Expectant Hope

So, prepare your minds for service. With complete self-control put all your hope in the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ comes. – (1 Peter 1:13, ERV)

So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the glorious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. – (1 Peter 1:13, NLT)

So, get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you. – (1 Peter 1:13, VOICE)

 

Each new day that we draw breath, we are meant to be ready to live out our faith with expectant hope. To do so, we ought to exercise self-control and ready our minds to serve, remembering not only the grace that we have been given, but all of the hope that is yet to come. Though God gives great gifts in the here and now, the best is yet to come through that which will be eternal – our promised presence with our Provider forever. Imagine a place where there is always peace and never pain, surrounded by His love and light, the true King shall reign. This, this is reason to prepare our minds and exercise self-control, for our hope is held in that which is eternal. May we rise each day with expectant hope, and ready our hearts and minds to walk out our day according to His way.

 

Let’s prepare our minds, Enter With Thanksgiving

To rise up and serve;

Give as we’ve received,

Though much undeserved.

Use all self-control,

Granted by His grace;

So we may love well,

In every place.

May all of our hope,

Be held in the gift;

Of His saving grace,

Where forever is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our eternal hope through the salvation that You offer. Thank You that we can trust our forever in You. Forgive us for not setting our sights on the eternal, as so often what lies before us seems so overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have an eternal perspective, keeping our hope fixed on our forever with You. Show us how to prepare our minds for service, and grant us the strength to have self-control. Help us to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put all of our hope in You and accept the gift of Your gracious salvation that is available for all who choose to receive. 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

Turn Our Attention

So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess. – (Hebrews 3:1, VOICE)

 

So, my brothers and sisters, those chosen by God to be His holy people, think about Jesus. He is the one we believe God sent to save us and to be our high priest. – (Hebrews 3:1, ERV)

 

At first glance, it is easy to discount oneself from being considered “holy partners” or “holy people“, lest we remember that it is not through anything on our own, but through the saving grace of Jesus that we choose to embrace that we are called clean and holy before Him. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we are able in Him, to do abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine according to His good and perfect will. May we focus our faith on the amazing grace that God has given, and go forth in confidence that we are called and chosen with a plan and a purpose as God’s very own. Let us set our eyes securely on Christ, and listen to His leading.

 

Don’t ever discount,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The call of the King;

Our yes to Jesus,

The gift that we bring.

As we come to Him,

He forgives, makes clean;

Calls us His people,

Shows what holy means.

Let’s securely fix,

Our hearts and our eyes;

On Jesus who saves,

And makes our hearts wise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our life, we belong to You and are considered partners among those with a heavenly calling. Thank You that as we fix our eyes on Jesus, You show us the way in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your will in all things and at all times, as Your way is always best. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them feel valued and grants a sense of belonging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that we have been given, and turn our attention to You. 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

Encourage, Love and Do Good

AdventurousToday began in an unexpected and unusually early fashion. One of my sweet sons came into my room at 2am to inform me that he was having difficulty breathing. For the past two days, he has been fighting a fever and cough, which have exacerbated his asthma. Unfortunately, the virus seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and I knew an ER visit would be in order. The wonderful staff at our local children’s hospital took excellent care of Adventurous, and his body responded to the treatments well. Thankfully, we were on our way home by 6:30am. Upon our return, I had just enough time to eat a quick bite of breakfast, change, and pack my running bag for a 10k race that I was registered to run. If ever there was a day when I did not feel equipped for the task, today was the day.

 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

 

Both my running bestie and a dear friend from afar, filled my heart and mind with encouraging words, as they showed His love to me. Though running may not necessarily be His “good works“, it is a space where I feel His pleasure. Every step I take, I am grateful for a healthy body, a beautiful place to live, and the people He has placed in my life through this sport that I love. As we ran, we too, were able to offer words of encouragement along the route to other runners that appeared to be growing weary, and in the end, had accomplished even more than we had hoped to for our race goal time.

 

God provided all that I needed to overcome potential exhaustion. He healed my precious progeny under the care of a kind medical staff, and after all was said and done, I had the remainder of this day to rest.

 

May we look for every opportunity to encourage each other, to show love, and to do good works.

 

Let our eyes extend,Christmas Rush

outside of ourselves;

to encourage well,

unseen by themselves.

May we each show love,

with words that we say;

and may our good works,

show Christ is the way.

All who are weary,

trust Him who knows best;

in awe, you shall find,

He will grant You rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You use us to encourage one another in love and in good works. Thank You that You refresh us when we are weary, and You carry us when we are weak. Thank You that You are present, regardless of what is before us. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to determine our course of action, rather than trusting in You. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to be available to be used by You to encourage and love well, all whom we encounter. May we go forth doing good works as You call us to, and may many come to know the saving grace that is available through a relationship in You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other, showing love and doing good works. Amen.

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

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

Storing Treasures

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Matthew 6:20-21)

 

Storing our treasures in heaven is really a matter of where we are investing our hearts and our resources. It is not merely a matter of money, but how too do we spend our time and our talents? Do we seek to serve God and fulfill His purposes with what we have been given, or is our agenda self-serving? If we seek to accumulate “stuff”, and squander our time and talent on that which is self-serving, our reward is only in the here and now, rather than a return that lasts for all of eternity. May we seek to serve Christ with what we have been given, and may our hearts hold fast to our heavenly treasures, rather than that which is temporary.

 

To each one of us,The Holiday of Hope

He has granted gifts;

resources to share,

down-trodden to lift.

What we choose to do,

with what He’s given;

determines what’s stored,

treasures in heaven.

No one can destroy,

what’s given in grace;

the Lord’s light won’t dim,

as we seek His face.

May we invest well,

all that is growing;

so many may come,

into a knowing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents that can be used to honor You. Thank You that all that we have can be trusted in Your care, and utilized for Your glory. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to treasure anything that is not of eternal value, and help us to hold fast to You, so that our heart will treasure that which lasts forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not limit our investments in Your Kingdom, but rather that we would be willing to be obedient however You ask us to give. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light is made evident through each of us. May many come to know Your saving grace as we seek to invest all that we are and all that we have, into that which is eternal. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in obedience in how we invest the gifts that You have granted. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

He Seeks to Save

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. – (Luke 19:10)

 

Jesus broke down every barrier of expectation that people had for the coming Messiah. They expected One who was high and lifted up, to come in power, and claim what was rightfully His. Instead, Christ came as a humble servant, One who came close to the sick, the sinners, and those whom society deemed unworthy and lost. Jesus sought out the seeking, and they were found by Him.

 

Christ continues to come close to the seeking today. He does not have a checklist of qualifications required in order for us to draw near, rather He longs for us to choose Him, to invite Him in, and allow Him access to our life and our heart. Jesus alone, will bring about the necessary changes, we need only allow Him access, followed by willing obedience to that which He asks of us. May we go forth in our sweet salvation, and share His hope with those who are still in search of Him.

 

Humbly He entered,He Seeks to Save

by lowly a birth;

no pompous fanfare,

when He came to earth.

Born in a stable,

announced by a star;

worshipped by angels,

wise men from afar.

The nearby shepherds,

were stricken by fear;

when angels proclaimed,

that Christ had come near.

The Savior, He grew,

wise and without sin;

it took many years,

for His call begin.

He healed the broken,

and touched the disdained;

showed that there’s new life,

and washed away stains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that was approachable, reachable and touchable. Thank You that You came near, rather that remaining God out there. Thank You Jesus, that You came and made the way for us to seek You and find You forever. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we are found by You. Thank You that You love and forgive and grant us new life in You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not give glory unto You. Help us to live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that brings salvation to the seeker. Be glorified through our every word, act, and deed today, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

A Discerning Heart

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. – (Proverbs 15:14, NIV)

 

Intelligent people want more knowledge, but fools only want more nonsense. – (Proverbs 15:14, ERV)

 

What we feed our mind, heart and soul, is equally important to that which we choose as fuel for our body. Whatever we take in, is what ultimately comes out of us. The books we read, the music we choose, the media we partake in, the people we allow influence over us – all impact how we operate in our daily lives. Are our influences pointing us on the path of righteousness, or on one of destruction? Wisdom gives way to seeking knowledge, and sets our hearts on choices that positively influence our entire being. May the Lord keep folly far from us, and grant us hearts that seek Him in all things.

 

From when we first rise,A Discerning Heart

to the setting sun;

many choices made,

and work to be done.

How will our hearts choose,

what we allow in?

Is our filter Christ?

Do we fold to sin?

If we choose to seek,

His wisdom to guide;

He’s faithful to grant,

knowledge, He’ll provide.

He’ll show us the way,

that we ought to walk;

and grant us the words,

each time that we talk.

May our only choice,

with heart, soul and mind;

be seek Him alone,

His wisdom we’ll find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that You provide wisdom and knowledge as we choose wisely, what influences we allow into our lives. Forgive us for our lack of discernment, or for allowing anything or anyone influence that had no place speaking into our hearts and minds, and grow in us the desperate desire to seek knowledge with Your wisdom. Keep us from allowing anything that does not deserve influence in our lives from having a place, and surround us with people that promote healthy and wise choices. Let Your love that lives in us, be a light unto all who are around us. May many come to know the saving grace that You alone provide, as they enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be glorified as we seek You in all that we allow in. Amen.

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

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

 

 

 

Finding Joy

“What has happened to all your joy? …” – (Galatians 4:15a)  Paul did not mince words while communicating with the Galatians.  He was greatly concerned, as he had heard that they were returning to the letter of the law, rather than remaining in the freedom found through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

As a spiritual parent of sorts, Paul was passionately protective of the Galatians.  He did not want for even one of them to be caught up in legalism and lose the joy that they had found in their salvation, that came through faith in Christ alone.  His exhortation for the Galatians, is meant for us as well.  Legalism was the joy thief of the time, and often is for us still, today.

“Legalism can take away joy because:

1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

3) It stresses performance over relationship.

4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us.

Are we living by faith in Christ, or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?” (NIV footnotes for Galatians 4:15)

Freedom is found,Finding Joy

through Jesus alone;

not by good deeds,

as foundation stone.

Law shows us sin,

not God’s gift of grace;

to know true joy,

Christ we must embrace.

Let not the thief,

steal that which is yours;

the peace of God,

He freely outpours.

As we seek Christ,

we come to know joy;

where they once dwelled,

guilt and shame are destroyed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are set free from guilt and shame, and that You forgive us from our every sin as we come and confess before You.  Thank You that we are no longer bound by legalism that would dictate that we have to worship or pray or do things in a specific way in order to be heard by You.  Thank You that by Your grace, You made the way for us to come before You, freely, unencumbered, so that our joy may be complete in You.  Forgive us for thinking that joy has anything to do with our surrounding circumstances, and help us to remember that joy is that deep-rooted knowledge that You are with us and the hope that we have of a future secure in You.  May the joy within us be contagious, and be a cause of curiosity in those who do not yet know You.  Help us to love without limits, as You love us; and may many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified as we go forth in joy.  Amen.

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

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

Evidence is Everywhere

Despite all of the horrendous happenings in the world today, there is still overwhelming evidence of a good and loving Creator.  Each morning, we question not whether the sun will rise, and we know too, that it shall set again each evening.  Mighty mountains and vast oceans reflect the radiance of our remarkable Redeemer.

In Acts, when Paul was speaking to a crowd that had attempted to honor he and Barnabas as if they were gods in human form, Paul spent time clearing the air and making certain that all the hearers were clear that they were mere men, serving the living God.  “Men, why are you doing this?  We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.  In the past, He let all nations go their own way.  Yet He has not left Himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – (Acts 14:15-17)

Though the evidence of a Creator is overwhelmingly clear, the greatest gift we will ever know, only becomes known to those who are given the opportunity to hear.  Jesus came so that ALL might have life and trust in Him.  Our charge is to share the truth of His great love with the world around us, so that all might have the opportunity to come to know of the saving grace that is available through our great and loving Lord.  May we go forth in peace and make His love known to all mankind.

Go forth in peace,Evidence is Everywhere

tell of His great love;

trust in His grace,

point hearts to above.

Let His light shine,

through the way we live;

His glory shown,

as our life, we give.

Direct credit,

unto Jesus Christ;

honor to Him,

paid redemption price.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who have gone before us, faithfully following You.  Thank You for the gift that their obedience brought, as the truth of Christ was made known to us.  Thank You that it was not anything that they did in their own strength, but that You equipped and empowered their willing hearts to do that which You had called them to do.  Forgive us for being fearful to step out in faith, or for staying silent, when we are meant to speak.  Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that if You call us to it, You will bring us through it.  May our faithful obedience be an instrument to deliver the truth of Your love to those who have been lacking it for so long.  May many come to know Your saving grace, as we step out wherever we are called.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  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