Doing As We Were Designed to Do

For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

 

Every one of us has been intentionally designed. Our strengths, our dreams, our attributes, our personality and our determination are all part of the masterpiece constructed by our Maker. Even more, when we submit our lives to Christ, we are made new in Him. All of the weathering and damage that we have done to the Lord’s artwork up to that point, is wiped away – we are made new. As we choose to embrace this space of being a new creation, we are able in Him, to go forth and do the things that He designed us to do, before we had life and breath. May we rise up and go forth in the plans and purposes that we were designed to do, as we embrace His grace that has made us wonderfully new.

 

Before we were born,IMG_2344

We all were designed;

Planned with a purpose,

God’s goodness aligned.

Then there comes a day,

When we have to choose;

To receive the Lord,

So we are made new.

All of the wreckage,

The scars and the dirt;

The Lord wipes away,

And shows us our worth.

There is no measure,

But rather a call;

To love as He loves,

Great purpose for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece – each and every one of us. Thank You that we are created anew in Christ when we choose to follow You. Thank You that as we are invested in You, You equip us to go forth and do the good that we were designed to do. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for our lives and how You so specifically designed each of us. Teach us to have grateful hearts for the new that we have in You, and for Your strength and capacity to do what You designed us to do. Show us how to walk out our purpose, daily. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve and honor You as we were designed to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

 

 

In the Press, Pray

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 118:5-6, NIV)

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? – (Psalm 118:5-6, NLT)

 

When the pressure of life begins to close in and the burdens seem too much to bear, our help and our hope is but a prayer away. We are not meant to muscle our way through the waves that come, but rather we are designed to depend on the One who sees and hears and knows best how to help in all things and at all times. The Lord answers when we earnestly seek Him. He sets us free from that which keeps us bound. What is impossible for us, is possible with God. Though people can cause pain in the present, there is nothing that they can do to take away the promises and the hope that we hold for all eternity. The only thing that should truly be fearful, is the thought of a forever without Him. May we remember to call on the Lord in our times of trouble, as He is our help and our hope. Let His love lead us out of fear and into the place of holding fast to the promise of life everlasting.

 

When trials press in,

and fear starts to rise;Dispelling Disbelief

cry out to the Lord,

where hope’s realized.

He answers each cry,

and sets our hearts free;

from fears that hold us,

so truth we shall see.

We need not fear men,

for His hope is ours;

cannot be taken,

as He bore our scars.

May we choose delight,

in our God above;

knowing we’re set free,

by His lavish love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are hard pressed or in distress we can cry out to You and be heard. Thank You that You answer us and bring us to a place of freedom from our fear of what we are facing. Thank You that You are greater than anything that comes against us, and anything that we are called to walk through. Thank You that You are for us. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the face of adversity or the unknown, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to hold onto the truth that You are far greater than ALL that we face. Lead us to love others with Your lavish love, so that they too, may come to delight in who You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and trust You to answer. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

To Give Thanks

This morning as I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I quickly scrolled through my Facebook feed for fun. What quickly caught my attention, was the reintroduction of the Days of Thankfulness posts for November, as an early rising friend had posted her first proclamation of gratitude. Not only is this a great source of encouragement for others, but it is biblical to choose to give thanks. In fact, to recall a verse to site for this particular post, when I searched “give thanks to the Lord”, twenty-three verses came up. Anytime there is repetition in scripture, it reminds me that it is something that we are really meant to grasp.

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

Because God is good and His love endures forever, we have reason to give thanks. It matters not what else is going on in or around us, the very fact that our hope is secure and our Lord is near, is enough. There are and will be days that He is all that we have to hold. Remarkably, as our hearts begin to pour out thanks and praise unto Him, something happens within our spirit, and we soften before Him, allowing all the weariness to be washed away. His hope rises within us, and we more readily recognize all of the blessings that He has poured out upon us, even in the midst of pain. God is so very good, and His love for us never ends. May we rise each day and give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and is yet to do.

Oh Lord, let my heart,Presenting Our Praise

hold an attitude;

that is overwhelmed,

with all gratitude.

For You are so good,

and Your love remains;

no matter our sin,

hurt, scars, or our pains.

May all of our thanks,

and praise unto You;

rise up within us,

refresh and renew.

God, You are our hope,

our safe, strong tower;

the love of our life,

our strength and power.

No matter what comes,

may our hearts give praise;

all thanks unto You,

for now and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that all thanks and praise belong to You. Thank You for the recognition and acknowledgement that is displayed this time of year for who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for not always having a thankful heart, particularly in the midst of pain. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that the trials and struggles we experience now are only temporary, whereas You and Your love are FOREVER! That alone is reason for us to be thankful. Lead us to love others in a way that displays our appreciation for who You have created them to be, so that they too, may see You in our expressions of gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You, for You are good and we are so grateful that Your love never ends. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Sharing Scars

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

Regardless of her shameful past, the Samaritan woman had a powerful encounter with the living Christ as she had gone to draw water from the well. She was so moved by what she saw and heard, that she lost herself in the enormity of what was being offered to her, and went into town and told everyone she could find about what Jesus had spoken to her, despite the public potential for her to be further ostracized. Jesus moved, and she was forever changed. So too, were many within that town. If we are willing to respond to the invitation that Jesus extends to each of us, not only will we be changed, but so too, will all whom we encounter. May we readily receive all that our Redeemer has to give, and then share our story with those who are willing to hear.

 

Christ Jesus, our Lord,One to Many

what wonder is He;

Who looks past our sin,

to what we can be.

No matter our scars,

sin, guilt and our stains;

He washes us clean,

so just love remains.

It is by that love,

that we are compelled;

to share the great news,

how Christ loves so well.

May we rise and go,

without fear of past;

for what we can share,

will forever last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our testimony is irrefutable, as it is our story that You have redeemed and made beautiful. Thank You that You have always loved us, and that Your love does not change nor fade. Thank You that You deposit in us, that very same love for others. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving out where we are being called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will go without concern for where we have been, but will look forward with anticipation to all that You will do. Lead us to love others with the same sort of zeal that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share the story of how You have touched our hearts and lives. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

His Righteousness

As I watched the world seem to wake up on this beautiful Easter morning, I am once again in awe, as I consider all that was covered on the cross, and the significance of the stone that was rolled away. He is risen! These three words are the game changer for all of eternity.

 

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Jesus took it all. Every. Single. Sin. Our every shortcoming, mess-up, and malicious malfunction, He bore on the cross so that we could be called clean before Him. More than that, in Christ, we become the righteousness of God. That is a weighty responsibility. Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us to our own devices to attempt to be righteous. We are given His Spirit to dwell within us, so that we are led, comforted, and corrected by the Spirit of the living God, Himself. As we choose listen to His leading, we have the privilege to represent our Redeemer through how we live our lives. May we go forth this sacred day as His righteous representatives, living and loving as He first loved us.

 

He who had not sinned,A House of Hope

took up all of ours;

for our salvation,

He bore the scars.

In Him we become,

the Lord’s righteousness;

not for what we’ve done,

but Jesus in us.

Let us each go forth,

in His holiness;

so others may see,

the love of Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You does not begin to express the gratitude for what You have done for us. The gift You poured out to offer hope and life for all who choose to believe, is beyond comprehension. Thank You that You love so much. Forgive us for not standing amazed at all that You have done for us, and for not giving You proper thanks and praise. Teach us to trust You completely, and to honor You well in all that we say and do. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we worship and honor You on this most sacred day. Amen.

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

 

 

Appealing for Approval

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

When we try to win the approval of men, we eventually end up disappointed. However, if we are seeking God’s approval, our goal shall be accomplished simply in the seeking. God does not expect us to get it all right, rather He asks that we seek Him whole-heartedly, and live a life in pursuit of Him and His will for our lives. His grace greets us where we fall short, and His love leads us along the path that He has prepared for us. In Christ, even our disappointments can become appointments that are used for His glory. Where we have failed or life has knocked us down, may be the very places that God is preparing us to encourage another in the same position. In Christ, all things can be worked together for the good of those who love Him. May we spend our days seeking the Lord and serving Him, rather than concerning ourselves with capturing the attention or affection of those around us.

 

Seek not approval,Appealing for Approval

the pleasing of men;

the search is fruitless,

and it never ends.

Rather seek the Lord,

with a heart to serve;

His grace abundant,

and love undeserved.

The Lord, He approves,

the moment we seek;

though we come weary,

scarred, broken and weak.

His arms open wide,

He turns lives around;

beauty for ashes,

the lost become found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we are meant to serve You. Thank You that when we seek You, You are pleased, and You love us as we come. Thank You that even our brokenness can become blessings when placed in Your hands, as You often use what we see as ugliness or weakness as opportunity to encourage another in a similar space. Forgive us for trying to please people rather than You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times. Help us to find our identity and value in You alone. Lead us to love others unhindered by our own scars, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve You with all that we are. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Scars as Signs of Strength

As I continue in my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, I so appreciate the reminders of who God is, and how He utilizes all of our life experiences for His glory. “He took what I thought was broken and unworthy – my heart – and made it into something beautiful by giving it to others who are flattened by life and circumstance. This is God’s nature.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) Our places of pain, of peril, or perhaps deep sorrow or regret, when we are willing to give it all to Him, “God can heal every hurt and can turn your scars into signs of strength for His glory.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

Our survival through the trials, and our strength that God provides on the other side, can become the hope that others need to see to call upon Him who saves. For when there is hope, strength is found. In Christ, we are able to: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24) May we rise up and recognize where Christ has turned our scars into signs of strength for His glory, and look for opportunities to encourage those who are struggling in similar broken spaces that we have overcome.

 

Discarded, broken,

feeling so alone;

yet always our heart,

was held and was known.

When truth was found out,

forever we changed;

beauty for ashes,

as Christ called our name.

The ugliest scars,

He can use for good;

to rescue the lost,

and misunderstood.

What we see as weak,

is really a space;

for God to enter,

and move in His grace.

Allow Christ to reign,

even in the aches;

scars will become strength,

He makes no mistakes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to utilize every trial and struggle that we go through for Your glory, if we are willing to place them in Your hands. Thank You that You give us beauty for our ashes, and hope where we once were in despair. Thank You that in You, there is lasting joy, even in the mourning. Forgive us for keeping our scars covered and hidden, and help us to allow You to use them to show others the strength and beauty that can come, even after the hard and horrible. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing to do whatever You ask of us. Lead us to love others without reservations, just as You love us with total abandon. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to use our scars as signs of strength for Your glory. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Receive Life

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, NIV)

 

Great blessings belong to those who have washed their robes. They will have the right to eat the food from the tree of life. They can go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, ERV)

 

Our “robes” are washed, when we receive what Christ freely offers. We are cleansed by the sacrifice He made for our sin, when He suffered and died in our place. If we embrace what He lovingly gives, and choose to follow Him all of our days, we will be granted entry into Christ’s eternal presence, and allowed to eat from that which people were previously not permitted. All that is good, right, lovely, holy and true, will be the eternal surroundings of those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Imagine a day when God’s glory alone is what lights our surroundings so brilliantly, that there is no longer need for the sun, nor lamps, nor any other source of light. May we receive what Christ has to offer, and allow His healing hands to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness.

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, if we seek You with our whole heart. Thank You that You forgive us and cleanse us, washing us clean, as if we had never sinned. Forgive us for either taking Your grace for granted, or for somehow thinking that Your grace is not enough to cover what we have done. Teach us to have a proper perspective of who You are, and what You have done for us. May we love others well, as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of Your forgiveness and grace as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You offer, and walk in the fullness of Your grace. Amen.

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

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

May We Love Much

A sinful woman, known publicly for the lifestyle she had been living, recognized her opportunity for escape from the life she’d lived, and by faith, pressed past a multitude of laws, both written and unwritten, committing a plethora of societal faux pas, as she entered a room of men to bow at the feet of Jesus.

The beauty in the story is that this woman, washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and dried them with her hair.  She then proceeded to kiss His feet and pour expensive perfume upon them.  At the time, His host had neglected to offer a basin to wash Jesus’ feet upon His arrival, so His sandaled feet were likely full of filth.  That being said, dirt did not deter the woman from serving the Savior with what she had.  Her tears of repentance were cleansing indeed, for when His host questioned Jesus’ allowance of this indignity, He responded, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” – (Luke 7:47)  Jesus went on to tell the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – (Luke 7:50)

Though we are saved by faith and not by acts, faith frequently requires action.  Often, we must move outside of what is comfortable and familiar, in order to fulfill that which He is calling us to do.  In order to grow and deepen our faith, movement is necessary.  If we are standing still, remaining stagnant – the world keeps moving forward, so it actually ends up being as if we were walking backward.  I want a faith that is growing and thriving, not just merely surviving.  When I invest my time, energy, talents, trust and entire life in Him and His purposes, I cannot help but grow.  The more I give Him room, the more space He has to utilize my life.

Stained by our sin,May We Love Much

each and every heart;

by faith, set free,

we’re granted fresh start.

Cleansed by the cross,

on Calvary’s hill;

He paid the price,

for our freedom fill.

By faith, receive,

that which is given;

mercy and grace,

love to start living.

Look at the scars,

for they bore our own;

embrace His life,

and truth shall be known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly forgive all that we ask, when we ask by faith, believing that You are who You say You are, and that You will do, all that You have promised.  Forgive us for thinking that our sins are too great, or for neglecting to love, in places where we should have moved forward in faith.  Help us to hear You clearly, and to act on all that You ask.  May we be ever moving forward in faith – learning and growing in Your love and grace.  May our lives be a light to all who have yet to see the reality of Who You are, and may many come to know Your saving grace in this season.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and may we love much.  Amen.

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