The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

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Help Us to See

Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods, they thought they were in control, but look what God did! – (Exodus 18:11, ERV)

Now I know with all my heart that the Eternal is greater than all gods because of the way He delivered His people when Egyptians in their arrogance abused them. – (Exodus 18:11, VOICE)

 

These words were spoken to Moses by his father-in-law, Jethro, after Moses led his people out of captivity in Egypt. Like so many of us, Jethro needed something solid to see to truly believe. The very same God that led Moses to set the captives free from slavery in Egypt, is still alive and active today. When we seek Him and call on His Name, He moves mightily on our behalf. Though Moses never had aspirations to lead the masses out of Egypt, God showed up and called him to something great. If we are willing to ask the Lord and believe in faith, there is no limit to what He will do. God is not like man that His ego will be bruised if we ask for Him to make Himself known to us in a tangible way. Our asking demonstrates our desire to know Him. The Lord is loving and kind and full of grace, and His hope is for all to one day seek His face. May we ever ask in spaces of uncertainty, and keep our eyes and hearts open to the everyday miracles as God moves all around us.

 

At times we need see, Healed Hands Reach Out

The hand of the Lord;

Power tangible,

All grace He affords.

For though we need faith,

It too helps to see;

The movement of God,

To help us believe.

Oh Lord, by Your love,

Make Your heart be known;

So people seeking,

In Your grace, find home.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make Yourself known in tangible ways. Thank You that You have moved mightily throughout the ages. Thank You that we can come to You and ask to see You move in ways that are visible to our human eyes. Forgive us for our lack of faith or for our blind eyes to the work of Your hand that is all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize the countless miracles that take place all around us, and have faith in all that we cannot see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and grace and peace where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask for evidence of the things that we are unsure about, and give You praise for the faith that You grow greater in us each day. 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

You Make Us Strong

You are their (our) glorious strength. It pleases You to make us strong. – (Psalm 89:17, NLT)

…because You are the splendor of their strength. By Your favor You make us strong. – (Psalm 89:17, CEB)

 

God is gracious and kind, and He is pleased to provide the strength that we need to navigate this life as we trust in Him. He grants us undeserved favor and the ability to persevere, as we allow Him to lead and guide us. The strength He grants and grows in us can be physical, emotional, and most certainly includes spiritual. For the past six months of my life, all three have been graced unto me as I have been working to rebuild from a compression fracture in my back. As a very active individual, being told that I was not to do the very activities that give me gladness, I have had to dig deep to depend on the Lord to make me strong. Though it has been a slow and tedious process, He is rebuilding and strengthening my body once again. Yes, of course I have to do my part and work hard, but His healing hand is upon me, and His grace and resolve are renewed within me each day. May we turn to the Lord in trust, as He is the splendor of our strength, and it pleases the Lord to make us strong in Him.

 

Our glorious strength,you-make-us-strong

Is straight from the Lord;

It’s by His favor,

Our hope is restored.

Where there is glory,

May our hearts applaud;

The mighty splendor,

Of our gracious God.

For all that we have,

Strength He has granted;

His favor given,

Trust deeply planted.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that it pleases You to make us strong in You. Thank You that You restore in us what has been broken, so that we may rise again in Your strength. Forgive us for our impatience with our own weakness, and our lack of faith in Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, to be our source of strength and hope and help in all things. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we might offer hope, strength and encouragement in the same way that You do unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength, and praise You for Your faithfulness in all things. Amen.

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

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

Hearing the Heart of Heaven

“O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord!” – (Jeremiah 22:29, NKJV)

 

To know God, we must not only pray to Him, but we have to listen as well. One of the most tangible ways to hear instruction and direction from God, is through spending time in His word. This comes not through the completion of a checklist of passage reading, but rather through an intentional time spent reading and then reflecting upon what we have taken in. I am continually in awe of how the Lord can take a passage that I have read a hundred times prior, and suddenly use it to speak something entirely new into my life in just the right season. His word is alive and active, and He still speaks to those who are willing to listen. May we invest our hearts and minds into time spent with Him, having two-way conversations, so that we might hear the heart of heaven for the here and now.

 

To hear the Lord’s heart,photo (11)

We must choose draw near;

In silence, listen,

So His voice is clear.

He’s faithful to speak,

To those who invest;

Spend time before Him,

He’ll show us what’s best.

Ask and He’ll answer,

Let our hearts be still;

May the word of truth,

Be where we are filled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You still speak to us through Your word. Thank You that when we quiet our hearts before You, You show us the answers that we need to know. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of listening. Teach us to slow down and listen, so that we may hear You clearly. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us, so that many may come to trust in Your truth. Lead hearts to lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You through Your word, and obey all that You ask. 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

No Sweeter Season

When my eyes fluttered gently open to the light that still remained on from last night, I felt something I haven’t felt in quite a while – rested. I realized that I had laid down for a moment, still in my workout attire, just to warm up under the weight and warmth of my blankets. Fast forward eight hours and twenty-five minutes later, and the arrival of morning had come…

Many friends have asked what I intend to do with my summer, as yesterday was the final day of the school year. (I am a teacher.) I know there are some that have well-laid plans, and schedule each day with an itinerary and to-do list. For me, I think summer is meant to be a time of rest, refreshing and healing. My body is worn, and I am still trying to heal from a fracture in my low back. Sleep deprivation has been my normal for the past nine plus months, so actually sleeping until my body wakes will be novel.

As for writing, this is part of my daily practice. I wake. I make coffee and grab something to eat, and I sit down to pray, read the word, and then reflect. This is the routine in my day, as it sets my heart and mind for wherever the Lord leads. If I am running errands, I find I have patience and kindness to extend to others, regardless of what is going on around me. When adventure awaits, energy and enthusiasm overflow, and my guys join in for the journey.

Fitness too, is a part of my daily doings. When my body is active, my mind does not get hung up on the little things of life. It gives me reason to be grateful for health and His creation, and the ability to move and be active is something that I will never take for granted.

This morning’s scheduled reading was from John 11:17-37, and tells the story of Jesus going to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died. Everyone was glad to see Jesus, but each questioned His timing, with the statement of faith that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus arrived sooner. There was sorrow and regret that seeped out from the family and friends of Lazarus to the Lord. He was compassionate, and as He cared for them, He cried. The story does not end there. In the last few verses of this part of the passage, Jesus asks, “Where have you put him?” One question that would change their world, in a very short span of time.

The connection? We may have hopes and expectations for how things will occur in a certain season, but as we wait on the Lord, we may feel disappointment or sorrow in what we see as delay or a no way, only to be blown away by what He will ultimately do. May this summer be a season of faithful movement as we anticipate and watch for the things that the Lord will do in us and through us, and we prioritize earnest pursuit of Him.

 

I looked to the Lord,Enter With Thanksgiving

And called on His Name;

No word went unheard,

To God of all grace.

Though I have set hopes,

And dreams for this time;

In Your faithfulness,

Please, Your will, not mine.

In each new season,

May I see Your grace;

No matter what comes,

Keep running Your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more that we could hope or imagine in Your time. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on how we perceive things or how we feel. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness when things that we long for seem to have died. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You see beyond today, and Your timing and plan is always best. Show us how to love others with Your goodness and grace, so that they too may long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and Your best for us in all things. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Worship Anyway

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

The Word at Work

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power; it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. – (Hebrews 4:12, TLB)

The truth of God stands. No matter what lies hidden, it is known by God. He sees past all pretenses and pretty cover-ups, and gets straight to the heart of things. Where we need correction, He comes. Where we need direction, He leads. Where we need to be encouraged, He speaks life. In those spaces of weariness where we begin to tire of doing good, He grants strength and reminds us how pleased He is when we do His will. God’s word is alive and active and as we invest our time and attention to spending time reading it, He takes what is before us, and instructs, grows and shows us where we are meant to go. May we spend time earnestly seeking the Lord each day through the washing of His word; and may we be encouraged as He refines and defines us, as our hearts become more and more like His.

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

is alive, at work;

it cuts to the core,

highlights sin that lurks.

It judges our thoughts,

actions and desires;

points out our true heart,

rescues from the fire.

The truth of God stands,

for now and always;

it’s hope we can trust,

for all of our days.

By His word He shows,

how we’re meant to live;

what we should let go,

and grace we’re to give.

His words wash away,

that which needs to go;

and raises in us,

His love we’re to show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Thank You that Your word gets past all of our walls and straights to the heart. Thank You that by Your word and Spirit, You show us our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts through Your eyes. Forgive us for every way within us that does not align with Your heart and the truth of Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to lead and guide us to walk in Your way and live out Your truth. Show us how to love others with the same gracious and selfless love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to show us how it is to shape all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Darkness into Light

You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – (2 Samuel 22:29)

 

These words are part of the Song of Praise, penned by David, when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies. David had known some desperately dark times, as he had been on the run, hidden out in caves and acted insane, in order to escape with his life. All the while, he had known the Lord’s provision and protection. As the promises that had so long ago been spoken, at last came to pass, David gave God the glory. He recognized that it was the Lord alone, who had turned the dismal into dancing and the darkness into light.

 

The very same God who was with David, is alive and active in the hearts of all who believe today. We have access to all that David had and more. Jesus came to be the light of the world, and when we place our trust in Him, darkness cannot remain. Though trials and heartache still happen, we have a Help and a Healer who is present always. As we allow His light in, all of our darkness dissipates. Darkness and light cannot coexist. Where there is light, darkness no longer remains.

Darkness into Light

Where darkness resides,

and freedom is lost;

desperate our need,

to look to the cross.

For Christ is the lamp,

Who will light the way;

all darkness must flee,

when He comes to stay.

So invite Him in,

grant access to all;

no darkness shall last,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn our darkness into light, and that You are the lamp unto our path. Thank You that as we invite You to take Your proper place in our lives, You lead us and guide us in the light of Your love. Thank You that You are not put off by our darkness, but rather Your light brings life to places where it has been absent. Forgive us Father, for fearing exposure of our own dark places before You, and grant us courage to allow You to illuminate and dissipate all that does not belong in our lives and hearts. Lead us in the light of Your love, to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know Your saving grace, as we walk out each day living for You. Be glorified through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Proper Pursuit

Christianity is not a practice in passivity, but rather is meant to be alive and active – an ongoing series of steps of faith, as we follow in obedience, that which God is asking.  In I Timothy 6:11-12, Paul explains it this way: “But you, man (people) of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Yes, the Holy Spirit will equip and empower us to do that which we are called to do, but we have to take action – place one foot in front of the other (either literally or figuratively) and have an active faith that gives action to what is asked.

I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very young age.  However, I allowed fear to overshadow my faith when I determined my course of study in college.  Rather than pursuing education classes as I knew I ought to, I chose to hide in the art department and major in graphic design, where studio time did not require presentations nor speeches.  Thankfully, God had other plans.  Though it took a three-year tour around Asia with YWAM, where I had to speak in multiple schools to bring me to the place where I was willing to do as He was asking, I did at last pursue the path that He had placed before me, and applied to and was accepted into grad school, where I simultaneously earned my Master’s Degree and Teaching Certificate.  The traveling was not without purpose though, as it was a season of truly learning how to flee from what is evil, to pursue what is righteous and of Him, that which is good, faithful, loving, and gentle, and how to endure.  Perseverance was necessary to faithfully complete both the travels and the additional schooling, and daily, I had to take hold of that to which I had been called.  That season set the standard for my life, and I am grateful for the good that He brought, even through my initial fearfulness.

People of God,Proper Pursuit

pursue what’s right;

flee from evil,

stay strong and fight.

Take hold of faith,

He’s holding you;

let go of fear,

He’ll make us new.

Faith is active,

alive in us;

may it be light,

to show Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good.  Thank You that You instruct us in the way we are meant to go, and You empower us to move as You ask.  Thank You that faith is not passive, but rather is alive and active – moving, growing, and showing Your faithfulness to the world around us.  Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us frozen in our tracks, or for being passive in our faith when You are calling us to action.  Teach us to not only hear You clearly, but to have the courage to act faithfully as You are asking.  May many come to know who You are, as we live in loving obedience to all that You ask.  Let our lives be lived in active faith, ever pursuing You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Misconception

MisconceptionJesus, our Savior,

He quietly came;

He cured the diseased,

and He healed the lame.

The evil spirits,

before Him fell down;

they knew His power,

sans visible crown.

Each time they’d cry out,

“You’re the Son of God!”

He’d order silence,

not wanting applaud.

People’s perception,

was He who would come;

would rule all of Rome,

false misconception.

As the Messiah,

His kingdom won’t end;

salvation for those,

whom on Him depend.

The Leader who gave,

His own life away;

so we might have life,

in glory one day.

Their expectations,

were shattered and torn;

beautiful exchange,

grace to be reborn.

(Responding to Mark 3:11-12 & NIV footnotes)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your thoughts are higher than our own. Thank You that Your plan far exceeded the expectations of the people of the time, for if a leader had risen up and ruled Rome, it would have been temporary – yet You sending Your Son to save souls – is eternal. Thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that Your Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts as we invest time in Your word. Thank You that You continue to show us new things in Your word, even after we have read a passage many times prior. Please forgive us for any misconceptions or faulty expectations we might have of You or of ourselves before You. Teach us what is truth and what is not, and grant us the ability to hear You clearly, and hearts that are willing to obey. Lead us to love as You love, and may many come to know Your power and sweet presence, personally. Amen.

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