Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Teach in Love

The earth is filled with Your love, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64)

As I prayerfully prepare to greet my new students for the first time today, this verse seems quite fitting. If I learn His decrees and follow His ways, I can be a part of perpetuating His great love that goes out into all the earth. My charge is to begin with one child at a time. Each student that walks through the door of my classroom needs to know that they are safe, valued, cared for, loved, and that an adult on campus believes in their potential. It is no small task to be a champion for children. We must love those who resist it the most, and encourage the elusive and errant, to help them find their way to the road that leads to their greatest success. This is the most rewarding and challenging job on the planet, and even after eighteen first days of new students, I still feel nervous for this one. I am continually challenged to stretch, grow, and discover new and better practices to accommodate the needs of my students. All it takes is one student responding to that which is extended, to know that it is all worth it. Each of us has a call to follow His decrees and recognize and pour out His love to all the earth. Though it seems to be a monumental task, it is really us beginning with one. Who is one person that we can love as Christ loves us? Our neighbor? Our employer? Our coworkers? In Christ, we have the capacity to do as He did, as we are meant to be His hands and heart to the world. May we go forth this day, following His decrees, and love well, all whom we encounter.

Please teach me O Lord,

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school... :)

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school… 🙂

so I too, teach well;

let me love like You,

as in You, I dwell.

Help my eyes to see,

Your love everywhere;

and lead me to love,

the lost in despair.

May my words bring life,

help all kids to know;

that their life matters,

may I help them grow.

Let safety be known,

as they enter in;

and peace overwhelm,

despite where they’ve been.

May love and laughter,

fill my classroom walls;

as we learn and grow,

discovering calls.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of teaching young people. Thank You that parents send us their very best, and we get to love and care for their kids as if they were our own. Thank You that You teach us and grow us in Your ways and Your love, so that we can love others as You call us. Forgive us for fearing failure, as that is a space where You teach us and grow us all the more. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can be transparent with kids, creating a safe space where we learn from failure and build on success. Above all, lead us to love well, so that students leave at the end of the day, in a better place than when they arrived. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn Your decrees and love as You love us. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Watch and Pray

In His final hours with the disciples, prior to being taken into custody, Jesus was still teaching life lessons to the disciples. Their time in the garden was no exception. Jesus demonstrated the need to spend time seeking the Father in prayer, particularly when trying times lie before us. Additionally, when we are weary and worn, it is all the more critical that we keep watch and pray. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Matthew 26:41) Jesus knew what was yet to come, and He was calling on His disciples to prepare their hearts for the battle ahead.

 

Though the disciples all seemed to be defeated during Christ’s trial, crucifixion and burial, everything changed when He rose again. Jesus’ resurrection restored hope where it had been lost, and the power of His grace reinstated each of the followers to their former place. Even more, when Jesus ascended into heaven and then sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of mankind, the game changed. What we were unable to previously do, we are now equipped to do, by the power of His Spirit living in us. As we watch and pray, the still small voice within us, can help us navigate all that we are meant to do to resist that which we ought not do, and the strength to step forward in faith to do all that He is calling us into.Watch and Pray

 

Power is found,

as we watch and pray;

look to the Lord,

in both work and play.

He’ll grant wisdom,

where we are in need;

trust in His plans,

for His shall succeed.

When we’re weary,

seek Him all the more;

in stormy seas,

He’ll take us to shore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are weak to temptation in our own strength, by Your Spirit, we can overcome whatever comes our way. Thank You that You do not just tell us to watch and pray, but You are ready – listening and available to us in all things and at all times. Forgive us for trying to resist temptations in our own strength, and help us to rely completely on You. May we model a life of faithful dependence on You, and may many come to know the power and peace that comes from a personal relationship with You. Let us love as You love us. May we reflect You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God. 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

To Turn from Temptation

Temptation is a funny thing – the longer we learn to stand strong against it, the more subtle it becomes. All of us are and will continue to be tempted. It is a matter of how we choose to face that which lies before us, that will determine whether or not we will overcome that which is luring us away from God’s very best for us.

 

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

Despite society’s state of seeming moral decay, there are no temptations that are new to mankind. Everyone has to face some sort of dilemma and make a choice. Many who have gone before us, have faced and overcome the same sort of obstacles. God will grant us all that we need to resist every temptation under the sun. Wisdom is also granted by God, to recognize people, places and situations that tempt us to succumb to sin. We must steer clear of such spaces. Choose what is right. If we seek God, and His help, asking Him to guide us to friends whom will help us resist temptation, rather than fall into it, He will be faithful to answer. Lastly, run from settings where sin is inevitable. Why subject oneself to testing that is unnecessary and foolish?

 

Temptations come,To Turn from Temptation

to all mankind;

God is faithful,

to help toe the line.

We must seek Him,

for His help, ask;

to overcome,

never a small task.

Flee from wicked,

resist what’s known;

seek God and friends,

don’t just face alone.

Seek His wisdom,

ask for His grace;

stand firm in Christ,

there’s no safer space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our faithful and present help, always. Thank You that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that You will always provide a way out for us. Forgive us for not heeding Your warnings, and for ignoring Your still small voice, when we have given in to temptations. Teach us to be tender to Your voice, and not only quick to hear, but immediate to obey. May we overcome temptations that are placed before us, and walk victorious in You. Let our love lead those who are looking, straight into Your loving arms. May many come to know You, personally, as their salvation and safety. Be glorified in our every word and deed, as we flee from temptation and stand strong in all that You are asking. Amen.

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

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

The song Overcomer, by Mandisa, came to mind as I was finishing up.  Please click the title to enjoy!  🙂

 

 

To Come Near

Christmas commemorates the momentous event, where at last the long foretold telling of the Savior’s arrival, had come to pass. This sacred season is our reminder of how Christ came near. Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again; so that we too, could draw near to Him, and receive the promise of a permanent place with Him in heaven forever. How, in the midst of the chaos of all of the Christmas preparations, do you draw near to our Deliverer?

“Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – (James 4:7-10)

At first read, the above passage seems so somber. However, James was really giving us an excellent reminder of how to prepare our hearts properly, so that we may present ourselves pure before Him, and allow Him to restore and right that which is wrong. My NIV footnotes lay out the verses this way:

1) Submit to God (4:7) – yield to His authority and will, commit your life to Him and His control, and be willing to follow Him.

2) Resist the devil (4:7) – don’t allow Satan to entice and tempt you.

3) Wash your hands … and purify your hearts (4:8) – that is lead a pure life as you are cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God’s purity.

4) Grieve and mourn and wail (4:9) – don’t be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done.

5) Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (4:10) – Give it all to Him, and He restores, reconciles, and calls us His children.

So long ago,To Come Near

it was foretold;

that Christ would come,

peace to unfold.

To their surprise,

came infant King;

in stable born,

strange offering.

Bright shining star,

drew wise men near;

and angels sang,

that Christ was here.

Shepherds in fear,

babe laid in hay;

heaven declared,

truth for today.

Wise men still seek,

Him born that night;

Who suffered death,

to make us right.

Let us draw near,

for Jesus waits;

to welcome those,

who seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to draw near to You. Thank You that when we willing submit our hearts and lives unto You, You come and dwell in us and provide all that we need to live right before You. Help us to keep short accounts before You, being quick to confess our sin; and help us to rely on Your leading, so that we walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for our attempts to do things on our own, and help us to turn to You first, and allow You to lead. Teach us to walk in humility before You, so that others may clearly see You in us. Let us live in love so that many may come to call You King, this Christmas. Be glorified today, Lord God. Amen.

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

Change


Change. We resist it. Often despise it. Yet, it is an inevitable part of our existence.

One of the changes that I embrace with open arms, is the change in nature that occurs each fall. The splendid display found among the phenomenal foliage is a breathtaking reminder of just how remarkable our Redeemer really is. Flaming reds, brilliant yellows, and outrageous oranges seem to escape through the soft and subtle greens. I am awestruck at the process that something that starts out so simple and small, transforms and becomes something so brilliant, bold and beautiful.

Like the leaves that go from bud in need of nourishment, to something that sprouts, flowers, bears fruit, changes color, falls to fly free, dances fearlessly while allowing its radiance to be seen, then returns to the earth, ready to now nourish the next year’s new growth – we too, are transformed and go through seasons. There are times when we are all but hidden in the shadow of His wings, while He is growing in us, something new. However, there comes a time when He calls us to let His radiance be known – to sing, to dance, to speak, to live out loud in such a way, that the beauty that He has birthed in us, is fully seen. We are meant to proudly pirouette as His wind carries us, and not to fear the fall. Wherever we land, our experience will be used to help nourish new growth.

Brilliant the colorsChange

dancing in the breeze;

showing their splendor,

the leaves on the trees.

As wind grants them flight,

proud they pirouette;

fearing not landing,

in flight, they’re content.

When at last they land,

their purpose not done;

they will now nourish,

the new life begun.

(Responding to I Peter 1:3-9 and the beauty of His hand in the Northwest)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Author and Perfector of change. Thank You that in You, we need not fear the new. Thank You that You are constantly bringing about change in us, so that we may more clearly reflect Your radiance to the world around us. Teach us to know when we are to stay hidden, and when we are meant to step out boldly in the new that You are calling us into. Forgive us for fearing the fall, and help us to embrace the winds of Your change, so that we may simply hold on and allow You to carry us wherever You are calling. May we move when You say move, and may many come to know Your glory through our willingness to love as You have loved us. Amen.

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

Unto Him

Unto HimHumble ourselves,

under the Lord’s hand;

He’ll lift us up,

at the time He’s planned.

Cast all our cares,

anxiousness to Him;

His care covers,

when all seems grim.

Be self-controlled,

forever alert;

foe of our soul,

wants us to get hurt.

Resist his lies,

stand firm in the faith;

we’re not alone,

in needing His grace.

Our Father, God,

who is full of grace;

calls us to Him,

and fuels our faith.

Though there is pain,

it’s just for a while;

we’ll be restored,

embraced as His child.

(Responding to I Peter 5:6-11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though there is pain and suffering in this life, it is but a moment when compared to the eternal glory that is yet to come. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to weather life’s storms, and You grant us the grace to keep seeking Your face. Forgive us for allowing the cares of this world to overwhelm us, and please help us to pass all of our burdens to You. May we walk in the weight of Your grace, and may our lives extend the very same goodness and grace we are given, to all whom we encounter. May many come to know You, as we convey the covering You have provided through Christ. Amen.

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