Soar in Strength

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG)

 

With school ending and the wedding drawing nearer each day, I find myself a different sort of busy. I do not rise quite as early, but am still greeted by early morning light, and I find that I am often lying down to sleep after the day has gone dark. The pace of my days is not nearly as hectic, yet they are equally full, as there is much to do in preparation for all that lies ahead. Between moving classroom and homes, as well as less than a month until the wedding, much needs to be done. If I pause and think about it, I am weary before I begin; however, if I rise and set to whatever needs to be done each day, I find that the Lord renews my strength and I am not weary until the day comes to a close. Incredibly, I have found this to be so even in my long-awaited return to running after sustaining a fibular fracture in football. I feared that I might struggle to run even a short distance, yet my best running buddy and I set out and ran nearly four miles on a hot day, on my first day back to it. There was zero pain and I felt as strong as if I had never stopped running.  May we ever hope in God who gives us fresh strength for each new day so that we may run without growing weary and walk without lagging behind.

 

When we hope in God, img_20180620_172045_852631896968823023748.jpg

Our strength is renewed;

We find wings to soar,

As His path’s pursued.

Each time that we run,

We will not grow tired;

For God is our strength,

All that is desired.

In Him, we can walk,

And not lag behind;

For He shall provide,

Help and hope aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we hope in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that we can run and not grow weary and walk and not grow faint, as we move in the direction to which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of weariness or where we feel depleted. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You are the wings on which we shall soar. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens, helps and renews others in their spaces of weariness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You forever, soaring in the strength that You alone provide. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

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Imitate Who We Appreciate

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. – (Ephesians 5:1, NLT)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. – (Ephesians 5:1, MSG)

 

Imitation is a form of admiration. As small children, we imitated those whom we most appreciated and the traits and strengths most desired to be duplicated. Once a person comes to know Jesus, a more defined set of ideals come into our consciousness. He who loved with His life and lived without sin, is the ultimate example of whom we ought to aspire to imitate. Through seeing and experiencing His love first hand, we learn how to love as we are loved. May we ever seek to imitate God in all that we do, so that our every word and deed is done in love, according to His good and perfect will.

 

In all that we do, Imitate What We Appreciate

Let’s imitate God;

The love that He gives,

To broken and flawed.

It is by His grace,

That we know He’s good;

It’s not what’s deserved,

Yet kindness withstood.

So let us go forth,

And love just like Him;

Imitate His grace,

Again and again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to imitate You as Your children, but You sent Your Son to show us the way and equip us to go forth to do as You do for us. Forgive us for attempting to imitate anyone other than You, as You alone are the only example that is free from all sin and without flaw. Teach us to look to Your example in all that we do, so that we may be tangible examples of Your goodness and love. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might see Your light that burns within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to imitate You in all that we do, so that others may come to know Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Godly Pursuit

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all of my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NIV)

 

King Solomon was given wisdom and wealth beyond what anyone else had ever acquired before him. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the futility of amassing people and possessions and giving in to every whim. He discovered all were without meaning, and not one brought true happiness.

The same remains true today. Stuff does not bring pleasure, nor does acting on our every desire. Instead, as we exercise self-control, and seek the Lord and His will for us, we find the joy that He brings in our choosing obedience to Him. There is a fine line in all of this. It seems the best way to know whether we are pursuing something that is meaningless or if it is a blessing that the Lord is willing to give, really depends on our heart condition. When we see things we like and are covetous, our heart is likely not in the right space. However, if there are things that we appreciate, but do not allow to dominate our desires, it is likely a more reasonable space from which to stand.

In my own life, there is a fine line of would I be willing to give it away? If not, I should probably not pursue it in the first place. There is nothing that I should cling to more tightly than Christ. Belongings are far easier to hold open-handed than relationships. The desire to hold tightly to something that I have invested time, energy and my heart into, is not so easily released. I am a work in progress, and know that more than anything, I must set my heart to seeking our Savior. May we delight in our pursuit of the path that the Lord has made plain for us, and choose to hold all else with open hands.

 

To pursue the Lord,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Is the only thing;

That has true meaning,

Grants us life lasting.

Though things may be nice,

Not one can compare;

To our hope in Christ,

For He hears our prayer.

We’re not meant to trust,

In people or things;

But rather in God,

And life that He brings.

There will be blessings,

He gives unto us;

But none can compare,

To our Lord Jesus.

Help our hearts be right,

Ever faithful, true;

As we seek to serve,

May we honor You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we delight in the process of work, its completion is our reward. Forgive us for a focus that is on accomplishments and acquisitions. Teach us to trust You more, so that our energy and attention are placed on things of You. Show us how to hold people and things with open hands, trusting You to keep all in proper perspective. Lead us to love others so that they can clearly see Your hand in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place You first in our every pursuit on this planet. Amen.

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

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

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

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