Grace Where We Are

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

 

Despite having been captured and taken into the possession of a foreign king, Daniel and his three friends placed their trust in God. Because they were faithful to follow God’s leading, He granted them favor and wisdom above all others who had been brought into captivity by the king of Babylon. Though I have heard the story of Daniel many times, it dawned on me this morning how much trust he must have had in God to do the things he did after having been captured and removed from all that he had ever known. Daniel did not volunteer to go and serve Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the king’s army had surrounded Jerusalem and carried him off to Babylon. It was likely violent and hostile, yet somehow, Daniel had the peace of God upon him, as he earned the favor of those in whose care he was placed. For me, this is a reminder of how much God moves when we are willing to trust Him. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, Daniel was faithful. As a result of Daniel’s obedient trust, God honored and blessed him, despite his location and position. May we ever trust the Lord and be faithful to follow Him, for He can bless us and grow us even in spaces we’d rather not remain.

 

When we choose to trust,Enter With Thanksgiving

Despite what we see;

God will do wonders,

He hears our heart’s plea.

Sometimes His help comes,

Right here where we are;

So we can rise up,

Show His grace, thus far.

When we stay faithful,

His presence is known;

For He’ll move mountains,

So His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You meet us where we are and make Your presence known. Thank You that though You do not always remove us from situations and circumstances that we would like out of, You meet us where we are and provide what we need to thrive in spite of them. Forgive us for our frustration when we feel stuck. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask for Your help and Your hope, and the wisdom to understand if we are meant to remain in a space or season of discomfort or not. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage, strengthen and lift up those who feel stuck. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, no matter what our circumstances or surroundings, as we know You are greater. Amen.

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

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

Steps for the Seekers

The naïve are heirs to foolishness, but the clever are honored with insight. – (Proverbs 14:18, VOICE)

 

This evening will be a unique experience for me. As a teacher, I have attended my school’s 8th grade celebration/graduation numerous times over the past nineteen years, yet tonight will be the first time in that my role is both as a parent and a teacher. My boys are finishing up their final days of middle school. It is bittersweet, as I have loved having them with me each morning and afternoon on the way to and from school, and there is a certain comfort in knowing that your own children are present on the campus on which you teach. That being said, they are ready for more. Neither of them has allowed themselves to get caught up in the foolishness of which some of their peers partake, and consequently, they have gained great insight and earned good grades, preparing them for that which lies ahead. Although I will miss their daily presence, I am excited to see all that awaits them in their high school experience and beyond. May we each embrace every opportunity for growth that is placed before us, so that we would operate in a space of His wisdom, rather that from our own foolishness.

 

Those who are clever,photo (5)

Are rewarded well;

Insight is granted,

In wisdom they’ll dwell.

With feet both planted,

Secure on the ground;

Future before them,

Their path has been found.

It’s about moving,

Where you’re meant to go;

For that is how we,

Each learn and we grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and we are rewarded with wisdom and insight through our seeking. Thank You for all of the young people who have earnestly sought You, as they are preparing for next steps in their lives – so many transitioning from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college or work, and beyond. Thank You that whatever the transition, You are present and leading. Forgive us for forgetting how big You are, and give us the strength to trust You more with the next steps for our progeny. Show us how to continue to lead them well, and help us to love those around us in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and insight in all of our next steps. Amen.

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

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

A Heritage of Faithfulness

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

 

Just after the Israelites had passed through the parted Red Sea to safety, and watched the seas cover the Egyptian army that pursued them, these words were theirs, as they recognized, celebrated and honored God for His faithfulness to lead them out of the space of slavery where they had been bound for far too long. God does the same for us today. He comes close and provides what we need as it is needed, and will be our strength to lead us to safety from the places that we have been stuck. For me, I am blessed to have a rich heritage of faithful followers of Christ. I specifically remember both my paternal great-grandmother and her gentle, kindness to all, and my maternal grandmother, who at ninety-six, is still light, life and love to all whom she meets. She is the one whom I most admire, and if I live my life half as well as she has and still is living hers, the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will surely be heard when my days are done. For all of these things and more, I sing and give God all of my praise. No matter what comes, He is the reason to give thanks. My hope lies not in the here and now, but in that which is yet to come. I know that I only see in part, the fullness of what lies before me. God has purpose and plans for all who love and follow Him. May we rise up and remember who is our source of strength, giving Him all honor and praise as we pursue His ways.

 

The Lord is my strength,Compassion in Confrontations

my reason to sing;

my Savior and hope,

all help, He does bring.

For He is my God,

I give Him my praise;

for His faithfulness,

throughout all my days.

A rich heritage,

of following Christ;

granted unto me,

His grace has sufficed.

May I do the same,

for my next of kin;

show them God’s great love,

so faith enters in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that You save us and give us reason to sing praise unto You. Thank You that You are our God. Thank You for those who have gone before us and set an example of faithfully following You, for it is through their faithfulness that we have found our way unto You. Forgive us for not giving You the praise and honor that You deserve, and help us to honor and praise You with every word we speak and everything we do. Let our very lives give glory unto You. Show us how to love others as You have loved us, so that future generations will have a solid example through us, of what it is to live a life devoted to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength to do Your will, and give You all praise as we go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

To Serve and Follow the Savior

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. – (John 12:26)

 

Jesus does not limit who may come and follow Him, however, He does require us to serve and follow only Him. Whomever chooses to serve and follow Christ, will be honored by the Father, and considered a servant of Christ. If we are sincere in our seeking, He is ready for the meeting. We are welcomed by Christ and His promises and provisions are for all of us. May we each choose to serve and follow Christ, so that we may be considered His servants and honored by Him whom we serve.

 

Let us choose to serve,Compassion in Confrontations

rise up, follow Christ;

in all that we do,

bring honor, delight.

The Lord will honor,

all who come to serve;

pour out His kindness,

despite what’s deserved.

Joy in the journey,

that we give Christ lead;

He helps and holds us,

and meets all our needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we serve and follow You, we are where You are. Thank You that You honor those who serve You, despite the broken places from which we have come. Forgive us for thinking that we have nothing to offer, or for getting too caught up in our own world to look outside of ourselves to see the needs that You are calling us to meet. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep our eyes fixed on You and our ears and hearts open to all that You have for us to do. Lead us to love others well, just as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve and follow You all of our days. 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

Who Wants to Fight?

After Peter and the other apostles had been arrested for sharing the good news of Jesus in the temple courts, an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and set them free to return to sharing the message of hope. The next day, the religious leaders were up in arms, as they found the cell still locked and guarded, yet the men were free and back to preaching, once again. Brought before the Sanhedrin and high priest for questioning, the apostles answered with wisdom and courage. Religious leaders were so infuriated with their response, that they wanted to put them to death at once. However, one Pharisee, Gamaliel, who was greatly honored and admired by all, stood up and spoke. “…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)

 

There is much to be gleaned from this particular passage. Three things stand out to me the most.

(1) What God calls us to do, He will make a way, even in the face of great adversity.

(2) If we are doing God’s work, He will be with us.

(3) We ought not get in the way of anyone pursuing what they feel God has called them to do. If it is of their own origin, it will likely fail. If it is from God, why on earth would we stand in the way?

 

The call of the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

not for faint of heart;

it takes all our trust,

to each do our part.

The path we’re to walk,

won’t always be smooth;

yet God is faithful,

His goodness He’ll prove.

Stand not in the way,

of those who pursue;

what they feel that God,

has asked them to do.

If what they pursue,

is their origin;

then it’s sure to fail,

before they begin.

Yet if it’s from God,

stand not in their way;

for who wants to fight,

the Lord any day?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue the path You have placed before us, You are present and walk beside us. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, who speaks to our hearts and minds, leading and guiding us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for not listening well, or for questioning the calling of others. Grant us Your wisdom to discern that which is from You, and that which is not. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Lead us to love well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many eyes be opened to the light of Your truth, and hearts tender to receive all that You have to offer. Be exalted O God, as we pursue the path You have placed before us, trusting You no matter the terrain. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

No Matter What Comes

What began as a vengeful act of jealousy by his brothers, led to thirteen years of training and preparation for Joseph to become second in command over all of Egypt. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was purchased and made a servant, honored, falsely accused, imprisoned, honored as a model prisoner, recognized as a faithful servant of God, and finally, was given opportunity to put his faith into action, which resulted in Joseph being elevated to second in command of the whole country. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – (Genesis 31:39-40)

 

Despite the dismal and dire circumstances, Joseph chose to rise up and represent God as a faithful servant in each situation. He worked not unto himself nor for mere man, but worked as though he were serving God Himself. Joseph was faithful with little, and faithful with much. He listened to the Lord in all things, and walked in obedience, even in through the toughest of trials. In God’s perfect timing, Joseph was brought into the position that the Lord had prepared for him. May we patiently persevere as Joseph did, trusting the Lord will use our every trial as training. Let our hearts be prepared, so that we may hear His every word, and be ever ready for His next step for our lives.

 

No matter what comes,No Matter What Comes

choose to seek the Lord;

even in trials,

His grace He’ll afford.

For the hardest times,

are often the source;

that the Lord uses,

to direct our course.

The things that we learn,

while storms around rage;

stretch us and grow us,

a coming of age.

We learn how to trust,

to cling to the Lord;

to hear and obey,

walk in one accord.

With patience hold fast,

have faith in His word;

may our lives make clear,

the truth we have heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and present, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though we may not enjoy times of trial and testing, they are seasons that You use for growing us closer to You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance when times are tough, and grant us Your strength and stamina to rise up in every circumstance, so that our faithfulness unto You is evident. Teach us to trust You more, so that our attitude will be like Joseph’s, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others, just as You choose to completely love each of us, right where we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord God, as the truth of who You are is made known. Be glorified, as we are faithful unto You in all things and at all times, by Your strength. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Creating Bonds in the Body

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. 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

Consider Great Things

Life is busy; and busy, can be distracting. In the midst of all that moves us, we are meant to slow down and take time to reset and reflect, restoring our priorities to their proper place. As Samuel was nearing the end of his life and the people had asked the Lord for a king, to be like the nations that surrounded them, he offered much sound advice. A verse that stood out to me this morning, as a reliable reminder to keep our priorities in their proper place, is the following: “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” – (1 Samuel 12:24)

 

To fear the Lord is to stand in reverent awe of who He is, and to understand that He is God, and we are not. Serving Him faithfully with all your heart is to withhold nothing; allowing Him access to all that we are, and offering our whole selves unto Him. When we feel that tender tug on our heartstrings to do something to serve, we don’t think; we act. To consider what great things He has done for us, is to remember His faithfulness. It takes little looking to see how He has been faithful. Being awake and able to read His word this morning is just one small example of His unending faithfulness unto us. The sun rose, as it was meant to do, I draw breath, without effort… What an incredible God to give us the gift of life and love and His unending faithfulness!

 

Take time to slow down,Consider Great Things

to think of great things;

the gifts from the Lord,

that salvation brings.

His love and His grace,

freedom from demise;

His great strength to stand,

against all the lies.

Stand in total awe,

of our Mighty King;

serve Him faithfully,

as our offering.

Remember the Lord,

and His faithfulness;

all glory to Him,

God of Righteousness!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our reverence and awe; for You created everything that is, and was and is yet to be. Thank You for Your loving kindness and faithfulness to us, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for getting so caught up in the chaos of life, that we don’t stop to remember all that You have done for us. Help us to remember Your faithfulness, and trust that You are still the same God today as You were before. May we have hearts that are willing to serve You completely, and trust You with our whole being. Let Your love shine through us as we seek to serve as You call us. May many come to know You as their faithful Father, as we honor You in all that we say and do. Be magnified in the midst of us, as we consider the great things You have done. 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

 

 

To Be the Body

 

Together, we are the body of Christ. Not one of us, on our own, possesses all that is needed to effectively do all that the Lord longs to do through His people. However, when we are united in purpose, collectively, the combination of gifts and grace that have been granted by God, are all that we need to effectively accomplish that which He calls us to do. (see I Corinthians 12:12-24)

 

We are not meant to devalue either our own gifts, nor those of another; nor are we meant to exalt that which has been given to us by God. Instead, He calls us to utilize that which He has given, for His glory – united in purpose. Also, we are meant to be aware of those around us. If one is suffering, we ought to sit beside them, and if another is honored, we are to rejoice with them. (see I Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – (I Corinthians 12:27)

 

May we seek to serve,To Be the Body

with all of our hearts;

utilize the gifts,

that the Lord imparts.

Together as one,

the body of Christ;

each filling our role,

willing sacrifice.

See every gift,

as one from the Lord;

no room for envy,

nor pride to afford.

If someone suffers,

come close and be near;

if one is honored,

stand with them to cheer.

We are His body,

we each play a part;

all of us needed,

hands, feet, mouth and heart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You made each of us unique, with different gifts and talents to use for Your glory. Thank You that despite our differences, we can come together and be united in purpose for You. Thank You that unity does not mean duplicate drones, but rather a beautiful varied collection that can come together to seek and serve You. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have enough to offer, or for thinking that someone around us has something better. Help us to recognize that each gift is a blessing from You, meant to build up the body. May we celebrate the gifts You give, and come along side those who are suffering. Grant us wisdom and grace to best know how to love as You love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be honored through our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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

 

Taking Possession of Promises

Is the promise really the promise, when the glorious reality is in full view, yet there are giants between where we now stand and where we must go to enter into what God has spoken?  Ultimately, it becomes an issue of whether or not we trust that God is greater than the giants, and do we trust Him to be true to His word.

In the desert, as Moses and the masses were on the move, spies had been sent ahead into the land that God had promised them.  The men had seen that the land was indeed, flowing with milk and honey, and had even brought back evidence of its fruitfulness.  Despite the plentiful promise land before them, they allowed their fear of the powerful people living in the land to stand in their way.  One man spoke up in faith. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’  But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than us.” – (Numbers 13:30-31) 

Caleb chose trust over fear, and stood strong despite popular opinion.  He had seen the land for himself, and trusted that God was greater than anything that stood between the people and laying hold of the promise.  Sadly, the people chose not to listen to Caleb, and ended up wandering for forty years in the desert as a result.

What promises can we lay hold of through faith, if only we choose to trust Him, in spite of how things appear?  I don’t want to miss out on all that He has for me, only to be left wandering in the desert, aimless and longing for what could have been.

Promises made,Taking Possession of Promises

from the heart of God;

don’t ever change,

despite path to trod.

What the Lord says,

He will indeed, do;

God is faithful,

His word’s always true.

We must choose trust,

despite what’s seen;

God is greater,

on Him, we must lean.

God is with us,

the giants, fear not;

He’s far greater,

than the darkest plot.

Rise up in faith,

claim promise in Him;

dispel all fears,

our God always wins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the promises You have spoken are “YES” and “AMEN”, and what You say is what shall be.  Thank You that neither giants, nor mountains, nor seas, nor anything else in all creation can stand in the way of the fulfillment of Your promises spoken.  Forgive us for allowing fear to deter us from moving forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we might boldly take each next step that You are calling us to take, despite the appearance of giants or obstacles that seem to be standing in our way.  May we boldly move in obedience unto You, and may our faith be unwavering in Your truth.  Lead us by Your love, to love others well, and may many come to know You personally, as a result.  Be honored in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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