Category: Stewardship


Fools believe every word they hear, but wise people think carefully about everything. – (Proverbs 14:15, ERV)

The gullible believe anything they are told, but clever people know to question every step. – (Proverbs 14:15, VOICE)

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. – (Proverbs 14:15, NLT)

 

As an educator, I have had to teach middle schoolers to question their sources of information for years. With access to so much at their fingertips, it is imperative that they learn to identify what sort of source is credible, and that which is not. The same holds true in our own lives. What we once trusted as reliable, now has the capacity to be called into question. However, there is one Source that has not, does not, and will not change. No matter what is going on in the world around is, our anchor of truth is found in Christ. When we place our trust and hope in Him, He grants us clarity and wisdom that weighs what is going on in the world, next to the truth of His word. May we listen cautiously to what is being spoken, and carefully consider each step, based on the truth of God’s word, and the voice of His Spirit to our hearts.

 

Do not lack wisdom,Constructive Permission

Nor choose play the fool;

Instead, opt listen,

Weigh against God’s rule.

The wisest choose think,

On everything;

Questioning each step,

Seek God on all things.

Don’t believe all words,

Spoken that we hear;

Consider what’s said,

And to God, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us warning to not believe every word we hear, but rather to weigh what is spoken carefully. Thank You that we are not left to our own devices to simply figure it out, but rather You are beside us, willing to speak truth to our hearts and help us to know the truth. Forgive us for not weighing words that are spoken, or for being quick to believe whatever we hear. Teach us to trust and rely on You first, rather than whatever source of information spews stories our direction. Show us how to filter everything through Your lens. Help us to love others as You so completely and lavishly love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we weigh the words spoken into our lives, and likewise choose our own words well. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. – (Psalm 37:34a, NLT)

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NLT)

 

For the past few months, there is a part of me that has been stirring and not able to settle at rest. Though I would pray, and look for answers, I could not figure out what I was meant to do next. A little over a week ago, I had an exchange with someone that at first, felt offensive. Perhaps it was, but really, it matters not, as God used it to propel my heart in a direction that I would never have explored, if not for that brief conversation. What was discovered as a result of the consequential agitation, was a dream that had all but died. Possibility presented itself before me, and I am now pursuing something that I never thought obtainable. Whether it comes to fruition or not, the excitement of imagining and hoping is enough to remind me that God has more than what I see. He is reminding me that He has wired me with gifts and talents, dreams and desires, that He longs to honor just as much as I hold hope to use them for His glory. May we rise up and remember that God has handcrafted each of us with gifts and talents, plans and purpose, and what we see now is not all that there is. Let us hold fast to the hope we have in Him, and be willing to take steps of faith forward as He leads.

 

Be not discouraged,Rediscovering Dreams

By all that you see;

Often there’s movement,

Waiting within reach.

For what seems unkind,

Horrible, unfair;

Could be the movement,

That leads us from there.

Remember to hope,

Not in what is seen;

But rather in God,

Who as we trust, leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope who leads us where we are meant to go. Thank You that despite what we see, You have so much more for each of us. Thank You that You take the seemingly horrible things and use them to propel us in the direction that You intend for us to move. Thank You that You have good things for Your children. Forgive us for our lack of hope and for allowing our dreams to die or lie dormant. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and pursue the path You place before us to utilize the very things that You have created within us to share with those around us. Show us how to love well, everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You and travel along the path You place before us. Amen.

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

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

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, NLT)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. He loves goodness and justice. The Lord’s faithful love fills the earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, ERV)

 

God is always good. His faithfulness never ends. What He promises, He will be faithful to fulfill. I have a dear friend who received a call and a promise from God when she was seventeen years old. Now, three kids later, after the unforeseen twists and turns that life has provided, the Lord is showing her that what was spoken is being worked out, as she faithfully says yes to each new step that He leads her. All that she has been through has been preparation for where the Lord is leading. His goodness and justice is making itself known in miraculous ways, as doors are being flung open, and favor is poured out upon her. The Lord’s faithful love is leading the way across the ends of the earth, as He is making His presence and faithfulness known in new ways, both near and far. May we ever listen to the word of the Lord, as His word is true and we can trust everything He does. Let us look around and see how His unfailing love fills the earth.

ash1

For the Lord is good,

And His word holds true;

We can trust in Him,

In all that we do.

He loves what is just,

All good in His sight;

As we pursue Him,

He shows us what’s right.ash2

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord’s faithful love,

Is forever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is true and that we can trust everything that You do. Thank You that You love what is just and good, and that Your unfailing love fills the earth. Thank You for those who are faithful to trust You at Your word, and continue to say yes, even when they are unsure of what that yes is going to look like. Please continue to bless and encourage my dear friend, as You open doors and light the way that You are calling her to go. Forgive us for the times that we do not trust You at Your word, or trust the things that You are doing in our lives. Help us to trust what we cannot see, as You know the outcome before we even begin. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your goodness and justice is seen through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in everything You do because Your word is true, and Your unfailing love fills the earth. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

But The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)


I am thoroughly enjoying my time at high school camp. People made all sorts of assumptions about teens, and what it might be like to be surrounded by so many for an entire week. These young people have tender hearts that are earnestly seeking our Savior. Despite the struggles and distractions of their day to day, they are hungry to have more of Him. God sees their hearts and is moving in mighty ways. We can’t ever discount anyone based on what we see or think we know; for The Lord sees and knows the heart – and through the heart, comes the remarkable. May we seek The Lord in all things, expecting Him to move mightily in the hearts of all who believe. 
Do not choose discount, 

 One based on what’s seen;

For God sees the heart,

The calling unseen. 

We’re not meant to judge,

To use what we see;

To decide who God,

Will call royalty. 

So often the heart,

Holds treasures unseen;

We need to give room,

For gifts to be freed. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by height nor appearance, but rather You look at our heart. Forgive us for determining what we think of others based on what we see, rather than leaving room to really know their hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so we would have Your eyes to see the treasure You have created in everyone around us. Show us how to love people in such a way that they might know they are valued as Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the heart of Your people in whom You delight. Amen. 
For The Lord your God will bless you, … and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15


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



God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. – (Romans 1:17b, ERV)

 

God calls us righteous before Him when we seek Him and trust that He is who He says He is. It is not through our doing enough nor being enough, but rather it is only by faith that we are saved. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

 

Though there may be times that faith seems difficult to find, when we choose to trust in spite of what we see, God moves in ways we would never have imagined. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and grants strength where strength is all but gone. He sees our hearts, despite how we feel in a fleeting moment. May we trust in the Lord and His unfailing love, as He will take even the smallest seed of faith and grow it into one that can move mountains on His behalf.

 

Let us choose to trust,butterfly vida

The Lord who is good;

For in Him abounds,

Grace not understood.

He takes our small faith,

And begins to move;

The reward of peace,

As His presence proves.

By faith we’re made right,

In the Lord’s own eyes;

He’s pleased when we seek,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made right before You by faith. Thank You that You are pleased when we trust in who You are and how You love. Forgive us for making You too small when the obstacles before us are overwhelming. Teach us to trust in You, no matter what we see. Lead us to love others with a love that moves mountains and grows faith all the more. May many choose to place their trust in You, and enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our faith in You alone. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. – (Psalm 49:16-17, MSG)

 

All that is amassed on Earth is temporary, but the lessons and growth that are gained in our hearts are eternal. It is essential that we keep our hearts right in regard to those who seem to acquire much in the here and now. Of those who have much, much is required. We are called to be good stewards of whatever we are given. Rather than looking to another who seemingly has more in envy, there ought to be a sort of recognition that there is great responsibility with greater resources. Instead of worrying about what others have, we ought to instead look to the Lord and inquire of Him as to how He wants us to best utilize what we have been given. If we have more resources than we need, how are we being called to use them? When we are known beyond our own small circle, how does He want us to best represent Him to others? May we seek the Lord and clearly see resources and recognition through His lens, so that we may honor Him with what is given while it is before us.

 

Do not be impressed,To Reflect His Radiance

With fortune or fame;

For they are fleeting,

Not something to claim.

Whatever’s done here,

Shall die at the grave;

Unless it’s of God,

And sharing His Name.

Seek first to be wise,

To learn to love well;

Value what matters,

So truth our lives tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that fame and fortune are fleeting, but all that is of You, lasts forever. Forgive us for being impressed or envious of those who have more than us, and teach us to see abundance and notoriety through Your lens. Show us how to utilize our resources to love and bless those around us, so that they can more clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worry only about being known by You, and seek to honor You with all that we are given. 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

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 6:23, NIV)

The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 6:23, VOICE)

 

In our natural state of sinfulness, we deserve death. Not even the kindest and most gentle of individuals is without sin. The consequence for such, is death. However, God sent His Son to extend to us, the opportunity to choose life – life everlasting in Him. There is nothing that we can do to earn this gift that He gives, but rather we must choose to receive what is being freely offered. When we choose Christ, we choose life. We are not promised pain-free pleasantries each day of our lives in the here and now, but in Him, we have the glorious hope of our future freedom from all such things, for all of eternity with Christ. There is no greater gift than He who laid down His life for our sin and shame, so that we could have life abundant in Him. May we receive all that He is offering, as we walk into this weekend of remembering not only His death on our behalf, but Christ’s resurrection from the grave that could not contain Him, so that we could enter eternity with Him.

 

Though we deserve death,Good Gifts

He’s given to us;

the gift of His Son,

life in Christ Jesus.

When we choose receive,

new life becomes ours;

where hope is our truth,

and Love empowers.

Let us choose embrace,

this gift given free;

so all may come know,

Christ dwelling in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we deserve death for our sinfulness, You made way for our lives to be redeemed through the gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for dying in my place, so that I might come to know the truth of who You are, and how You love. Thank You for the hope that we hold forever in You. Forgive us for not living with an eternal perspective, as all in the here and now will one day fade away. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will see things through Your lens. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the gift of life that You freely give. 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

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Matthew 6:20-21)

 

Storing our treasures in heaven is really a matter of where we are investing our hearts and our resources. It is not merely a matter of money, but how too do we spend our time and our talents? Do we seek to serve God and fulfill His purposes with what we have been given, or is our agenda self-serving? If we seek to accumulate “stuff”, and squander our time and talent on that which is self-serving, our reward is only in the here and now, rather than a return that lasts for all of eternity. May we seek to serve Christ with what we have been given, and may our hearts hold fast to our heavenly treasures, rather than that which is temporary.

 

To each one of us,The Holiday of Hope

He has granted gifts;

resources to share,

down-trodden to lift.

What we choose to do,

with what He’s given;

determines what’s stored,

treasures in heaven.

No one can destroy,

what’s given in grace;

the Lord’s light won’t dim,

as we seek His face.

May we invest well,

all that is growing;

so many may come,

into a knowing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents that can be used to honor You. Thank You that all that we have can be trusted in Your care, and utilized for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to treasure anything that is not of eternal value, and help us to hold fast to You, so that our heart will treasure that which lasts forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not limit our investments in Your Kingdom, but rather that we would be willing to be obedient however You ask us to give. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light is made evident through each of us. May many come to know Your saving grace as we seek to invest all that we are and all that we have, into that which is eternal. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in obedience in how we invest the gifts that You have granted. Amen.

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

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

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