That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

The Greatest Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. – (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into the world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately, He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. – (Galatians 4:4-5, VOICE)

 

God knew that humanity needed a Savior. For most, the law was a list of do and do not from a distance out of fear and reverence, rather than being rooted in relationship. The arrival of Jesus changed everything. God out there, became God is here. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension gave way for us to be adopted into God’s family as His children. No more are we simply subjects attempting obedience out of fear, but rather we are children of the Most High, saved by grace and dearly loved. From this position of freedom, it is difficult not to desire to do what is pleasing to the very One who set us free. May we rise up and recognize the sacrifice that was given so that we could be free, and walk out our days honoring God with our words, deeds and praise.

 

God saw all our need, The Greatest Gift

And set forth a plan;

Redemption and grace,

By His loving hands.

Hands that chose to send,

His beloved Son;

To bear all the weight,

Of what we have done.

Freely He took on,

All our ugliness;

So we may be called,

His in righteousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You saw mankind’s need for a Savior and sent Your Son to redeem us. Thank You that not only do You forgive us of all of our sin, but You adopt us as sons and daughters of Your own. Thank You that You lovingly receive all who come seeking You. Forgive us for forgetting the magnitude of Your sacrifice to be called sons and daughters. Teach us to treasure the gifts of Your mercy and grace far more than we do. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the same sort of mercy and grace to others, so that they might see glimpses of You through the good we give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the greatest gift ever given through the sending of Your Son. Amen.

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

 

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

Delight to Walk Upright

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey. – (Psalm 51:12, NLT)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE) 

By Friday, many of us simply need a reminder of our real reason for joy. If we are willing to start our day seeking the Savior, who is our salvation and our Source of strength, joy rises up and the desire to do what is right before God gains renewed resolve. He is good, and His unending love will lead us and fill us as we choose to depend on Him to direct our path. May we delight in the Lord, who is our Source of joy and strength, and depend on Him to lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go.

 

Lord, return to me,Delight to Walk Upright

The sense of delight;

That entered my heart,

Made heavy things light.

Restore the pure joy,

Found in knowing You;

For You make us strong,

To walk Your way true.

Please make me willing,

To seek and obey;

For true joy is found,

As we walk Your way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly and lovingly restore the joy of our salvation and strengthen our spirits to walk in Your way as we seek You. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without Your direction, or for forgetting to pursue the One who provides our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would begin each day anew, fixing our eyes on You. Remind us afresh of the joy we know, simply through time in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and helps sustain the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and refresh our joy when we grow weary, and give us a willingness to walk in Your way. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Made New By Mercy

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, NLT)

He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, ERV)

 

I am so grateful that salvation is based on God’s goodness, not ours. His mercy declares us forgiven and grants us the desire to do His will, not the other way around. It is far too easy to get caught up in the “enough” mindset. Thankfully, in Christ, we are enough. It has nothing to do with what we do or do not do, but rather in Whom we place our trust. May we embrace the grace that God freely gives to all who call on His Name, and receive the new life His Spirit brings so that we may move forward in faith.

 

Because of mercy, Rise Again

In Christ we are free;

We need only come,

Let go, trust in Thee.

Embrace the Lord’s grace,

For He freely gives;

All who seek His face,

Gain new life to live.

It’s not what we do,

But rather our trust;

That shows us His grace,

As He lifts us up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that saves us. Thank You that it is Your mercy, not our works that make us new by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You receive all who earnestly seek Your face. Forgive us for not trusting that Your grace is enough, and somehow thinking that we must earn it. Teach us to trust You completely so that our motivation for all that we do will be to please and honor You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and mercy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and give You praise for Your incredible grace. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

The Gift of Salvation

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NLT)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish. – (Ephesians 2:8, MSG)

 

Salvation is a gift that God freely gives to us, if only we choose to place our trust in Him. We cannot do enough, nor be enough, but rather it is a matter of making the choice to believe that God is who He says He is, and that He is true to His word. There is no prerequisite to have a certain depth of knowledge in biblical studies or theology, instead, we simply need to have a heart that is open and willing to allow God to be God, because we are not. For those who trust in the Lord, let us give thanks for the gracious gift that He has given; for those who are searching – He is always available and at the ready to hear our heart and love us to life.

 

God saves us by grace,

Rejoice Always

Not by what we do;

It’s all about love,

For His word is true.

What the Lord offers,

Is a gift that’s free;

It’s given to all,

Who choose to believe.

Rise up and have faith,

In God You can trust;

For He alone saves,

God’s loving and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You save us by Your grace if only we choose to believe. Thank You that we do not have to do “enough” or be “enough” to somehow earn Your favor, but rather You love us where we are and accept us because we are Your created. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow get ourselves cleaned up or do things a certain way before we can approach You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your grace is greater than all of our shortcomings and failures. Show us how to love without limits, all those whom You place in our charge, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of the gift of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of salvation, and trust You with all that we are. Amen.

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

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

We Are Called Friends

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! – (Romans 5:10, MSG)

I mean that while we were God’s enemies, He made friends with us through His Son’s death. And the fact that we are now God’s friends makes it even more certain that He will save us through His Son’s life. – (Romans 5:10, ERV)

 

The reason I often post a few different versions of a verse, is my way of sharing the process of looking and listening to what He wants my heart to hear on any given day. Sometimes, the words jump off of the page and grab hold of my heart the moment I first read them, however, there are other times that something seems significant and is keeping me stuck on a verse, but it requires repeated reading. Though the main message of Romans 5:10 reminds us that we were saved while we were still sinners because of Christ’s sacrifice, God uses His words that I have read many times, to show me something new, or remind me of truth that my heart needs to hear. This morning, I took pause as I read the portion that says: “now that we’re our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life!” That is a loaded statement. It is rare that I feel that I am at my best, as I am well aware of my own flaws and shortcomings. That being said, whenever I am dialed in on the depth and breadth of the hope I have in Him forever, I recognize how much He has done both in and through me, and know that there is so much more as I choose to faithfully follow Him. May we ever identify the incredible gift that we have been given through the grace of God, and go forth in the hope that we hold in knowing He is with us, for us, and our eternity is secure in Him.

 

What is this great love,IMG_2491

That saw us in sin;

Enemies of God,

Yet still welcomed in?

While stuck at our worst,

He made way to friend;

Greatest sacrifice,

So life would not end.

It is by His death,

And rising again;

We’re forgiven friends,

Life with Christ won’t end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, Your enemies – You called us friends as You gave Your very best so that we could come to have life everlasting in You. Thank You that through Your resurrection, we are also raised to new life by Your mercy and grace, and empowered to walk in Your way, rather than our own. Forgive us for somehow discounting the depth of what You did and thinking that we do not qualify, rather than receiving the gift that You freely give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a proper perspective as to who we are in You. Show us how to walk out our days in the wisdom that we are Your friends, so that we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You freely give, and walk forward in that which You have given us to share. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Declare What You Deem True

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, NLT)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, ERV)

 

So often, we make it all far more complicated than it needs to be. Jesus does not desire an army of robotic rule followers, but rather He longs for those who believe and trust in Him. As we make the choice to let actions and voice reflect the truth that we trust, our salvation has already been deemed secure. It takes trust and a profession of our faith – a statement that declares though we may not understand everything, we will choose to trust the truth that we have come to know. In taking a step forward in faith, He meets us and further grows our foundation in the hope that we hold in Him. Though trials come, His promised presence proves trustworthy and true, time and time again, as we lean into the Lord and allow Him to lead. May we declare the truth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, so that all may be saved and know with certainty that our eternity is secure in Him.

 

Confession of faith,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Declaring Christ Lord;

With heart that believes,

Eternal reward.

For it’s not by works,

Nor can it be earned;

God longs for our hearts,

That choose love and learn.

Let words that we speak,

And our hearts believe;

God’s death raising strength,

Our hope to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire robotic rule followers, but rather You long for us to believe the truth that You defeated death and say with our voice that You are Lord. Forgive us for over complicating the process of coming into a relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn the truth as we seek You and spend time in Your presence and Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see the evidence of Your heart in our lives as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we declare that You are Lord and believe that You alone, raised Jesus from the dead so that we could have life everlasting. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Come with Thanksgiving

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NLT)

 

I love how God knows what we need far better than we do. Yesterday, what I thought I would be doing, turned into something entirely different, yet the difference was a wonderful day filled with laughter and fun with two of my very dearly treasured friends. We spent the day going to our favorite Thai food lunch, shopping for baking supplies, and then ended up back at their house for a baking extravaganza as we were serenaded by Christmas music. There was laughter, singing, terrific tastes, and my heart was full. It is that very sort of space that reminds me of Who gives me reason to sing, and my heart cannot help but give Him thanks for His goodness to me. May we all raise our voices in thanksgiving, to offer praise to Him who gives us reason to sing.

 

Come all, let us sing,come-with-thanksgiving

With joy to the Lord;

For in Him, we’re saved,

As grace is outpoured.

Let our thanksgiving,

Rise unto His ear;

As we sing His praise,

May our hope be clear.

All thanks unto You,

O Lord God of all;

In all things let praise,

Be that which enthralls.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Rock of our salvation. Thank You that we can come to You with thanksgiving, as You are faithful; always. Thank You that You receive our offerings of songs of praise as acceptable before You. Forgive us for not bringing our gratitude before You nearly often enough. Teach us to joyfully sing praise and thanks to You for who You are, as You are always good. Show us how to love others well, so that we might spread joy and love and light with those who may not otherwise have reason to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanksgiving, singing praise unto You. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Belief in the Hearing

Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? – (Galatians 3:5, NIV)

 

God, in His goodness, gives us the gift of His Spirit, not because we follow the letter of the law, but rather because we choose to believe the truth that we have heard. Our belief, our very faith, can only exist if we hear the good news. It is in the hearing that our faith is established, and the wonder of His works become made known. With eyes and hearts wide open, we recognize the mighty miracles, great and small, that take place in and around us all the time. May our faith be firmly rooted and established in the truth that we hear from Him.

 

May God in His grace,belief-in-the-hearing

Continue to show;

That all comes through faith,

His Spirit makes known.

Let our belief rise,

In wonder and awe;

At who the Lord is,

Not following laws.

Free from the burden,

The weight the law made;

By faith we are free,

To walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are no longer tied to the burden of observing the letter of the old laws, but rather we are saved by believing and trusting in You. Thank You that You grow our faith as we listen and trust in the truth that we hear of You. Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough to somehow earn Your favor. Teach us to trust that investing our hearts into knowing You more, is far greater than a laundry list of doing. Show us how to love others well out of the overflow of what You have given unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in the freedom of our faith, trusting You to lead us and guide us in the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Begin and End with Faith

God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. – (Romans 1:17b, ERV)

 

God calls us righteous before Him when we seek Him and trust that He is who He says He is. It is not through our doing enough nor being enough, but rather it is only by faith that we are saved. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

 

Though there may be times that faith seems difficult to find, when we choose to trust in spite of what we see, God moves in ways we would never have imagined. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and grants strength where strength is all but gone. He sees our hearts, despite how we feel in a fleeting moment. May we trust in the Lord and His unfailing love, as He will take even the smallest seed of faith and grow it into one that can move mountains on His behalf.

 

Let us choose to trust,butterfly vida

The Lord who is good;

For in Him abounds,

Grace not understood.

He takes our small faith,

And begins to move;

The reward of peace,

As His presence proves.

By faith we’re made right,

In the Lord’s own eyes;

He’s pleased when we seek,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made right before You by faith. Thank You that You are pleased when we trust in who You are and how You love. Forgive us for making You too small when the obstacles before us are overwhelming. Teach us to trust in You, no matter what we see. Lead us to love others with a love that moves mountains and grows faith all the more. May many choose to place their trust in You, and enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our faith in You alone. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6