Confident in Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. – (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

 

Faith is trusting in the unseen and holding hope in that which is not yet fully known. Marriage is an excellent example of faith in action. We may know our spouse-to-be quite well, yet rarely are they fully known as we enter into the very relationship that God has ordained. It takes two people who have confident hope in a lifetime together, as well as the commitment to trust in God and each other for all that lies ahead. When our hope is in God and the good things that He has in store for us, we find assurance in that which is yet to come. Though I know there is no “perfect” nor easy existence with one another, I have confident hope that when two people are pursuing God’s best for themselves and one another, that His grace will be the glue that holds hope steady in each heart. May we ever seek the Lord and have faith in who He is and all that He has in store for those who place their hope in Him.

 

Faith’s the foundation,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

On which we can stand;

As we seek the Lord,

And all He commands.

For confident hope,

In all that’s unseen;

Exemplifies faith,

And what God’s grace means.

Though we cannot see,

All that lies ahead;

When we trust in God,

Faith rises and spreads.

The Lord is faithful,

In what we can’t see;

Choose confident hope,

Through trust and belief.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have confident hope in that which we cannot yet see, for You are faithful to all who believe. Forgive us for doubting the good that You have in store for us, and help us to hold firmly in faith all that You are and all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, in our relationships with You and one another. Show us how to love confidently and fearlessly, the way that You intended, so that many may be encouraged and find faith where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold confident hope in You and trust in that which is yet to come. Amen.

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

The Power of the Tongue

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. 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

Power Visible Through Action

As a gymnastics coach and teacher, I continually am reminding kids to let their actions do the talking. Rather than tell me that they are going to work harder or do better, I remind them to show me – for their actions speak volumes more clearly than their words. Those who continue to pursue excellence end up excelling, yet those who simply talk about it and never follow through, end up falling short of their true potential. The same is true for us in our walk with God. No, it is not about doing enough nor being enough, yet our charge is to put our faith into action. His power is made visible through us, yet the opportunity for others to see becomes clear only when we choose to step out of our own four walls and do whatever it is that He is asking.

 

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20)

 

Our faith is meaningless if it is merely talk that is never taken to task. God’s power is made evident through our actions – by how we walk out our life each day. If we talk the talk but do not walk the walk, our words are worthless. Consistent care and concern for others with the heart of Christ over time, is a viable witness to His word. Yes, there is a time to speak, and that too can be an opportunity for Christ’s power to be made evident, yet most often, there is movement required and ongoing steps of faith before words are ever utilized. May we allow our actions to demonstrate Christ’s power, as we rise up and walk out our faith each day.

 

The kingdom of God,Power Visible Through Action

is not about talk;

but of God’s power,

as we walk the walk.

Our words are empty,

if deeds don’t align;

His power is seen,

through faith over time.

May we each rise up,

and walk out each day;

faithful to His call,

let’s trust and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kingdom is not a matter of talk, but rather it is one of power and promise for all who place their trust in You. Thank You that as we trust You, You lead us to live out our lives in the power that You provide. Forgive us for the times when we have known the right answers, but merely discussed them rather than walked them out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move in faith the moment we hear Your call. Lead us to love others in the power that You provide, so that they may see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we walk out our faith with action. 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

Forge Forward in Faith

The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. 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

Sow Where We’re Planted

When our circumstances seem dismal, or if our surroundings are a space less than what we’d hoped for, we may very well be exactly where God intended for the purpose of influencing people for His Name’s sake.

In Acts 25, despite having been imprisoned for two years, Paul found himself with an audience of the governor, a king, and some other very influential individuals.  Paul, true to form, made the most of his opportunity, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus before them.

The fall that followed my graduation from university, I took a giant leap of faithful obedience, and joined YWAM. (Youth With A Mission)  After several months of training, my cohorts and I found ourselves in the slums in Bangkok, Thailand.  The air was so thick that it felt as if we could chew it, and the scent in our surroundings was that of stagnant water and garbage, stewed in sweltering heat.  For many of us, this was our first introduction to anything outside of the United States, and there was a bit of culture shock, to say the least.  However, by the grace of God, we got it together, and began to serve the community in the slums where we were staying.  Each morning, we went out to the waterway and dug out as much garbage as we could load into our baskets, and carried it away to the pick up site.  Day in and day out, we faithfully worked, giggling at ourselves, and making the most of our time, despite the dismal circumstances.

Unbeknownst to us, just over the wall, in a palatial home, was a very high ranking government official.  This man had observed what we were doing each day, and he could not understand why we would come and do what we were doing.  He invited a couple of the guys on our team to come to his home to speak with him, and they had the opportunity to share not only our intent to love and serve the people of Thailand, but they shared the gospel as well.  The official was so impressed, that he invited our entire team into his home for appetizers, arranged for a tour bus, and funded a sightseeing adventure for our team that we would not have otherwise had.

Circumstances,Sow Where Planted

do not determine;

effectiveness,

that’s only through Him.

May we all turn,

to trust in each space;

He is working,

rely on His grace.

For He can use,

whatever we bring;

so let our hearts,

extend offering.

Always ready,

the truth to exclaim;

we never know,

who’ll embrace His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and for the gift of life experiences to demonstrate how faith in action really works.  Thank You that You use us, Your children, to touch lives and transform communities, if we are only willing to serve where we are planted.  Forgive us for grumbling if things seem uncomfortable or less than we had hoped for, and help us to keep an eternal perspective, knowing that whatever we experience here is nothing, compared to what You have prepared for us in heaven.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to speak truth in love as You lead, so that hearts may turn to You.  May many come to know of Your glorious grace and the eternal hope that is held in You alone.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Action Gives Weight to Words

Action Gives Weight to WordsBe quick to listen,

and be slow to speak;

slow to get angry,

turn to God and seek.

Man’s anger will not,

bring a righteous life;

God does not desire,

such meaningless strife.

Get rid of all filth,

evil that prevails;

humbly trust His word,

His truth never fails.

We must not just listen,

we must also do;

all that He asks us,

we must see it through.

Faith without action,

is not faith at all;

empty words will lead,

to destructive fall.

For when we follow,

God’s word as He asks;

we find true freedom,

our blessing that lasts.

(Responding to James 1:19-25)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to be more than just hearers of Your word. Thank You that You ask and equip us to put our faith in action. Forgive us for our empty words and our inactivity, and teach us how to live a life that is continually built on setting our faith into action. Show us what You desire from each of us, and help us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, and persistent in trusting in Your promises. May our lives be led in such a way that our words, Your word, holds weight in the world around us, because we are living out our faith with action. May many come to know You through our active obedience to all that You ask. Let Your light shine bright in each of us. Amen.

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