Making Markers to Remember

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will as you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – (Joshua 4:6-7, NLT)

…Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” You will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and those stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever. – (Joshua 4:6-7, VOICE)

 

I love how often in the Old Testament that there are significant stories of God’s faithfulness where the people of God marked their story with stones of remembrance so that the memory of all that God had done will live on for the generations yet to come. I’m not sure when or where that practice was lost, but it makes me take pause to consider yet again, all of the times in my life where I could pile stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The incredible thing about God is that He cares about the small things as well as the giants that cross our paths. One example of His provision and faithfulness for me came yesterday, as I have been dealing with a dead Keurig for the last two weeks. Yes, I know it is a luxury item and I have been abundantly blessed to have one, yet as a very early riser who starts the day with coffee, it has been sadly missed as I’ve had to brew coffee in a make-shift, rustic way. Yesterday, my love spent two hours disassembling the machine to replace the part that seemed to have gone bad. The inner workings of the machine are tiny and difficult to access, yet my Viking mechanic persisted. Once he replaced the part and turned the machine on, it came to life, only to refuse to work the way it was intended. The life of my coffee maker had expired. I had posted my appreciation for his hard work on Facebook, and he later commented about its demise. A sweet friend that I have not seen in quite a while, offered to give me her machine, as she has given up coffee and no longer uses hers. Just like that, something that is not even a need, but rather a want that is appreciated, was provided. Perhaps I need to form a stack of memorial “stones” from k-cups, to remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness, and to share with others, His kindness to me. We all have stories, both big and small, of the wonderful ways that God has provided in our lives. May we ever remember the things that He has done, and consider the stones of remembrance He is building in our lives.

 

Let us make markers, Making Markers to Remember

Of God’s faithfulness;

Ways to remember,

How we have been blessed.

For as we recall,

The good God has done;

Faith grows in others,

Our daughters and sons.

May we each take time,

To tell of His good;

How He’s provided,

Beside us, He stood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You care about even the small details in our lives because You love us where we are. Thank You for the example that was set long ago, as Your people placed stones of remembrance to commemorate Your faithfulness to them. Forgive us for not acknowledging the ways that You meet us and bless us – both big and small, for Your hand is in it all. Teach us to remember and give You praise for all things. Show us how to set stones of remembrance in our hearts so that we would always have words of gratitude to give. Help us to love those around us in a way that creates reason to remember in their lives as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness and tell others of the great things that You have done. 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

Acts of Obedience

We are in the middle of a series called Surprised by Hope at the church I call home. Yesterday’s message was centered around “The Death of Jesus”, as we remember what went on during this sacred week so many years ago. The consequence of sin is death, and we are powerless to escape the hold of sin, unless God breaks in and rescues us from ourselves. In order for Him to do so, He requires a faith response on our part.

 

Jesus made His entry during the Passover celebration. This celebration is ultimately a remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the people’s obedience. God told the people that He would bring judgment on every household, unless a lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked on the doorposts. Though it likely made little sense, the people chose obedience to protect their precious families. As a result of their obedience, the angel of death passed over their homes, and they were all safe, while those who had not obeyed, were in the midst of great mourning. God delivered them because He loved them.

 

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of obedience. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could take on our sin and bear all of our burdens so that we could come to know redemption. Jesus knew what He would have to endure on our behalf, yet He was willing anyway.

 

What God asks of us does not always make sense, but He wants our heart, our will, our faith to trust Him, even if what He asks is not what we would expect. “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22b)

 

The consequence,Acts of Obedience

of sin is death;

without the Lord,

we’re powerless.

As we seek Him,

surrender all;

He’ll hear our heart,

and heed our call.

Prepare to do,

all that He asks;

regardless of,

the bizarre tasks.

For what He wants,

is our whole heart;

obedient,

each precious part.

So seek the Lord,

follow His ways;

redemption ours,

now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for us to be considered righteous before You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the weight and suffering that should have been mine to bear. Thank You for redeeming us from our former ways, and granting us new life in You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to sacrifice enough or do enough to earn Your favor, and help us to receive that which You freely give. May we embrace the grace that You grant us, and respond in faith to whatever You ask. Lead us to live confidently as Your redeemed children. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed deliverance that comes from You alone. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd

Christmas is a remembrance of when Love came near.  God, came in flesh, so that all might know the saving grace that is available through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Light unto the world, and the good Shepherd to all whom believe.

In John 10:11, it says, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Though few of us have much exposure to present-day shepherds, what I can gather from footnotes and other resources that I have read, is that shepherds treat their sheep as family, and are willing to lay down their own life to keep each of them safe from harm.  A shepherd’s love and commitment to care for his flock is not a paid position, but rather one’s chosen duty as he cares for each sheep as if it were his own precious progeny.

Jesus, throughout scripture, is called the Good Shepherd.  He is the ultimate example of one who loves us with His very life, and cares for each of us, individually.  When we make the decision to follow Him, we become the sheep of His flock – the people of His pasture.  The cross was endured on our behalf, so that we are forgiven and freed from all that would lead us away from the security of our Good Shepherd; and His resurrection and the sending of His Holy Spirit, provide us with the ability to hear and obey His voice, as well as the power to hold fast to the promise of our eternal hope.  What a treasured song to sing, when His glad tidings we choose to bring.

The Savior came near,The Good Shepherd

in flesh, became man;

still fully holy,

for us, came to stand.

The Light of the world,

came down to the earth;

an innocent child,

lowly stable birth.

Announced by angels,

to shepherds in field;

for they knew of love,

sacrificial yield.

Baby became man,

Good Shepherd to all;

who choose to follow,

and answer His call.

For He gave His life,

so our life we’d gain;

eternal promise,

the truth to proclaim.

Sing out, fellow sheep,

glad tidings to share;

for His hope is ours,

rejoice in His care.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Good Shepherd.  Thank You that You know us and love us, individually.  Thank You that You willingly laid down Your life, so that we could have life with You forever.  Forgive us for allowing the worries of the world to steal our joy, and help us to rejoice in the promises that are ours forever.  Help us to share the great news of who You are, and may many receive the gift of You this Christmas.  May we love as You love, so that Your light is evident in all that we say and do.  May our actions be announcements of Your goodness and grace.  Amen.

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

And the Word Became Flesh

Christmas, the arrival we are called to celebrate, is the remembrance of the Word becoming flesh, and making His dwelling among us. When Christ was born, God became a man. He was not part man and part God; He was completely human and completely divine. (Colossians 2:9) Until His arrival, people could only know in part, what we can now fully know, because God became tangible to us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – (John 1:14)

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, was God came to us and became fully human, so that we might see and know God, as He chose to step down from His rightful throne to come near to us, so that we might come to know Him.

We have seen … the glory, for through the life of Jesus we saw the perfect teacher, example, and ultimately, the perfect sacrifice, by which we now have way to be in relationship with Him.

The One and Only, who came from the Father, “means Jesus is God’s only and unique Son. Jesus is one of a kind and enjoys a relationship with God unlike all believers who are called children and said to be ‘born of God.” (NIV footnotes)

Full of grace and truth, is what makes the gift of His arrival approachable to us. His grace allows us to draw near, and His truth makes it possible for us to trust Him in all things and at all times.

A promise was spoken,And the Word Became Flesh

such a long time ago;

that a Savior would come,

for the whole world to know.

For God became human,

Divinity on earth;

the Word did become flesh,

to humanity birthed.

His glory among us,

so that we all could see;

the heart of the Father,

full of love unto thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, and allowing the Word to become flesh and dwell among us. Thank You that Your presence on earth did not end at the cross, but rather it intensified, as You sent Your Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Forgive us for not fully reflecting the radiance that resides within us, and help us to remove all that hinders us, so that we may shine brightly for You. May we let the light of Your love shine to all who are near us, and may they come to know that You alone, are the Source of all safety, security and hope in this most sacred season. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

Knowing Our Need

In the midst of a weekend of remembrance, I found myself flooded with many memoires of Anne. It seemed no matter where I went, little things were reminding me of her, and the sorrow seemed to want to wrap itself around me like tightly bound burial clothes. Each time the sorrow would attempt to seep in, I would shove it away, dismissing it, as I deemed the moments as inappropriate to deal with the emotions as they attempted to ensue. Ongoing repression tends to lead to agitation, and I found myself getting irritated with my boys over things that usually do not phase me. God brought to my attention the need to seek a sister in the body, as He was not asking me to process this alone. A few texts later, and I was on my way to a pleasant escape.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – (I Corinthians 12:27) Just as I needed time with another to verbalize what was going on, so also, others need the gifts that He has placed in me, in order to be their best selves, and function best in their role in the body. He created us to need each other to function as a whole. Not all of us are teachers, nor apostles, nor administrators, yet every one of us can make ourselves available in some capacity to serve one another. As we choose to serve, our gifts begin to unwrap.

To be the body,Aine and Me

we must do our part;

place best foot forward,

be willing to start.

Faith is required,

in order to move;

we must trust in Him,

all doubt be removed.

Just come as we are,

He takes what we bring;

and creates beauty,

with our offering.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be relational people. Thank You that we were designed to love You and love each other. Forgive us for where we have failed to do either, and help us to choose love anew today. Thank You that we each are given different strengths to best benefit the body as a whole. Please teach us how we are to use our gifts to edify the body, encouraging one another in love. Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come to know the amazing grace available to all who seek Your face. May we be a united body before You. Amen.

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