Gratitude for Grace

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by My power.” So I will boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, ERV)

But He answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and My power finds its full expression through your weaknesses.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, TPT)

 

As this saga continues with my leg, I have come to a place where my heart is beginning to grasp a tremendous amount of gratitude. Though I feel extraordinarily frustrated with this space of inactivity, I recognize God’s great grace in the discovery and diagnosis in my calf, for if it had gone unnoticed, it could have been fatal. I don’t know that I am necessarily celebrating my weakness, but I certainly am giving gratitude to God for sparing me from what could have been. His strength is enough to carry me through, and His grace reminds me that this is merely a short season to rise and stand strong in Him. May we ever give glory to God in all things, for He is our strength in our weakness, and His grace grants us power to persevere when we have nothing left.

 

God’s grace is enough, Be Full of Joy

Whatever we face;

He will be our strength,

His power in place.

For where we are weak,

The Lord, He is strong;

As we trust in Him,

We will not go wrong.

He’s most clearly seen,

In our weakest space;

Power made perfect,

By His lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need. Thank You that Your power is made evident in our weakness. Thank You that You meet us in our need and supply Your strength to carry us by Your grace. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith when we cannot see past our own fears. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your power is perfect when we are not strong, so it is okay to turn to You and be carried in our spaces of weakness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and encouragement in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your grace to be enough, as Your power prevails when we are weak. Amen.

 

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

All for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His loves who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. – (Romans 8:28, TPT)

 

I don’t know that I can even count the number of times that what I perceived as something awful, (and at the time, perhaps it was) that God, in His infinite goodness and grace, ultimately used it for good. Each time that I have had to walk through the hard or horrible that life brings, as I sought God and relied on Him, He provided what I needed to navigate the season, and later used the experience for something positive. At times the benefit has been personal growth and the discovery of His strength in times of my own weakness, yet still other times, He has turned my experience into a tool by which I am able to honestly speak to others going through similar, as I can share of His faithfulness that brought me through. God is good, and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. When we choose to trust in Him, He leads us through life by the light of His love, even when we are in spaces of darkness. May we ever seek the Lord and His plan, as He is good and is the only One who can bring beauty from our ashes.

 

With all certainty, His Passion for Our Peace

I truly can say;

God works all for good,

When we seek His way.

Though life’s not easy,

And despair may come;

The Lord is faithful,

’til each day is done.

He walks beside us,

And shows us the way;

Grants us renewed strength,

Fresh start for each day.

We can be certain,

He’ll use all for good;

If we choose to trust,

Hope our livelihood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust You, You ultimately work all things for good in our lives. Thank You that even when we cannot see how that is possible, You are moving and making it so. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt. Teach us to trust Your hand in all things, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and builds faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to orchestrate everything in our lives toward something good, as only You can do. 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

May We Marvel Like the Magi

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left that territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. – (Matthew 2:9-12, MSG)

 

As I continue on my journey to dig deeper into the stories of those who first were mentioned in the Christmas story, this morning I did some searching about the Magi. What I had already learned, is that the wise men who visited bearing gifts, did not actually visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus as He lay in the manger. It was likely a year or two later. As mentioned, the wise men entered their home, not an animal shelter of sorts with Jesus in a manger. My new discovery however, is that according to what I found, the Magi were a priesthood of the Medes, known for their exceptional religious knowledge, and some proved to be experts at interpretation of dreams. This was the very same group of wise men and advisors to whom Daniel had been appointed Chief of the Magi, several generations prior. The gifts that these priestly people brought had prophetic and powerful meaning in religious realms. Gold spoke of His kingship, frankincense was a spice used in priestly duties, and myrrh was an embalming ointment anticipating His death. The wise men followed a star, knowing of the significance of Who they would find if they followed where it led. Based on the gifts that they had prepared to take, I imagine that they had already been given some dreams and insight about what had been foretold long before. It is awe-inspiring to envision what the moment must have been like for the Magi. A lifetime of studying and seeking, and then suddenly these wise men found themselves standing before the Savior of the world.  May we each have Magi-like moments this Christmas, where we recognize in awe and wonder, His powerful presence, because He chose to come and be God with us.

 

A star of wonder, May We Live Like the Magi

Led wise men afar;

Check in with a king,

Then follow the star.

The Magi arrived,

In Bethlehem town;

The way clearly shown,

As the star shined down.

With awe and wonder,

The wise men took knee;

They gave Him their gifts,

All praise unto Thee.

May we too behold,

A similar awe;

At the Gift given,

What the wise men saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly show us more and more of Who You are and all that You have done, as we seek You and ask for Your insight. Thank You for the faithfulness and obedience of the Magi, and a bit more of the story behind them. Forgive us for taking everything at face value, or for becoming numb to the depth and life that come from beholding the truth and the treasure that is found in the story of Jesus’ arrival. Teach us to seek to see it through fresh eyes, so that we never lose our awe and wonder at the glory of the Gift that You gave. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You, the ultimate Giver of all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have done for us, and the very reason we celebrate this season. Amen.

 

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

 

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

(link to Magi research)

Sharing a Shoulder

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

At my church, there has been a phrase that has been spoken many times over the years. I always knew that it was Biblically based, but never really thought about the specific reference from which it may have been derived. However, this morning, this seems a fitting verse to align with the statement, “At Grace, no one stands alone.” The statement is a direct affirmation of a commitment to be obedient to share each others burdens so that no one is attempting to carry the weight on their own. Whatever the challenge, it is lessened when another chooses to join in the journey. Often when we help one another, we end up being helped ourselves in the process. There is a discovery of strength and help and grace, as we walk beside another in the strain of their struggle. May we rise up and look to help one another bear the burdens that life brings, so that we are walking in obedience to Christ and recognizing the power that is present as we choose to obey.

 

The Lord is calling, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So that we might see;

Each other’s burdens,

Places where there’s need.

We are meant to share,

The weight of their load;

To help them travel,

Where they’re meant to go.

As we opt rise up,

And help bear the weight;

It’s as God has called,

His peace shall be great.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to share each others burdens so that we have tangible help through You. Thank You that as we walk alongside one another, we are being obedient to what You ask of us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder the weight of our woes alone, or for neglecting to reach out to those that we know are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead us to those we are meant to walk beside, and receive the help from others that You provide. Show us how to love those around us who are bearing heavy burdens, so that we might help lessen their loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we help one another in times of trouble, just as You are present to help each of 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

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. 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

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

This morning, as I read Ezekiel 16, I found myself astounded at the discovery of truth that I had somehow not noticed before. In regard to Sodom, I had always thought that they had been destroyed due to their violence and flagrant sexual sin as a nation. Yet in Ezekiel 16, I found that God destroyed Sodom because the people were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned about the needy people within their own reach. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

 

It is easy to look back at Sodom and compare our sin to theirs. Most of us, on the surface, feel as if we are doing fairly well, as most are not murderers nor adulterers. However, in light of this verse that had previously escaped me, how do we measure up now? Are we proud? Do we have too much? Do we overindulge? Do we care for those in need, as we ought to? Granted, we are not meant to compare our sin to anyone else, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts to correct and direct us in the ways in which we are to go; yet in light of this passage, there is much to ask as we earnestly seek Him. May we place our lives in His hands, and allow His Spirit command, so that we are not proud, nor gluttonous, and that we are concerned about the needs of those within our reach.

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see all sin the same, and that there is not one of us that is without it. Thank You Jesus, for coming and taking our sin away, as You suffered and died on our behalf. Thank You that death could not defeat You, and that in power, You rose again, so that You could send Your Spirit to dwell in us and remain with us forever. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your ways, if we seek You. Forgive us for our pride, our overindulgence, and our neglect of those in need. Give us Your eyes to see the needs of others and the lens by which to view ourselves. Thank You that Your love compels us to make changes. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King, as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be Your hands and heart to the needs of those around us. 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

Abide

Abide. What a beautiful, yet at times, elusive word. To remain, continue, stay, or even await, in the context of Christ, is the place my heart hides best. A dear friend has found herself in a space where her only instruction from the Lord is to simply, ABIDE. Since first hearing, I often think about how I am meant to abide as well. My discovery, is that to abide is a daily decision to walk with Him – in His grace, His love and His peace. It does not necessarily come naturally, but rather is rooted in choice after choice after choice.

 

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vines, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. – (John 15:4, NKJV)

 

For anything good to come out of us, we must be firmly rooted and established in Christ. May our lives be so intertwined with His, that we cannot help but bear good fruit that lasts. All glory and honor to Him, now and forevermore.

 

Come all you weary,

for He’ll grant us rest;Darkness into Light

come all you broken,

He’ll repair our mess.

As we choose to come,

be still and abide;

allow Him access,

to darkness we hide.

For His light’s greater,

than our dark despair;

healing and wholeness,

He grants us, right there.

Throw out what hinders,

with hearts open wide;

He’s faithful always,

as we choose abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we abide in You, You abide in us too. Thank You that You are faithful always, and that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that as we abide in You, You grow us and strengthen us, so that we may be utilized to touch lives on Your behalf. Thank You that You take us as we are, and turn our past struggles into stories of Your faithfulness to share. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we face the fire, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your strength to endure. May we live and love in Your strength as we opt to abide in You, and may many lives be changed as they come to know the truth. Be glorified, O God, as we abide. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3