Tag Archive: reading


For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

 

Whether we are in need of words of encouragement or correction, God’s word is real and relevant, and the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts as we invest time in reading His word. So often, I am in awe of how timely the truth of His word applies to whatever is going on in my own life. God sees and knows us, individually. No thought, desire, prayer nor concern, escapes the attention of our Savior. Though at times it is a bit unnerving to know we are known, ultimately, we can trust that the motivation is love, and the purpose is to provide the path to His perfect peace, despite the pain and pandemonium that sometimes surrounds us. May we trust in the truth and continue to seek Him, as we allow His Spirit to speak to our hearts through time spent investing in the word.

 

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

Is power, alive;

It shows us the truth,

So that we might thrive.

Sharper than a sword,

It’s used to divide;

His truth from the lies,

Where our fears reside.

He shines forth His light,

And shows us what’s true;

So that we may rise,

By grace, choose push through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and powerful. Thank You that it shows us where we are walking upright before You, and where we are desperately in need of Your correction and redirection. Forgive us for not seeking and asking, or for neglecting to listen and obey, despite knowing the way in which You are calling us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will invest time in Your word, and listen to Your leading – be it correction or exhortation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points people to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to direct our steps. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

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“O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord!” – (Jeremiah 22:29, NKJV)

 

To know God, we must not only pray to Him, but we have to listen as well. One of the most tangible ways to hear instruction and direction from God, is through spending time in His word. This comes not through the completion of a checklist of passage reading, but rather through an intentional time spent reading and then reflecting upon what we have taken in. I am continually in awe of how the Lord can take a passage that I have read a hundred times prior, and suddenly use it to speak something entirely new into my life in just the right season. His word is alive and active, and He still speaks to those who are willing to listen. May we invest our hearts and minds into time spent with Him, having two-way conversations, so that we might hear the heart of heaven for the here and now.

 

To hear the Lord’s heart,photo (11)

We must choose draw near;

In silence, listen,

So His voice is clear.

He’s faithful to speak,

To those who invest;

Spend time before Him,

He’ll show us what’s best.

Ask and He’ll answer,

Let our hearts be still;

May the word of truth,

Be where we are filled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You still speak to us through Your word. Thank You that when we quiet our hearts before You, You show us the answers that we need to know. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of listening. Teach us to slow down and listen, so that we may hear You clearly. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us, so that many may come to trust in Your truth. Lead hearts to lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You through Your word, and obey all that You ask. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Today’s reading was found in Numbers 22:21-33. This passage tells the story of Balaam and his donkey as they are on their way to a Moabite town with Moabite officials. Balaam’s journey was not pleasing to the Lord. Three times, an angel of the Lord stood in the path of Balaam on his donkey, and blocked the way. Though Balaam could not see him, the donkey certainly could. In fear, the donkey turned away, held back and finally laid down, refusing to go forward each time the angel appeared. Unfortunately, Balaam could not see the angel, and chose to beat the donkey each time it refused to move forward. Finally, after the third time, God opened the mouth of the donkey and gave it the ability to speak. The donkey asked what it had done to deserve the beatings, and Balaam was concerned only that the donkey had made him appear a fool. What really stood out to me this morning, was the donkey’s reply to Balaam’s rant about being made appear a fool.

 

“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life, have I ever done anything like this before?” – (Numbers 22:30)

 

When those around us do things that are out of character, it is better to ask why, than to get angry or upset at the abrupt change. Most of the time, when people operate outside of their norm, there is a reason. It is almost always in response to something. If it is to hurt, how can we help? If it is to fear, how can we reassure or heed the warning? May we be sensitive to those around us, taking note of attitudes, actions or words that wander from their normal mode of operation. Lord, lead us to be sensitive to Your voice as we listen to those around us, so that we may identify the why when something is awry.

 

When words are like weapons,

Equipped for Desert Seasons

Where never before;

It’s our job to find out,

Discover the sore.

For panic or wounding,

Great heartache or fear;

Each one can be reason,

To ask and draw near.

Let Balaam’s example,

Be warning to us;

Sometimes the uncommon,

Is help from Jesus.

Lord, make our hearts tender,

Ready to give ear;

Help us see through Your eyes,

So all becomes clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us things through Your eyes, and give us Your heart for those around us. Forgive us for getting angry or upset when those around us operate outside of their normal mode of operation. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might patiently and lovingly pursue answers as to why someone is “off” rather than be bothered by it. Help us to love others well, just as You so patiently and extravagantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand when things are awry, rather than respond as the recipients of offense. Amen.

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

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

You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again! – (Psalm 71:21, ERV)

 

Yesterday, I participated in my first Tactical Strength Challenge. A TSC is a three-event competition that tests brut strength on the deadlift, muscular control on the pull up/chin hang, and lastly, muscular endurance with the five-minute kettlebell snatch test. The entire event was an incredible experience, as each competitor, officiant and spectator was positive and encouraging to all others. After months of training, I was hopeful to accomplish personal records in each event, as I felt ready. Sadly, on my third deadlift, I somehow injured my back as I was attempting to pull 300 pounds.  The pain impacted how I did on the bar hang, as I did not do as well as I had hoped. However, my teammates did amazing things, and the excitement of their success was a great encouragement and comfort to me. Somehow, on the final event, His strength was granted and I did PR on my kettlebell snatch test, in spite of how my back was feeling. This morning, as I ice the injury, I am encouraged and comforted through both reading the Psalms and reflecting on all that God has done. He has done great things in me and my teammates, and greater things are yet to come. His comfort is with me, and last evening I was receiving text messages from each of these friends who have become family, offering to help if there was anything that I might need. I love how God uses everything that we do and all that we go through, to encourage us and deepen our circles of community. He is always good. May we invest well in His word and His created, for loving Him and loving people are where all good is found.

 

Do not be troubled,IMG_2174

When things go awry;

For greater shall come,

Continue to try.

Let not a setback,

Turn our hearts away;

Instead seek the Lord,

For His strength each day.

He is our comfort,

No matter what comes;

Don‘t let a struggle,

Mean your story’s done.

Press into the truth,

Where comfort is found;

Rise up and press on,

For His grace abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our comfort, and that You grant us strength and hope. Thank You that regardless of what happens today, You give us new grace and strength for what shall follow. Thank You that You create us for community, and for the blessing of people that You place in our lives. I am overwhelmed by not only the people with whom I train, but by other dear friends that knew what I was doing who checked in to see how it went. Thank You for blessing me with such an amazing circle. Forgive us for doubting You when we feel disappointed or defeated, and teach us to rise up and trust in You. Show us how to lean into You to receive the comfort and grace that You give, that renews our strength and propels us to persevere. Lead us to love others in such a way that we might be a comfort and encouragement to them, just as You are to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our help and our comfort. 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

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 the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power; it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. – (Hebrews 4:12, TLB)

The truth of God stands. No matter what lies hidden, it is known by God. He sees past all pretenses and pretty cover-ups, and gets straight to the heart of things. Where we need correction, He comes. Where we need direction, He leads. Where we need to be encouraged, He speaks life. In those spaces of weariness where we begin to tire of doing good, He grants strength and reminds us how pleased He is when we do His will. God’s word is alive and active and as we invest our time and attention to spending time reading it, He takes what is before us, and instructs, grows and shows us where we are meant to go. May we spend time earnestly seeking the Lord each day through the washing of His word; and may we be encouraged as He refines and defines us, as our hearts become more and more like His.

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

is alive, at work;

it cuts to the core,

highlights sin that lurks.

It judges our thoughts,

actions and desires;

points out our true heart,

rescues from the fire.

The truth of God stands,

for now and always;

it’s hope we can trust,

for all of our days.

By His word He shows,

how we’re meant to live;

what we should let go,

and grace we’re to give.

His words wash away,

that which needs to go;

and raises in us,

His love we’re to show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Thank You that Your word gets past all of our walls and straights to the heart. Thank You that by Your word and Spirit, You show us our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts through Your eyes. Forgive us for every way within us that does not align with Your heart and the truth of Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to lead and guide us to walk in Your way and live out Your truth. Show us how to love others with the same gracious and selfless love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to show us how it is to shape all that we say and 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

As people understand Your word, it brings light to their lives. Your word makes even simple people wise. – (Psalm 119:130, ERV)

 

The only way that we can come to understand God’s word is to actually invest time reading it. When we do, His Spirit in us, reveals insight and understanding that we did not have before. I am in awe how I can read a passage of scripture that I have read many times before, and it seems that each time it is read, something new is gained through the investment. Even more incredible, is that so often what I learn, applies to what is going on in my life at the time. If I am struggling with difficulty, there is something about the reward of perseverance; if sorrow, the reminder that joy comes in the morning. There is ALWAYS something new to be gained through time in His word, and His wisdom is worth more than anything else that is out there.

 

I love that we don’t have to be biblical scholars to study God’s word. He will reveal Himself to us individually, and personally. He meets us where we are, and shows us more of Himself, each time that we choose invest in Him. Interestingly, the more one invests in the study of His word and time spent with Him, the more it is craved. After making time in God’s word a part of how I begin each day for the past four plus years, I feel really off if something delays my regular routine. Each offering of opportunity to further study the word, is something that I gravitate toward all the more. As new insights come, so do more questions with more to be revealed. I know I will never “arrive”, which makes the pursuit all the more necessary. May we passionately pursue God and His word, as He brings light to our lives and wisdom to our way.

 

Seek understanding,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

through time in the word;

for light for our lives,

is in that space heard.

It is Christ with us,

who shows us the way;

grants wisdom and grace,

to live out each day.

Not just for scholars,

but all who pursue;

the Lord through His word,

shall come to know truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that as we invest time in reading and meditating on what it says, You reveal more and more of who You are, and how You want us to live. Thank You that You grant us wisdom and understanding by Your Spirit in us, and that there are no prerequisites to our studying Your word. Forgive us for thinking that it is too difficult or that we do not know enough, and help us to learn to listen to Your Spirit within us as we study Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will count on Your faithfulness to reveal more and more of who You are and what You have for us, each time we invest time spent with You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too might see the light and grace that You alone give to all who choose to follow You. May many make the decision to be Your disciples. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand Your word, and walk in the wisdom that You grant 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

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. 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

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. 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

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