The Next Right Thing

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

We are not all charged to do everything, but we are each called to do something. Each of the needs mentioned in the verses above exist both globally and locally. There are orphans, kids in foster care, there are poor, imprisoned, there are those who are in need, and many trapped in the hands of the wicked and unable to set themselves free. We are called to walk through life with our eyes, ears and hearts open. When we do, we are willing to hear the Lord’s call, and answer however He asks. Sometimes, it is in a way that seems small and insignificant to us, yet our willingness to respond will mean the world to the recipient.

 

Welcome Boxes 1A few days ago, I had the joy of working with some ladies from my church to put together welcome boxes for kids being pulled from their homes by CPS and placed in foster care. Some of these kiddos barely have the opportunity to pack even a change of clothes, so these boxes are a special way to offer comfort in the midst of crisis. Each box contains encouraging notes, gifts and toiletries, to remind the child that there are people who do care, despite the chaos that is currently surrounding them. If it weren’t for the obedience and listening ear of one of my friends, none of us would have been aware of the need, nor would we have gathered to do a small thing that we each could do. May we each go forth this day, with eyes, ears and hearts open, ready to hear how the Lord might call us to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, or how we can help rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked.

 

Welcome Boxes 2

To find out more about making Welcome Boxes, please contact: JenniferJoyKeener@gmail.com

Lord help me to walk,

with eyes open wide;

aware of the needs,

that others may hide.

Let me be Your hands,

where I can go serve;

show me how to love,

as the lost deserve.

Help me see the need,

and then show me how;

to do what You ask,

not later, right now.

Each day, may I rise,

ready to go be;

Your heart and Your hands,

to set captives free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Defender and Rescuer. Thank You that You saved us from all of our ugliness and delivered us from the calamity that was to come. Thank You that You call us to be a part of moving beside You in defending those who cannot defend themselves, helping those in need, and rescuing those who are stuck in situations that are too great for them to get out of on their own. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to need, or for standing still as we allow the great need to overwhelm us, rather than simply listen to Your call and how we can do the next right thing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and be ready to do each next thing that You ask of us. Lead us to love with all that we are, just as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do each next right thing. 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

Standing Firm in the Storm

Paul, more than most, understood what it was to stand firm, even in the face of a long and raging storm. Several times, he was imprisoned for his faith, yet each time Paul utilized his time in chains as an opportunity to stand firm, and share with others, the foundation of the faith on which he stood. After two years of imprisonment, Festus brought Paul before himself and the accusers from Jerusalem. Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” – (Acts 25:8) As the hearing continued, Paul made it clear that he had no fear of death if he deserved to die; however, knowing that he was innocent, Paul made his appeal to be heard before Caesar as a Roman citizen. After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” – (Acts 25:12)

 

Because Paul knew he was innocent and knew his rights as a Roman citizen, he was able to seek Rome’s protection. Also, Rome was a destination that Paul had hoped to go to preach the gospel, and this appeal would provide the opportunity – prisoner or not. Paul was standing firm in his faith in Christ’s strength, faithfulness, and provision, as he knew that though the path he was taking to get to Rome was not ideal, it was a way for Paul to arrive in Rome sooner than he might have otherwise. He did not bow down in despair as he remained a prisoner, rather he recognized the upcoming opportunity to share the good news with those who had not yet heard.

 

How can we do likewise? How can God use our circumstances to be light in the midst of darkness? When we remain grounded in Christ, regardless of what is going on around us, there is something magnetic that draws others in. Whether it is wonder or awe, people cannot help but draw near to a space of peace in a storm. May we stand firm in our faith, no matter what storm rages around us.

 

When mighty winds blow,Standing Firm in the Storm

and nothing is still;

depend on the Lord,

Who’s present to fill.

He will grant us strength,

when we have run out;

He’ll love us to life,

show us the safe route.

At times He will lead,

us right through the storm;

where we have to trust,

know He’ll keep us warm.

No matter what comes,

the promise remains;

His grace is enough,

to remove each chain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us with Your life. Thank You Jesus, that as You stood secure through the storm of the cross and took our every sin upon Yourself, You conquered death and brought new life to all who choose to believe. Thank You that when we stand firm in You, You see us through our every storm. Thank You that You remain present, and You provide the strength and support that is needed to either ride out the storm, or find a way out. Forgive us for failing to stand firm when storms seem too strong for us to face, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love well all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in You, through every storm that blows our way. 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

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

Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. ❤

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. 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

 

 

Imprisoned for a Purpose

Imprisoned for a PurposeBeaten, imprisoned,

feet shackled up tight;

disciples still sang,

’til late in the night.

All of a sudden,

the prison did shake;

cell doors flew open,

guard’s life near to take.

Disciples called out,

“Do yourself no harm,

we are all still here,

in reach of your arm.”

When lights came ablaze,

and the jailer saw;

men true to their word,

he fell down in awe.

“Sirs, what must I do,

to truly be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord,

your life will be changed.”

At that very hour,

to his home he brought,

he cared for their wounds,

believed what they taught.

The whole family,

was baptized, believed;

the very next day,

disciples released.

(Responding to Acts 16:22-36)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You do not cause harm to come our way, You at times, allow it, as You use it for the greater good of those who love You, and often use our strength in the struggle as a way to touch the hearts and minds of those who know You not. Forgive us for assuming we have done something wrong when bad things happen, and help us to recognize that even in the struggle and heartache, there is opportunity to allow Your strength to shine and our heart to be refined. Thank You that You receive and love us, just as we are, but love us too much to allow us to stay this way. Continue to refine and shape us to more clearly reflect Your character in all that we say and do. May many come to know who You really are, by our love. Praise to You for Your powerful and unfailing love. Amen.

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