Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be happy today! – (Psalm 118:24 ERV)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, TLB)

This is very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee. – (Psalm 118:24, TPT) 

 

This particular day that the Lord has made provides tremendous reason to rejoice! After months of waiting and imagining what the day would be like, today is the day. Though I set my alarm for 5:00 am, I woke, with this verse on my heart, at about 3:40 am. I rose full of joy at the realization that this is the day on which I wed the one whom God has provided to love and be loved by well. After an incredible evening of loved ones gathering to dine and rehearse for today, my heart is overflowing with gladness and joy, as I have seen and known His faithfulness that brought us to this day. We will have our “first look” at 6:00 am, as my dear friend and photographer explained the glory of the morning’s early light for photos. After our hearts are captured and recorded, there will be much time to rest and relax prior to preparations for the ceremony this evening. God has blessed us with family that we would choose as friends and friends whom we consider family. No matter how the day unfolds, I have reason to rejoice, as I will become the wife of my tender-hearted Viking. May we each rise with a thankful heart, recognizing that each new day is a gift from God and holds countless reasons to rejoice.

 

This is a great day, wp-1532171212517484228603887301688.jpg

Which the Lord has made;

Full of glad reasons,

To praise the Lord’s Name.

Joy that’s unending,

Because of His grace;

Sweet love descending,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose rejoice,

In all He has done;

All thanks be to God,

O great, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day and all that it holds. Thank You for the countless reasons that we have to rejoice. Thank You for Your incredible gift of redemption and the way in which You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for not rising with gratitude each day, for each new day is a gift with reason to be glad for who You are and all that You have done. Teach us to rise with hearts full of praise, as we rejoice in Your love throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us with hearts that rejoice at the goodness You grant us with each breath that we take. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness, both today and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Christ in Christmas

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)

 

This is the night where the world takes pause to remember the most sacred occasion where heaven came to earth in the form of a baby boy. Born in a stable, not fit for the Savior of the world, yet God gave incredible assurance that this was indeed the way Mary and Joseph were meant to walk as they brought this blessed bundle forth in a stable surrounded by animals. Angelic visitations had announced that He would be born, heavenly hosts proclaimed His arrival – flooding the night sky over the heads of shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, and a bright star shone on His behalf to lead the way for those who were meant to find Him. Though not necessarily the beginning we might envision for the One who saves the world from sin and shame, Jesus’ arrival changed everything. Because He came, grew, walked in obedience, willingly laid down His life in our place, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, we have way to be restored to right relationship with God. May we stop the activity on this day long enough to really recognize the significance of this most holy night that we celebrate. Jesus is the gift, and the reason we can give. Our Counselor, our God, our Father, and our Peace – these are the reasons we have light and life and love. Joy to the world, the Savior has come!

 

For a child was born,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

A Son was given;

The weight of the world,

He has forgiven.

The great Counselor,

Most mighty our God;

The Father who lasts,

Let our hearts applaud.

For He is our peace,

Born so we might live;

May we honor Him,

Through gifts that we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your only Son into the world so that we might be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You love us so much that You willingly laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for not having our priorities in place and for forgetting the real reason for this most sacred season. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that all that we do is a reflection of You. Show us how to love and give as You do, so that our words and deeds are Your heart being made known to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as so many take the time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Let Christ be lifted high this Christmas. 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

Walk in Grace

Despite Paul’s influence on the people who were following Christ, he recognized that nothing he did was his goodness given to God, but rather any good that was granted, was in fact God working through him to give grace and peace and truth to those around him. Any good that we can observe, either in us or through us, is God’s gift to us, and all the more reason for us to give Him praise. The following is Paul’s explanation in the Message:

 

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. – (Romans 12:3, MSG)

 

The very idea that we get to participate in anything of God is incredible, in and of itself. Nothing good that we do could ever be done by our own volition, but rather is endowed by our Creator. God empowers those who seek and trust in Him to do His will. It is Christ in us that brings good, rather than good in us being brought before Him. May we rise up and pursue the path He has placed before us, so that we might be instruments of His peace to people everywhere. Let God’s goodness flow through us, so all might come to know Him.

 

When we walk in grace,Gentleness for the Weary

The love of God shows;

Not by our own good,

But through Him who rose.

All that is lovely,

And all that is pure;

Everything righteous,

Is Christ drawing near.

Let us remember,

Our role and our place;

As people of thanks,

And givers of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and all that You have done for us. Thank You for light and life, hope and help, in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are good all of the time, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You see us and know us, better than we know ourselves. Forgive us for forgetting the role we were created to fill, and help us to trust You enough to walk forward in that which You are calling us into. Show us how to live fearlessly in the light of Your love. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through the things we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our gratitude to You, and allow You to move through us as we get out of the way. Amen.

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

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

He is Risen

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. – (Luke 24:1-3,  NLT)
The very same women who had stood at the foot of the cross in horror on Friday, then set to task making burial spices that night, were stuck staying in their space of sorrow on the Sabbath, and now, at last on Sunday, as they thought that they could go and anoint the body of their beloved Savior – discovered He was no longer in the grave! Panic gave way to praise as the angels of the Lord explained to the women what had happened and why Jesus was no longer lying in the tomb. Recalling the truth that they had been told by Jesus before His death on the cross, the ladies rushed back to tell the other believers what they had discovered. As we awaken to the truth that today holds, may we feel the same sense of urgency to go and let the truth be made known.

 

A matter of days,Hope in an Empty Tomb

and everything changed;

a sorrowful space,

now all rearranged.

Where death had seemed reign,

the truth became clear;

hell was defeated,

through Christ coming near.

He took on the cross,

all our sin and shame;

laid it in the grave,

set free by His pain.

It did not end there,

on Sunday He rose;

up out of the grave,

so His grace, we’d know.

Jesus has risen,

and we are set free;

forgiven and loved,

all praise unto Thee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to have a restored relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for taking all of our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we might have life everlasting. Thank You that it did not end at the cross, for the grave could not hold You, as Your love is too great for us, Your created. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your love and sacrifice that is given freely unto us. Teach us to embrace all that You give, so that we might have life abundant in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to understand the greatness of Your mercy and grace that You freely give. May many choose to place all of their trust in You. Be exalted O God, as we give all glory and honor to You. Amen.

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

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

Proclaim with Praise to All People

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (Psalm 105:1, NLT)

For His unfailing love, let us give thanks. As benefactors of life and breath and our very being, we have reason to proclaim the greatness of our God. There is only One who willingly bore the weight of our sin and shame, so that we could have new life in Him. Our cleansing through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, is reason that we ought to go forth and freely share of the love that we have been given. May the whole world come to know what He has done, as we give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.

Give thanks to the Lord,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as we share His love;

proclaiming how great,

is our God above.

May the whole world know,

what the Lord has done;

to make way for us,

through His precious Son.

All that we’ve done wrong,

the Lord wipes away;

as He took our place,

in punishment’s stay.

Yet not even death,

could defeat our King;

He rose from the grave,

by power He brings.

The very same strength,

that brought Love to life;

dwells within our hearts,

as we let faith rise.

Dear Heavenly Father, we give all thanks to You and proclaim Your greatness. Help us to let the whole world know what You have done, for in You, we have life and breath and hope and a future. Forgive us for not giving thanks often enough, and for not speaking of just how great You are to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that our every word and deed would speak the truth of Your greatness before them. Lead us to love others with Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You and proclaim Your greatness and the wonder of all that You have done before all the world. 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

Identify, Speak and Trust

Yesterday, my pastor continued in a series titled, “Miracles“. The passage from which he brought forth his message, was Mark 4:35-41. This story is quite familiar to many, as it is the story of when Jesus calms the storm. That being said, there were elements within the unpacking, that I had not quite seen in that particular light before.

First, when the disciples were crossing as Jesus had charged them to do, a furious squall came upon them while He slept. The disciples were terrified, yet Jesus was able to sleep. Jesus was able to rest because He was doing what His Father had called Him to do, therefore He was at peace. As for the squall, there is so often a push back from hell when we move in the direction to which God has called us. (For on the other side, was the demoniac waiting to be set free, whose testimony would change the lives of many.)

When the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him if He even cared if they drowned, He rose and commanded the wind and waves to “Quiet! Be still!” Speaking to a storm is no ordinary response. Typically, there is no need to rebuke an object. However, when what was occurring was spiritual in nature, the rebuke was for that which was at the root, to stop. (And not likely in a still small voice)

Just as Jesus commanded for that which rose up against them to “BE STILL!”, we too have the very same power within us, when we find ourselves in a storm. We are best able to weather the storms if we: 1) Identify the storm, 2) Speak to the storm (claim God’s truth), and 3) Trust the outcome to God. – (Pastor Jon McIntosh)

When fear rises up,Sense in Storms

and floods us with lies;

the intent of hell,

is our quick demise.

Yet within our hearts,

the power to speak;

to silence the storms,

and strengthen the weak.

For God did not give,

a spirit of fear;

instead He’s present,

He is ever near.

Every outcome,

He already knows;

so we need not fear,

each time the wind blows.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when the storms of life come all around us, You are already in the boat beside us. Thank You that though things may seem dire, You have set a course before us and will not leave us. Thank You that when resistance comes against us moving in the direction to which we are called, You have already placed Your power within us to stand firm and speak to the storm. Forgive us for allowing fear to reign, when fear is only based on what our eyes perceive, rather that Your truth. Teach us to trust You and the outcome You have for us, rather than what we imagine. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we can offer calm in their storms and hope in their places of panic. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and continue moving in the direction in which we are called. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

The Presence of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27)

 

Jesus willingly went to the cross, rose from the grave and returned to the Father so that He could send us His Spirit to grant us His peace. His peace is not the sort of peace the world envisions, where there is merely an absence of conflict. The peace of Christ, our Comforter in chaos, grants us a supernatural settling in knowing He is God and we are not, even in the midst of chaos. His peace removes our need for fear of the future, and sends stress back where it belongs. The Lord does not long for our hearts to be troubled nor afraid, but He wants us to lean on Him and allow His strength, grace, goodness and love to move in the midst of whatever we face. He is far greater than anything that we are enduring, and His peace is available and present if we only slow down and seek Him. Let us look to the Lord who grants us true peace that will last forever, as He takes away the fear of whatever we are facing and supplies us the strength and endurance required to press on.

 

Peace is so much more,No Matter What Comes

than a state of calm;

it’s Christ in chaos,

our true healing balm.

When facing trouble,

His presence is near;

He answers our call,

each whisper He hears.

Hearts be not troubled,

and don’t be afraid;

for the peace of Christ,

is present each day.

It takes but a look,

to slow down and see;

how near that He is,

to you and to me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and carry our troubles and fears to the cross, and rise again to return to You, sending Your Holy Spirit to be our Help and our Comfort in all things and at all times. Forgive us for seeking peace as the world might search, and teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, even when peace seems beyond attainable in our storms. Lead us to lean into You, so that we would know Your peace no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know Your perfect peace, regardless of the storm they may be facing. Be glorified O God, as we receive the peace that You alone give, and allow not our hearts to be troubled nor fearful. 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

Intentionally and Purposefully Designed

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10)

Each one of us has been intentionally and purposefully designed.  The gifts and talents that God gives to us, individually, are intended to be used for His glory.  As we live, love, work and play as the people whom God created us to be, we cannot help but have an impact on the world around us.  Lives are changed as Christ’s purpose for our path is walked out.  May we recognize the transformation that takes place in us and through us as we go forth in obedience, and do what we’ve been created to do.

Made with a purpose,Courage for Change

Hand-crafted by grace;

With work to be done,

While home is this place.

Each one granted gifts,

In love, the Lord chose;

To place within us,

Works that show He rose.

As He came to life,

Walked out of the grave;

He gives His Spirit,

So lives may be saved.

For some it’s to teach,

And others to serve;

All are called to love,

Give what’s not deserved.

We have been given,

Christ’s love and His grace;

To answer His call,

For all of our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each one of us is Your handiwork, created in Christ to do good works that You prepared for us to do.  Thank You that You give good gifts that are meant to be shared, so that the body may benefit from the beauty that You place in Your beloved.  Thank You that You love all, no matter where we have been, and embrace us and welcome us with Your goodness and grace.  Forgive us for not utilizing the gifts that You have placed in us, or for sitting idly by, when we are called to go forth.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may go forth boldly wherever You call, and above all, love as You have loved us.  May many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we do the good that You have prepared for us.  Amen.

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

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

Prayer and Praise

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. – (James 5:13)

 

Be it times of trial or times of joy, our hearts ought to turn toward Christ. To communicate with our Creator is the way we were designed to respond in all things and at all times. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can come to Him in all things and at all times, knowing that we will be heard. For He bore the weight of all of our trials and troubles, and rose to be seated beside the Father as our High Priest, listening in love to our every request and praise. Thanks be to God, that He hears our every prayer and praise!

 

Are troubles present?A God of Peace

Lift your heart to pray.

For Christ, He hears us,

each word that we say.

Is life now happy,

you’re bursting with joy?

Then sing songs of praise,

to our God employ.

The Lord, He listens,

to each word we raise;

He’s true forever,

hope for all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and pray to You and praise You, no matter what is going on. Thank You that in our times of need, You hear our requests presented before You. Thank You too, that when we are overwhelmed by the goodness and blessings in our lives, You receive our songs of praise, as a fragrant offering before You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Help us to trust You more, so that when trials come, we seek You; and when joy abounds, we praise You. May we love people well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. Lead many to a lasting relationship with You in this season of celebrating Your arrival. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and praise You in all things. 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

What Gift Shall I Give?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)

 

This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.

 

The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. 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