Archive for February, 2015


If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 

God gives gifts to each of us. The intent of these gifts is that we would use them to love and bless others in such a way, that they may see Him through us. Just having the gifts is not enough. Our motivation and purpose must be fueled by love. For if we have not love, we cannot accomplish the purpose that God has set before us. In fact, the greatest command we are given is to: love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. – (Luke 10:27) If we are loving God and others as we utilize the gifts that He has placed in us, the mountains will be moved, and much shall be accomplished in His strength. May we go forth and love well with all that we have been created to be.

 

Despite the great gifts,Nothing Without Love

found in each of us;

if we have not love,

they are meaningless.

For each of the things,

that God has granted;

purposefully placed,

love’s power planted.

May our focus be,

on those who surround;

and how to love well,

so lost may be found.

With all that we are,

heart, soul, strength and mind;

may we love and serve,

the Lord and mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us good gifts, but even more than that – You give us Your unconditional, incomparable, outrageous and lavish love. Thank You that it is Your love that covers and carries us, and gives us worth. Thank You that when we act in love, we honor You. Forgive us for the times that we have been nothing but ugly noise or empty actions, as we did not act in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that everything we do, will be done in love. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your mighty love for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we do all things in Your love. 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

Wherever we are, and whatever circumstances happen to be surrounding us, Christ is present. Though we may be unaware, Jesus is still right there. As the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oar as a storm had suddenly come upon them, Jesus appeared beside them, and they were afraid. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)  Jesus was aware of their need before they were, and He was present, despite their oblivion to His walk across the water, until He came into plain sight.

 

Waves and wind may be barriers that keep us from clearly seeing Christ in the midst of the storm, yet regardless of what we see, His presence remains. When at last we open our eyes, ears and hearts, our experience will be much like that of the disciples. Jesus reminds us to “take courage“, as He is with us; and when He is present, we do not need to be afraid. May we hear His voice, take courage and be not afraid, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

 

When waters are deep,Seeking Solace in the Storm

and waves crash around;

all hope seeming lost,

in One, we are found.

For Jesus draws near,

He comes where we are;

grants courage and strength,

to carry us far.

His presence is now,

we need not choose fear;

when we call to Him,

His hope is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our hope, and that in You, we need not be afraid. Thank You that when we are standing in the storms, You either calm the storms or soothe our struggling souls. Forgive us for seeking solace anywhere other than in You, and help us to call out to You and listen for Your voice, even in the raging wind and rain, trusting that You will answer. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and find You in all times, so that we will be quick to recognize Your voice calling through the chaos around us. Lead us to love others with Your love that is everlasting. May many come into a place where they will fully receive Your grace for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we take courage and fear not as we go forth. 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

Compassion defined, is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. – (dictionary.com) Meeting together with my book study group, session four unpacked Part 4 – Be the Change, as we continued to discuss the book Undaunted, by Christine Caine.

 

Caine defines compassion in a far more tangible way: “Compassion is never compassion until we cross the street and get involved in someone else’s pain.”   The Bible shows us again and again, examples of what it means to be compassionate towards others. In Luke 10:25-37, both a priest and a Levite pass by a man who had been robbed, beaten and broken on the side of the road. Despite their positions of leadership and their vows to honor God, they disregarded a man in need, and continued on their way. A Samaritan, one whom would have been a sworn enemy of the injured man, looked past societal status and stooped down to help one who would have normally looked down upon him. The Good Samaritan first moved toward the man in the midst of his pain, then attended to his immediate needs, and finally, carried him to a place where continued recovery could be made. (Which he also provided for…) Indeed, the Samaritan crossed the road and got involved in someone else’s pain.

 

How can we do the same? What need to we see that we can cross the road to go and meet? If we attempt to look at every need that exists and try to go out and meet them all, we will become overwhelmed and end up meeting none. Our charge is to listen to the Lord and hear where He is leading us, and then go and do that which He asks. Sometimes it is going to coffee with a struggling friend and just being a listening ear. Other times, He calls us to go out into the trenches and get in the mire and the muck to help dig another out of the ditch. Whatever He asks, He will also equip us to do. May we go forth in His grace and strength, with true compassion that crosses the street to get involved in another’s pain.

 

May we have a heart,Compassion Crosses the Road

that’s willing to hear;

where You are calling,

be it far or near.

Let us be ready,

to do as You ask;

Lord grant us Your strength,

to complete each task.

Help us cross the road,

fear not get involved;

in another’s pain,

may we show resolve.

Let our every act,

show that there is hope;

may our compassion,

help the hurting cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that are the ultimate example of compassion, as You stepped down from heaven and came near, so that we would have a way to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us in the midst of our pain, and that You remain present, no matter how ugly it gets. Forgive us for our reluctance and excuses for not crossing the road to be present in another’s pain, and grant us the wisdom and the strength to hear Your voice and act on every opportunity to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not hesitate to move and jump in, even if we do not feel qualified nor equipped, understanding that if You call us, You too will provide what is needed. Lead us to above all else, love well, just as You have so lavishly loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the fullness of Your grace in the compassion of another’s face, who is obeying You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to cross the street and get involved in another’s pain. Amen.

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

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11)

 

I don’t know about you, but for me, this time of transition between winter and spring, happens to be my busiest season of the year. It is the start of a new semester at school, the time of gearing up for state test preparations, gymnastics season, and all the while I attempt to continue to maintain my usual responsibilities at home, church and within the community. Additionally, I have signed on to take a year-long intensive Bible study course. All of these things are commitments that I am passionate about, yet in my own strength, there is no way that I can complete all that is required and still find time to rest. That being said, God gives me the strength to do that which He calls me to do, and shows me what I can let go for a season, and what I am meant to maintain. All the while, despite the seeming chaos, His peace is present.

 

There are times when God’s strength and peace are provided through other people whom He sends along side me to offer help. Often it is with a simple task, yet typically, it is with the one more thing that has become overwhelming in the moment. We serve a good and loving God, who wants the very best for His children. He desires for us to be strong in Him, and to know His peace as we pursue the path He has placed before us. We will find the Lord and know His strength and peace, when we seek Him with all of our heart.

 

May we seek the Lord,Steady in the Storms

for all of our days;

Source of strength and peace,

for now and always.

Be not overwhelmed,

but rather, seek Him;

His blessings ready,

to pour out again.

For the Lord is good,

His love never ends;

He’s our place of peace,

our Father and Friend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to You people, and that You bless us with Your peace. Thank You that Your strength and peace are not dependant on our circumstances, but rather on our posture toward You. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for choosing to panic and run when chaos and storms come our way. Help us to anchor our souls to the safety of You, so that we may find the security of our safe harbor, no matter what the storms blow in. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response is always to run to You. Lead us to love others with the same sort of love that You lavish upon each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in the storms and receive Your strength and peace. 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

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. 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

As I continue in my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, I so appreciate the reminders of who God is, and how He utilizes all of our life experiences for His glory. “He took what I thought was broken and unworthy – my heart – and made it into something beautiful by giving it to others who are flattened by life and circumstance. This is God’s nature.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) Our places of pain, of peril, or perhaps deep sorrow or regret, when we are willing to give it all to Him, “God can heal every hurt and can turn your scars into signs of strength for His glory.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Our survival through the trials, and our strength that God provides on the other side, can become the hope that others need to see to call upon Him who saves. For when there is hope, strength is found. In Christ, we are able to: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24) May we rise up and recognize where Christ has turned our scars into signs of strength for His glory, and look for opportunities to encourage those who are struggling in similar broken spaces that we have overcome.

 

Discarded, broken,

feeling so alone;

yet always our heart,

was held and was known.

When truth was found out,

forever we changed;

beauty for ashes,

as Christ called our name.

The ugliest scars,

He can use for good;

to rescue the lost,

and misunderstood.

What we see as weak,

is really a space;

for God to enter,

and move in His grace.

Allow Christ to reign,

even in the aches;

scars will become strength,

He makes no mistakes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to utilize every trial and struggle that we go through for Your glory, if we are willing to place them in Your hands. Thank You that You give us beauty for our ashes, and hope where we once were in despair. Thank You that in You, there is lasting joy, even in the mourning. Forgive us for keeping our scars covered and hidden, and help us to allow You to use them to show others the strength and beauty that can come, even after the hard and horrible. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing to do whatever You ask of us. Lead us to love others without reservations, just as You love us with total abandon. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to use our scars as signs of strength for Your glory. 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

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? – (Psalm 27:1, NIV)

 

Lord, You are my Light and my Savior, so why should I be afraid of anyone? The Lord is where my life is safe, so I will be afraid of no one! – (Psalm 27:1, ERV)

 

At times, life can feel overwhelming, and when the world around us is uncertain, it is easy to feel afraid. However, if we fix our eyes on He who created the world and everything in it, our perspective changes and we become more aware of Christ’s capacity to calm the storms, rather than our own ability to ride it out. The Lord is our light in the darkness, and our salvation, even when we feel uncertain. May we run to our Savior, who is our safe space, and release all our fears unto Him.

 

Lord, You are my Light,Where Life is Safe

my Savior, safe space;

there are none to fear,

in Your arms of grace.

For You have a hold,

of my hand and heart;

You lead and You guide,

from finish to start.

Help me ever trust,

Your safety within;

for You are my peace,

where love enters in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Light and our Savior – our safe space in whom we need not fear. Thank You for removing fears and shining Your light and grace in the spaces that are unsettled. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to trust all the more in You. Lead us to shine Your light in the darkness, as we love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we surrender to You as the stronghold in our lives, allowing You to be our strength. 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

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. – (Psalm 23:1-3a)

 

A shepherd leads, loves, cares for and protects his sheep, and knows them each by name. How much more does our Heavenly Father do this for us, as He is our Great Shepherd? As we trust in the Lord to lead us, His path and provision are more than enough to supply all that we need.

 

Green pastures and still waters invoke soothing spaces, as I imagine places that are plentiful in His peace. It is these very spaces that He calls our hearts to come, so that He may restore in us the very peace He intended for our hearts, minds and souls. Regardless of the chaos around us, in Him, there is peace. May we allow the Lord to lead us to lie down in green pastures and sit beside quiet waters, as He restores our souls.

 

Despite the chaos,Our Great Shepherd

He calls us to come;

rest in His pastures,

as tension is unstrung.

Beside still waters,

He restores each soul;

healing what’s broken,

He refreshes, makes whole.

He’s the Good Shepherd,

who knows all our needs;

the Lord will provide,

so that we shall succeed.

Succeed in His ways,

as we trust in Him;

fearless, undaunted,

through the Spirit within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Shepherd who leads us, loves us, guides and protects us, as You take us to places of peace when the world around us is in turmoil, and You restore our souls. Thank You that You are always present, even when we are unaware. Forgive us for not relying on You right away when trials come, or for seeking rest and refreshment anywhere other than where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know the fullness of Your rest and restoration, as we then go forth and give back to a world in need. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we fearlessly follow the path You place before us, and rest and recharge when You ask. 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

The twentieth-century American educator and author Loren Eiseley wrote a short piece titled “The Starfish Story” or “The Starfish Thrower,” which has been told and retold in many versions through the years. In this classic tale, we learn a simple lesson about the difference one person can make. Here’s the gist of the story:

A man walking along an otherwise deserted beach came upon another man throwing into the sea a starfish that had been deposited on the sand by the tide. When the man asked the star thrower his purpose, the thrower explained that the starfish left untended, would be dried by the sun and eventually die. But how, wondered the first man, given that there were thousands of starfish scattered for miles along the the beach. The thrower bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean with all his might. He smiled as he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” – (excerpt from Undaunted, Christine Caine)

 

When we look at the world around us, it is easy to see that there are a multitude of starfish lying on the sand, desperate for someone to come along and extend a hand. At first glance, it may seem too overwhelming to even know where to begin, when there is so much need that surrounds us. We can either choose to turn and walk away, or we can walk toward the need, and pick up one starfish at a time. It may not seem like much in the moment, yet to that one starfish, it is a chance to live.

 

Paul was an ongoing example of a starfish thrower, as he extended hope to all whom he encountered. His circumstances mattered not, for he chose to speak truth and shine the light of Christ wherever his journey took him. When Paul was summoned to appear before King Agrippa, he worried not about his own safety, but rather about sharing the truth that would bring freedom and salvation to all who might hear. Clearly Paul had captured Agrippa’s attention.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – (Acts 26:28-29)

May we rise up and be the change that sees not the multitude and becomes overwhelmed, but rather that we look to each need, individually, and do what we can to offer hope where hope is not.

 

Scattered on the sand,Be the Hope

a vast sea of need;

what am I to do,

to rescue, to feed?

We’re not called to meet,

every need seen;

but to offer hope,

step in, intervene.

Often so simple,

a word or a touch;

an acknowledgement,

can matter so much.

Oh Lord I’m ready,

to offer Your hope;

may Your love and light,

be the safety rope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of “Starfish Throwers” throughout both Your word and history. Thank You that though the need in our world is great, one life touched at a time, can make all the difference. Thank You that You can use us, individually, to offer hope to a hurting world. Forgive us for seeing the need and turning a blind eye because we are overwhelmed or think that we cannot make a difference. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and take each next step of obedience that touches lives as You ask of us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth to be the hope, one life at a time. 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

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