Meditate on His Mighty Deeds

I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:12, NIV)

I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. – (Psalm 77:12, MSG)

 

Right now, I find myself in a strange sort of holding pattern. God has brought me through a long, stormy season, into a space that feels settled and secure. That being said, there is a sense of unrest in the wait for what is next. Settled is never really settled, but rather a season of preparation for what is yet to come. It does not mean another storm is brewing, but there is an anticipation of change on the horizon. Some of the change to come is known, yet there is much that is not. This is a space where I have a choice to either fret about the future, or look back at the faithfulness of God thus far, and trust Him in all that is yet to come. David, despite the struggle he was dealing with as he wrote Psalm 77, chose to remember the things that the Lord had done already, and look at the love with which God had operated thus far. It is no different for us today. The very same God who was faithful to fulfill His promises to David, is true to His word for us. We can ponder that which He has done, and meditate on His mighty deeds. The Lord is faithful, and we can trust Him to lead us where we are meant to go, and to be present each step that we take. May we remember all that He has accomplished in us, through us and around us, so that we will trust Him for all that lies ahead.

 

I will consider,Refreshment Through Repentance

All that You have done;

For You’ve been faithful,

God, Most Holy One.

When I am anxious,

Or I feel afraid;

I must remember,

To trust You, always.

In every storm,

You have remained near;

My strength and shelter,

Voice of hope made clear.

Help me remember,

O Lord, that You’re near;

In times of waiting,

Help my heart to hear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that we can trust in You. Thank You that when we are afraid or uncertain, we can look back on all that You have done in our lives, and know that You are who You say You are. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look forward in faith, with the memories of Your former faithfulness fueling our fortitude in knowing that You will be faithful for what lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might build up and encourage, just as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder all that You have accomplished, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. 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

Seeking Strength and Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. – (Psalm 4:8, NLT)

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

 

There have been four shootings in the last forty-eight hours in my city – three of which were fatalities. What once was a sleepy little town, is growing and changing, and the bounty of broken and hurting people has blown up. I see it in the schools, where kids come and try to navigate the new, with a very different set of standards guiding them as they go. Many are in crisis, and are simply in survival mode. How do we best meet needs and love all who come, just as Jesus calls us to love? We are not called to be afraid, nor hide away in fear, yet neither are we asked to be foolish. The Lord grants wisdom to all who seek Him, and gives strength where we have none. His peace surrounds us and keeps us safe, despite the seeming destruction of what we formerly knew to be true. There is no easy answer nor simple solution when the safety of one’s city has been stolen by violence. However, change begins with one. One act of kindness. One extension of encouraging words. One person providing peace in the midst of scattered storms… If we seeks the Lord and listen to Him, He will grant us strength and wisdom, removing the fear that has fought to find footing around the brutal acts of broken people. May we let Love be what leads us; not fear.

 

As the day closes,Image-1

And fear tries rush in;

I lean on the Lord,

Where comfort begins.

The Source of all strength,

In chaos, our peace;

Protector, Savior,

Where grace is released.

He loves the hurting,

The scorned and broken;

He’s asking of us,

To be truth spoken.

Not just with our words,

But in love, choose serve;

Meet needs before us,

His peace to preserve.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of peace and strength, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that in You, we need not fear – for You keep us safe from harm. Father, I lift my city before You, and ask that You would move mightily in the hearts of all who love You, so that we may seek You and obey whatever You ask of us to bring peace into this place. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see so much violence in such a short span of time. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would hear what You would have us do, and then we would go forth and obey. Show us how to love all who are hurting around us, so that they might come to know Your perfect peace for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and peace. 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

 

 

Presenting the Path of Peace

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness… and to guide us to the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, NLT)

 

Christmas is our reminder of exactly this – that Christ, our morning light from heaven, was sent to us in our darkness to guide us to the path of peace. God did this not because we were worthy, but because of His tender mercy. This most holy season is a space where we are given a vehicle to spread His loving light to those entrenched in darkness. Acts of kindness and generosity are more readily received in the name of Christmas, than any other season. May we remember God’s tender mercy that was granted to us, as the morning light from heaven shone brightly upon our own darkness, and led us to His path of peace. In this space of remembering, let us go forth and extend His mercy, light and love to all whom we encounter, so that they too, may come to know His tender path of peace.

 

Let tender mercy,Truth and Light

direct all our steps;

may we choose to love,

through our thankfulness.

As Love came to us,

from heaven to Earth;

light came to darkness,

through sweet infant birth.

The Christ who shows us,

the path to His peace;

our Mighty Savior,

from whom light’s released.

May we each embrace,

the love of our Lord;

and go give away,

the peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the tender mercy that You have for us. Thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to Earth, so that we who were stuck in darkness, could come to know Your glorious light. Thank You that in You, we come to know Your guidance, as You lead us to the path of Your peace. Forgive us for hiding in our darkness, or for not reaching out to those who are stuck in spaces where there is no light. Teach us to trust You more for our protection and direction, and lead us to love others with Your tender mercy in a way that shines light into darkness and points people to Your path of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we embrace Your grace and go forth to give as we have been given. 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

 

 

Cleanliness From the Inside Out

“Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’.” – (Mark 7:15)

Our “cleanliness“, which is how we are seen through the eyes of our Savior, is not dependent on what we eat or drink, but rather on what we do and say. The words we speak and deeds that we do, determine whether we are in right standing with God. If we are walking with Him, our words will represent well, our Redeemer who dwells within us. However, if we are opting to be ruled by our own evil thoughts, then the ugliness that escapes, makes us unclean. May we choose to tend well to that which we feed to our hearts and minds, so that all that comes out of us is a clear reflection of our radiant Redeemer.

It’s not what we eat,Clean Inside Out

that makes us unclean;

but rather our words,

and unkind acts seen.

For the Lord calls us,

to represent well;

His Name as His kids,

our words and deeds tell.

Let us choose wisely,

what we do and say;

as our righteousness,

is shown in this way.

May we all tend well,

our hearts and our minds;

so that which escapes,

is righteous and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our righteousness is not determined by what we eat or drink, but rather by that which we say and do. Thank You that our words and deeds are not directed by us alone when we invest our hearts in relationship with You. Forgive us for allowing our own evil thoughts to rule our words or actions, and teach us to trust You more, so that we depend more fully on You to keep our hearts and minds free from the fuel that leads to ugliness. Lead us to love others as You so generously and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we allow You to cleanse us from the inside out, so that all that comes out of us is a radiant reflection of You. 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

Showing Real Love

My children, our love should not be only words and talk.  No, our love must be real.  We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

If what we say and what we do are not in alignment, our love is not real.  Love is made evident through our ongoing actions and attitudes toward others.  We can talk the talk, but unless we walk the walk also, it is meaningless chatter, and we are not truly children of the King.  God calls us to a higher standard.  His expectation is that we love as He loved.  This is not something He expects of us in our own strength – for we would surely fail if that were so.  However, Christ in us, equips and empowers us to demonstrate the very love that Christ has poured so generously into us, by doing the same for others.  It is not merely something for us to talk about, but rather to go and do.  Love is a verb that requires forward momentum.  Sometimes love sits silently beside the hurting.  At other times, love reaches out to those stuck in their own space and says, “You are seen.”  Love sees a need and acts.  It is not a matter of whether or not we are called to do this or that, but rather if we see it, we ought to do what we can.  If what we have to do is offer a silent prayer, then do so in love.  May we go forth this day showing our love through the things that we do.

Love is not merely,Faith and Hope in Action

a mixture of words;

for though they’re spoken,

only action’s heard.

For just talk alone,

does nothing to touch;

those hurting, in need,

yet actions do much.

Love chooses to reach,

when we want to run;

for that’s what God did,

when He sent His Son.

Lord, help us to love,

in word and in deed;

be Your hands and heart,

to all those in need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love is more than words or talk.  Thank You that real love is shown in what we do.  Thank You that You have shown us the greatest love ever known, when You sent Your only Son to die in our place, so that we could have eternal life with You.  Thank You Jesus, that the grave could not keep You, and that You returned to the Father to send Your Spirit to indwell us so that we could do as You did.  Forgive us for not loving with our actions.  Teach us to trust You more so that our words and actions align with all that You are calling us to do to love others well.  Lead us to love each person that You place on our path, just as You call us to do.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result.  Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate Your love through not only our words, but our actions too.  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

Unity, Liberty and Love

Be willing to accept those who still have doubts about what believers can do. And don’t argue with them about their different ideas. – (Romans 14:1, ERV)

 

There will always be differences of opinion among believers, as there are things that the Bible does not deem right nor wrong; and therefore each are a matter to be taken up individually, between God and man, personally. What is acceptable for one, may be off limits for another. Our charge is not to dispute our differing views, but rather to be accepted and handled with love. If each of us is acting according to our conscience (the leading of the Holy Spirit), then we are doing right in the eyes of the Lord – even if it is not the same as our sister or brother. “Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 14:1)

 

What the Bible clearly establishes, these are non-negotiables. The things that have not been clearly laid out nor established, for these we must trust each to walk in the wisdom and counsel that the Lord provides, so that we may maintain united as a body of believers. In all things, whether we stand in agreement or not, we are called to operate in love. May we accept one another in love, choosing our conversations with wisdom and grace. Let the Lord be our guide and example as to how we are to operate in unity, liberty and love.

 

For the Lord calls us,Intended for Obedience

to accept in love;

any uncertain,

of His law above.

For some things it’s clear,

God’s way is laid out;

yet still there are some,

we must pray about.

We’re not to argue,

with differing views;

in love, just listen,

God’s voice will ring true.

What is yes for one,

not for another;

we’re not meant to judge,

sisters and brothers.

Stand firm in the truth,

liberty in grey;

all things done in love,

is walking God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and know us individually. Thank You that what may be acceptable and safe for one, can be a resounding “NO” for another, because of Your love and protection for us individually. Thank You that You know our hearts and minds, and You determine what will lead us down a path of destruction, and what will not bring harm at all. Forgive us for either assuming that Your answer should be one way or another for those around us, or for not listening well to the answer that You are clearly offering before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we may be united in the essentials, grant liberty in the nonessentials, and in all things, operate in love. Lead us to love with Your wisdom and grace, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are united as a body, and gracious and loving to all. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

Taking Courage in Trials

As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?

 

The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.

 

When facing giants,Taking Courage in Trials

mountains we must climb;

His nearness constant,

for now and all times.

Our courage is found,

in Christ, the true King;

He supplies power,

and all needed things.

In trial, in loss,

in wholeness, in grace;

circumstances don’t,

determine His place.

For God is on high,

He’s still on His throne;

no matter what comes,

Love will be made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.

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

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

Love Sees

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27)

 

The command that we are given to love one another, is powerfully modeled by Jesus as He hung on the cross. Even in anguish, He recognized the needs of His mother that would have to be filled, and asked His dear friend to see to it that she would be cared for in His parting. John, Jesus’ disciple loved enough to be present and to say yes, and Jesus had loved so completely, that each knew what it was to love and be loved as Jesus was asking. Soon after that significant moment, John, Mary and the rest of the disciples, came to understand just how great His sacrifice truly was. Jesus’ act of love and sacrifice made way for all mankind to come to know Him, personally; individually; eternally. May we go forth and care well for our families and all whom are in need around us, just as Jesus did.

 

Even in anguish,The Look of Love 2

love sees other’s needs;

it moves and it acts,

love touches and feeds.

Love comes alongside,

when struggles are real;

love extends a hand,

or prepares a meal.

Love chooses silence,

to listen, not speak;

to hear what’s broken,

give strength to the weak.

When there is sorrow,

love still chooses stay;

reminds there is hope,

for Love makes a way.

When joy is present,

love celebrates too;

for we’re hand-crafted,

Love’s making us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You made the way for us to be brought back into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for coming and living, loving, sacrificing and demonstrating Your overwhelming power and presence, all because You love us. Thank You that You modeled what it is to love others. Forgive us for not loving others well. Give us Your eyes to see everyone whom we encounter – from friends and family to strangers on the street. May we love each one, as You would. Grant us wisdom and insight as to how You would have us love, individually, and let us not grow weary in doing good. Let Your love flow freely through us, and may many come to know You as the Lord of their life, as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we look to love others as You love us. 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

Evidence is Everywhere

Despite all of the horrendous happenings in the world today, there is still overwhelming evidence of a good and loving Creator.  Each morning, we question not whether the sun will rise, and we know too, that it shall set again each evening.  Mighty mountains and vast oceans reflect the radiance of our remarkable Redeemer.

In Acts, when Paul was speaking to a crowd that had attempted to honor he and Barnabas as if they were gods in human form, Paul spent time clearing the air and making certain that all the hearers were clear that they were mere men, serving the living God.  “Men, why are you doing this?  We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.  In the past, He let all nations go their own way.  Yet He has not left Himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – (Acts 14:15-17)

Though the evidence of a Creator is overwhelmingly clear, the greatest gift we will ever know, only becomes known to those who are given the opportunity to hear.  Jesus came so that ALL might have life and trust in Him.  Our charge is to share the truth of His great love with the world around us, so that all might have the opportunity to come to know of the saving grace that is available through our great and loving Lord.  May we go forth in peace and make His love known to all mankind.

Go forth in peace,Evidence is Everywhere

tell of His great love;

trust in His grace,

point hearts to above.

Let His light shine,

through the way we live;

His glory shown,

as our life, we give.

Direct credit,

unto Jesus Christ;

honor to Him,

paid redemption price.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who have gone before us, faithfully following You.  Thank You for the gift that their obedience brought, as the truth of Christ was made known to us.  Thank You that it was not anything that they did in their own strength, but that You equipped and empowered their willing hearts to do that which You had called them to do.  Forgive us for being fearful to step out in faith, or for staying silent, when we are meant to speak.  Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that if You call us to it, You will bring us through it.  May our faithful obedience be an instrument to deliver the truth of Your love to those who have been lacking it for so long.  May many come to know Your saving grace, as we step out wherever we are called.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  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