Christ Came Down

For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

Jesus came in a way that was relatable and approachable. There was no fanfare, nor kingly setting. Born in a lowly stable on a quiet night in an overcrowded town, He arrived with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Christ stepped down from heaven to become like us, so that we would know who He is, and how much He loves. How He lived as He was among us, demonstrated what love looks like. He touched the untouchable, healed the bruised and broken, dined with the despicable and gave His very life for ours. Today, many of us participate in candlelight services where we pause to celebrate and declare the goodness of Christ and who He is. That child born to us, grew, lived, loved, died, rose, ascended and sent His Spirit to us, so that we could have everlasting life. Because of His love and His life, we can confidently call Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. May this day be filled with reminders of His goodness and grace, and may we give proper praise to He who is all of these things and so much more.

 

For born unto us,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

a Son is given;

in still quietness,

He came from heaven.

Though angels proclaimed,

to shepherds at night;

most were unaware,

of this baby bright.

For though just a babe,

the weight of the world;

would rest upon Him,

as His life unfurled.

The way that He loved,

and gave all away;

brought hope to the world,

and light for our way.

Wonderful Counsel,

our great Mighty God;

Everlasting One,

creation applauds.

The sweet Prince of Peace,

delight of our days;

may we offer Him,

all honor and praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You, Jesus for taking it all upon Yourself, so that we could be set free. Thank You for Your grace and goodness, for light and life. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You are. You are no longer a baby in a manger, but the mighty, risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You are so much more than what the world sees. Show us how to love in such a way, that others too, may see Your majesty through our love. May many come to know You as their Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we gather to give You glory. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

Internal Investments Exceed External

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30)

 

How we present ourselves, may or may not be the whole picture. We deceive even ourselves, if we do not look at our lives through the lens of Christ. The external, what is seen, grows weary and worn; yet in Christ, our minds and spirits may be refreshed and renewed, day by day. A woman who recognizes who the Lord is, and invites Him to be seated in His proper position in her life, operates as He is calling her to live. As we choose to allow Christ to reign in our lives, His gifts flow through us, and we bear fruit, as others too, may come to see and know who He is, and what He has done for us all. May we rise up in reverence for the Risen Lord, and invite Him to rule and reign in our every word and deed.

 

Be not deceived,Internal Investments Exceed External

by beauty nor charm;

false illusions,

that unchecked, bring harm.

Beauty, it fades,

and charm is deceit;

fearing the Lord,

is wise, praiseworthy.

Christ is our rock,

on Whom we must stand;

all other things,

are just sinking sand.

Rise up in faith,

in our Holy Lord;

all unto Him,

our shield and our sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though external things are fleeting, that which we invest in You, lasts forever. Thank You that as we grow in our understanding of who You are and how much You love us, You are pleased with our pursuit, and use us to turn and bless others. Forgive us for allowing the external voices to deceive our hearts into believing anything that would tie our value to what is seen on the outside, rather than what You are doing and have already done on the inside. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make our priority the pursuit of You. Help us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we see through deceit and beyond packaging, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love, as we walk in reverence of who You are and the splendor of all whom You have created. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Be Not Silent

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had just observed one of the most devastating blows they had ever known. He who had been their hope, was crucified and laid in a tomb. Though they could not do anything to fight on His behalf as second class citizens at the time, they did what they could by remaining present, and then going to prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the day that they were permitted to go, the women went to the tomb. Upon their arrival, they found the stone rolled away, and were spoken to by one in a white robe. His message was full of hope, yet was perhaps more than their hearts could handle after all they had witnessed in the days prior. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. – (Mark 16:8)

 

How often does fear keep us from sharing our story? When Christ comes and rescues us from our sin and shame, we are rescued from the road to ruin, and placed on the path of eternal life. Light enters where darkness once reigned, and peace permeates the places of prior turmoil. Hope is held where hopelessness had held us back…

 

Fortunately, the ladies’ story did not end with their fleeing from the tomb. In fact, they were the first to encounter the risen Lord. When Jesus appeared to them, boldness beheld them, and they went at once to go and tell the disciples what they had seen, just as the angel had directed them to do.

 

Though fear may find us,Be Not Silent

do not let it be;

a roadblock to truth,

for truth need be free.

If we are afraid,

may we choose to seek;

Him who grants us strength,

when we’re feeling weak.

For in our weakness,

is where Christ is strong;

if we allow Him,

be our hope and song.

Do not be silent,

the truth need be known;

speak of your story,

let His hope be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your story is the greatest story ever told, as You came to save all who trust in You. Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You for taking all of our sin and shame, and giving us new life in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and confusion about what we are meant to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have the courage and strength to boldly go forth in whatever capacity You ask. Lead us to love You and love others with a love that speaks truth and perseveres, just as You faithfully and relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified Lord God, as we share of all the good things You have done for us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Hearing His Voice

When Mary had gone to the tomb to see the body of her crucified Christ, she was grieved to tears when she found it empty. In fact, she was so distraught that she did not even recognize Jesus standing before her, until Jesus said to her, “Mary.” – (John 20:16) It was only when Mary at last heard His voice, that she realized that the risen Lord was right in front of her in the flesh.

 

As we spend time in prayer, in worship, and in His word, we learn to recognize His voice as well. Knowing which voice belongs to Christ is critical in walking well with Him. When we hear His heart, we listen and obey all that He is asking, rather than wandering off, following our own every whim. May we learn to listen well with our hearts in love, to the Lord’s ever-present leading.

 

Finding the quiet,Asking for Answers

in life’s busyness;

ready to listen,

to Christ, faithfulness.

Grant us ears to hear,

as You call our name;

may we know it’s You,

all truth be proclaimed.

Teach us to follow,

everything You ask;

equip us in strength,

to fulfill each task.

May we recognize,

Your presence, always;

and share the good news,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to die in our place so that we could be made right before You. Thank You that through the restored relationship in Christ, You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that You speak to us, and call us by name. Thank You that when we spend time with You, we grow to recognize Your voice. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in our relationship with You, or for tuning into the noise that distracts us from hearing You clearly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well, and obey all that You say. May many come into a saving relationship with You this sacred season, as we go forth in obedience to all that You ask. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your voice. 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

Paid in Full

“Paid in full.”

Our debt erased.

The final words of our Savior before He breathed His last breath – “It is finished.” (read John 19:26-30) The long journey of His humanity had led up to this moment, this defining time in history where He willingly chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that we might have eternal life through Him.  God’s glorious gift granted unto us in a stable, born in Bethlehem, grew into a man, and showed us what it is to live a life unto God.  However, the story did not end at the cross.  For three days beyond the cross, the grave was empty.  Our risen Lord, appeared to many before returning to the Father to send His Spirit unto all who had chosen to place their trust in Him.  Our hope is held in the whole story.

The hope we hold, allows us to freely approach God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  All who believe, can live eternally with God, and are forgiven, escaping the eternal penalty that is deserved for the sum of our sins.  Christmas is our reminder to focus on Christ.  Not just on the baby born in the manger, but on the One who saves, and dwells among us now.  May you and your loved ones be ever aware of the closeness of Christ, and may the blessed peace of His presence fill your hearts and homes.

Sweet baby came,

to bear such weight;

His act of love,

our sins erased.

Upon that cross,Paid in Full

He bore our shame;

He paid the price,

took all the blame.

‘Twas not the nails,

that kept Him there;

but His great love,

and tender care.

Both fully God,

and fully man;

He did fulfill,

salvation plan.

He made the way,

so we might live;

He sacrificed,

His life to give.

Not even death,

could keep Him down;

for in three days,

disciples found.

The empty grave,

our Risen King;

the promised hope,

glad tidings bring.

Heaven’s return,

then Spirit came;

we’re given charge,

to spread His Name.

Go forth in joy,

to all the earth;

share of His love,

from lowly birth.

(response to today’s reading of John 19-21)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to have life in You.  Thank You that “it is finished” and the price for our sin, has been paid in  full, when we come to You and ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart.  Thank You that we can freely approach You, as we are seen through the covering of Christ, who is the One without sin.  Forgive us for that which we have done that has not been pleasing unto You, or for that which we have neglected that we should have done.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to act on that which You are asking, immediately.  May many come to know Your goodness and grace, as You are the greatest gift we have ever been given.  Let our light shine brightly before all, and may Your love be evident in all that we say and do.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.  Let us hold fast to the reason we celebrate the season.  Amen.

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

Opening the Gifts He has Given

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3

image by Bob Coy

image by Bob Coy

“I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.  Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery.  All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else.  And we’ve been shown the mystery!” – (The Message)

Again, Paul was writing a letter of encouragement to a body of believers.  This time, it was to the church body in Colosse, and to believers everywhere. (not limited in time or location)  His writings remind us of the time-tested truth that ever remains in our Risen Lord.

As we encourage one another in heart and become united in purpose, by His great love, we begin to see more clearly that which was previously hidden.  The true treasures, the gifts around the tree in our heart, contain complete understanding with all wisdom and knowledge.  These presents are provided to us by His Holy Spirit, and are not reserved for just one day of the year.  Rather, they are endless and always available as we ask to understand the things of Him.  He is faithful to show us what is hidden as we whole-heartedly seek Him.

Wisdom and knowledge are supplied not only through our individual invested time with Him, (though this time is critical to grow in Christ) but He also abundantly blesses us with insight as we gather together to glorify God as a body of believers that are united in love.

What gift is He waiting to reveal about that which we wonder?  Go ahead.  Open it.  His hands and heart will hold us as we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for Your wonders to be made known.  Thank You that every mystery may be revealed as we unwrap the gifts that You have ready and waiting for each of us.  Forgive us for being blind to that which You have made plain to our hearts, and please help us to unwrap and rejoice in every treasure of truth that You reveal to our hearts.  May we be ever listening in love, so that what You show us might be shared also with those who are ready to receive.  Teach us to encourage one another and how to best be united in love, so that what has been hidden might be unwrapped and lead the lost to Your lasting love.  Amen.

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