Bold Grace

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

Shame is a horribly heavy burden, especially when others have helped add weight to that which is constantly carried. Each time I have a conversation with someone who feels as if there is not a place for them to plug into a church, either because of their past or due to their current circumstances, my heart breaks a bit more. If we are truly loving God and loving people, shouldn’t we have open arms to all who choose to wander our way? Yes, there are precautions and wisdom that need be established for safety (we cannot be unwise) but we all have sinned and fallen short, so we are all equally eligible for the grace of God. His mercy and kindness are the very things that remove the burdens that we are not meant to bear. When we love people well, it often is the nudge needed for them to recognize that they are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. May we seek our Savior with open hearts and arms to receive His mercy and grace, so that we may in turn, go forth and extend the same to those around us.

 

Let us boldly go, Bold Grace

To the throne of grace;

Where God in mercy,

Our shame shall erase.

The weight we carry,

In love, He removes;

As His help He brings,

And faithfulness proves.

Choose ever seek God,

Go straight to His throne;

Give as He gives us,

So His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to bear the weight of all of our sin and shame. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy and help whenever we need it. Forgive us for not extending the same mercy and grace to those around us that we have been given by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and without basing our love on what has or has not been done by those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly to Your throne of grace to receive Your mercy and extend the same to others. 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

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Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

To Know Your Nearness

Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, NLT)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

 

God does not move away from us, yet the choices we make can create barriers that make seeking Him and hearing His voice more and more difficult. When we understand the greatness of God, and how good He is, it becomes increasingly more important that we call on the Lord often and keep short accounts. As we do, we remove that which hinders our hearts from seeking and hearing God, and remain ever aware of His nearness. Conversely, when we sit in our sin or get so caught up in the hectic pace of life that we neglect to acknowledge our need for God, He begins to feel far away. We are created to commune with our Creator. May we seek the Lord with our whole hearts, as He is always close at hand and ready to hear us.

 

Be not too busy, To Know Your Nearness

To seek the Lord’s face;

For He is waiting,

With mercy and grace.

We must keep seeking,

It’s where faith is found;

God’s ever present,

His love shall abound.

Let us not neglect,

To pray to the Lord;

We need know He’s near,

To find hope restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we call on Your Name, we come to know Your nearness. Forgive us for staying stuck in our own sin, or for allowing the hectic pace of life to keep us from seeking You. Teach us to make You a priority, as knowing Your presence matters most. Help us to seek You in all things, so that we would know Your heart to guide us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your nearness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and find You, as we seek You with all of our heart. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Grace Where We Are

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

 

Despite having been captured and taken into the possession of a foreign king, Daniel and his three friends placed their trust in God. Because they were faithful to follow God’s leading, He granted them favor and wisdom above all others who had been brought into captivity by the king of Babylon. Though I have heard the story of Daniel many times, it dawned on me this morning how much trust he must have had in God to do the things he did after having been captured and removed from all that he had ever known. Daniel did not volunteer to go and serve Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the king’s army had surrounded Jerusalem and carried him off to Babylon. It was likely violent and hostile, yet somehow, Daniel had the peace of God upon him, as he earned the favor of those in whose care he was placed. For me, this is a reminder of how much God moves when we are willing to trust Him. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, Daniel was faithful. As a result of Daniel’s obedient trust, God honored and blessed him, despite his location and position. May we ever trust the Lord and be faithful to follow Him, for He can bless us and grow us even in spaces we’d rather not remain.

 

When we choose to trust,Enter With Thanksgiving

Despite what we see;

God will do wonders,

He hears our heart’s plea.

Sometimes His help comes,

Right here where we are;

So we can rise up,

Show His grace, thus far.

When we stay faithful,

His presence is known;

For He’ll move mountains,

So His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You meet us where we are and make Your presence known. Thank You that though You do not always remove us from situations and circumstances that we would like out of, You meet us where we are and provide what we need to thrive in spite of them. Forgive us for our frustration when we feel stuck. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask for Your help and Your hope, and the wisdom to understand if we are meant to remain in a space or season of discomfort or not. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage, strengthen and lift up those who feel stuck. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, no matter what our circumstances or surroundings, as we know You are greater. Amen.

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

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

To Live in Peace

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV)

 

Peace comes not through our own quiet confidence that we can somehow come up with the capacity to cope on our own, but rather through knowing the Prince of Peace and listening to His leading. Fear takes flight as we fix our eyes on He who is far greater than anything that could come against us. As we listen to the Lord and trust in His strength, the situations and circumstances that once seemed terrifying and overwhelming, become interesting opportunities to see the hand of God at work in our lives. May we listen to the Lord and His leading, trusting in His strength, so that we live in the perfect peace that He alone provides.

 

Safety and comfort,butterfly vida

Come through listening;

When rooted in Christ,

Peace His presence brings.

Fear is forced to flee,

When the Lord is near;

For God is greater,

Our safety made clear.

So listen to God,

Sending fear to flight;

Peace in His presence,

The gift of clear sight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen to You, we will live in safety and peace, and have nothing to fear. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that will come against us. Forgive us for losing perspective of how much greater You are than that which is in the world. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to You to provide our safety, comfort and peace. Remove our fears and help us to be brave in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace, safety and comfort. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You in all that we do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Remove the Barriers of Unbelief

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV)

 

Just as God promised these things to the faithful who were in exile, His words and promises remain true for us today. If we seek the Lord and follow His ways, He will remove the things within us that are barriers to believing and becoming all that He has for us. He calls us His own, and we are reminded and reassured that God is for us and making us new in Him. May we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and follow His ways in truth. Let every heart allow God to give us an undivided heart and a new spirit that is a reflection of His love.

 

For this hard old heart,Being Made New

Must choose seek the Lord;

In faithful pursuit,

His grace He affords.

He takes our hardness,

Replaces within;

Tender, full of love,

As new life begins.

We are His people,

And He is our God;

Hearts undivided,

As we choose respond.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You and choose to faithfully follow You, You give us an undivided heart and a new spirit within. Thank You that You remove the barriers in our hearts that keep us from fully following after You. Thank You that You call us Your people, and we in turn can call You our God. Forgive us for not carefully following Your leading, or for failing to trust in You. Remove the obstacles within us that keep us from fully trusting You. Show us how to love others with an undivided heart through Your Spirit within us, so they may seek to know You for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You so that we may follow Your every leading as Your people, and honor You, our great and loving God. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Worship Anyway

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped. – (Job 1:20, MSG)

When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God. – (Job 1:20, ERV)

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. – (Job 1:20, NLT)

 

A few days ago, I passed the one-month mark with my back injury. Typically, I am extraordinarily active, and I participate in high impact workouts at least six days per week. In order for my compression fracture to heal, I was instructed to do no high impact activities. This has left me with few options, and the lack of adrenaline and endorphins released from merely walking, seem to be taking its toll. I am weary, restless, and fighting the darkness that tries to pull me down. The only thing that has kept me somewhat sane in this state of waiting, is an abundance of walking, encouraging friends, and the turning up of my worship music and singing along with all that I am.

This morning, as I read about Job and all of the horrible loss that he endured, as well as how he responded, I am again reminded of what matters most, and how to best combat the fear and frustration. Worship does wonders. As we remove our focus from ourselves and our own situations, and instead fix our eyes and hearts on Him who deserves all of our attention, something shifts and the unbearable becomes bearable. Our burdens are no longer ours alone, and we see Him who is seated on the throne. God who is worthy of all of our worship, is the only One who can see us through our storms. May we mourn what need be mourned, then, despite our sorrow, set our hearts to worship the One who will carry us until our strength is renewed. Let every heart lift praise to our Prince of Peace.

 

When all’s going wrong,photo (3)

The struggle is new;

There’s one place to turn,

Where Love sees us through.

The Lord is our strength,

No matter our state;

As we choose worship,

His love lifts the weight.

He helps bear burdens,

Too heavy for us;

Shines light in darkness,

Grants peace through Jesus.

Despite the struggle,

God is always good;

Let us choose worship,

His grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and worthy of our worship. Thank You that despite what we have going on in or around us, You are with us and willing to remain present. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our view of You, rather than allow You to shape our view of what is going on in and around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and worship You in all things and at all times. Show us how to worship You in spite of what we see, and lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may see how kind and loving You are to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we mourn what need be mourned, but recognize in all things, that You deserve our worship. 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

Secure in His Hand

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me. – (John 10:28, NLT)

I give My sheep eternal life. They will never die, and no one can take them out of My hand. – (John 10:28, ERV)

I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand. – (John 10:28, VOICE)

 

Once we commit our hearts and lives to the Lord, no one can take His love, hope nor peace away from us. Our future is secure in His hands. Eternity is promised in His presence, when our trust is in the Lord. No matter what comes, we are His. There is much comfort in the blessed assurance that the Lord holds us in His hands and will not allow anything nor anyone to steal us away from Him. May we trust all that we are in His hands, and allow the hope found in Christ alone, to permeate every pore of our being.

 

The Lord gives us life,Generous Giving

for eternity;

as we give ourselves,

His love sets us free.

Free to embrace hope,

by truth, we are found;

no more set to die,

in His life, we’re crowned.

And beyond the hope,

He holds us secure;

nothing can remove,

our future’s assured.

All glory to God,

our Savior and King;

Protector, defense,

from trials life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give eternal life, and that in You, we will never truly die. Thank You that nothing and no one can steal us from Your loving and protective hand. Forgive us for seeing You as less than You are and making You too small in our own understanding. Teach us to begin to grasp the greatness of who You are and how You love, so that we would trust without wavering. Show us how to love others in a way that highlights the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer, and trust in You with all that we are. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

From the Heart Our Words Flow

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from a treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – (Luke 6:45, NLT)

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. – (Luke 6:45, ERV)

 

Most of the time, the filter that I was taught from a very early age, is quite effective – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, every so often, in a moment of frustration, I catch myself speaking words that do not edify anyone. It is in those moments that I am reminded anew, just how desperately I need Him to rule and reign in every part of my life. If I do not allow His grace to touch the places where my heart has been grieved, the desire to dispel defensive and unsavory dialogue runs great. Even if the words are never uttered, they lay hidden in my heart. Good can only reign if I allow God to run the ruin out. I must choose to give Him access to all, so that He can remove the sting and stain of that which renders me defensive, and allow Him to soften my heart so that I might see through His lens. May the words that leave our mouths be a reflection of our good and loving God, who fills our hearts and minds with every good and perfect gift.

 

May that which we hold,Internal Investments Exceed External

our treasury be;

the good things of God,

shown through words we speak.

The things in our hearts,

both evil and good;

are evidenced by,

our words understood.

For good comes from good,

and evil the same;

let our words be sweet,

so good is proclaimed.

Lord, come cleanse our hearts,

so all may be good;

let our treasure be,

Your hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a good heart is not something that we can somehow work hard enough to earn, but rather when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives, You come and transform the content of our character and chase away that which was once in darkness. Thank You that only good comes from You. Thank You that when we set our sights on the things of You, those are the very things that flow out of us. Forgive us for entertaining ugly thoughts long enough to give them words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when the struggle comes, and allow You to shine Your light in those dark spaces, so that darkness will disappear. Show us how to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as people desire the good they see in You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that is good from You, and allow that to be what flows from our mouths. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

The Master Surgeon’s Touch

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

As I woke and sat down to begin my quiet time, I began to reflect on how guarded I have become with even those who are most dear to me. I know much of it is my automatic response of self-preservation, and has absolutely nothing to do with my people, and everything to do with my circumstances – yet I recognize that it is not the way that God intends for me to be. I am quite visual, so a few scenes flashed through my mind, and my heart was pulled to the pages that remind me of the truth. Though He has already given me His Spirit, and renewed my heart and mind, there are times when we really need our Master Surgeon’s touch in a specific area. God is gentle and kind, and loves us to life, even in the dark and dying places. Where we are fearful or stubborn to hold fast to what we think will keep us safe, He lovingly reminds us that He is far stronger than our circumstances, and will go before us, with us and behind us – so we need not worry about the “what ifs“. May we be quick to trust He who holds our hearts in His hands, and allow Him to give us the new heart He has prepared for us. His heart for us is one of tenderness and love, and seeks to pursue all that He has for us, in His strength.

 

When our hearts grow hard,

and our love is cold;Receive Life

we must trust the Lord,

take His hand to hold.

For He will remove,

the hardness of heart;

and put in its place,

a gentle, kind part.

His Spirit in us,

is tender and kind;

to lead and to guide,

and when we seek, find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new tender and loving heart in exchange for our hard, stubborn ones. Thank You that when we seek You, You show us how to live and love according to Your will, not our own. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become hard or walled in by fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain tender-hearted toward You and all whom You call us to love well. Show us how to love as You love, so that others too, will desire a new heart in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to touch the places in our hearts that hold hurts that keep us from loving completely, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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