Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. 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

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Let Gratitude Grow

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, CEB)

 

Because of the hope that we have found in Christ, gratitude should ever be in the forefront of our hearts and minds. As we give God praise, let us worship with awe and respect for the One who holds our lives in His hands. When we serve, may it be in surrender to our Savior. With every word and deed, may our lives express gratitude to He who gives us life and breath and hope for all that is yet to come.

 

Let’s ever give thanks, Love that Grows

For all that’s to come;

Unshakable hope,

In the Holy One.

May our hearts worship,

Let’s ever give praise;

To God, who’s faithful,

For all of our days.

Let us not lose sight,

Of Who truly reigns;

May reverence lead,

As we lift His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and the hope we have in You forever. Forgive us for not worshiping or giving Your proper reverence for who You are, as You are our reason for life and breath and being. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize Your hand in all things, and give You praise for who You are for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is pleasing and honoring to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and give You all of our worship and praise for who You are and how You love. 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

Loyal to Listen

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, NLT)

You must only follow the Lord your God. Respect Him. Obey His commands and do what He tells you. Serve the Lord your God and never leave Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, ERV)

Remain loyal to Him! Fear Him and obey His commands. Listen to His voice. Worship Him alone. Be fervently devoted to Him. – (Deuteronomy 13:4, VOICE)

 

We are called to love God and love people. If all that we say and do is filtered through the lens of that love, then we are being obedient to God and serving Him according to His commands. In order to love well, we must listen to His voice, and spend intentional time with Him. Just as we cannot possibly know a friend, family member or potential life partner without intentional time spent together, the same is true with the Lord. To walk in His ways and give proper praise, we need to know whom we serve. Let us seek the Lord with intention, so that we may know His voice and walk in His ways, serving Him alone, for all of our days.

 

Let us choose to serve, Anxious for Answers

Our great God alone;

Obey His commands,

Make our heart His home.

As we hear His voice,

And cling to His word;

Devotion’s made known,

As love’s felt and heard.

So, cling to the Lord,

Fear our God alone;

He’s ever faithful,

Choose Love as your own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God to whom we can cling. Thank You that when we are faithful to You, Your presence is with us and will never leave us. Thank You that as we are called to walk in Your way and do Your will, You equip and strengthen us to do that which You ask. Forgive us for lacking trust to go forward in that which You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey, clinging to You, as You are trustworthy and our Source in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, so that all might rise up and move in the direction for which they have been created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow and obey You for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

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

Stand in Awe

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NLT)

Far and wide they’ll come to a stop, they’ll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, “Come and worship.” – (Psalm 65:8, MSG)

 

These words ring ever true, as I find myself caught off guard in awe at the beauty that surrounds me so often. Yesterday was a crazy, busy day, that had some unexpected twists and turns that made parts of the day difficult. The evening ended well, and as I drove home, though I have taken in the view countless times, I found myself nearly in tears with gratitude for the good in my life and the beautiful region that I am blessed to call home. I love the mountains and the ocean, and here, I am a short drive away from both. More than that, each morning as I walk with my best friend and her pups, we take in a spectacular view of both the majestic mountains and the Puget Sound, as the sun rises and reflects on the water and reveals the splendor created by His hands. Wherever I go, I seem to stand in awe of the wonder that unfolds before me. I anticipate nothing less, as I prepare to leave for Belize this coming Saturday. May our hearts look and listen to all that He shows us, as His goodness inspires joy and reason to worship for all of our days.

 

To ends of the earth,Stand in Awe

May in awe we stand;

Of all Your wonders,

On sea and on land.

From the sun rises,

To each new sunset;

Let’s look to the One,

Who paid all our debt.

O how He loves us,

This wonder employ;

Stand in awe of God,

And worship with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with such goodness and beauty all around us. Thank You for tangible reminders of Your power and majesty. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself through the people and places that surround us. Forgive us for not slowing down to look and listen to all that You have for us. Teach us to take notice of all of the wonders that You have made. Show us how to love and appreciate the people and places that You have given to us to care for well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your wonders, and worship You with joy. 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

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Choosing to Say Yes

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing. – (Psalm 143:10, NLT)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

 

We had a wonderful ladies’ event on Wednesday evening at my church. It was a time of being together, connecting, worship, followed by one woman sharing what God has been teaching her. The message was all about “Saying Yes”. First, are we invested and plugged in so that we hear what God is calling us to do, and where He is calling us to go? As we hear Him, are we willing to say yes? In reality, God instructs us; always. It is only a matter of whether or not we are listening to hear, and willing to say yes. If we ask, He is faithful to answer, though not necessarily in the way in which we might have imagined. We have to be willing and ready to say yes regardless of what His instructions look like, and trust that His way is best and His plans are good. Personally, each time that I have said yes, even when it did not make sense, I have found that the direction forward led me to beautiful unexpected places that I would have never gone, if I had not been willing to obey. May we learn to say yes to God and do His will, as He is ever leading us forward on a firm foundation in Him.

 

 

Julie saying yes

The lovely and faithful Julie McKenzie sharing about #sayingyes. ❤

Oh Lord teach us how, 

To listen and hear;

So we will choose seek,

With our hearts, draw near.

Show us what You want,

Where we’re meant to go;

Make the pathway plain,

As Your way is shown.

Dear Jesus, help me,

Find strength to say yes;

No matter the call,

For Your way is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You teach us to do Your will. Thank You that You are ever speaking Your instruction and leading us in the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for not seeking or for not obeying, as we so often get in our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to say yes to all that You ask of us, as Your ways are higher than ours, and the beauty that comes from obeying You far outweighs the discomfort we may go through to take those first steps. Show us how to say yes to loving those around us as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us forward on firm footing, and rise up ready to say yes to all that You ask. 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

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. 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 54:8

More of You

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

 

The first verse is part of the passage that is included in my daily reading, and the second was in the home screen of my Bible application. I found it interesting that the two came in tandem, as God is our source of wisdom, and is found when we seek Him. Wisdom goes beyond knowing facts and figures; it is a deep imparted understanding of that which is beyond our comprehension without God’s intervention. As we seek the Lord, He reveals more and more of Himself to us, and we begin to grasp a glimpse of who God is and how great His love for us truly is. Our seeking is answered through time in His word, in worship, in prayer, and in silent stillness before Him. When our ears and hearts are open to hear the Lord, He imparts His wisdom and understanding upon us. What once was a mystery, becomes foundational knowledge that we can hold firm in our hearts. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we grow in our understanding of who He is and how great His love is for us all.

 

Wisdom is granted,The Word of God

To those who choose seek;

The heart of the Lord,

He’s faithful to speak.

He’ll tell of His love,

Reveal mysteries;

Help our hearts to hold,

The grace hope carries.

So search for the Lord,

For wisdom and grace;

He’ll meet those who seek,

And show us His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to be found by those who seek You. Thank You that You reveal Your wisdom to those who seek to understand. Forgive us for not pursuing new insight and understanding and simply settling for what we already know. Teach us to hunger and thirst for more of You, as we never arrive at knowing all there is of You. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see Your heart through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek more of You each day. 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