Break Camp and Move Out

It is easy to become comfortable in our familiar routine, and settle in the surroundings that we know best. Sometimes, we may even find ourselves in seasons of wandering, yet that too can become so routine, that we become fearful of moving into something new. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for forty years. They had seasons of movement and seasons of staying in place, each with a purpose to hear from the Lord and see the power of His provision and faithfulness in action. When at long last they came to the point where God was calling them forward, fear entered in and prevented the older generation from receiving the promise that the Lord had provided all those years prior.

 

The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev, and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore He would give to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and to their descendants after them.” – (Deuteronomy 1:6-8)

 

Sadly, when Moses sent men to spy out the land to determine WHERE to enter, they came back and began to spread false reports about the conditions, because they were afraid of the risk involved with obeying what God had asked. Only Joshua and Caleb spoke truth and trusted that God would do all that He had promised. The faithful who trusted, saw God’s promises fulfilled, whereas those who chose to live in fear, missed out on all that God had for them.

 

The same principles are in play for us today. Where is God calling us to break camp and move out? What new territory is He asking us to step into, that He has already prepared in advance for us? Movement can be terrifying, especially when there are giants in the midst of plentiful land. If we give fear a foothold, we miss out on the abundance of what the Lord has prepared for us in advance. May we rise up in courage and obedience, break camp and move out into all that He is calling us to do.

 

Let not our comfort,Break Camp and Move Out

keep us from the Lord;

all He has prepared,

the grace He’ll afford.

When we hear Him call,

may we quickly say;

“Oh Lord, here am I,

help me to obey.”

No matter what’s seen,

make us strong in You;

for where You call us,

You will lead us through.

Rise up in courage,

break camp and move out;

embrace His calling,

our Help and safe route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises and Your presence. Thank You that You lead us to new places of discovering more of You, that go beyond what we would hope for. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see the obstacles in front of us between here and there, and grant us Your strength and courage to rise up and move out into all that You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would focus on the promises rather than the obstacles that seem to stand in the way. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that would attempt to keep us from entering into the new You are calling us into. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we break camp and move out into the new things You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

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

Unfailing Love Leads

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – (Exodus 15:13)

 

Just as God led the Israelites, whom He had set free from captivity out of Egypt, and ultimately brought them into the Promise Land, He will still do the same for us today. It is the Lord’s unfailing love that leads us, as He is patient and kind, despite our grumbling and lack of faith along the way. Any of us who are in Christ, have been redeemed. He has paid the penalty for our sin, and is leading us away from where we once were, into a new space of freedom in Him. The holy dwelling to which He is leading, is not a temporary stop along our path, but rather is our final destination, which will be our eternal home with Christ forever. May we receive His unfailing love, and allow His strength to guide us to the holy dwelling that He has prepared for us all.

 

It’s unfailing love,Unfailing Love Leads

that leads us all home;

that sets our hearts right,

draws back when we roam.

Those who have sought Christ,

have become redeemed;

considered His own,

in love, He shall lead.

His strength will guide us,

His ways He will tell;

He’ll grow and guide us,

’til heaven we dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us in Your unfailing love. Thank You that You redeem all who call on Your Name. Thank You that by Your strength You guide us to Your heavenly home. Forgive us for our fear and grumbling that lead us to wander aimlessly in the desert, rather that follow the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and obey all that You are asking. Help us to love others as You so patiently love each of us. May many come into a new space of freedom forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we are led by Your unfailing 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

Discovery in Delays

So often we want instant results, or at least answers that will give an inkling of an idea as to when resolution will come, healing will happen, or breakthrough will be brought forth. Faith, however, does not work that way. God’s timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Just as God led Moses and the Israelites on a longer route around the Philistines to protect them from unseen obstacles, so too may His purpose be in the delay or different direction than we had hoped for. When the disciples gathered and were anxiously awaiting the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Jesus responded to them. He said to them; “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – (Acts 1:7-8)

 

Jesus has plans for us all, even as we wait. We are called to share of His goodness and grace, here in this place. When we choose Christ, He equips and empowers us to do that to which we have been called. Often it is in the delays, the distractions and redirections that we discover the depth of His provision and power, granted to us for a time such as this. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth in His grace, even as we wait for that which is yet to come.

 

May our hearts prepare,Discovery in Delays

for this is the time;

to rise up in faith,

to seek the Divine.

Though there is waiting,

there’s much to be done;

our pause has purpose,

to point to the Son.

Empowered by Christ,

His Spirit indwells;

the grace to go forth,

His presence propels.

Let nothing deter,

from God’s loving plan;

listen and follow,

He’ll lead us to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your timing is not our timing, and though we don’t necessarily understand why there are delays and detours, we know that You are good and can trust that Your way is for our benefit. Thank You that You have our very best in mind. Thank You that You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit as we wait, and entrust us to go forth and share of all that You have done. Forgive us for not trusting Your timing or for staying stuck when You are calling us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will make the most of the wait, and discover all that You will do in the detours and delays. Lead us to love others as You so thoroughly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we allow Your power to prevail in our pauses. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Genuine Repentance

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. 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

Trust in the Asking

God often calls us to step out in areas where we feel the most ill-equipped. Moses was a man who claimed to be slow in speech, yet God called him to go and speak to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. He was being asked to speak not only before the powerful ruler of a nation, but to gather and speak before those whom he was called to lead as well.

 

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on the mountain.” – (Exodus 3:11-12)

 

Moses felt inadequate and afraid for the task to which he had been called. God understood his fears, and assured Moses that He would be with him and that there would be clear evidence of His presence when all was said and done. God still does the same for us today. Though He calls us to that which we often feel the most ill-equipped, His presence is promised and His help, assured. It is far better to be in a scary space of total dependence on God, than a fearless space that we try to traverse on our own. May we rise up and respond in faith to that which Christ calls us to do, trusting that Him who calls us will also provide all that we need to navigate in the new.

 

God calls us to go,Trust in the Asking

where we think we can’t;

and asks us to do,

what we think we shan’t.

Inadequacies,

our personal fears;

the true barriers,

that make paths unclear.

Lord help us to hear,

Your promises true;

that You will be near,

to see us each through.

May we each rise up,

take heart and obey;

Lord, grant us the strength,

to walk in Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if You call us to do something, You will provide what is needed to see us through. Thank You that Your calling us to the difficult teaches us to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for focusing on our own inadequacies rather than on how great You are, and help us to reset our focus. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what You ask, we are willing to say “YES” and trust You to provide what is needed to accomplish what You are asking. Help us to love others as You so willingly and wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus, as we move in obedience, even when we feel ill-equipped. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all that You ask of us. 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

An Undivided Heart

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

 

Though the Israelites had been sent away and scattered, and had become divided from God and each other, the Lord was making a promise to His people. God gave word that He would restore them back to their land once again. Verses nineteen and twenty were further promises to His people that He is faithful.

 

The promises spoken for the Israelites, are still available for us today. When we seek Christ, He will give us an undivided heart and place His spirit within us. He takes our hardened, calloused heart, and exchanges it for one that is soft, tender and vulnerable. His Spirit directs our path as to what we should and should not do, and He calls us His own, and He is our God.

 

A heart undivided,Renewing Our Minds

once as hard as stone;

transformed by Jesus Christ,

through whom love is shown.

He grants us His Spirit,

to dwell in our heart;

so each of us will know,

His path from the start.

He makes us His people,

and He is our God;

He transforms and grows us,

let the earth applaud.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us an undivided heart and a new spirit within us. Thank You that when we seek to find You, You are ready and waiting for us. Thank You that You exchange our hard hearts for ones of flesh that are soft and open to all that You ask. Thank You that Your Spirit within us makes known the paths we’re meant to take, and helps lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that we are Your people and that You are our God. Forgive us for our words and deeds that do not reflect that relationship. Help us to be a rightful representation of You before the world, as we go forth in love, just as You love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as they too, grant You full access to their hearts and lives. Be glorified, Lord God, in all that we say and do. 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

Whom Will You Serve?

 

At the end of his life, when the Israelites had entered into the promise land, Joshua reminded the people of the Lord’s ongoing faithfulness. After reviewing all that God had done, Joshua told them that they had to make a choice. Choose to serve the Lord with all that they are, or walk away. “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve – and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship GOD.” – (Joshua 24:15, The Message)

 

Each one of us comes to a point in life where we must choose whom we will serve. We might not consciously make the choice, but we either choose God, or we choose the things of this world. Where our priorities lie, are excellent indicators as to where our heart is aligned. Are we serving God, or self?

 

Look all around,Whom Will You Serve

miracles made known.

Whom will you serve?

Is your heart your own?

One way brings life,

the other, sure end;

are you willing,

on Him to depend?

Great is the price,

to trust and obey;

yet far greater,

our promised one day.

Presence for now,

hope for forever;

He will not leave,

or forsake, ever.

For me, it’s clear,

there’s no turning back;

I’ll serve the Lord,

wherever I’m at.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the freedom of choice. Thank You that You love us so much, that You give us a free will, and You are willing to allow us to walk our own way. Thank You that You receive us with open arms when we are ready to run to You, and that You embrace us and cover us with Your grace. Forgive us for thinking that there is any other way to live, aside from total surrender to You. Teach us to trust You completely in all things and at all times. May we love and serve with all that we are, just as You do for us. Let those who are looking, find the peace of Your presence and the hope that is held in You alone. May our every word and deed reflect Your radiance. Be exalted, Lord God. 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. – I Peter 2:19

 

 

 

 

Strength and Courage

After Moses had died and Joshua had been given charge to lead the Israelites into the promise land, the Lord gave Joshua a God-sized pep talk.  Three times, the Lord told Joshua to “Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:6, 7 & 9)  God also instructed him to “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

The primary points presented, are that strength, courage and obedience come from knowing and following God and His word.  To know God’s law, we need to spend time in His word.  As we study scripture, He reveals more of Himself unto us, and empowers us to live life accordingly, by His Spirit.   Though this may not lead to success by the world’s standards, if we follow God and His ways, we are a success in His eyes.  Ultimately, His is the only opinion that lasts forever, so it is the only one that we should allow to be of concern.

Strength and courage,Strength and Courage

to these we are called;

not on our own,

by His grace installed.

Obedience,

faithful in pursuit;

ever seeking,

what the Lord would do.

We meditate,

both by day and night;

to know God’s word,

to pursue what’s right.

This is success,

to our God, not man;

in God alone,

our salvation plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage to know and follow You.  Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into a lasting relationship with You, and that our fears and failures do not hinder our opportunities for the future.  Thank You that You forgive and free us from our former follies, and fuel us to move forward in our faith.  Forgive us for our fearfulness, or for not wholeheartedly pursuing You.  Teach us to trust You more, and keep discouragement far from us.  Thank You that You are with us wherever we go, and that You love us without limits.  Help us to love as You love, and may many come to know You as a result.  Be glorified as we walk in obedience unto You.  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

Lift Up Our Leaders

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” – (Exodus 17:12)

This passage comes from the story in Exodus 17, when the Amalekites came to attack the Israelites.  Whenever Moses’ hands were raised, the Israelites were winning, yet if he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would take the lead.  Though Moses was a strong leader, called by God, he was still subject to human frailty.  He grew weary, as all of us do.  Fortunately, Moses had men who came along side him, and saw the need in their leader, and extended the practical help that was possible for them to supply.

We too, need to lift up our spiritual leaders.  Our pastors shoulder a tremendous responsibility, and readily work around the clock.  Though they may be physically present during office hours, their hours of service extend well beyond the traditional work day.  Medical emergencies, family crisis, and personal problems are just a few of the after hours calls that these selfless servants readily answer.  They too, grow weary, despite their being both called and equipped for the position.  Praying for our pastors is a must.  Offering encouragement and whatever else the Lord may ask, are practical ways in which we too, can lift up the hands of our leaders.  “Let us not grow weary of doing good…” (Galatians 6:9)

For those who serve,Lift Up Our Leaders

give tirelessly;

let us lift up,

support prayerfully.

Reach out our hands,

speak words to exhort;

let gratitude,

be what we report.

Let our hearts hear,

how we might too, bless;

encouragement,

ways to offer rest.

Father, be near,

to the ones You’ve called;

protect them, Lord,

these blessings installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those whom You have called and equipped to lead.  Thank You for their faithfulness to listen to You, so that they may answer all that You ask, and serve You and the body whom You’ve called them to lead.  Please protect them and their families, and bless and refresh them with sweet rest.  Forgive us for not always lifting up our leaders, and help us to do a better job of praying for and encouraging our pastors, as You call us to do.  May we come along side them and lift up their hands when they grow weary, and may we bless and encourage them as You ask us to do.  May many come to know You as we love one another well, and may they recognize a place where people are loved and cared for – from pastor to each person that is present.  Let Your light and love be evident in us, through all that we say and do.  Be glorified, our good and gracious God.  Amen.

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