Tag Archive: book study


Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world. – (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT)

 

“Outward pressure works inward transformation. Rivals reveal the destiny that God has prepared for us.” – (Without Rival, Lisa Bevere) As my book study continues, not only are there fantastic foundational truths that are being reinforced, but there are these great little nuggets that resonate as relevant reminders that whatever we go through – can all be used to further refine us into whom God is calling us to become. We do not grow and change when we are comfortable. It is in the times of trial that we are forced to rise up and cling to Christ, and discover the true strength that He alone can provide. Though we might not enjoy the trying times, they are the very spaces that show us who He is, and how much more we can have of Him. May we seek the Lord in times of trial and of blessing, and recognize that rivals are real ways for God to reveal more of Himself to us and through us as He works within us.

 

Fear not the trials, God Within Her

That happen our way;

For God uses them,

To show us He’ll stay.

Every rival,

God can use for good;

To grow and refine,

His strength understood.

For outward pressure,

Causes change within;

As we lean on Christ,

Glory’s ushered in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that trials transform us into more of who You are calling us to become. Thank You that though we don’t want to endure trials or rivals of any kind, You use them to grow us and raise us up according to Your plan. Forgive us for wanting to run and hide when trials come. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would seek You and Your strength, to forge forward and face whatever obstacle comes our way, knowing that You will provide whatever we need to continue in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us, so that they too would keep moving towards all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to transform us when the pressure is placed upon us. Amen.

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

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

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Yesterday evening was the second week of the book study I am participating in with the women of my church as we read through the book, Without Rival, by  Lisa Bevere. My personal take away from the text this week is to not “settle for crumbs” because God is calling us to feed on His faithfulness. Though sermons, podcasts, books, quotes, posts on Facebook and various other sources of uplifting material are good, they are merely crumbs compared to our seeking and finding the presence of God for ourselves.

 

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see; eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His Divine Being. – (Romans 1:19-20, MSG)

 

In other words, God is not difficult to find if we seek Him. It is merely a matter of opening our eyes to the world around us, as His handiwork is evident everywhere. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, so there is no reason not to pursue His presence for ourselves. There is abundantly, exponentially more waiting for us as we choose seek Him on our own. He longs to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves, if only we are willing to pursue His presence. May we each allow the “crumbs” to be a trail that take us into the fantastic feast of our Heavenly Father’s presence, as He is ever waiting for us to draw near, so that we might come to know Him more.

 

Settle not for crumbs,Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

But come forth to feast;

For there is much more,

That God will release.

As we choose to come,

He shows us the more;

A love far greater,

Than we knew before.

Each time we draw near,

He’s faithful to show;

His grace and His love,

Truth we come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have so much more for us than crumbs or leftovers. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself to experience more of You, personally. Thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to know You intimately and individually. Forgive us Jesus, for not seeking You for ourselves, or for settling for less than You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You individually and personally, as You have so much more for us all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to Your goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your presence for ourselves, and feed on the faithfulness that is found in You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)

 

The second chapter of the book for my book study, Adventurous Prayer, began with the verse above. It is easy to forget that we are invited to come boldly – without hesitation or fear; courageously – to the very presence of God to gain His grace and mercy as we are in need. His invitation is extended, and His promise is eternal. Let us rise up in courage and approach the Lord with our every need, trusting that He is for us and ready to be our help and our hope.

 

May we boldly go,Believe Instead of Striving

To the throne of grace;

As hearts are in need,

Let us seek His face.

For as we choose seek,

We surely shall find;

the mercy and grace,

Of our Lord, Divine.

So ask without fear,

Have courage to pray;

Our God is gracious,

His love lights the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to come boldly before You. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, and that You are our help in times of need. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting in our troubles, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to know how near You are, so that we would come boldly before You, no matter what we are facing. Show us how to love in a way that extends Your mercy and grace to all those around us, so that they too might see Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before You, trusting in Your grace and mercy in our times of need. 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

Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. – (Psalm 50:15, NLT)

Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV)

 

Last week, I joined a small group of ladies from my church to begin a book study in a book called Adventurous Prayer, by Patsy Clairmont. The verses from Psalm 50 and Jeremiah 33 listed above, are but a few of the many reminders throughout the Bible that we are invited to call on the Lord in prayer. Be it in trial or triumph, no matter how massive or minute, God is ready to hear all, and help us with whatever we need. One of the great reminders that I was afforded from the first few chapters of reading, was not only is He available to be called upon, but that I have the very ear of the Divine. For me, that is an extraordinary statement: “You have the ear of the Divine.” (Patsy Clairmont, Adventurous Prayer) May we go about our days in His strength, seeking our Savior in the knowledge that we each have His full attention, for He hears our every prayer.

 

We are invited,IMG_2487

To call on the Lord;

To seek Him always,

All grace He affords.

Help in our trouble,

Answers in our need;

Direction to walk,

From chains we are freed.

He’ll show us great things,

By His grace and might;

For we have His ear,

We are His delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You, You hear us, answer us, rescue and show us the things that we need to know to navigate our way according to Your will. Thank You that though we are but one in billions, we have Your ear, individually. Forgive us for forgetting how we are known and heard the moment we call on Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize the significance of even our smallest prayer unto You. Show us how to pray in power, so that we might learn to love all those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You in all things and at all times, recognizing that we have the very ear of the Divine. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

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

Compassion defined, is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. – (dictionary.com) Meeting together with my book study group, session four unpacked Part 4 – Be the Change, as we continued to discuss the book Undaunted, by Christine Caine.

 

Caine defines compassion in a far more tangible way: “Compassion is never compassion until we cross the street and get involved in someone else’s pain.”   The Bible shows us again and again, examples of what it means to be compassionate towards others. In Luke 10:25-37, both a priest and a Levite pass by a man who had been robbed, beaten and broken on the side of the road. Despite their positions of leadership and their vows to honor God, they disregarded a man in need, and continued on their way. A Samaritan, one whom would have been a sworn enemy of the injured man, looked past societal status and stooped down to help one who would have normally looked down upon him. The Good Samaritan first moved toward the man in the midst of his pain, then attended to his immediate needs, and finally, carried him to a place where continued recovery could be made. (Which he also provided for…) Indeed, the Samaritan crossed the road and got involved in someone else’s pain.

 

How can we do the same? What need to we see that we can cross the road to go and meet? If we attempt to look at every need that exists and try to go out and meet them all, we will become overwhelmed and end up meeting none. Our charge is to listen to the Lord and hear where He is leading us, and then go and do that which He asks. Sometimes it is going to coffee with a struggling friend and just being a listening ear. Other times, He calls us to go out into the trenches and get in the mire and the muck to help dig another out of the ditch. Whatever He asks, He will also equip us to do. May we go forth in His grace and strength, with true compassion that crosses the street to get involved in another’s pain.

 

May we have a heart,Compassion Crosses the Road

that’s willing to hear;

where You are calling,

be it far or near.

Let us be ready,

to do as You ask;

Lord grant us Your strength,

to complete each task.

Help us cross the road,

fear not get involved;

in another’s pain,

may we show resolve.

Let our every act,

show that there is hope;

may our compassion,

help the hurting cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that are the ultimate example of compassion, as You stepped down from heaven and came near, so that we would have a way to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us in the midst of our pain, and that You remain present, no matter how ugly it gets. Forgive us for our reluctance and excuses for not crossing the road to be present in another’s pain, and grant us the wisdom and the strength to hear Your voice and act on every opportunity to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not hesitate to move and jump in, even if we do not feel qualified nor equipped, understanding that if You call us, You too will provide what is needed. Lead us to above all else, love well, just as You have so lavishly loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the fullness of Your grace in the compassion of another’s face, who is obeying You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to cross the street and get involved in another’s pain. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

As I continue in my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, I so appreciate the reminders of who God is, and how He utilizes all of our life experiences for His glory. “He took what I thought was broken and unworthy – my heart – and made it into something beautiful by giving it to others who are flattened by life and circumstance. This is God’s nature.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) Our places of pain, of peril, or perhaps deep sorrow or regret, when we are willing to give it all to Him, “God can heal every hurt and can turn your scars into signs of strength for His glory.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Our survival through the trials, and our strength that God provides on the other side, can become the hope that others need to see to call upon Him who saves. For when there is hope, strength is found. In Christ, we are able to: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24) May we rise up and recognize where Christ has turned our scars into signs of strength for His glory, and look for opportunities to encourage those who are struggling in similar broken spaces that we have overcome.

 

Discarded, broken,

feeling so alone;

yet always our heart,

was held and was known.

When truth was found out,

forever we changed;

beauty for ashes,

as Christ called our name.

The ugliest scars,

He can use for good;

to rescue the lost,

and misunderstood.

What we see as weak,

is really a space;

for God to enter,

and move in His grace.

Allow Christ to reign,

even in the aches;

scars will become strength,

He makes no mistakes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to utilize every trial and struggle that we go through for Your glory, if we are willing to place them in Your hands. Thank You that You give us beauty for our ashes, and hope where we once were in despair. Thank You that in You, there is lasting joy, even in the mourning. Forgive us for keeping our scars covered and hidden, and help us to allow You to use them to show others the strength and beauty that can come, even after the hard and horrible. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing to do whatever You ask of us. Lead us to love others without reservations, just as You love us with total abandon. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to use our scars as signs of strength for Your glory. 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

As I further reflect on the truths conveyed in the book study I am participating in, I find myself pondering the point upon which we all struggled. A question for conversation in the Undaunted study guide was phrased in the following way:

“The Bible tells us that God’s works are marvelous. God made you and me. This means we are marvelous! Tell something marvelous about yourself. Why is it so hard, in a day-to-day way, to see ourselves as marvelous in God’s sight and truly valuable?”

Our entire group struggled with the word marvelous, as I think we were all viewing the meaning in the vein of: excellence, greatness, or somehow superb. This morning, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the meaning of the word, as the root of marvelous, is marvel. Indeed, upon further investigation, I discovered that marvelous can mean: such as to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; surprising; extraordinary, or even improbable. To me, these things are a bit easier to share, as they are the things in us that make us wonder in awe because a great and loving God has placed them in us, rather than something that we have somehow achieved in our own strength. What has God placed in you, that makes you marvel in reverent awe of Him?

 

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

 

Marvelously Made

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

In reverent awe,

I wonder at Thee;

for You have chosen,

each part that makes me.

From hair on my head,

to love in my heart;

all of me designed,

a purposeful part.

Before I was born,

a plan was in place;

You knew what I’d love,

and trials I’d face.

You made me with strength,

hand-crafted by You;

with a heart driven,

to ever pursue.

I give all my praise,

to You, Lord above;

in awe I marvel,

at Your wondrous love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us better than we know ourselves. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and You have created in us, all that is needed to accomplish that which You have designed us to do. Forgive us for not marveling at the wonderful ways that You have uniquely hand-crafted each of us, individually, with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to stop and wonder in awe at the work of Your hands, as You so intentionally and beautifully love each of us. Lead us to love others You would love them, and give us Your eyes to marvel at who You have created them to be. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified as we go forth in gratitude in the gifts You have granted. Amen.

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

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

Yesterday evening was day one of a book study that I am a part of with some wonderful women from my church. The book we will be studying is Undaunted, by Christine Caine. One of the stand out points of our time together last night, was the reality of what happens in a single moment of potentially life changing news. Though everything in our life externally may change, our fundamental identity remains the same. Our salvation, strength, security, purpose, character, worth and value in Christ, cannot be shaken if we are rooted and established in Him.

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angel nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:37-39)

 

When life finds a way,Undaunted

of spinning around;

what once seemed secure,

no more steady ground –

where will peace be found?

When rooted in Christ,

identity sure;

no storm can undo,

the hope that’s secure –

and Christ’s presence near.

Who He has made us,

shall remain unchanged;

though battered and scarred,

His peace shall sustain –

and purpose remain.

The love of the Lord,

steadfast and secure;

there’s no height nor depth,

nor trying detour –

Christ’s love is assured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though our circumstances may change, You never change. Thank You that in You, we have security, strength, assurance, purpose, worth, salvation, hope, and so much more. Thank You that the foundation we have in You cannot be shaken by our circumstances. Forgive us for wasting time and energy on worry, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they would see You through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we stand secure in You, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

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