Tag Archive: awareness


Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! – (Psalm 72:3, ESV) 

May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. – (Psalm 72:3, NLT) 

Under His reign, may this land of mountains and hills know peace and experience justice for all the people. – (Psalm 72:3, VOICE) 

 

Though I am only beginning to process all that I saw and experienced during my time in Belize, this particular verse stood out to me this morning, as it is my prayer for the people whom I had the joy to meet. During my stay in beautiful Belize, I was up north in the jungle. Our purpose was to hold health education outreaches, to check blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and to help educate people about risks and prevention, as well as some other basic health awareness issues. The thing that left the greatest impact on me, was that in the neighboring village to where we were staying, the greatest need was to have year-round clean water. Each year, during the dry season (May – June), many people from the village of 2,500+ fall ill, especially school children, and have no cure for something that should be entirely preventable. The kind principal of the K-8 school has to be the nurse, custodian, cafeteria provider, and run the school. She informed us that during the dry season, it is common to have to send five students a day to the hospital. Each student sent costs the school $100 out of the operating budget, and the hospital does not hydrate the children, but rather gives a cortisone shot and sends them home, often more ill than when they arrived. Clean running water year-round would eliminate much of the illness, and having a nearby nurse who could administer fluids rather than a useless shot, would likely alleviate much of the remaining ruin that occurs during the despairing time each year. The lack of resources and man-power are the obstacles that stand between the village and the solution. Awareness is certainly a step in the right direction. My prayer is that with the known need, that the floodgates of heaven would open, and He would supply all that is needed. No, there is no simple solution that will transpire overnight, but there are now twelve more people who have been touched by the lives of those living in the village, and who cannot unsee the faces of the sweet children who attend school where we stood. May our hearts be ever open to hear what we are meant to do to touch lives and transform communities as You call us to do. 

 

O Lord, send Your rain, Send Your Rain

Pour out on this place; 

Grant what is needed, 

By Your sovereign grace. 

O Lord, break our hearts, 

For that which breaks Yours; 

Then lead us in love, 

As You open doors. 

Help us to see, Lord, 

As You want us to; 

Give strength and equip, 

So we may go do. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know every need. Thank You that You lead us where You want us to go, and You show us Your heart for people. Thank You that You make us aware of those beyond our borders. Forgive us for neglecting to look for need outside of our own four walls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk through our days with eyes to see as You see, and open hands and hearts, ready to give, love and serve as You ask us to do. Show us how to love well, those within our own reach, as well as those beyond our borders. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be the Provider for those near and far, and to show us what we can do to be Your hands to those in need. 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

Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms. – (Psalm 68:19, NLT)

Praise the Lord! Every day He helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV)

 

If we take pause and evaluate what takes place throughout any given day, the evidence of God’s hand is clear. He helps us with our heavy loads, and carries us when we grow weary. For all these things and more, the Lord deserves our praise. His grace supplies the strength that we need to keep moving in the midst of life’s messiness. So often, we fail to recognize just how evident His hand has been, until we have reached the other side and take time to reflect. Regardless of our awareness, the Lord is near. May we slow down and give praise to our Provider, as He is our help and our hope as we navigate each new day.

 

All praise to the Lord,Gods protection

From whom blessings flow;

Let’s praise God above,

Who grants strength to grow.

For He is our help,

When we are in need;

He lightens our load,

Helps us to succeed.

The Lord, our Savior,

Worthy of all praise;

May we give Him thanks,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and Savior who carries us in Your arms. Thank You that You help us with the loads we must bear. Thank You that You save us, and supply the strength that we need. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise, as You alone are worthy of all of our gratitude. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You with all of our thanks and all of our needs, trusting You with all things and at all times. Show us how to allow You to share our load, and to carry us when we cannot walk on our own any longer. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we help bear burdens and carry those who are struggling. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each new day, and trust Your help as our God and Savior. 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

 

And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. – (Titus 2:12-13, NLT)

Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. – (Titus 2:12-13, VOICE)

It (God’s grace) educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly living and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. – (Titus 2:12-13, CEB)

 

God grants us His grace because He completely and thoroughly loves us. Just as a parent loves their children well and gives them instruction to direct, correct and encourage them in the ways in which they are meant to go, God does the same for us. He does not tell us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures to punish or torture us, but rather He knows that such things create a barrier between us and Him, and He wants to help us avoid anything that will lead to such pain. We are charged to reject ungodly living and choose to live with wisdom, righteousness and devotion. In order to navigate our world, we need Him so that we are aware, have self-control, and remain upright in all of our ways. As we choose to invest our hearts and lives in Him, an expectation of the blessed hope that is yet to come rises within us, and we are assured of the glory of our great God, and the hope held in His promised return. May we allow His grace to grab hold of our hearts and lead us through this life, so that we walk in a way that is upright before Him, as we await the glorious day that we will see Him face-to-face.

 

We are called to turn,Refreshment Through Repentance

runaway, reject;

all that is godless,

may our hearts deflect.

To live in this age,

we need righteousness;

true wisdom from God,

the Lord’s holiness.

As we seek we find,

for God freely gives;

awareness and strength,

to righteously live.

It is in this space,

that we look ahead;

with glorious hope,

when Christ comes again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us in how we are meant to live; for Your ways result in wisdom, hope, help and life everlasting. Forgive us for our flirting with the ways of the world, and teach us how to walk upright before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would turn from all that is godless and sinful, and would be aware and operate with the self-control that You grant us. Show us how to love one another in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run away from godless living, and choose to depend on You to walk with wisdom, righteousness and devotion for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – (Hebrews 3:13)

                                                                                                                                                            To protect our hearts from unbelief, we need to be invested in fellowship with other believers.  Our charge is to talk about our shared faith, so that we may build each other up, increasing awareness of the deceitfulness of sin, and covering one another with the love and concern of Christ.  Isolation allows temptation to take root and thrive; but being surrounded by those who share the same passionate pursuit of the path that Christ has set before us, protects our hearts and minds from that which would try to lead us astray.  May we each invest well in the body, and encourage one another daily in that to which we have been called.

For this is the day,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
that the Lord has made;
given as a gift,
to keep our path straight.
We’re not meant to walk,
this road on our own;
but beside others,
so His grace is grown.
When we’re surrounded,
by those seeking Him;
all can encourage,
fend off lure of sin.
May all of our words,
be love and be light;
encouraging all,
to fight the good fight.

 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be a part of a body of believers, and do not intend for us to do life on our own.  Thank You that You call us to encourage each other, and help keep one another from falling into the snare of sin.  Forgive us for thinking that we need to fight the fight on our own, or for isolating ourselves and trying to power through.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your call as to whom You are leading us to let in, and allow our hearts to trust to speak into our lives.  Show us how to encourage others well, so that Your love may be made evident through us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be exalted O God, as we encourage one another and keep our hearts soft before You.  Amen.
For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – (Colossians 4:2)

 

To devote ourselves to prayer, is to set apart, dedicate and commit our hearts to press on in consistent conversations with our Creator. This requires an ongoing awareness of what He is doing in us, through us, and around us. Consequently, in our cognizance, we become increasingly thankful for all that God has done and continues to do in our lives each and every day. May we begin each day anew, devoted wholly to Him who is worthy, as we are diligent to be watchful, prompt to offer praise, and operate in ongoing conversations with Christ.

 

To be devoted,To Reflect His Radiance

to Jesus our Lord;

a choice to invest,

life lived in accord.

Be ever watchful,

to see what He’s done;

and quick to thank Him,

for the battles won.

In all things, prayerful,

give the Lord all trust;

for He’s the answer,

all His ways are just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we devote ourselves to prayer, and are watchful and thankful, we become aware of the miraculous all around us. Thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we cannot see it. Forgive us for not being fully devoted to pray, even when You are clearly the answer that we need to seek. Teach us to trust You more, so that You are the first One we seek in both suffering and celebration. Help us to be ever watchful and thankful, so that we may share of all the wonders You have done both around us, in us and through us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we devote ourselves to prayer, and are watchful and thankful in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of a huge community event to raise awareness and support to stop human trafficking in our area. The event was a 5k run/walk, and though my dear friend and I had originally signed up to run, we were recruited to be officials at the start line. It was a powerful experience to see so many from our community come together for the common good. The event that had only around three-hundred participants last year, had grown to nearly a thousand this year. Watching each group, team, family, and individual come up to the corral and prepare to enter the chute, ready to begin their own race with purpose, was a powerful perspective on how God intends us to operate as community.

 

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name. then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me. – (Psalm 142:6-7)

 

Those stuck in the snare of human trafficking are crying out, and in desperate need. They need rescue, and cannot escape on their own. The only way for them to be set free from the prison they have been forced into, is when we rise up and answer what the Lord would ask of us. For some, it is in the seeking. Others have the task of educating and creating awareness of not only the problem, but of how to protect our kids from being lured into the snares of such sickness. Additionally, there are those whom the Lord has gifted with the ability to surround those who have been set free from the prison of such crimes, and care for them so that their minds and hearts may join the physical freedom that they have found. May we each ask of the Lord what we are meant to do, and then walk in obedience to what He is asking.

 

Can you hear the cries,To Break the Chains

of those trapped in chains?

Oh people rise up,

He’s calling our names.

So many are stuck,

enslaved at the hand;

of selfish pursuit,

of the greed of man.

Though they may be strong,

in numbers, we’re more;

for God is our strength,

and He opens doors.

Down with the captors,

and freedom for those;

righteous, come gather,

so goodness is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear the cries of those who are in desperate need; who need rescue from those who pursue and are too strong for us to fight on our own. Thank You that You set people free from the prisons they have become ensnared in, and You gather the righteous around them so that they may come to know the goodness of Your great love. Forgive us for our ignorance to all that goes on around us, or for our apathy in standing idly by. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to do whatever it is that You would ask of us, and allow You room to move in and through us as You see fit. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into the safety of a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know that true security is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your call, and answer all that You ask. Amen.

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

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

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

Though the Israelites were notorious for their grumbling in the desert, there was a time, early on, when they really got it right.  After the Lord had saved them from the hands of the Egyptians by parting the sea until each of them had safely passed through, and then covered all of the Egyptians with the great wall of water that led to their untimely demise.  After such a mighty display of unbridled power, the Israelites not only feared the Lord, but they placed their trust in Him, and in Moses, whom God had appointed to lead them.

Their response was one of worship, as they say a song unto the Lord.  Among the lines that stand out, is “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” – (Exodus 15:2)  Because they were in the midst of wandering in the desert, recording things in writing was not such a viable option.  However, reciting the remarkable in song, was a wonderful way to give thanks to the Lord, and to pass down the historical happenings of the people, as they celebrated the victory that God had granted.

All of us have seasons of wandering through the desert.  We must choose to either look for and celebrate the miraculous moments, despite the desolation around us; or we are left grumbling, perhaps missing out on the miracles, as our eyes and hearts are averted inward, rather than looking up.  When our hearts are set to worship the One who is with us, be it in the desert or in the lush valley, our awareness of what He is doing, tends to increase.  May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him, and let words of praise be ever-present on our lips.

Our strength and our song,Miracles in the Desert

in famine or feast;

the Lord God on high,

our hope to increase.

Present in dry lands,

He quenches our thirst;

with us in plenty,

as we seek Him first.

Let our hearts hold praise,

regardless of way;

trusting His goodness,

is with us to stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our surroundings.  Thank You that often the most miraculous moments come as we are wandering through the driest deserts.  Forgive us for our grumbling when we are uncomfortable, or have to persevere longer than we think we ought to, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You.  Grant us the ability to keep our eyes up and our hearts on You, so that we do not miss out on the miraculous that You are doing all around us.  May we be available to love as You love us, and please use us to touch hearts and show those who are looking, the way unto You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do, our mighty, miraculous God.  Amen.

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

Each of our senses is a significant gift from God, given to increase our awareness of the world around us.  An often discounted sense, is our sense of smell.  That being said, most of us have treasured memories that are tied to particular scents.  For me, the smell of a roasting turkey, baking pies, or smoking salmon, whisper sweet reminders of Thanksgivings and Christmases growing up at my grandparents’ home.  Pungent whiffs of rotting garbage bring flashbacks of the streets of Calcutta where the poor and destitute seemed to sit without help or hope.  Still other smells take me to specific times and places in my past.

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?” – (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)  I bear the aroma of Christ?  That thought alone compels me to keep my conscience clean and my heart pure before Him.  On my own, I am certain that I would wreak.  However, being covered and cleansed in Christ, I am received in His likeness, and led by His Spirit.  Only by His strength, am I able to be the fragrance of life to another.


Sweet is the smell,

of hope embraced.

Glad is the heart,

where sin’s erased.

Fragrant the gift,

our offering;

grounded in Christ,

our life we bring.

May we go forth,

bearing His scent;

that loves to life,

so hearts repent.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we bear the aroma of Christ to all whom we encounter.  Forgive us for the stench of our selfishness that tries to linger, and cleanse us so that we are fragrant testimonies of life in You.  Help those whose sense of scent is skewed, come to know the saving truth in You.  May our lives bear the sweet scent of salvation before all whom we meet, and may many come to know You as a result.  Let our lives be lived in love, so that all might accept the amazing aroma presented through Your Son.  Amen.

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

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