Watching Our Words

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – (Ephesians 4:29, NLT)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG)

 

What we say, matters. If we watch our words and speak good things that encourage and help others grow, then we will be a blessing to all who hear. We are commanded to love, and one way that we can love well, is to speak in ways that help the hearer, not in ways that drag others down. Words are a gift, and it is our charge to use them wisely. May we ever self-edit and choose to speak out only the words that He grants us to help, rather than spew out things that offend or bring others down. Let our words bring life and hope and love, just as His words do for us.

 

The words that we speak, Watching Our Words

Are meant to bring life;

To help others grow,

Bring an end to strife.

Our words have power,

So we must choose well;

Speak out words of life,

That of God’s love tell.

Keep far from speaking,

Unkindness or rude;

Let all that we say,

Lift up and renew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your every word to us is good and draws us nearer to You so that we may grow stronger in all that You call us to do. Forgive us for giving voice to things that do not edify others. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to grant us the sort of words that are good and helpful, building others up in their faith. Show us how to love others with the words that we speak, so that we may offer Your goodness to all those with whom we have conversation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we watch our words and choose to speak good things that help others grow stronger. 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

 

Releasing the Right to Revenge

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. – (Proverbs 20:22, NLT) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll pay them back for what they did to me!” Wait for the Lord. He will make things right. – (Proverbs 20:22, ERV) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; He’ll settle the score. – (Proverbs 20:22, MSG) 

 

For many, this is a difficult road to walk. Our natural inclination is to give back whatever we are given. When extended kindness, it is easy to return. However, when someone wrongs us or intentionally brings harm, it is almost without conscious thought, that our minds go to returning the hurt. With Christ in us, there is a filter to know that we are not meant to lash out in anger, nor return harm for hurt against us, yet it is a process that requires a decision to place the hurt or harm in His hands, and trust Him to handle the matter. Our part is to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness does not mean foolishly nor blindly forgetting and setting ourselves in a vulnerable or unsafe space, but it does mean letting go of our desire to lash out or get even and allow God (and if necessary, the law) to deal with the wrong-doer. May we release our perceived right for revenge, and give our offenses to God. Let us trust our hearts in His hands, as He knows best how to handle these hurdles. 

 

Speak not of revenge, Shackles No More

For it’s not our role; 

To repay all wrongs, 

Must not be our goal. 

Instead let us wait, 

Place all in God’s hands; 

He will make things right, 

He hears, understands. 

Often His answers, 

Open our blind eyes; 

We grow in His grace, 

As love’s realized. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is not our job to get even for the harm that is done against us, but rather You ask us to place it in Your hands. Thank You that we can trust You, as You are good and just, and You love us more than we can comprehend. Forgive us for seeking to “get even” when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place our perceived harms in Your hands, and allow You to handle whatever has hurt our hearts. Grant us wisdom to know how to seek help if help is required, and give us strength to forgive when forgiveness is far from what is desired. Show us how to love well those who have been wronged, so that they may find Your grace and forgiveness, leaving the need for retribution in Your hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our hurts to You, and allow You to handle making things right when we have been wronged. Amen.

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

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

Chosen Representatives

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. – (1 Peter 2:9-10, MSG)

 

If we are followers of Christ, we are among those considered His chosen people. Those who are chosen, are also now called. Our calling is to be representatives of Christ – to be His instruments of peace, telling others of all that He has done in us and for us. Both our words and our deeds should demonstrate the dramatic difference that an identity in Christ makes in how we navigate. May we represent well the wonders of the work of His hands, so that many may come to know Him.

 

For we are chosen,Forgiveness is Free

To represent well;

A life changed by God,

Our story to tell.

In all that we do,

And words that we say;

May His light be seen,

As we walk His way.

Once we were nothing,

Headed for demise;

Then God made the way,

And loved us to life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You call us Your own. Thank You that You choose us to be Your instruments of peace, to represent You to those around us. Thank You that You qualify and equip us to do so. Forgive us for staying silent when we have so much to say about all that You have done in us and for us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be bold on Your behalf. Show us how to love others where they are, so that they may seek to find the Source of our love too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do and say the things You call us to on Your behalf, allowing us to represent You well. Amen.

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

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

Courage Comes with Presence

This morning, as I reflect on last evening’s outing with dear friends, I am in awe, as God unpacks the parallels between what I experienced, and the truth of His word.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, some sweet friends and I went to a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours, and then headed north into the city to go on a “haunted tour“. I am no fan of the whole haunted house scene; though I do not have a high startle reflex, what goes on internally, is not exactly my favorite. Fear does funny things when we cannot control our surroundings. Anyway, because I love my friends, and they promised to go in front of and behind me as we walked through (holding my hands), I agreed to participate. At first, fear tried to gain a grip, but I soon realized that I could just speak out reality, and it wasn’t such a fearful thing. When an actor would jump out in creepy costume, I looked at them, and then spoke out whatever came to mind. Sometimes it was a bit of sarcasm, such as “classy“, or “lovely” and other times it was merely a “well done, pal“, and we continued on. What I found was that as I utilized my words, the weight of the fear disappeared. In life, the very same holds true. When we speak out the reality of what we are afraid of (confident in the truth that we know), or begin to anticipate that all things do not always go according to plan, we are prepared for that which may try to derail us. Additionally, just as I had those who were ahead of me and behind me, knowing that they would never leave me alone and had my back, God does the very same thing as we navigate our days. No matter how we feel, He goes before us and will never abandon us. Though it may seem a bit odd to find truth in an adventure going through a haunted house with friends, God used the experience to show me in a very tangible way, how weighty His words truly are. May we all gain strength and courage as we walk out our days, knowing that the Lord our God, personally goes ahead of us, and will neither fail us nor abandon us.

 

Be strong, have courage,courage-comes-with-presence

Wherever you go;

God goes before us,

The Bible says so.

He will never leave,

And Love does not fail;

We need not panic,

For God shall prevail.

When God is for us,

There’s no room for fear;

Take courage by faith,

For He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You because You go before us and will not fail us nor abandon us. Thank You that You use ordinary experiences to teach us extraordinary truth. Forgive us for our fearfulness that is fueled by lack of trust. Teach us to trust You more, as You are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants strength and courage, and demonstrates the faithfulness that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in strength and courage, knowing that You will go before us and never leave us. 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

Share of Shackles No More

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. – (Psalm 107:1-2, NLT)

 

The first portion of the passage is fairly self-explanatory. God deserves our thanks, for He is good and His love lasts forever. As for redemption, that can be a bit trickier to grasp, as we are not living in the same times as when the original text was written. In some parts of the world, redemption, as in the buying back or paying a price for freedom, is still relevant. However, for those of us who have always known freedom, it is a bit more of a learning curve. We must first recognize that we were held captive in our hearts. Our chains tend to be spiritual and emotional, not physical. At times, the unseen can be more difficult to be rid of, because we must first acknowledge that they exist. Chains in the physical are obvious. If a person is shackled, they want to be free. In the same way, if a person is trapped in the tangles of sin, or locked in the lies that they have been told for far too long, ideally, the desire would be for freedom to be found immediately. Invisible chains must first be identified, recognized for the burden that they truly are, and then help must be sought to rid ourselves of the weight.

Thankfully, God is patient and faithful. He is willing to wait for our readiness for His help, and He loves us to life when we call on His Name. When we have been rescued from ruins, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, we ought to let others know what the Lord has done. Our story may be their opportunity to recognize their own unseen chains. May we give the Lord thanks for His faithful love, and tell those around us of all that He has done.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,Shackles No More

For He’s always good;

His love shall endure,

His grace understood.

He sets captives free,

When we call on Him;

Removes the shackles,

That tie us to sin.

He takes all the weight,

Of the burdens worn;

And loves us to life,

Our souls are reborn.

So bring all the chains,

That keep us from free;

And trust in the Lord,

Where all praise should be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You have redeemed us and You call us by name. Thank You that we have a story of how You have set us free from the chains that held us captive to the weight of sin or lies that we were never designed to carry. Thank You for setting us free. Forgive us for keeping our own story silent, when so many might benefit from hearing the truth of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to share all that You have done in us and for us, as You are such a good and faithful Father. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and speak out of all that You have done. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Bestowing the Best of News

What is the best news you have heard in recent months? For me, a recurring theme is new lives are on the way. I have several friends who are expecting. The anticipation and preparation paired with dear ones readying their hearts and homes to welcome new tiny wonders, is some of my favorite sort of news.

 

The great news of hope in Christ, should carry even more enthusiasm. Not only does coming into a relationship with Him bring new life, but it is a life that is everlasting in Christ’s presence! Jesus takes our brokenness and sinfulness, and heals and restores so that we are whole and considered righteous before Him. Christ’s love is so transformational, it should be a struggle to stay silent about all the wonders He has done. Just as Peter and John replied to the Sanhedrin when ordered to stop speaking and teaching about Christ, so too should our response be the same. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) May we go forth in wonder, sharing of all that He has done.

 

The great news of Christ,

My own tiny blessings a few years ago... <3

My own tiny blessings a few years ago… ❤

a message of hope;

He removes our stains,

and leads as we lope.

A wondrous exchange,

our sin for His grace;

His love that transforms,

bright light in dark space.

How can we not speak,

of what we have heard;

in Him we have hope,

our future, secured.

Let us all go forth,

with great joy, speak out;

point all to the Lord,

the One secure route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the best news we have ever received. Thank You that in You, we have forgiveness, grace, love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more! Thank You that You welcome all who come with repentant hearts seeking after You. Forgive us for staying silent when Your truth needed to be told. Grant us boldness, so that we will speak of what we have seen and heard as You call us to share, and give us wisdom to know how much or how little You would have for us to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be still before You, listening intently for Your voice to whisper words to our heart. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they cannot help but see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we love and serve those around us. Be glorified O God, as we speak of the great news we have in You. Amen.

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

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

Grow Your Gifts

In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him as a young leader in the early church. “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” – (1 Timothy 4:14) In Timothy’s case, he was gifted with the ability to lead. He was granted wisdom and understanding beyond his years, and was called and commissioned to be a leader in a church that was struggling with some strife.

 

The same words that were spoken to Timothy, still apply to us today. “Do not neglect your gift…” In the ERV, it says “Remember to use the gift you have…” Our talents are improved through use, yet lost by neglect. What we have been given has been done for our Father’s glory, and we ought to treat them accordingly. What gifts and abilities has God given you? How can you use them to serve the Lord for His glory? May we utilize the talents that Christ has birthed in each of us, to give glory to our great God.

 

Let each of us use,Gifts Given to Glorify2

gifts given in grace;

meant to encourage,

the whole human race.

If you prophesy,

then in faith, speak out;

if you love to serve,

then do so devout.

If you’re called to teach,

then teach well His word;

if you encourage,

let great words be heard.

If you’re called to give,

do so graciously;

if you’re meant to lead,

do so unto Thee.

If your gift’s mercy,

then let kindness reign;

with great cheerfulness,

let Christ be made plain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in each of us, gifts that are meant to be used for Your glory. Thank You for the numerous examples throughout the Bible and history, of those who have faithfully utilized the gifts that You have placed within them to serve and honor You. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish and utilize that which You have place within us, and teach us how to grow and develop in the gifts that You have given. Show us how we are meant to use our time and talents for Your glory, Lord God. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we exercise the gifts that You have given. Be glorified O God, as we go forth, growing in the gifts that You have given for Your glory. 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

When Anger Arises

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

Anger can be a tricky topic. Just as any other emotion, there are times when anger is an appropriate response to a given situation. That being said, it is always a matter of how we handle our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness, or running on the road to ruin. Bottling builds bitterness, and outburts wreak havoc, yet Paul says to deal with anger immediately. Ideally, our objective ought to be to approach the offender in love, with the intent of reconciliation, not retaliation. If a resolution is not readily available, we can, at the very least, submit the situation to our Savior in prayer. As we speak out the words of anger, hurt and frustration openly and honestly before Him, there comes a softening, and He equips us with the capacity to pray for the very person or people that inspired the onset of anger. Through prayer and seeking to set things right, the devil has no hold on the destruction that was originally intended. When anger rises, may we seek to set things right.

 

When fury rises,When Anger Arises

don’t fold and give in;

let not the sun set,

in anger, don’t sin.

Give not the devil,

a foothold to take;

seek to reconcile,

and hatred shall break.

Pray for the people,

who wrong or do harm;

go and confront them,

grace through outstretched arms.

Seek to extend peace,

where chaos has reigned;

love as Jesus loved,

let truth be proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that anger is not all bad, provided we do not sin when it rises up within us. Thank You that Jesus modeled what righteous anger looked like, when merchants were preventing people from worshiping You and You cleared the temple courts so that they could again enter the space to focus their attention toward You. Forgive us for the times that we have sinned in our anger – for thoughtlessly venting, for bottling it up and becoming bitter – and help us to seek You first so that we act according to Your will, when anger arises. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might respond in righteousness, regardless of the situation or circumstance. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know the saving grace that is available in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we act appropriately when anger arises. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

 

Watch and Wait

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

Though Gamaliel was a member of the council whom Peter and John were standing before on trial, he became an unlikely ally when he spoke the wise words above. Gamaliel recognized that if these men were moving in their own strength, that they would not be sustained for very long, and the whole movement would soon die out. However, if it was in fact a true manifestation and movement of the living God, then there would be no stopping it anyway. His wise council gave the disciples room to breathe, as they continued to faithfully follow that which they had been called to do. Many of the movements that people claim are from God that occur today, must also be approached in much the same way. Watch, wait, and see if it stands the test of time. If it is of God, there will be no stopping the power of His presence as He moves mightily through His people. Likewise, if it is of human origin, it will not be sustained, and will quickly lose momentum and fade away. May God grant us the wisdom to know when to wait and see, and when to walk away from that which is not of Him. Let us have Your heart to discern what is good and pleasing before You, O God.

 

The power of God,Bless You

propels us to move;

to step out in faith,

and plainly speak truth.

When others speak out,

words leave us unsure;

seek God for wisdom,

the truth shall endure.

Weigh everyone’s words,

with the Word of truth;

allow His Spirit,

to shine His light through.

Where Christ’s light reflects,

we can clearly see;

what we should embrace,

and from what to flee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom and discernment when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that there are times when we must wait and see whether or not something is truly a movement from You, or if it is a movement of men. Thank You that You are good, and that You guard our hearts and minds, as we fix our eyes on You. Forgive us for our misconceptions that we may be holding onto, and please shine Your light and reveal to us what is true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may release our wrong thinking and embrace everything You have for us to hold fast in our hearts. Lead us to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come to know the power and presence available to all who call on Your Name, personally. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your wisdom and truth. 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

Do What You Can Do

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:55:56)

 

What stands out to me about these women, was that though they could not go and speak out on the Lord’s behalf before the Roman government or Jewish council when Jesus had been on trial because women we not permitted to do such things at that time, they did the things that they could do. They followed Jesus, even as He was taking His final steps to the site of the cross. As He hung in agony, they did not flee, but stood near, watching, waiting. After He breathed His last breath, the faithful women followed Joseph with Jesus’ body, so that they would know where He had been laid, so that Christ’s body could be properly preserved with spices and perfumes. To the ladies, their faithful acts may have seemed small and insignificant, yet clearly to Christ, they had great value. In fact, I imagine that their devotion had much to do with them being the first to see the risen Lord. May we each be faithful to the tasks that we are called to do, regardless of how we view them. What may seem insignificant to us, could actually be monumental in the eyes of the Lord.

 

Whatever we do,Consistent Character2

let it be with grace;

may our hearts be right,

as we run our race.

May we serve with joy,

and honor the King;

may our every breath,

be an offering.

No task is too small,

to honor the One;

Who grants us new life,

through His only Son.

May our hands and hearts,

continually seek;

to love and to serve,

Your words, help us speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our hearts, and You love us where we are. Thank You that when we seek to serve You, You meet us and equip us and bless us with Your presence. Thank You that You love and forgive, the moment we ask. Forgive us for the times that we scatter, or for thinking the things that we faithfully do everyday, don’t matter. Help us to fix our eyes securely on You, and to focus on loving You and loving people. May many come to know You and Your loving kindness as we are obedient to who You have called us to be. Let the lost be found in You. Be exalted, O God, as we are faithfully devoted to You in all things. Amen.

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

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