Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. 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

Delivering Dreams

When a dream long dreamed seems all but dead, it is difficult to hold fast to a promise that seems to have been forgotten. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, had longed to have children for many years, but had been barren. She was long past child-bearing age when she and Abraham were visited by angels on their way to carry out the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. During their short stay, they told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would conceive a son. Sarah, in her sorrow, bitterness, and unbelief because of her advanced years, laughed in response to what had been spoken. Abraham and Sarah traversed more trials in their travels, as they followed where God had called them to go. Just as the angels had foretold, Sarah conceived and bore to Abraham a son, Isaac. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” – (Genesis 21:6)

 

Though the timing was not what Sarah had hoped for, God was faithful to fulfill His promise, and her heart overflowed with joy. At the initial announcement of the promise, Sarah laughed in disbelief. When the God’s promise at last came to pass, Sarah laughed again, this time for joy in awe and wonder of the goodness of God. We have the benefit of the Bible. Throughout the pages, countless stories of God’s faithfulness are recorded for our benefit. Additionally, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, to remind us that His word is true, and He is faithful to all that He promises to do. May we hold fast to God’s promises to us, and ever forge forward in faith, trusting that God is always good.

 

The Giver of dreams,Delivering Dreams

our Lord God above;

true to His promise,

and faithful in love.

No matter how long,

we seemingly wait;

we’re not forgotten,

and God’s never late.

His timing’s perfect,

all things by His plan;

in faith, we must trust,

it’s all in His hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that what You promise, You provide. Thank You that You ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is not according to our timetable. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of faith when the wait is long, and help us to trust and persevere. Teach us to hold fast to Your word, and keep our hearts from discouragement and disbelief. Lead us to love well, just as You so generously and faithfully love each of us. May many come to know of Your goodness and faithfulness for themselves, and may we be used as Your instruments to share of how You have been faithful in our own lives. Be exalted O God, as we forge forward in faith, trusting in Your eternal goodness and grace. Amen.

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

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

The Purpose of Perseverance

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. – (Acts 14:19-20a)

 

Perseverance is steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. It is also the continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation. – (www.dictionary.com)

 

Paul’s unwavering commitment to deliver the message he had been commissioned to preach, is the epitome of perseverance. He endured every possible obstacle, difficulty and discouragement, yet he continued in the grace that God gave. The very same power that resided in him, dwells in the heart of all who believe. We too, have the capacity to persevere in difficulty, and are able to overcome obstacles to accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to rely on His grace as we go. Paul never delineated from the purpose of his calling, and stayed the course of sharing Christ with all whom he encountered. How has God called us to persevere? Where are we meant to persist and stay the course, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement? May we take heart in He who is faithful, for in Him, we are more than conquerors.

 

Let not opposition,The Purpose of Perseverance

steer our hearts off course;

for our faithful Father,

has for us, much more.

If we will persevere,

when trials come near;

the truth shall be made known,

dispelling all fear.

To overcome challenge,

rely on His grace;

and seek the Lord always,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find the strength and grace that is needed to persevere. Thank You that no difficulty, obstacle or discouragement is too great for Your grace. Thank You that You are more than enough. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the problem, rather than on You, our solution. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may fully embrace the grace that You are granting. Lead us to love and encourage all whom we encounter, just as You so love and encourage each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as our hearts respond to the grace You bring. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere in Your glorious grace. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Alive in Him

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive. – (Luke 20:38)

 

There is much hope that is held in this word, as it is a reminder that all who have gone before us who had invested their hearts and lives in the Lord, have not died a spiritual death, but rather they are alive in Christ, living with Him for all of eternity. This brings much comfort, as I find myself caught in glimpses of grief over the loss of my dear friend, Anne. Though she passed a little over a year ago, the end of her life was a battle, and I had the rare privilege of walking beside her for much of it. Over the weekend, I encountered a few situations that hit too close to home, and triggered a heaviness I was not aware I was carrying. Mere moments passed over the last few days, where I would feel a sudden flash of sadness. When I spoke with a friend yesterday, it was only then that I realized what had been tugging at my heart. One particular situation that I chose to walk in, mirrored a portion of the road I walked with Anne. It is no wonder that a bit of sorrow seeped in. Fortunately, sorrow and sadness need not stay long, as Anne was firmly rooted and established in Christ. She is very much alive in Him. I have the blessed assurance that she is Home, and that I will one day join her on the streets of gold. May we each hold fast to the gift of God, that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All are alive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

who invest in God;

let Christ come rule,

and our praise applaud.

In Him, is life,

after earthly death;

His peace pours out,

as we draw each breath.

Hope for today,

promise for always;

life abundant,

for all of our days.

Be rooted well,

in the Holy Vine;

to bear fruit now,

and embrace Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Thank You that in You, all are alive. Thank You that our earthly death is not the end, but only the beginning of the fullness of life that You have for us. Thank You that those who have gone before us who loved and invested their hearts in You, are secure in the safety of Your presence forever. Forgive us for our lack of vision for the future, and help us to hold fast to our eternity, as our time on earth is but the blink of an eye in comparison. Help us to make our time here matter, as we love others by loving like You love us. May many come to know the hope of eternal life in You, as we live as You call us to live. Be glorified, O God, as we live out the life You have gifted us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Life for Lazarus

Life for LazarusMartha and Mary,

sent word to the Lord;

their brother was ill,

no time to afford.

Despite His great love,

for friend, Lazarus;

He focused on God,

His glory through this.

Disciples questioned,

“Shall we not now go?”

Yet Jesus, He knew,

’twas a chance to grow.

“He is now asleep,”

He said to His men;

they understood not,

so He spoke again.

Then He spoke plainly,

“Lazarus has died.”

“A chance now to show,

in whom I reside.”

The sisters, they wept,

thought He had denied;

healing their brother,

then Jesus, He cried.

His visible care,

compassion for them;

reminded them all,

He’s Savior and friend.

Off to the grave site,

with Jesus they went;

Powerful Savior,

showed why He was sent.

Four days in the tomb,

yet Jesus gave a shout,

“Come forth Lazarus,

rise up and come out.”

Still wrapped in grave cloth,

the dead now appeared;

Lazarus, he lived,

joy replaced their fears.

(Responding to John 11:1-44)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that raised Lazarus, is still present and available today. Thank You Jesus, that You are the same – yesterday, today, and forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. Though Your ways are not our ways, and Your plan does not always provide the path we’d hoped for, You are still good, and You have a higher purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You more, even when answers do not align with our desires. May our faith in Your goodness guide those who are seeking, straight into Your loving care. Amen.

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