Archive for May, 2016


My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine”, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am not going back on that. – (Galatians 2:20-21, MSG)

 

This is a tricky one. As one with people-pleasing tendencies, I have to check myself regularly. What is my motivation? Am I doing what I am doing to please people, or to honor God? There is nothing that we could do to make God love us more, nor impress Him. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us, individually. The more I know and understand the depth and breadth of His love, the more I desire to love as I am loved. Each act of obedience is a setting aside of self, and simply seeking to serve He who is worthy of all that we are. Nothing He asks of us is about appearances, and all is aimed at loving Him and loving people well. May we set aside every semblance of self, and seek to serve our Savior in all that we say and do.

 

There’s nothing on earth,When My Soul Waits

That we could choose do;

To impress the Lord,

For nothing is new.

None of us are called,

To try to please men;

But rather to serve,

Honor God again.

For my very life,

Is not at all mine;

So I shall choose live,

By faith in Devine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to appear righteous before You or mankind, but rather it is You in us that matters. Thank You that our lives are not our own, but it is You, dwelling in us that compels us to live and to love as You designed us to do. Forgive us for allowing our egos to get in the way, where we worry about pleasing more than doing what we know we are called to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live by faith in a way that honors You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love others in such a way that they too may come to know the goodness and grace that comes from a life in You alone. May many choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live by faith, rather than try to impress. Amen.

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

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

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I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all of my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NIV)

 

King Solomon was given wisdom and wealth beyond what anyone else had ever acquired before him. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the futility of amassing people and possessions and giving in to every whim. He discovered all were without meaning, and not one brought true happiness.

The same remains true today. Stuff does not bring pleasure, nor does acting on our every desire. Instead, as we exercise self-control, and seek the Lord and His will for us, we find the joy that He brings in our choosing obedience to Him. There is a fine line in all of this. It seems the best way to know whether we are pursuing something that is meaningless or if it is a blessing that the Lord is willing to give, really depends on our heart condition. When we see things we like and are covetous, our heart is likely not in the right space. However, if there are things that we appreciate, but do not allow to dominate our desires, it is likely a more reasonable space from which to stand.

In my own life, there is a fine line of would I be willing to give it away? If not, I should probably not pursue it in the first place. There is nothing that I should cling to more tightly than Christ. Belongings are far easier to hold open-handed than relationships. The desire to hold tightly to something that I have invested time, energy and my heart into, is not so easily released. I am a work in progress, and know that more than anything, I must set my heart to seeking our Savior. May we delight in our pursuit of the path that the Lord has made plain for us, and choose to hold all else with open hands.

 

To pursue the Lord,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Is the only thing;

That has true meaning,

Grants us life lasting.

Though things may be nice,

Not one can compare;

To our hope in Christ,

For He hears our prayer.

We’re not meant to trust,

In people or things;

But rather in God,

And life that He brings.

There will be blessings,

He gives unto us;

But none can compare,

To our Lord Jesus.

Help our hearts be right,

Ever faithful, true;

As we seek to serve,

May we honor You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we delight in the process of work, its completion is our reward. Forgive us for a focus that is on accomplishments and acquisitions. Teach us to trust You more, so that our energy and attention are placed on things of You. Show us how to hold people and things with open hands, trusting You to keep all in proper perspective. Lead us to love others so that they can clearly see Your hand in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place You first in our every pursuit on this planet. Amen.

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

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

When muscles are reactivated that have not been utilized in a while, the morning after tends to be a bit sore. This applies both physically and emotionally. The very tangible and real version of this is the physical for me this morning, as yesterday morning I actually ran up sets of stairs at a local high school stadium. I’d hoped that a short run in the afternoon would help prevent this sort of soreness this morning, but too much time had passed and the muscles were already taxed. I have experienced this emotionally as well. After allowing myself to actually sit and experience, process or be present in whatever I was meant to face, I would discover that the next day I felt the same sort of weariness within my heart.

Our minds, bodies and hearts are meant to be utilized in the unique way that God designed them. For some, that includes strenuous exercise often, whereas with others, it is simply to move each day. However, with our minds and hearts, we are all meant to pursue Him with all that we are, and be willing to allow Him access to all. For me, the access portion is the hardest part, as it requires vulnerability and a willingness to face the difficult. I know for some, the physical is far more taxing; for others, the investing of the mind. Each of us are designed with different strengths, yet we are all called to continue to pursue Christ, even in our areas of weakness.

 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)

 

Though we will become weary and sore, He calls us to keep moving towards Him. The more we move our hearts, bodies and minds, the stronger they become and the less frequent the episodes of fatigue. The Lord sustains and renews all who hope in Him. May we choose to persevere in our pursuit of Christ, as He answers all who call on His Name.

 

When we do the things,Sore

We’ve not often done;

Weariness invades,

Leaving us undone.

The Lord’s ever near,

Ready to supply;

Strength to the weary,

Hope that helps us fly.

When our feet stumble,

The Lord takes our hand;

Shows us solid ground,

Where it’s safe to land.

Let not the weary,

The fear of the sore;

Keep hearts from pursuit,

Of all of God’s more.

With body and mind,

And with our hearts too;

Let us keep seeking,

The Lord and His truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may become sore, weary and tired when we seek to use that which You’ve given us in ways that we haven’t in a while, You meet us where we are and show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that the more often we utilize that which we have been given, the less often soreness from inactivity seeps in. Forgive us for not utilizing our bodies, minds and hearts in the ways in which You have designed them for us, individually. Teach us to trust You more, allowing You access in all areas, so that we would grow ever closer to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too would see the strength that You provide and the loving kindness You give to all those who choose abide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are unto You, and trust You to lead and guide us in the ways 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

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As someone who tends to stick to the merry-go-round emotionally, the highs and lows, twists and turns, have left me exhausted. The reason I never really get off the merry-go-round is because when something is weighty emotionally, I have always been able to pound it out on the pavement or press it out while lifting heavy.

For the last five weeks, I have had no such outlet. Having sustained a compression fracture in my low back, I was quite limited in the activities I was allowed to do. Walking daily and lifting light weights with my arms only, was not doing the job that my previous go-to activities had done. The unresolved emotional weight I was carrying had completely worn me down, and I began to anxiously anticipate my check back appointment with the specialist. I had placed so much hope in being healed enough for him to release me to run, that I could not even consider an alternative.

My appointment on Thursday was not all that I had hoped it would be. Better than it could have been, but not the “skies have parted” sort of report that I was hoping to receive. I was granted permission to run short distances, if I promised to listen to my body, and stop if my back began to hurt at all. Short distances are better than what I had been able to run for the five weeks prior, so I took the news straight-faced and was on my way. He did imply that running in my upcoming race in June was really not going to happen, but I just smiled and let him know I was more concerned about the one that was coming in July…

I happened to meet with a friend to walk after my appointment with the specialist, and she really challenged my thinking. She asked if I had any idea what God might be trying to speak to me during this time, as He uses these things for good, and the injury really didn’t make sense in the first place. As I paused for but a moment, the answer flooded my mind. I had to lose running physically, to recognize that I needed to stop running emotionally. Why, oh why am I so thick-headed that extreme measures are necessary to get my attention?

Thankfully, my story does take a turn for the better. It seems that as soon as I said, “Yes, Lord, I am willing,” the release came. I submitted spaces that I had been holding, and am determined to allow Him access where it has so long been denied.

Yesterday evening was the first opportunity to test running on the road. My long-time running bestie and I met to go for the maiden voyage. Because she is a nurse, I knew I would get away with NOTHING if it hurt. I prayed that it would not, yet had to be ready in my heart to accept waiting longer if it did. We set out on a modified course of one that we have run many times before. Each stride I took, I was acutely aware of what was going on with my body. Muscles that had been dormant for five weeks, reactivated. My heart seemed to skip a beat, as I realized that though I was aware of muscles being activated in my back, there was no pain at the injury site, and I was all clear! We successfully completed a short run, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. I know there is still healing that has to happen, but I am encouraged that a bit of what was lost has been regained.

With every step on this road to recovery, I have had to stop and place my trust in Him. I have been reminded anew of just how true the following verse is for me:

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

May we all take time to give our worries to Him, as He cares for us, individually. His love is greater than any that we have ever known, and He uses every circumstance to draw us closer to Him.

 

In sickness and health,Stop Running

For better or worse;

The Lord’s love is great,

Despite what’s deserved.

If we will take time,

To call on His Name;

The depth of His grace,

Is made for us, plain.

Lord, help us to choose,

To always trust You;

No matter what comes,

For You’ll see us through.

Thank You for the gifts,

That You choose to give;

My hope is in You,

By faith help me live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and give our worries to You, and You love us back to life. Thank You that when we slow down and listen, You speak to us – intentionally and specifically, so that we may grow ever closer to You. Forgive us for running when we are meant to sit still, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be silent before You, so that You can speak to our hearts the things that You desire for us to hear. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see You through our kindness and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You, and go forth in the grace that You give. Amen.

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

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

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. – (Proverbs 12:25, MSG)

 

The weight of worry can become crippling if we allow it to take root in our heart. Though worry can be explained away as common concern caused by everything around us, our peace does not need to be determined by our circumstances. As we are invested in the community to which we have been called, God graciously utilizes another to offer a cheerful or encouraging word in the midst of one’s worry, completely disarming the weight that’s attempting to drag us down. Let us cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) His word for us is good, and His promises never end. May we be mindful of where worry dwells, and be quick to offer cheerful words to those around us.

 

When worry finds weight,

Small boy with heavy load.

image by Gisle

Let not our hearts hold;

Burdens too heavy,

To remain untold.

We’re called to release,

All that is too much;

To trust in the Lord,

Let Him be enough.

May all of our words,

That we give a voice;

Be cheerful and kind,

A Spirit-led choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not intend for worry to weigh us down. Thank You too, that You place in us Your words for one another that build and lift up. Forgive us for dwelling on the weight of this world, and allowing it to suck us in. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give our every worry unto You, and allow You to show us the hope and help that You have for us. Lead us to love others well, just as You love us. May we offer cheerful words that bring light and life to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our worries and take words of encouragement to share with those around us. 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

 

 

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped. – (Job 1:20, MSG)

When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God. – (Job 1:20, ERV)

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. – (Job 1:20, NLT)

 

A few days ago, I passed the one-month mark with my back injury. Typically, I am extraordinarily active, and I participate in high impact workouts at least six days per week. In order for my compression fracture to heal, I was instructed to do no high impact activities. This has left me with few options, and the lack of adrenaline and endorphins released from merely walking, seem to be taking its toll. I am weary, restless, and fighting the darkness that tries to pull me down. The only thing that has kept me somewhat sane in this state of waiting, is an abundance of walking, encouraging friends, and the turning up of my worship music and singing along with all that I am.

This morning, as I read about Job and all of the horrible loss that he endured, as well as how he responded, I am again reminded of what matters most, and how to best combat the fear and frustration. Worship does wonders. As we remove our focus from ourselves and our own situations, and instead fix our eyes and hearts on Him who deserves all of our attention, something shifts and the unbearable becomes bearable. Our burdens are no longer ours alone, and we see Him who is seated on the throne. God who is worthy of all of our worship, is the only One who can see us through our storms. May we mourn what need be mourned, then, despite our sorrow, set our hearts to worship the One who will carry us until our strength is renewed. Let every heart lift praise to our Prince of Peace.

 

When all’s going wrong,photo (3)

The struggle is new;

There’s one place to turn,

Where Love sees us through.

The Lord is our strength,

No matter our state;

As we choose worship,

His love lifts the weight.

He helps bear burdens,

Too heavy for us;

Shines light in darkness,

Grants peace through Jesus.

Despite the struggle,

God is always good;

Let us choose worship,

His grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and worthy of our worship. Thank You that despite what we have going on in or around us, You are with us and willing to remain present. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our view of You, rather than allow You to shape our view of what is going on in and around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and worship You in all things and at all times. Show us how to worship You in spite of what we see, and lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may see how kind and loving You are to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we mourn what need be mourned, but recognize in all things, that You deserve our worship. 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

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is  so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – (James 1:19-21, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. Anger does not help you live the way God wants. So get rid of everything evil in your lives – every kind of wrong you do. Be humble and accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you. – (James 1:19-21, ERV)

 

If we truly listen before we speak, we are far less likely to misunderstand or be misunderstood. It is from that very space of misunderstanding that people most often get angry. God specifically tells us that this sort of anger does not produce anything good. Frustration from our own folly, leads to moral filth, rather than righteousness. We are called to rid ourselves of such things, so that we may fully accept that which God has taught us, as His word and His ways are the very things that save us. May we rise up and rely on our Redeemer for self-control, as we choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Let us humbly accept the truth that He has planted in our hearts, as that is the very thing that saves.

 

To do the Lord’s will,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Takes much self-control;

Choice to listen first,

And value each soul.

For in our hearing,

We come understand;

Preventing anger,

Just as the Lord planned.

Our sort of anger,

Leads to nowhere good;

Far better to trust,

The Lord as we should.

For in Him there’s grace,

By which we are saved;

So seek the Lord first,

And plain the path’s made.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Thank You that when we choose to listen first, we learn to walk in the righteousness to which You are calling us. Forgive us for our lack of self-control in speaking, and the times when humility was far from us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things at all times, and clearly reflect Your righteousness before others. Show us how to be quick to listen and slow to speak, so that we would love others the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we listen and learn as we are called. Be glorified O God, as we are quick to listen and slow to speak, keeping our anger out of the way of all that You have for us. Amen.

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

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

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:9-10, MSG)

 

Above all, we are called to love. This love is not romance nor something that we manufacture, but rather it is a choice to prefer others – to seek to serve and honor others rather than ourselves. We are only able to truly love when we receive and embrace the love that Christ has given unto us. It is through the holding tightly to His goodness and grace, that we are able to in turn, extend the same to others. That which is evil, the things of this world that compete for our attention in a way that draws our hearts to disdain rather than delight, are the very things that we are meant to distance ourselves far away from, so that we can cling to that which is good. May we love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other with the love that Christ grants unto us.

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with a love that gives us new life. Thank You that in You, we are restored and made new, granting us the capacity to love others with the very same love that You have given unto us. Forgive us for choosing to neglect those near to us, or for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You and flee from all that is not of You, so that we may be refined to love as You call us to love. Show us how to be good friends who love deeply, that prefer one another in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your loving kindness through us. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You, and love others with the very same love that You have given to us. 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

 

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” – (Romans 15:2, MSG)

 

When we grow in strength and maturity in our walk with the Lord, it is not just for our benefit. We are charged to love God AND love people. To love people is to meet them in their need, and do what we can, as we are able, to help them grow and build them up. If our words and deeds are not life-giving, they are a waste of time and energy. That is not to say that in tough times we do not need a safe outlet, but rather when it is well with our soul, we ought to be light and life to those around us. May we rise up in the strength that we have been given, and seek to serve those in need around us for His glory.

 

When we grow in strength,The Power of the Tongue

And our faith does rise;

Our charge is to serve,

Be hope realized.

For people in need,

Need hope so they’ll grow;

A hand that’s offered,

Is God’s grace that’s shown.

Help us to rise up,

To see those in need;

Offer what we have,

To Him, let us lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that you strengthen and grow us in You when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You do so not just for our benefit, but also for those around us. Forgive us for not helping and building up those for whom we are charged to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve, even when it is inconvenient. Show us how to love others to life through loving and serving, just as You so love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to serve and help those around us, so that they may grow stronger in faith. 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

 

For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

 

When we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we are set free from the bonds of sin. No longer are we enslaved to our sinful selves, but rather we are forgiven and granted the freedom to move forward as Christ is calling us to move. This freedom is not our ticket to do whatever we please, but instead, to seek to do that which pleases the Lord. In Christ, there is nothing that hinders us from loving and serving those around us, and as we do, we are living our lives as God intended. May we rise up in freedom from our former selves, and seek to love and serve all those whom God places on our path.

 

Where we were once trapped,butterflies

Enslaved by our sin;

In Christ we’re set free,

Made right from within.

The freedom we gain,

To love and to serve;

Offering our thanks,

For life undeserved.

As we extend love,

Others may too see;

The goodness of God,

And how love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have freedom. Thank You that our freedom is not to do whatever we want, but rather we are set free from our former sinful selves, and granted the strength and grace to go forth and love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Forgive us for abusing the freedom that we have been granted, and teach us to trust You more so that we would walk in Your ways and live in the light of Your truth. Show us how to love and serve others, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the freedom that You have granted, and go forth to serve one another in love. 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

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