Mourning’s End

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – (Revelation 21:4)

 

God has granted us a hope far greater than the hard that we face on earth. No matter the trials or difficulty we endure, we are assured that one day, all will be different. As the one-year anniversary of the loss of my sweet sister-in-Christ, Aine, has arrived, I am blessed to hold onto the words Christ whispers to us through this verse. She has been in such a space for a year now. I imagine to her, it has felt like the blink of an eye. All of the pain and suffering she endured in her latter days on earth, as the cancer invaded every inch of her being, gone – no more. Her ultimate freedom was found as Christ welcomed her home. For those of us who are still in waiting, we are left to navigate the precarious road between grief and celebration, as we mourn our personal losses, yet rejoice for the faithful who have left us too soon’s gain. I am so grateful for the blessed hope that is held in the hearts of all who know Christ and believe. One day, we too will join the multitude in singing, knowing that the tears, death, mourning, and pain have all passed permanently. May we hold fast to this holy hope in Him.

 

Aine

Remembering Aine…<3

Though tears may fall,

and pain that runs deep;

death soon shall pass,

for our hearts He’ll keep.

Mourning shall end,

as will all our pain;

the old will go,

and His new, remain.

Holy city,

with twelve giant gates;

made of jewels,

our entry awaits.

To enter in,

our name must be known;

receive His grace,

our Foundation Stone.

Trust in the One,

Who loves us to life;

He’ll take the old,

and set each heart right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have hope not just for today, but for all of eternity. Thank You for the promise that there will be a day when there will be no more death, nor mourning, crying or pain, and that You will remove the old order of things to bring the glorious new. Forgive us for our fear and frustration with the pain and sorrow present today, and grant us Your strength to endure, knowing that Your are with us, and that whatever we face today, will not be our battle forever. Teach us to love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone through our love. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to share the hope we’ve found in You. 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

Knowing the “No”

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12)

 

The grace that God has given, is the gift of His Son. Jesus died so that we might live – His life ransomed for ours. After He rose and ascended into Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and Comforter, so that we would have help in an uncertain world. That still small voice within us that whispers “No“, to the things that we know we ought not do, is His voice, teaching and protecting us so that we might live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. May we each choose to receive what He freely offers, so that we are able to live the lives He has for us.

 

Abundant grace,Knowing the No

poured out for mankind;

to open hearts,

give sight to the blind.

His Spirit shows,

the way we’re to go;

when it’s a “Yes”,

and where it’s a “No”.

No to the things,

ungodly and wrong;

and yes to those,

that make our walk strong.

All by His grace,

His love, it abounds;

receives the lost,

His power, profound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made way for us to brought back into a relationship with You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, and for the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, for laying Your life down for mine, so that I could truly live. Thank You for Your still small voice that teaches us to say “No” to that which we ought not do, and compels us to move forward in those things to which You are calling. Forgive us for ignoring the “No“, or for standing stuck when we were meant to move forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will move either forward toward that which You are calling, or flee from that which You are warning us away from. May our life of obedience be an example to those around us, and may many come to know who You are and how much You love them as a result. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we receive Your grace and obey all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

 

 

 

 

Test Your Heart

Just as we are acutely aware of our physical health, we ought to also be equally mindful of our spiritual well-being. Paul advises the people of Corinth this way: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’ – (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 

We are meant to check ourselves to make sure that we are solid in our faith. Are we moving forward toward God, grateful for all that He has done, or are we drifting in the wrong direction, frighteningly unaware of His faithfulness? To be in the faith, is to be in an ongoing and growing relationship with our Redeemer. Christ lives in the hearts of all who have invited Him in, yet do our lives reflect His presence? By checking ourselves regularly, we are more readily available to correction and redirection as it is needed. For our physical bodies, we have doctors and dentists, trainers and teammates to stay healthy physically. Likewise, for our spiritual health we have pastors and small groups, prayer teams, and dear friends traveling the same direction on this leg of life’s journey, to keep our hearts right and minds renewed.

 

Test your heart often,Test Your Heart

to see where you stand;

are you seeking God,

or on sinking sand?

The very same God,

who’s living in You;

will give direction,

show you what to do.

Know He is faithful,

His presence secure;

when You call on Him,

you’ll find He’s right here.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell in us, and give us the capacity to check ourselves to determine whether or not we are following the path of faith You have laid out before us or not. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and minds, whispering reminders of what we should and should not do. Forgive us for ignoring Your still small voice, or for neglecting our own need to redirect our attention on what You ask. Help us to have ears to hear You, and hearts that are quick and willing to obey. Lead us to listen well, and help us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they see Your faithfulness at work in us. Be exalted O God, in all that we do and say. 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

 

 

There is Freedom

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – (2 Corinthians 3:17) God, in His unfailing love for us, provides freedom from sin and condemnation. As we choose to trust Christ for our salvation, He takes away the burden of needing to try to please Him, and removes our guilt and shame for our failure to do just that. To trust in Christ, is to know His love, acceptance, forgiveness, and the freedom to live for Him. His Spirit in us, shows us how to live in the fullness of our freedom in Christ.

 

This can be a challenging concept to grasp, especially when the world around us has a certain set of performance expectations. The charge to perform and be “enough” seems to surround us from every angle. When all of the externals are screaming “do more” and “be more“, we have to listen to the still small voice, as He whispers, “You are enough.” He has created each one of us with the capacity to do what He is asking in His strength, and the ability to hear His voice of truth. We must slow down and truly listen, or the freedom we have in Christ, becomes a facade.

 

The Lord is Spirit,There is Freedom

the Spirit of truth;

our place of freedom,

He shows what to do.

He frees us from sin,

condemnation’s shame;

He forgives failure,

wipes away all blame.

To trust in the Lord,

is to know His love;

acceptance always,

from our God above.

His Spirit in us,

grants us strength enough;

His capacity,

to endure the tough.

When the world wants more,

Christ is satisfied;

in Him, we’re enough,

that is why He died.

It did not end there,

for He rose again;

so we too, might rise,

find freedom in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Spirit and You are truth. Thank You that Your Spirit is present in all who believe, and grants freedom from all that would attempt to keep our heart away from You. Thank You that You paid the price, once and for all, for our guilt and failures, and made the way for us to have life and freedom forever in You. Forgive us for allowing the demands of the world to overwhelm us, or for becoming so busy that we do not slow down in stillness to truly listen to You. Teach us how to manage our moments and make our moments count. May we love You and love others as You love us, and may many come to know the freedom found through a lasting relationship with You. Let our lives lived in Your freedom, be an ongoing act of worship unto You. Be glorified in all that we say and do, Lord. 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

 

 

The Voice of Truth

As we are surrounded by a broken and hurting humanity, it is nearly impossible to not allow the lies being spoken over us, to somehow start to stick.  Between having to be enough, do enough, and just plain measure up, we quickly learn that we will never quite “arrive”.  Yet, there is a still small voice that says otherwise.  The voice of truth whispers that we are loved, regardless of what we have or have not done, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.  When we choose Him, He enters in, and remains present forever.

“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)

His voice is the one that I want to hear most clearly.  Goodness and love provide grace and mercy, rather than reminders of our shortcomings.  Beyond the treasures of today, His love provides us with the hope to hold for our forever.  All who come to Him and invite Him to be Lord, are assured that they too will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.  These are His words spoken, that we can depend upon.  He is faithful to His promises, and His love is everlasting.

The voice of truth,The Voice of Truth

softly calls your name;

always gentle,

this hope we can claim.

Other voices,

continue to lie;

offer defeat,

as hopes slowly die.

So listen not,

to words of the world;

unclench your fists,

let fingers unfurl.

Extend your hands,

to Him who is love;

He will speak truth,

tell you you’re enough.

For by His grace,

all stains are made clean;

each sin erased,

a pure heart now seen.

Love for today,

hope for tomorrow;

joy in His grace,

comfort in sorrow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the voice of truth, and the only voice that we need to allow to speak to our hearts and minds.  Thank You that You say we are enough in You, as You created each one of us with a purpose in mind.  Thank You that You whisper Your words of love and life, if we are only willing to listen.  Forgive us for giving ear to the lies that surround us, and help us to be deaf to that which is not the truth.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we hear only Your heart for us, and that we move boldly because of it.  May we live in love as You love us, so that many may come to hear of the mercy and grace that You alone, give to all who call on Your Name.  Let hearts be opened and lives be changed.  May our every move be motivated by Your goodness and love, and the hope that we hold in You.  Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

*Two songs that came to mind: Who to Listen to (Amy Grant) & Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns) – click either title to enjoy.

Let Not Our Hearts

Hardened hearts struggle to hear the still small voice within.  When we become cold and calloused to the world, whispers seem impossible to discern.  However, when we are in constant communion with Christ, our hearts remain tender and receptive toward Him.

As the story of Moses continues in Exodus, I have arrived at the passage where he and Aaron are told by God to go to Pharaoh to again ask to let the people go.  God warns them that Pharaoh’s heart will be hard, so He tells them to speak of the impending plague that will befall the Nile, if Pharaoh refuses to allow the people to go.  Pharaoh, of course chooses to not allow the people their freedom, and Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded, and all the water in the Nile changed into blood.  “But the Egyptian magicians did the same by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” – (Exodus 7:22)

Pharaoh responded in the same way to plagues of frogs, gnats, and flies.  Though he would call out to Moses and Aaron in the midst of the struggle, and began to seem as though he was willing to allow the people to go, the moment relief was found, his heart was again hardened and his mind set against their going.

Often, we are just like Pharaoh.  Our hearts are hardened until a need is present, and then – then we are ready and willing to call on Christ.  Suddenly, we are passionately pursuing the One we have all but forgotten for so long.  When the crisis is over and all is well, we set Him aside and go back to business as usual.  No more.  I am not called to live like Pharaoh.  My example of how to be in a right relationship with God, is found through Jesus.  He lived out His days loving God, and loving people.  Detours and difficulty did not deter Him from that call.  Always, even as He was hanging on the cross between two criminals, with one hurling insults at Him – He chose to love.  May our hearts be ever tender towards Christ, and may we live out our days, loving God and people, just as we are loved by Him.

Let not our hearts,Let Not Our Hearts

become cold and hard;

self-sufficient,

to Him, no regard.

Rather, let’s love,

as He has loved us;

with heart’s tender,

open to Jesus.

May our ears hear,

the tender small voice;

that will direct,

if we seek His choice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to suffer and die in our place.  Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into a relationship with You, not just for now, but one that lasts into eternity.  Forgive us for being fickle in our faith, or for hardening our hearts to hearing You.  Help us to be plugged in and present, so that our hearts may be tender and full of trust in You.  May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the blessings found in belonging to You.  May the words of our mouth and the direction of our path, be pleasing unto You.  Amen.

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

Worry’s Worth

When trouble comes, or difficulty is looming ahead, it is in our own strength, impossible not to worry about what we are meant to do, or how to see things through.  However, when we slow down and give it to God (through earnestly seeking Him), we are better able to gain His perspective, and worry seems to give way to faith.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” – (Luke 12:25)

Worry, according to dictionary.com, is to torment or harass with cares, anxieties or trouble.  Interesting word choice, as it sounds much like what we are told is the objective of the enemy of our soul.  That being said, the antonym for worry, is reassurance, which essentially, means FAITH.  Faith is found when our relationship with the Lord is sound.  The more we know Him, the more we are assured of His goodness, faithfulness, and His promises to never leave us nor forsake us – the very things that combat worry.

Worry not,Worrys Worth1

when troubles come;

great is He,

the Faithful One.

Cast your cares,

unto the Lord;

trust in Him,

all faith afford.

No good comes,

where worry lies;

anxiousness,

defeated cries.

By His strength,

victory gained;

perspective,

in Him, remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Overcoming One.  Thank You that we can cast all our cares upon You, and trust in You – reassured that You are faithful to Your promise to be present and provide what is needed to see us through.  Thank You that You are always good, and that You can use every circumstance for our ultimate good – even when it seems no good will ever be found.  Forgive us for our worrying ways, and help us to press into You.  May faith rise up and silence the whispers of worry that try to freeze our hearts with fear.  Help us to walk confidently by faith in You, and may many come to know the blessed assurance that is found through faith in You.  Let those who are looking, be led into the safety of Your loving grace.  Be glorified through the love lived out in the lives of we, Your people.  Amen.

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

Responding to the Remarkable

The heavens declare His glory

image by Kevin Freitas

image by Kevin Freitas

the skies show of His hand.

Forever creation’s speaking

if we look upon the land.

The mountains and the valleys,

the oceans and the shore,

the heavens in their splendor,

clearly cry out, there is more.

Sun soaring in the vast sky

then setting just on cue.

It is no sort of “accident”,

that told it what to do.

Faithfully its eastern rise

begins each brand new day.

Warmth as it traverses sky,

providing light on our way.

The laws of God are perfect,

reviving weary soul.

Removing chains that bind us,

and guide us to the goal.

His statutes are trustworthy,

making the simple, wise.

His commands are radiant,

giving light to blinded eyes.

His precepts are provision,

giving joy unto the heart.

Fear of Him in purity –

a healthy place to start.

His love endures forever.

His ordinances sure.

They are sweeter than honey.

More precious than gold, pure.

His words serve as a warning,

to keep us on the path.

Forgive our hidden faults,

protect us from Your wrath.

May every word I speak,

and every whisper of my heart,

be pleasing in Your sight,

as each day begins a fresh start.

(Responding to Psalm 19)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everywhere we look, there is evidence of You.  We need not look beyond the eyes of a child, nor further than the sound of our own beating hearts, to know that You are.  Forgive us for taking anything that You have made, for granted; as each and every part of creation is a gift.  Teach us how to glorify You in all that we do, and to appreciate with grateful hearts, the magnificent gifts that we have been given.  May our every spoken word and whispering of our hearts be pleasing to You, and may our actions lead the lost to Your loving arms.  Amen.

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

Submitting to the Spirit

To Philip was said

image by Meg Petroski

image by Meg Petroski

by an angel of God,

go south to Gaza,

on this road that you trod.

In obedience,

he set forth and went out,

and met on his way

a eunuch with much clout.

This important man,

treasurer of the queen,

was reading scripture

to find what it did mean.

Spirit told Philip,

go and stand over there.

He heard him reading,

and asked questions with care.

“Do you get that word?”

Philip asked of the man.

“How can I”, he said,

“unless I’m shown His plan?”

So Philip did tell,

he revealed to him,

the story of Christ,

then they both took a swim.

Enlightened, baptized,

he was equipped to share.

So the truth of God,

then traveled far from there.

(Responding to Acts 8:26-40)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to us still.  Thank You that we have the gift of Your Holy Spirit, who whispers the words You want us to hear.  Thank You that You are not limited in how You can communicate to us, but rather, we must be ready to listen.  Forgive us for being tuned out or for ignoring the still small voice, and help us to be ever attentive and aware, ready to hear and obey what You say.  Thank You that You are patient with us, and that Your love for us is not dependant on our performance or accuracy.  May we live in that blessed place of grace, so that we may pass it on to others so that they too, might come to know just how good You are.  Amen.

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