Just Faith

Attempting to be right before God in our own strength, does not work.  Our very best intentions will never lead to justification, regardless of how hard we try on our own.  However, when we choose to live by faith, and place our trust in Him, we are counted righteous as He covers us with the mercy of His sacrifice made, and we are seen as spotless, shameless, and set free from sin.

“Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.” – (Galatians 3:11)

Even our faith is a gift that God gives.  We have the freedom to choose whether or not we are to embrace God and the glorious gifts that He has given; or not.  When we choose Him, He meets us where we are, grows our faith within us, and opens the eyes of our hearts to more clearly see who He is and what He has done for us.  As our understanding deepens, we cannot help but long to love more deeply, and serve more selflessly.  By His grace, we embrace our faith, and He deems us righteous before Him.

In our own strength,Just Faith

no way justified;

only by grace,

we are sanctified.

It is by faith,

not by any law;

that we’re called right,

before Father God.

It is a gift,

for us to embrace;

may each heart know,

His unending grace.

Open our eyes,

to more clearly see;

Your righteousness,

that has set us free.

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming and taking our place on the cross, so that we can be called clean, justified before God, because of what You willingly did on our behalf.  Thank You that despite our best efforts, on our own we would never measure up – yet with You, by faith, we are considered righteous before God.  Forgive us for trying to justify ourselves with our “I’ll do better next time” or “I’ll never do that again“, and help us instead to confess to You, and rely on You to be our help and our hope, so that we will do better the next time we face a similar scenario – not because we are better, but because we are trusting You more.  Teach us how to rely on You completely in all things and at all times, and be our hope and our help, even when we can’t seem to see or hear You in the midst of the mess.  Thank You that You are always present, and always good.  Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You through our loving kindness.   Be exalted in all that we say and do.  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

Perfect Love

Perfect LoveLet us love one another,

for all love comes from the Lord;

it unites us together,

moves us all in one accord.

Each person who truly loves,

has been born of and knows God;

yet those who do not show love,

shall hear not heaven’s applaud.

It’s not that we have loved God,

but that He loved with His life;

His sacrifice for our sins,

He paid the ultimate price.

Since our God has so loved us,

so we too are meant to love;

though we’ve not seen the Father,

He lives in and completes us.

Those who acknowledge Jesus,

have Father God in their heart;

His love made complete in us,

so we know He’ll not depart.

There is no fear in God’s love,

for perfect love drives out fear;

even in scary spaces,

we know our Savior is near.

(Responding to 1 John 4:7-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect, and as we grow to know You more, You are perfecting Your love in us. Thank You that true love is sacrificial, and is chosen regardless of return. Thank You that You love us with Your everlasting love, even when our ways are not aligned with Yours. Forgive us for not fully following You, and for looking to man to model what You meant for love to be. Thank You Jesus, that You showed us what love looks like, even unto death. May Your lasting love be the lens through which we view the world, and help us to shine brightly before men so that we may be beacons of light that lead those who are looking, unto You. Help us to embrace all that You are, so fear will flee, and boldness shall come. Amen.

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

Unto Him

Unto HimHumble ourselves,

under the Lord’s hand;

He’ll lift us up,

at the time He’s planned.

Cast all our cares,

anxiousness to Him;

His care covers,

when all seems grim.

Be self-controlled,

forever alert;

foe of our soul,

wants us to get hurt.

Resist his lies,

stand firm in the faith;

we’re not alone,

in needing His grace.

Our Father, God,

who is full of grace;

calls us to Him,

and fuels our faith.

Though there is pain,

it’s just for a while;

we’ll be restored,

embraced as His child.

(Responding to I Peter 5:6-11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though there is pain and suffering in this life, it is but a moment when compared to the eternal glory that is yet to come. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to weather life’s storms, and You grant us the grace to keep seeking Your face. Forgive us for allowing the cares of this world to overwhelm us, and please help us to pass all of our burdens to You. May we walk in the weight of Your grace, and may our lives extend the very same goodness and grace we are given, to all whom we encounter. May many come to know You, as we convey the covering You have provided through Christ. Amen.

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

The Light of the World

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” – I John 1:5

image by Martha Orlando

image by Martha Orlando

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the light of the world. “Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable.  Darkness represents what is sinful and evil.  The statement ‘God is light’ means that God is perfectly holy and true and that He alone can guide us out of the darkness of sin.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

Before the birth of Jesus, the light of God had to be pursued through perfect adherence to the letter of the law, accompanied by various sacrifices for shortcomings.  To live such a life was nearly impossible, and few found way into God’s favor.

Nearly two millennium ago, everything changed.  God out there, became God right here – Emmanuel, God with us.  His loving light entered earth as an infant, who grew into a man who instructed and taught us how we too, might live in His light.  In our sinful state, instruction was not nearly enough.  Without atonement and ongoing help, our own darkness would surely destroy us.  Not wanting even one of us to be destroyed by darkness, Jesus lovingly and willingly decided to die in our place.  Death could not defeat His deity, and on the third day, He rose again.  When He returned to the right hand of His Father in heaven, He sent us a helper through His Holy Spirit – to be our Counselor and Comforter.

Today, we have great reason to rejoice, as we celebrate the coming of Christ – the Light of life unto the world!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for sending Your Son to be the Light of the world.  Thank You for the life and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the hope and help provided to all who believe by Your Holy Spirit.  May our love reflect Your holy light to one and all always, and on this Christmas night.  Amen.

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

Come Close, for He is Here

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” – James 4:8a

image by Dr. Bob Bijo

image by Dr. Bob Bijo

Such seemingly simple words that hold such a perfect and powerful truth.  When we call on Him, He answers.  As we cry out to our King, He comes close and comforts.  If we ask, He answers.  He is faithful.  And He is love.

In light of the Connecticut tragedy, many of us find ourselves in need of knowing His nearness.  As a mother and an educator, such a travesty touched far too close to home.  These young ones are precious gifts, presented by our Papa, for us to protect and raise up in the way they are meant to go.  My heart hurts for the families and friends of such tender lives that were taken.  Though I know not why such a monstrosity occurred, I know that God is good, and that He will somehow, ultimately, use even such a horrific happening, for good.

Come close.  He will heal.  Come close.  He will restore hope where hope has been lost.  Come close.  He will hold hands and hearts as He has ushered His tiny treasures home.  Come close.  As we do, we will hear Him whisper the words that our hearts so desperately need to know.  Come close.  Though there is a season of sorrow, joy will come again.

We are able to come close because Christ came close to us.  He entered the earth as a tiny treasure, was born in a stable and laid in a manger.  Sweet innocence and the Son of God.  His coming close did not end in infancy.  He grew and gave as the world had never known.  He healed.  He helped.  He touched and He talked to those who came close.  He submitted Himself to be the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, so that we could come close and call Him Christ our King.  He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and I don’t think there can be a close that is closer than that!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come near to You, as we call on Your Name, You know our need, and You make Your nearness known.  Please make Your presence tangible to every hurting heart today.  May we hear Your heart, so that we too might be a comfort to those who need to know how to come close and receive Your tender touch.  Let Your peace be presented in the places of pain, and use our hearts and hands to make Your nearness known.  Amen.

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

Accessing and Accepting the Gifts He Gives

With two ten-year-olds in our house, Christmas is always cluttered with a collection of new toys.  These treasures are the latest and greatest of the season (according to our delightful duo).  For the first few days that follow the unwrapping, all Adventurous and Cautious want to do, is play with said treasures.  However, when the excitement from all that is new wears off, these toys lie discarded and abandoned in the playroom, or become buried in a bin.  Once the gifts are out of sight, they seem to soon escape the minds also.

image by Sascha Neufeld

image by Sascha Neufeld

As Christians, we also have been given gifts that we have set aside and have all but forgotten.  Father God gives not the gifts of the tangible kind (though His blessings are abundant), but rather He grants our hearts and minds access to the things that matter most to aid us in remaining upright on this road – our journey called life, in which we hope to cling to Christ and one day claim our place in our heavenly home that He has prepared for each of us who believe.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

These gifts, or characteristics, are available to all of us by the Holy Spirit in us.  If we are to lead lives as He asks us to, we must embrace these treasures that He has already entrusted to us.

Though He has not given me a spirit of timidity, it is easy to find myself reverting to that silent space.  He has given each of us access to His power, and it requires faith to press in and be aware that it is already present.

His Spirit of love envelopes us, and allows us to see others through His eyes.  Though trying at times, I have discovered that the sooner I learn someone’s story, the more readily supplied I feel to love as I am loved.

Self-discipline is another gift that we ought to access daily.  It is a gift that grants us the grace to train our hearts, minds, and bodies, so that we may be best equipped to go and do all that He asks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have great gifts for us that are always ready to be received, and are meant to be utilized daily, until our ultimate distance is done and we are standing before You face-to-face.  Forgive us for setting aside the treasures You have entrusted to us, and teach us how to access and accept all that You have for us.  May we use the gifts that You have given well, so that many may come to call You King.  Amen.

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