Mountainous Mementos

I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth! – (Psalm 121:1-2, NLT)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

When I look upon the majesty of the mountains spread out before me in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I understand why the author of Psalm 121 made such a statement. Though mighty and glorious in their expanse, the mountains are the work of the Creator’s hands. Our strength and help come from the One who created, not from creation. Yes, we can feel more connected to Him as we get outside and explore all that His hands have made, but ultimately, all of our help and our hope and our strength is drawn from He who made us by the work of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and our help, as He is our hope and our Source of all that we need.

 

By Your mighty hands, Breaking Free from Barriers

All creation does sing;

Of strength You supply,

And hope that You bring.

Our true source of strength,

Is in God alone;

Creation reminds,

In Whom, heart is home.

The mighty mountains,

Remind us to stand;

In awe of our God,

All works of His hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible reminders of Your help and strength found in creation all around us. Thank You that the very same hands that created the mountains, come close and will carry us when we need Your help. Please be present and provide Your strength and help to those impacted by hurricanes, earthquakes and forest fires – there are so many spaces where help is needed. Forgive us for not giving proper praise unto You, as all of our help and our hope is found in You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us as we love well, just as You so consistently and tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

Transformational Times

When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” – (Luke 23:47, NLT)

 

This statement by the Roman officer was extremely significant, as it was his response after overseeing the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. He had observed each nail driven into His hands and feet, each insult hurled at Jesus as He hung in pain, and ultimately, he heard the words of Jesus as the world went dark for several hours that day, as Christ called out, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)  Firsthand, this soldier who had carried out the orders to crucify Christ, could see for himself, that there had been no justifiable reason to take the life of the innocent man hanging on the cross before him. Something about what he had observed through the process, helped open his eyes to the glory of God, as the Roman officer responded by worshipping the Lord and declaring the innocence of Christ. When they say there is power in the cross, it is incredible how soon it began. First with the criminal that hung beside Jesus who recognized that He did not deserve to die and asked to be remembered, and then one of the leaders of the Roman regime. The power present to move those two men from death to life on that very day, is still alive and active now. Jesus rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that His Spirit could dwell among us. The very same power that brought life from death, is available and able to save us now. If we come to the Lord, call on His Name, and place our trust in Him, His presence is ours, and we have the hope of life everlasting in Him. May we allow the power of the presence of the living God to transform us from the inside out.

 

The power of God,Transformational Times

Is mighty to save;

For this is the One,

Who conquered the grave.

He brings us to life,

When we choose to come;

Place our heart in Him,

Where freedom is won.

Free from all our chains,

Of past sin and scorn;

Where hope and new life,

In Him, we’re reborn.

New start without stains,

All grace is now ours;

Made new by His love,

His hope empowers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to live and love and sacrifice, so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You for the incredible things that Jesus did, even as He hung on the cross to impact the lives of those around Him. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot do anything in the midst of our circumstances when things are difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be receptive to all that You have for us – both for and through us as we walk out our days in faith. Show us how to love others as You love us, regardless of what is going on in our own lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to work in and through us at all times to touch those around us. 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

Declare What You Deem True

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, NLT)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, ERV)

 

So often, we make it all far more complicated than it needs to be. Jesus does not desire an army of robotic rule followers, but rather He longs for those who believe and trust in Him. As we make the choice to let actions and voice reflect the truth that we trust, our salvation has already been deemed secure. It takes trust and a profession of our faith – a statement that declares though we may not understand everything, we will choose to trust the truth that we have come to know. In taking a step forward in faith, He meets us and further grows our foundation in the hope that we hold in Him. Though trials come, His promised presence proves trustworthy and true, time and time again, as we lean into the Lord and allow Him to lead. May we declare the truth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, so that all may be saved and know with certainty that our eternity is secure in Him.

 

Confession of faith,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Declaring Christ Lord;

With heart that believes,

Eternal reward.

For it’s not by works,

Nor can it be earned;

God longs for our hearts,

That choose love and learn.

Let words that we speak,

And our hearts believe;

God’s death raising strength,

Our hope to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire robotic rule followers, but rather You long for us to believe the truth that You defeated death and say with our voice that You are Lord. Forgive us for over complicating the process of coming into a relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn the truth as we seek You and spend time in Your presence and Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see the evidence of Your heart in our lives as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we declare that You are Lord and believe that You alone, raised Jesus from the dead so that we could have life everlasting. Amen.

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

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

Fifteen

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

 

There is no truer statement to be made, as my children are one of the greatest gifts that God has given unto me. To be blessed with two happy, healthy, tender-hearted, intelligent, kind young men is a treasure that fills my heart to overflowing. Fifteen years ago, both of my babies took their first breath. Though they came ahead of schedule and needed assistance as their lungs developed, even then, the Lord used their lives to teach me more of who He is and about His faithfulness as a loving Father. Throughout each age and stage, these treasures have helped me gain understanding about unconditional love, and the beauty of childlike faith. Today, as they journey toward adulthood, it is a joy to continue to watch what God does in and through them, as well as learning my own lessons of new levels of letting go and trusting more. May we each recognize and remember that children truly are a gift from God, and that it is a privilege to be trusted to raise them well.

 

Children are a gift,fifteen

A treasure from God;

They make His heart known,

Among His “ta-da‘s”.

May we each embrace,

Those in our own care;

Help us love them well,

So they are prepared.

Ready to rise up,

Go forth as You call;

Lead us as we love,

Lord, please bless them all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give to us through children. Thank You for the blessing that my own boys are to me. Please continue to bless and protect them as they walk out the second half of their teen years. May they ever pursue Your heart and Your will for their lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the great gift that You have given us through the next generation. Teach us to trust and rely on You to love and lead them well, so that You will be glorified and given proper praise. Show us how to love those around us, especially the kids who are challenging to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the great gift You give us through our children, and may we honor You by loving them well. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Strength and Peace

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE)

 

When I read a passage of scripture, I often opt to read multiple translations of the text. Often, I find new insight or perhaps a perspective that I had not seen before, as His word further comes to life through time invested. This morning is no exception. What I love about the above verse and the three different translations, is that the truth that is being expressed is the same, yet how it is conveyed seems to take on a variation in purpose. All three are clear in that God gives both strength and peace to those who are His. How that message is expressed, seems to have three different purposes in the three different translations.

The first, “The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” (NIV) is a solid statement of faith. God is, and He does. The second, “May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace.(ERV) feels more like a blessing or a benediction. Lastly, the final translation, “We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace.” (VOICE) very much is presented as a prayer. The words are full of encouragement, whether as a statement, blessing or prayer. God is indeed our source of strength and peace, and He blesses us with both when we seek Him. May we lift our eyes to the Lord and trust in His unfailing love, allowing His strength and peace to be poured out upon us as we go forth.

 

The Lord is our strength,Who Wants to Fight

our blessing of peace;

when all is awry,

He is our release.

Always He’s faithful,

our hope is assured;

our lives in His hands,

where future’s secured.

Let His peace come reign,

as He makes us strong;

let our very lives,

sing out His love song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and You bless us with peace. Thank You that when we belong to You, we can come to You in prayer, we can boldly state the truth, and we can speak Your words over others too. Forgive us for not seeking or resisting what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source of strength and peace, and the place where we find rest and restoration within our hearts and minds. Show us how to live and love so that we may offer strength and peace to people who do not yet know You. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the blessings of Your strength and peace that You pour out upon us. Amen.

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

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

Finding Common Ground

“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)

Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement.  First, we must find common ground with those around us.  That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts.  Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude.  Humility is the only way we will ever be heard.  Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are.  There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him.  We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs.  When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.

(Italics  above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)

To find common ground,Purple flower

we need open our eyes;

take time to invest,

in other people’s lives.

For if we’re not known,

why would they lend an ear?

No one will listen,

’til another draws near.

We must first listen,

hear each heart and each voice;

notice what’s needed,

sincere service our choice.

When we invest time,

and let love be our choice;

our heart will be heard,

despite chaos and noise.

Let Love lead the way,

be faithful to the Lord;

people will notice,

His light can’t be ignored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well.  Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved.  Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts.  Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You.  Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us.  Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement.  May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Be exalted in everything we say and do.  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