Known and Loved

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and the stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do You even think about them? Why do You care about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – (Psalm 8:3-4, NIV)

 

God, the Creator of the entire Universe, cares for us, individually. That is an astounding and overwhelming thought. Our mere mortal minds can hardly fathom such care and concern from One so great. Fortunately, there are examples throughout scripture that make this love a bit more conceivable. His great love rescues, is good, is merciful, is unfailing, works all things together for good, is gracious, surpasses all understanding, and endures forever. He is our Father and we are His children. Just as we love our own children fiercely, so too does the Father love each of us. We are flawed and sinful, and yet we still love our children with our whole heart. Imagine the depth and breadth of the Father’s love, as He is perfect, and who He is, is love. May we go forth this day seeking to soak in a bit more of the lavish love of the Lord. As we continue to gain greater glimpses of who He is and how He loves, may we go forth and love likewise.

 

Oh what love is this,Delivering Dreams

That considers me?

The very same God,

Who called all to be.

When I see the moon,

The stars in the sky;

I gaze up in awe,

He love me, but why?

God loves His children,

All created ones;

His heart is for us,

May Thy will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the Creator of all things, love each of us, individually. Thank You that not one of us goes unnoticed nor unloved. Forgive us for not recognizing the depth and breadth of Your care for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth of Your word, and trust You to lead us and guide us all of our days in Your love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know their significance to You and the world around them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your lavish love, and receive all that You give so that we may give likewise. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Giving Good Gifts

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. – (Luke 11:13, NLT)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

 

As humans, we are flawed and sinful and broken. Despite our shortcomings, the vast majority of us who have children, know how to give good gifts to them, as it brings us joy to bless our babies. If we in our brokenness are able to give good gifts, how much more is our loving Heavenly Father willing and able to give as we ask? The most significant gift He bestows upon us is His presence, as He provides His Spirit to dwell in us. When we know and love the Lord, He is always with us, and will never leave us nor forsake us. There is no greater gift than time, and the time we gain from God is eternal. May we ever seek the Lord and His love, so that we can go forth and love as we are loved.

 

Let us seek the Lord,Enter With Thanksgiving

And the gifts He gives;

For all who receive,

Eternally live.

In Him we find life,

Love, hope, help and peace;

Wherever we lack,

His strength shall increase.

Just as we long give,

Good gifts to our kids;

So too does the Lord,

Want us seek as His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as we long to give good things to our children, so You desire to give to us. Thank You that You give the very best You have to offer, as You give Your Spirit to dwell within us so that we have help and hope and peace that is present in all things and at all times. Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are, or for not seeking You in our spaces of need. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our loving Father who cares best for Your kids. Show us how to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, so that hearts will sense the strength that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lean not on our own understanding to give good, but rather listen to Your leading so that we will love well. 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

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 54:8

To Be Light and Life

You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT)

 

When we are in Christ, we are called to be light and life. If the light of Christ lives in us, it cannot be hidden. Rather, it is meant to shine forth in every area of our lives, so that all may see and know that it is Christ in us that brings any good forth from us. The challenging part is that we are flawed and sinful beings. We fall short, EVERY SINGLE TIME. So often we do the very things we don’t want to do, or don’t do what we know we ought to do. In our own accord, nothing we do will ever measure up. However, Christ in us, can accomplish far more than we could ever hope or imagine, when we are firmly rooted and established in Him. He takes our broken bits and somehow turns them into something beautiful that can reflect His goodness in our own story, and can be used again and again, for His glory. May we receive and embrace the grace that God gives when we trust in Him, and go forth to shine His light for all to see through how we choose to follow Him.

 

The light of the world,Enter With Thanksgiving

We are called to be;

So our deeds through Christ,

Are what people see.

May it be made clear,

That all good that’s shown;

Is because of Christ,

And His love made known.

Do not choose to hide,

The glory of grace;

But go forth and love,

So all seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are light and life and hope for all who seek You. Thank You that Your light lives in us when we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for hiding who You are in us, or for not following the leading that You call us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow Your light to shine brightly, wherever we may go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that our good deeds direct hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live as Your light in all that we say and do. 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

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

 

 

Love Breaks Down Barriers

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)

 

I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for us how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.

 

The Lord, He calls us,Hearts of Thanks

To tear down the walls;

That keep us away,

from hurt who fall.

We’re meant to draw near,

To reach out our hands;

To help and to love,

The way God has planned.

May we be aware,

Help our eyes to see;

Where we’re called to go,

And how to meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to love as You love us. Thank You that though we were broken and sinful and needy, You came near and loved us back to life. Forgive us for not extending the same kindness to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that regardless of how things appear, we would offer what we have been given – kindness and grace. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach those whom society has somehow deemed unworthy, and let Your love give worth to all. 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

Embracing the New

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

Whether we have been rooted in Christ for many years, or it is relatively new, life takes us through seasons. Inevitably, there will always come a season where we must struggle through something – be it a trial, a loss, a refining process, or simply a season of something new that creates challenge as we attempt to adapt and navigate as we have been called. Sometimes in the seasons of struggle, we must be reminded that we are no longer who we’ve been, and that He is leading us into something new that is ultimately for our good. May we embrace the truth that we are a new creation in Christ, and trust Him to provide new life in every area where light is difficult to find.

 

In that broken space,Being Made New

where light seems but lost;

help our hearts to trust,

no matter the cost.

Despite what we see,

Your presence is real;

move on our behalf,

in You, hearts shall heal.

Let us each reach out,

in our brokenness;

allowing Your grace,

move in tenderness.

Thank You that this space,

is not where we’ll be;

for we have the hope,

of eternity.

No matter what’s now,

better‘s yet to come;

for Christ shall make new,

brand new day begun.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You that the old sinful and broken self has been washed away, and we are being made new and whole in You. Thank You that despite the seasons that we walk through, You are present, and You use each one to lead us deeper in our walk with You. Forgive us for reverting to that fearful space in seasons that don’t make sense. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk boldly in You, trusting that You will lead us each step of the way – no matter what comes. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too might see the hope found in our new life in You. May many choose to invest their lives in relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the old and embrace the new that You are calling us into. Amen.

A song that really hits home for me regarding this process of embracing the new after walking through an extraordinary difficult season is, Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey. (click highlighted text to listen.)

© 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

The Scope of Suffering

Suffering is a natural part of our human existence. Sinful and broken people cause harm that results in adversity, as well as the mere existence of illness and disease that also provide places of pain, distress and hardship. We are not promised a life that is free from suffering, but rather we have hope and help for comfort and strength in the midst of our struggles, and the hope that is held in the promise of that which is yet to come.

In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. – (1 Peter 5:10, NLT)

Hardship and suffering seem to be seasonal. We go through seasons of struggle and seasons of blessing. In our most challenging times, God affords us the opportunity to seek Him and find Him in ways that we never have before. When we do, we come to know His strength, power and presence, in a tangible way, and recognize the hope we hold in Him. Though the suffering and struggles are never pleasant, they are the spaces in which we grow most, and if we are willing, God can use our trials to touch and encourage the lives of others to draw them closer to Himself. May we recognize the kindness of God, even in the midst of our storms, as He has called us to share in His eternal glory forever. Let His love lead us, as He restores, supports and strengthens us, again setting our feet on His firm foundation so that we may walk wherever He calls.

The God of all grace,Hold My Heart

has called unto us;

to forever trust,

His own Son, Jesus.

For in suffering,

our hope is made known;

as we’re granted strength,

by God on the throne.

He stays by our side,

no matter how rough;

the battle we face,

our God is enough.

He’ll set our feet sure,

both firm and steadfast;

and our hope in Him,

forever shall last.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the suffering and trials that all of us endure at one point or another, You are present and willing to strengthen us and be our help and our hope. Thank You too that though You do not bring the trials nor suffering, You use them to grow us closer to You. Thank You that You can use even our ugliest ashes to bring beauty, hope and strength to another. Forgive us for allowing fear or anxiousness to reign in the midst of suffering and trials. Teach us to place all of our hope in You, so that we would recognize that though the suffering is for a season, glory with You will be for all of eternity. Lead us to love others with an eternal perspective, so that our desire will be that each will come into a saving knowledge of who You are and how You love. May many choose to trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to restore us, strengthen us and make us firm and steadfast for You, despite our trials. Amen.

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

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

We Must Love

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. – (1 John 4:20-21)

Our “brother” includes all people that God places on our path.  It is not merely family members,  but ALL whom God has created in His image.  Some people are easier to love than others, but we are not called to love on our own.  If we love God and place our trust in Him, He equips and supplies us with the strength we need to do that which He calls us to do.  It is only when we neglect to extend the love that He has placed in us for others, and withhold from those who need it most, that we are living our lives as liars.  People before us can be seen with our own eyes and touched with our hands and hearts.  If we cannot choose to love those standing before us, how will we ever choose to love God, whom we cannot see, nor touch in a tangible way?  So often it is through our choice to love others, that God makes Himself tangible to both us and those whom we are loving.  May we allow the Lord to lead us today, as we go forth and love well, all whom He places on our path.

To truly love God,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we must love others;

love those who are seen,

sisters and brothers.

Not just those by blood,

but all on the earth;

all God created,

have tremendous worth.

If we love not those,

whom God gives to us;

then we don’t love Him,

our actions express.

Lord help us to love,

all whom we are near;

to love as You love,

without any fear.

God, be glorified,

as we answer You;

and make tangible,

Your love as we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, even though we are sinful and broken.  Thank You that You call us to love all whom You place on our path.  Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You equip and empower us to love others as You love us.  Forgive us for not loving those who are difficult to love, as this makes us liars.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to extend the very same love that You give to us, to everyone around us.  May many come into a saving relationship with You, through the mercy and grace that they have been shown.  Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as You call us to love.  Amen.

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

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

A Promise to Enter Rest

Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. – (Romans 4:1)

Though these words were originally written to the Jewish Christians who were likely in danger of turning back from their promised rest in Christ, due to the difficulty of the present reality that was clouding their perspective, we too, can listen and heed the advice.  For all who call on His Name and trust in Him, the promise of entering Christ’s eternal rest remains.  Though we all fall short, for each of us are sinful and broken, yet in Christ, if we choose to trust Him and persevere in His presence, we can overcome our current circumstances and carry on into the call that He has placed on our lives, and remember that the Lord’s promise is for us, and He shall give us rest.

When we are in Christ,IMG_1181

there is promised rest;

for He knows our needs,

and His ways are best.

No matter what comes,

His promises stand;

our future glory,

secure in His hand.

So let us beware,

to not fall away;

let not life’s troubles,

lead our hearts astray.

Hold fast to the truth,

and let us each run;

He’ll strengthen our hearts,

our great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise us Your rest, both in our present places, and into eternity.  Thank You that in You, we are forgiven and granted the strength to press on and persevere on the path to which You have called us to travel.  Forgive us for our lack of fortitude in the fight, when weariness overwhelms us, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will depend on You in such a way, that we bring everything to You as it comes.  Lead us to love others with the same relentless and selfless love that You give to us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result.  Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and receive the rest that You readily grant us.  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