Finding Freedom

On this Independence Day, my heart cannot help but fix on the freedom I’ve found in Christ. My freedom is not a ticket to do as I please, but rather is my redemption from sin, and the recognition of my need for total dependence on Him to be righteous before God. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – (Romans 6:18)

Our exchange the moment we choose to give our lives to the Lord, is that He takes the shackles of all of our sin and shame that have been binding us, and sets us free, so that we may live the lives He has prepared for us. Rather than being bound by the things we know we ought not do, we find the freedom to follow Him, listening to His still small voice, as He leads us and guides us in the ways in which we are meant to go. The former is fleeting and finds nothing but devastation and destruction. Choosing to follow Him, to place our dependence on Christ, is the only way to have eternity secured.

May we celebrate,Finding Freedom
the freedom we’ve found;
not to run amuck,
but in Christ, abound.
Redeemed from our sins,
all unrighteousness;
Christ has set us free,
robed in righteousness.
The freedom we have,
must not be squandered;
may we be His voice,
to those who’ve wandered.
On this freedom day,
may His love impart;
redemption for lost,
and seekers fresh start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You above all, for the freedom we have in You – the freedom from being stuck in sin and shame. Thank You that You covered all as You paid the price on the cross. Thank You that when You look upon us, You see us as righteous, through the veil of Your Son. Thank You for the freedom that we know in our nation – to gather, to worship, and to speak freely of what we know to be true. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, and help our hearts to overflow with gratitude for all that You have done for us. Teach us to be completely dependent on You, so that we might better reflect who You are to all whom we encounter. May many come to know true independence today, and may they give You all the glory. Be exalted, O God, in all that we say and do. 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

Unto His Own

When we enter into a relationship with Christ, He claims us as His own, and sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, so that we will know His presence and His promises. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” – (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

 

Our strength to stand firm in Christ, comes from God. It is not something we need to somehow muster on our own, but rather through our dependence on Him who gives us life and breath; He is our Source to remain firm in our faith. As we commit our lives to Him, He anoints us, and claims us as His own. Our identity becomes that of sons and daughters of the Almighty, not just people following from afar. Beyond that, God gives us His Holy Spirit to come and dwell with us for all of our days. His presence is our promise and ever-present reminder of not only our hope for now, but our guarantee of the goodness that is yet to come. What a mighty and loving God we serve!

 

Not by our strength,Unto His Own

but through Christ the Lord;

firmly we stand,

by grace He affords.

He anoints us,

and calls us His own;

sends His Spirit,

so our hope is known.

Not just for now,

too, for what will be;

He grants us sight,

so His hope we see.

Hold fast, dear ones,

for our hearts are known;

He’s given all,

all unto His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and know us completely. Thank You that when we come to You, You receive us with open arms, and call us Your own. Thank You that when we are Yours, You give us Your Holy Spirit to lead, guide and grant us hope. Forgive us for not relying on the Resource within us, and help us to seek You to be our Source of strength in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know You, personally, in the process. Be magnified through all that we say and do. May our every word and deed give glory unto You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy.

– Hebrews 4:16

 

 

Do Everything in Love

As Paul was coming to the close of his letter to the people of Corinth, he gave some basic instructions. One small verse spoke volumes, both at the time, and still today. “Do everything in love.” – (I Corinthians 16:14)

 

What would that actually look like? If EVERYTHING we said and did was motivated by love, imagine the peace in our households, our neighborhoods, our churches and beyond… We need not look too far to find evidence of how a life lived this way, practically played out. Jesus was our perfect example of doing everything in love. When He approached people, He loved them where they were. They felt His acceptance, and found His love brought life, healing and opportunity that they had never known. Christ’s ability to love through all that He said and did, brought life where it had not previously been found.

 

The very same power that equipped Jesus to “do everything in love”, dwells in the hearts of all who believe. We too have the capacity, through Christ, to “do everything in love”. It is merely a matter of surrender and ongoing dependence. Have we surrendered all that we are unto Him? Do we depend on Him daily, in all things and at all times, to be our help and our hope? Each of us are a work in progress; moving toward our heavenly home. The more we invest in our relationship with Christ, the more readily we will respond in love. All that we do is a reflection of Him who dwells in us. May we be a radiant reflection, as we love well.

When early we rise,Do Everything in Love

may our eyes fix above;

as we work and play,

may all be done in love.

When we interact,

let our deeds point above;

and grace guide each word,

as we speak too, in love.

When trials do come,

let our hearts get rid of;

all doubt and all fear,

and hold fast to His love.

As day draws to close,

may all praise point above;

for another day,

He’s granted by His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are LOVE. Thank You that because You sent Your Son, You made the way for us to draw near and know Your perfect love, personally. Thank You that You equip and empower us to move in love in all that we say and do, if only we are willing. Forgive us for attempting to rely on our own strength rather than Yours, and help us to trust You more so that we may do all things in Your love. Lead us and guide us to love as You love. May many come to know You as the Lover of their soul, and know the hope that is held forever in You. Be exalted through our love. Amen.

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

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

 

Why We Wait

“I waited patiently for the Lord; Why We Wait

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man

who makes the Lord his trust,

who does not look to the proud,

to those who turn aside to false gods.”

– (Psalm 40:1-4)

Waiting is never fun nor easy, however, it often is a season that God uses to grow greater, the depth of our dependence on Him.  In Psalm 40, verses one through four, David is speaking of the benefits that he has found in waiting on the Lord.

First, God lifted him out of his space of despair.  He could not accomplish this on his own, rather it happened only after he had called on the Lord and cried out for His help.

Next, the Lord set his feet upon a rock and gave him a firm place to stand.  God took David’s space of instability, and created a firm foundation that would not be moved.  Again, such solutions are not man-made, but rather received through our Redeemer.

Finally, David says that “He put a new song in my mouth”.  Where sorrow had once dwelled, songs of praise were now rising up.  God alone can turn our mourning into dancing, and our sorrow into joy.  As we place our trust in Him alone, He is our Refuge and our Redeemer, and well worth the wait.

Wait on the Lord,Why We Wait 2

for He hears our cries;

trust that He’s good,

allow faith to rise.

Despite despair,

our troubles or strife;

He can rescue,

grant hope and new life.

Unsteady ground,

He’ll make firm to stand;

He’s rock solid,

our life’s in His hands.

Where sorrow dwells,

new songs will rise up;

as we trust Him,

He will fill our cup.

Look nowhere else,

trust in Him alone;

give God the reigns,

our Foundation Stone.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You hear our cries, and You further develop our character and grow us closer to You.  Thank You that Your timing is not our timing, and that Your ways are far higher than our ways.  Forgive us for our impatience or for seeking solutions anywhere other than from You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may understand, even in the mire, You are moving mightily.  Lead us to love as You love us, and help us to sing out the songs that rise up.  May our life be lived as a song of praise unto You, and may many come to know who You are, and place too, their trust in You.  Be glorified through how we live out our days.  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

For Faith to Flourish

By faith, ordinary people have done extraordinary things throughout human history.  The size of their faith as each individual began, did not matter nearly as much as in Whom their faith was held.  As each one took the next obedient step, His faithfulness was there to meet them, encouraging them to press on and continue to forge forward and further move in faith.  “Faith is total dependence on God and a willingness to do His will.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 17:5,6)

In Luke 17, Jesus and the disciples are having a discussion about forgiveness.  When Jesus informed them of how often we are meant to forgive if a person repents and asks to be forgiven, the disciples then recognized their own need for more faith to do just that.  “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’  He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – (vs. 5-6) 

Though a mustard seed is tiny, it grows into one of the largest among plants, with deep roots and vast, far-reaching branches.  The same holds true with faith.  God will take a small speck of genuine faith in Him, and help it take root and grow.  We too, will gain deep roots and be far-reaching, if we whole-heartedly invest in Him.  As we allow Him to prune, water, and tend to the soil of our heart, we grow and take shape that becomes something beyond what we could have envisioned.  Before we even realize our own capacity to reach, He will utilize our faith to touch lives around us.  May we each choose to depend on Him and be willing to do His will.

For faith to grow,For Faith to Flourish

it is not on us;

but by His grace,

as we trust Jesus.

Lean into Him,

and not on our own;

He’ll show the way,

and make the path known.

Spend time with God,

and He will refine;

He shall increase,

so through us, He’ll shine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something we somehow must summon, but rather is what You grow and increase in us as we invest our time getting to know You more.  Thank You that as we depend on You and are willing to do Your will, You meet us where we are, and do far more than we could have imagined.  Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, as You are the God of ALL creation and are capable of ALL things.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to walk confidently in our faith in You.  Help us to love well, even those who are difficult to love; and may many come to see You, as we walk out our days in faithful surrender to You.  Be glorified, our faithful and loving Lord.  Amen.

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