How Faith Grows

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NLT)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

 

Faith that is not actively growing and being utilized, shrivels up and dies. Peter reminds us of a variety of ways that we can continue to grow in our faith and allow God’s grace to shine through us, as we seek Him to help us add to all of these things. When we extend goodness, self-control, patience, kindness and love, those around us notice. We are equipped and empowered to do so as we devote ourselves to the Lord and seek His wisdom to walk in His way. This is the perfect time of year to actively live out our faith tangibly. The need for each of these things is evident, everywhere – be it in a checkout line at the grocery store, in the classroom, at the dinner table, or as we have conversations with those we know, each extension of our response to God’s goodness gives those we interact with a helping of hope they may not have otherwise known. May we make every effort to respond to God’s promises by actively living out our faith as we add to our lives, all of these things.

 

Because we are blessed, How Faith Grows

We can also give;

Extensions of faith,

Each day that we live.

To faith, add goodness,

In knowledge, let’s grow;

Also have patience,

Extend self-control.

Devoted to God,

Add kindness to all;

Let love too, expand,

For this is our call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to exercise our faith in tangible ways. Thank You for those around us that are excellent examples of how to grow in each of these areas as they so faithfully follow You. Forgive us for the times that our faith lies dormant, and we do not actively pursue growth in the things of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be seeking You to add to our lives, all of these things. Show us how to best extend goodness, self-control, patience, kindness and love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to respond to Your promises and actively grow our faith in You. 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

A Homecoming to Celebrate

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Remove the Barriers of Unbelief

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV)

 

Just as God promised these things to the faithful who were in exile, His words and promises remain true for us today. If we seek the Lord and follow His ways, He will remove the things within us that are barriers to believing and becoming all that He has for us. He calls us His own, and we are reminded and reassured that God is for us and making us new in Him. May we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and follow His ways in truth. Let every heart allow God to give us an undivided heart and a new spirit that is a reflection of His love.

 

For this hard old heart,Being Made New

Must choose seek the Lord;

In faithful pursuit,

His grace He affords.

He takes our hardness,

Replaces within;

Tender, full of love,

As new life begins.

We are His people,

And He is our God;

Hearts undivided,

As we choose respond.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You and choose to faithfully follow You, You give us an undivided heart and a new spirit within. Thank You that You remove the barriers in our hearts that keep us from fully following after You. Thank You that You call us Your people, and we in turn can call You our God. Forgive us for not carefully following Your leading, or for failing to trust in You. Remove the obstacles within us that keep us from fully trusting You. Show us how to love others with an undivided heart through Your Spirit within us, so they may seek to know You for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You so that we may follow Your every leading as Your people, and honor You, our great and loving God. Amen.

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

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

Commanded to Love

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NLT)

 

We are not only called to love one another; it is a command. If love were merely a feeling, it would not be something required of us. However, love is a choice. No matter how we feel, we must intentionally choose to love, even when it is difficult – for this is what God declares His disciples (all who faithfully follow Him) are to do. There is no better time than now to choose to love those around us. We do not have to share the same opinions, thought patterns, philosophies, political views, or even the same faith, to choose to love one another. As opinions contrary to our own fly, let us love anyway. When tempers flare, may we return gentleness and kindness in love. May we rise up and remember who has commanded us to love one another, and go forth in faithful obedience.

 

As we all gather,Enter With Thanksgiving

Join with love in mind;

It is our own choice,

To love and be kind.

For God does command,

Love one another;

Without conditions,

Sisters and brothers.

We are His children,

Created indeed;

May we view others,

As loved who have needs.

Despite what we get,

Let’s love anyway;

When we love as Christ,

Our grace shows the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not merely command us to love each other, but You sent Your Son to show us how to love, and to make the way for us to do so. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we can go and choose to love those around us. Forgive us for not choosing love, based on feelings or on what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend love according to Your will. Help us to love those who are difficult to love, so that they may experience Your loving kindness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others because we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

Ragnar Reminders

This is a different sort of post, as today is no ordinary day. Today, I will embark on a journey of epic proportions. Eleven friends and I will be running a 200-mile relay from the Canadian border to Whidbey Island. This endeavor begins at 6:30am, and will likely not conclude until late tomorrow afternoon. Our team is separated into two vans, containing six runners each, and van 1 is already nearing the start line for the prerace meeting. As a part of van 2, we get to have a bit more leisurely start, yet our second legs run, will be run in the wee hours of the night, prior to dawn’s early light. Van 2 has fewer opportunities for sleep, so perhaps that is why there is a bit of kindness as to when and where our first leg begins. The next 30+ hours will be a test of perseverance, stamina, and mental toughness. However, they are also hours of support, kindness, encouragement, and the best bonding in a shared experience that a person could ever imagine. Ragnar is a race that reminds me what life is like, and how it is meant to be run.

 

…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

 

We are meant to persevere and run the course that is marked before us. Our eyes are meant to be fixed on the path that Christ has prepared for us, not on the distractions and detours that could hinder us as we run. For the joy set before Him, He endured; so we too, ought to endure, trusting that there is so much more yet to come. In this race, the reward at the end is well worth the struggle. There is a huge celebration at the end, with medals, a meal, photos, and the reuniting of the two vans, to run the final quarter mile of the race, together. The joy found in our fleeting race ending, will be but a glimpse of the glory that we will find if we choose to faithfully follow our Heavenly Father for all of our days. Jesus is seated on His throne, and has prepared a place, just for us. He is always available, and ever present. May we rise up and run our own race, just as Christ has called us to run, and may we persevere, trusting in He who is faithful to see us through to the finish line.

 

Let us each rise up,Ragnar Team 2014

be ready to run;

whatever the race,

we’re called by the Son.

Ever persevere,

with eyes fixed on God;

for He is our strength,

our hope to applaud.

With joy, He endured,

for all of our sake;

so that we could run,

with swiftness, our race.

Endure the struggles,

for though there is pain;

the future glory,

is all that remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for life and health and the ability to run the race that You have set before us, whatever that looks like for us, individually. Thank You that You strengthen us and keep us, so that we may persevere, trusting in Your faithfulness to see us through. Thank You that no matter the pain we endure in the here and now, our hope remains in our future glory with You forever. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the temporary things around us, and help us to focus our hope in You. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we run our race with perseverance, giving You the glory for every good thing that happens along the way. 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

Bold in Battle

Battles are a customary occurrence in our everyday lives, as we seek to faithfully follow Christ. At times, the Lord will call us to rise up and march into battle, and other times, the battle will seem to bombard us from every side. Regardless of how we find ourselves in the midst of the fight, the Lord is good and promises to be present. Just as He was with Joshua and the Israelites as He was leading them to move into the territory of those much larger and stronger than them, He assured them of His promises and His presence. Do not be afraid of them, the Lord your God Himself will fight for you. – (Deuteronomy 3:22)

 

Though these words were spoken to the Israelites, God still does the same for us as we walk into the places where He is calling us to go. When the battle before us become more than we can bear, our God is with us, fighting for us, so we need not fear. It is a struggle to remember this in the heat of the battle, but as we turn our eyes toward Christ, we recognize just how present and faithful He is, despite the action around us. May we place our hearts and hands in His, as we give God all of our fears and allow Him to fight on our behalf, in the battles before us.

 

Standing in battle,Bold in Battle

He calls us to rise;

to seek and to trust,

place our faith in Christ.

No matter the fight,

the Lord is still good;

His presence promised,

and hope understood.

For we will not fight,

nor stand on our own;

our God is for us,

He’ll make His strength known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that You are with us and that You fight for us, so we need not fear. Thank You that no matter what lies before us, You are far greater. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see the battle before us, and grant us eyes to see You in the midst of whatever lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will run to You, our strength and our shield. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know the presence and help that is found in You alone. May many choose to follow You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we become bold in the battles because we trust in You. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Weighty Words

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” – (Luke 18:38-42)

 

Though a seemingly simple exchange, the weight of the words are extremely significant. Religious leaders who had studied scriptures and seen Jesus speak and do the miraculous before their own eyes, did not recognize Him as the Messiah. A blind man, who begged by the side of the road and likely only heard stories of what Jesus had done, believed and called out to Christ by Name. He knew that the One passing before him on the road, was Him alone who could restore his sight. Though desperate and destitute, the blind man had enough faith to cry out to Christ. Even when he was hushed, he called out all the louder, in hope of being heard. His act of faith resulted in his being seen, heard and healed. May we too, recognize the power present in our Messiah, and call on Him in faith in all things and at all times. May our response also be to follow, praising God for all that He is.

 

Merciful Savior,Weighty Words

He hears when we call:

He gives us His time,

and loves us through all.

Christ beckons us near,

draws us closer still;

hears each faithful cry,

with His peace, He’ll fill.

We need to persist,

choose trust and believe;

the Lord is faithful,

by grace, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us such clear evidence of who You are. Thank You for Your Word and for sending Your Son to show us the way unto You. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our unbelief, and grant us the same sort of sight that the blind beggar had, so that we may clearly see that You alone are our only hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as Jesus loved all whom He encountered. May many come to find their hope in You alone, as we faithfully follow You. Be exalted O God, as we praise You for all that You are in our lives. 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

Watch and Wait

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

Though Gamaliel was a member of the council whom Peter and John were standing before on trial, he became an unlikely ally when he spoke the wise words above. Gamaliel recognized that if these men were moving in their own strength, that they would not be sustained for very long, and the whole movement would soon die out. However, if it was in fact a true manifestation and movement of the living God, then there would be no stopping it anyway. His wise council gave the disciples room to breathe, as they continued to faithfully follow that which they had been called to do. Many of the movements that people claim are from God that occur today, must also be approached in much the same way. Watch, wait, and see if it stands the test of time. If it is of God, there will be no stopping the power of His presence as He moves mightily through His people. Likewise, if it is of human origin, it will not be sustained, and will quickly lose momentum and fade away. May God grant us the wisdom to know when to wait and see, and when to walk away from that which is not of Him. Let us have Your heart to discern what is good and pleasing before You, O God.

 

The power of God,Bless You

propels us to move;

to step out in faith,

and plainly speak truth.

When others speak out,

words leave us unsure;

seek God for wisdom,

the truth shall endure.

Weigh everyone’s words,

with the Word of truth;

allow His Spirit,

to shine His light through.

Where Christ’s light reflects,

we can clearly see;

what we should embrace,

and from what to flee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom and discernment when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that there are times when we must wait and see whether or not something is truly a movement from You, or if it is a movement of men. Thank You that You are good, and that You guard our hearts and minds, as we fix our eyes on You. Forgive us for our misconceptions that we may be holding onto, and please shine Your light and reveal to us what is true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may release our wrong thinking and embrace everything You have for us to hold fast in our hearts. Lead us to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come to know the power and presence available to all who call on Your Name, personally. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your wisdom and truth. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Our Map and Our Guide

For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. – (Psalm 48:14)

 

There is such reassurance in these words, as the companion chapter in my reading plan today included Revelation 13. In Revelation 13, we are told of the captivity and persecution that will happen in the end times for all who faithfully follow Christ. I find that to be a bit unnerving, yet there is such reassurance in this particular verse in Psalm 13. God will be our God and our guide unto the end. He will be our map and our Companion, leading, guiding, directing, strengthening and remaining present, no matter where we are called; regardless of what we may face. Our charge is to continue to pursue Him through the study of His word (our map), seeking Him in prayer, and to allow our hearts to be tender toward Him, so that we may hear His direction and guidance. All glory, honor and praise unto You, our God and our guide for all of our days.

 

For God is our God,Our Map and Our Guide

both now and always;

He will lead and guide,

for all of our days.

When the trials come,

He stays by our side;

our heart in His hands,

for our souls, He died.

Whatever we face,

His strength is enough;

His peace and presence,

the most hopeful stuff.

So, fear not my friends,

the evil around;

for in Christ we’re saved,

our hope has been found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God forever, and that You will be our guide until the very end. Thank You that no matter what comes, nor what trials we face, You remain present, holding our hearts and our hands. Thank You that though harm may befall our bodies, our spirit is safe forever in You. Forgive us for our fears when we see all that is going on in the world that points to potential discomfort, and grant us Your strength and courage to trust in You and Your plans and purposes for us. May we love without limits, as You love us, and may those who know You not, come to know the hope found forever in You. Be glorified, O God, as we trust You to lead us and guide us all of our days. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31