Ponder the Treasure

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. – (Luke 2:19, CEB)

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, VOICE)

 

The chain of events leading to and surrounding the birth of Jesus, must have been more than enough to keep Mary’s mind on constant overload. Angelic visits and prophecies, miraculous pregnancies, having to travel by donkey in the desert, arriving only to be turned away at all of the possible places to stay, giving birth in a stable, having shepherds show up… Mary was now mother to the Son of God. I imagine she vacillated back and forth between bewilderment and amazement at the role that she had been called to fill. Her faithfulness and trust in God was apparent, as she said “yes” to that which she had been called to do by God. Each of these events to treasure, were likely the things that gave her courage and strength in times of uncertainty as Jesus grew. Today, as many of us participate in candlelight services, may we ponder all of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, and treasure them in our hearts, so that we too, will find courage and strength in times of uncertainty.

 

Joining to gather, Ponder the Treasure

In candlelight glow;

Sing of our Savior,

Arrival we know.

Born in a stable,

Such a humble birth;

Path for us to know,

The depth of our worth.

For God sent His Son,

To show love to all;

Let us each embrace,

Grace to which we’re called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us how to stop in awe and wonder of all that took place surrounding the birth of Jesus through the example of Mary. Thank You that You did not call the equipped, but rather You equipped the called. Thank You that You used ordinary people to do the extraordinary to change the course of history forever; a young girl, a carpenter, some shepherds, an inn keeper with a bit of compassion – each with a role that led us to why we celebrate this most holy season. Forgive us for breezing through the day as if it is just another holiday. Teach us to stop and ponder the magnitude of what You have done for us, so that we will treasure it all in our hearts. Show us how to love those around us with a love that is tangible and worth treasuring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are introduced or reminded of Who You are and all that You have done through the glorious gift of Your Son. Be glorified O God, as we ponder and treasure the reason for the season. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

 

 

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Practice As His Poetry

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

 

This week, I had the pleasure as a parent, of watching my children do some of what they were designed to do, as they each took part in their fall concert. Both boys have always loved music; it is part of their design. Watching my eldest (by one minute) sing with the concert choir, and his twin brother play the viola with the concert orchestra, filled my heart with joy. God has given each of us talents and gifts, dreams and desires – all of which can be used for His good. When we utilize what we’ve been given with gratitude, God receives the glory. As we seek Him and join our hearts with His, good works can come in every avenue of our lives. Encouragement, kindness, gratitude, generosity and love, all demonstrate His heart for people, and provide opportunity for those who may not know Him, to see the light of His goodness and grace through those around them. May we ever remember that we are God’s poetry, His very masterpiece – created to delight those around us by doing good.

 

For we have been made, Practice As His Poetry

To be who we are;

God’s own masterpiece,

To shine like the stars.

We’re meant to do good,

Fulfill what God planned;

Love as God loves us,

By His grace, choose stand.

Stand for the hurting,

Encourage, lift up;

Answer His calling,

In all things, choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose, and that You consider each of us Your poetry – Your masterpiece. Thank You that we have been designed to do good things that You planned for us long ago. Forgive us for not recognizing the masterpiece in others, or for choosing to walk away from the good to which we are called to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see all whom we encounter through Your eyes, and treat them accordingly. Help us to do good works and walk out our purpose in all that we do. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up all whom we encounter, so that Your light might shine bright before everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate who You are by being who You have made us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Joining Together

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

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. 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

Being the Body

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

 

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

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

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

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

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

Speak Truth in Trust

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head, and the whole body depends on Him. All parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and be stronger in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, ERV)

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the Source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, MSG)

 

In order to speak the truth in love, we must be invested in our relationship with Christ. When we know Him, we know His voice, and are equipped to hear His heart for us and those around us. As we invest in community that chooses to do likewise, we draw from one another’s strengths, and grow stronger into who He is calling us to be. The more we are like the Lord, the greater our capacity for loving those around us. May we invest in our relationships with God and the community to which we are called, so that we grow ever stronger in life and in love.

 

We must choose to speak,ç€À

The whole truth in love;

It is how we grow,

Trust in God above.

For He is the head,

On Whom we depend;

All parts joined as one,

Neighbors become friends.

This work together,

Causes us to grow;

Still stronger in love,

Making the truth known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Your truth to us by Your love as we intentionally seek You. Thank You that You equip us and grow us stronger in our capacity to love and work together as we depend on You. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for failing to speak truth in love, when we have the words and the opportunity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise up in strength and courage to do whatever part You are calling us to do. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so gently, yet relentlessly, love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love as You call us to do. Amen.

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

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