Awe in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

This season is full of wonder. It is a joy to see through the eyes of a child. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my niece, who is three. She is smarter than most, yet completely child-like in her awe and wonder. Her faith in what is good is untainted, and she has high hopes for all that she cannot see. Just as she trusts that treasures will be waiting under her tree on Christmas morning, she knows that Jesus loves her and watches over she and her family. She cherishes with anticipation all that lies ahead, and firmly believes in the goodness of her family’s love. May we too have a child-like wonder in this joyous season, as we remember the reason we celebrate. May our hearts be confident in what we hope for, and assured about that which we do not see.

 

Let awe and wonder,

Awe in the Unseen

fill our hearts this year;

as we celebrate,

that Christ chose come near.

May each heart choose trust,

in the hope we hold;

faith in the unseen,

as Christ’s love unfolds.

We need simply look,

around us to see;

proof of the unseen,

to humanity.

All thanks be to God,

for hope that is found;

through Jesus, His Son,

let praises resound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to earth to make that which is unseen, seen. Thank You that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we can be confident in what we hope for and have assurance about what we do not yet see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, remembering all that You have done and continue to do on our behalf so that we need not fear. Show us how to cherish this season of Your arrival with anticipation, and how to love others in a way that conveys the very same sort of sacrificial love that You have given us, unto others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 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

Love Makes No Distinction

He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts through faith. – (Acts 15:9, NLT)

God does not discriminate nor give preferential treatment when it comes to receiving people into His kingdom. All have fallen short, and all must earnestly seek Him to be saved. It is only by His grace that we are saved when we come before Him in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is. In the same way, we must not discount anyone, nor assume that they are too hard to receive the love and grace that God has set in place for us to extend toward them. It is not up to us to determine how it is received, but rather to be obedient to extend His loving kindness to all whom we meet. God will be God, and He will do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine if we do our part and then get out of the way. Let love and faithfulness be our motivation, as we love well and allow God to reign.

To say, “God so loved”,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

where grace was begun;

when God sent for us,

the gift of His Son.

Because Jesus came,

each can become clean;

by faith, seeking God,

trusting the unseen.

This gift is for all,

all people of earth;

cleansing, renewing,

blessed second birth.

Please open our hearts,

help reach out our hands;

so we may love well,

just as You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not make a distinction between us, as You receive ALL who call on Your Name in faith. Thank You that when we trust in You and give our hearts to You, You purify all that is sinful within us, and call us clean before You. Forgive us for thinking ourselves or anyone else is too far gone to be reached by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow You to be God, as You move in ways that only You can move. Lead us to love all those around us, even if they seem unloveable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wondrous ways that You move in our midst, despite our doubts based on what we see. 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

Pleasing in His Sight

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the one who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

The cry of David’s heart was to please God with his thoughts and his words. He was acutely aware of the role that the Lord filled in his own life, as God had shown Himself faithful to save and protect, even when his very life was on the line. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is still the Rock on whom we can rest, and our Redeemer who will rescue us from ruin. Because the Lord is worthy of all honor and glory and praise, it would indeed be good if we took captive every thought and word, so that all that leaves our heart and lips are things that please the Prince of Peace. May our words and thoughts be pleasing unto the Lord, for He is our Rock and our Redeemer.

Let every thought,The Power of the Tongue

and word that I speak;

be pleasing to You,

as my heart You teach.

For You are my Rock,

the One who redeems;

who rescues my heart,

from chaos unseen.

All praise unto You,

my God and my King;

it is by Your grace,

I’ve reason to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Rock and our Redeemer. Thank You that You are our safe and stable ground, and that You rescue us from chaos and trouble that comes near. Forgive us for the words that leave our lips and the thoughts in our hearts that have not brought glory to You. Teach us to take captive every thought and word, so that we would more clearly reflect Your heart to all those around us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through the way in which we care. May many choose to live their life for You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely, and seek to make the words of our mouth and meditations of our heart, pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

He Sees and Attends to His Created

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen – don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? – (Matthew 6:30, The Message)

When life gets hard and we want to hide, it is easy to feel unseen. In the midst of our own struggles, our isolation often leads us to feel as if we are alone in the battle, despite quite the opposite being true. We have to hold fast to what is true, and not allow ourselves to isolate when we question the direction to which we have been called. Just yesterday, I had an interaction that made me question what I knew was the truth. My initial response was to withdraw and busy myself, so that I could ignore that which was right before me. However, it wasn’t long before the gentle nudge came, and opportunities were provided for His truth to be spoken in the very space that I needed to hear. He attended to my need in a way I could again lay hold of the truth that I already knew, and stand firm in the soundness of His word. God made tangible, that which was not clearly seen. It is okay to be an unseen wildflower for a season, as long as we know that the Lord who created us, delights in us, and created us for a purpose. Even if we can’t clearly see it, there is a plan and a purpose for every life, and He is present and powerful to supply all that is needed to grow us and equip us for the fulfillment. May we stand strong in faith, trusting that God will attend to us and do His very best for each of us, His created.

Whether we are seen,

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or hidden between;

the Lord will attend,

to all that we need.

Each are created,

with purpose and plan;

not an accident,

we’re called to love man.

God’s love runs so deep,

He attends to all;

no one is hidden,

hears each cry and call.

May we choose rise up,

by faith, let’s receive;

His grace and goodness,

for all who believe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care so deeply about us, Your created. Thank You that You attend to us, take pride in us, and do Your best for us. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for every life that You have granted. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us or divert our attention from the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stand firm in who You are, and the promises that You have made. Lead us to love others well, so that we might be Your hands, heart and voice made tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us with confidence, knowing that You will attend to us and do Your best for us. 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

Hope in What is Unseen

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1)

 

Perhaps that is why the term “leap of faith” is so often used. In order to demonstrate our faith, our certainty in what we do not see, we must move forward into the great unknown. Inevitably, this sort of movement can be likened to leaping headlong off of the edge of a cliff, uncertain of what lies below. Is it warm and inviting water, meant to refresh and renew our souls, or is it jagged cliffs, ready to destroy all that remains? This is where the being sure of what we hope for is absolutely necessary. If we are not certain that God is good, and that His plans are for our ultimate good in His kingdom, our faith falters and we cannot be certain of what we do not see. It becomes far easier to rely on what our eyes take in, rather than the truth that is being whispered within the walls of our hearts. May we turn to Christ in trust, allowing Him to grow our faith so that we are sure of what we hope for, and certain of that which we do not see.

 

How to be certain,Hope in What is Unseen

of what is unknown;

is found when we hope,

in Christ’s love that’s shown.

For His evidence,

wherever we look;

from heaven to earth,

written in His book.

We must make the choice,

to hope and be sure;

for though He’s unseen,

the Lord’s way is clear.

Allow faith to rise,

choose nurture and grow;

ever seek the truth,

and His way we’ll know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith, being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see because of Your ongoing, unchanging love for all. Thank You that Your faithfulness has been the same throughout the ages, and that Your love for us is so great, that You laid down Your very life so that we might live. Forgive us for our uncertainty in the unseen, and give us Your eyes to see the hope that lies before us, even when our own minds and hearts cannot begin to conceive anything hopeful ahead. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may find faith to hope in what is unseen. Be glorified O God, as we are sure of what we hope for, and certain of that which we do not yet see. Amen.

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

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

Facing Fears

Fear is a funny thing. It sneaks in the side door of our soul, and tells us that we are not capable of the very things for which we are called. Jesus asks us to take new and courageous steps of obedience so that we might experience more of Him, yet each new step requires risk that is often accompanied by fear. However, the fear is not from God. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

 

“Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to persevere even in the face of fear.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) The power of God living in us, is greater than anything that will ever come against us. His love propels us to continue on the path He has placed before us, and the hope that we hold in Christ forever, secures a sound mind in the storms. May we invest in the truth found in His word, as He tells us three hundred and fifty times throughout scripture, to “Fear not.”

 

Fear not, O my soul,Facing Fears

for you have been called;

to rise in courage,

go beyond your walls.

God has not given,

a spirit of fear;

but one of courage,

for He’s ever near.

His love shall lead us,

to places unseen;

His power, present,

as love intervenes.

Safety in the storm,

our hope in despair;

fear not with the Lord,

He’s always aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to make the way, so that we would not be stuck in our sin and shame, forever fearful of what was yet to come. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to be restored unto You, so that we could find courage, power, and strength in You, even in the face of fear, knowing that You are present and You are greater than anything that might stand against us. Forgive us for folding in the face of fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand strong and trust in Your unfailing love for us, and Your power that far exceeds anything that could come against us. Lead us to love others with a love that demonstrates courage, even in the face of fear. May many come to hold their eternal hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up in courage and face the fears in front of us. Amen.

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

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

Tether Our Hearts

Today, my reading plan had me reading both Exodus 6-8, and Luke 23. Though there were many individual verses that I could have highlighted, the thing that stood out to me the most, was the way in which both Moses and Jesus chose to remain faithful to their calling in captivity. Moses, was appealing to Pharaoh for the people of Israel to be set free to go into the desert to worship, and Jesus was being held after His arrest, as He was bruised, beaten and tried six times before various courts – none of which could find Him guilty, in obedience to be the sacrifice for all of our sins.

 

In both portions of scripture, God had called each to a specific task. For Moses, he was being asked to lead a nation out of captivity when the ruler of the nation paid no regard to his requests. Jesus, was being asked to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He knew the pain He was called to endure. Neither story seemed to go smoothly. Both bore the burden before them, and endured enormous adversity to ultimately arrive in the place to which they had been called. This can be a bit overwhelming, yet completely encouraging, as we know that in all things, God is faithful to those who trust in Him. Though we may not see what He is doing in the midst of adversity, we can trust that He has a plan and a purpose for everything that we endure, and that He will utilize each trial and triumph for our ultimate good. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ alone, as He is faithful to walk beside us, be it in trial or triumph.

 

When life surrounds you,Tether Our Hearts

forced captivity;

choose trust in the Lord,

to keep your heart free.

For only in Christ,

is true freedom known;

set free from our sin,

where His grace is shown.

Though often unseen,

His purpose is clear;

to love each of us,

as we choose draw near.

Let us seek the Lord,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to the truth,

Christ, the faithful One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us great examples of those who have endured tremendous trials by depending on You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, Your presence is promised, and Your hope is secure. Thank You that You are faithful to remain with us, even when we are unaware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and faltering faith when the fight becomes too much, and teach us to tether our hearts and minds to You alone. Give us Your eyes to see things through an eternal perspective, so that we may remember that all that is in the here and now is only temporary, yet that which is yet to come, is forever. Lead us to love intentionally, just as You so purposefully and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, in all things and at all times. 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

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. 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

Decide to Trust

Not only is the story of Paul’s conversion a remarkable one for him, but those who were involved, made monumental decisions of obedience in order for Saul’s sight to be restored and his new identity in Christ to come to pass. Ananias, whom the Lord had called to go to Saul to restore his sight, knew of Saul’s reputation. Ananias had reason to fear interaction with Saul, as Saul had been chasing down Christians, persecuting and imprisoning them. However, Ananias was faithful, and his trust in God was greater than his fear of man. When God told him that the man he was to heal was His chosen instrument to carry His Name before many, Ananias opted to obey.

 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – (Acts 9:17)

 

Not only did Ananias obey, but he greeted Saul in love. By calling him Brother Saul, he was already demonstrating an acceptance through Christ, despite all the despicable deeds he had done. It is not always easy to extend acceptance to others who enter in, especially when we are unsure of their motives. Yes, wisdom must be exercised, but if we listen to the Lord and lean on Him, He will teach us how to trust Him and how to love others as He would have us do. May we listen well, so that we can love others as He calls us to love.

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, in spite of our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us to come before You, and You love us to life. Thank You that just as You have loved us to life, You desire the same for all who are still stuck in their sinfulness. Forgive us for fearing approach those whom have been in darkness unknown to us, or for questioning the motives of those whom have pasts that are different than our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well to hear Your instruction, and be quick to obey whatever You ask. May we love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so generously love us. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to step out in obedience. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

To See God

The very concept of God and who He is can be a bit overwhelming. Believing in the unseen, yet knowing that He is who He says He is, can become a bit muddied if we are not firmly grounded in His word. Jesus speaks clearly in John as to how we are to know what God is like. Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. When he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” – (John 12:44-46)

 

God’s word is full of light and life that illuminate exactly who God is, and who we are unto Him. When we believe in Him and invest our lives in following Christ, His light dwells in us, and He entrusts us with His truth. The more we invest in our relationship with Him, the more He reveals Himself to us. May we go forth this day, fully invested in Him, and shine brightly before all men.

 

As we believe,Approaching the Throne of Grace

the Holy Word;

He shows to us,

what our hearts have heard.

Though He’s unseen,

Lord God is known;

for by His Son,

His light has been shown.

Look to Jesus,

to understand;

for He and God,

are One unto man.

All that is dark,

shall fade away;

seek Jesus’ face,

for He’ll light our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, so that we may see and know You. Thank You Jesus, for living and loving in such a way, that You are the light unto the world. Thank You for giving Your life so that we may have life forever in You. Forgive us for our confusion and doubts, and help us to see clearly who You are as we invest in seeking You with our whole hearts. Let Your light shine through us as we love with the love You have given us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we grow in our understanding of You and give You all of the glory. 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