That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

He Gives Good

For the Lord our God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, NLT)

The Lord God is our protector and glorious king. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, ERV)

 

I love seeing the surprise on the face of another, when unexpected blessings are poured out upon them. Yesterday, months of planning finally came to fruition. After a time killing distraction of a drive to the Hoover Dam, I brought the Viking to our long-awaited destination. When we arrived to what he thought would be some old friends of mine’s home, he was instead, greeted by four of our dearest friends, and his brother, whom he has not seen in over a year, who drove ten hours to be with us for the birthday celebration. The tears of joy on the faces of both brothers as they embraced, blessed the rest of us nearly as much as them. Viking is a good man who loves his people well, works hard, serves, and freely gives. Good things have come to him, as he has been on the giving end for so many. May we give thanks to God, who is our sun and shield, who gives us grace and glory. All praise to Him for every good thing that He brings.

 

The sun and our shield, He Gives Good

The Lord God on high;

Gives grace and glory,

Love none can deny.

Good freely given,

To those who do right;

Who love as He loves,

Held dear in His sight.

All thanks be to God,

For good that He brings;

Let us give Him praise,

As our hearts choose sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being our sun and our shield. Thank You for the grace and glory that You give. Thank You for the good that You bring our way. Forgive us for choosing poorly, or for not giving You glory for all of the good that You give. Teach us to trust You more to guide us in Your way and to honor You in what we do and say. Show us how to love well, all whom You place in our circle to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

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

Love that Satisfies

Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

Fill us with Your love every morning. Let us be happy and enjoy our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, ERV)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

This verse is a portion of a prayer penned by Moses, reminding us of our own need for God and the greatness of His love. When we are aware of His love for us, joy rises up and we have reason to celebrate being alive. God’s kindness shown to us, becomes a model of how we are to do the same for others. Each day, He is faithful to fill us anew, if we are willing to seek Him. The love of the Lord is unending, and His kindness satisfies for a lifetime. May we look to the Lord at the dawn of each new day, and receive the love that He has ready to fill our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and love likewise with joy.

 

With each dawning day,IMG_2491

The Lord’s love is new;

He’s ready to give,

To me and to you.

For His love alone,

Our hearts satisfies;

Grants reason for joy,

All hope realized.

As we know His love,

Our hearts shall be filled;

Joy for all our days,

As peace He instills.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You satisfy the seeking a new each morning with Your unfailing love, so that we have reason to sing for joy for all of our days. Forgive us for trying to find joy anywhere other than in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Source of all that we need. Show us how to live in Your unfailing love in such a way, that we love others in the same way that You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to satisfy us with Your love, so that we may love like You in the joy that You provide for all of our days. 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

Tangible Goodness

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who take refuge in Him! – (Psalm 34:8, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, I was delighted with a beautiful example of the joy found in blessing another. Just as God shows His goodness to us as we depend on Him and trust Him, the beloved spouse of one of my dearest friends went all out to create an enchanted evening for his bride. The joy he found in planning surprise after surprise for her, reminded me of how the Lord does likewise for us. Whatever hopes or expectations we may have for what lies before us, His plans are exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine when we place our trust in Him. No, trusting Him does not mean that every day will be a birthday extravaganza, but it does mean that He is ALWAYS for us, and will never leave us, no matter what lies before us. The assurance of His presence and His plan for our lives, ought to bring joy and delight, as a good Father has good things in store. May we place our trust in He who is our refuge, and allow Him to show us His goodness and grace.

 

For the Lord is good,tangible-goodness

Allow Him the chance;

To show you His grace,

In each circumstance.

God pours out blessing,

On those who depend;

Tangible goodness,

Our Savior extends.

May we each take joy,

As we taste and see;

The goodness of God,

Whose hope sets us free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You bless those who depend on You. Thank You for tangible reminders of how You love and find joy in blessing us. Forgive us for not depending on You, or for doubting Your plans for us. Teach us to trust You more, regardless of what we see. Help us to hold fast to the truth of knowing that You are for us, no matter what lies before us. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they too, might see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness and take refuge in You. Amen.

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

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

A Moment to Marvel

Such a long Sabbath

image by Kat Kutash

image by Kat Kutash

for us to have to wait.

The hours dragged on,

since our Savior’s fate.

We watched Him hanging,

in aguish and pain;

our Healer and Lord,

how will He now reign?

We have our spices,

to anoint our King.

What about the rock?

We can’t move that thing.

At our arrival,

the shock and surprise.

The stone rolled away,

the sight for our eyes.

Empty was the tomb,

except white-robed man,

who said, “He has risen,

it is all in His plan.”

He said to go tell,

yet silent we stayed;

trembling, bewildered,

frozen and afraid.

How could such sorrow,

become bountiful joy?

The weight of our weeping,

fuel hope to employ.

(Responding to Mark 16:1-8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the remarkable reminder of the hope we have in You.  As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to rise, the tangible signs of spring and of new life and new growth are excellent reminders of that which is always at the ready and available in You.  Forgive us for allowing the darkness around us to eclipse Your amazing light, and help us to be ever aware and in tune with Your permanent presence that is not dependant on time, place, nor conditions.  Teach us to be truly intentional in our time with You, and may many be blessed and brought into relationship with You as a result of our obedience.  Be glorified in all that we say and do today and always.  Amen.

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