Archive for March, 2017


Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever we are meant to go. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Yet it was our suffering He carried, our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness. – (Isaiah 53:4a, VOICE)

Yet it was our weakness He carried; it was our sorrow that weighed Him down. – (Isaiah 53:4a, NLT)

 

Every pain and every sorrow is known by our Savior. He willingly and lovingly bore the weight on our behalf as He hung upon the cross. Death and darkness were defeated on that day, so though trials and tragedies will come our way, in Christ, the ultimate victory is ours. May we rise up in hope as we trust in the Lord, knowing that our eternal outcome will be in the precious peace of His presence forever.

 

The pain and sorrow,Refreshment Through Repentance

That happen to us;

Don’t escape notice,

Of our Lord Jesus.

He already bore,

The weight of our woes;

As we come to Him,

He gets it, He knows.

It was His great love,

That bore all our strife;

So we could be free,

As His love brings life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly chose to bear our suffering, sin, weakness and pain, so that You not only could identify with us, but could love us back to life again. Thank You that You forgive us and set us free from the things that weigh us down, and offer new life in You. Forgive us for sitting in our suffering rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer and our Hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that ease pain and offer comfort, allowing Your heart to be made visible through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our trials to You, and trust You to be our ever-present help and hope. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Help me, oh help me, God, my God, save me through Your wonderful love; then they’ll know that Your hand is in this, that You, God, have been at work. – (Psalm 109:26-27, MSG)

Lord my God, help me! Show Your faithful love and save me! Then they will know that You did it. They will know that it was Your power, Lord, that helped me. – (Psalm 109:26-27, ERV)

 

Though these words were the cry of David’s heart to God as he faced his enemies, they are still applicable today as we go through every type of trial. Yesterday, I was reminded again, countless times, of the faithful love of our Heavenly Father and the healing hope He extends through His hands and the hands and hearts of those He places around us. Throughout the day, I was reminded of His kindness and compassion for me in many ways. My students were better behaved than usual, despite not knowing my loss. Friends near and far extended sweet words of condolence and comfort, and my teaching twin, friend and fellow coach gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses (my grandmother’s name was Rose, unbeknownst to her) with a sweet card containing kind words and a verse that points to the promise my heart is holding. Practice after school went well, and I found myself smiling a bit more again. A quick run with a sweet friend followed, and further reminders of God’s goodness ensued. As I came home and was met with great greetings from my boys, gratitude filled my heart. Laughter and smiles were plentiful during my return trip to the gym with dear friends, and in the midst of my time there, a “just because” text came in and further reminded me of how truly blessed I am, and how God helps me in tangible ways in my time of need, by showing His love through the hands and hearts of those around me. May we call out to Jesus and seek His wonderful love, for there is no one who can help our hearts like Him.

 

Oh help me, my God,IMG_3146

By Your love and grace;

Make Your power known,

Be near in this place.

Show Your faithful love,

Through Your tender hand;

So all too may know,

By Your grace, we stand.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

You graciously show;

Your hands and Your heart,

Through people we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your help and Your hope in our times of need. Thank You that You make Your love tangible through people that You place in our lives, as they remind us of how readily You are moving on our behalf. Thank You that Your faithful love saves us from despair and reminds us again and again of the hope that is forever held in You. Forgive us for not calling out to You in our need, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to hear Your heart for those around us, equipping us to be Your hands and heart to the hurting. Help us to love others well so that many see You through Your life within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your faithful love so that Your power may be made evident in our lives. Amen.

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

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

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – (Psalm 119:28, ERV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

 

Sorrow is a sadness that seems to strangle the soul; it comes and clings to the core and clouds one’s countenance for a season. The magnitude of what is now missing weighs heavily on my heart; though expected, and even celebrated for the blessed homecoming that has happened, there is this space of having to reconcile earthly loss with heavenly gain. This verse perfectly depicts the space where I find my heart. I am sad and tired, exhausted really. However, I know that my strength and hope are held in Christ, and it is by His grace that I can move forward, and it was His strength that carried me through yesterday. Each day is made new, and I need seek Him for today and trust that He will remain present; as He will carry me when I cannot go any further. Already, He has poured out His grace through the kindness of family and friends who have surrounded each of us who are lamenting the loss of my grandmother. This season of sorrow, though seemingly heavy, will be short, and then there will be a time to celebrate a life well lived. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is trustworthy and true to His word as the giver of strength and holder of hope.

 

The weight of sorrow,Strength in the Sorrow

Makes weary and worn;

This space of sadness,

When hearts are forlorn.

‘Tis but a season,

Deep ache for the lost;

Time to cling to Christ,

He knows what love costs.

Seek the Lord for strength,

He’s true to His word;

His hope shall breathe joy,

And peace undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our seasons of sorrow, and You meet us and grant us strength. Thank You for the peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of our own pain. Forgive us for trying to trudge forward rather than rely on You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, as it takes but a word from You and we are restored. Show us how to love those around us through their seasons of sorrow, and celebrate with them, their seasons of joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength in our sorrow, and trust You to be true to Your word. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

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, NIV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. – (Philippians 1:29, NLT)

God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. – (Philippians 1:29, ERV)

 

At first read, this verse does not seem all that encouraging. Who wants to suffer? And suffering as an honor? Eesh… However, the more I think about it, the more I can see present day application in our area. Currently, in the U.S., there are few examples of people suffering for their faith. That being said, there are those who are in the midst of trials and tragedies that cling closely to Christ. The way in which they hold fast to their faith is a witness to all who know their story. I know I stand in awe when I hear stories of Christians who stand their ground in countries where people are persecuted for their faith. Additionally, I am amazed by the resilience and perseverance of people in the midst of personal pain who cling to Christ with all that they have. When we go through trials of any kind and choose to trust in the Lord, and allow our faith to flavor everything we do, people cannot help but notice and wonder why. God uses our circumstances to draw others unto Himself. It is in the throes of trials that we discover how great God is, and the hope we have in Him. As we come to grasp with certainty the hope we hold, others cannot help but desire what we have. May we recognize the privilege we have to walk out our lives in faith, and trust Christ in all things so that we might bring glory unto Him.

 

We have been given,Being Made New

Privilege in Christ;

In times of blessing,

And when it’s not nice.

For how we choose trust,

In good and in pain;

Will show to the world,

The hope in His Name.

So let us hold fast,

And give God glory;

As we choose to trust,

Him for our story.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to trust You in all things. Thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your grace, strength, presence and peace in times of suffering. Thank You that You can use our suffering for Your glory. Forgive us for wanting to hide away in our suffering, rather than to rise up and move forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Author of our story, and You have prepared the perfect ending. Show us how to love people well through their seasons of blessing and of suffering, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, allowing You glory for whatever happens in our story. 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

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. 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

Endurance shapes our character. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:4, VOICE)

And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. – (Romans 5:4, TLB)

 

I am guessing that this past week has been one of character building, as it has required much patient endurance on my part. Between fending off some sort of sinus infection and attempting to navigate a very busy week well, faith and hope have been the anchor to which I could cling, knowing that God was with me, despite fatigue and fear of falling short. There is yet today, and I will have to continue to trust big for where I lack. Thankfully, history has shown me again and again, that regardless of my condition, God is faithful to meet me. May we each rise up in trust, patiently enduring that which lies before us, knowing that He will walk beside us and remain with us, every step of the way.

 

When we choose endure,Character Building Endurance

To rise in His strength;

Our hearts are refined,

To reach greater lengths.

We learn what it means,

To hold on for good;

All faith in the Lord,

Where hope’s understood.

The more that we trust,

The more that we’re grown;

’til our faith’s secure,

And through us, He’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our busiest, most exhausting weeks can be used to shape, refine and grow us in You. Thank You that You grant us the endurance and patience that we need to press on, despite our desire to dismiss ourselves when days demand more than we can do on our own. Forgive us for lacking patience or not pressing into You. Teach us to trust You more, as our hope and faith grow strong and steady in You alone. Show us how to hope and anticipate Your goodness, always. Lead us to love those around us with patient endurance, regardless of their approach toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk forward with patient endurance, trusting You to refine our character and strengthen our hope and faith. Amen.

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

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

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. 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

Sing praises to God, our strength. – (Psalm 81:1a, NLT)

Be happy and sing to God our strength. – (Psalm 81:1a, ERV)

Sing with joy to God, our strength, our fortress. – (Psalm 81:1a, VOICE)

 

We are reminded throughout the Bible to sing and praise God for who He is and all that He has done. In this passage, we are made aware that God is our strength. Because we have a Source to draw from that does not grow weary, we ought to sing His praise with great joy. There is much comfort in finding fortress in our Heavenly Father. He is our safe place to seek strength and reason to rejoice. May we ever sing praises to God, who is our strength and our reason to sing.

 

Let songs of great joy,unseal-my-lips

Rise up within me;

To God, who’s my strength,

Provider of needs.

My Fortress, my Rock,

My reason to sing;

Only by His grace,

Have I anything.

Let our hearts choose rise,

And ever give praise;

To God who gives strength,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our fortress and that we can ever sing with joy unto You. Thank You that You provide strength where we are lacking when we seek You in faith. Forgive us for attempting to power through things on our own, rather than seeking You and Your strength that sustains. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful to provide what is needed. Show us how to love those around us with joy that strengthens those who are struggling. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praises to You, our strength and our reason to sing. 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

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