Christ Came Down

For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

Jesus came in a way that was relatable and approachable. There was no fanfare, nor kingly setting. Born in a lowly stable on a quiet night in an overcrowded town, He arrived with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Christ stepped down from heaven to become like us, so that we would know who He is, and how much He loves. How He lived as He was among us, demonstrated what love looks like. He touched the untouchable, healed the bruised and broken, dined with the despicable and gave His very life for ours. Today, many of us participate in candlelight services where we pause to celebrate and declare the goodness of Christ and who He is. That child born to us, grew, lived, loved, died, rose, ascended and sent His Spirit to us, so that we could have everlasting life. Because of His love and His life, we can confidently call Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. May this day be filled with reminders of His goodness and grace, and may we give proper praise to He who is all of these things and so much more.

 

For born unto us,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

a Son is given;

in still quietness,

He came from heaven.

Though angels proclaimed,

to shepherds at night;

most were unaware,

of this baby bright.

For though just a babe,

the weight of the world;

would rest upon Him,

as His life unfurled.

The way that He loved,

and gave all away;

brought hope to the world,

and light for our way.

Wonderful Counsel,

our great Mighty God;

Everlasting One,

creation applauds.

The sweet Prince of Peace,

delight of our days;

may we offer Him,

all honor and praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You, Jesus for taking it all upon Yourself, so that we could be set free. Thank You for Your grace and goodness, for light and life. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You are. You are no longer a baby in a manger, but the mighty, risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You are so much more than what the world sees. Show us how to love in such a way, that others too, may see Your majesty through our love. May many come to know You as their Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we gather to give You glory. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

The Power of the Tongue

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. 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

Clothed With Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12)

 

Here I am, on the first day of summer break, and I am now compelled to study and stretch my mind to learn and grow more, wherever I can… This morning, this one verse, is packed full of deep and meaningful words. Rather than give an overall generalized application, I wanted to break it down, and look at each set of words, as their meaning is quite significant.

 

First, as God’s chosen people, we who have chosen to follow Christ, are wanted, desired, and considered among the Lord’s elect. This is not because we are worthy, but rather because He is good. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9)

 

Holy and dearly loved, is yet another designation that we are granted through the goodness and grace of God. To be holy, is to be considered to have a spiritually pure quality; this is ours through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf because He dearly loved each of us – His created. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Clothe yourselves, reminds us that we have a choice. We must be intentional to choose to rise each day and seek the Lord to live according to His will and walk in His way. Walking out the door for the day without actual clothes would be a disastrous option, so too is the way of not clothing ourselves in Christ. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Romans 13:14)

 

Compassion is sympathy that springs into action to help alleviate suffering. Rather than simply seeing a need, compassion does something to help. Where there is lack, compassion provides; where there is pain, compassion draws near. Compassion is Christ coming close through the hands, feet, and hearts of His people. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15)

 

Kindness is affection, amiability, benevolence and consideration. It is the one who sits beside the bullied, the broken or the hurting and simply remains present. Kindness extends gentle, encouraging words, even when they are not deserved. “…but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. – (Isaiah 54:8b)

 

Humility is the state of not being proud nor arrogant; being modest; courteously respectful. Humility gives credit where credit is due, even if it detracts praise from oneself. Not one of us is able to do anything that is praiseworthy without the giftings and grace of God. Without Him, we are nothing. All we do that has any worth, is because of Christ within us. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. – (Proverbs 22:4)

 

Gentleness defined, is without roughness or violence; mild and kindly.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1)

 

May we lay hold of our calling, and embrace the gift which He freely gives. Let us clothe ourselves, daily, with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might go forth and better love others as we choose to serve Him.

 

We each have been called,Compassion Crosses the Road

for Christ knows our names;

His love goes beyond,

the truth we proclaim.

No words can express,

how deep and how wide;

the love of the Lord,

when He’s asked inside.

The gifts that He grants,

allow us to bear;

each other in love,

with kindness and care.

Compassion will grow,

humility too;

gentle responses,

will be what we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You consider us Your chosen people; holy and dearly loved. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to go forth in our own strength, or for forgetting to seek You to be properly equipped for all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be completely dependent on You for all that is needed to live the life that You are calling us to lead. Help us to love others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so perfectly modeled for us through Your Son. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves as Your chosen people, and go forth to love well. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

You are Chosen

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9, NIV)

 

But you are His chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people belonging to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things He has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9, ERV)

 

All of us who have committed our lives to Christ, are counted among His chosen people, His royal priesthood. We have the privilege of not only belonging to God, but being granted the charge of sharing all that He has done to set us free from the darkness of our own sin as He has led us into His loving light. May we go forth and declare His praises, as He alone is worthy of all of our worship and praise.

 

To each who has come,Lose the Law Grab the Grace

and bowed at His throne;

a holy nation,

the Lord’s very own.

Called chosen people,

created to praise;

sent forth with the task,

to speak of His ways.

Let His love light shine,

wherever we go;

declaring His praise,

so all come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of being called Your chosen people. Thank You that when we come to You and trust, You receive us, and we belong to You. Thank You that You allow us to share our stories of how You brought us out of the darkness and into Your light, to encourage others to seek You. Forgive us for staying silent when we are meant to speak, or for discounting Your ability to utilize us for Your good. Teach us to trust You more, and to recognize that it has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with You and who You are. Lead us to love and share Your light wherever we go, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You in the process. Be exalted O God, as we let Your love light shine. 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

Joy

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11)

The great joy the angel was declaring, was both the first and greatest joy ever known.  The gift of God, sending His Son to earth to take on the sins of all, is the provision of joy found in the promise of hope, that is secure in our Savior.  “Joy is a sense of well-being and delight that comes from knowing and serving God.” (Pastor Jon MacIntosh

Joy was further defined by Pastor Jon as follows:

1) Joy is not an emotion.  Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.

2) Joy is sourced in God Himself.  This is why our joy cannot be shaken.

3) Joy is both a present reality and a future hope.  Though we know joy now, it is only in part of what will one day be fully known.

We can know joy despite our circumstances, when we are deeply invested in Christ.  Joy is rooted in love, tied to obedience, and is a gift of God that is found in the person of God.  We may know His joy more fully, as we walk in His will.  We discover a deeper joy when our focus extends beyond ourselves, and we pursue the purpose that He has placed before us.  (see Psalm 16:11, 19:8, and John 15:9-13)

Go forth in His light,Joy to the World

declaring great joy;

found in a stable,

born an infant boy.

Announced by angels,

proclaimed by a star;

followed by strangers,

who’d come from afar.

The infant, He grew,

into God, the man;

taught of salvation,

lived redemptive plan.

His death on the cross,

our sinfulness bore;

so we might be found,

come, let us adore.

The grave could not keep,

Jesus in the ground;

God’s power at work,

our joy in Him found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of joy.  Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on how we feel, nor on that which is going on around us.  Thank You that You are our Joy, and in You, we find joy as we come to know and serve You, our Savior.  Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix too closely on the troubles of this world, rather than on You, whom all troubles are subject to.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know more completely, the joy that is found in You alone.  Help us to love and serve as You are asking, and may many see Your joy in us.  May those who do not yet know You, come to know the joy that is found in You alone.  Joy to the world, the Savior has come!  Amen.

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

In You

In YouI praise You, O Lord,

with all of my heart;

for Your faithfulness,

promised from the start.

To You, I bow down,

for Your love is great;

exalted above,

before You I wait.

Your Name and Your word,

far beyond all things;

in You, boldness found,

where true freedom rings.

May You be now praised,

as Your words are heard;

let all hearts declare,

this hope undeterred.

Honor for humble,

low place for the proud;

in trouble, You save,

hide us in Thy shroud.

All purpose fulfilled,

through Your love for me;

stay close forever,

in Your arms, I see.

(Responding to Psalm 138)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all our praise. Thank You that You are faithful and Your word is true. Forgive us for allowing fear or discouragement to cloud our perception of Your perfection, and help us to humbly come before You and trust in Your unfailing love. May our mouths be full of praise, and our hearts hold fast to Your glorious ways. Help both our word and deed honor You, and may Your perfect love be that which shines through us. May every troubled heart both hear and hold fast to the hope that is found in You. Lead us Lord, so that we may love like You. Let our every hope be held in You. Amen.

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

A Hint of Heaven

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASnapshots of heaven,

the word does proclaim;

a peek to what waits,

for those in His Name.

Gathering around,

the Lamb of God’s throne;

a great multitude,

like none we have known.

A sea of faces,

from all the nations;

each wearing white robes,

proud proclamations.

Together as one,

declared with loud voice;

salvation is Yours,

and You are our choice.

Palm branches waving,

as truth is declared;

each tear wiped away,

all sin disappeared.

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” – (Revelation 7:9-10)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit, so that we may truly hold the hope of heaven in our hearts, as we give our lives to You. Thank You Jesus, that You have gone before us to prepare a place for us in Your eternal presence. Forgive us for fearing our earthly end, and help us to embrace the holy hope of what is yet to come. Teach us to live our lives with an eternal perspective, recognizing that both pleasure and pain on earth are fleeting, but the joy of the Lord is ours forever! May we live our lives in Your love, keeping a proper perspective on all that comes to pass. Let our love show others too, the eternal hope that is held in You. Amen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anne update: Though it was a very long day in the ER for Anne, as she desperately needed fluids, we were able to pack her belongings under her direction, and move her to the home of a wonderful couple that will care for her while another loving pair is preparing a permanent place in their home for Anne to reside. It is a blessing to have her within a ten-minute drive, whereas before, she was a good forty minutes away. God is so faithful to provide what she needs! Please keep contending for her healing in Christ. May His blessings be bountiful in you. With His Love, Shannon

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

He is Our Righteousness

He is Our RighteousnessSing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, all day long,

share of His glorious worth.

Declare His greatness to all,

share of His marvelous deeds;

heed word and answer His call,

the Lord, who meets all our needs.

Great is God, worthy of praise;

Maker of heaven and earth.

Let us worship all our days,

Him who is of matchless worth.

Let us ascribe to the Lord,

glory and strength due His Name;

together, in one accord,

show the world the truth that we claim.

Worship the Lord in splendor,

because of His holiness;

give Him all in surrender,

for He is our righteousness.

(Responding to Psalm 96:1-9)

As I was reading, the song How Great is Our God, by Chris Tomlin, kept going through my head. Click the link to have a listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKLQ1td3MbE

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You is not nearly enough to express our gratitude for who You are and what You have done for us and in us. Forgive us for not giving honor that is due Your Name, and teach us to live our lives as an ongoing act of worship unto You. May our life song be sweet as we are surrendered to You, and may many be moved towards You, our Maker, through the melody of our praise. Be glorified, O God, for You are ALL that is good. Amen.

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

Chosen People

Chosen People
Those who know Christ,

His chosen ones;

called His daughters,

known as His sons.

Direct access,

we are His own;

royal priesthood,

through His love, shown.

Called to declare,

praises to God;

who rescued us,

from darkened sod.

Once on our own,

now treasured, His;

called God’s people,

with grace to live.

Mercy now found,

generous gift;

granting us hope,

all praise we lift.

Wonder of Light,

Savior of all;

I give my heart,

to heed Your call.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” – (I Peter 2:9-10)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we turn to You and give You our heart, You consider us among Your chosen people – a royal priesthood; a people belonging to You; called sons and daughters – whom You now allow into Your wonderful light. Thank You for rescuing us from our dark and sinful state, and granting us access to the true treasures found in You alone. Forgive us for the times that our gaze and heart have wandered, and help us fix all of our attention on who You are. May we live lives that sing of Your hope, so that many may come to be found in You. All glory and honor to You, God. Amen.

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

Where Freedom is Found

To each one remain

image by Jason Federline

image by Jason Federline

in truth and in spirit,

to where we’ve been placed,

for Him, endure it.

Our true freedom lies,

not in our found space;

but within our hearts,

when we know His grace.

Bought at a great price,

debt none can repay,

for us, it’s a gift,

to receive today.

Stay true to the Lord,

the choice it is ours.

Do all that He asks,

and honor His scars.

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.  Were you a slave when you were called?  Don’t let this trouble you – although if you can gain your freedom, do so.  For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.  You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” – (I Corinthians 7:20-24)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true freedom is not a physical thing, but rather a heart condition.  Thank You that in You, we are no longer slaves to sin and death and are free to live in Your goodness and grace.  Forgive us for returning to the wreckage of our past sin, and help us to sever ourselves from that which You have declared that we are set free.  Teach us to trust You so that we may walk triumphantly in Your truth, wherever we are placed.  Use us mightily to move many toward trusting You.  Amen.

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