Transformational Times

When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” – (Luke 23:47, NLT)

 

This statement by the Roman officer was extremely significant, as it was his response after overseeing the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. He had observed each nail driven into His hands and feet, each insult hurled at Jesus as He hung in pain, and ultimately, he heard the words of Jesus as the world went dark for several hours that day, as Christ called out, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)  Firsthand, this soldier who had carried out the orders to crucify Christ, could see for himself, that there had been no justifiable reason to take the life of the innocent man hanging on the cross before him. Something about what he had observed through the process, helped open his eyes to the glory of God, as the Roman officer responded by worshipping the Lord and declaring the innocence of Christ. When they say there is power in the cross, it is incredible how soon it began. First with the criminal that hung beside Jesus who recognized that He did not deserve to die and asked to be remembered, and then one of the leaders of the Roman regime. The power present to move those two men from death to life on that very day, is still alive and active now. Jesus rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that His Spirit could dwell among us. The very same power that brought life from death, is available and able to save us now. If we come to the Lord, call on His Name, and place our trust in Him, His presence is ours, and we have the hope of life everlasting in Him. May we allow the power of the presence of the living God to transform us from the inside out.

 

The power of God,Transformational Times

Is mighty to save;

For this is the One,

Who conquered the grave.

He brings us to life,

When we choose to come;

Place our heart in Him,

Where freedom is won.

Free from all our chains,

Of past sin and scorn;

Where hope and new life,

In Him, we’re reborn.

New start without stains,

All grace is now ours;

Made new by His love,

His hope empowers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to live and love and sacrifice, so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You for the incredible things that Jesus did, even as He hung on the cross to impact the lives of those around Him. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot do anything in the midst of our circumstances when things are difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be receptive to all that You have for us – both for and through us as we walk out our days in faith. Show us how to love others as You love us, regardless of what is going on in our own lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to work in and through us at all times to touch those around us. 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

The Price for Free

I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free. – (Isaiah 44:22, NLT)

 

Christ came to grant us freedom from our sin and shame. Great men and women throughout history, have come to know the value of such freedom, and have gone on to fight injustices that prevented people from living in the freedom that was intended. God does not have favorites, but views us all as equals in His sight. If our Creator sees us each with infinite worth, then it is our responsibility to seek to do likewise. Martin Luther King Jr., and all who have fought before him, beside him and continue to fight for equality for all, are the champions of choosing to make our world a better place where the dream Dr. King spoke of aligns with the call of Christ – for us to be one body – united, rather than many parts divided. May we rise up and remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus, hand-crafted and called to freely walk out the purpose that He has placed before us.

 

For we are all called,mlk

To live in His light;

No more in darkness,

Injustice, we fight.

Just as we’ve each been,

Redeemed and set free;

We must view others,

With equality.

For God loves us all,

Sisters and brothers;

Let’s rise united,

Lifting each other.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek Your forgiveness, You wipe away our offenses and set us free. Thank You that You have raised up leaders throughout the ages to rise up and stand against injustices that treat any group of people as less than another. Forgive us for our offenses, for even complacency is fueling the flames of injustice. Teach us how to hear Your direction as to what our part is meant to be. Show us above all, how to love all people as we are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your love transforms hearts and changes perspectives. 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

In honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a few beautiful quotes:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – MLK

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – MLK

 

 

Hand-Crafted for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

 

As I am preparing to go to high school camp as the girls’ cabin leader next week, this verse is a great reminder for my heart. I want to do and be all that God desires, yet in Him, I already am. My job is to show up and be available. He prepared the way, long before I even knew that I would be going. Some of the details that have come to light this week have been mind-blowing. The way that God has orchestrated the pairing of the person whom I will co-lead with is unbelievable. She and I have walked parallel roads, and share stories that are so similar, it is almost eerie. Just knowing that, I cannot even begin to fathom the other details that He has prepared for the benefit of the campers and fellow leaders. It is going to be a phenomenal week. When we are mindful of who we are in Him, and allow Him to be God and we choose to show up and walk where He leads – the possibilities are endless. May we choose to embrace the grace of being His handiwork, and move forward in faith where He calls.

 

Hand-crafted, we’re His,Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Created in Christ;

Made to do good works,

Our Father’s delight.

Prepared in advance,

The Lord makes a way;

For us to follow,

So we can obey.

It is from this space,

Of obedience;

That lives can be changed,

And hope can advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your workmanship, created in You to do good works that You prepared in advance for us to do. Thank You that You equip us and walk beside us in the process. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do anything in our own strength or of our own accord. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to do the things You have prepared in advance for us to do. Lead us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do that which You have prepared for us to do. 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

Respect, Love, Fear and Honor

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NIV)

Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, ERV)

 

We are called to kindness and to treat ALL people with proper respect. It is merely a matter of opening one of the many social media site feeds to see that respect for one another is not exactly what rules the roost of our hearts. We do not all have to share the same set of beliefs to treat one another with kindness. The thing that continually has me perplexed, is how slandering the character or choices of a person or people group could ever bring them to believe what is hoped for? When we walk in love, we are imitating what Jesus did. He did not go around screaming at people about how wrong they were in the ways in which they were living, but rather He came close, met the needs that were before Him, and loved. It was by His love, that people came to see and know the truth.

 

Additionally, we are called to love our fellow believers. Though there may be minute differences in how we worship or gather, we are following the same God, and will be spending eternity together. It would benefit us all to choose love now.

 

To fear and respect God, means that we choose to live our lives according to His will, and not our own. If we surrender to Him, our lives will be forever changed, and it will be apparent to all whom we encounter.

 

Though the United States is not an monarchy, we do have a President and governing body that we elect to office. We do not have to agree with every decision that they make, but we are called, biblically, to honor our leaders. It is not our charge to slander anyone, especially those that God has placed in positions of authority over our nation. If we disagree with what is being done, we have the power to pray, to write insightful and respectful letters, and to get involved in local legislation.

 

May we show proper respect to everyone; love well our fellow believers, fear God, and honor our leaders.

 

The Lord has not called,kindness

us to be unkind;

but to show respect,

to all whom we find.

Let’s love each other,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

let His light shine through.

Fear the mighty Lord,

give respect that’s due;

for He is the One,

that’s making us new.

Honor those in charge,

they rule for reason;

all need our support,

not acts of treason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us this verse lived out. Thank You Jesus, that You modeled how to treat all others with proper respect, even when they were not respectful to You. Thank You that You love well, each one of us. Forgive us for omitting any of these things from how we are living, and show us how we can properly respect everyone, love our sisters and brothers in Christ, fear You, and honor our leaders. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have humble hearts that are willing to listen and obey all that You ask of us. Lead us to love and respect ALL people, no matter how they act toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we show proper respect to ALL people, love one another well, fear You, and honor our leaders. 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

To Stay the Course

As Joshua’s life was drawing to a close, he gathered together the leaders of Israel and admonished them with words of warning and wisdom. He reminded them of God’s faithfulness to them, and of the promises that were present if they would continue to walk in all of the Lord’s ways. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” – (Joshua 23:6)

 

For us, Jesus fulfilled the Law, yet we are still charged with much of the same. We are called to be strong in the Lord, and to not turn away from His will for our lives. Our strength to stay the course is not innately ours, but rather comes from Christ when we seek Him as our help and our hope. May we go forth this day encouraged in the Lord’s strength, to stay the course to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord,To Stay the Course

and choose to obey;

no turning aside,

from His path, don’t stray.

For we have been called,

equipped and made strong;

to do all He asks,

for our whole life long.

May we ever seek,

the God of all grace;

and serve the Lord well,

’til we see His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our strength comes from You alone. Thank You that our ability to stay the course to which we are called is not our own, but rather a gift that is given by You when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through things on our own, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Source that is safe and secure. Lead us to love well, so that many may be encouraged to follow after You. Be exalted O God, as we stay the course to which we are called in the strength that You provide. 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

Committed Care

As Paul was parting company with the Ephesian elders for what he knew would be the last time, he spoke words of warning, comfort, and exhortation. After all of the time and energy invested in Ephesus, Paul simply had to continue to where he was called, trusting that the Ephesians would be covered in Christ’s tender care. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” – (Acts 20:32, NIV) Another version states, “Now I am putting you in God’s care. I am depending on the message about His grace to make you strong. That message is able to give you the blessing that God gives to all His holy people.” – (Acts 20:32, ERV)

 

Just as Paul so diligently invested in those he was given charge over, so we ought to do likewise. Though we may not part company in such a dramatic fashion, it is essential for me to be certain that my charges are properly equipped in the ways in which they are meant to go, even in the short span of time that we part ways while they are at school, or are out with friends. As they go, I must commit them to God, and trust that they are in His care (using wisdom in what and where I allow them to go). His word is rooted and established within them, thus His grace will make them strong. May we each invest in God and His word of grace, so we may be built up and receive the inheritance that He gives to those He calls His own.

 

Invested in Christ,Committed Care

deep-rooted in grace;

immersed in His care,

by seeking His face.

He grants us the strength,

to do right by Him;

His blessings given,

His presence within.

As company parts,

let leaders not fear;

for those invested,

His Spirit, can hear.

Father, please protect,

both leader and charge;

in Your tender care,

wherever we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and protect us, and grant us Your strength and grace when we choose invest in You. Thank You that we have an inheritance of eternal life in You, which is far more valuable than anything we could pursue on earth. Thank You that You value people, not possessions, and You want us to do likewise. Forgive us for not investing enough in those around us, or for not trusting You completely with those in whom we invest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may commit all into Your care, as Your hands are far stronger and more capable of holding those whom we love, than we are. Give us Your heart to love, as You so lavishly love each of us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we invest in others and commit them to Your care. Amen.

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

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

As We Are Available

When a problem was identified among them, the leaders gathered the disciples together to discover the source of their dissent.  Once the issue was identified, the Twelve determined a need to appoint others to assist in administrative tasks, so they selected those who were full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.  “They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6)

We are given a great model of how to run things well, through the example set by the early church.  Even if the arena is not a church setting, wisdom ought to direct leaders to gather and identify those who are gifted with strengths in the areas of need, and then those selected ought to be placed in a position to perform the given tasks, with the blessing of the leadership.  Thriving businesses, schools, corporations and churches, all seem to utilize this model.  No one leader attempts to do everything, but rather those meant to lead, keep the main things the main things, and delegate administrative tasks to individuals who are gifted in those given areas.

How can we be a part of the solution, rather than perpetuating the problem?  If we see a need, we can help fill it if we are able; if not, we can identify the lack, and bring it to the attention of those who are in charge.  Our ability to help is often limited more by our willingness, rather than our skill set.  If we have a heart after God and a mind set to serve, there is likely something that we can contribute.  May we each be willing to do whatever He calls us to do.

Leaders gather,As We Are Available

recognize a need;

seeking helpers,

to the Lord, they heed.

For the faithful,

in whom Spirit dwells;

ready to move,

to answer Him well.

May we be those,

on whom they can call;

willing to answer,

trusted to install.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us an example of how things ought to be, through the example of the early church.  Thank You that You still provide the very same faith and Holy Spirit in us, that You did in them, to allow us to operate in the same way.  Forgive us for grumbling rather than taking action or seeking answers, and help us to be willing and available to be part of the solution.  May we help take the weight off of those You have placed in leadership positions, so that they may best do that which You have called and equipped them to do.  Let our lives lived in love be both an encouragement to the faithful and a witness to those who know You not.  May many be drawn unto You, and come to know You as their personal Savior.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and let Your authority be evident among the body of believers.  Amen.

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

The Power of Prayer

image by Lynn Roey

image by Lynn Roey

We are urged, first of all,

to pray without ceasing;

intercession for all,

faith ever increasing.

Pray for every leader,

and person placed in charge,

despite how they’re leading,

our God’s answers are large.

It is only through Him,

that a heart may be changed;

peace from the warriors,

sanity from deranged.

Pray that all may find peace,

lives in His holiness,

as the Savior is sought,

make known His godliness.

There is only one God,

and one Mediator;

between God and all men,

in Jesus, our Savior.

For He was a ransom,

given in proper time;

provider of purpose,

with salvation in mind.

(Responding to I Timothy 2:1-7)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder of the power provided through our prayers. Forgive us for complaining or for finding faults, rather than lifting our leaders up in prayer. Thank You that You have the power to change even the most seemingly wayward heart. Teach us to trust You, and allow Your Spirit to lead us in how we ought to pray for those placed in authority over us. Thank You that above all, You are our ultimate Authority, to whom we all must one day answer. May our every answer unto You, be yes and amen. Use our obedience to lead those who are looking, into Your loving embrace. Amen.

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

Lifting Up Our Leaders

image by Amy Do-Yeon

image by Amy Do-Yeon

Respect the hardworking,

who choose to build you up;

their servanthood lifestyle,

is not an easy cup.

Regard leaders with love,

hold them in high esteem;

for they’re heeding the call,

far beyond what is seen.

Peace to one another,

we are called to be kind;

warn those who are idle,

help renew tired minds.

Encourage the timid,

lend a hand to the weak;

be patient at all times,

so the Father they’ll seek.

Pay back not wrong for wrong,

instead choose to forgive;

pray continually,

let joy be how we live.

With a heart full of thanks,

and lips that ever praise;

we fulfill what He wants,

to bless Him with our days.

(Responding to I Thessalonians 5:12-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not just asked to do these things and fend for ourselves, but You sent Your Son to show us how it is done, and Your Spirit to give us the strength.  Thank You for the godly men and women that You have placed in leadership roles in our lives.  Thank You for their obedience and faithfulness to You.  Help us to respect and regard our leaders highly, in a way that honors You.  Forgive us for not being more diligent to pray and care for those You have placed in these positions.  Quicken our hearts and minds to remember to pray for our leaders, and to perpetuate peace wherever possible, as we follow the path You have laid for each of us.  May those You have called to lead be encouraged today, and may many come to know You through the love that is extended beyond our building walls.  Amen.

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

All for One and One for All

We are the body,

image from jonmrichardson.com

image from jonmrichardson.com

the body is one.

We need each other

to get His will done.

If one is in lack,

the one who has much,

can extend a hand,

give God’s loving touch.

If one is in sin,

come along beside,

gently restore them,

for each one Christ died.

Compare not ourselves,

one to another.

Celebrate the good,

embrace each other.

Care for our leaders;

do not be deceived.

We reap what we sow,

take heart and believe.

Let’s not grow weary

in our doing good.

For our time will come;

blessings understood.

(Responding to Galatians 6:1-10)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for community.  Thank You that You intend for us to encourage and bear one another’s burdens in love.  Thank You that this is only possible by Your strength and Your grace, given by Your Spirit in us, because of all that You freely bore on the cross.  Forgive us for comparing ourselves to one another, and help us to recognize that our remarkable value rests in You alone.  Help us to care for one another, for our leaders, and for those who lacking, and may we never grow weary of doing good.  Thank You that we have hope and help here on earth, and that we have the glory of heaven before us.  May we live life in such a way that many may come to know You.  Amen.

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