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And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – all because you have obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, NLT)

Every nation on the earth will be blessed through your descendants. I will do this because you obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, ERV)

And from your descendants all the people of the earth will discover true blessing. All this because you have obeyed My voice. – (Genesis 22:18, VOICE)

 

This verse is God’s promise to Abraham after his faithful obedience to God. Not only did he leave the land and home that he knew to go where God was calling, but he was willing to give up his only son, the one that was the fulfillment of a very long awaited promise. God saw Abraham’s unwavering obedience, and made a promise to bless his descendants as a result. The very same God who blessed Abraham for being obedient, blesses us when we do the same. When we go where He calls and do what He asks, we see the goodness of God and power of His might as He moves in ways we could not have imagined on our own. Though obedience at times is difficult or simply does not make sense to our human understanding, the true blessings that He pours out on His people as we listen to His leading, make the risk worth the reward. May we choose to listen to the voice of God and walk in the way to which we are being called, so we too may see the blessings of the Lord released all around us.

 

True blessings made known,The Reason for Reverence

Through obedience;

No matter the call,

Nor strange circumstance.

Often He calls us,

To things we can’t see;

So we have to trust,

Just choose to believe.

God in His goodness,

Sees our faithfulness;

For those who obey,

Find that they are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us countless examples in Your word of those who have faithfully obeyed Your call, and as a result, those around them were blessed. Thank You that obedience is not something that we have to do in our own strength alone, but You will equip and empower us if we are willing. Forgive us for our lack of willingness or for the fear that holds us back. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and do as You ask, regardless of what we see or think we know. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely and walk forward in obedience to all that You ask. 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

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

As I read this passage through several times, I thought about how it applies to my own life. Stepping back, I can see how true this is, not only in my church circle, but at home, at work, and among my groupings of friends. In each arena, God has gathered people with different strengths, gifts and talents, and placed us together with purpose. Where one of us is weak, another is strong. In a space where wisdom or experience are necessary, there is one among us who has been there to build up, encourage or advise. This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. Who we are and what we have to give is far more meaningful and effective when joined together with others. Balance, beauty and strength in our everyday lives the way God intended, become recurring reality, rather than a one-day hope. Yes, there will be days that are messy and feel a bit fractured, but if our pursuit is to seek God and be joined in the body as He intended, the difficult days will be well worth the work. May we ever choose to seek the Lord and be invested in community as we are called.

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us individually with different strengths and functions and purpose. Thank You that You intended each of us to be in community so that our strengths could be utilized together to accomplish Your call and build up one another in You. Thank You that You place us in community when we seek You. Forgive us for not fully investing in the communities we are in, or for withholding the very things that You have birthed in us to share. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would utilize that which You have given us to share for the benefit of the body. Show us how to love all those whom You have placed in the communities we are called to invest in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with one another to become together what we could not be alone. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. 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

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

While driving my Mom back to her home on the eastern side of our state, I was reminded anew that I never grow weary of taking in the view. I am in awe as I see the sight of the snow-capped peaks, the trees that are nearly new again – despite serious devastation due to fire, and it is impossible not to recognize the hand of God in all of the beauty that surrounds along the journey. The very same God that made all that we see, is close and personal, as He protects and provides for us. His hand has been abundantly evident over this past week, as my Mom is recovering from a horrific car accident that could have been far worse. Though her car was a total loss, she sustained only bruises and soreness, which is miraculous, considering the speed at which the other driver was doing when he barreled into her lane on a sharp corner. Our help comes from Him – the very same One who created all; as He helps and protects. May we ever keep our eyes looking up, so that we do not miss all of the mighty works of His hands.

 

As I lift my eyes,Lift My Eyes

Such sights to behold;

Beauty created,

His glory is told.

The very same strength,

That made mountains rise;

Comes alongside us,

Our hope realized.

Let’s lift up our eyes,

In awe, see the view;

As our Creator,

Will be our strength too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and help. Thank You that You, who made the heavens and earth, see each of us where we are and are willing to help us and grant us strength. Forgive us for looking to anything or anyone other than You for strength, as You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You often send people alongside us to encourage and walk with us too. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for the strength we need in all circumstances. Show us how to love well those around us, so that we might strengthen and encourage as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our eyes up to You and seek You for strength and help. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27, NLT)

 

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, weighed down by the weight of the world’s sin, He still took notice of the growing grief on the faces of those He dearly loved. A further example of how Jesus loved people, even as He hung in agony, is revealed to us in this short exchange between Jesus, His mother, and John. Knowing that both Mary and John would need comfort and care from another who had shared in the entire experience of the life and death of Jesus, He presented them to each other in new familial roles so that they could help one another in Jesus’ absence. Clearly Christ’s words were taken to heart, as John took Mary into his home from that day forward. Jesus is all about relationship. He cares about our heart and wants our grieving hearts to be comforted. The people around us are not in place by mistake. He sets the lonely in families, and loves us to life when our light has grown dim. May we ever fix our eyes on Christ, and allow Him to move in us and through us in ways that bring comfort and care to all in need, as we look to the hope that is held forever in Him.Called to be Family 1

 

Jesus sees our hearts,

And knows all our needs;

Surrounds the lonely,

And hungry, He feeds.

Wherever we are,

He sees and He knows;

His heart is to love,Called to be Family 2

So our faith might grow.

Even in anguish,

Christ spoke how to be;

Support each other,

We’re now family.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that family is not only those related by blood, but rather they are those whom You surround us with to be our safety and support. Thank You that Jesus showed us how important it is to be in ongoing relationship with one another, as it was one of the last things He pointed out before He drew His last breath on the cross. Forgive us for withdrawing or not investing ourselves into those that You have placed in our lives to be family – whether they are related by blood or not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace and invest in those around us, just as we are called to do. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

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, NIV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Clean up your act – the way you live, the things you do – so I can make my home with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, MSG)

This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, CEB)

 

God gave this warning to Jeremiah to deliver to the people of Israel, as they were not following the path that He had placed before them according to His will. Thankfully, today, we do not have to clean up our act or the way we live to come to Jesus, but rather when we come before Him and invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us and shows us how to clean up our conduct and do right by Him. The tables were turned and the process flipped upside down, when heaven came down and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with our Redeemer. I am so grateful for the mercy and grace that we have been granted to come before our King as we are, and then He cleans us up and shows us how to live right, according to His good and perfect will. May we embrace the grace that He has freely given, and seek our Savior to show us the ways in which we are meant to move.

 

It’s not on our own,Refreshment Through Repentance

That we get things done;

But rather by grace,

As we seek the Son.

Though there was a time,

Needed qualify;

That all changed in Christ,

His life justified.

Now we’re called to come,

To God each new day;

Where He makes us clean,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, who changed everything. Thank You that we no longer have to clean up our act and the way we live to somehow convince You to draw near, but rather we can come before You with a humble heart, seeking change, and You will cleanse us of our sin and shame, and show us the way to a new life in You. Forgive us for not seeking Your direction when we are uncertain which way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, as You gave everything so that we could be in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and generosity, just as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You again and again, allowing You access to all so that we might live right by You. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

The verse speaks for itself, as David is a dude to whom I can relate. This past week has been one of the busiest weeks of the year thus far. Monday, semester grades were due and it was the first day of gymnastics season. (I am the head coach at my school) Tuesday, after a full day of teaching and coaching, I rushed home to make dinner for my boys, and then was blessed with an evening at a hockey game. Wednesday, I had early morning practice, another full day of teaching, afternoon staff meetings, followed by time with my boys, and then errand running with my dear friend. By the time I had arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, the beginning of a migraine had taken root. Thursday, I woke and was greeted by a pounding headache still, but did not have a “tap out” option in my week, so I had to trust the Lord to provide the strength I needed to teach, participate in team collaboration, function during my mid-year evaluation, coach, and arrive safely home. I was able to get outside for a long walk, followed by a quieter evening at home. Friday found its arrival with the migraine still in place, so another day of trusting and leaning in happened here. Thankfully, I was able to reach my chiropractor and friend, and she ordered her schedule to meet me at the office after practice, to adjust, as misalignment often contributes to the pain. At last, after three days, I had relief. He had done tremendous things for me to sustain, and then provide way for real relief. It is amazing how God demonstrates His strength in our weakness, and further shows us how worthy of love He is, as He loves us so well. May we let our love for the Lord lead us, as we trust Him to be our strength.

 

Lord, how I love You,not-defined-by-a-day

For all that You are;

How You provide strength,

You’re never too far.

When we call on You,

You hear each request;

You grant us the strength,

To navigate best.

I can’t even count,

The most wondrous things;

Each act of Your love,

My reasons to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I love You and am so thankful for who You are and how You love. You are my strength in weakness, and my hope and help, as I need You to navigate my days well. Forgive me for the times that I attempt to power through without seeking You. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would seek You in all things and at all times, and recognize the tremendous things that You do for me each day. Show me how to love well, those around me, so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we love You with our lives, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. – (Romans 8:38, NLT)

 

There is NOTHING more powerful than the love of God. His love covers fears, conquers giants, defeats death, and draws us unto Himself when we feel far away from Him. The more we embrace the grace that He has granted and seek to know Him more, the greater our understanding of just how powerful God’s love is, and how there truly is nothing that can take it away from us. May we extend our hands and hearts to the Lord, and allow His love to wash over all that attempts to separate us from Him. He is good, and His love endures forever.

 

The love of the Lord,given-to-show-goodness

Shall overcome all;

It’s greater than death,

Lifts up when we fall.

There’s no height nor depth,

Nor place we can go;

Where the love of God,

Cannot freely flow.

Far greater is He,

Who calls our hearts home;

Than opposition,

Both seen and unknown.

Worry not today,

Nor for that to come;

God’s love is greater,

The battle’s been won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that NOTHING can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that Your love has defeated death and fuels our faith to forge forward, even in the face of fear. Forgive us for our fears and doubt when trials come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth that You are far greater than anything that may try to come against us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the power of Your limitless love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You give that cannot be removed. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

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