Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

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

Refuse to Lose Heart

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – (2 Corinthians 4:16)

 

It is easy to want to walk away when the going gets tough. However, it is in our times of challenge, that Christ provides His strength and meets us in our weakness and spaces of lack, to demonstrate just how great He is. As we learn to lean into the Lord, He supplies the strength to sustain us, even where we have none. Christ fortifies our faith, when we seek Him in our struggles.

 

Allow not our hearts,Refuse to Lose Heart

to choose be dismayed;

for when trials come,

Christ’s strength is displayed.

Whatever we lack,

the Lord is enough;

when we are weakest,

the Spirit is tough.

In our time of need,

His strength He’ll supply;

if we seek His face,

and on Him rely.

As we choose to trust,

the Lord shall renew;

our Help and our Hope,

He’s faithful and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen and renew us when we are struggling and weak. Thank You that it has nothing to do with our ability, and everything to do with Your love for us, Your created. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You are faithful to provide help and hope. Forgive us for allowing despair to dominate when trials and tribulations try to take us out. Help us to hold fast to Your promises, and trust in Your unfailing love that will see us through until the day we see You face-to-face. Be our strength and our hope and our song, I pray. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified, O God, as we seek Your strength in our struggles, so that we may continue to stand strong in You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Standing Strong in Struggles

Today, as I again read the first two chapters of Job, I am reminded anew that though God does not cause the trials in our lives, He does allow them. Often they have nothing to do with sin, but rather are a test of sorts, meant to deepen our dependence on Him. In the case of Job, God saw his faith, and allowed Satan access to him, with the condition that Job was not to be killed. Even after losing everything and all of his children, in the midst of being chided by his wife to curse God, Job’s faithfulness remained.

 

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. – (Job 2:10)

 

When trials and struggles come our way, do we remain upright and confident in Christ? Are we able to keep from sinning in what we say? It is one thing to quickly cry out to Christ when calamity comes our way, yet it is entirely another, to continue to trust for a long season of suffering or despair. As we choose Him in the midst of our heartache and struggles, He is faithful to be present. Just as Job’s friends initially sat beside him in silence (as he actually needed), God is present, and will remain. Christ whispers the words that our hearts need to hear, and holds us up when we cannot take even one more step forward. He is faithful forever; we need simply place all of our trust in Him, no matter how things appear. May we fix our eyes on Christ and allow Him access to our whole heart, so that we become rooted and established in He who will help us weather every storm.

 

God is always good,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

even though life’s not;

His hope will remain,

our eternal lot.

When the trials come,

His presence is clear;

if we’ve invested,

we’ll know He is near.

No matter the ache,

how great or how small;

He sees and He knows,

upholds us through all.

For the Lord is good,

His love shall remain;

both now and always,

let Christ come and reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of struggles and suffering, You remain present – helping, holding, loving and granting Your hope. Thank You that no matter what comes, our hope is held in You. Thank You that what awaits in eternity is well worth the temporary trials that we endure on earth. Forgive us for our lack of endurance and faith when struggles seem unending, and teach us how to persevere in Your promises and Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always good. Lead us to love and be faithful to You, no matter what comes, just as You so clearly demonstrated through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, draw many unto Yourself, so that those who are lost, may be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we stand strong in You, even in the struggles. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Love Him More than Life

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – (Revelation 12:11)

 

The “they” in this passage is referring to all whom believe. “Him” who they overcame, is Satan. The blood of the Lamb, is the power of Christ that set us free from sin, as He sacrificed Himself in our place on the cross at Calvary, and declared that it is done. Our testimony is a powerful thing. No one can refute the truth of what we have experienced first hand. As we share what Christ has done for us, with those who do not yet know Him, the devil is defeated, as he cannot contest the truth. Both early and some present day believers have been placed in a position of life and death decision, as a result of their faith. Our charge is to stand strong, regardless of what we face, for our future is assured for all eternity with Christ. It is far better to lose our life on earth with heaven’s gain, than to waiver with the security of our souls. May we stand strong in Christ, placing Him first, above all else.

 

Our soul’s enemy,Love Him More than Life

has been overcome;

the blood of the Lamb,

the battle’s been won.

We need not love life,

more than we love Him;

our future’s assured,

all else appears dim.

Fear not death on earth,

but spiritual loss;

invest in the truth,

we’re saved by the cross.

May we each stand strong,

placing the Lord first;

sharing the good news,

with those who still thirst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have all that we need to overcome the enemy of our soul. By Your blood that covers us, Your Spirit who dwells within us, Your Word that is in our heart, and our testimony that is the collection of experiences of You alive and active in our lives, we are more than conquerors in You. Thank You that You grant us Your strength and courage to face and overcome whatever lies before us. Forgive us for our fearfulness or for forgetting the powerful weapons that we have to wield in You, against the enemy. Teach us to be bold on Your behalf, and may many come to know the truth. Let the lost be found in Your love, and may we love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. Be glorified, O God, as we stand strong in You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

 

We Who Overcome

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, NIV)

 

I will let everyone who wins the victory sit with Me on My throne. It was the same with Me. I won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, ERV)

 

To overcome does not mean to be without struggle, but rather it is to press in and persist in spite of the struggle until the battle is finally won. Often, overcoming is a long and arduous battle. Our struggles require an ongoing repeated reliance on our Redeemer. He is our strength to stand strong against temptation and opposition, and He is our Rock whom we can run to, when we require retreat. Victory, is determined in our obedience, not in our strength to stand on our own. We are able to be overcomers and join our Savior on His Heavenly throne, as we choose to allow Him to lead us into our battles, and rely on Him to be our Commander and King.  Each step, each breath, that we choose to allow Him to lead, we find His strength to meet our need.   May our hearts hold fast to Him alone, who leads us to salvation’s throne.

 

Battles will come,IMG_0073

of that we’re assured;

yet strength is found,

through Christ we’re secured.

Victory waits,

for all those who trust;

in the Lord God,

Who’s more than enough.

And on that day,

when we’ve overcome;

our battles fought,

and we see the Son –

“Come close, My child,

you’ve trusted alone;

come sit by Me,

on salvation’s throne.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are overcomers in You. Thank You that in Your strength, we are able to do that which You call us to, and hold fast to the promise of being with You forever in Heaven. Thank You that our hope is not just for the future, but it is for right now as well, as You grant us Your Spirit to dwell in us so that we can be more than conquerors in Your Name. Forgive us for our fear and failures, and help us to recognize how it is You who pick us back up, dust us off, and place us on our feet again. Teach us to persevere, even when the battle before us seems impossible; for nothing is impossible for You. May we live and love as You call us to, and may many lives be led into a relationship where they too, become overcomers in You. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome all that opposes us in Your strength. Amen.

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

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

Rooted In Relationship

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his (or her) friend can help him (or her) up. But pity the man (or woman) who falls and has no one to help him (or her) up! – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

 

We are created for relationship. In the beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so He created a help mate for him. Today, we are no different. As His created, we were never intended to exist in isolation. God’s purpose for us, is rooted in relationship. Ideally, our priority ought to be our relationship with Him first, followed by that with those around us. If we prioritize our relationships as God intended, we benefit from the plan and purpose He set in motion. People are strengthened, encouraged, and able to be more productive in every area of their lives, when our relationships are rooted in Christ.

 

Establish well,Rooted In Relationship

foundation in Christ;

invest in friends,

as the Lord supplies.

Seek His wisdom,

rely on His grace;

allow Him to guide,

each step of our days.

Be the body,

together as one;

stand strong in Christ,

for His Kingdom come.

Lift those who fall,

support those who stand;

walk side by side,

to fulfill His plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for relationship. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us and have a relationship with each one of us, individually – as Your beloved children. Thank You that You call us to be in relationship with one another as well. Thank You that You do not ask us to walk through this life alone, but rather intend for us to be established and invested in communities. Forgive us for not investing in the relationships that we ought to, and grant us wisdom to know how we should interact in every relationship, so that we are honoring You, above all else. Let those who are looking, see You in us, and come to a saving relationship with You. May we love and invest in others, as You invest in us. Be exalted, Lord God, as we relate to one another. 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

 

Rest for the Weary

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28)

 

It is easy to get so busy and buried in our burdens, that we do not even realize our own weariness until it is unbearable. Yesterday, weariness snuck up and smacked me square in the head. Out of seemingly nowhere, narcolepsy was threatening to take over at the start of my sixth period class. I actually had to consume a cup of coffee, just to get through my final hour of teaching. Though the coffee was a band aid of sorts, I was alert enough to get through the remainder of the school day, go for a run, and then get home to prepare dinner. God was gracious, and supplied the strength needed to assist our boys with their homework. However, as soon as they were done, the makings of a migraine began to set in. Again, God provided His rest, as Super Spouse suggested I retire for the night. It was really early, but I did not argue. This morning, I woke well before my alarm, rested and ready for the day.

 

Though the blessing of a good night’s sleep is not the solution for all weariness, it was God’s provision of something that I needed. He knows what we need, and is willing to provide, if we come to Him and trust Him to take on our load. Sometimes, He utilizes those around us to be His hands, heart, and voice to deliver the direction necessary. My part is to remember to give the things that I am not meant to carry, to Him. His arms are far stronger than mine. He is willing and waiting, we need only come, and we will find rest in Him.

 

Come unto the Lord,Rest for the Weary

when weary and worn;

He’ll carry the load,

rest for the forlorn.

He’ll take our burdens,

into His strong hands;

He will provide rest,

our Heavenly Dad.

He will hold us up,

when we’re broken down;

He’ll grant us new life,

as in Him we’re found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You when we are weary and burdened, and find rest in You. Thank You that You take our burdens upon Yourself and supply all that we need to stand strong in You. Thank You that You never grow weary nor burdened by us. Forgive us for trying to carry burdens that are not meant to be ours to carry, and help us to hand the heaviness to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will bring our burdens to You the moment we recognize that they are before us. Grant us wisdom and strength to know what we are meant to carry and what we are not. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may we offer strength to the weary, and help point those who are searching, to the path that leads to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

To Turn from Temptation

Temptation is a funny thing – the longer we learn to stand strong against it, the more subtle it becomes. All of us are and will continue to be tempted. It is a matter of how we choose to face that which lies before us, that will determine whether or not we will overcome that which is luring us away from God’s very best for us.

 

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

Despite society’s state of seeming moral decay, there are no temptations that are new to mankind. Everyone has to face some sort of dilemma and make a choice. Many who have gone before us, have faced and overcome the same sort of obstacles. God will grant us all that we need to resist every temptation under the sun. Wisdom is also granted by God, to recognize people, places and situations that tempt us to succumb to sin. We must steer clear of such spaces. Choose what is right. If we seek God, and His help, asking Him to guide us to friends whom will help us resist temptation, rather than fall into it, He will be faithful to answer. Lastly, run from settings where sin is inevitable. Why subject oneself to testing that is unnecessary and foolish?

 

Temptations come,To Turn from Temptation

to all mankind;

God is faithful,

to help toe the line.

We must seek Him,

for His help, ask;

to overcome,

never a small task.

Flee from wicked,

resist what’s known;

seek God and friends,

don’t just face alone.

Seek His wisdom,

ask for His grace;

stand firm in Christ,

there’s no safer space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our faithful and present help, always. Thank You that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that You will always provide a way out for us. Forgive us for not heeding Your warnings, and for ignoring Your still small voice, when we have given in to temptations. Teach us to be tender to Your voice, and not only quick to hear, but immediate to obey. May we overcome temptations that are placed before us, and walk victorious in You. Let our love lead those who are looking, straight into Your loving arms. May many come to know You, personally, as their salvation and safety. Be glorified in our every word and deed, as we flee from temptation and stand strong in all that You are asking. Amen.

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

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

The song Overcomer, by Mandisa, came to mind as I was finishing up.  Please click the title to enjoy!  🙂

 

 

Taking Possession of Promises

Is the promise really the promise, when the glorious reality is in full view, yet there are giants between where we now stand and where we must go to enter into what God has spoken?  Ultimately, it becomes an issue of whether or not we trust that God is greater than the giants, and do we trust Him to be true to His word.

In the desert, as Moses and the masses were on the move, spies had been sent ahead into the land that God had promised them.  The men had seen that the land was indeed, flowing with milk and honey, and had even brought back evidence of its fruitfulness.  Despite the plentiful promise land before them, they allowed their fear of the powerful people living in the land to stand in their way.  One man spoke up in faith. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’  But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than us.” – (Numbers 13:30-31) 

Caleb chose trust over fear, and stood strong despite popular opinion.  He had seen the land for himself, and trusted that God was greater than anything that stood between the people and laying hold of the promise.  Sadly, the people chose not to listen to Caleb, and ended up wandering for forty years in the desert as a result.

What promises can we lay hold of through faith, if only we choose to trust Him, in spite of how things appear?  I don’t want to miss out on all that He has for me, only to be left wandering in the desert, aimless and longing for what could have been.

Promises made,Taking Possession of Promises

from the heart of God;

don’t ever change,

despite path to trod.

What the Lord says,

He will indeed, do;

God is faithful,

His word’s always true.

We must choose trust,

despite what’s seen;

God is greater,

on Him, we must lean.

God is with us,

the giants, fear not;

He’s far greater,

than the darkest plot.

Rise up in faith,

claim promise in Him;

dispel all fears,

our God always wins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the promises You have spoken are “YES” and “AMEN”, and what You say is what shall be.  Thank You that neither giants, nor mountains, nor seas, nor anything else in all creation can stand in the way of the fulfillment of Your promises spoken.  Forgive us for allowing fear to deter us from moving forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we might boldly take each next step that You are calling us to take, despite the appearance of giants or obstacles that seem to be standing in our way.  May we boldly move in obedience unto You, and may our faith be unwavering in Your truth.  Lead us by Your love, to love others well, and may many come to know You personally, as a result.  Be honored in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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