Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. 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

Belief in the Battle

In the story of David and Goliath, David was still but a boy, going obediently to his brothers on the battle lines, to deliver food rations. Upon his arrival, he became aware of the sinister situation with the giant called Goliath. David was infuriated when he heard Goliath making a mockery of the Israelites, and inquired as to why nothing had been done. Because David had stood against various giants before as a shepherd in the fields, (a lion and a bear) and God had given him the strength to overcome each, he knew that God would be with him in the same way against this Philistine who was defying the living God. David was so confident in the Lord, that his own words as he faced Goliath included “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” – (1 Samuel 17:47)

 

David’s unwavering faith resulted in an end to a forty-day stand-off. God granted victory to the Israelites because David was willing to faithfully take a stand. God hears our call for His help, and is present for all who seek Him. Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – (Psalm 9:10)

 

Though we may not always see results right away, as David did, when we trust in the Lord, He will not forsake us. He is present, and He is worthy of all of our trust, despite the way things appear. May we rise up with faith like David’s, even when face our own Goliath. God is with us, and the battle belongs to Him.

 

Real obedience,Facing the Giants

is faith on the move;

going where He calls,

trusting His word’s true.

When in the battle,

let us trust the fight;

not to our own strength,

but to the Lord’s might.

For He won’t forsake,

those who call on Him;

so let us each trust,

the Lord enter in.

He saves us from death,

and certain defeat;

judgment and justice,

the Lord’s to complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may face giants before us, every battle belongs to You. Thank You that we can trust in You, just as David did, knowing that it is You in us that will strengthen and equip us to face what lies in front of us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stuck, rather than moving in obedience. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move as You ask, and allow You to fight for us, through us, and in us, so that we may come to know the victory that You have in store for each of our lives. Lead us to love others with the same relentless love that You give to us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as a result. Be magnified O God, as we walk fearlessly in obedience in the battles, and allow You room to fight on our behalf. Amen.

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

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

Through Spirit Spoken

Yesterday, many gathered together to celebrate and remember our dear friend, Anne. I had been asked to speak the week prior, and on Wednesday evening, I at last sat down, determined to write out what I was to say on Saturday. My prayer was that He would provide words that honored Aine, and glorified Him. Though not in quite the same context as in the word, the following verse rang true: For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” – (Luke 12:12)

What follows, are the words I spoke yesterday at the memorial.

AnneTenacity, strength, and unwavering faith are three of the things I loved most about Anne. Though I had only known her four or five years, Aine quickly became a dear friend. I am not certain whether it was her fiery Irish temperament, or her tenderness for the defenseless, that made it easy to understand and navigate a friendship that felt familial.

I don’t think I have ever met another human being who has had the tenaciousness that Aine had. To fight such an elusive opponent that continued to ravage her body with pain for more than nine long years, took a drive and determination that goes beyond human bounds. Most of us would have thrown in the towel long ago, and simply begged Jesus to take us home. Not Aine. She had faith that would fend off anything and everything that would try to tear her down. No weapon formed against her would ever prosper, and her hope included healing here on earth.

She wanted the healing to be her story – one of flawless faith, that ended in the miraculous.

Though her healing did not come how we had hoped, her story – her very existence and unwavering faith in her fight – was truly a testimony wherever she went. The first time I went to an appointment with Anne, was just before she was to begin chemo. Though she was scared, she was not about to let dear Dr. Linden see a lick of fear. She proudly professed her faith in the Father, and insisted that her healing would come.

One of the many things that I have learned from Aine, is that it is okay to ask for prayer. I so appreciated how Anne did not hesitate to ask for prayer, any time she felt she needed it. There was nothing shy about her, and she knew how very powerful prayer could be. Her boldness and bravery, taught me how to trust Him more.

I am astounded that someone like me, who repels all things medical, could be convinced that I was one of the very people that God had intended to walk beside her through the medical maze. Additionally, she had the uncanny ability to get me to step outside of myself, and do things I insisted I would never do. Even in her heavenly homecoming, here I am, right now, speaking to you, OUT LOUD, despite my fear of using my voice in this way.

In a most profound moment of prayer prior to her homecoming, I was blessed with a picture that not only brought comfort to me, but I was actually able to share it with Aine on the morning of her final day. With a hand on her foot as she rested, I closed my eyes to pray. I had come to a place where I simply sat, ready to listen, as my words seemed to be at a loss. What I saw were outstretched arms with a bright light shining behind Him. Soon, I saw a young, healthy, strong and carefree Anne, running to His extended arms. Jesus embraced Aine, and twirled her around as He held her close. When they stopped spinning, He held her tenderly as she rested her head over His heart. Hesitantly she looked in His eyes, and with a voice full of love, He told her each heartbeat she heard, was just for her. Once she was ready, He carefully set her feet back upon the ground, and took her hand in His. Together, hand-in-hand, they walked upon the streets of gold as He began to show her all that He had prepared, just for her.

Barely able to get the words out, God gave me the strength to share with Aine, what I had seen. She heard me, and gave my hand a squeeze.

All that day and into the evening, I was able to stay beside her and simply hold her hand. By eight or so, I found myself alone in the room with Aine. Her breathing became extremely labored, and I knew she was near her end. I squeezed her hand, and reminded her that it was okay, she could run to Him and she would be safe. Soon, Elka, the night nurse came in. As she attended to Anne, I stepped back and looked away, knowing she would want her dignity intact. Elka turned her on her side, then back again, and she was gone.

I am so thankful that gone does not mean the end, but rather it was only the beginning. Aine is now dancing on streets of gold, lavished in the love and light of the Lord. Though I will miss her terribly, I find great comfort in knowing that I will one day see Aine again. For now, there is sorrow, as a void resides where my sweet sister was held so dear. With time, I know that the sadness will fade, and wonderful memories will warm the now wounded places. Until that day when I see her again, I will hold fast to the very same hope that carried her to her heavenly home.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so faithful to meet us in our moments of need, and provide the strength and courage that is needed to do all that You ask of us. Forgive us for our fear of failure, (as though we could do anything You ask in our own strength), and teach us to trust in Your unfailing faithfulness. Thank You that so many gathered to remember my sweet sister in You, and thank You that though her own sister was unable to travel from Ireland with her newborn baby, technology afforded her the opportunity to see and hear how deeply Anne had touched so many lives. Please be the comfort and strength of all who are mourning, and help each of us to hold fast the the hope of our own heavenly homecoming. May many come to know the comfort and care that You provide, and help each heart to hear how they too, may truly trust in You. Amen.

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

By Faith

By Faith
Faith is assurance,

in what we can’t see.

Trusting devotion,

in Him whose worthy.

By faith we step out,

move forward in trust;

that He’ll be our help,

to do what we must.

Without faith in God,

we can never please;

our Lord, Creator,

Who made land and seas.

The way to see God,

comes by faith, not sight;

our final reward,

forever, His light.

Light for the seekers,

His love for the lost;

He has made the way,

paid ultimate cost.

By faith, those before,

have shown us the way;

to seek and find God,

how to trust always.

(Responding to Hebrews 11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of the men and women who have gone before us and have modeled lives lived by faith. Thank You that as we trust in You, we have the assurance of eternity with You. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us where we are, and You equip us to move forward in faith. Forgive us for wavering, and help us to have a steadfast faith in You. May our lives lived in unwavering faith, lead many to find and follow You. Amen.

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

Perseverance Produces Purity

image by Connecting to Impact

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23:10

Job knew and understood that God was aware of his every word, thought and deed.  Though he knew he was being tested, Job understood that what would remain of him, that which had come through the refining fire of his faith, would be a walk that was pure and valued by God.  He pressed on with endurance to receive the prize.

So often in the middle of struggle, challenge, or trial, I first wonder when it will all be done.  Eventually, in the midst of the messes, I think of Job and how even after he lost everything and everyone whom he loved most in life, he chose to praise Him.  By comparison, my trials are trivial.  Not to say that my pain is not painful, nor my struggles not sincere, but our God – the very same God who ultimately restored to Job that which had been lost and more – is with us and has promised to never leave us.  Whether our restoration is received here or in heaven, it is soon, when viewed through an eternal lens.

We have an advantage that Job did not yet have.  Jesus died in our place, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent His Spirit to dwell in us, to be our Counselor and Comforter for the here and now.  Our hearts and hands are held by Him, and He is faithful to whisper His loving words in our weakness.  He supplies strength and faith and friends to walk beside us, to make His hands and heart tangible in our trials.

May our times of testing produce perseverance as we press on to the promise before us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that times of trial are not for the sake of suffering, but instead, are opportunities for You to refine in us a heart that is pure in our pursuit of You.  Forgive us for faltering in the fire, and forge in each of us, an unwavering faith in You.  Firmly establish our footing in You, Father, so that we will stand strong in You as the storms rage.  Teach us to be ever aware of both our need for You, and Your nearness – be it in blessing or in battle.  May our trust in You turn hearts and heads to hear of Your goodness and grace.  Amen.

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