Presenting Needs With Thanks

Yesterday morning in church, we did something that was quite impactful. After our pastor reminded us of the things that God has been speaking about Moving Forward this year, including some of the key things that we need to do in order to do so, he had us take a card that was in the seatback in front of us, and write the things that we need from the Lord, and on the other side, our thanksgiving to God for all that He has done. Once we had completed our card, we took it to a box up front, and then partook in communion. The cards will be burned, as they are our offerings before the Lord.

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

 

The remarkable thing to me, was I knew exactly what need I was to write down to present before Him. If anyone had asked me to verbalize a need, I might not have been able to answer so quickly. There was something about the process that facilitated transparency before God. Just as easily as I had written down the need, my list of thanks for God’s faithfulness freely flowed. To look back over the past year, despite the difficulties, He has been overwhelmingly faithful, every step of the way. Interestingly enough, my heart had been agitated all morning. Though I had prayed and spent intentional time with Him, there was just something that continued to press in that place that prevents peace. The action of identifying the area of my own need, presenting my request to God with thanksgiving, remembering where He had been faithful before, and then spending time thanking Him, brought peace. Though there is no “formula” to find peace, God is faithful to meet us in our place of unrest as we seek Him and place our trust in His goodness and grace. He is enough to overcome the biggest barriers that seem to stand in our way. Our job, is to trust Him to get us where we need to go. Sometimes it is over them, sometimes through them, and other times, He leads us around that which seems impossible to traverse. May we choose prayer over worry, and place our trust in God. Let us tell Him what we need and thank Him for all that He has done. May we recognize His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, as our hearts and minds are protected through living in Christ.

 

Dear heart, don’t worry,Believe Instead of Striving

instead, choose to pray;

tell God what you need,

and thank Him today.

For His peace will come,

through our choice to trust;

not working harder,

just pray, thank Jesus.

Remember the times,

He’s been there before;

for faith shall rise up,

and our hearts trust more.

The God of all peace,

shall guard heart and mind;

for those who choose seek,

forever will find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about anything, but rather we ought to present our requests before You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and are faithful to answer and bring Your perfect peace. Forgive us for our anxiousness that rises up as we choose to try to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would identify our own areas of need, present them before You, remember the times that You have been faithful before, and give You all of our gratitude – for You are so faithful. Show us how to love others with Your love that presents peace, even in places where peace makes no sense. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose trust instead of worry, and allow Your peace to reign in our hearts and minds as we give You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Keep Careful Watch

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. – (Matthew 24:42)

 

We are called to a continuous and ongoing relationship with Christ, not one to simply call upon when a need arises. God wants our whole heart, all the time, not just occasional acts of service we feel might be pleasing unto Him. As we choose invest our heart, our time, our resources and our entire being into our relationship with our Redeemer, we grow to know and understand who He is, and what is and is not of Him. If we are in ongoing communion with Christ, we will be prepared for His return, regardless of when He comes. May we be ever mindful and keep watch, as we guard our hearts and minds from anything that would lead us away from Christ.

 

To keep careful watch,

Painting by Kay Crain - please click image to find out more :)

Painting by Kay Crain – please click image to find out more 🙂

our sight must begin;

by seeking the Lord,

staying true to Him.

May we each invest,

our heart, soul and mind;

in He who redeems,

and blesses mankind.

Grant us eyes to see,

what’s holy and true;

so we choose to move,

still closer to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind. Thank You that when You will return does not matter nearly as much as whether or not we are prepared. Thank You that You made the way for us to come into Your folds and be kept safe. Forgive us for allowing anything other than You to take center stage in our hearts and lives, and help us to hold fast to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on You to be our strength as we guard our hearts and minds, entrusting all into Your care.  May many come to know You and understand who You are, so that they too, will be on their guard and keeping watch.   Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we keep careful watch. Amen.

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

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

Show Me Your Ways

“Show me Your ways, O Lord,

teach me Your paths;

guide me in Your truth and teach me,

for You are God my Savior,

and my hope is in You all day long.”

– (Psalm 25:4-5)

These words, penned by David as part of a prayer for defense, guidance and pardon, demonstrate the complete necessity to turn to God for guidance in all things and at all times.  Despite some desperately shaky seasons in David’s life, he knew that the solution to each challenge, was to call on the Lord, and trust in Him to provide wisdom and guidance in the way in which he was meant to go.

When we ask the Lord to show us His ways, what are we meant to do?  He has provided a primary guidance system for us through His Word, and when we spend time reading it and asking Him to show us new things, He answers – unlocking new understanding and insight that we did not have before.  The more we know Him, the more deeply we trust and place our hope in Him.  As we become aware of the magnitude of His majesty, we cannot help but turn to trust.  Hope begins to hold fast to our hearts as we hear His beat for us, individually.

Show me Your ways,Show Me Your Ways

as I seek to know;

all of my days,

O Lord, help me grow.

Let wisdom come,

understanding too;

from rising sun,

’til the day is through.

May my heart seek,

earnestly each day;

Strength when we’re weak,

our purpose to pray.

You are my hope,

God, Savior of all;

courage to cope,

as You hear each call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to show us Your ways, and teach us Your truth.  Thank You that You have provided Your Word and the way to be in constant communion with You, through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, granted through the mercy and grace given as Jesus sacrificed Himself on our behalf.  Thank You that our hope is held in You alone, and that You will guide us and teach us if we choose to trust You.  Forgive us for our lack of faith, or for our failure to fully invest ourselves into our relationship with You.  Thank You that You withheld nothing from us.  Please help us to do the same.  Teach us to trust You in such a way, that we are willing to allow You into every area of our lives, granting You the reigns.  May we walk in truth, and love as we are loved by You.  May many come to know the heavenly hope that is found in You alone, as we allow You to lead.  Let our lives speak volumes of Your mercy and grace, to those who do not yet know You.  Be glorified, Lord God.  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

Give Us Each Day

“Give us each day our daily bread.” – (Luke 11:3)  Though a familiar portion of the Lord’s Prayer, I imagine the depth of the meaning is rarely considered.  Jesus was not simply speaking of physical bread, but He was referring to the daily supplication of all that we need – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Also, He does not say give us this year, a fortune; but rather He tells us to seek Him daily, asking for the provision of what is needed for this day – not tomorrow nor beyond.  He wants us in constant communion with Him, not to store up treasures, become self-satisfied and then cut off our communication with God.  Our Heavenly Father cares for us, and will hear our every prayer.  It is up to us to press in and continue to keep the lines of communication open at our end.  He is always listening; are we?

A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus  says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – (Luke 11:9-10) These verses reiterate that He wants us to be in relationship with Him.  He is generous and kind, ever ready to hear our requests, if only we are willing to come to Him and ask.  God does not care if we are eloquent in speech as we pray, but rather wants sincere hearts that seek Him.  Conditions are not placed upon us in order to come before Him; He tells us that EVERYONE who asks, seeks and knocks, shall receive, find and have the door opened unto them.  What a comforting reminder to recognize that He daily, wants us to come before Him.  He longs for us to desire to be aware of His nearness.  This happens, the more that we get to know Him through intentional seeking, knocking,  asking in prayer, worship, and the study of His word.

Give us today,Give Us Each Day

all that we need;

strength and supply,

to You, may we heed.

Daily, let’s seek,

our Savior, King;

bringing Him praise,

of faithfulness sing.

Knock on the door,

He’ll be right there;

always ready,

to hear our prayer.

Ask of the Lord,

make your request;

He is faithful,

and loves us the best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply, and that You are always present and prepared to hear our prayer and answer what we ask.  Thank You for Your unending faithfulness as our Father and King.  Forgive us for not asking, seeking, or knocking when we need to come to You first in all things.  Teach us to prioritize our time so that we may daily invest in our relationship with You.  Teach us how we are to ask, seek and knock for that which You would have be our daily bread.  May we be ever grateful for the good gifts that You provide us each day, and for the life and breath that we have in this very moment.  May our attitude of gratitude lead those who are looking to ask, seek and knock – so that they too, may come to be in a lasting relationship with You.  All praise and glory to You, our great and mighty God!  Amen.

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

God’s Gift in Grief

It is not good to navigate grief, nor face trials all on our own.  God gives us people to walk beside us and keep watch.  Though our first and foremost resource is our Heavenly Father, He created us to need people too.  In the glory of His goodness, He allows people to be His hands, heart and voice.  Jesus in us, makes Christ tangible to others, when we are faithful friends who do life with one another.

This morning, as I read further in Matthew, something stood out to me in a new way.  “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.” – (Matthew 26:38)  Though Jesus, who was fully God, did not need to have people with Him, He wanted to have friends near Him in His hour of need to keep watch, as He knew what He would soon endure.  If the God of all creation wants to keep friends near when trials come, how much more should we desire the same?  We are relational creatures, created to be in relationship with God and with people.  We must do both to obey the greatest command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, also Mt 22:37, Mk 12:30) 

God’s greatest gift,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in the face of grief;

His heart made known,

friendship’s sweet relief.

For we are called,

to love people well;

as Christ loves us,

our actions do tell.

To walk beside,

through the good and bad;

grants glimpses of,

our Heavenly Dad.

Seek Father first,

and let people in;

we are all made,

for sweet communion.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be relational people.  Thank You that even Jesus, in His hour of need, wanted to have those closest to Him nearby.  Though His priority was time with You, the nearness of friends was also good.  Forgive us for the times that we isolate ourselves, not wanting to bother those who care about us and are a gift from You, and for the times that our priorities are out of order and we do not seek You first.  Help us to know the balance.  Teach us how to seek You first, and to know when to reach out, and when we are meant to sit in Your presence on our own for a time.  Thank You that You love us so well.  May we be a blessing to those around us, as we choose to love as we are loved.  May many come to know You as their Redeemer and Friend.  Be glorified in our love for You and for those around us.  Amen.

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

Peace through Prayer

image by MaryLu Tyndall

image by MaryLu Tyndall

God needs no production

but wants a heart that’s true.

Prayer should not be a show,

He longs to hear from you. (us)

In honesty alone,

we need find quiet place,

to be real before Him,

so we may sense His grace.

When we shift our focus,

from self unto our God;

His peace overwhelms us,

into His courts we trod.

(Responding to Matthew 6:5-6)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not need, nor want, a show or production when we pray.  Thank You that You desire our hearts to be honest and true before You, in quiet humility.  Thank You that as we remove our focus from ourselves and fix our eyes securely on You, Your grace and presence overwhelm us.  Forgive us for allowing our focus to fix on anything other than You.  Lead us by Your love, to learn how to be in constant communion with You.  May many come to know You through the peace that we present in Your love.  Amen.

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

Purposeful Passover

On this sacred day

Leonardo da Vinci'sThe Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s
The Last Supper

many years ago,

Jesus told His men,

“find a room, now go.”

Preparations made,

the table was set,

for Passover feast,

they still knew not yet.

As each one arrived,

Jesus washed their feet.

Is this how a king,

comes to claim His seat?

While eating the meal,

He stopped and soon said,

“One will betray me,

who shares in this bread.”

Sorrow surrounded,

with “surely not I’s.”

Anguish awaited,

the one who denied.

Christ then took the bread,

gave thanks, handing each,

saying, “remember,

whenever you eat.”

He then took the cup,

and in the same way,

gave thanks and shared it,

“remember today.”

The bread – my body,

my blood is the cup,

both broken and shed,

to save and lift you up.

(Responding after rereading each of the accounts of the Last Supper from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that we have a way to come into a personal relationship with You.  Thank You that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are able to come together as a body and remember with thanksgiving as we commemorate the Last Supper, each time we take communion.  Forgive us for not recognizing the significance of the moment as we partake, and help us to move forward with a fresh understanding of just how significant was Your sacrifice, and what a privilege we have to be a part of Your body – able to stop and remember all that You have done for us because of Your great love.  May our lives be lived in such a way, that Your love is evident in all that we do and say.  May many come to know You, by our love.  Amen.

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