The Works Required

Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – (John 6:28-29)

 

God does not have a laundry list of works that we must perform in order to qualify to come to Him. The only “requirement” that He has, is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be saved. When we know Christ, we invest in our relationship with Him. As we grow in His wisdom and grace, we are compelled to serve Him. More than anything else, God wants our hearts. He longs for us to seek Him with all that we are, trusting that He is who He says He is. When we believe, we are doing the work that He requires. May we go forth in boldness, confident in the truth that our lives profess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Oh Lord, here I am,Confidence in Christ

I humbly ask;

what do You require?

Lead me to the task.

All that the Lord wants,

a heart that is true;

that believes in Him,

faithful to pursue.

One that seeks His face,

all throughout the day;

who trusts He is Lord,

the Truth, Light and Way.

Help me be faithful,

in all that I do;

with my heart and mind,

fixed wholly on You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not require us to do enough nor be enough to somehow qualify for Your kingdom. Thank You that You receive us as we come, when we believe. Thank You that faith is not something that we can muster on our own, but rather is a gift that You grow within us as we pursue You and trust You more. Forgive us for attempting to earn Your favor, or feeling like we somehow need to work for that which You freely give. Help set our hearts right so that the works we do are out of a heart of gratitude, not out of obligation. Lead us to love well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship this season with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our gifts of gratitude unto You. 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

Yesterday, Today and Forever

This morning, as I have read through the 12th and 13th chapters of Hebrews, the following verse jumped out as a great reminder of the great hope we have in Him. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – (Hebrews 13:8) Few words hold so much power and promise.

 

Jesus is our Healer, Redeemer, Father and Friend. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us, and His love endures forever. No matter what comes our way, He is present and His words remain true. Our greatest hope lies not only in who He is today, but in all that He has in store for us for all of eternity. May we trust in He whom we have known to be faithful in the past; receive all that He is offering to prepare us for today, and hope in the promises that will endure forever.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ,Love Him More than Life

is always the same;

our Holy High Priest,

there’s no greater Name.

He will never change,

His love shall endure;

we can trust in Him,

our hope is secure.

The God that has been,

is the same today;

and will ever be,

for now and always.

His love never ends,

His grace He pours out;

may we hope in Christ,

dispeller of doubt.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we can trust completely in You. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come to You and place all of our hope in You. Forgive us for doubting Who You are, or Your faithfulness when times are uncertain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be certain of who You are, regardless of what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified Lord God, as we trust in who You are and the unchanging nature of Your goodness and grace. 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

What I Give

When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” – (Acts 2:3-6)

A man crippled from birth, was begging at the temple gates, just as he did every other day. However, this day, was to be like no other day before. Pious people had given him enough in the past to get by, yet on this day, he was to receive so much more! Though he was asking for money, he was given something far better – the use of his legs. So often, it is the same for us. We seek God, asking for something that we think will be a solution to our situation, yet His provision comes as something far greater – a need met that we may not have even perceived, nor had the courage or faith to ask. God’s plan for us is to provide a whole new life, not just a quick fix to a temporary situation. He wants to grant freedom where we are held captive, joy where there is despair, and peace where anxiety reigns. Christ’s answers far exceed the expectations of what we ask. May we earnestly seek Him as we faithfully pursue His plans for our lives. For His faithfulness, let us also give praise and rejoice.

 

Faithfully seeking,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
we timidly ask;
what we think we need,
to complete a task.
The Lord sees our hearts,
and the road ahead;
He knows what we need,
and gives that instead.
We simply must trust,
and ask of the Lord;
for His grace and help,
all things, He’ll afford.
Whatever He asks,
He’ll prepare us too;
He’s more than enough,
as He makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not always give us the things that we want or that which we think we need, but rather You supply what we really need. Thank You that Your grace is greater than our ignorance. Forgive us for our shortsightedness and lack of faith when things do not appear to be anywhere near being answered, and help us to trust You, knowing that You are always at work, and that Your solution is for our greater good. Lead us to love others as You so faithfully love each of us, and may many come to know just how great You are, as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love, completely trusting Your faithfulness in all things. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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

The Kindness of God

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – (Titus 3:4-7, NIV)

 

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. God poured out to us that Holy Spirit fully through Jesus Christ our Savior. We were made right with God by His grace. God saved us so that we could be His children and look forward to receiving life that never ends. – (Titus 3:4-7, ERV)

 

Our salvation, the promised hope of His presence now and our future forever in heaven with Him, is a gift that He freely gives to us out of His insatiable love for His created. His love is equally available to all. There is no preferential treatment in who is saved and who is not, rather it is a matter of who is willing to receive that which He is offering to all. When we grasp but a glimpse of His kindness and love for us, we cannot help but lay hold of that which He is offering. He chose to take all of our sin and shame upon Himself, so that we could be made clean and acceptable before the Father. More than that, when He returned to the right hand of the Father, He sent His Holy Spirit to be present in the hearts of all who believe, ever renewing our minds so that we can become whom He created us to be. What a treasure we hold to be called co-heirs with Christ!

 

It is His kindness,The Kindness of God

that showed us the way;

brought us to repent,

our hearts gone astray.

His love, it woos us,

to mercies brand new;

His grace embraces,

and carries us through.

His Spirit poured out,

to lead and to guide;

to show us the way,

always by our side.

This glorious gift,

is ours to embrace;

receive all He has,

and walk in His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is Your kindness and love that draws us unto You. Thank You that we are not saved by our own righteousness, but by receiving that which You offer. Thank You that as we receive, You cleanse us from our unrighteousness and make us new, by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that in You, we have help for today and hope for all of eternity. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow have to earn our salvation, rather than receive what You are offering. Thank You that as we are saved, You grow in us, the desire to do good works, and use those to bless and encourage those who need to see You in a tangible way. Help us to keep our focus on You in all things and at all times, so that our heart is right before You. May we love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of eternal life that You are offering. Be exalted, O God, in everything that we say and do. 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

Set Free

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-34)

 

Sin is any and every word, thought and deed that goes against what God has intended for us. Unkind thoughts toward another separate us from God just as much as murder. According to His word, ALL sin cuts us off from our holy God, leading to death. However, because of what Jesus chose to do on the cross, ALL can be forgiven.

 

God judges us through the lens of His Son, Jesus; and we are therefore justified, declared NOT GUILTY, as every charge against us has been nailed to the cross that He already bore. As we ask for forgiveness, God removes our sin and wipes our record clean, as if we have never sinned. What a joy His justification is to all who believe!

 

Redemption is a reference to being set free from slavery. For all who are in Christ, that is exactly what has been done. Christ has redeemed us from a life enslaved to sin, and set us free to follow Him; to live a life in the light of His glorious grace.

 

Miserable mess,Set Free

until we are found;

lost and all alone,

by sin we were bound.

Then one lovely day,

in a moment’s time;

we met our Savior,

Who forgave our crime.

He took each poor choice,

and cast it away;

came into our hearts,

where He’s promised stay.

All guilt was removed,

now covered with grace;

granted a new start,

for each day to face.

May my life bring praise,

in all that I do;

each word, thought and deed,

grant glory to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our short-comings and our sinfulness, You love. Thank You for sending Your Son to take our place, as He justified and redeemed us from all that kept us from You. Jesus, thank You for carrying the horrendous weight of our burdens, so that we could enter into an eternal relationship with You. Forgive us for holding ourselves or anyone else to a standard other than that which You set before us, and help us to forgive, as we too are forgiven. May many come to know the joy of being justified and redeemed through Your salvation, and may we extend Your love and grace to all whom we encounter. Be glorified as we live, love and forgive, as You have done for 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

Firm for Our Forever

But he who stands firm in the end will be saved. – (Matthew 24:13)

 

A life fixed on faithfully following the Father, is not for the fearful nor faint of heart. Temptations and trials are guaranteed, and choosing to willfully set aside our own pride and plans for those prepared for us by our Father in heaven, is not an easy undertaking. Daily, we must decide to either do His will, or our own. Though our way may lead to momentary satisfaction, His way, leads to a life everlasting. Temporary discomfort is well worth our eternal exchange. He has given His life for ours, so that we may lay hold of all that He has promised, and claim it as our own. The Lord is our strength and our supply, and will provide all that we need to weather every storm. Often He will ask us to step out of the boat to walk toward Him through the wind and waves, but He is always within an arm’s reach, ready to lift us up if we begin to sink.

 

Stand firm in the Lord,Firm in Our Forever

hold fast to the end;

to our Lord Jesus,

our Savior and friend.

Though trials will come,

and seas will get rough;

our Lord Jesus Christ,

is always enough.

His strength when we’re weak,

His peace in our storm;

His hope is secure,

in Him, we’re reborn.

Hold fast to the One,

whose preparing room;

for all who follow,

to be with Him soon.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the trials and tribulations that come our way, if we stand firm in You, we are assured of our eternal security. Thank You that though at times days seem long, they are but a blink of an eye in comparison to our eternity with You. Forgive us for our faltering faith, and help us to hold fast to You in all things and at all times. May our confidence in You encourage others to seek the security found in You alone, and may many find safety in You. Let us love others as we are loved by You. Be exalted 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

 

Finding Joy

“What has happened to all your joy? …” – (Galatians 4:15a)  Paul did not mince words while communicating with the Galatians.  He was greatly concerned, as he had heard that they were returning to the letter of the law, rather than remaining in the freedom found through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

As a spiritual parent of sorts, Paul was passionately protective of the Galatians.  He did not want for even one of them to be caught up in legalism and lose the joy that they had found in their salvation, that came through faith in Christ alone.  His exhortation for the Galatians, is meant for us as well.  Legalism was the joy thief of the time, and often is for us still, today.

“Legalism can take away joy because:

1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

3) It stresses performance over relationship.

4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us.

Are we living by faith in Christ, or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?” (NIV footnotes for Galatians 4:15)

Freedom is found,Finding Joy

through Jesus alone;

not by good deeds,

as foundation stone.

Law shows us sin,

not God’s gift of grace;

to know true joy,

Christ we must embrace.

Let not the thief,

steal that which is yours;

the peace of God,

He freely outpours.

As we seek Christ,

we come to know joy;

where they once dwelled,

guilt and shame are destroyed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are set free from guilt and shame, and that You forgive us from our every sin as we come and confess before You.  Thank You that we are no longer bound by legalism that would dictate that we have to worship or pray or do things in a specific way in order to be heard by You.  Thank You that by Your grace, You made the way for us to come before You, freely, unencumbered, so that our joy may be complete in You.  Forgive us for thinking that joy has anything to do with our surrounding circumstances, and help us to remember that joy is that deep-rooted knowledge that You are with us and the hope that we have of a future secure in You.  May the joy within us be contagious, and be a cause of curiosity in those who do not yet know You.  Help us to love without limits, as You love us; and may many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified as we go forth in joy.  Amen.

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

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

Evidence is Everywhere

Despite all of the horrendous happenings in the world today, there is still overwhelming evidence of a good and loving Creator.  Each morning, we question not whether the sun will rise, and we know too, that it shall set again each evening.  Mighty mountains and vast oceans reflect the radiance of our remarkable Redeemer.

In Acts, when Paul was speaking to a crowd that had attempted to honor he and Barnabas as if they were gods in human form, Paul spent time clearing the air and making certain that all the hearers were clear that they were mere men, serving the living God.  “Men, why are you doing this?  We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.  In the past, He let all nations go their own way.  Yet He has not left Himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – (Acts 14:15-17)

Though the evidence of a Creator is overwhelmingly clear, the greatest gift we will ever know, only becomes known to those who are given the opportunity to hear.  Jesus came so that ALL might have life and trust in Him.  Our charge is to share the truth of His great love with the world around us, so that all might have the opportunity to come to know of the saving grace that is available through our great and loving Lord.  May we go forth in peace and make His love known to all mankind.

Go forth in peace,Evidence is Everywhere

tell of His great love;

trust in His grace,

point hearts to above.

Let His light shine,

through the way we live;

His glory shown,

as our life, we give.

Direct credit,

unto Jesus Christ;

honor to Him,

paid redemption price.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who have gone before us, faithfully following You.  Thank You for the gift that their obedience brought, as the truth of Christ was made known to us.  Thank You that it was not anything that they did in their own strength, but that You equipped and empowered their willing hearts to do that which You had called them to do.  Forgive us for being fearful to step out in faith, or for staying silent, when we are meant to speak.  Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that if You call us to it, You will bring us through it.  May our faithful obedience be an instrument to deliver the truth of Your love to those who have been lacking it for so long.  May many come to know Your saving grace, as we step out wherever we are called.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, … the rising sun will come to us from heaven. 

– Luke 1:78

When Love Came Close

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” – (I John 3:16-18)

“Real love is an action, not a feeling.  It produces selfless, sacrificial giving.  The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others.  How can we lay down our lives?  By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.” – (NIV footnotes)

The greatest example ever given, was born to us, and is remembered each Christmas. Jesus was the ultimate example of what love is, for He loved with His very life. He stepped down from heaven, and became God with us – demonstrating again and again how to love with actions and in truth. As the only One who was fully God and fully man, there were so many “could have done’s” along the way, yet He chose instead, each time, to model love.  He drew near to those whom society deemed undesirable, and He touched the untouchables.  His love broke down social, racial and religious barriers, and encouraged all who came near, to love as He loved.

Though this blessed day of remembering is nearing an end, our command to love will remain.  How can we carry Christmas with us as we approach the coming year?  What can we give of ourselves to others, as He has given unto us?

What can I give?

What gift shall I bring?The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

Unto You Lord,

my great, mighty King.

My heart, You have,

and likewise, my life;

what of my time,

resource and supply?

Anew I ask,

how might I show love;

to honor You,

so You’re known above?

Lead me, I pray,

show me how to move;

let Your love shine,

so people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to come close – to draw near to us and show us that You are love.  Thank You that You loved so much, that You sent Your One and Only Son, so that we may receive all that You are offering.  Forgive us for giving with expectations, or for withholding, where You would have us to give more of ourselves.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly hear Your voice and Your instructions for the coming year.  May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You.  All glory to You, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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