Expectant Hope

So, prepare your minds for service. With complete self-control put all your hope in the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ comes. – (1 Peter 1:13, ERV)

So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the glorious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. – (1 Peter 1:13, NLT)

So, get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you. – (1 Peter 1:13, VOICE)

 

Each new day that we draw breath, we are meant to be ready to live out our faith with expectant hope. To do so, we ought to exercise self-control and ready our minds to serve, remembering not only the grace that we have been given, but all of the hope that is yet to come. Though God gives great gifts in the here and now, the best is yet to come through that which will be eternal – our promised presence with our Provider forever. Imagine a place where there is always peace and never pain, surrounded by His love and light, the true King shall reign. This, this is reason to prepare our minds and exercise self-control, for our hope is held in that which is eternal. May we rise each day with expectant hope, and ready our hearts and minds to walk out our day according to His way.

 

Let’s prepare our minds, Enter With Thanksgiving

To rise up and serve;

Give as we’ve received,

Though much undeserved.

Use all self-control,

Granted by His grace;

So we may love well,

In every place.

May all of our hope,

Be held in the gift;

Of His saving grace,

Where forever is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our eternal hope through the salvation that You offer. Thank You that we can trust our forever in You. Forgive us for not setting our sights on the eternal, as so often what lies before us seems so overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have an eternal perspective, keeping our hope fixed on our forever with You. Show us how to prepare our minds for service, and grant us the strength to have self-control. Help us to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put all of our hope in You and accept the gift of Your gracious salvation that is available for all who choose to receive. 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

Sharing a Shoulder

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

At my church, there has been a phrase that has been spoken many times over the years. I always knew that it was Biblically based, but never really thought about the specific reference from which it may have been derived. However, this morning, this seems a fitting verse to align with the statement, “At Grace, no one stands alone.” The statement is a direct affirmation of a commitment to be obedient to share each others burdens so that no one is attempting to carry the weight on their own. Whatever the challenge, it is lessened when another chooses to join in the journey. Often when we help one another, we end up being helped ourselves in the process. There is a discovery of strength and help and grace, as we walk beside another in the strain of their struggle. May we rise up and look to help one another bear the burdens that life brings, so that we are walking in obedience to Christ and recognizing the power that is present as we choose to obey.

 

The Lord is calling, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So that we might see;

Each other’s burdens,

Places where there’s need.

We are meant to share,

The weight of their load;

To help them travel,

Where they’re meant to go.

As we opt rise up,

And help bear the weight;

It’s as God has called,

His peace shall be great.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to share each others burdens so that we have tangible help through You. Thank You that as we walk alongside one another, we are being obedient to what You ask of us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder the weight of our woes alone, or for neglecting to reach out to those that we know are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead us to those we are meant to walk beside, and receive the help from others that You provide. Show us how to love those around us who are bearing heavy burdens, so that we might help lessen their loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we help one another in times of trouble, just as You are present to help each of us. 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

Who Are We?

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, ESV)

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, NLT)

King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that You have brought me to this place in life?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, MSG)

 

David had gone from being a faithful young shepherd boy in his father’s fields, to a good and powerful king, who was blessed and anointed by God. He had to endure many trials in between, yet recognized the faithfulness of God through it all. As he sat before God and prayed, he acknowledged in awe and wonder, how it is that God had granted him such kindness and favor. Though I am not in a seat of public power (nor would I want to be), I am the daughter of the Almighty King. When I look back, even over the last few years, I can ask the very same question that David asked: “Who am I, Lord God, and who is my family that You have brought us this far?” I am in awe at the faithfulness and goodness of God, and how He has provided and blessed and covered my boys and me. He has brought us love and laughter and life in places where such things had grown dim, and has provided all that we have needed and more. Verses like this one are a terrific reminder for us to slow down, take some time, and give thanks for the grace we’ve been given to carry us thus far. May we ever look to the Lord to be our help and hope, and give Him praise for the many blessings throughout our days.

 

O God, who are we, not-defined-by-a-day

That You would show care?

What glorious grace,

You lovingly share.

Lord God, as we seek,

In awe, we are found;

You lead us to life,

Show us to sure ground.

Always You are near,

Through our highs and lows;

Your love surrounds us,

And helps us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see each of us as Your children whom You dearly love. Thank You that though we know we do not deserve it, You give us grace and mercy, and lead us through our trials and bring us to places of blessing. Thank You that no matter where we are on our journey, You are faithful to be present as our Help and our Hope. Forgive us for not seeking You in the seasons we need You the most, or for not giving You glory where glory is due. Teach us to honor and praise You in all seasons and stages of life, as You are the One who gives us strength and hope to persevere and overcome. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others feel blessed and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remain in awe of all that You have done, and ever rely on You for what is yet to come. 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

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Harmony Through Him

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, NLT)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

I love that God wants for us to live in complete harmony with one another, being like-minded in Him. That is not to say that we are meant to view the world through the same lens, nor to be in agreement on every minute detail, but rather, that our hearts ought to be set on loving God and loving people. If those two things are our priority, the places where we don’t agree, won’t really matter; as we can set aside our differences and choose to love. May we seek the Lord in all things, allowing Him to grant us the patience and encouragement necessary to persevere in the places where love may be difficult to give. Let His light lead us and His heart guide us, so that we may live in harmony with those whom He has places along our path.

 

For patience does come,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To all who choose ask;

Seek the Lord for strength,

To fulfill His task.

He’s asking of us,

To choose to love first;

Seek to understand,

Don’t assume the worst.

When we walk by faith,

Our hearts shall agree;

Where it matters most,

Granting harmony.

As His will is done,

Our hearts are set free;

To live and to love,

In community.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience and encouragement so that we may live in harmony with one another as You intend for us to do. Thank You that in order to do so, we need not be clones of one another, nor share the same interests or hobbies, but rather our hearts are meant to be for You and one another to be aligned with Your will. Forgive us for thinking that we have to see eye-to-eye on all things to live in harmony with each other. Teach us to celebrate our different strengths, interests and opinions, knowing that at the end of the day, loving You and loving each other is what matters most of all. Show us how to love You and one another with everything within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live in harmony with one another as You intend us to do. Amen.

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

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

The Benefit of Belonging

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NLT)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE)

 

When we come into relationship with Christ, we are no longer condemned for our sins. His Spirit grants us life, and frees us from the power that sin had held on our hearts before we knew Him. With Christ, it is not about trying to obey the letter of the law, but rather it is the joy in coming to know His love, grace and forgiveness. As we know Him more, we cannot help but be compelled to honor Him in word, thought and deed. It does not mean that we will be perfect, but we grow in our knowledge of where to turn for forgiveness, grace, strength and help to continue in the direction to which we are called. May we let go of the law that leads to death, and embrace the One who grants us life in Him.

 

Condemnation comes,What is in a Name

When we go alone;

Try being, doing,

Enough on our own.

For there’s no enough,

Compared to God’s grace;

That’s why it’s a gift,

We’re meant to embrace.

When we choose receive,

All that the Lord gives;

His power frees us,

So in Him, we live.

New life He breathes in,

So we are set free;

To live and to love,

For eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation when we belong to You. Thank You that Your Spirit in us gives us life, and has freed us from the power of sin that leads to death. Forgive us for attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than seek You and invest our hearts and minds in things of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace the power that You grant us by Your Spirit within us to overcome the power of sin that leads to death. Show us how to live and love in that liberated space, so that others too, may come to know the freedom that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to lead us and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to 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

Nothing Can Separate

So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loves us. – (Romans 8:35, VOICE)

 

Inevitably, there will be times that life grows difficult. Trials come, and none of us are immune. However, when we walk with Christ, the struggles we face are met by His grace, as He loves us through it all. Nothing that comes against us can take away the love that Christ has for us, and in Him, we can rest assured that the ultimate victory is ours. Our hope lies not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with Him. Yes, He can do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine in our lives today, but more than that, He holds all of our tomorrows in His hands. He is good, and He is for us. Despite the ugliness and brokenness that we must endure on earth, we have the hope of what is yet to come, where there will be no more suffering, pain nor sorrow. May we cling to Christ, who will never leave us nor forsake us, and trust in His love that will lead us home.

 

There’s nothing on earth,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

that can separate;

us from God’s great love,

no height, depth, nor weight.

Trouble nor danger,

angst nor poverty;

no, there is nothing,

that God does not see.

For those who love God,

there‘s hope yet to see;

no matter what comes,

Christ brings victory.

So rest safe assured,

even in trials;

His grace is enough,

for the longest miles.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reassurance that there is NOTHING that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that though we go through difficulties and trials, You are with us, and You are for us. Thank You that though we know not how long the season will last, we have the assurance that the ultimate victory is ours in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of fight in the throes of the struggle. Teach us to trust You more so that we would rise up and endure with Your strength, rather than our own. Show us how to love and support those around us who are in the midst of their own difficulties. May many come to a place of depending on You. Be exalted O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Purposeful Prayer

image by SimplyOrthodox

image by SimplyOrthodox

With rumors of war

and moral decay,

’tis time to rise up;

for people to pray.

God saves His children,

with mighty right hand.

He holds the power,

to peace in this land.

He hears the heart cry,

of all who do call.

His heart is for us,

so that none will fall.

He always answers,

from heaven on high.

No prayer unnoticed;

no tear He won’t dry.

So trust in the One,

Who’s mighty to save.

Ender of darkness,

the Lighter of days.

“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand.” – (Psalm 20:6)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that from the moment we repent of our sins and invite You into our hearts, we are counted among Your anointed.  Not for anything that we have or have not done, but because of what You did on our behalf in Your great love.  Forgive us for forgetting the power that is provided through the prayer of Your people, and help us to lay hold of Your promises so that we may pray in Your power, with confidence that You are already answering what we are asking in Your Name.  Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and though we don’t always see or understand the answers as they come, You are always faithful and always have the very best for Your children.  May our love and prayers for people point them to the path to You.  Amen.

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