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

Called to Live in Peace

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

 

This is such a timely scripture, as hearts are often unsettled as we approach the holiday season. Sometimes the unrest is due to overscheduling, but others are dealing with grieving losses that are magnified during this festive time of year. Our peace can only come from Christ. When we seek Him first, and rely on Him to rule and reign in our hearts, His peace comes and helps us live accordingly. If we are at peace within ourselves, it is far easier to be at peace with those around us. We tend to be bothered less by the little things, and more apt to extend grace to those around us. It is in this space that we recognize the remarkable that our Redeemer has done in and around us, and thankfulness cannot help but bubble up within our hearts. May we seek the Lord and His peace, so that we may be at peace within ourselves and those around us. Let thankfulness rise up and flow freely from our lips for His great faithfulness and the hope that is held forever in Him.

 

In spaces of stress,Hope for Eternity

May we offer peace;

For Christ within us,

Brings hope that won’t cease.

We are one body,

Called to live as one;

Loving each other,

’til our days are done.

Let thanks fill our hearts,

For God and His love;

For His peace that reigns,

May hope rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the peace that passes all understanding is available in You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to live in peace with one another as Your body. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength to be at peace within ourselves or with those around us. Teach us to trust You more for what we need to operate as agents of peace, especially during this season of giving thanks. Show us how to love and bless others well, so that they may know Your peace as we extend Your goodness and grace to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to rule in our hearts and seek to live in peace with those around us. All thanks to You, Lord, now and forever. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Belief in the Battle

In the story of David and Goliath, David was still but a boy, going obediently to his brothers on the battle lines, to deliver food rations. Upon his arrival, he became aware of the sinister situation with the giant called Goliath. David was infuriated when he heard Goliath making a mockery of the Israelites, and inquired as to why nothing had been done. Because David had stood against various giants before as a shepherd in the fields, (a lion and a bear) and God had given him the strength to overcome each, he knew that God would be with him in the same way against this Philistine who was defying the living God. David was so confident in the Lord, that his own words as he faced Goliath included “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” – (1 Samuel 17:47)

 

David’s unwavering faith resulted in an end to a forty-day stand-off. God granted victory to the Israelites because David was willing to faithfully take a stand. God hears our call for His help, and is present for all who seek Him. Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – (Psalm 9:10)

 

Though we may not always see results right away, as David did, when we trust in the Lord, He will not forsake us. He is present, and He is worthy of all of our trust, despite the way things appear. May we rise up with faith like David’s, even when face our own Goliath. God is with us, and the battle belongs to Him.

 

Real obedience,Facing the Giants

is faith on the move;

going where He calls,

trusting His word’s true.

When in the battle,

let us trust the fight;

not to our own strength,

but to the Lord’s might.

For He won’t forsake,

those who call on Him;

so let us each trust,

the Lord enter in.

He saves us from death,

and certain defeat;

judgment and justice,

the Lord’s to complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may face giants before us, every battle belongs to You. Thank You that we can trust in You, just as David did, knowing that it is You in us that will strengthen and equip us to face what lies in front of us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stuck, rather than moving in obedience. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move as You ask, and allow You to fight for us, through us, and in us, so that we may come to know the victory that You have in store for each of our lives. Lead us to love others with the same relentless love that You give to us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as a result. Be magnified O God, as we walk fearlessly in obedience in the battles, and allow You room to fight on our behalf. Amen.

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

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

Power Made Perfect in Weakness

Paul lived a phenomenal life of obedient faith. Often, we fail to remember that he had some sort of affliction that tormented him throughout many of his years of ministry. Despite his asking the Lord repeatedly to remove it, he remained faithful to continue in that which he was called, even when the Lord’s answer was not what Paul had hoped.

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

The Lord spoke to Paul, and Paul listened. Though he could have had a pity party and complained about having to live with his affliction, instead, Paul came to recognize that the very point of pain and weakness was a perfect opportunity for God’s power to be magnified. Where we are weak, it becomes obvious that anything we do well, is done in the Lord’s strength. Additionally, when we are aware of our own shortcomings, we are more likely to seek our Savior to be our source of strength, help and hope, as we know fully that without Him, we will fall on our faces. May we choose to embrace His grace this day, in our places of weakness, allowing His power to be made perfect in us. Let the Lord lead us, so that many may witness His mighty strength where our own is not.

 

Grace that’s sufficient,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it’s more than enough;

despite what we face,

the Lord’s strength is tough.

For when we are weak,

we choose to seek Him;

make way for His strength,

to come enter in.

Therefore let us boast,

of where our strength lacks;

so Christ’s power comes,

to keep us on track.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for us, and that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that our spaces of weakness are not something to be ashamed of, but rather they are opportunities for Your power to shine. Forgive us for stubborn independence or our fear of exposing our weaknesses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to be transparent in our weakness and allow Your strength to shine. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Breaking Free from Barriers

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

 

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into Heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

 

Before Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, the high priest was only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people with a blood offering. When Jesus came and suffered on our behalf, He broke down the barriers that limited our access to the presence of our great High Priest. When Christ sacrificed Himself, the price was paid – once and for all. No longer do we have need for an earthly mediator to communicate with God. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually contending for us. We are seen through the veil of His righteousness, and received as coheirs with Christ. Let us boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace, as we seek to serve Him all of our days.

 

No barrier,Breaking Free from Barriers

exists between;

a longing heart,

and Christ unseen.

Each honest cry,

by Heaven’s heard;

our great High Priest,

values each word.

Look to the Lord,

in suffering;

let gratitude,

from our lips, sing.

Direct access,

to His mercy;

let love and grace,

set our hearts free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to have direct access to You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring our sin and shame on the cross. Thank You for conquering the grave and returning to the right hand of the Father, so that You can advocate for us. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks that we have to do or be enough to somehow earn what You freely give. Teach us to embrace Your mercy and grace, and to go forth in gratitude to serve. May we extend Your love and light to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be magnified as we move past every barrier that might hinder 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

 

Infinite Worth

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” – (Matthew 10:29-31)

 

Because God so loved, He created. He intimately knows His creation, and loves each of us, individually. If God is aware of all of the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, how much more so, is He aware of us, personally? The Father’s love is so great that He sent His only Son to die for us, (John 3:16), so that we could have life abundantly in Him forever.

 

This does not mean that our troubles will all fade away. However, we need not fear in times of trouble, for our help and our hope is present with us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us. The One who knows the number of hairs on our head, knows what we need in all things and at all times, far better than we do. He values us more that we do, as He willingly gave up His life for ours. How can we help but trust the One who truly knows and loves us?

 

We are known and loved,Sparrow2

from before our birth;

to the Lord above,

hold infinite worth.

He knows us by name,

and our hidden parts;

He still chooses love,

and mends broken hearts.

There’s nothing that He,

does not clearly see;

yet He still picks love,

despite the ugly.

Our God’s perfect love,

shall cast out all fear;

for it cannot stay,

when we know He’s near.

Allow His great love,

to grant hope, rebirth;

for we are each His,

of infinite worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us intimately, and love us anyway. Thank You that we are of infinite worth unto You, as You loved us so much that You willingly sent Your Son to die in our place, so that we could have eternal life with You. Thank You that Your perfect love casts out fear, and that You remain present no matter what we face or endure. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of trust, and grow in us an unwavering faith that trusts in all things and at all times, that You are with us and You are good. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You and Your great love as a result. Be magnified as we move forward faithfully in You. Amen.

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

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

Consider Great Things

Life is busy; and busy, can be distracting. In the midst of all that moves us, we are meant to slow down and take time to reset and reflect, restoring our priorities to their proper place. As Samuel was nearing the end of his life and the people had asked the Lord for a king, to be like the nations that surrounded them, he offered much sound advice. A verse that stood out to me this morning, as a reliable reminder to keep our priorities in their proper place, is the following: “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” – (1 Samuel 12:24)

 

To fear the Lord is to stand in reverent awe of who He is, and to understand that He is God, and we are not. Serving Him faithfully with all your heart is to withhold nothing; allowing Him access to all that we are, and offering our whole selves unto Him. When we feel that tender tug on our heartstrings to do something to serve, we don’t think; we act. To consider what great things He has done for us, is to remember His faithfulness. It takes little looking to see how He has been faithful. Being awake and able to read His word this morning is just one small example of His unending faithfulness unto us. The sun rose, as it was meant to do, I draw breath, without effort… What an incredible God to give us the gift of life and love and His unending faithfulness!

 

Take time to slow down,Consider Great Things

to think of great things;

the gifts from the Lord,

that salvation brings.

His love and His grace,

freedom from demise;

His great strength to stand,

against all the lies.

Stand in total awe,

of our Mighty King;

serve Him faithfully,

as our offering.

Remember the Lord,

and His faithfulness;

all glory to Him,

God of Righteousness!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our reverence and awe; for You created everything that is, and was and is yet to be. Thank You for Your loving kindness and faithfulness to us, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for getting so caught up in the chaos of life, that we don’t stop to remember all that You have done for us. Help us to remember Your faithfulness, and trust that You are still the same God today as You were before. May we have hearts that are willing to serve You completely, and trust You with our whole being. Let Your love shine through us as we seek to serve as You call us. May many come to know You as their faithful Father, as we honor You in all that we say and do. Be magnified in the midst of us, as we consider the great things You have done. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

 

 

Unto His Own

When we enter into a relationship with Christ, He claims us as His own, and sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, so that we will know His presence and His promises. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” – (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

 

Our strength to stand firm in Christ, comes from God. It is not something we need to somehow muster on our own, but rather through our dependence on Him who gives us life and breath; He is our Source to remain firm in our faith. As we commit our lives to Him, He anoints us, and claims us as His own. Our identity becomes that of sons and daughters of the Almighty, not just people following from afar. Beyond that, God gives us His Holy Spirit to come and dwell with us for all of our days. His presence is our promise and ever-present reminder of not only our hope for now, but our guarantee of the goodness that is yet to come. What a mighty and loving God we serve!

 

Not by our strength,Unto His Own

but through Christ the Lord;

firmly we stand,

by grace He affords.

He anoints us,

and calls us His own;

sends His Spirit,

so our hope is known.

Not just for now,

too, for what will be;

He grants us sight,

so His hope we see.

Hold fast, dear ones,

for our hearts are known;

He’s given all,

all unto His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and know us completely. Thank You that when we come to You, You receive us with open arms, and call us Your own. Thank You that when we are Yours, You give us Your Holy Spirit to lead, guide and grant us hope. Forgive us for not relying on the Resource within us, and help us to seek You to be our Source of strength in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know You, personally, in the process. Be magnified through all that we say and do. May our every word and deed give glory unto You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy.

– Hebrews 4:16

 

 

The Mind of Christ

“As the Scriptures say, ‘Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind?  Who is able to give Him advice?’  But we have been given Christ’s way of thinking.” – (I Corinthians 2:16 ERV)

Not one of us has the capacity to comprehend our Creator.  However, by His Holy Spirit, those who commit their hearts and minds unto Him, are granted insight and understanding into some of God’s plans, thoughts and actions.  In a sense, we are granted access to the mind of Christ.  As we invest in an intentional intimate relationship with our Redeemer, He reveals more of Himself to us, by His Spirit.  Time spent in His word, in worship, and in prayer, provide opportunities for us to grow closer to our Creator, as we learn more of who He is, and all that He has done for us.

Who can come to know,The Mind of Christ

the mind of the Lord?

Those who will invest,

choose time to afford.

Time spent with Jesus,

will not return void;

understanding comes,

when our heart’s employed.

Lean not on our strength,

but fully on Christ;

to know how He gave,

His great sacrifice.

Let our hearts receive,

all He has to give;

so by His Spirit,

we shall truly live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and reveal to us, more and more of Yourself.  Thank You that by Your Spirit, we may come to know Your thoughts, which are far higher and greater than our own.  Forgive us for not investing our whole hearts, or for turning a deaf ear to what You are speaking to our hearts.  Help us to give You our whole heart, and may our ears and hearts be open to hear and obey all that You are asking.  Let us live in worshipful obedience, so that our love for You and for others is evident.  May many be drawn unto You as a result.  Let Your light be bright in us.  Be magnified through all that we say and do.  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

Resetting Our Focus

In Mark 5, the story of Jairus, the synagogue ruler whose daughter was dying, is told.  There are numerous things about this story that stand out, yet the one that is in the forefront of my mind this morning, is how when all that was seen, was directing Jairus to despair, Jesus had another plan in mind.  Members of Jairus’s household had just come and told him that his daughter was dead, and to not bother Jesus anymore.  “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid, just believe.” – (Mark 5:36)

Life’s circumstance told Jairus to despair, yet Jesus told him to hope.  Jairus, in that moment had a choice to make.  He could choose to focus on the news that had just been delivered, or he could hold onto the hope that was standing before him.  As the story further unfolds, Jairus clearly opted to believe, as Jesus joined him on his journey home, and ultimately healed his daughter from death.  In order for the healing to happen, Jairus had to be willing to allow his focus to be reset from what was, to Whom was standing before him.

The same holds true for each of us.  We can fix our eyes on the struggle, challenge or obstacle that we are facing, or we can allow our focus to fix securely on our solution.  We have hope, despite how things appear.  Our strength in the struggle and our light in the dark, is available; we must let go of fear, and just believe.

Let not our eyes,Resetting Our Focus

determine our view;

for what is seen,

is not always true.

God is greater,

than life’s circumstance;

when fixed on Him,

nothing’s left to chance.

All strength, all hope,

all power to be;

comes from the Lord,

Him who truly sees.

Look to the Lord,

not to the trials;

faith’s not by sight,

it’s trust in fires.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are where our gaze should rest, as in You and through You, we find our hope and our help.  Thank You that You are the solution before we can even formulate the question, and that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You, individually; personally.  Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the struggles and trials that are before us, and help us to reset our focus on You.  Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You are the One on whom we can depend.  May we walk by faith and not by sight, and may we live out our lives in love as You love us.  Let those who are looking, come to find the fullness of a lasting relationship with You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  – 2 Corinthians 3:5