Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. 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

Advertisements

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

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. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

All Things Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

The first day of the new year is great time to remember and recognize that we are made new in Christ. God is the God of fresh starts, and He is ever making us new as we seek and trust in Him. What better time to seek and listen for direction, as we begin the first page of what He will do in 2018? What are we holding in our hands to utilize for Him right now, and what are the dreams that He has given that are not yet? Our charge is to walk forward in what we’ve been given, love as we are loved by Him, and to be faithful to each new step we are shown along the way. May we take time to recognize all of the places in our hearts, minds and lives that the Lord has made new as we begin this brand-new year with eager anticipation for all that He has in store.

 

All things are made new, All Things Made New

New year, a fresh start;

To choose be faithful,

As God’s work of art.

Each with a purpose,

A plan God designed;

Let’s follow in faith,

Heart, body and mind.

Wherever we are,

And where we choose go;

If lived out in love,

The newness will grow.

Goodbye to the old,

Hello to the new;

Each step that we take,

Chance for love shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You for the blessed reminder that all things are new in You, as we begin day one of a brand-new year. Forgive us for dwelling on the past, and teach us how to embrace what we are given now and the promises that lie ahead. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that they would be encouraged to embrace all that is made new in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. 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

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. 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 New Strength

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

 

Today is the first day that I did not have to set an alarm since last August. I first woke at 1:30, as I had already slept nearly four hours and my body thought it was time to wake. After reminding myself that no alarm was needed and that I could sleep as long as my body would allow, I drifted off again until 6:15 a.m. In one night, I nearly doubled my average number of hours slept. This is the season in which my strength is restored, and my body and mind are renewed. Though I am sustained and strengthened for all that God calls me to do during the school year, I am so grateful for this season of refreshing, where I actually find myself being made new. May we each trust in the Lord to be our strength, as He grants us wings to soar. As we fly where He calls, we will run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.

 

As I give my trust, strength-in-waiting

To the Lord of all;

He takes me to heights,

On my own, I’d fall.

But God in His grace,

Grants us strength to soar;

To rise and press on,

In Him, so much more.

Like eagles, we’ll rise,

With feathers anew;

We’ll walk, run and fly,

God will lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that You strengthen us so that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Thank You that You equip us to do whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for folding in our weariness, or for lacking faith in spaces where we need to trust You more. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, so that we will come to know the capacity of Your grace and strength and goodness that is given when we place our lives in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that refreshes and renews the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to find our strength and soar to new spaces, as we are refreshed and renewed in You. 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

A Forward Focus

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. 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

Listen and Abide

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32, NLT)

If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. – (John 8:31-32, VOICE)

 

To be a disciple of Christ requires discipline on our part. It is not merely a confession of faith, but a commitment to action. As people who are fully committed to follow Christ, we need to know His voice and His word. The Lord does not leave us guessing as to how we might come to know more of Him, but rather He has provided His Holy Word, which transcends time, cultures and technology. The truth remains, and the lessons we learn through investing in His word, help us learn and understand how to recognize and hear His voice. Freedom is found in knowing the truth. No more are we bound to the lies that lead us to believe that we must stay in our circumstances or remain as we are, for in Christ, we are made new and He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. May we listen for His voice and abide in His word, so that we may know the truth and discover the freedom that is found in Christ alone.

 

For Jesus made known,Aquiring Armor

To all who believed;

The truth and the light,

By which we’re set free.

It is through hearing,

God’s word and His voice;

The truth is made known,

Wisdom to make choice.

As we choose abide,

In this truth we know;

True freedom is found,

And faith greatly grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, You teach us the truth and set us free from all that hinders us from fully following You. Thank You that discipline is what differentiates a follower from a disciple. Thank You that we can choose to invest and You supply the rest. Forgive us for not listening for Your voice or investing in Your word as often as we should, as You are the One to show us the way that is best in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, allowing us to hear and know what Your will is for us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that illuminates the truth and provides freedom from the weight that wears them down. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen for Your voice and invest time in Your word, so that we may hear and know the truth. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Doing As We Were Designed to Do

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

 

Every one of us has been intentionally designed. Our strengths, our dreams, our attributes, our personality and our determination are all part of the masterpiece constructed by our Maker. Even more, when we submit our lives to Christ, we are made new in Him. All of the weathering and damage that we have done to the Lord’s artwork up to that point, is wiped away – we are made new. As we choose to embrace this space of being a new creation, we are able in Him, to go forth and do the things that He designed us to do, before we had life and breath. May we rise up and go forth in the plans and purposes that we were designed to do, as we embrace His grace that has made us wonderfully new.

 

Before we were born,IMG_2344

We all were designed;

Planned with a purpose,

God’s goodness aligned.

Then there comes a day,

When we have to choose;

To receive the Lord,

So we are made new.

All of the wreckage,

The scars and the dirt;

The Lord wipes away,

And shows us our worth.

There is no measure,

But rather a call;

To love as He loves,

Great purpose for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece – each and every one of us. Thank You that we are created anew in Christ when we choose to follow You. Thank You that as we are invested in You, You equip us to go forth and do the good that we were designed to do. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for our lives and how You so specifically designed each of us. Teach us to have grateful hearts for the new that we have in You, and for Your strength and capacity to do what You designed us to do. Show us how to walk out our purpose, daily. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve and honor You as we were designed to do. Amen.

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

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

In God We Can Trust

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps His covenant of loyal love with those who love Him and observe His commandments for a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG)

 

God is faithful to keep His promises and will continue to generously give His unfailing love to those who choose to love and obey Him. When we recognize God for who He is, we cannot help but long to please Him. The very same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them, hand-crafted each of us, and longs to live in relationship with us. To be loved personally by He who is so much greater than our minds can even conceive, is completely overwhelming. How can we help but love and honor the very hands that held the heart that beats within us, before we breathed our first breath? May we recognize God and who He is, and choose to love and obey all that He commands.

 

The hands that stretched out,Healed Hands Reach Out

to place all the stars;

are the hands of love,

that come where we are.

The Lord reaches out,

He’s faithful and true;

to all who choose trust,

in Him, be made new.

As we choose obey,

and love by our will;

His promises kept,

our hearts His love fills.

No matter what comes,

in God we can trust;

our hope is secure,

for His ways are just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we recognize You as our God, and love and obey what You ask, You are faithful to Your promises and lavish us with Your unfailing love. Thank You that You do not expect perfection, but rather hearts that are earnestly seeking You and Your best for our lives. Thank You that You are always ready and willing to meet us in each moment, wherever we are. Forgive us for our disobedience or hesitation when You call us into something that seems further or more difficult than we have ever gone or done before. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that if You call us into something, You are ready to equip us to do what You are asking and go wherever You are leading. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey all that You ask of us, for You are God indeed, on whom we can depend. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Mastered by God’s Grace

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus… For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. – (Romans 6:11 & 14, NIV)

 

When we commit our lives to Christ, there is a laying down of our old self, our sinful nature, and we are made new by the grace granted to us through what Jesus did for us once and for all at the cross. No longer are we bound by our sin and shame, but rather we become free to follow, unhindered, all that the Lord has for us. Though temptation does not disappear, we are equipped and empowered to overcome anything that is placed before us, by His Spirit, if we choose to depend on Him. May we rise up and recognize all that we have received, and live alive to God in Jesus Christ, by the glorious grace that we have been freely given.

 

When rooted in Christ,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

we all get to count;

ourselves dead to sin,

for Christ worked it out.

He opened the way,

for us to be free;

no more bound by law,

with grace guaranteed.

Though grace is a gift,

it compels us on;

to walk in the truth,

’til our days are gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, we die to the sinful part of ourselves and come alive in You. Thank You that we are no longer ruled by sin, but rather we are given Your grace so that we may willingly submit to Your authority in our lives, trusting You to lead us where You have for us to go. Forgive us for allowing anything to have a voice that is above Yours, and help us to quiet our hearts and minds to listen so that we can clearly hear Your direction. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times, as Your grace is more than enough. Show us how to love others with the same amazing grace that we are given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we count ourselves dead to our old sinful ways, and alive in You. 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