Tag Archive: church


Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

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

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So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

 

Though these were Paul’s words to the church of Thessalonica, they are still are relevant and applicable to us today. We are called to continue to encourage and build each other up, so that we may grow stronger in our faith. God created us for community, and it is in that space of community that we find not only the opportunity to encourage and build others up, but we ourselves are encouraged and built up as well. May we rise up and be ready to look for every occasion that we might encourage and build others up.

 

Rise up, be ready,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For we have been called;

To build others up,

Help faith be installed.

As we encourage,

Choose help others grow;

Both sides are strengthened,

As hope is made known.

For you already,

Are choosing love well;

Continue in faith,

In His will, we’ll dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that in doing so, we help one another grow stronger in our faith. Thank You that You supply all that we need to do that which You call us to do. Forgive us for neglecting occasions to encourage or build others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay hold of every opportunity and choose to love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love well, so that our words and deeds encourage and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build others up, just as You do for us. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

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

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing. – (Psalm 143:10, NLT)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

 

We had a wonderful ladies’ event on Wednesday evening at my church. It was a time of being together, connecting, worship, followed by one woman sharing what God has been teaching her. The message was all about “Saying Yes”. First, are we invested and plugged in so that we hear what God is calling us to do, and where He is calling us to go? As we hear Him, are we willing to say yes? In reality, God instructs us; always. It is only a matter of whether or not we are listening to hear, and willing to say yes. If we ask, He is faithful to answer, though not necessarily in the way in which we might have imagined. We have to be willing and ready to say yes regardless of what His instructions look like, and trust that His way is best and His plans are good. Personally, each time that I have said yes, even when it did not make sense, I have found that the direction forward led me to beautiful unexpected places that I would have never gone, if I had not been willing to obey. May we learn to say yes to God and do His will, as He is ever leading us forward on a firm foundation in Him.

 

 

Julie saying yes

The lovely and faithful Julie McKenzie sharing about #sayingyes. ❤

Oh Lord teach us how, 

To listen and hear;

So we will choose seek,

With our hearts, draw near.

Show us what You want,

Where we’re meant to go;

Make the pathway plain,

As Your way is shown.

Dear Jesus, help me,

Find strength to say yes;

No matter the call,

For Your way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You teach us to do Your will. Thank You that You are ever speaking Your instruction and leading us in the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for not seeking or for not obeying, as we so often get in our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to say yes to all that You ask of us, as Your ways are higher than ours, and the beauty that comes from obeying You far outweighs the discomfort we may go through to take those first steps. Show us how to say yes to loving those around us as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us forward on firm footing, and rise up ready to say yes to all that You ask. 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

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever 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

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

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, “We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.” – (Luke 3:8, NLT)

 

Though few would likely utilize the “descendants of Abraham” claim today, many believe that their salvation is secure because they either grew up going to church or have Christian parents. The point that Luke is making is that we must own our faith for ourselves. It is essential that we repent from our former ways and turn to God in trust, believing that He is who He says He is, as we trust Him to be Lord of our lives. There is no automatic “in” because of our bloodlines. It is only by the blood of Jesus that any of us are made clean and acceptable before God. We must believe and receive what He has done on our behalf, and then pursue the path of a life lived in faith following Him. May we each turn in trust to Christ to repent and receive all that He offers to those who earnestly seek Him. It is through our receiving, that we are adopted as sons and daughters of the living God, and granted an inheritance in Him that never ends.

 

Let our lives make clear,Generous Giving

The choice that we’ve made;

To turn from our sins,

And walk in His ways.

There’s no auto in,

For family and friends;

All must make the choice,

On whom they’ll depend.

The only true way,

To know hope’s assured;

Is to trust in Christ,

In Whom we’re secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You desire for us to be in relationship with You individually and personally. Thank You that You made the way for us to turn away from our sin and be forgiven, so that we could enter into a lasting relationship with You. Forgive us for our lack of repentance or for not actively pursuing the deepening of our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts with You, and seek You in all of our ways. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the goodness of Your love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate our dedication to You by living lives in constant pursuit of You and Your ways. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

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

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