A Homecoming to Celebrate

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. 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

A Heritage of Faithfulness

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

 

Just after the Israelites had passed through the parted Red Sea to safety, and watched the seas cover the Egyptian army that pursued them, these words were theirs, as they recognized, celebrated and honored God for His faithfulness to lead them out of the space of slavery where they had been bound for far too long. God does the same for us today. He comes close and provides what we need as it is needed, and will be our strength to lead us to safety from the places that we have been stuck. For me, I am blessed to have a rich heritage of faithful followers of Christ. I specifically remember both my paternal great-grandmother and her gentle, kindness to all, and my maternal grandmother, who at ninety-six, is still light, life and love to all whom she meets. She is the one whom I most admire, and if I live my life half as well as she has and still is living hers, the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will surely be heard when my days are done. For all of these things and more, I sing and give God all of my praise. No matter what comes, He is the reason to give thanks. My hope lies not in the here and now, but in that which is yet to come. I know that I only see in part, the fullness of what lies before me. God has purpose and plans for all who love and follow Him. May we rise up and remember who is our source of strength, giving Him all honor and praise as we pursue His ways.

 

The Lord is my strength,Compassion in Confrontations

my reason to sing;

my Savior and hope,

all help, He does bring.

For He is my God,

I give Him my praise;

for His faithfulness,

throughout all my days.

A rich heritage,

of following Christ;

granted unto me,

His grace has sufficed.

May I do the same,

for my next of kin;

show them God’s great love,

so faith enters in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that You save us and give us reason to sing praise unto You. Thank You that You are our God. Thank You for those who have gone before us and set an example of faithfully following You, for it is through their faithfulness that we have found our way unto You. Forgive us for not giving You the praise and honor that You deserve, and help us to honor and praise You with every word we speak and everything we do. Let our very lives give glory unto You. Show us how to love others as You have loved us, so that future generations will have a solid example through us, of what it is to live a life devoted to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength to do Your will, and give You all praise as we go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

Comfort in Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

I find myself surrounded by many in a season of loss. So many mourning, as the loss of loved ones has been a common theme among dear ones in my sphere of influence. For some, I did not know the one whom was lost, and am at a loss for what to offer, other than sincere condolences, and be available in a tangible way. Late last evening, was the first loss in a long while, that has really hit my heart personally, as I had known and dearly loved she who has departed. His comfort came quickly, in that I was reminded that her heart was deeply rooted in Christ. Though there will be grief in her absence, there should also be celebration in knowing that she is home. I can only imagine the look on her face as she saw Jesus and heard the words spoken just to her, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The look of pure delight that so many of us saw every time we would greet her… Our loss is heaven’s gain. May we take comfort in Him who is our Comforter, as we walk through seasons of mourning, and may we offer the very same comfort to others, as they do the same.

 

The blessings shall come,

Comfort in Mourning

Imagine the smile as she dances on streets of gold… Love you Jan, and look forward to the day we meet again.

 

to those who do mourn;

for Christ will comfort,

the weary, the worn.

His arms will embrace,

where we’re at a loss;

He’ll speak to our hearts,

show all is not lost.

God grants us the strength,

we need to get through;

gives peace in heartache,

His hope that renews.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort those who are mourning. Thank You that our hope in You reminds us that this life is not the end. Thank You that those who know and follow You, have a future with You forever. Thank You that Your love is made tangible through the kindness of those whom You place around us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our seasons of grief, and help us to trust You with all. Show us how to hand You our heart – heaviness and all – and allow You to embrace the heartache and love us back to life. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we may extend the same comfort and hope that You give, as they walk through their own seasons of mourning. Help many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to be our comfort in times of mourning. 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

Running the Long Road

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

 

I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. – (Philippians 3:14, ERV)

 

This analogy is such a clear visual for me, as life is not a short race, but rather one that continues throughout our lifetime. There will be stretches that are flat and smooth, where the conditions are cool and ideal for running; however, there will be other seasons where the weather will be scorching and around every turn, is yet another mountain that we must climb to move in the direction in which we are called to run. Fortunately, our race is not run in vain. Our purpose is to encourage others as they run the race to which they have been called, and to demonstrate perseverance, even when we want to quit. God is our strength and our reason to keep running, and our finish line celebration will be beyond worth all of the trials traversed throughout our race. If we can love God, and love others as we move forward along the path to which we have been called, then we are running our own race well. May we rise up ready to run this day well, knowing that whatever we encounter today, is not the end. Our hope is held in where we finish, not where we rest along the way.

 

For we have been called,Running the Long Road

to press on and run;

keep moving with God,

’til our race is done.

The goal’s not about,

some great earthly gain;

but how we obey,

and lift up His Name.

For a day will come,

when our race is through;

imagine hearing,

“Well done, faithful you!”

If we choose to love,

both God and others;

and do as He asks,

lost will discover.

May we be ready,

each day to run well;

help to the hurting,

in hope, may all dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to run our own race. Thank You that it is not a sprint that You call us to rush through, but a race of endurance, perseverance, and trust. Thank You that You sustain us, even when we think that we cannot possibly run another step in life’s race, and that Your presence remains with us, always. Forgive us for allowing our surroundings to intimidate or overwhelm us, rather than keeping our eyes securely fixed on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what lies before us, we will look to You, rather than our circumstances. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may look to You in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run our race with our eyes fixed on You, knowing that our prize is not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with You. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Without Complaint Nor Argument

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. – (Philippians 2:14-16)

 

Paul was encouraging the church in Philippi to uphold a higher standard. He knew that if people could see a difference among the believers in how they lived, those who did not yet know Christ, would be more apt to hear and receive the words of life that they were openly offering.

 

I imagine we each can picture a person who willingly serves behind the scenes, that never has a complaint nor argument, and somehow has a bit of a glow about them. The Spirit dwelling within them, is evident, and people want to be near. May we each become more and more like Him, as His blameless and pure children – without complaining nor arguing, so that we may shine brightly, offering forth His words of life.

 

Let not a complaint,Without Complaint Nor Argument

leave these lips of mine;

nor arguing be,

a way to pass time.

Make me more like You,

one blameless and pure;

Your child without fault,

whose hope is secure.

Keep me from crooked,

depraved sorts of things;

allow me to shine,

Your word of life bring.

When my days are done,

I so long to hear;

“Well done, faithful child,”

“Come close and draw near.”

With arms extended,

reaching to embrace;

I’ll run to You, Lord,

as I see Your face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope is found in You alone. Thank You that You give us instructions as to how we are to be effective for You. Forgive us for our complaining and arguing, and help us to set aside our wicked and warring ways, and fix our eyes entirely on You. Help us to become Your blameless and pure children, without fault, so that we may be a mighty witness of Your word. Let Your light shine brightly through us, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. May many come to know You as their Lord and Savior. Be exalted as we are made blameless by the glorious gifts of Your mercy and grace. 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

 

 

 

 

Tending Our Talents

In the parable of the loaned money, (found in Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus tells of a master who is preparing to go on a journey. Prior to his departure, he gives varying amounts of money to three of his servants. To one, he gave what would be worth about $5,000, to the next; $2,000, and the last; $1,000. He entrusted each of them with his money, expecting to see a return. When he arrived back from his journey, he checked to see how each of his servants had done.

 

The first, to whom he had given much, had earned an equal return, doubling the master’s money. “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!” – (Matthew 25:21)

 

The second servant had done the same. He had been entrusted with $2,000, and had $4,000 to return to his master. “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” – (Matthew 25:23)

 

Finally, the man who had been given $1,000 reported to the master. The foolish servant claimed to fear the master, so he had gone out and buried the money in the ground. Upon the master’s return, he dug it up, and took the money to present back to his master. His master did not give him the reception he had likely expected. The talents had been given for the servants to utilize, to invest – not to hide away. Taking his talent, the master had him removed and sent out, and gave his money to the one who had multiplied the most.

 

“God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and He expects us to use them wisely until He returns. We are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have, but how well we use what we have.” – (NIV footnotes for Matthew 25:15)

 

Each of us given,Tending Our Talents

talents meant to grow;

blessings from the Lord,

to extend, to sow.

May we use our time,

with wisdom and grace;

invest what’s given,

in our present space.

May He multiply,

whatever we bring;

so more hearts may know,

to honor the King.

Let our hearts soon hear,

the words from the Son;

“Come and share my joy,

your work is well done.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with time, gifts, resources and abilities that You have purposed for us to utilize to serve and honor You. Thank You that we are not expected to do this in our own strength, but rather in Yours. Thank You that as we earnestly seek You, You make our path plain. Forgive us for our fearfulness, or our anything else that keeps us from moving forward and utilizing what You have given for Your purposes. Teach us how to be bold on Your behalf, and may many come to know the hope that is found in You alone. Be glorified as we give You all of ourselves. Amen.

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

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

 

 

To God Give the Glory

Give Thanks to the Lord‘Tis pure foolishness,

to sit on a throne;

receive accolades,

sans making Him known.

For let all glory,

be given where due;

in all that we are,

and all that we do.

For anything good,

that is done by man;

is powered by Christ,

the work of His hand.

A day will soon come,

where each one shall stand;

will it be, “Well done,”

or “Leave now, this land?”

Our choices on earth,

matter much to God;

do we crave credit,

or give Christ applaud?

Thank Him for the gifts,

and walk humbly;

let Him be made known,

so through us He’s seen.

(Responding to Acts 12:21-23)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us uniquely, and placed within us, talents and gifts intended to be vehicles to allow Your light to shine through us. Thank You that You are generous and loving and kind. Forgive us for not giving credit where credit is due, and teach us how to give You glory in all that we do. Help us to use and develop what You have created in us to be a blessing to the world. May our blessing be that we bring the truth of who You are to all who are ready to hear. May many receive the remarkable gift of Your grace, and enter into an eternal covenant with You, our soon and coming King. Amen.

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

Beyond Simply Speaking

image by Ann Voskamp

image by Ann Voskamp

Our words will mean nothing,

if our lives don’t align.

Our actions tell the tale,

of how we’ve been refined.

How we invest our time,

and choose to spend our days,

matters more to Jesus,

than what we simply say.

For our true foundation,

when built upon the Lord,

will weather every storm,

grant life in His accord.

Oh the day we see Him,

and gaze upon His face;

either words of “well done”,

or “depart”, in disgrace.

As for me and my house,

we shall seek and serve God,

on the day of judgment,

may we hear heavenly applause.

(Responding to Matthew 7:21-23)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not interested in us simply talking the talk, but You want us to walk the walk.  Forgive us for not always giving actions to our words.  Jesus, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that when it lives in us, there is evidence in how we lead our lives.  Teach us how to invest our time wisely in You and that which matters into eternity.  Build our foundation strong in You, as we seek You with our whole heart.  May our lives move many toward You, so that they too will hear You say, “well done”, when their final day has come.  May we hold fast to the hope of heaven in our hearts today.  Amen.

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