Trust by Faith

Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. – (John 4:50, NLT)

Jesus answered, “Go. Your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus told him and went home. – (John 4:50, ERV)

Go home. Your son will live. When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. – (John 4:50, VOICE)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and a government official. The man who came before Jesus on behalf of his son, was a leader among men, and accustomed to people following his orders the moment he spoke them into being. Despite the powerful position of this government official, he approached Jesus with humility and faith. Perhaps desperation was a motivation, as he more than anything, wanted his son to live. Rather than Jesus traveling with the man to his son, He simply told him that his boy would live. Something arose within the heart of the official, and he took Jesus at His word. He believed and began his journey home. I wonder if he had to keep reminding himself that Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live, so believe, believe, believe… At some point as the man neared home, one of his servants ran to him to let him know that his son would live and was well again. When the man asked when his son had shown the improvement, they discovered that it had occurred at the same time the previous day when Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live. How often do we receive and believe His promises with such faith? It is easy when we see tangible evidence that He is moving on our behalf yet it can be a battle when what we have heard does not align with that which we see in the here and now. May we have faith in the promises that He has spoken and keep walking forward in trust; for what He has promised He is faithful to do.

 

What Jesus tells us,wp-1522933972687995522303.jpg

He’s faithful to do;

Whatever He says,

He will follow through.

Despite what we see,

God is on the move;

We must choose believe,

Let doubt be removed.

We must trust by faith,

And not count on sight;

Let God lead the way,

For His ways are right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You that You are forever faithful to fulfill that which You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for thinking that You might change Your mind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk boldly in faith in that which You have promised, trusting that You will fulfill all that You have spoken. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage and build one another up with faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your word to be true and allow You to grow our faith within us. 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

Sent to Succeed

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” – (Judges 6:14, NLT)

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?” – (Judges 6:14, CEB)

 

The story of Gideon reminds us that when God calls us to something, our success will not be based on the strength that we possess, but rather on from whom we have been sent. If God calls us to something, He will also equip us to successfully navigate whatever it is that He has asked of us. Gideon was not a warrior, yet he eventually led a significantly smaller army towards the mighty Midian army, and God provided the way for the Israelites to defeat the Midianites without ever even engaging in combat. What seems impossible in our eyes, is entirely possible to God. May we seek the Lord and His strength, and trust in Him to provide all that is needed to navigate whatever direction He is calling us to go.

 

We need not focus, Walking on His Path

On the strength we lack;

But rather rely,

On Who has our back.

For when we are called,

We’re also supplied;

With all that we need,

To end goal, arrive.

God calls the faithful,

Not mighty, nor strong;

For all He’s sending,

His help shall belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when You send us, You provide whatever we need to get where we are called to go. Forgive us for looking at where we lack within ourselves, instead of seeing the strength and provision that is found in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly go wherever You call, trusting You to provide all that we need to navigate. Show us how to love those around us in a way that instills strength and encouragement where the road has grown challenging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to provide all that we need to go wherever You call and do whatever You ask. 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

Confident that He Hears

And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. – (1 John 5:14, NLT)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and these things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This truth is seemingly both a blessing and a curse. God is not a star to wish upon, nor a fairy godmother that grants our every whim; however, He is the One who sees and knows our hearts, and hears our prayers as we seek Him. We can be confident that our requests are heard when our hearts are turned toward His. That being said, there is always the struggle when we pray without ceasing for help or healing for someone who is ill or in need, and do not see the results that we hope He will bring. This is where faith in His unconditional love for us has to fill in, when the seeming lack of an answer leaves our hearts heavy and hurting. Yes, His ways are higher than our ways, and He knows each heartache before it happens. He does not cause our pain, but I believe that He uses those places where answers seem to have been silent, to strengthen our faith as He pours out His grace. Often, it is days, months, years or even decades later, that God brings beauty from our ashes where it seemed answers were absent. May we be ever confident in our God who hears, and trust in His unfailing love for us all.

 

We have this great hope, Rediscovering Dreams

In our God above;

He hears each request,

And listens in love.

Though often answers,

Don’t look as we’d like;

He knows what is best,

And will make things right.

On the darkest days,

His glory still shines;

His purpose and plans,

Are loving; divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident that You hear our every prayer as we seek You with a heart after that which is good and pleasing in Your sight. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on whether or not our prayers are answered according to what we want to see. Forgive us for our doubts and disappointments when prayers seem to go unanswered. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most painful and difficult of circumstances. Show us how to love and support those who are in the midst of the wait, or who feel as if their prayers have fallen on deaf ears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are confident that You heart us, and trust Your will, regardless of what we see before us. 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

Encourage and Build Up

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

I continue to stand in awe as I watch how God orchestrates community. A few years ago, when my world turned upside down, I found myself in the midst of friends who became family. These people encouraged and built up both me and my boys, and we have grown stronger as a result. As life keeps moving forward, and the circle expands, each of us have opportunity to encourage, build up, and support one another as we grow. Though time marches on and life becomes busy, the joy that is found in time spent together, remains. May we lay hold of every opportunity to encourage and build each other up, as we grow in faith and His strength as we walk out His will.

 

Called to encourage,Encourage and Build Up

And build others up;

To grow in our faith,

In strength we lift up.

Choose invest time well,

In community;

It is where your friends,

Become family.

All thanks be to God,

Who knows what we need;

Surrounds us the best,

So we can succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be invested in communities. Thank You that as we encourage and build one another up, we grow stronger in our faith, and friends become family in You. Thank You that You know our need and meet it far better than we ever could. Forgive us for attempting to isolate ourselves or for withdrawing from the places that we have been planted. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would invest well in the people that You have brought into our lives. Show us how to love, encourage and build others up, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we support each other as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

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

Proof Through Pursuit

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, “We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.” – (Luke 3:8, NLT)

 

Though few would likely utilize the “descendants of Abraham” claim today, many believe that their salvation is secure because they either grew up going to church or have Christian parents. The point that Luke is making is that we must own our faith for ourselves. It is essential that we repent from our former ways and turn to God in trust, believing that He is who He says He is, as we trust Him to be Lord of our lives. There is no automatic “in” because of our bloodlines. It is only by the blood of Jesus that any of us are made clean and acceptable before God. We must believe and receive what He has done on our behalf, and then pursue the path of a life lived in faith following Him. May we each turn in trust to Christ to repent and receive all that He offers to those who earnestly seek Him. It is through our receiving, that we are adopted as sons and daughters of the living God, and granted an inheritance in Him that never ends.

 

Let our lives make clear,Generous Giving

The choice that we’ve made;

To turn from our sins,

And walk in His ways.

There’s no auto in,

For family and friends;

All must make the choice,

On whom they’ll depend.

The only true way,

To know hope’s assured;

Is to trust in Christ,

In Whom we’re secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You desire for us to be in relationship with You individually and personally. Thank You that You made the way for us to turn away from our sin and be forgiven, so that we could enter into a lasting relationship with You. Forgive us for our lack of repentance or for not actively pursuing the deepening of our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts with You, and seek You in all of our ways. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the goodness of Your love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate our dedication to You by living lives in constant pursuit of You and Your ways. 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

Pursue Righteousness

Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, NLT)

Always try to do what is right, to be devoted to God, and to have faith, love, patience, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, ERV)

Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, MSG)

 

Though this portion of passage comes from a letter that Paul was writing to Timothy to instruct him in the way in which he was meant to go, it is instruction that applies to all of us. When we pursue righteousness, we are walking towards God and His will for our lives. In doing so, we live a life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness, as these are the very attributes of Christ, Himself. When He dwells in us, what flows from us is seasoned by His goodness and grace. The more we invest in knowing God, the more clearly we reflect His radiance through our words and deeds. May we choose to pursue a righteous life that is invested in knowing and loving the Lord, so that we can go forth and know and love others well.

 

May our hearts pursue,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The Lord God above;

Who grants us all things,

And fills us with love.

For as we invest,

Our hearts come to know;

The depth of His grace,

Draws our hearts to grow.

Grow in His goodness,

As patience is learned;

Let gentleness lead,

As our lives are turned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue You and what You are calling us to do. Thank You that You also equip us to do the very things that You ask of us, rather than expecting us to somehow manage on our own. Forgive us for the times that we have been without faith, have been unkind, quit, and have been harsh. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the way that You are calling us to walk. Show us how to demonstrate faith, love, perseverance and gentleness to those around us, so that they might come to know how deeply they are loved, and see You through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a righteous life in You, and go forth in Your strength with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 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

Give Thanks Forever

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever! – (Psalm 30:11-12, NLT)

Whether in a season of mourning or one of celebration, God’s grace remains present. His promises are steadfast and trustworthy, and no matter what we see, the joy always comes again. God does not want us to stay stuck in our sorrow. We all have hard stuff that we must navigate, however, He is faithful to walk beside us and supply the strength that we need to pass through the long and lonely legs of our journey. Incredibly, though the season seems long and arduous, when we look back, we cannot help but hold a heart full of gratitude for how far God has brought us from where we began. Joy rises is the recognition of His faithfulness, and our thanks and praise cannot help but be given a voice. May we lift our hearts and voices in songs of praise with thanksgiving, because He is good and He turns our mourning into great joy.

Despite what I feel,

Away with Anxietys Hold

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I’ll sing praise to You;

all that is sorrow,

You will get me through.

You’ll take my mourning,

and turn it to joy;

light in my darkness,

all hope to employ.

I’ll not be silent,

to You I will praise;

all thanks forever,

Keeper of my days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn our mourning into joy. Thank You that You are our reason to sing praise and not be silent. Thank You that You stay beside us, be it in times of sorrow or celebration – for You are near. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our heart toward You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You thanks and praise in all things and at all times, for You are our reason to sing praise and not be silent. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that they too would find reason to sing and be grateful. May many choose to live their lives for You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praises of thanks to You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

To Be On Our Guard

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13)

 

These are weighty and wise words by which we are meant to live. To be on our guard, means that we are aware of what is around us – the things that are influencing us and affecting us, and taking a posture of readiness. Standing firm in the faith requires us to know what we believe. In order for that to happen, we must invest time in the Word and in prayer. The more we invest in knowing God, the more secure we can stand when storms come our way. Courage and strength are gifts that God supplies as we need them most. Even when we don’t necessarily feel courageous nor strong, when we choose to do the next right thing, or take the next obedient step, we are actually operating in His courage and strength. Finally, to do everything in love, is to allow the Lord to flavor all that we do. Let nothing be out of selfish ambition nor with malicious intent, but rather to love as Christ first loved us. When we have to take a stand or step back from spaces that are toxic, even then, there is room to do so in love. If we are listening to the Lord and allowing Him to direct our steps, we can trust that He will work all things out for good. May we each be on our guard; standing firm in our faith; as men and women of courage and strength, as we do all things in His love.

 

To be on our guard,The Way of Wisdom

means we are aware;

of what we take in,

and what is out there.

We must choose stand firm,

in faith to what’s true;

as we seek the Lord,

for He makes us new.

Both courage and strength,

are gifts from the Lord;

granted as needed,

blessings He affords.

So may we each do,

all we do in love;

so hearts may be turned,

to the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direction in Your Word as to how we are meant to live life as You intended. Thank You that in all that You ask, You provide what is needed to do as You call us to do. Thank You that You equip us to be on guard and stand firm in our faith, as You give us courage and strength to do all things in love. Forgive us for being unaware of that which surrounds us, or for being deaf to that which You are speaking to our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may hear You well, and embrace the courage and strength that You supply so that we go forth doing everything You ask in love. Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are on our guard, standing firm in the faith with Your courage and strength to do all things in love. 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