Archive for January, 2016


And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

As I woke and sat down to begin my quiet time, I began to reflect on how guarded I have become with even those who are most dear to me. I know much of it is my automatic response of self-preservation, and has absolutely nothing to do with my people, and everything to do with my circumstances – yet I recognize that it is not the way that God intends for me to be. I am quite visual, so a few scenes flashed through my mind, and my heart was pulled to the pages that remind me of the truth. Though He has already given me His Spirit, and renewed my heart and mind, there are times when we really need our Master Surgeon’s touch in a specific area. God is gentle and kind, and loves us to life, even in the dark and dying places. Where we are fearful or stubborn to hold fast to what we think will keep us safe, He lovingly reminds us that He is far stronger than our circumstances, and will go before us, with us and behind us – so we need not worry about the “what ifs“. May we be quick to trust He who holds our hearts in His hands, and allow Him to give us the new heart He has prepared for us. His heart for us is one of tenderness and love, and seeks to pursue all that He has for us, in His strength.

 

When our hearts grow hard,

and our love is cold;Receive Life

we must trust the Lord,

take His hand to hold.

For He will remove,

the hardness of heart;

and put in its place,

a gentle, kind part.

His Spirit in us,

is tender and kind;

to lead and to guide,

and when we seek, find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new tender and loving heart in exchange for our hard, stubborn ones. Thank You that when we seek You, You show us how to live and love according to Your will, not our own. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become hard or walled in by fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain tender-hearted toward You and all whom You call us to love well. Show us how to love as You love, so that others too, will desire a new heart in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to touch the places in our hearts that hold hurts that keep us from loving completely, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

 

It is easy for me to get so busy in the routine of my day, that I don’t realize how desperately I am in need of His grace. Often, He has already given it, which is why I am still standing, yet when I take pause and set my sight on Him, I recognize how much I need His grace, mercy and ongoing presence in order to navigate an ordinary day in His way. God is always available. He never leaves; He patiently waits for us to come. Our charge is to seek Him, as God is gracious and full of mercy. His arms are wide open and He is ready to grant us what is needed to faithfully honor Him in all that we do. May we boldly approach the throne of God, ready to receive His mercy and grace, as He loves us through the trials and triumphs of all of our days.

 

With boldness, let’s seek,

the throne of our God;Gentleness for the Weary

for that’s where our hearts,

hear heaven’s applaud.

All thanks for mercy,

gratitude for grace;

that He freely gives,

when we seek His face.

Whatever our need,

He comes where we are;

He holds hands and hearts,

collects tears in jars.

Our great gracious God,

gives hope in our need;

He helps and He loves,

our hungry soul feeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne. Thank You that as we do, You grant us Your grace and mercy to help us when we need it most. Forgive us for trying to navigate our trials on our own, rather than seeking You and Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would boldly and with unwavering faith, come to You with our trials and triumphs, thankful that You are with us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way, so that they may find mercy, grace and hope through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before You in all things and at all times, trusting You to be our help and our hope. Amen.

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

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

This is one of my favorite verses, as it is a great reminder to continue to press in and move forward, even if things do not appear to be part of “a path made plain” before me. So often when we are moving in the direction to which we are called, obstacles and opposition come against us. Things that challenge our strength and our courage come at us, causing us to become discouraged and question the direction we are headed. It is essential that we know and trust His will for our lives, and operate in His strength and courage, no matter what comes our way. When trials come, we must choose to trust. As opposition operates against us, we must push back to overcome. Discouragement and fear are not from God, so it is good to remember that those things are not ours to keep. God gives us strength and courage, hope and love – the things we need to keep marching forward in the direction to which we have been called. May we rise up and release fear and discouragement, and lay hold of the strength and courage that God is granting us for every step of every day.

 

Be of great courage,

have strength in the Lord;Bold in Battle

for He’ll be with us,

each step we afford.

We’ve nothing to fear,

with God on our side;

for He’s far greater,

let our hearts abide.

Be not discouraged,

when challenges come;

for our God’s with us,

Great Conquering One.

There’s no depth nor height,

to where we can go;

where God’s not with us,

and His strength shall show.

Be strong and be brave,

do not be afraid;

God will be with you,

each step of each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, in Your great love for us, command us to be strong and courageous – not in our own strength, but in Yours. Thank You that we do not need to be afraid nor discouraged when trials or troubles come, for You remain present with us, no matter what surrounds us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and discouragement that leads us to want to give up or causes us to question the very things that You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stand in the strength and courage that You provide, no matter what we see or feel around us. Show us how to love others with strength and courage too, so that they may see Your presence in us, and desire the same for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we go forth in Your strength and courage to do and become all that You are calling us into. Amen.

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

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

“Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, ERV)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the wind beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” – (Matthew 7:24-25, NLT)

 

The foundation on which we build our lives, matters. If we seek the Lord and pursue understanding as we walk in obedience to His ways, we establish the foundation of who we are in Him, who cannot be shaken. Though storms will come, as they inevitably do, when we are firmly rooted in Christ, even the scariest of storms may shake us, but it will not destroy us. He upholds us through the wind and waves, and grants us safety in the storm. Christ keeps us and cares for us, despite the seemingly destructive force around us. May we listen to His voice and obey all He asks, as His word and His way are the foundation that set our lives secure to withstand every storm.

 

True wisdom displayed,

is through how we build;The Word of God

our true foundation,

where our hearts get filled.

If we seek the Lord,

pursuing His ways;

we won’t be shaken,

on the stormy days.

For our God remains,

steadfast and secure;

true place of safety,

when all is unsure.

Let our hearts delight,

in Christ we can trust;

in Him we’ll remain,

marked as God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we build our lives listening and obeying You, we have a firm foundation that will not fall when the storms of life come our way. Thank You that You are God with us, when all is being tossed and turned about. Thank You that You keep us steady and secure, regardless of what is going on around us. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and fixing our gaze on the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the storm and recognize that it is simply another opportunity to see Your mighty power at work in us and around us as You lead us through it. Show us how to love others well, as they feel stranded in their own storms. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen and obey what You have to say, so that we establish a firm foundation in You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He want you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

 

When our focus is on God and living for Him, the places where we lack, seem to take care of themselves. Often our perceived need is recognized as a mere want, and our needs that we had not even yet identified are fulfilled through our Great Provider. God gives us all that we need for today, so that we need not worry about tomorrow. Though through human eyes and understanding it may not make sense, all we can do is our part, and trust Him to do what we cannot. No, we cannot sit idly by and wait for the skies to part and manna to fall from heaven, but we can trust Him to meet us where we are lacking, despite our best effort in moving the direction in which we are called. The very same God who fed five thousand with a few fish and loaves of bread, can multiply our little to do so much more. May we seek God in all things and live for Him, trusting that He will provide that which is needed where we are lacking.

 

Go unto the Lord,

first and above all;

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

live right before Him,

and answer His call.

Trust God in all things,

for He is our Source;

our Great Provider,

who will map our course.

He will not call us,

and then let us fall;

we‘re meant to trust Him,

in great things and small.

All that we may need,

our God is enough;

to meet and provide,

who makes smooth the rough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You above all else, and choose to live for You, You provide all that we need. Thank You that despite our own perception, we lack NOTHING in You. Thank You that You meet our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs – regardless of how great or small. Thank You that You care about every detail, and that You know us intimately and individually. Forgive us for our fear and doubt when there appears to be no possible way forward, despite Your call in that direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep taking the steps of faith that You call us to take, in spite of what we see. Show us how to love others in a way that helps provide where they are lacking, and points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your kingdom above all else, living as You call us to live; and may we model lives that trust in Your provision, as You provide all that is needed and more. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

“Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God’s kingdom belongs to them.” – (Matthew 5:3, ERV)

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – (Matthew 5:3, NLT)

 

It is only when we recognize our desperate need for God, that we actively and whole-heartedly pursue Him. When we seek Him, we find Him. God blesses all who earnestly seek Him with His presence and His promises. Hope is found when we identify our need for Christ and allow Him to come and rule and reign in our lives. The security of salvation is the greatest blessing that anyone can ever behold. To confidently claim the Kingdom of Heaven as our ultimate destination, is a space of blessed assurance granted to all who realize and act upon their need for God. May we rise up and respond, recognizing that we all desperately need the Lord in our lives. Let us lay hold of the promises He has granted and the hope we hold forever in Him.

 

Come all you weary,

broken and in need;

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

for God’s great blessings,

are for souls to feed.

He promises hope,

where none has been found;

He holds a future,

that in Him, is sound.

The greatest treasure,

is granted to all;

who earnestly seek,

on God, choose to call.

For heaven awaits,

all who trust in Him;

blessed assurance,

day out and day in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we recognize our own need for You and seek You, we find You and are granted Your great blessings. Thank You that as we place our trust in You, we receive the blessed assurance of both Your presence now and life everlasting in heaven. Forgive us for not laying hold of the great blessings that You have already granted to us, and help us to trust You more so that we would embrace the promises that You have given and hold fast to the hope we have both now and forevermore. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may feel loved and blessed beyond what makes sense. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize our own need for You, and embrace all that You have given to us. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

 

No matter what comes, God is with me and I can trust Him. He is safety in the storm and a strong tower when all around me seems to be shaking. God is light and life and hope, and strength and courage come when I lean into Him. May we hold fast to the truth, and declare the safety and security that can be found in Christ alone, when we choose to trust in Him.

 

Let us choose declare,

the truth of the Lord;Gods protection

our hope and refuge,

granted, not implored.

Our place of safety,

throughout all life’s storms;

He’ll hold and keep us,

while further faith forms.

He is our great God,

in whom we can trust;

forever choose rise,

leave fear in the dust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our God and that we can place all of our trust in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of faith when the storms of life come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You as our refuge, and find shelter in the shadow of Your wings. Help us to hold fast to the truth of who You are and how You are forever faithful to those who follow You. Show us how to love others in a way that provides Your safety and kindness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we declare the truth of who You are, and how we can trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

 

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see what He did and worship Him. They will put their trust in the Lord. – (Psalm 40:3, ERV)

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. – (Psalm 40:3, NLT)

 

When we choose to invest our lives in Christ, we are an ongoing work in progress. As we listen to His heart for us, we cannot help but find that a new song is resonating within us. Our praise is purposeful as we stand in awe of the goodness of God. The life that we lead becomes the song that we sing – to God and before others. When our hearts hold gratitude, that is what overflows in the things that we say and do. Praise perpetuates praise. People see the positive power that God with us has, and want it for themselves. Trust in the Lord comes, as people recognize who He is, and how He loves. May we rise each day, ready to sing the new song that He is birthing within us, and love well, all whom we encounter.

 

Old song of sorrow,

such melancholy;

Strength to Sing

by Hannah Queen @ honeyandjam.com

in Christ is transformed,

to sweet melody.

For in a heart full,

of thanks and of praise;

a new song shall rise,

to Ancient of Days.

Our song shall be sweet,

tender and with grace;

making others want,

peace in their own space.

Desire to know,

our reason for praise;

let us keep singing,

to show of His ways.

O Lord, may our hearts,

give glory to You;

so people may know,

the light of Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and place our trust in You, You give us a new song to sing. Though we will still have struggles and trials, the melody of our lives is one of thanks and praise for all that You are and all that You do. Thank You that You are present and trustworthy, and that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for hiding the song that You place in our hearts to sing. Teach us to trust You more, so that our very lives will sing of Your loving kindness and grace. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they will see You through us. May many come to place their trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we let our lives sing the new song You place in our hearts. Amen.

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

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

Immediate obedience is what the Lord asks of us, but so often, it takes a bit of time to either wrap our heads around what exactly it is that He is asking, or to find the faith to step out and do that which we are being called to do.

 

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and His mother,” the angel said…”because Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, His mother. (Matthew 2:13-14, NLT)

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel…” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and His mother. (Matthew 2:19-21, NLT)

Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for a region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth… (Matthew 2:22b-23a, NLT)

 

Joseph is acknowledged for his obedience to marry Mary, despite what was perceived. He listened to the angel of the Lord, and did what was right in the eyes of God. That being said, I’ve never given much thought to the steps of obedience that he carefully took after the birth of Jesus. I wonder if he had been so eternally changed by his initial visit by an angel, that he was on constant standby to hear the instructions of the Lord, as he was well aware of the significance of his role in raising the Son of God? Joseph was human and he had a free will. He did not have to obey what was asked of him, but he did – and he did so immediately. His decisions had an impact on all of history. God guided him, but Joseph chose to obey.

 

How often are we in such circumstances? Though we are not raising the Son of God, what if we are raising the next leader of a church, a city, an organization or a nation? What we do matters. Our obedience has the capacity to shape not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. We never really know the significance of our decisions, until long after they have been made. May we listen well for His voice, and choose to step out in obedience as soon as we hear what He is asking. Let the Lord be our strength, courage and light, as we move in the direction that He calls us to go.

 

When God speaks to us,

do we choose obey?Break Camp and Move Out

Does our heart move now,

or wait one more day?

What is the impact,

of obedience?

It’s not about us,

nor our convenience.

Our one decision,

could open the way;

for His light to shine,

on the darkest day.

Our obedience,

matters a great deal;

for God uses us,

to show that He’s real.

Let hearts be open,

and ears set to hear;

may we choose obey,

without pause or fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples in Your word of those who boldly and without hesitation, obeyed that which You asked of them. Thank You too, that it is clear why it was necessary for obedience to be immediate. Thank You that You speak to our hearts, and we need simply to listen to know what we are to do and where we are to go. Forgive us for our hesitation and delay to those things that we know You are asking of us. Grow in us a faith that says “Yes and Amen” immediately, to whatever we hear You asking. Show us how to love others in a way that makes Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and then take steps of obedience as soon as we know what we have heard. Amen.

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

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

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)

 

Our prayers can only be heard and answered if we actually pray them. Hope and desire are good things, yet it is only in the asking, seeking and actively pursuing God, that we find Him. God hears our prayers and is ready to answer if we are willing to come before Him. Though He may not answer in the way we anticipate, our prayers never fall on deaf ears. He always hears. When we earnestly seek Him, we find God. His peace and His presence are readily available everywhere – we have to be willing to slow down and seek, in order to find. To keep moving the direction He has called, we have to keep pressing forward. Though God calls us in a direction, it does not mean that the path will be easy or that every door will be open along the way. Our charge and our challenge is to remain dependent on Him, so that we will knock on closed doors to discover if we are meant to go through, or find another way around. He is faithful to show us the way, if we are willing to ask Him for direction. May we seek the Lord, asking Him for the answers we need to know. May we find courage to knock on closed doors, and discover the doors we are meant to walk through. Amen.

 

When we choose to ask,

’tis how we receive;Asking for Amazing Answers

we find in the seeking,

in Christ we believe.

For knocking on doors,

is how we shall find;

where we need walk through,

and from where to hide.

Doors will not open,

if we never knock;

prayers go unanswered,

if we never talk.

May voices be raised,

in faith, let us pray;

seek, knock, ask and find,

He’ll show us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that when we ask of You, You hear our prayers and You answer. Thank You that as we knock on doors before us, You open the ones that we are meant to walk through. Forgive us for not presenting our prayers before You, or for lacking persistence in our seeking and knocking, even when we know that You hold the answers that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, seek, ask and knock, wherever we need to hear from You. Show us the way to completely rely on You, so that we go forth and love others in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ask You for answers, trusting You to show us the direction that we are meant to go. 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

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