Category: Freedom


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

Clean up your act – the way you live, the things you do – so I can make my home with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, MSG)

This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, CEB)

 

God gave this warning to Jeremiah to deliver to the people of Israel, as they were not following the path that He had placed before them according to His will. Thankfully, today, we do not have to clean up our act or the way we live to come to Jesus, but rather when we come before Him and invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us and shows us how to clean up our conduct and do right by Him. The tables were turned and the process flipped upside down, when heaven came down and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with our Redeemer. I am so grateful for the mercy and grace that we have been granted to come before our King as we are, and then He cleans us up and shows us how to live right, according to His good and perfect will. May we embrace the grace that He has freely given, and seek our Savior to show us the ways in which we are meant to move.

 

It’s not on our own,Refreshment Through Repentance

That we get things done;

But rather by grace,

As we seek the Son.

Though there was a time,

Needed qualify;

That all changed in Christ,

His life justified.

Now we’re called to come,

To God each new day;

Where He makes us clean,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, who changed everything. Thank You that we no longer have to clean up our act and the way we live to somehow convince You to draw near, but rather we can come before You with a humble heart, seeking change, and You will cleanse us of our sin and shame, and show us the way to a new life in You. Forgive us for not seeking Your direction when we are uncertain which way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, as You gave everything so that we could be in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and generosity, just as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You again and again, allowing You access to all so that we might live right by You. Amen.

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

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

I pray that God, the Source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

These words were among Paul’s letter to the Romans, as he gave them glimpses of his faith prior to visiting them in person. His prayer for the people was powerful, for who would not appreciate a life infused with an abundance of joy, peace and hope? Such prayer is still available and applicable to us today, as we are filled with hope, peace and joy when we trust in Him. Furthermore, we become infused with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit within us when we allow our hearts and minds to align with His. May we ever place our trust in God, as He fills us by His Spirit to overflowing, with hope, peace and joy.

 

 

When we come and pray,Asking for Amazing Answers

Seek God, hope’s true Source;

We find joy and peace,

As He guides our course.

In our space of trust,

He’ll faithfully show;

That confident faith,

From our hearts shall flow.

Be filled with His peace,

And joy trusting Him;

As we share His hope,

We’re filled up again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of hope, and that You fill us completely with Your joy and Your peace when we trust in You. Thank You that by Your Holy Spirit, You grow in us a confident hope that overflows. Forgive us for our fickle faith that falters when the unexpected occurs. Teach us to have an unshakable, unwavering confident hope in You, that trusts no matter what we see. Show us how to love in a way that overflows the hope that we have through the power of Your Holy Spirit within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our joy and peace, and to fill us to overflowing with hope in You. Amen.

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

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

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how God does this. Green meadows and peaceful streams look different for everyone. Yesterday, my meadow and stream arrived in the form of sunshine after weeks of rain, order, in an annual task that is typically chaotic, and two separate sessions with two different circles of dear friends of laughing to the point of near tears. By the time I went to bed last night, my heart felt light, despite the long, and at times, heavy week, and I slept soundly. This morning, I feel as if I have caught my breath again, and can march forward through today, as this is the final push of the week. Rather than grueling ahead with grit and grace, my forward momentum is rather refreshed for a Friday. May we never stop seeking the Lord and His sweet rest, for He provides peace and replenishes our tenacity to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

God is my shepherd,Green Meadows

I don’t need a thing;

For He knows my heart,

True peace He shall bring.

The Lord, He supplies,

New strength and His rest;

He shows us the way,

That is always best.

Drink deep from the streams,

And rest in the peace;

For here we’re renewed,

As burdens release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that in You, we have all that we need. Thank You that You lead us to quiet places of rest and restoration, so that our strength is renewed and our resolve returns to keep running the race that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not slowing down long enough to listen for Your voice, and help us to be intentional, even in our busiest seasons. Teach us to trust You more, so that we set aside time to seek You, and to be in fellowship with those that You have placed in our lives with purpose. Show us how to love others well, so that we may help extend Your peace and restoration to those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in Your green meadows and sit beside Your peaceful streams. May we ever bring honor to Your Name. 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

“They will fight against you but not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 1:19, NIV)

“They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken! – (Jeremiah 1:19, NLT)

Eventually, they will all give you trouble, but you will be safe. They will fight you, but they will not win. Remember, I am with you. I promise I will always deliver you. – (Jeremiah 1:19, VOICE)

 

Though these words were spoken by God to Jeremiah in a time of great turmoil, His promise still remains true for all who trust in Him. Trouble and trials will come our way, as it is part of living in a broken world. However, the Lord will be with us and will care for us, and will not allow us to be overcome if we place our trust in Him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so His word remains steadfast and secure. May we seek the Lord and place our trust in Him, knowing that He will be with us and will care for us in all things and at all times.

 

Opposition comes,Seeking Solace in the Storm

Fear not, it will fail;

When we trust in God,

His strength shall prevail.

For the Lord is good,

His promises true;

He will keep us close,

And carry us through.

Let all that draws breath,

Seek God and give praise;

For His faithfulness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and place our trust in You, You take care of us and rescue us from falling in the fight. Thank You that You are our strength and our supply, and that You promise to remain present as You walk us through whatever comes our way. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength and security when struggles come. Teach us to turn and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with the faithfulness and endurance that You give to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and our rescue in the midst of life’s storms. 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

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, NLT)

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

 

My heart feels a bit messy. It is not anything in particular, but rather a collection of things that simply build up and begin to get the best of me. I rarely get sick, and am currently attempting to fend off some sort of sinus infection, and know that my resistance is down. The little things that I typically brush off, are wearing, and I know that much of my present heart state, is the overflow of my physical well-being. This, this is where I must run to Him again, and pray this prayer, as the crud that is building needs to be cleansed as only Christ can do. As He washes away the things that wear me down, a renewed sense of His strength returns and I am better equipped to navigate my days. May we each seek the Lord and His cleansing to wash away that which wears us down, and trust in His strength to renew us once again.

 

Oh Lord, here I stand,Clean Inside Out

Seeking only You;

For I am in need,

Of what You can do.

I need a clean heart,

A spirit made new;

Your strength breathed in me,

Help me lean on You.

Restore unto me,

Your strength and Your song;

So that I am clean,

Resilient and strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers. Thank You that You cleanse us and restore a strong spirit within us when we seek You. Thank You that this is not something that we need to figure out how to do on our own, but rather it is as we come to You, that we find the new. Forgive us for allowing life to wear us down without taking the time to rest in You. Show us how to seek You and trust You for all that we need from moment to moment, rather than just when we begin to reach our breaking point. Help us to love those around us well, so that we can extend the love and grace that gives Your strength to all those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You for cleansing, strength and restoration, often, as You never turn us away. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. 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

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and His love within us grows ever stronger. – (1 John 4:12, TLB)

 

The love of God is made evident in us and through us when we choose to love one another as we are loved by God. The only way this is possible, is if we seek the Lord and depend on Him. With God in us, our capacity to love grows ever stronger. Each day that we recognize and embrace the depth of God’s love for us, the better equipped we become to go and do likewise with one another. Although a baby in the womb has not yet seen its mother, he/she knows her voice and is dependent on her for all things. In the same way, we can hear and trust the Lord, for He is our Provider and Sustainer, and shows us the way to life everlasting in Him. May we ever listen for His voice as we seek Him, and trust the Lord to grow within us, the capacity to love one another as we are loved by Him.

 

Though no human eye,Enter With Thanksgiving

Has yet seen the Lord;

His voice is made clear,

As love is outpoured.

When we choose to love,

Each other like Him;

His love’s made complete,

Accomplished mission.

For God’s own love dwells,

As we make the choice;

To listen and love,

With head, heart and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are far from perfect, Your love is made perfect within us. Thank You that the very same love You give and grow in us, is what we are empowered to do with one another. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen for Your voice as to how we can love each other as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us with word and deed, so that their hearts might be drawn ever closer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your perfect love to flow through us, by loving those around us as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free. – (Isaiah 44:22, NLT)

 

Christ came to grant us freedom from our sin and shame. Great men and women throughout history, have come to know the value of such freedom, and have gone on to fight injustices that prevented people from living in the freedom that was intended. God does not have favorites, but views us all as equals in His sight. If our Creator sees us each with infinite worth, then it is our responsibility to seek to do likewise. Martin Luther King Jr., and all who have fought before him, beside him and continue to fight for equality for all, are the champions of choosing to make our world a better place where the dream Dr. King spoke of aligns with the call of Christ – for us to be one body – united, rather than many parts divided. May we rise up and remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus, hand-crafted and called to freely walk out the purpose that He has placed before us.

 

For we are all called,mlk

To live in His light;

No more in darkness,

Injustice, we fight.

Just as we’ve each been,

Redeemed and set free;

We must view others,

With equality.

For God loves us all,

Sisters and brothers;

Let’s rise united,

Lifting each other.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek Your forgiveness, You wipe away our offenses and set us free. Thank You that You have raised up leaders throughout the ages to rise up and stand against injustices that treat any group of people as less than another. Forgive us for our offenses, for even complacency is fueling the flames of injustice. Teach us how to hear Your direction as to what our part is meant to be. Show us above all, how to love all people as we are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your love transforms hearts and changes perspectives. 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

In honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a few beautiful quotes:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – MLK

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – MLK

 

 

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