Palm Sunday

Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!” – (Mark 11:9, NLT)

Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in God’s Name! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven! – (Mark 11:9, MSG)

 

Today is Palm Sunday. This is the day that we remember Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days prior to the last supper, the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the crucifixion, and ultimately, His resurrection. On Palm Sunday, as He returned to Jerusalem, Jesus was actually welcomed as the One who saves. People praised God as He passed by, threw palm branches before Him, and even their own cloaks so that Christ would not walk on the filth of a regular road. Jesus was given the honor that was due, yet the hearts of the people were still not quite grasping how His reign would come to be. They wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman rulers right then and there, rather than reign in their hearts and rescue them from their sin and shame. God’s ways are far greater than ours, and it is often difficult to grasp the greater good when we want immediate relief. May we ever remember that despite what we see, God has our very best in mind. He sees and He knows what is and will be, and His ways are higher and greater than ours.

 

Triumphal entry,Palm Sunday

All honor is due;

To the God who saves,

All praise unto You.

Let us ever praise,

Despite what we see;

Your ways are higher,

Help me trust in Thee.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That all’s in Your hands;

You take willing hearts,

And lead in Your plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that like the people of Jerusalem, though we might not fully understand what You have in mind, our hearts long to give You praise. Thank You that You show us Your will and Your way, and strengthen and equip us to do as You say. Forgive us for the times that we run the wrong direction in search of security or relief, when You are all we need to successfully navigate every obstacle and trial. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You, trusting Your way, despite what we see, as whatever we go through here and now is temporary in comparison to our eternity that is to come. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they may see the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember the magnitude of the sacrifice You made for 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

Living and Loving Well

This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave His life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 3:16, ERV)

 

As I spent much of yesterday with my mom, moving the belongings of my dearly departed grandmother, I recognized how much this rang true in her life. It was because she gave her love, her encouragement, her help and her hope, that my Gram’s life so impacted everyone around her. Daily, she gave her life away. She did not cling closely to things, but rather was generous with all. Gram, in her lifetime had experienced times of very little during the Great Depression; and a time of plenty, after years of being wise with what she had. Throughout my entire existence, she always lavishly gave of herself. Whenever we would meet, a strong squeeze of a hug would embrace me, despite her dainty size. Her words and kindness did the very same for my heart, and whatever exchange we would have during a visit, always lasted long after our seemingly short time together. Even now, I can imagine her laughter and way with words, as they were so readily given away. She was my truest tangible example of real love, outside of my own household growing up. If I can emulate but a fraction of her love and generosity to those around me, then I will have lived my life very well. May we each seek to give away, the greatest gifts that we have been given.

 

The beauty that’s seen,With Gram2

When we realize;

The look of real love,

Hope before our eyes.

As we give away,

All we’re meant to be;

People see the hope,

That Jesus sets free.

Because Jesus gave,

We also can give;

All that we’ve become,

So all might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, what real love is all about. Thank You too, for the beautiful, tangible examples of the faithful that You have placed in our lives, that show us again and again, what it means to give our lives away. Thank You for the lifelong gift of my Gram, and the role model that she was for all who knew her. Forgive us for withholding the very things that You have placed in us to share with those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly and generously give all that we are to all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are to living and loving well. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Reminders Anew

They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again. – (Matthew 20:19, ERV)

 

As Easter approaches, we are reminded anew of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He willingly bore the agony of the cross on our behalf, so that we could be raised to new life in Him. This season is a reminder of the awakening that occurred as life was breathed into His body in the tomb. Though there are dark days, when the sun returns and the flowers bloom, we see the hope of the longer, sweeter days of summer on the horizon. In the same way, on the third day, after much darkness and despair, those closest to Jesus went to visit His body, only to discover that He was alive again! Our hope is held in the One who defeated death so that we could find life in Him forever. May we always remember that the darkness is but for a season, and His light dwells within us, holding the hope of all that is yet to come.

 

When darkness and death,Embracing Grace

Seem to dominate;

Remember to seek,

Him who can relate.

For Jesus, He knows,

The weight of our pain;

As we seek His help,

He makes His grace plain.

We’re granted His hope,

His love and His peace;

Life everlasting,

Grace that will not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly endured the scorn and shame of the cross, and overcame the grave to give us new life in You. Thank You that even when darkness and death seem to surround us, there is always light and life in You. Forgive us for making You too small, as You are the Overcoming King. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we offer hope, light and life where they fear there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and celebrate the power held in Your presence as You alone bring hope and new life. 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

The Path of Peace

With the loving mercy of our God, a new day will shine on us. It will bring light to those who live in darkness, in the fear of death. It will guide us into the way that brings peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, ERV)

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s sunrise will break upon us, shining on those in darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, MSG)

 

These words, spoken by Zechariah, were foretelling of how things would change when Christ was to come. Through His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus has made way for His light to come to all who live in darkness and fear. When we seek Him, we find Him, and He shows us the way that brings His peace. The incredible thing about the peace of God, is that it is not dependent on our circumstances. His peace can be present even in the most tumultuous of times. God’s peace is the very presence of His Spirit in us, that reminds us that He who is in us is far greater than all that is in the world. Yes, in this world there will be trouble, but we can take heart, because He has overcome it all. May fear be far from us as we cling to Christ, allowing His light to illuminate the path to His perfect peace.

 

With loving mercy,given-to-show-goodness

Our great God shall reign;

Each new day He shines,

Makes path to peace plain.

We need not choose fear,

Though things may seem dim;

For God is greater,

And shines His light in.

One step at a time,

He will show the way;

To be free of fear,

And know peace each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and merciful, and that each new day Your love shines upon us. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that we need not live in darkness and fear, as You, in Your great love, show us the path of peace. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things seem dark. Teach us to trust You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love others well, so that we extend Your light into darkness, and Your peace into places of unrest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and listen to Your leading so that we may know Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Faithfulness Forever

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created. – (Psalm 119:90, NLT)

You are loyal forever and ever. You made the earth and it still stands. – (Psalm 119:90, ERV)

 

David compared the faithfulness and loyalty of God to something tangible that we could grasp. Just as the earth endures, despite man’s destructive nature, so too does the faithful love of the Lord to those who call on His Name. God’s faithfulness did not end because of our sinfulness. Instead, He made the way for our relationship to be restored unto Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. There is no greater love nor loyalty than that of one willing to lay down His life on our behalf. As I consider people in my own life, I am fiercely loyal to those whom I know care for either my children or for me. How much more invested ought my heart be in the One who laid down His life so that I could live? May we lay hold of the magnitude of the Lord’s faithfulness unto us, and respond in a way that demonstrates our gratitude.

 

May my heart embrace,Enter With Thanksgiving

Your great faithfulness;

The way that You love,

Grant life unto us.

Just as creation,

Forever endures;

So too, You’re faithful,

Throughout all our years.

Help us to receive,

These blessings from You;

So we may go forth,

And live life anew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to every generation, and that Your faithfulness does not end. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, as You have made the way for us to walk upright before You. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to walk in Your ways and live in Your truth. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and loyalty through how we care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful love forever. Amen.

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

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

Wages vs. Gifts

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 6:23, NIV)

The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 6:23, VOICE)

 

In our natural state of sinfulness, we deserve death. Not even the kindest and most gentle of individuals is without sin. The consequence for such, is death. However, God sent His Son to extend to us, the opportunity to choose life – life everlasting in Him. There is nothing that we can do to earn this gift that He gives, but rather we must choose to receive what is being freely offered. When we choose Christ, we choose life. We are not promised pain-free pleasantries each day of our lives in the here and now, but in Him, we have the glorious hope of our future freedom from all such things, for all of eternity with Christ. There is no greater gift than He who laid down His life for our sin and shame, so that we could have life abundant in Him. May we receive all that He is offering, as we walk into this weekend of remembering not only His death on our behalf, but Christ’s resurrection from the grave that could not contain Him, so that we could enter eternity with Him.

 

Though we deserve death,Good Gifts

He’s given to us;

the gift of His Son,

life in Christ Jesus.

When we choose receive,

new life becomes ours;

where hope is our truth,

and Love empowers.

Let us choose embrace,

this gift given free;

so all may come know,

Christ dwelling in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we deserve death for our sinfulness, You made way for our lives to be redeemed through the gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for dying in my place, so that I might come to know the truth of who You are, and how You love. Thank You for the hope that we hold forever in You. Forgive us for not living with an eternal perspective, as all in the here and now will one day fade away. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will see things through Your lens. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the gift of life that You freely give. 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

Tender Mercy to Perfect Peace

With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will shine on us. It will bring light to those who live in darkness, in the fear of death. It will guide us into the way that brings peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, ERV)

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, NLT)

 

The merciful morning light from heaven, the new day that shines upon us, has indeed already come. Zechariah was speaking of the birth and life of Jesus that was drawing near. We have the benefit of the light of His life, death, resurrection and ascension, as all have already taken place. Because Christ lived, we no longer need live in darkness nor fear of death. When we trust in Him, He guides us in His loving light, and shows us the path of peace. His ways are higher than our ways, and there is no fear in perfect love. Through Him, we can rest assured that this is not the end. We have a hope that is eternal, that is far greater than our minds can even conceive. May we trust in the tender mercy of our Maker, and allow His light to guide us on the path of peace.

 

Our merciful God,Believe Instead of Striving

great heavenly light;

Who has come to us,

to send fear to flight.

For there’s no darkness,

where His light is shined;

His light leads to peace,

for all He calls “Mine”.

We belong to Him,

when our hearts choose dwell;

in truth of His word,

He’ll help us live well.

May this brand new day,

be one to embrace;

as Christ lights the way,

in love, sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are tender and merciful. Thank You that You sent Your Son down from heaven to light the way out of the darkness and into the light of life with You. Thank You that Your light shines the way to the path of peace. Forgive us for not trusting in Your tender mercy each new day, or for not seeking You to light the way out of our spaces of darkness and into Your perfect peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that even in the midst of our darkest, stormiest seasons, we would rely on You to show us Your peace in spite of what surrounds us. Lead us to love others in a way that allows You loving light to shine through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your tender mercy and allow Your light to lead us on Your perfect path of peace. Amen.

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

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

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

Prepare the Way

Preparations in advance make the way anywhere more easy to navigate. John the Baptist fulfilled his calling, as he faithfully went out into the Desert of Judea and preached repentance to prepare the hearts and minds of all who would hear him for the message that Jesus would soon deliver. “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” – (Matthew 3:3)

 

John helped prepare the way for Jesus. With Easter mere days away, how can we “prepare the way for the Lord” and “make straight paths for Him“? Our charge as followers of Christ is to do just that. Our lives ought to speak volumes, without a single word. Do people see a difference in how we live? If our conduct demonstrates kindness and grace, opportunities are opened to share what He has done for us, personally, and “paths may be made straight” as we can correct misconceptions that people may be holding in their hearts about their own capacity to come to Christ. May His good news be made known as grace is lovingly shown.

 

Prepare the way,Prepare the Way

for our loving Lord;

make His heart known,

live in one accord.

Make straight the paths,

that lead unto Him;

offer His hope,

so His light shines in.

Give others grace,

as we have received;

Love drew us in,

when we first believed.

May that same love,

given lavishly;

draw others in,

so they too believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You. Thank You that He prepared the way and made the path straight for our minds and hearts to hold all hope in You. Thank You that we too, can be a part of preparing the way for others to come to know You. Forgive us for neglecting to do what You call us to, and for doing that which You ask us to not do. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace, and may it compel us to depend on You more in all times and in each place. Help us to love and extend grace as You do unto us, and may many come to understand the eternal significance of Your death and resurrection this Easter. Let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

– Genesis 21:6

The Letter of the Law is Love

Prior to the life, death, resurrection, ascension and anointing provided by and through Christ, access to God took hours of preparation, and very limited interaction was granted.  Only the chosen were allowed into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain, which was where God’s presence would appear.  Today, through the gift of grace we’ve been given through Christ, we may approach God, anytime.

Before Christ, the high priest would have to sacrifice specific animals in certain clothing, worn in a particular way, after cleansing himself, followed by more offerings of animals, then incense, then blood, then animals, then blood, then the release an animal into the desert, then change clothing, bathe again, sacrifice more animals, and finally, burn the fat of them.  If any of the aforementioned procedures were done incorrectly, death would surely come. (See Leviticus 16)

Jesus has provided the way for us to come before God, covered.  He was the ultimate sacrifice – once and for all.  Never again do we need to make a blood offering of an animal on behalf of our sins, for Christ has covered EVERY LAST SIN.  We are free to come and call on the name of the Lord, anytime, day or night, and He will hear our call.  Our position and training are irrelevant, as He looks only at our heart.  When we seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him.  It is, however, still wise to prepare our hearts to enter into His presence.  In fact, the biblical examples of how we ought to pray, teach us to praise Him, ask for forgiveness, make known our needs, ask for help, praise Him some more, and be sure to listen.  If our heart is set on seeking Him, He is faithful to answer.

Gone are the days,The Letter of the Law is Love

of blood sacrifice;

for Jesus came,

paid the final price.

Never again,

to be bound by law;

instead by love,

price paid without flaw.

May our hearts hold,

such great gratitude;

for all He’s done,

thankful attitude.

Come to the Lord,

He’s ready to hear;

our heart’s prayer,

His presence is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You made the way for us to come close to You without having to go through a series of rituals and regulations, done just right, in order to seek You.  Thank You for Your grace, and for the covering provided by the sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us on the cross.  Thank You that because of Him, You see us as clean, covered and cleansed by His righteousness.  Forgive us for thinking that we have to have it all together to come before You, or for being too flippant in our approach.  Help us to come to You with grateful hearts, reverent in awe of Your glory and grace.  May our attitude of thanks be expressed in how we love You, and love people.  May many come to know You as a result.  Be glorified through all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

– Genesis 21:6