Tag Archive: embraced


For the Lord our God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, NLT)

The Lord God is our protector and glorious king. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, ERV)

 

I love seeing the surprise on the face of another, when unexpected blessings are poured out upon them. Yesterday, months of planning finally came to fruition. After a time killing distraction of a drive to the Hoover Dam, I brought the Viking to our long-awaited destination. When we arrived to what he thought would be some old friends of mine’s home, he was instead, greeted by four of our dearest friends, and his brother, whom he has not seen in over a year, who drove ten hours to be with us for the birthday celebration. The tears of joy on the faces of both brothers as they embraced, blessed the rest of us nearly as much as them. Viking is a good man who loves his people well, works hard, serves, and freely gives. Good things have come to him, as he has been on the giving end for so many. May we give thanks to God, who is our sun and shield, who gives us grace and glory. All praise to Him for every good thing that He brings.

 

The sun and our shield, He Gives Good

The Lord God on high;

Gives grace and glory,

Love none can deny.

Good freely given,

To those who do right;

Who love as He loves,

Held dear in His sight.

All thanks be to God,

For good that He brings;

Let us give Him praise,

As our hearts choose sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being our sun and our shield. Thank You for the grace and glory that You give. Thank You for the good that You bring our way. Forgive us for choosing poorly, or for not giving You glory for all of the good that You give. Teach us to trust You more to guide us in Your way and to honor You in what we do and say. Show us how to love well, all whom You place in our circle to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

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

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

I find myself surrounded by many in a season of loss. So many mourning, as the loss of loved ones has been a common theme among dear ones in my sphere of influence. For some, I did not know the one whom was lost, and am at a loss for what to offer, other than sincere condolences, and be available in a tangible way. Late last evening, was the first loss in a long while, that has really hit my heart personally, as I had known and dearly loved she who has departed. His comfort came quickly, in that I was reminded that her heart was deeply rooted in Christ. Though there will be grief in her absence, there should also be celebration in knowing that she is home. I can only imagine the look on her face as she saw Jesus and heard the words spoken just to her, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The look of pure delight that so many of us saw every time we would greet her… Our loss is heaven’s gain. May we take comfort in Him who is our Comforter, as we walk through seasons of mourning, and may we offer the very same comfort to others, as they do the same.

 

The blessings shall come,

Comfort in Mourning

Imagine the smile as she dances on streets of gold… Love you Jan, and look forward to the day we meet again.

 

to those who do mourn;

for Christ will comfort,

the weary, the worn.

His arms will embrace,

where we’re at a loss;

He’ll speak to our hearts,

show all is not lost.

God grants us the strength,

we need to get through;

gives peace in heartache,

His hope that renews.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort those who are mourning. Thank You that our hope in You reminds us that this life is not the end. Thank You that those who know and follow You, have a future with You forever. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the kindness of those whom You place around us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our seasons of grief, and help us to trust You with all. Show us how to hand You our heart – heaviness and all – and allow You to embrace the heartache and love us back to life. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we may extend the same comfort and hope that You give, as they walk through their own seasons of mourning. Help many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to be our comfort in times of mourning. 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

I never grow weary of the parable of the lost son, as each time I read it, I am reminded of just how great the Father’s love is for each of us. In this story, the son had squandered wealth he should have never asked for, and had sunk to rock bottom. His found himself in the lowliest of positions, destitute and desperate. When the son assessed his situation, he realized that repentance before his father, and a willingness to work as a hired hand were far better options than his present position. So he got up and went to his father. “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (Luke 15:20)

 

The son recognized his sin, repented, and merely hoped to be made a hired hand. Instead, his father ran to meet him from a long way off, embraced him and celebrated his homecoming. God does the same for each of us when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though we may come, simply hoping to somehow be seen as “okay”, He does so much more. Christ welcomes us, gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God Himself. We are granted an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken, and provided promises to propel us along our path. May we receive the glorious gift of God’s grace, and welcome with open arms, the compassion conveyed in His embrace.

 

Foolish and selfish,How Great the Fathers Love

the arrogant son;

ran off and rebelled,

lowly position.

When he had squandered,

all that had been his;

he started longing,

for what he fed pigs.

It was then he knew,

that he must repent;

for his father’s men,

lived far more decent.

Perhaps he would hire,

give a chance, employ;

no longer worthy,

to be called dad’s boy.

So the son set off,

he headed for home;

imagine the awe,

as grace was made known.

For while still far off,

his father, he ran;

to greet and embrace,

this shell of a man.

The gifts that he gave,

assured him his worth;

a chance for new life,

a sense of rebirth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with a repentant heart, You do for us, just as the father did for his son. You meet us where we are, shower us with Your grace, robe us in Your righteousness, celebrate our homecoming, and call us Your own! Thank You that we are welcomed into Your family, no matter where we have come from. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to cover our sin and shame, and that You celebrate and embrace each of us as we choose You. Forgive us for thinking that You could not possibly forgive us for what we have done, or that another around us does not deserve the mercy and grace that You give. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, so that we too, will celebrate and embrace each and every individual who comes into Your kingdom. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize how ready You are to receive everyone who comes. Be glorified O God, as we give and receive Your great love. 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

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)

 

This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.

 

The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

In Galatians four, Paul was presenting his concerns to the believers of Galatia. Those who had initially embraced the gift of grace given by Christ Jesus, were setting it aside so that they could turn back to observing the laws. Clearly, full of great concern, Paul pleaded with his fellow followers of the faith. What has happened to all your joy?… – (Galatians 4:15a) Paul perceived that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism.

 

Legalism is a dangerous and slippery slope, and a thief of joy. It can take away joy because:

(1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

(2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

(3) It stresses performance over relationship.

(4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. – (NIV footnotes)

 

If guilt, self-hatred, need to perform, or inadequacy are ruling our lives, we need to check our focus. Is faith reigning in our hearts, or have the reigns of legalism somehow crept into the corners and began to steal our joy? Let us throw off every burden that hinders us and allow Christ’s grace to cover us. May we walk by faith, and leave the links of legalism that try to bind us, far behind.

 

Joy that is complete,Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

must learn to let go;

walk away from chains,

and by faith, follow.

Faith receives His grace,

and lets go of guilt;

embraces His love,

where His peace is built.

It knows not self-hate,

shows humility;

needs not to perform,

is secure, set free.

It does not point out,

how far we fall short;

but rather looks up,

to Him who supports.

May we walk by faith,

embracing what’s true;

it’s all about Him,

not how much we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all grace and joy. Thank You that You came as the fulfillment of the law, as not one of us could ever truly follow the law. Thank You that Your grace is a gift that You give freely, and not something that we can somehow earn. Forgive us for any area of our lives where we may have fallen into the trap of legalism. Illuminate the truth and lead us out of the spaces and mindsets You never intended for us. Teach us to trust You and Your glorious gift of grace with all that we are. Lead us to live and love in the fullness of Your grace as You intended, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we walk in the freedom that Your forgiveness and grace have granted. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. – (Mark 15:43)

 

Just after Jesus had breathed His last breath on the cross, Joseph, a secret follower of Christ, knew he had a decision to make. Either he himself ought to step up and do what he was able to do to give Jesus a proper burial, or Jesus’ body would be left for the Romans to deal with, as no Jew would dare do anything with His body on the Sabbath. By going before Pilate to make his request, Joseph was exposing his faith for all to see. He had clearly come to a point where his desire to do right, outweighed his fear of being found out. Today, Joseph is the only actual name of any of the Sanhedrin that I’ve ever known. His decision to honor Christ, regardless of what it would do to his reputation, made him among those who are greatly admired in the history of our faith. We are called to do likewise. Doing right before God must be our priority, rather than worrying about our reputation before mankind. He calls us to obedience, not notoriety. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. – (Mark 8:38) May we move forward in the light of His grace, walking in obedience to all that He is asking. Let us throw off every hindrance that causes fear of man or risk of ruining a reputation, and rise up to do right. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. – (1 John 2:5a)

 

No matter the risk,May We Love Much

nor the fear of man;

let us do what’s right,

in Christ’s strength we can.

For there is no man,

who can take away;

our eternal hope,

in Christ where we stay.

Men may choose slander,

with words they attack;

yet God is our strength,

we need not look back.

May we choose be bold,

stand firm in the truth;

righteous before God,

embraced and made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the ultimate example of risking reputation and doing right before You. Though He was slandered and accused, He was without sin; choosing to die for each of us who placed accusations upon Him. Thank You for loving us far more than our mere minds can comprehend. Forgive us for worrying more about our reputation than about doing what is right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may choose to do right, regardless of what others think of our decisions. Lead us to love as You so generously love each of us, and may many come to know that the rewards of following You, far outweigh the risks. Be glorified, O God, as we do right, regardless of the risk to our reputations. 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

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. ❤

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. 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

 

 

As Paul bids farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:13-38, the internal workings of the Holy Spirit in Paul, are blaringly obvious.  This man who formerly persecuted those who tried to proclaim the truth of Christ, now willingly risked everything, to share the love of God with both Gentile and Jew, everywhere he was led to go.  Despite being forewarned of impending imprisonment and hardships, Paul was willing to continue, committed to carry out his calling.

The depth of Paul’s love and investment into the lives of the believers in Ephesus, is made evident in their response to his news that he would not ever see them again. “When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.  They all wept as they embraced and kissed him.” – (Acts 20:36-37)  That which Paul had poured out into the lives of the people in Ephesus, had been received and multiplied.  The church was growing and thriving because of his obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit.  Lives were forever changed, because one man was willing.  How many lives might be changed if we too, are willing?  How can we invest in the lives of those around us, and love as we are loved?

Only one life,One Life

yet many were claimed;

he shared the truth,

professed Jesus’ Name.

The Spirit moved,

as he boldly spoke;

he sought not wealth,

but hearts of the folks.

Each place he went,

the story’s the same;

people were saved,

as he shared Christ’s Name.

It was not Paul,

but the Lord within;

Who tore down walls,

so they’d let truth in.

We too, can move,

wherever He asks;

trust Him to help,

stay true to His tasks.

May hearts be soft,

tender to His call;

may we love well,

and serve Him in all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples that You give us in Your word of how we are meant to live unto You.  Thank You that the very same Spirit that dwelled in Paul, dwells in the hearts of all who invite You in, still today.  Thank You that You equip and empower us to do all that You ask, even if it involves enduring hardships.  Thank You that it is so often in the midst of the hardships, we find ourselves closest to You, as You are to whom we cling.  Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when things are challenging, and help us to trust You more.  May we have a hope that is unfailing, and a love that mirrors Your love for us.  May many come to know You, as we live and love as You call us to do.  Be glorified through how we spend our days.  Amen.

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

I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

In The Parable of the Lost Son, found in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a tale of a selfish son who arrogantly asks for his share of his inheritance while his father is still living, and then goes off and squanders every last cent with wild living.  After his spending frenzy, the foolish son was in desperate need in the midst of a severe famine.  He finally found a job feeding pigs in the fields.  As a Jewish male, he had hit rock bottom.  Not only was he interacting – touching swine – which were considered completely unclean, but he was so hungry that he found himself envious of the food that he was feeding to those very pigs.  In a moment of clarity, the son came to his senses and realized that his father’s hired men had food to spare, and that perhaps if he went back to him with a repentant heart, his dad might be so kind as to hire him on as one of his laborers.  So, off he went to face his father.  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (vs20b)  After the son’s confession and plea for forgiveness, the father abundantly gave.  He restored the son to his position in the family, despite the contemptuous behavior he had previously displayed through his departure and wild living.  Not only did the father embrace the son, but he called for a feast to celebrate his son’s return.

Our God in heaven celebrates us in the same way.  No matter how horrible we have been, He waits.  When He sees our hearts turn toward Him, He runs to meet us while we are still far from Him.  As we repent, He restores us to right relationship with Him, and recognizes us as His heirs – His sons and daughters.  Though we too, have stooped so low as to be muddied and hungry and hurting, He has always been watching and waiting – and when we at last recognize our need for cleansing and His care, He is right there.  May we both embrace the grace that we have been given and extend the same to those who are still stuck in a muddy space.

Stuck in the mud,The Parable of the Lost Son

our own sinful mess;

seems no escape,

until we confess.

Our God forgives,

fresh start He shall bring;

draws hearts to Him,

our Savior and King.

He wipes away,

our mud and our mess;

grants us His grace,

His great faithfulness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father, and we are Your lost sons and daughters, whom You are ready and able to save.  Thank You that You waited and watched for us, even when we were still far off.  Thank You that You are willing to woo us unto You, and show us how great Your love truly is.  Forgive us for wallowing in our own filth, or for somehow thinking that You would not receive us in our wretched condition.  Thank You that You accept us and love us far beyond what we can even begin to understand.  Teach us to receive all that You offer, and in turn, to extend the same love and grace to all whom we encounter.  May Your love in us, draw others unto You as well.  Let the lost be found, and those who are searching, find the security that is held in the safety of Your loving embrace.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Healing happens regularly, we just have to be ready to recognize it as such, when it does.  Sometimes it is through a Divine touch, and other times, it is through the miracle of modern medicine.  Either way, God orchestrates each occurrence, so to Him, we ought to give our eternal gratitude.

Beyond thanksgiving, what are we meant to do, when healing happens?  Through this morning’s study of scripture, the following verses really captured my attention: “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon.  Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.  So He bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  She got up at once and began to wait on them.” – (Luke 4:38-39)

What stands out as so significant, is that not only was she healed, but she embraced her healing and immediately set herself to serve.  Her own expression of gratitude and love for God and for others, was being expressed through the work of her hands – the hands that had only moments before, been too frail with fever to do anything.

When I think of the examples set before me in my own life, I have no excuse but to embrace healing by the hand, and lay hold of life to the fullest.  My dear friend Anne, who went on to be with the Lord in September, had numerous incidents of healing happen along her long and arduous journey with very invasive cancer.  On death’s door more than once between last winter and all summer long; each time she was spared, released from the hospital, and found back in church the next Sunday, serving in the bookstore, and encouraging others.

When healing happens,Healed Hands Reach Out

what will our hearts do?

Will we keep quiet,

joy hidden from view?

If our healing comes,

a purpose must be;

intended for us,

so others too, see.

What better to show,

His love and His grace;

than our own story,

hope that we embrace?

Whatever is healed,

may we freely show;

share hope with others,

so they too, shall know.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Healer.  Thank You that You heal through various avenues, and we cannot expect You to work in just one way.  Thank You for the gift of wisdom that You have granted in modern medicine, and thank You that You use people as Your hands and voice to touch hearts and hurts of one another on Your behalf.  Thank You that You take our tests and turn them into testimonies of Your love and faithfulness.  Forgive us for our fear in the fight, and grant us strength and fortitude to trust You and move forward in faith.  May we each embrace the healing You have done in our hearts and lives, and may we use our own stories to share of Your great love with those around us.  May many come to know You, personally.  Be exalted in all that we do.  Amen.

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

(For an amazing story of God’s healing power, go to charispsallo.wordpress.com)

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