The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

Ananias told me, “The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV)

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

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

Our Shield Through the Storms

I love you, Lord; You are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. – (Psalm 18:1-2, NLT)

 

This was a Psalm of David’s as he was being pursued by Saul. Despite the seeming desperation of the situation, David knew that in God, He had strength, protection and safety – in spite of Saul’s best efforts. Most of us are not running for our lives, yet we are in desperate need of God. To navigate each new day in an unpredictable and at times, tumultuous world, His strength and safety are essential, if we are to remain rooted in Christ. He is our shield that protects us through the storms, the power that saves, our space of safety, and the very strength on which we can depend. May our hearts love as we are loved, as we trust in the Lord to be the strength that sustains us in every situation that comes our way. He is our shield, the power that saves us, and our place of safety forever.

 

How great is the Lord,

my strength and my rock;Faith for Forever

fortress and Savior,

my power to walk.

Protection in storms,

He is my great shield;

the power that saves,

to whom my heart yields.

He is my safety,

my true hiding place;

my hope forever,

the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our rock, and our fortress. Thank You that You are our Savior and our God. Thank You that You are our protection, our shield and the power that saves us. Thank You for being our place of safety. We love You Lord. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength and our protection in our times of need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not try to bear burdens that we were not meant to carry alone, and that we will find safety in You, despite what surrounds us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that our kindness points their hearts to Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our rock and our fortress; the shield that protects us and saves us, no matter what stands before us. We love You Lord, our place of safety and our strength. 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

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. 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

*A song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.

Decide to Trust

Not only is the story of Paul’s conversion a remarkable one for him, but those who were involved, made monumental decisions of obedience in order for Saul’s sight to be restored and his new identity in Christ to come to pass. Ananias, whom the Lord had called to go to Saul to restore his sight, knew of Saul’s reputation. Ananias had reason to fear interaction with Saul, as Saul had been chasing down Christians, persecuting and imprisoning them. However, Ananias was faithful, and his trust in God was greater than his fear of man. When God told him that the man he was to heal was His chosen instrument to carry His Name before many, Ananias opted to obey.

 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – (Acts 9:17)

 

Not only did Ananias obey, but he greeted Saul in love. By calling him Brother Saul, he was already demonstrating an acceptance through Christ, despite all the despicable deeds he had done. It is not always easy to extend acceptance to others who enter in, especially when we are unsure of their motives. Yes, wisdom must be exercised, but if we listen to the Lord and lean on Him, He will teach us how to trust Him and how to love others as He would have us do. May we listen well, so that we can love others as He calls us to love.

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, in spite of our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us to come before You, and You love us to life. Thank You that just as You have loved us to life, You desire the same for all who are still stuck in their sinfulness. Forgive us for fearing approach those whom have been in darkness unknown to us, or for questioning the motives of those whom have pasts that are different than our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well to hear Your instruction, and be quick to obey whatever You ask. May we love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so generously love us. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to step out in obedience. 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

Purposeful Patience

image by Amy Cooper

image by Amy Cooper

Young son of Jesse,

stood dripping in oil.

Saul’s torment began,

rebellion’s recoil.

God chose not by looks,

the one He’d have lead.

He looked at the heart,

willingness to heed.

The irony great,

as Saul sent for one,

to play him the harp,

received Jesse’s son.

Young David drew near,

his harp brought relief,

to Saul’s suffering,

glimpse of grace in his grief.

Saul did not yet know,

that God did appoint,

this calming young man,

the king of His choice.

(Responding to 1 Samuel 16)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our usefulness is not determined by our outward appearance, but rather You look straight to our hearts.  Help us to keep our hearts right before You, so that we are ever willing and ready to respond as You ask.  Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between the time a promise is spoken, and the fulfillment.  Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and ours is not.  May we have patience like David had, as he knew he had been anointed to lead a nation, but his time had not yet come.  He was faithful to listen and learn all of the lessons that You had for him in the wait.  May we be like that too.  May our patience and perseverance point the way to You, our Prince of Peace, for those who know You not.  Amen.

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

On the Road to Damascus

Journey on Damascus road.

image by David Bane

image by David Bane

Heart full of a vengeful load.

Saul met Light that did explode.

He fell to the ground that day.

“Why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you Lord? I can’t see.”

“Jesus, God eternally.”

“Get up now, be on your way.”

Companions stood there speechless.

As his sight was now reachless.

They led him off, the teachless.

To Damascus for three days.

God spoke to Ananias.

“But Lord, he wants to fry us!”

“Go heal and teach of Jesus.

And he’ll turn and change his ways.”

In obedience he went.

Saul knew he was heaven sent.

With healing he did repent.

And then gave God all his praise.

WIth the scales gone from his eyes,

he was baptized, turned from lies.

God equipped him to be wise.

To God, his whole life he raised.

(Responding to Acts 9:1-19)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You interrupted our space of being stuck to show us Your grace.  Thank You that it is Your love that lights our path and pulls us out of the miry muck.  Forgive us for forgetting or taking for granted the gifts of grace and guidance You give to us.  Please help us to hear Your heart, and be quick to do as You ask.  Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times.  May our obedient movement make room for many to come to know You as Hope and Healer.  Amen.

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