord is faithful,

by grace, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us such clear evidence of who You are. Thank You for Your Word and for sending Your Son to show us the way unto You. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our unbelief, and grant us the same sort of sight that the blind beggar had, so that we may clearly see that You alone are our only hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as Jesus loved all whom He encountered. May many come to find their hope in You alone, as we faithfully follow You. Be exalted O God, as we praise You for all that You are in our lives. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

When We Call

As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. – (Luke 17:12-14)

 

Ten men who were desperate for healing called out to the Healer. Jesus, who heals, recognized their need, but did not heal them in the moment. Instead, He instructed them in what they were to do, and they obeyed. As the men did as Jesus had asked of them, they received their healing. It was not until they were actively moving forward in obedience, that they began to see the purpose in their path to present themselves before the priests.

 

Often the solutions to our struggles require steps on our part as well. It is easy to stay stagnant in the sorrow, when our expectation is that Jesus will come and lift us out of our space of suffering. Often, He instructs us to move. As we take small steps forward in faith, He meets us and moves mountains that seem to stand in our way, providing the miracle necessary to move on. If we seek Him and listen to hear His instruction, He will lead us and guide us in the way through it, over it, or out of it. Regardless of what the “it” is, His presence will remain with us. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we call out to Him for help, and do all that He asks as He replies.

 

When we call on Christ,When We Call

we need to give ear;

ready to listen,

to faithfully hear.

At times the answer,

will require of us;

steps forward in faith,

all trust in Jesus.

As we start to move,

and faith rises up;

His provision comes,

and fills up our cup.

May we be willing,

to trust and obey;

to seek and persist,

to praise and to pray.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and hearing our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts. Though we do not always understand Your timing, thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we do not see the evidence in the moment. Forgive us for our lack of faith that keeps us stuck and stagnant, and help us to seek You and heed Your every word. Grant us courage to move when You say move. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us, Your created. May many come to know Your perfect love that casts out fear, personally, and trust in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and move in obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

No Matter What Comes

What began as a vengeful act of jealousy by his brothers, led to thirteen years of training and preparation for Joseph to become second in command over all of Egypt. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was purchased and made a servant, honored, falsely accused, imprisoned, honored as a model prisoner, recognized as a faithful servant of God, and finally, was given opportunity to put his faith into action, which resulted in Joseph being elevated to second in command of the whole country. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – (Genesis 31:39-40)

 

Despite the dismal and dire circumstances, Joseph chose to rise up and represent God as a faithful servant in each situation. He worked not unto himself nor for mere man, but worked as though he were serving God Himself. Joseph was faithful with little, and faithful with much. He listened to the Lord in all things, and walked in obedience, even in through the toughest of trials. In God’s perfect timing, Joseph was brought into the position that the Lord had prepared for him. May we patiently persevere as Joseph did, trusting the Lord will use our every trial as training. Let our hearts be prepared, so that we may hear His every word, and be ever ready for His next step for our lives.

 

No matter what comes,No Matter What Comes

choose to seek the Lord;

even in trials,

His grace He’ll afford.

For the hardest times,

are often the source;

that the Lord uses,

to direct our course.

The things that we learn,

while storms around rage;

stretch us and grow us,

a coming of age.

We learn how to trust,

to cling to the Lord;

to hear and obey,

walk in one accord.

With patience hold fast,

have faith in His word;

may our lives make clear,

the truth we have heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and present, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though we may not enjoy times of trial and testing, they are seasons that You use for growing us closer to You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance when times are tough, and grant us Your strength and stamina to rise up in every circumstance, so that our faithfulness unto You is evident. Teach us to trust You more, so that our attitude will be like Joseph’s, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others, just as You choose to completely love each of us, right where we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord God, as the truth of who You are is made known. Be glorified, as we are faithful unto You in all things and at all times, by Your strength. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

How Great the Father’s Love

I never grow weary of the parable of the lost son, as each time I read it, I am reminded of just how great the Father’s love is for each of us. In this story, the son had squandered wealth he should have never asked for, and had sunk to rock bottom. His found himself in the lowliest of positions, destitute and desperate. When the son assessed his situation, he realized that repentance before his father, and a willingness to work as a hired hand were far better options than his present position. So he got up and went to his father. “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (Luke 15:20)

 

The son recognized his sin, repented, and merely hoped to be made a hired hand. Instead, his father ran to meet him from a long way off, embraced him and celebrated his homecoming. God does the same for each of us when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though we may come, simply hoping to somehow be seen as “okay”, He does so much more. Christ welcomes us, gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God Himself. We are granted an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken, and provided promises to propel us along our path. May we receive the glorious gift of God’s grace, and welcome with open arms, the compassion conveyed in His embrace.

 

Foolish and selfish,How Great the Fathers Love

the arrogant son;

ran off and rebelled,

lowly position.

When he had squandered,

all that had been his;

he started longing,

for what he fed pigs.

It was then he knew,

that he must repent;

for his father’s men,

lived far more decent.

Perhaps he would hire,

give a chance, employ;

no longer worthy,

to be called dad’s boy.

So the son set off,

he headed for home;

imagine the awe,

as grace was made known.

For while still far off,

his father, he ran;

to greet and embrace,

this shell of a man.

The gifts that he gave,

assured him his worth;

a chance for new life,

a sense of rebirth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with a repentant heart, You do for us, just as the father did for his son. You meet us where we are, shower us with Your grace, robe us in Your righteousness, celebrate our homecoming, and call us Your own! Thank You that we are welcomed into Your family, no matter where we have come from. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to cover our sin and shame, and that You celebrate and embrace each of us as we choose You. Forgive us for thinking that You could not possibly forgive us for what we have done, or that another around us does not deserve the mercy and grace that You give. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, so that we too, will celebrate and embrace each and every individual who comes into Your kingdom. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize how ready You are to receive everyone who comes. Be glorified O God, as we give and receive Your great love. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Season Our Surroundings

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. – (Luke 14:34-35)

 

Jesus was making a comparison between Christians and salt. Just as salt flavors and preserves food, those who believe and follow Him, are called to flavor and preserve His goodness and grace unto the world. Salt has a distinct flavor and is easily identifiable unless it has lost its saltiness. We too are called to be distinctly different from the world. Our commitment to following Christ should flavor all that we say and do, and therefore be evident to all whom we encounter. May our lives season our surroundings with the grace and goodness of Christ.

 

Let each of my words,To Season the Earth

be seasoned with grace;

and every deed,

point unto Your face.

Make my very life,

Your salt and Your light;

guiding the seeking,

to Your ways, upright.

May goodness be seen,

Your heart clear through mine;

help me be salty,

O Glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to flavor and preserve Your good in the world. Thank You that You do not ask nor expect us to do this on our own, but rather You give us Your Holy Spirit to guide, direct, equip and empower us to do all that You are asking. Forgive us for the times that we have blended in with the world, rather than stood up for You as we should have. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be strong and courageous, trusting You in every circumstance to direct our steps to take the position to which we are called. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your sacrifice. Be exalted O God, as we seek to season our surroundings with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Worth More

Despite how we feel, or how we are received by others, we are highly valued by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

Jesus was speaking to His disciples to beware of the Pharisees, but not to fear. He pointed out that even the sparrows that were sold for mere coins, were not forgotten by God. God intimately knows each of us. He knit us and formed us in our mother’s womb. For each of us, the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm us – a hope and a future. Though people can cause bodily harm, they cannot steal our soul. When we commit our hearts to Christ, we have the security and assurance of His presence now, and all of eternity in heaven. May we rest assured in the security of being intimately known by our loving Savior, who values each one of us, individually.

 

Intimately known,Sparrow2

and loved just the same;

by the Lord of all,

give praise to His Name.

Let’s not be afraid,

to Him we have worth;

He knew us before,

the day of our birth.

The number of hairs,

on our heads are known;

for Christ truly loves,

and calls us His own.

Let each heart rise up,

and give God all praise;

each day unto Him,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are intimately known by You, and loved anyway. Thank You that in You, we have nothing to fear, as You do not forget any of Your created. Thank You that You value each one of us, not for what we have accomplished, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for our feelings that we are somehow forgotten or not covered and cared for. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might slow down and be still, giving our hearts opportunity to hear and acknowledge all that You are, and just how much You love us. Lead us to love others, as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we rise up in recognition of who You are, and the wonder of Your love for all. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6