Tag Archive: shepherds


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

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Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? – (Psalm 106:2, NLT)

No one can describe how great the Lord really is. No one can praise Him enough. – (Psalm 106:2, ERV)

 

Keeping proper perspective in the constant chaos that so often accompanies this time of year is critical. Though all of the activities and festivities are fabulous, that which matters most is our intentional pause to remember the reason for the season. There were a myriad of miracles that took place surrounding the arrival of Christ. A virgin birth, a bright star to show the way, numerous angelic visitations, shepherds serenaded and informed by heavenly hosts, wise men traveling from distant lands to bring gifts, and the list continues… God is so much more than a baby in a manger. That baby grew and healed the downtrodden, the outcast, the sinner and the sick, so that all might come to know Him. More than that, He bore the weight of all of our sin so that we could be in relationship with Him forever. There are not enough words, and not enough time to offer Him the praise He is due. The best that we can do is honor Him with our words and deeds, and extend love and life in tangible and practical ways to those around us. May we seek to honor the Lord in all that we do, so that our very lives are an expression of praise unto Him.

 

Who could ever list,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

The glories of God?

For His miracles,

Too vast and too broad.

Who could offer praise,

That would be enough?

The greatness of God,

Whose love covers us.

So let us go forth,

May our lives bring praise;

As we recognize,

The Ancient of Days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your miracles are far too numerous for us to list, and the praise You deserve extends far beyond what we could ever offer. Thank You that You love us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go. Forgive us for not slowing down in the chaos of the season to really fix our eyes and hearts on You. Teach us to intentionally focus our gaze on You in all things and at all times, so that we may recognize Your miraculous in the everyday, and offer You praise through how we walk out our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that glorifies You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty on the move, and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

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)

 

Jesus came in a way that was relatable and approachable. There was no fanfare, nor kingly setting. Born in a lowly stable on a quiet night in an overcrowded town, He arrived with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Christ stepped down from heaven to become like us, so that we would know who He is, and how much He loves. How He lived as He was among us, demonstrated what love looks like. He touched the untouchable, healed the bruised and broken, dined with the despicable and gave His very life for ours. Today, many of us participate in candlelight services where we pause to celebrate and declare the goodness of Christ and who He is. That child born to us, grew, lived, loved, died, rose, ascended and sent His Spirit to us, so that we could have everlasting life. Because of His love and His life, we can confidently call Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. May this day be filled with reminders of His goodness and grace, and may we give proper praise to He who is all of these things and so much more.

 

For born unto us,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

a Son is given;

in still quietness,

He came from heaven.

Though angels proclaimed,

to shepherds at night;

most were unaware,

of this baby bright.

For though just a babe,

the weight of the world;

would rest upon Him,

as His life unfurled.

The way that He loved,

and gave all away;

brought hope to the world,

and light for our way.

Wonderful Counsel,

our great Mighty God;

Everlasting One,

creation applauds.

The sweet Prince of Peace,

delight of our days;

may we offer Him,

all honor and praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You, Jesus for taking it all upon Yourself, so that we could be set free. Thank You for Your grace and goodness, for light and life. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You are. You are no longer a baby in a manger, but the mighty, risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You are so much more than what the world sees. Show us how to love in such a way, that others too, may see Your majesty through our love. May many come to know You as their Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we gather to give You glory. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

Eager anticipation brought a boy to my bedside at 2:28 this morning. Innocently, he asked if it was time yet… After a moment of orientation, I checked the clock and redirected him to return to bed, assuring him that none of the grown-ups would be ready for at least a few more hours. At 5:00 am sharp, in he silently crept again, this time leaning in for a sweet snuggle, hoping to raise the household to life. Gladly, I obliged, as my body is accustomed to early mornings, yet I reminded him that it may not be as simple with those who were still asleep. Fortunately, he and his brother’s energetic enthusiasm was met well, even by those who had been sleeping soundly. Soon the house was a buzz, and the festivities in full swing.

 

As this morning’s reading plan took me through 1 John, I could not help but compare my kiddos’ excitement with the hope that we too should hold in that which is yet to come. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – (1 John 3:2) Just as our boys did not know what the packages contained, they knew that their parents and grandma, who love them well, selected things for them with love. Likewise, as God’s children, though we have not yet seen Him, nor do not fully know Him, we know Jesus through His word and the revelation of His Holy Spirit, and all that we know, is indeed very good! May we go forth this day with the joy and hope of a child, as we embrace the greatest gift ever given – born to us, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

 

With child-like faith,

Gram and the boys

My mom and the boys

on this holy day;

may we each embrace,

Christ’s coming to stay.

Born in a manger,

He quietly came;

the angelic hosts,

to shepherds proclaimed.

The magi too heard,

of the sacred birth;

they traveled so far,

to honor His worth.

They came bearing gifts,

and honored the King;

let us continue,

give our offerings.

May we give honor,

and all of our trust;

beloved Jesus,

the Lord God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son into the world, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we come to You and place our trust in You, You receive us as Your own. Thank You that You consider us Your children, and that You refine us and make us more like You. Forgive us for failing to seek You or choosing to not listen to Your leading. Help us to trust You more, so that we may clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Lead us to love as You love, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as Your children into the world. Amen.

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

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

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

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – (Luke 2:15)

 

Ordinary shepherds with extraordinary faith, had been tending their flocks by night. Suddenly, the night sky was illuminated with the glorious light of the Lord, and the shepherds were full of fear. An angel offered them comfort, and let them know that he was there to share great news, and that there was nothing to fear. As the heavenly hosts praised God after the announcement of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds were so moved by what they had seen and heard, that they dropped everything to go and see for themselves. I can’t imagine it was convenient, nor easy; yet clearly the shepherds were determined to see the Savior whose birth had just been declared to them in the dark of night.

 

How often are we compelled to move where we have been called, despite the inconvenience, as a result of the recognition of His voice? He still speaks to us today. Though few have the experience of the heavenly hosts bringing an announcement by song in the night sky, His Spirit now dwells in the very hearts of all who call Him Lord of their lives, and His words are whispered to our hearts continually. Our response ought to be to eagerly go and see what He will do, rather than fear or anxiousness of the unknown. Learning to trust Him more, is an ongoing, ever-growing, challenge in life with Christ. May we seek to hear Him clearly, and ask for His strength to trust Him more.

 

Let our hearts receive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

each word from the Lord;

with strength to trust Him,

by faith He affords.

May we quickly heed,

whatever He speaks;

choose walk in His ways,

as Christ our heart seeks.

May we learn to trust,

with all that we are;

no matter the call,

be it near or far.

For the Lord our God,

will ever remain;

present, God with us,

truth we can proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to us and challenge us to go and see and do things we never thought possible. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who trust and believe. Thank You that as we choose to take steps of faithful obedience where You call us to go, You remain present, with us, strengthening and equipping us, for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to grow in our trust in You. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love us. May many come to know Your faithfulness and Your grace, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth trusting You. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11)

The great joy the angel was declaring, was both the first and greatest joy ever known.  The gift of God, sending His Son to earth to take on the sins of all, is the provision of joy found in the promise of hope, that is secure in our Savior.  “Joy is a sense of well-being and delight that comes from knowing and serving God.” (Pastor Jon MacIntosh

Joy was further defined by Pastor Jon as follows:

1) Joy is not an emotion.  Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.

2) Joy is sourced in God Himself.  This is why our joy cannot be shaken.

3) Joy is both a present reality and a future hope.  Though we know joy now, it is only in part of what will one day be fully known.

We can know joy despite our circumstances, when we are deeply invested in Christ.  Joy is rooted in love, tied to obedience, and is a gift of God that is found in the person of God.  We may know His joy more fully, as we walk in His will.  We discover a deeper joy when our focus extends beyond ourselves, and we pursue the purpose that He has placed before us.  (see Psalm 16:11, 19:8, and John 15:9-13)

Go forth in His light,Joy to the World

declaring great joy;

found in a stable,

born an infant boy.

Announced by angels,

proclaimed by a star;

followed by strangers,

who’d come from afar.

The infant, He grew,

into God, the man;

taught of salvation,

lived redemptive plan.

His death on the cross,

our sinfulness bore;

so we might be found,

come, let us adore.

The grave could not keep,

Jesus in the ground;

God’s power at work,

our joy in Him found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of joy.  Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on how we feel, nor on that which is going on around us.  Thank You that You are our Joy, and in You, we find joy as we come to know and serve You, our Savior.  Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix too closely on the troubles of this world, rather than on You, whom all troubles are subject to.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know more completely, the joy that is found in You alone.  Help us to love and serve as You are asking, and may many see Your joy in us.  May those who do not yet know You, come to know the joy that is found in You alone.  Joy to the world, the Savior has come!  Amen.

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

Christmas commemorates the momentous event, where at last the long foretold telling of the Savior’s arrival, had come to pass. This sacred season is our reminder of how Christ came near. Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again; so that we too, could draw near to Him, and receive the promise of a permanent place with Him in heaven forever. How, in the midst of the chaos of all of the Christmas preparations, do you draw near to our Deliverer?

“Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – (James 4:7-10)

At first read, the above passage seems so somber. However, James was really giving us an excellent reminder of how to prepare our hearts properly, so that we may present ourselves pure before Him, and allow Him to restore and right that which is wrong. My NIV footnotes lay out the verses this way:

1) Submit to God (4:7) – yield to His authority and will, commit your life to Him and His control, and be willing to follow Him.

2) Resist the devil (4:7) – don’t allow Satan to entice and tempt you.

3) Wash your hands … and purify your hearts (4:8) – that is lead a pure life as you are cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God’s purity.

4) Grieve and mourn and wail (4:9) – don’t be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done.

5) Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (4:10) – Give it all to Him, and He restores, reconciles, and calls us His children.

So long ago,To Come Near

it was foretold;

that Christ would come,

peace to unfold.

To their surprise,

came infant King;

in stable born,

strange offering.

Bright shining star,

drew wise men near;

and angels sang,

that Christ was here.

Shepherds in fear,

babe laid in hay;

heaven declared,

truth for today.

Wise men still seek,

Him born that night;

Who suffered death,

to make us right.

Let us draw near,

for Jesus waits;

to welcome those,

who seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to draw near to You. Thank You that when we willing submit our hearts and lives unto You, You come and dwell in us and provide all that we need to live right before You. Help us to keep short accounts before You, being quick to confess our sin; and help us to rely on Your leading, so that we walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for our attempts to do things on our own, and help us to turn to You first, and allow You to lead. Teach us to walk in humility before You, so that others may clearly see You in us. Let us live in love so that many may come to call You King, this Christmas. Be glorified today, Lord God. Amen.

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

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” – (Luke 2:8-14)

All those years ago, God’s message for ordinary men, doing ordinary things, was extraordinary. Their initial response to the messenger was fear, for such an appearance would be a bit frightening. Immediately, the angel spoke and told them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news.” Imagine the awe and wonder that must have been filling their hearts and minds, as the shepherds stood in the dark of night, with God’s glory suddenly lighting the area around them. More than the scene that continued to unfold, as the single angel was suddenly joined by a great company of heavenly host, was the message that they were sharing. Glory to God in the highest, for this Savior who has been born, and for us on earth, peace?

Peace, shalom, the peace of God, means so much more than simply being at ease. The peace the heavenly hosts were proclaiming is the peace that provides wholeness, unity and harmony, regardless of what is going on in the world around us. His peace is our place of calm, united in Him, be it in times of trouble or in times of favor. (peace defined by Pastor Jon @ www.gcfw.org)

In this season of celebrating the coming of Christ to earth, born to us as a baby, bringing the peace of God to people on earth, may we give Him all glory, and proclaim the precious peace that is provided through Him alone.

Once on a dark night,Peace He Brings

men watching their flock;

an angel appeared,

no more could they talk.

Fear took hold of them,

for their was great light;

God’s brilliant glory,

gave them such a fright.

Then the angel spoke,

told them not to fear;

good news of great joy,

God’s peace had come near.

The gift born that night,

lived, died and raised up;

so we too may know,

fullness of His cup.

Peace to us He brings,

if we let Him in;

making us brand new,

cleansed from all our sin.

Glory to our God,

from Whom, peace does come;

praises to our King,

Father, Spirit, Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came so that we might know Your peace, that passes all understanding and brings wholeness, unity and harmony in You. Thank You that Your peace is so much more than momentary ease. Thank You that Your peace remains, even when chaos and crisis come. Forgive us for our fear, and teach us to trust in You, so that we are aware of Your peace, that is ever present when we yield our lives to You. May we live our lives in love in such a way, that Your peace is made evident to all who are around us. May many come to know that there is so much more to Christmas than Your birth as a baby. May lives be changed and hearts turned toward You. All glory and honor to You. Amen.

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

Paul persevered, pressing on,

image by AshBricks88

image by AshBricks88

hurried to Jerusalem,

for he wanted to arrive

by Pentecost to see them.

Regardless of the warnings

of the hardships yet to come,

Paul considered his life not,

for the Lord’s will must be done.

He knew this was the last time,

he’d see this group on earth.

Declared his dedication,

and affirmed their matchless worth.

He warned them to keep a watch,

over selves and those who’d come.

Be shepherds of the body,

faithful servants of the Son.

The savage wolves will rise up,

and shall attempt to destroy.

Keep an ever-present watch,

may His strength and shield deploy.

I commit you to the Lord,

and the bounty of His grace.

Be built up and be ready,

be the victor in this race.

(Responding to Acts 20:13-32)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for such solid examples of single-mindedness.  Forgive us for getting caught up by the distractions of our days, and help us to fix our focus upon what really matters.  May our hearts and minds be centered on You in all things and at all times.  Teach us to turn to You in everything, and to see Your significance, even in the seemingly simple things that we do.  Lead us to keep watch over our hearts and minds, over our families and friends; may we press in and persevere as we present our petitions for protection before You.  Keep the enemy far from us, and our hearts soft and open to Your leading.  Use us Lord, to lead the lost into Your loving arms.  Amen.

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

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