Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. 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

Because He is Good

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1 & 29, NLT)

 

In Psalm 118, the chapter both begins and ends with the very same words. I find that each time I come across repetition in the Word, God is highlighting something for me, and I need to make note of what is written. Yes, I know He is good and that His love is faithful and everlasting, providing reason for me to give praise; however, as I read this in conjunction with the other passage that was a part of today’s reading, it is a reminder that His goodness and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. In Jeremiah 29-30, God’s people were exiled in a foreign land. Despite their situation, God had promised to return them to Jerusalem after an established length of time. The exiles were called to remain faithful to God, and He would stay true to His word. All thanks and praise were due to the Lord, as He blessed and upheld His people, despite their distance from the home they had known. God does this for us today. He is good and faithful, and His love endures always. Because of who He is, He deserves all of our thanks and praise. May we rise up in gratitude for the goodness of our God, and give Him the proper praise He is due.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

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For He’s always good;

His love shall endure,

As always has stood.

No matter what comes,

The Lord shall remain;

Present as our help,

He makes our path plain.

Despite circumstance,

His love light shines through;

Leading and guiding,

So faithful and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that we always have reason to give You thanks and praise. Forgive us for making our gratitude circumstantial, rather than dependent on the truth of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give all glory unto You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love all those around us in such a way, that You are given the thanks and adoration for every word and deed that is well-received. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness and faithful love that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Believe Instead of Striving

Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One He sent.” – (John 6:29, ERV)

God wants us to trust and believe in His one and only Son with all that we are, rather than complete some check list of accomplishments. When we are fully invested in faith in Christ, we are compelled to love and serve as He did. Our motivation for what we do, matters. If we are working to somehow try to earn God’s favor, we are toiling in vain. Anything God wants accomplished, He can do with a thought or a word. His ways are so much higher than our ways. However, if we believe in Him with our whole being, and love Him with all that we are, we cannot help but long to serve Him and do whatever He calls us to do. Acting in love is a far different scenario than obligation or fear. May we rise up and take inventory of what we are doing today. If our to do list is merely to appease or earn favor, let our hearts be changed so that we are motivated purely by His love, and a heart to serve Him and all whom He has created.

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You want from us is our whole heart – our trust and our belief. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make Yourself tangible and approachable, to a world lost and desperately in need of Your grace. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves, and raise us up to who You call us to be, if we choose to seek and trust in You. Forgive us for our attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in You. Teach us to trust in You, and allow You to do the transforming of us, so that we can go forth and be used by You to touch lives and transform communities. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe with all that we are, in the One You sent. Amen.

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

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

But On Every Word

Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4)

 

These words were spoken by Jesus in the desert after His forty days of fasting in the wilderness. The devil was tempting Him to turn stones into bread, but Jesus knew the value in what God had called Him to do. The word of God gives life eternal, where as bread is only nourishment for the here and now. We are meant to balance our priorities and feed both our body and our spirit, so that we have strength for today and hope everlasting. May we make meditating on the word of God as much of a priority in our lives as the nourishing of our bodies.

 

Bread may satisfy,The Bread of Life

but just for a day;

yet the word of God,

comes in and remains.

We need to pursue,

both bread and His word;

nourish our body,

God’s wisdom incurred.

Let what our hearts hold,

be found in God’s word;

so that which we yield,

are God’s blessings heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from Your mouth. Thank You that though food nourishes our bodies, Your word gives us life everlasting. Forgive us for not keeping our priorities in order; for forgetting how critical Your word is to the nourishment of our souls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and seek daily, answers in Your word. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we feed our souls with the bread of life that is found in Your word alone. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Correction as a Catalyst for Change

If good people correct me, I will consider it a good thing. If they criticize me, I will accept it like a warm welcome. But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil that they do. – (Psalm 141:5, ERV)

 

Being rebuked or corrected by a righteous person is a kindness. If someone who is walking well with the Lord recognizes wrong in me and brings it to my attention, it is my job to humbly consider their words, keep quiet, and consider their correction an act of love. Any confusion or uncertainty about what has been spoken, ought to be brought before the Lord in prayer. We are shown how to present our petitions before the Lord in this way: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:24)

 

May we readily receive rebuke from the righteous, and prayerfully present ourselves to the Lord. Let the Lord search us and know us, so that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and led in the light of life everlasting.

 

Let each correction,Christ Corrects the Called

be considered, heard;

presented to Christ,

compared to His word.

Is what has been said,

truth spoken in love?

If so, receive it,

direct from above.

Continue to pray,

against all the wrong;

down with the wicked,

lift praise up in song.

For God sees and knows,

our heart and our mind;

He longs to lead us,

to glory divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that You place us in one another’s lives to speak truth in love. Thank You that correction is for our benefit, and intended to draw us closer to You. Forgive us for refusing correction or being defensive when another speaks truth in love to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may keep quiet and hear what is spoken, and bring anything that we are uncertain about before You. Lead us to love others with a love that is not afraid to speak truth in such a way, that the recipient is directed straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we receive correction and change direction where it is necessary. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – Chronicles 16:31

Seeking Solace in the Storm

Wherever we are, and whatever circumstances happen to be surrounding us, Christ is present. Though we may be unaware, Jesus is still right there. As the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oar as a storm had suddenly come upon them, Jesus appeared beside them, and they were afraid. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)  Jesus was aware of their need before they were, and He was present, despite their oblivion to His walk across the water, until He came into plain sight.

 

Waves and wind may be barriers that keep us from clearly seeing Christ in the midst of the storm, yet regardless of what we see, His presence remains. When at last we open our eyes, ears and hearts, our experience will be much like that of the disciples. Jesus reminds us to “take courage“, as He is with us; and when He is present, we do not need to be afraid. May we hear His voice, take courage and be not afraid, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

 

When waters are deep,Seeking Solace in the Storm

and waves crash around;

all hope seeming lost,

in One, we are found.

For Jesus draws near,

He comes where we are;

grants courage and strength,

to carry us far.

His presence is now,

we need not choose fear;

when we call to Him,

His hope is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our hope, and that in You, we need not be afraid. Thank You that when we are standing in the storms, You either calm the storms or soothe our struggling souls. Forgive us for seeking solace anywhere other than in You, and help us to call out to You and listen for Your voice, even in the raging wind and rain, trusting that You will answer. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and find You in all times, so that we will be quick to recognize Your voice calling through the chaos around us. Lead us to love others with Your love that is everlasting. May many come into a place where they will fully receive Your grace for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we take courage and fear not as we go forth. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Above All Else – Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

– (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth. The point Paul was driving home, is that no spiritual gift is of any value, if it is not utilized in love. If the purpose for our actions (our exercising of our spiritual gifts) is not to build up the body as we love the Lord, there is no point. It is love that makes the gifts that God gives, useful. His love is available to everyone. Though we all have different gifts, we all have the same God, who loves each of us with His everlasting, sacrificial, unconditional love. We cannot earn it, we must choose to receive that which is available before us. As we choose His love, we are supplied to love others as He loves us.

 

If we speak out,Above All Else Love

but have not love;

the sound’s in vain,

not for God above.

If we foretell,

what God reveals;

yet have not love,

its value’s repealed.

If we give all,

to them with none;

yet have not love,

our reward is done.

If we suffer,

for the Lord’s sake;

yet have not love,

it’s all a mistake.

All that we do,

all that is done;

must be in love,

unto everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You give us and value love. Thank You that the gifts You give us to encourage and build up the body, are only meant to be used if they are fueled by Your love. Thank You that it is Your love that makes our actions and gifts useful, and that Your love is available to all of us. Forgive us for thinking that we don’t have enough to offer, or for doing anything that was not fueled by Your love. Teach us to trust You completely, and let Your love lead us in everything that we say and do. May many come to know Your great love, as we love others as You love us. Be glorified as we love, above all else. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

The Voice of Truth

As we are surrounded by a broken and hurting humanity, it is nearly impossible to not allow the lies being spoken over us, to somehow start to stick.  Between having to be enough, do enough, and just plain measure up, we quickly learn that we will never quite “arrive”.  Yet, there is a still small voice that says otherwise.  The voice of truth whispers that we are loved, regardless of what we have or have not done, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.  When we choose Him, He enters in, and remains present forever.

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.” – (Psalm 23:6)

His voice is the one that I want to hear most clearly.  Goodness and love provide grace and mercy, rather than reminders of our shortcomings.  Beyond the treasures of today, His love provides us with the hope to hold for our forever.  All who come to Him and invite Him to be Lord, are assured that they too will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.  These are His words spoken, that we can depend upon.  He is faithful to His promises, and His love is everlasting.

The voice of truth,The Voice of Truth

softly calls your name;

always gentle,

this hope we can claim.

Other voices,

continue to lie;

offer defeat,

as hopes slowly die.

So listen not,

to words of the world;

unclench your fists,

let fingers unfurl.

Extend your hands,

to Him who is love;

He will speak truth,

tell you you’re enough.

For by His grace,

all stains are made clean;

each sin erased,

a pure heart now seen.

Love for today,

hope for tomorrow;

joy in His grace,

comfort in sorrow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the voice of truth, and the only voice that we need to allow to speak to our hearts and minds.  Thank You that You say we are enough in You, as You created each one of us with a purpose in mind.  Thank You that You whisper Your words of love and life, if we are only willing to listen.  Forgive us for giving ear to the lies that surround us, and help us to be deaf to that which is not the truth.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we hear only Your heart for us, and that we move boldly because of it.  May we live in love as You love us, so that many may come to hear of the mercy and grace that You alone, give to all who call on Your Name.  Let hearts be opened and lives be changed.  May our every move be motivated by Your goodness and love, and the hope that we hold in You.  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

*Two songs that came to mind: Who to Listen to (Amy Grant) & Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns) – click either title to enjoy.

Inspect My Inmost Being

image by A-GC Wallpaper

image by A-GC Wallpaper

Search me, O God,

for You know my heart.

Test me and show,

where I need new start.

My fearful thoughts,

remove them from me.

Point out each place,

offensive to Thee.

Lead me, Jesus,

Everlasting Way.

My heart, Your home,

I need You to stay.

Know me, Father,

for in You I’m known.

You lead and guide;

make Your thoughts my own.

Show me, Spirit,

the very best way,

to follow You,

and do what You say.

My hope is held,

in eternity.

On my last day,

Your glory I’ll see.

(Responding to Psalm 139:23-24)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know all there is to know about us, and You choose to love us anyway.  Thank You that because of Your great love, You made the way for us to be in relationship with You, through the atoning sacrifice of Your Son, for our sins.  Forgive us for not allowing You access to all of ourselves, and help us to be willing to make David’s prayer our own:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Help us to readily receive correction and direction so that we might become a clearer reflection of You.  May many come to know You as we mirror Your great love.  Amen.

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