His Passion for Our Peace

But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is hidden from your eyes.” – (Luke 19:41-42, NLT)

Jesus came near Jerusalem. Looking at the city, He began to cry for it and said, “I wish you knew today what would bring you peace. But it is hidden from you now.” – (Luke 19:41-42, ERV)

When the city came into view, He wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it is too late.” – (Luke 19:41-42, MSG)

 

I’m not quite sure why this portion of passage has never stood out to me before, but this morning, I feel as if it is giving me deeper insight into the heart of our loving Father. The verse, “Jesus wept,” is often quoted and easily pointed back to the loss of His dear friend, Lazarus, and the response Jesus had when He saw the grief of those mourning the loss. In this passage, Jesus is grieving over an entire city. He knows the fate that will befall them, as He has shared His message of hope and peace again and again, yet knew that His time was nearing an end and the people who chose not to hear Him would be lost. I imagine that God grieves over us in much the same way when we stay stuck in our sorrow, grief and hopelessness, rather than turning to Him in trust. Jesus came and bore the weight of all of our heaviness so that we could know His peace, yet we must receive it in order to know it for ourselves. Though Jesus knocks and waits, we are not immortal. Each of us have an expiration date that is unknown. If we choose to neglect our opportunity to know Him when He is directly in front of us, the possibility may pass us by. May we ever seek our Savior and turn to Him in trust, as He is our place of peace at all times.

 

The Lord sees our hearts, His Passion for Our Peace

When lost, without peace;

With weeping, He grieves,

When we choose not seek.

God is the answer,

The hope our hearts need;

He’s ever waiting,

As we ask, He’ll lead.

He’s always gentle,

Won’t force His way in;

Waits for us to ask,

Then sets free from sin.

Peace He will bring us,

If we make request;

Grace freely granted,

He gives us His best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your heart is so clearly for us. Thank You that You love us to the point of tears, and that You willingly sent Your Son so that we could have life abundantly in You. Forgive us for not seeking You in trust when evidence of Your goodness and faithfulness are all around us. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, so that we would ever seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and receive the grace and peace that You abundantly give. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Rise Again

Good people might fall again and again, but they always get up. – (Proverbs 24:16a, ERV)

God-loyal people don’t stay down long; soon they’re up on their feet again. – (Proverbs 24:16, MSG)

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again. – (Proverbs 24:16, NIV)

 

When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. I have witnessed incredible strength demonstrated in the lives of people in the midst of crazy adversity. What I noticed, is that each of those who had strength to rise when most would have crumbled, were firmly established in their faith. Despite their circumstances and what they were able to see before them, their faith did not waiver. Each time I observe such unflappable faith, I am both in awe and inspired to invest more of my heart in the spaces where I struggle to trust. The goodness of God gives way to strength and hope and help in such spaces, if we are willing to place our trust in Him. We must ask in order for Him to answer, as God does not force His way in, nor does He overtake our hearts and minds. We have a free will and must choose. May we ever make the choice to use our voice and intentionally trust in the Lord and His strength, so that each time we fall, we rise up again.

 

We can be certain,Rise Again

That trials will come;

Our resolve tested,

Where will we choose run?

When we trust the Lord,

Seek His strength and might;

We gain the resolve,

To rise up and fight.

No matter the falls,

The times we’re knocked down;

If we trust in Him,

Strength to rise is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You give us the strength and resolve to rise again, each time we fall down. Forgive us for the times that we have fallen from Your grace with the choices we have made, and stayed stuck, rather than seeking You for help and forgiveness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when we are down, and when things are going well. Help us to keep short accounts, so that we do not divert from the path that You have placed before us. Show us how to love and lead those around us well, so that they too, may rise again, each time that they fall. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your strength to help us rise again, each time we fall. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Close to Those Who Call

The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18, NLT)

The Lord is near to everyone who sincerely calls to Him for help. – (Psalm 145:18, ERV)

God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. – (Psalm 145:18, MSG)

 

God does not force His way into our lives, but rather waits lovingly, to be invited. When we get real with God and honestly call on Him, He hears our cries and comes close to be our help and our hope. The more we know Him, the greater our understanding becomes of our own need. Yes, we need the Lord to strengthen and help us in times of trial and trouble, but we also need His nearness to navigate our every day lives according to His will. May we call on the Lord in truth as we recognize our need for His ongoing nearness.

 

Believe Instead of Striving

The Lord He is close,

To all who choose call;

In transparent truth,

Choose tell the Lord all.

For He will listen,

To all those who pray;

Peace and His presence,

As He shows the way.

So call on the Lord,

In all times and things;

His help is our hope,

As only God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near to all who call on You in truth. Thank You that as we sincerely pray, You hear our cries and come close to help and bring hope. Forgive us for not trusting You enough to cry out to You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in all things and at all times, as we need You, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You with sincere hearts, and know Your nearness as You are faithful to answer. 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

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

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)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by You. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Storms Stilled to a Whisper

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29)

One of the things I have loved about growing up in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to the water.  The repetition and rhythm of the waves rolling into the shore, are among my favorite sounds.  When a storm comes through, there is nothing quite so awe inspiring as the power and force with which the waves crash and the seas churn.  When the wind and waves whip at full force, there is no wisdom in nearing the water’s edge.  Yet Christ in us, is in the eye of every storm, and can choose to simply say, “Be still,” and all that is crashing around us, will have to yield to the mighty hand of God.  Even if the storm that is raging around us is not silenced, He will hush all that is hurling to and fro within us.  May we seek He who calms our storms to a whisper, and can causes the waves to hush within our hearts.  Let us be still and know that He is God.

The mighty waves crash,Waves of Wonder

and the seas, they roar;

yet we’re hidden in,

One who says, “No more.”

What’s raging, brought calm,

stillness to the heart;

that’s tossed to and fro,

His peace won’t depart.

So ask for the calm,

yet receive His grace;

know that He will still,

the most needed space.

God of all comfort,

Creator of peace;

Sustainer of life,

Who grants us release.

Take pause in the storms,

and trust in the One;

Who can with a word,

make all stillness come.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still storms to a whisper and that You hush the waves of raging seas – be it externally in what surrounds us, or within the walls of our own hearts.  Thank You that when we seek You and depend on You, You are faithful to meet us where we are at, and You bring Your peace.  Forgive us for fighting the storms rather than relenting and allowing You to navigate us to safety.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times, no matter what storms may appear on our horizon.  Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, can see how You still the storms.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we are still before You in the calm and in the storms, placing our faith in You to lead us to safe harbor.  Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Intentional Retreat

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself. – (John 6:15)

 

Jesus only did that which His Father called Him to do. He knew His charge was not to become a king on the earth, so He did not even entertain the idea of praise nor power from the people in that way. Instead, once He heard what they intended, He withdrew; left the location so that the option was not available. Jesus passed up temporary pleasure and power, and took on tremendous pain. His only concern was doing the will of His Father. May we each go forth and do likewise, recognizing that His Holy Spirit equips us to flee from that which is not meant for us, and empowers us to embrace that which is His good and perfect will for our lives.

 

Let not power,Intentional Retreat

nor pleasure or praise;

be a road block,

to walking Christ’s way.

Do what He says,

invest in His word;

seek only truth,

let His voice be heard.

When all the noise,

around is too much;

retreat alone,

seek His tender touch.

He is faithful,

He’ll answer our cry;

and grant us strength,

to trust and rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled a life of perfect obedience before You. Though He was tempted in every way, He was without sin. Thank You that the very same power that kept Christ from sin, is available to us today. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces of temptation and giving in, and teach us to trust You more, so that we might fully rely on You as each temptation comes our way. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to retreat. May we operate in all things in Your love as You lead us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to obey You in all that we say and do. 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

Conquering Curveballs

Paul and Silas, walk about –

image by Nicole Hamilton Holden

image by Nicole Hamilton Holden

to go and share good news.

Met by demon screams and shouts,

by the slave girl being used.

The fortune-telling spirit

that was dwelling deep within,

spoke so the crowd could hear it,

“Most High God is served by them!”

Despite  truth being spoken,

evil spirit had to go,

for heart and hope stay broken,

until truth of God is known.

“In His Name you must come out,”

commanded apostle Paul.

Slave girl owner did then shout,

off to court then then were hauled.

Magistrates ordered beatings,

and locked them up in jail.

In stocks they sang there, bleeding,

with no soon known hope of bail.

Suddenly there was shaking,

with such strong and violent force.

In his boots, jailer quaking,

as flew open, prison doors.

The jailer drew his sword,

ready to take his own life.

“Don’t!” they yelled in one accord.

So he took them to his wife. (and family)

All were shown the way to Christ,

through faithful obedience.

All believed and were baptized,

full of joyful radiance.

Wounds were treated, hearts were full,

God’s abundant blessings said.

Magistrates called on their bull,

when out of cell they were led.

Boldness remained upon them,

as they sought to right the wrong.

Set precedent after them,

for believers to belong.

(Responding to Acts 16:16-40)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for such incredible reminders of Your faithfulness and purpose, despite seemingly horrific circumstances.  Thank You that regardless of what we see, You will always work all things together for good for those who love You.  Forgive us for being short-sighted, and help us to know that there is always a bigger picture when things get difficult.  Teach us to always turn to You in trust, and to rely on You to be our strength, our supply and our source of all that we need to walk victoriously through whatever life brings our way.  May our joy in You, despite life’s curveballs, be a witness to those who long to know You.  Use us as Your vessels to pour out Your goodness and grace on those who long to one day see Your face.  Amen.

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