Peace that Passes Perception

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, NLT)

And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:7, ERV)

Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, CEB)

 

Part of the perks in partaking in life with Christ, include protection over our hearts and minds, and participation in His perfect peace. He imparts in us, His peace, and covers us with His protection, as we live out our lives with the Lord. The way in which God loves, is far beyond what our minds can conceive. In Him, we come to know peace that should not exist in the midst of raging storms, and despite what we see, our thoughts and feelings are kept from despair, as Christ guards our minds and hearts. May we trust in Him to whom we belong, as He will guard our hearts and minds and provide His perfect peace.

 

Because we belong,Setting Our Sails

to the gracious Lord;

we experience peace,

as love is outpoured.

For He guards our hearts,

and minds in the storms;

brings peace in chaos,

as lives He transforms.

The Lord’s peace exceeds,

what we understand;

as He holds us up,

by His tender hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find peace that goes far beyond our human understanding. Thank You that You guard our hearts and minds, and You love us to life, even when the storms rage around us. Thank You that though a life in You is not free of trials and troubles, we have the promise of Your protection, presence and peace, regardless of what comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal Your peace, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You and Your strength to protect and provide in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in such a way, that we too may be presenters of Your peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to guard our hearts and minds, and provide Your perfect peace. 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

Presenting Needs With Thanks

Yesterday morning in church, we did something that was quite impactful. After our pastor reminded us of the things that God has been speaking about Moving Forward this year, including some of the key things that we need to do in order to do so, he had us take a card that was in the seatback in front of us, and write the things that we need from the Lord, and on the other side, our thanksgiving to God for all that He has done. Once we had completed our card, we took it to a box up front, and then partook in communion. The cards will be burned, as they are our offerings before the Lord.

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

 

The remarkable thing to me, was I knew exactly what need I was to write down to present before Him. If anyone had asked me to verbalize a need, I might not have been able to answer so quickly. There was something about the process that facilitated transparency before God. Just as easily as I had written down the need, my list of thanks for God’s faithfulness freely flowed. To look back over the past year, despite the difficulties, He has been overwhelmingly faithful, every step of the way. Interestingly enough, my heart had been agitated all morning. Though I had prayed and spent intentional time with Him, there was just something that continued to press in that place that prevents peace. The action of identifying the area of my own need, presenting my request to God with thanksgiving, remembering where He had been faithful before, and then spending time thanking Him, brought peace. Though there is no “formula” to find peace, God is faithful to meet us in our place of unrest as we seek Him and place our trust in His goodness and grace. He is enough to overcome the biggest barriers that seem to stand in our way. Our job, is to trust Him to get us where we need to go. Sometimes it is over them, sometimes through them, and other times, He leads us around that which seems impossible to traverse. May we choose prayer over worry, and place our trust in God. Let us tell Him what we need and thank Him for all that He has done. May we recognize His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, as our hearts and minds are protected through living in Christ.

 

Dear heart, don’t worry,Believe Instead of Striving

instead, choose to pray;

tell God what you need,

and thank Him today.

For His peace will come,

through our choice to trust;

not working harder,

just pray, thank Jesus.

Remember the times,

He’s been there before;

for faith shall rise up,

and our hearts trust more.

The God of all peace,

shall guard heart and mind;

for those who choose seek,

forever will find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about anything, but rather we ought to present our requests before You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and are faithful to answer and bring Your perfect peace. Forgive us for our anxiousness that rises up as we choose to try to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would identify our own areas of need, present them before You, remember the times that You have been faithful before, and give You all of our gratitude – for You are so faithful. Show us how to love others with Your love that presents peace, even in places where peace makes no sense. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose trust instead of worry, and allow Your peace to reign in our hearts and minds as we give You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Cared for and Covered

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. – (Psalm 91:11)

 

What a glorious promise to hold! God sees us and is concerned about us in all of our ways. He knows our needs, and He commands His angels to keep watch over us at all times. The Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us, and He provides what is needed so that we may successfully stay the course to which we have been called. Lead us Lord, to operate in confidence, knowing that You have commanded Your angels to guard us, as we walk in Your way.

 

Though we may know not,Gods protection

the angels around;

the Lord sends His guard,

to keep us each sound.

Despite being one,

He sees us alone;

and cares where we are,

though He’s on the throne.

About all our ways,

the Lord is concerned;

He keeps watch of us,

let His grace be learned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command Your angels concerning us, to guard us in all of our ways. Thank You that You care about every detail in our lives – both large and small. Thank You that You set us on Your path of righteousness, and supply what we need to safely stay the course. Forgive us for allowing the obstacles and challenges of this life to keep us from fully trusting You. Teach us to grant You every last corner of our heart, allowing You access to all – as You are our safety and and protection, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Lead us to love others well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we recognize the remarkable ways that You care for and cover us in all of our ways. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

To Be On Our Guard

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13)

 

These are weighty and wise words by which we are meant to live. To be on our guard, means that we are aware of what is around us – the things that are influencing us and affecting us, and taking a posture of readiness. Standing firm in the faith requires us to know what we believe. In order for that to happen, we must invest time in the Word and in prayer. The more we invest in knowing God, the more secure we can stand when storms come our way. Courage and strength are gifts that God supplies as we need them most. Even when we don’t necessarily feel courageous nor strong, when we choose to do the next right thing, or take the next obedient step, we are actually operating in His courage and strength. Finally, to do everything in love, is to allow the Lord to flavor all that we do. Let nothing be out of selfish ambition nor with malicious intent, but rather to love as Christ first loved us. When we have to take a stand or step back from spaces that are toxic, even then, there is room to do so in love. If we are listening to the Lord and allowing Him to direct our steps, we can trust that He will work all things out for good. May we each be on our guard; standing firm in our faith; as men and women of courage and strength, as we do all things in His love.

 

To be on our guard,The Way of Wisdom

means we are aware;

of what we take in,

and what is out there.

We must choose stand firm,

in faith to what’s true;

as we seek the Lord,

for He makes us new.

Both courage and strength,

are gifts from the Lord;

granted as needed,

blessings He affords.

So may we each do,

all we do in love;

so hearts may be turned,

to the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direction in Your Word as to how we are meant to live life as You intended. Thank You that in all that You ask, You provide what is needed to do as You call us to do. Thank You that You equip us to be on guard and stand firm in our faith, as You give us courage and strength to do all things in love. Forgive us for being unaware of that which surrounds us, or for being deaf to that which You are speaking to our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may hear You well, and embrace the courage and strength that You supply so that we go forth doing everything You ask in love. Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are on our guard, standing firm in the faith with Your courage and strength to do all things in love. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Facing the Giants

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Keep Careful Watch

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. – (Matthew 24:42)

 

We are called to a continuous and ongoing relationship with Christ, not one to simply call upon when a need arises. God wants our whole heart, all the time, not just occasional acts of service we feel might be pleasing unto Him. As we choose invest our heart, our time, our resources and our entire being into our relationship with our Redeemer, we grow to know and understand who He is, and what is and is not of Him. If we are in ongoing communion with Christ, we will be prepared for His return, regardless of when He comes. May we be ever mindful and keep watch, as we guard our hearts and minds from anything that would lead us away from Christ.

 

To keep careful watch,

Painting by Kay Crain - please click image to find out more :)

Painting by Kay Crain – please click image to find out more 🙂

our sight must begin;

by seeking the Lord,

staying true to Him.

May we each invest,

our heart, soul and mind;

in He who redeems,

and blesses mankind.

Grant us eyes to see,

what’s holy and true;

so we choose to move,

still closer to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind. Thank You that when You will return does not matter nearly as much as whether or not we are prepared. Thank You that You made the way for us to come into Your folds and be kept safe. Forgive us for allowing anything other than You to take center stage in our hearts and lives, and help us to hold fast to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on You to be our strength as we guard our hearts and minds, entrusting all into Your care.  May many come to know You and understand who You are, so that they too, will be on their guard and keeping watch.   Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we keep careful watch. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

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

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

This morning, as I read Ezekiel 16, I found myself astounded at the discovery of truth that I had somehow not noticed before. In regard to Sodom, I had always thought that they had been destroyed due to their violence and flagrant sexual sin as a nation. Yet in Ezekiel 16, I found that God destroyed Sodom because the people were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned about the needy people within their own reach. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

 

It is easy to look back at Sodom and compare our sin to theirs. Most of us, on the surface, feel as if we are doing fairly well, as most are not murderers nor adulterers. However, in light of this verse that had previously escaped me, how do we measure up now? Are we proud? Do we have too much? Do we overindulge? Do we care for those in need, as we ought to? Granted, we are not meant to compare our sin to anyone else, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts to correct and direct us in the ways in which we are to go; yet in light of this passage, there is much to ask as we earnestly seek Him. May we place our lives in His hands, and allow His Spirit command, so that we are not proud, nor gluttonous, and that we are concerned about the needs of those within our reach.

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see all sin the same, and that there is not one of us that is without it. Thank You Jesus, for coming and taking our sin away, as You suffered and died on our behalf. Thank You that death could not defeat You, and that in power, You rose again, so that You could send Your Spirit to dwell in us and remain with us forever. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your ways, if we seek You. Forgive us for our pride, our overindulgence, and our neglect of those in need. Give us Your eyes to see the needs of others and the lens by which to view ourselves. Thank You that Your love compels us to make changes. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King, as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be Your hands and heart to the needs of those around us. 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

Limited Access

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. – (Colossians 2:8, NIV)

 

Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is not from Christ. It is only human tradition and comes from the powers that influence the world. (Colossians 2:8, ERV)

 

When we are rooted in Christ, His Holy Spirit dwells in us and grants us wisdom to know what is of Him, and what is not. Our charge is to be on guard, with our eyes and ears open, aware of the motives and intentions of those around us as they speak. If we are invested in our relationship with Christ, spending time in His word and intentional to allow Him to speak truth in our lives, we will be sensitive to hear His still small voice that whispers warnings when something being presented is not of Him. The basic principles of the world or the powers that influence the world, are not from God. He calls us to something far greater. What the world offers is temporary, what Christ offers, is eternal. May we each be rooted and established in Christ, so as to not be deceived by anything or anyone that is not of Him.

 

Give no one access,Limited Access

to your heart and mind;

except for the One,

Who’s Holy, Divine.

For anyone else,

will lead us astray;

the ways of the world,

end in death, decay.

When we’re invested,

rooted in the Lord;

He safeguards our hearts,

His wisdom outpoured.

Our eyes learn to see,

what’s false and what’s true;

His Spirit within,

shows us what to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are rooted and established in You, You safeguard our hearts and minds from that which would contend for our attention away from You. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, whom You pour into each of us as we make You Lord of our life. Forgive us for any area where we have given ear to the voice of the world, and help us to hear You clearly as to what is truth. Lead us in Your way, and help us to follow fast, the path that leads to abundant life in You. May our life lived faithfully in love, lead many away from the deceptive ways of the world that lead to death, and unto You, where life everlasting is found. Be glorified, O God, as we are strengthened in faith and trust in You. 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

 

 

 

Stand Firm

“By standing firm you will gain life.” – (Luke 21:19)  When I hear the words “stand firm“, I picture one setting their feet in ready position, knees bent, eyes forward, and their entire demeanor ready and at attention – set to take on anything that would come their way.  In the same way, we are meant to set ourselves securely in Christ, by faith, believing He is who He says He is, and taking on a posture that demonstrates we are convinced that it is the truth.  As we ready ourselves for whatever He asks, we “stand firm” in faith, and ultimately, gain eternal life with Christ.

Stand firm” is a phrase that is repeated again and again throughout His word.  Some examples that further solidified my mental picture of what it is to “stand firm“, are as follow:  STAND FIRM

Exodus 14:13, 2 Chronicles 20:17 – to see deliverance

Psalm 20:8 – to rise up

Proverbs 10:25 – to weather the storm

Proverbs 12:7 – to withstand judgment

Isaiah 7:9 – to remain

Ezekiel 13:5 – in the battle

Matthew 10:22, 24:13, and Mark 13:13 – to be saved

So how are we to do this?  Seek.  Ask.  Listen.  Do.  However, in the meantime, there are scriptures that give us instruction.  These are a few:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – (I Corinthians 15:58)

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – (I Corinthians 16:13)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – (Galatians 5:1)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” – (Ephesians 6:14)

Stand firm in the faith,Stand Firm

let life not dismay;

for in Him, is strength,

He’ll show us the way.

Let’s be on our guard,

so we can stand firm;

courageous and strong,

in His truth we’ve learned.

Work unto the Lord,

don’t give into sin;

in storms, be not moved,

God’s greater within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not just tell us to stand firm, but You instruct us, equip us, and walk beside us – holding us up when we are unable to stand steady.  Thank You that the reward for standing firm, far outweighs the cost.  Forgive us for attempting to stand in our own strength, or for stepping back because it all seems too difficult.  Teach us how to trust You more, and help us live out our days standing firm in our faith.  May many be moved to trust in You, as they see Your love and light in us.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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