Christ Came Down

For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

Jesus came in a way that was relatable and approachable. There was no fanfare, nor kingly setting. Born in a lowly stable on a quiet night in an overcrowded town, He arrived with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Christ stepped down from heaven to become like us, so that we would know who He is, and how much He loves. How He lived as He was among us, demonstrated what love looks like. He touched the untouchable, healed the bruised and broken, dined with the despicable and gave His very life for ours. Today, many of us participate in candlelight services where we pause to celebrate and declare the goodness of Christ and who He is. That child born to us, grew, lived, loved, died, rose, ascended and sent His Spirit to us, so that we could have everlasting life. Because of His love and His life, we can confidently call Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. May this day be filled with reminders of His goodness and grace, and may we give proper praise to He who is all of these things and so much more.

 

For born unto us,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

a Son is given;

in still quietness,

He came from heaven.

Though angels proclaimed,

to shepherds at night;

most were unaware,

of this baby bright.

For though just a babe,

the weight of the world;

would rest upon Him,

as His life unfurled.

The way that He loved,

and gave all away;

brought hope to the world,

and light for our way.

Wonderful Counsel,

our great Mighty God;

Everlasting One,

creation applauds.

The sweet Prince of Peace,

delight of our days;

may we offer Him,

all honor and praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You, Jesus for taking it all upon Yourself, so that we could be set free. Thank You for Your grace and goodness, for light and life. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You are. You are no longer a baby in a manger, but the mighty, risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You are so much more than what the world sees. Show us how to love in such a way, that others too, may see Your majesty through our love. May many come to know You as their Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we gather to give You glory. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

Cared for and Covered

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. – (Psalm 91:11)

 

What a glorious promise to hold! God sees us and is concerned about us in all of our ways. He knows our needs, and He commands His angels to keep watch over us at all times. The Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us, and He provides what is needed so that we may successfully stay the course to which we have been called. Lead us Lord, to operate in confidence, knowing that You have commanded Your angels to guard us, as we walk in Your way.

 

Though we may know not,Gods protection

the angels around;

the Lord sends His guard,

to keep us each sound.

Despite being one,

He sees us alone;

and cares where we are,

though He’s on the throne.

About all our ways,

the Lord is concerned;

He keeps watch of us,

let His grace be learned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command Your angels concerning us, to guard us in all of our ways. Thank You that You care about every detail in our lives – both large and small. Thank You that You set us on Your path of righteousness, and supply what we need to safely stay the course. Forgive us for allowing the obstacles and challenges of this life to keep us from fully trusting You. Teach us to grant You every last corner of our heart, allowing You access to all – as You are our safety and and protection, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Lead us to love others well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we recognize the remarkable ways that You care for and cover us in all of our ways. 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

Delivering Dreams

When a dream long dreamed seems all but dead, it is difficult to hold fast to a promise that seems to have been forgotten. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, had longed to have children for many years, but had been barren. She was long past child-bearing age when she and Abraham were visited by angels on their way to carry out the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. During their short stay, they told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would conceive a son. Sarah, in her sorrow, bitterness, and unbelief because of her advanced years, laughed in response to what had been spoken. Abraham and Sarah traversed more trials in their travels, as they followed where God had called them to go. Just as the angels had foretold, Sarah conceived and bore to Abraham a son, Isaac. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” – (Genesis 21:6)

 

Though the timing was not what Sarah had hoped for, God was faithful to fulfill His promise, and her heart overflowed with joy. At the initial announcement of the promise, Sarah laughed in disbelief. When the God’s promise at last came to pass, Sarah laughed again, this time for joy in awe and wonder of the goodness of God. We have the benefit of the Bible. Throughout the pages, countless stories of God’s faithfulness are recorded for our benefit. Additionally, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, to remind us that His word is true, and He is faithful to all that He promises to do. May we hold fast to God’s promises to us, and ever forge forward in faith, trusting that God is always good.

 

The Giver of dreams,Delivering Dreams

our Lord God above;

true to His promise,

and faithful in love.

No matter how long,

we seemingly wait;

we’re not forgotten,

and God’s never late.

His timing’s perfect,

all things by His plan;

in faith, we must trust,

it’s all in His hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that what You promise, You provide. Thank You that You ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is not according to our timetable. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of faith when the wait is long, and help us to trust and persevere. Teach us to hold fast to Your word, and keep our hearts from discouragement and disbelief. Lead us to love well, just as You so generously and faithfully love each of us. May many come to know of Your goodness and faithfulness for themselves, and may we be used as Your instruments to share of how You have been faithful in our own lives. Be exalted O God, as we forge forward in faith, trusting in Your eternal goodness and grace. Amen.

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

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

He Seeks to Save

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. – (Luke 19:10)

 

Jesus broke down every barrier of expectation that people had for the coming Messiah. They expected One who was high and lifted up, to come in power, and claim what was rightfully His. Instead, Christ came as a humble servant, One who came close to the sick, the sinners, and those whom society deemed unworthy and lost. Jesus sought out the seeking, and they were found by Him.

 

Christ continues to come close to the seeking today. He does not have a checklist of qualifications required in order for us to draw near, rather He longs for us to choose Him, to invite Him in, and allow Him access to our life and our heart. Jesus alone, will bring about the necessary changes, we need only allow Him access, followed by willing obedience to that which He asks of us. May we go forth in our sweet salvation, and share His hope with those who are still in search of Him.

 

Humbly He entered,He Seeks to Save

by lowly a birth;

no pompous fanfare,

when He came to earth.

Born in a stable,

announced by a star;

worshipped by angels,

wise men from afar.

The nearby shepherds,

were stricken by fear;

when angels proclaimed,

that Christ had come near.

The Savior, He grew,

wise and without sin;

it took many years,

for His call begin.

He healed the broken,

and touched the disdained;

showed that there’s new life,

and washed away stains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that was approachable, reachable and touchable. Thank You that You came near, rather that remaining God out there. Thank You Jesus, that You came and made the way for us to seek You and find You forever. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we are found by You. Thank You that You love and forgive and grant us new life in You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not give glory unto You. Help us to live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that brings salvation to the seeker. Be glorified through our every word, act, and deed today, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

Wondrous Worth

Worth is a weird and wondrous thing. Though we perhaps perceive our own worth based on our packaging or productivity, God holds us in highest esteem, simply because we are His created. Each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made; planned, and created with purpose. Each part of who we are is intentional, and has value in the kingdom of God. Luke 15 unpacks three different parables about just how passionately Christ pursues us, and how all of heaven rejoices when even one, chooses to follow Him. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – (Luke 15:10) He takes us as we are, regardless of our wrapping, and brings out the beauty that He intended all along. His light, life and love that shine through us, are the things that matter most, and those which can be passed on through our hands and heart to the world. May we go forth today, embracing our worth in the wonderful way He created us to be, so that we may let His light shine.

 

You are more precious,Wondrous Worth

than silver or gold;

your infinite worth,

can hardly be told.

You were intended,

for far greater things;

to rise up in strength,

share what His grace brings.

You were created,

as perfectly you;

with gifts and talents,

things you’re meant to do.

Allow your heart hear,

all Christ has to say;

receive His great love,

then give it away.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that You value each of us far more than we can comprehend. Thank You that our worth is not determined by our perception of our productivity or our packaging, but rather because we are Yours – created by You with a plan and a purpose. Forgive us for comparing ourselves to one another, and help us to embrace the gifts and callings that You have placed in our own lives. Teach us to fix our eyes securely on You so that we may go forth, looking at others through Your lens. Help us to see needs and respond in love. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we go forth in obedient offering. Be glorified Lord God, as we go. Amen.

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

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

Resolve in His Strength

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Go and See

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – (Luke 2:15)

 

Ordinary shepherds with extraordinary faith, had been tending their flocks by night. Suddenly, the night sky was illuminated with the glorious light of the Lord, and the shepherds were full of fear. An angel offered them comfort, and let them know that he was there to share great news, and that there was nothing to fear. As the heavenly hosts praised God after the announcement of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds were so moved by what they had seen and heard, that they dropped everything to go and see for themselves. I can’t imagine it was convenient, nor easy; yet clearly the shepherds were determined to see the Savior whose birth had just been declared to them in the dark of night.

 

How often are we compelled to move where we have been called, despite the inconvenience, as a result of the recognition of His voice? He still speaks to us today. Though few have the experience of the heavenly hosts bringing an announcement by song in the night sky, His Spirit now dwells in the very hearts of all who call Him Lord of their lives, and His words are whispered to our hearts continually. Our response ought to be to eagerly go and see what He will do, rather than fear or anxiousness of the unknown. Learning to trust Him more, is an ongoing, ever-growing, challenge in life with Christ. May we seek to hear Him clearly, and ask for His strength to trust Him more.

 

Let our hearts receive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

each word from the Lord;

with strength to trust Him,

by faith He affords.

May we quickly heed,

whatever He speaks;

choose walk in His ways,

as Christ our heart seeks.

May we learn to trust,

with all that we are;

no matter the call,

be it near or far.

For the Lord our God,

will ever remain;

present, God with us,

truth we can proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to us and challenge us to go and see and do things we never thought possible. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who trust and believe. Thank You that as we choose to take steps of faithful obedience where You call us to go, You remain present, with us, strengthening and equipping us, for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to grow in our trust in You. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love us. May many come to know Your faithfulness and Your grace, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth trusting You. 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

Above All Else – Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

– (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth. The point Paul was driving home, is that no spiritual gift is of any value, if it is not utilized in love. If the purpose for our actions (our exercising of our spiritual gifts) is not to build up the body as we love the Lord, there is no point. It is love that makes the gifts that God gives, useful. His love is available to everyone. Though we all have different gifts, we all have the same God, who loves each of us with His everlasting, sacrificial, unconditional love. We cannot earn it, we must choose to receive that which is available before us. As we choose His love, we are supplied to love others as He loves us.

 

If we speak out,Above All Else Love

but have not love;

the sound’s in vain,

not for God above.

If we foretell,

what God reveals;

yet have not love,

its value’s repealed.

If we give all,

to them with none;

yet have not love,

our reward is done.

If we suffer,

for the Lord’s sake;

yet have not love,

it’s all a mistake.

All that we do,

all that is done;

must be in love,

unto everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You give us and value love. Thank You that the gifts You give us to encourage and build up the body, are only meant to be used if they are fueled by Your love. Thank You that it is Your love that makes our actions and gifts useful, and that Your love is available to all of us. Forgive us for thinking that we don’t have enough to offer, or for doing anything that was not fueled by Your love. Teach us to trust You completely, and let Your love lead us in everything that we say and do. May many come to know Your great love, as we love others as You love us. Be glorified as we love, above all else. Amen.

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

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

Patient Endurance

Any time there is repetition in scripture, I tend to take notice.  This morning, is no exception.  In reading Revelation 10-14, in between the intensity of angels and trumpets, dragon and beast, witnesses and warriors, a woman and child, the Lamb and the ensuing end, to name just a hint at the happenings – one sentence repeats both in Revelation 13:10b, and again, in Revelation 14:12.

“This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” – (13:10b)

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – (14:12)

Patient endurance is the God-given ability to suffer without yielding.  This comes as an impartation granted to the people of God – those who choose to faithfully follow Him.  It does not mean that only the “holier than thou” will endure to the end, but rather those who embrace the grace that He gives, and are intentional to earnestly seek Him.  He is faithful and just, and honors the hearts that call on His Name.

When trials come,

and temptations play;Patient Endurance

call on His Name,

and steadfast you’ll stay.

For He will grant,

all that we shall need;

to in Him endure,

evil’s frenzied feed.

We are each called,

to be faithful, true;

He will remain,

when trials ensue.

Don’t trust in sight,

but instead, in Him;

the world may fade,

His light never dims.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to model patient endurance and faithfulness.  Despite persecution, trouble, trials, and ultimately death on the cross, He patiently endured, never yielding to the temptation to claim His rightful power and authority, for He came to fulfill the purpose You had placed before Him, and He was faithful to endure to the end.  Thank You Jesus, for not only showing us the way, but for sending Your Holy Spirit, so that we are never on our own when we need Your wisdom and strength.  Forgive us for taking lightly the magnitude of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf, so that we might approach Your throne of grace, and enter into an eternal relationship with You.  Help us to live in such a way, that we honor You and all that You have done.  May many come to know Your saving grace as we live our lives in love, just as You have loved us.  We lift up all those who are currently patiently enduring suffering for the sake of Your Name.  Please strengthen and encourage each one, and grant them favor with their captors.  Grant them freedom soon, I pray.  All glory and honor to You.  Amen.

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

To Come Near

Christmas commemorates the momentous event, where at last the long foretold telling of the Savior’s arrival, had come to pass. This sacred season is our reminder of how Christ came near. Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again; so that we too, could draw near to Him, and receive the promise of a permanent place with Him in heaven forever. How, in the midst of the chaos of all of the Christmas preparations, do you draw near to our Deliverer?

“Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – (James 4:7-10)

At first read, the above passage seems so somber. However, James was really giving us an excellent reminder of how to prepare our hearts properly, so that we may present ourselves pure before Him, and allow Him to restore and right that which is wrong. My NIV footnotes lay out the verses this way:

1) Submit to God (4:7) – yield to His authority and will, commit your life to Him and His control, and be willing to follow Him.

2) Resist the devil (4:7) – don’t allow Satan to entice and tempt you.

3) Wash your hands … and purify your hearts (4:8) – that is lead a pure life as you are cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God’s purity.

4) Grieve and mourn and wail (4:9) – don’t be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done.

5) Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (4:10) – Give it all to Him, and He restores, reconciles, and calls us His children.

So long ago,To Come Near

it was foretold;

that Christ would come,

peace to unfold.

To their surprise,

came infant King;

in stable born,

strange offering.

Bright shining star,

drew wise men near;

and angels sang,

that Christ was here.

Shepherds in fear,

babe laid in hay;

heaven declared,

truth for today.

Wise men still seek,

Him born that night;

Who suffered death,

to make us right.

Let us draw near,

for Jesus waits;

to welcome those,

who seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to draw near to You. Thank You that when we willing submit our hearts and lives unto You, You come and dwell in us and provide all that we need to live right before You. Help us to keep short accounts before You, being quick to confess our sin; and help us to rely on Your leading, so that we walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for our attempts to do things on our own, and help us to turn to You first, and allow You to lead. Teach us to walk in humility before You, so that others may clearly see You in us. Let us live in love so that many may come to call You King, this Christmas. Be glorified today, Lord God. Amen.

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