No Separation

Yesterday, as I stood on the outer edge of a sea of people dressed in blue, I was deeply moved with each name that was shouted out for whom that participant would be running to remember. Name after name was called out, signifying a life taken too soon. For every name called, a family no longer had their son or daughter, sister or brother, husband or wife, mom or dad, to come home to and in whom to find comfort. Trouble and hardship had likely been the companion of so many of those wearing blue, yet each stood tall, proudly calling out the name of the loved one whom they were there to remember. As we bowed our heads in silence, followed by a time of corporate prayer, I was in awe of how great His love is for those who seek Him, and how close a community can become in the face of adversity.

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35 & 37)

 

Four separate families who had lost loved ones in the past year, fired the cannon prior to the start of our race. The first shot was to honor the fallen; the next, for those still fighting; the third, for the families; and finally, the last blast, was to signal the beginning of our run. All along the route, there were flags and photos of soldiers who had been killed in the line of duty. Despite the somber scene as we passed the pictures, joy was on the faces of the folks in blue. It appeared that hope has been restored, and that they do indeed, know that they are more than conquerors in Him.

 

No matter what comes,No Separation

what trial we face;

we’re never too far,

to receive God’s grace.

His arms are outstretched,

we need only run;

toward Him, He’s waiting,

gracious Holy One.No Separation 2

When we are in Him,

He’ll use all for good;

the ugly, the raw,

what’s misunderstood.

Hold onto all hope,

for He never fails;

conquerors in Christ,

His love shall prevail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing nor anyone who can separate us from Your love. Thank You that in You, we are more than conquerors. Thank You that though we will face trials and troubles in this life, we need not fear, for You will be with us. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You. Keep our eyes from fixing on the problems and challenges, and instead, help us to focus fully on You. Let us love as You love us, and live as the conquerors You have created us to be. May many come to know the power present in a life invested in You. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Believing for Blessings

Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, weave a wonderful story of trust, integrity and faithfulness. These attributes ultimately led to blessings. Both Naomi and Ruth were widows. Though Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth, Ruth chose to remain with her after their spouses died, rather than return to her own family. Ruth ran a tremendous risk, as the two widows traveled back to Bethlehem, hoping to find food, due to the famine in Moab, where they had been living.

 

The character of Ruth was demonstrated day in and day out, as she willingly went out and did all that Naomi asked of her. She trusted the wisdom of her mother-in-love, and sought the God whom she served. Ruth’s ongoing faithfulness to Naomi became evident to all, and she captured the attention, and ultimately the heart, of Boaz. After further steps of obedience, Ruth became Boaz’s wife, and bore a child. Both she and Naomi became blessed beyond what either had hoped for. Perseverance and faithfulness had provided the opportunity for God to pour out His blessing. (for more, read the book of Ruth)

 

Trust in the heartache,Believing for Blessings

always persevere;

seek the Lord always,

know that He is near.

Stay faithful to God,

hear what elders say;

give ear to wisdom,

trust God and obey.

Step out, be faithful,

trust Him to provide;

be true to the Lord,

for God satisfies.

Know that His blessings,

are not far away;

for we have a hope,

for now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of those who have gone before us, who have so faithfully followed and trusted You. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance and doubts, and help us to hold fast to the unfailing hope we have in You. May we trust You without question, and obey without hesitation. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior as a result. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

 

The Parable of the Lost Son

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.

Joseph’s Journey

image by agricorner.com

image by agricorner.com

Sold as a slave

for a far away land.

By his own jealous brothers,

who justified their plan.

Poor Jacob, he mourned,

at the loss of his son.

Good thing he knew not

of what his boys had just done.

Joseph found favor

as Potiphar’s charge,

for he kept house and field,

and the blessings grew large.

As God’s upright man

Joseph refused to go near the fire,

so Potiphar’s wife lied,

when he refused her desire.

The lie landed him in prison,

yet on him, God’s favor was found.

He was given charge by the warden,

and his dream interpretations did astound.

Banished officials were restored,

and events unfolded as Joseph had said;

for the cup bearer was reinstated,

and the baker, from the tree, hung dead.

Two years passed and Pharaoh had dreams,

of cows and grain, that were disturbing.

He called on all who might explain,

yet only found more confusion.

Then the cup bearer did recall,

that Joseph had clearly explained,

the meaning of he and the baker’s dreams,

and all had happened as he had exclaimed.

Pharaoh sent at once for him

and told Joseph of his dreams.

With God’s favor and assurance,

he explained what the imagery means.

Seven years of vast abundance,

will spread across the land,

followed by seven years of ferocious famine,

like none this region’s ever had.

Thirteen years of bondage,

was Joseph’s faithful training ground.

His heart and mind prepared well,

in all his years of being bound.

(Response to Genesis 37, 39-41)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that so often what we see, is not what You see. What we perceive as trials, You see as training. Lord, please establish in each of us, endurance and faithfulness to trust that all things will work together for good in Your time. Thank You that Your love and Your grace will sustain us and strengthen us, even when we think that our strength is gone. May our faithfulness in the times of training, lead the lost into Your loving arms. Amen.

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