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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Faith

The Comfort of Christ

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV)

 

Not all pain and suffering are bad. Often our pain has a purpose. The very comfort that we receive from Christ, grows in us a compassion and empathy for others who suffer in a similar way. God can use our experiences to express His goodness through us, as we are able to listen and understand others in a way that those who have not experienced similar suffering could not. May we embrace His goodness and grace in our times of trial and trouble, so that we may be equipped to offer comfort and compassion to those who experience similar trials one day.

 

God is our comfort,The Comfort of Christ

through trial and pain;

when troubles do come,

His presence is plain.

Look for His goodness,

despite suffering;

kindness extended,

Love’s true offering.

Just past our trials,

Christ often brings due;

a chance to extend,

how He loved us through.

Embrace His goodness,

regardless of pain;

trust in His purpose,

allow Him to reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, and that You comfort us when troubles come so that we too, can comfort others as we have been comforted by You. Forgive us for thinking that there could not possibly be a purpose in our pain or trials, and help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You. Thank You that even in the midst of our suffering, You provide Your peace, Your presence, and tangible evidence of Your love for us. Help us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, allowing You to speak through our places of pain to touch lives for Your glory. May many come to know of Your loving kindness, and come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we trust You to be our comfort, so we too, can comfort others. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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Creating Bonds in the Body

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. 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



Staying Salty

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” – (Mark 9:50)

 

Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in His people: (1) We should remember God’s faithfulness, just as salt when used with a sacrifice recalled God’s covenant with His people. (2) We should make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in, just as salt changes the flavor of food. (3) We should counteract the moral decay in society, just a salt preserves food from decay. If we lose the desire to “salt” the earth with the love and message of God, how can we possible be effective in all that we are called to do? - (NIV footnotes for Mark 9:50)

 

How can we have salt in ourselves, and be at peace with each other? The best way to remember God’s faithfulness, is to spend time in His word. As we read story after story of how God has been faithful throughout the ages, our own faith is built up, and we cannot help but recall God’s faithfulness in our own lives as well. When His word and our own testimony are fresh in our minds, they come out in the words that we speak. People notice the flavor of our words, and desire to taste and see for themselves. As peace permeates in places where chaos reigns, the desire for the difference is discernable. Opportunities for His hope to be heard abound. May we go forth as salt, being at peace with one another today.

 

Holy faithfulness,To Season the Earth

like salt of the earth;

covenant promise,

through Jesus’ birth.

Because Jesus came,

and made way for us;

we now can go forth,

with truth to discuss.

May each of our words,

bring salt and bring life;

Christ’s message of love,

peace where there was strife.

Let us each go forth,

as salt of the earth;

extending His hope,

so all find new birth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are salt and light, and that when we come to You, You equip us to be as salt unto those around us. Thank You that You help us remember Your faithfulness, because You are indeed faithful, and You use us to make a difference in the “flavor” of the world that we live in. Thank You that in You, we are able to counteract the moral decay that is happening around us. Forgive us for not seeking to stay “salty”, and help us to never lose our desire to “salt” the earth with love and Your message. Grow our faith, God, so that we may season those around us in such a way, that they too, seek You with their whole hearts. May many come to know You as their Savior and King as we love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we allow our salt to spread around us while we remain at peace with each other. Amen.

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

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


One to Many

We never quite know the far-reaching impact that one act of obedience may have. For Paul, when he had arrived on Malta via shipwreck and snakebite, he was invited into the home of a chief official on the island. Upon arrival, Paul learned that the father of Publius, the chief official, was sick in bed and suffering. Paul went to him and prayed for him and he was healed. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. – (Acts 28:9) Paul’s following of the Holy Spirit’s prompting to touch one who had fallen ill, resulted in the healing of many, and consequently, the further spreading of the good news of Jesus, throughout the island.

 

What potential impact do our acts of obedience have on others? Kindness to a stranger, a touch to the hurting, encouraging words to one who is discouraged? We need not know the outcome to act as Christ calls us to move. For each of us, have also been the recipient of another’s faithful obedience. May we go forth this day in obedience to all that the Lord asks.

 

A moment in time,One to Many

responding in faith;

to what God has asked,

most memorable wraith.

All who are open,

ready to go forth;

will be granted word,

sent out by the Lord.

He looks for the heart,

that’s ready to serve;

does tremendous things,

His strength to observe.

May we be ready,

with yes and amen;

to go where He asks,

and do as He says.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You show us that You use hearts that are willing and faithful to follow what You ask, regardless of circumstances or appearances. Thank You that Your ultimate good will come, even out of the most ugly of circumstances. Forgive us for our lack of faith in the midst of trials, or for our lack of movement when You are asking us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move mightily in all things and at all times, as You ask us to move. Let us love and encourage and be Your hands and heart to those around us, as You so clearly make You love evident to each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. Be exalted, O God, as we follow Your leading today. 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


Taking Courage in Trials

As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?

 

The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.

 

When facing giants,Taking Courage in Trials

mountains we must climb;

His nearness constant,

for now and all times.

Our courage is found,

in Christ, the true King;

He supplies power,

and all needed things.

In trial, in loss,

in wholeness, in grace;

circumstances don’t,

determine His place.

For God is on high,

He’s still on His throne;

no matter what comes,

Love will be made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25


Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

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


Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. 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


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


Boldness Before Them

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. – (Acts 4:13-14)

 

Even the most skeptical Sadducees could not deny the truth when it was standing before them. With their own eyes, they had seen the man both before and after his healing. They heard the wise words spoken by men who had not the upbringing nor the schooling to speak in such a manner. The power of the living God dwelling in the hearts of the men, was irrefutable. Astonished and dumbstruck, they had nothing to say, and could not silence the boldness before them, as the power in the hearts of Peter and John was far greater than the futile attempt to silence the faithful from speaking the truth. In the heart of every believer, lies the same Spirit, with the same power to speak the truth. Christ will make us brave before all brethren, if only we choose to allow Him access to our whole heart, and place our trust completely in Him. May we invest our hearts and minds in the truth of God, so that we too, may be bold before all who draw near. Let us speak truth without fear, for far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world.

 

Ordinary men,IMG_0268

so faithful to Christ;

stood strong in the truth,

they did not think twice.

All trust in the Lord,

for they knew His strength;

were willing to risk,

their lives at great length.

Boldly the men spoke,

the truth about God;

they could not refute,

nor call them a fraud.

For they too had seen,

the clear evidence;

of Christ’s mighty hand,

awestruck reverence.

We too are the same,

with access to God;

He grants us boldness,

that fills us with awe.

Allow His Spirit,

to move in His might;

He shall grant all things,

to go and shine bright.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us brave. Thank You that You take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through us, if we are only willing and available unto You. Thank You that it is not by our own strength nor wisdom nor power, but anything good that we do for You, is by Your grace, equipped by Your Spirit in us. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have the proper training nor ability to go forth and do what You ask of us; for even the most learned among us would not be enough without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come to know the power present in a life lived with You. Let those who are looking, find and choose You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to strengthen us to go forth with boldness. 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


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