Mountainous Mementos

I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth! – (Psalm 121:1-2, NLT)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

When I look upon the majesty of the mountains spread out before me in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I understand why the author of Psalm 121 made such a statement. Though mighty and glorious in their expanse, the mountains are the work of the Creator’s hands. Our strength and help come from the One who created, not from creation. Yes, we can feel more connected to Him as we get outside and explore all that His hands have made, but ultimately, all of our help and our hope and our strength is drawn from He who made us by the work of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and our help, as He is our hope and our Source of all that we need.

 

By Your mighty hands, Breaking Free from Barriers

All creation does sing;

Of strength You supply,

And hope that You bring.

Our true source of strength,

Is in God alone;

Creation reminds,

In Whom, heart is home.

The mighty mountains,

Remind us to stand;

In awe of our God,

All works of His hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible reminders of Your help and strength found in creation all around us. Thank You that the very same hands that created the mountains, come close and will carry us when we need Your help. Please be present and provide Your strength and help to those impacted by hurricanes, earthquakes and forest fires – there are so many spaces where help is needed. Forgive us for not giving proper praise unto You, as all of our help and our hope is found in You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us as we love well, just as You so consistently and tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Truth Be Told

As Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem and the people began to shout out praise and adoration for all that they had seen through Him, some of the Pharisees objected strongly, and asked Jesus to rebuke those who were following Him.

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, ESV)

 

When the truth of God need be told, it will come forth – be it naturally or supernaturally. God often uses unlikely places to speak His truth in a way that helps our hearts to hear Him best. For Jonah, it took time in the belly of a big fish to get his attention. For Saul, who became Paul, he was blinded through a heavenly encounter along the road. For another, a talking donkey; still others, pillars of fire, a burning bush, parted seas, plagues, writing on a wall… The list goes on. God comes close and meets us where we are, so that we might turn to Him and seek His face. In our space of seeking, we come to find His nearness, and how faithful He is to listen to our heart’s cry. He walks beside us through the wilderness, and leads us to safe pasture where we find rest. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we ever speak of the wonders that He has done, so that others too, may hear His heart for people.

 

Let’s not be silent,Confidence in Christ

for we’re called to praise;

speak of His goodness,

for all of our days.

For if not from us,

the truth still be told;

the rocks shall cry out,

all praise to behold.

It is our calling,

what we’re charged to do;

to speak of His love,

and how we’re made new.

It is by His grace,

our story to tell;

may we share in faith,

with hope, it is well.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to participate in the sharing of Your story. Thank You that we each have a story of how You have come into our lives and changed our hearts as we have sought after You. Thank You that You love people so much that if we did not speak the truth of who You are, even the rocks would testify on Your behalf. Forgive us for staying silent when we are meant to speak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be courageous and not fear what others might think of us when we share of what You have done for us, personally. Thank You that You have done so much. Show us how to love others so that they may see the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak of Your goodness and grace, and how You love in even the most broken space. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Near to Those Who Call

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18)

God promises to be present when we call on His Name. He is near, when we feel fear. As we pray and trust in He who made our hearts and hands, He is faithful to come close and make His presence known. Our job is to trust God, more than that which we are facing. As we do, we become acutely aware of how great God is, and how His presence can shrink the appearance of the obstacles before us. Far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world. May we choose to call on Christ in truth and in trust, and be still long enough to become aware of how close He comes in our every moment of need.

In truth we must call,

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

on the Name of God;

for He shall be near,

on each path we trod.

We must trust in Him,

and look to His face;

to become aware,

of His present place.

For each time we ask,

He makes Himself known;

helps us know He’s near,

as His love is shown.

Whatever we face,

shan’t even compare;

to the Lord’s goodness,

once we are aware.

Present in moments,

of fear and despair;

He’s strength and He’s hope,

when we’re unaware.

Let us each rise up,

and call on His Name;

for we can all trust,

promises proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in truth, You are near. Thank You that Your presence is enough to strengthen, sustain, encourage, enlighten, and supply all that we need to navigate through any storm. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we may come to know You. Forgive us for failing to call on You in times of need and in times of thanksgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in truth and in trust in all things and at all times. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light and hope is clearly expressed to those who don’t yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we call on You in truth and are aware of how very near You are. Amen.

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

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

Where Are You?

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” – (Genesis 3:9)

 

After Adam and Eve had sinned and eaten of the fruit in the garden, they recognized their nakedness and hid in their shame. God, despite His knowledge of their wrongdoing, still desired to have fellowship with them. Their sin broke the close relationship He had created them to have, but Jesus came and created the way for our fellowship to be restored to what it once was. God so loved, that He sent His Son. His sacrifice supplies us with His unconditional love. Though our natural inclination, like Adam and Eve’s, is fear, (as not one of us can live up to His standards), we needn’t be afraid as we are loved and received regardless of our faults, because we are covered and claimed by the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. Let us rise up in confidence to answer His call, and go forth in all He has prepared for us to accomplish in His Name.

 

It’s hard to believe,Where Are You

the great Lord of all;

wants time with just us,

to answer His call.

He opened the way,

to mend and restore;

to heal the broken,

through Christ, we adore.

He makes way for us,

to come close, be near;

as we seek His face,

His Spirit is here.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You. Thank You that even though it is in our very nature to blow it, You made the way to restore us unto Yourself. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to enter into a close relationship with You, despite our brokenness and our faults. Thank You that You love us as we are, and You make us more like You as we invest our lives in pursuing You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow measure up, or for taking Your grace for granted. Teach us to keep our eyes and hearts securely fixed on You, so that we have a proper perspective at all times. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we give and receive Your love. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Come Close, for He is Here

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” – James 4:8a

image by Dr. Bob Bijo

image by Dr. Bob Bijo

Such seemingly simple words that hold such a perfect and powerful truth.  When we call on Him, He answers.  As we cry out to our King, He comes close and comforts.  If we ask, He answers.  He is faithful.  And He is love.

In light of the Connecticut tragedy, many of us find ourselves in need of knowing His nearness.  As a mother and an educator, such a travesty touched far too close to home.  These young ones are precious gifts, presented by our Papa, for us to protect and raise up in the way they are meant to go.  My heart hurts for the families and friends of such tender lives that were taken.  Though I know not why such a monstrosity occurred, I know that God is good, and that He will somehow, ultimately, use even such a horrific happening, for good.

Come close.  He will heal.  Come close.  He will restore hope where hope has been lost.  Come close.  He will hold hands and hearts as He has ushered His tiny treasures home.  Come close.  As we do, we will hear Him whisper the words that our hearts so desperately need to know.  Come close.  Though there is a season of sorrow, joy will come again.

We are able to come close because Christ came close to us.  He entered the earth as a tiny treasure, was born in a stable and laid in a manger.  Sweet innocence and the Son of God.  His coming close did not end in infancy.  He grew and gave as the world had never known.  He healed.  He helped.  He touched and He talked to those who came close.  He submitted Himself to be the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, so that we could come close and call Him Christ our King.  He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and I don’t think there can be a close that is closer than that!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come near to You, as we call on Your Name, You know our need, and You make Your nearness known.  Please make Your presence tangible to every hurting heart today.  May we hear Your heart, so that we too might be a comfort to those who need to know how to come close and receive Your tender touch.  Let Your peace be presented in the places of pain, and use our hearts and hands to make Your nearness known.  Amen.

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