Archive for December, 2015


Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us together in perfect harmony. – (Colossians 3:14, NLT)

 

Love breaks down barriers that nothing else can get through. When we go about our day clothed in the love that Christ has given to us, people respond accordingly. If we automatically greet others with kindness and respect, regardless of how they first appeared, their countenance typically changes to mirror our own.

Yesterday evening as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a little gem that one of my friends had posted. The gist of the article was that the majority of “bad customer service” comes from our approach to the one by whom we are being served as the customer. There are always exceptions, as everyone has a story, but what was written, I have found to be true. My M.O. when out and about is to treat others the way in which I would want to be treated. (Not only has my faith fueled this, but the memory of my teen years of working in retail) As a result, I have had very few “bad experiences” in customer service. Instead, I have had many candid conversations with whomever is at the register where I am making a purchase. Often their day has been long and tiring, and one kind word from a customer, truly makes their day. Watching their countenance transform from weary to animated and smiling, is love binding us together as God’s created. We all have had days that make us weary; and each have had that moment when someone stepped in with an encouraging word. May we clothe ourselves with the love that binds us together in perfect harmony before going out into the world. Let His love lead us, so that we may share well, that which we have been given.

 

Now above all else,Hearts of Thanks

clothe yourselves with love;

which binds together,

united above.

We each have been called,

to share this great gift;

through kindness and grace,

may weary, we lift.

Sometimes the small things,

end up meaning most;

to all whom we meet,

may kindness be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You clothe us with Your love that binds us together in perfect unity. Thank You that by Your grace, we can go forth and extend kindness and love to all whom we meet. Forgive us for not being clothed in Your love, and for responding to people in any way that does not demonstrate Your kindness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will tame our tongues, settle our hearts, and see others through Your eyes. Lead us to love and respond to others as You respond to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves with Your love that binds us together in perfect unity, so that we will go forth and love others as You love each of us. Amen.

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

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

 

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Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5)

 

Now that the final days of school have passed, and our big community outreach event for church has happened, I look ahead to Christmas week and have a choice to make – do I fill every free moment, or will I allow myself to sit in the silence and quietly wait before God, remembering the real reason for this season? My natural inclination is to fill every moment of every day with movement. Run here, visit friends there, last minute shopping, appointments, workouts, activities for the boys… Though each of these things are good, when my days are without pause, they tend to pass me by. If I have built in spaces of silence, I am more reflective, and remember how remarkable my Savior is, and how all of my hope is held in Him. He brings to heart and mind the ways in which He has been my help and my hope, and shows me how I can encourage, love and care for others. If I don’t take pause, I may miss all that He has for me during this most wonderful time of the year. May we all make time to wait quietly before God, and recognize that our hope is found in Him.

 

On a silent night,

Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

image by Diana Lovegrove

in a stable bare;

came the still small cry,

as hope filled the air.

For the baby born,

came to save the lost;

little did they know,

what our sin would cost.

This Love that came down,

hope for all mankind;

that would save the lost,

give sight to the blind.

May we choose to wait,

quietly before;

the Lord of all hope,

Christ, whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make Yourself known to us in quiet stillness, and that we can place our hope in You. Thank You that You are present when we draw near, and You remind us of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for getting caught up in the chaos that can come this time of year, and for not making time to wait quietly before You. Teach us to slow down and sit in Your presence, so that we might recognize the hope that we have in You. Show us how to love, encourage and bless all whom we encounter as we go about each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

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

 

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness… and to guide us to the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, NLT)

 

Christmas is our reminder of exactly this – that Christ, our morning light from heaven, was sent to us in our darkness to guide us to the path of peace. God did this not because we were worthy, but because of His tender mercy. This most holy season is a space where we are given a vehicle to spread His loving light to those entrenched in darkness. Acts of kindness and generosity are more readily received in the name of Christmas, than any other season. May we remember God’s tender mercy that was granted to us, as the morning light from heaven shone brightly upon our own darkness, and led us to His path of peace. In this space of remembering, let us go forth and extend His mercy, light and love to all whom we encounter, so that they too, may come to know His tender path of peace.

 

Let tender mercy,Truth and Light

direct all our steps;

may we choose to love,

through our thankfulness.

As Love came to us,

from heaven to Earth;

light came to darkness,

through sweet infant birth.

The Christ who shows us,

the path to His peace;

our Mighty Savior,

from whom light’s released.

May we each embrace,

the love of our Lord;

and go give away,

the peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the tender mercy that You have for us. Thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to Earth, so that we who were stuck in darkness, could come to know Your glorious light. Thank You that in You, we come to know Your guidance, as You lead us to the path of Your peace. Forgive us for hiding in our darkness, or for not reaching out to those who are stuck in spaces where there is no light. Teach us to trust You more for our protection and direction, and lead us to love others with Your tender mercy in a way that shines light into darkness and points people to Your path of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we embrace Your grace and go forth to give as we have been given. 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

 

 

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. 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

Help me follow Your commands, because that makes me happy. – (Psalm 119:35, ERV)

Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. – (Psalm 119:35, NIV)

Guide me to walk in the way You commanded because I take joy in it. – (Psalm 119:35, The Voice)

 

 

With God’s help, direction and guidance, we can follow His commands; for it is in this space of obedience, that we find delight, knowing that we are doing the very things that God intends for us to do. Peace and joy are found when our walk with Christ is sound. There is comfort in knowing we are walking according to the way in which He is calling. May we seek the Lord for direction and help, and then heed His guidance to walk in His way. Let joy and delight be ours as we do as the Lord commands.

 

 

Lord grant me Your help,Our Map and Our Guide

to follow each day;

all that You command,

to walk in Your way.

Guide me on Your path,

so joy may be found;

as I choose obey,

Your way that is sound.

Direct all my steps,

by grace in Your light;

may I take great joy,

in Your word delight.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You direct our steps with Your commands, and that as we choose follow that which You ask of us, we find joy. Thank You that the joy that is found is in knowing that we are walking in the direction to which You are calling, as there is no greater joy than pleasing and serving You. Forgive us for not heeding Your commands and missing out on the joy that could be ours. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the direction that You lead us. Show us how to love others in a way that follows Your commands and allows hearts to see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your commands and delight in doing what You ask of us. Amen.

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

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

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

 

When we love deeply, we have a greater capacity to forgive. The greatest example I know of this sort of love in my own life, is the love I have for my children. Though I am flawed and far from perfect, I am loved by God, and love my children with all that I am. When they make mistakes or choose to do foolish or rebellious things, I do not love them any less. In their space of being stuck, I come alongside them and correct or redirect in love, and do not hold their errors against them.

Christ has done so much more for us. Every single sin we’ve ever done is washed away with our acceptance of His love for us. When we choose Him, His love covers all of our sin and shame, and makes us acceptable before the Father. Additionally, He grants us the capacity to love others with His love, so that we too, might forgive others as we have been forgiven. May we go forth and love each other deeply, so that we are willing to forgive one another, just as we have been forgiven. As we choose to do as Christ has done for us, love wins.

 

Most importantly,Acceptance As We Acknowledge

let love lead the way;

with one another,

all of each new day.

For love’s great power,

covers over sin;

it helps us forgive,

it is how love wins.

So let us each choose,

deeply love others;

give grace and forgive,

sisters and brothers.

As we love as Christ,

so many shall see;

what love truly is,

and how to be free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us deeply, and You love for us covers all of our sin as we accept what You have done for us. Thank You that the very same love that You give to us, You place in our hearts to pass on to one another. Forgive us for not loving one another as You designed us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on Your loving kindness and grace to cover over the things that we think we are unable to get past. Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Show us how to love relentlessly and deeply, so that others may come to know Your grace through the You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 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

 

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NLT)

 

I teach in a growing community. Three brand new mega-apartment complexes will have opened in our city by this time next year. One of the complexes will house students that will attend the school where I teach. This can be both terrific and terrifying for teachers. On one hand, it provides an opportunity for a whole new group of students to care for and embrace, yet on the other, it can be a nerve-wracking thing, as there are many variables that are unknown, leaving questions unanswered and planners without a proper path to plan. The first housing community opened just prior to the start of the school year, and housed far more students than had been projected. With so many more students than anticipated, schools were scrambling to figure out the best ways to meet student needs, and accommodate numbers in the classrooms.

Thankfully, the first opening taught our district how we might best prepare for the next. With the second community six weeks or so away from opening and sending students to my school, we are working to make the transition to a new place as pleasant as possible. What has been determined, is that if we go as peacemakers and ambassadors to meet the families before they come to register students for school, there will be familiar friendly faces that they know are for them, and ready to help welcome them to their new school community. It is a way of planting seeds of peace. I imagine that an investment of time and care will reap a harvest of right relationships between school and community in the long run.

May we choose to be peacemakers wherever we go, planting seeds of peace. Let the harvest be one of righteousness before the Lord.

 

Let us go in peace,

Forgiveness is Free

wherever we go;

to plant well Your seeds,

of truth that we know.

May what is then reaped,

be Your righteousness;

so all whom we meet,

will come to feel blessed.

Let Your love lead us,

in all that we do;

in word and in deed,

all glory to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever we go. Thank You that as we do, a harvest of righteousness is reaped. Please watch over and bless each family that is preparing to moving into our community – provide protection, direction and all that they need. Forgive us for not sowing peace in places that need it most, and help us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of peace, no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to plant seeds of peace everywhere we go, and how to love as You first loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever You direct our steps. 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

Since we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

 

We have an unshakable hope in Christ. His presence now and His kingdom yet to come, are reasons for us to give God thanks and worship Him with reverence and awe; for He is faithful and His love never fails. When our hearts offer Him sincere thanks and praise, it is pleasing before Him. Who would not want to please the very One who gives us life, love, hope and help for all of our days? May we begin our day with gratitude and hearts turned to worship Him – for He alone is worthy of all of our thanks and praise.

 

Unshakable hope,Faith for Forever

granted by the King;

given unto us,

let our praises ring.

All of our worship,

and all of our praise;

belong to the Lord,

for all of our days.

What is even more,

our great God is pleased;

when we come to Him,

in awe, thanks released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we receive an unshakable kingdom in You. Thank You that when we give You our thanks and praise with reverence and awe, You are pleased. Thank You that Your kingdom is in our hearts now, and grants us hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for not giving You all of our thanks and praise, or for not having a healthy reverence and awe toward You. Teach us to recognize the reality of how You are both a loving Father and the mighty God who reigns. Show us how to have a proper perspective, so that we would not hesitate to draw near, yet have reverent hearts full of gratitude. Lead us to love others relentlessly, so that they may come to understand just how valuable they are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your unshakable kingdom, and give You all of our thanks and praise. 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

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

This season is full of wonder. It is a joy to see through the eyes of a child. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my niece, who is three. She is smarter than most, yet completely child-like in her awe and wonder. Her faith in what is good is untainted, and she has high hopes for all that she cannot see. Just as she trusts that treasures will be waiting under her tree on Christmas morning, she knows that Jesus loves her and watches over she and her family. She cherishes with anticipation all that lies ahead, and firmly believes in the goodness of her family’s love. May we too have a child-like wonder in this joyous season, as we remember the reason we celebrate. May our hearts be confident in what we hope for, and assured about that which we do not see.

 

Let awe and wonder,

Awe in the Unseen

fill our hearts this year;

as we celebrate,

that Christ chose come near.

May each heart choose trust,

in the hope we hold;

faith in the unseen,

as Christ’s love unfolds.

We need simply look,

around us to see;

proof of the unseen,

to humanity.

All thanks be to God,

for hope that is found;

through Jesus, His Son,

let praises resound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to earth to make that which is unseen, seen. Thank You that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we can be confident in what we hope for and have assurance about what we do not yet see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, remembering all that You have done and continue to do on our behalf so that we need not fear. Show us how to cherish this season of Your arrival with anticipation, and how to love others in a way that conveys the very same sort of sacrificial love that You have given us, unto others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 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

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. – (Hebrews 6:18, NLT)

 

What a remarkable blessing we hold in Christ. Whatever God has promised, He will do; for He does not lie. We can place all of our trust in Him to be our refuge and our source of strength. All confidence is ours in Christ, when we hold fast to the hope that lies before us in the promises present for both today and forever. Though people and circumstances change around us, the Lord is steadfast and remains the same yesterday, today and forever. There is such reassurance in knowing that the very same God who gave us life and breath and being, is He who will never leave us nor forsake us. His faithfulness knows no end. May we flee to our Redeemer to be our refuge, and rise up in confidence knowing that we can be certain of what is hoped for in Him.

 

God, He has given,Bold and Unhindered

both promise and oath;

unchangeable things,

with all hope to hold.

The Lord cannot lie,

He remains the same;

our place of refuge,

in His holy Name.

With great confidence,

we have hope to hold;

for what lies ahead,

as each day unfolds.

Let the God of grace,

fill our hearts and minds;

with the good He gives,

let us love mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us both Your promise and Your oath. Thank You that these are unchangeable things, because You do not change. Thank You that we can trust You to be our place of refuge and can hold fast to the hope that lies before us, because You alone are good. Forgive us for forgetting that You are not like man, and all that You say is worthy of all of our trust. Teach us to trust You and Your word with all that we are, so that we cling to the hope that we hold in You. Show us how to love others so that they too may find confidence in the hope to which we hold for all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our refuge, and hold tightly to the hope we have in You for all that lies ahead. 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

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