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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Thought for the day

Grow Your Gifts

In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him as a young leader in the early church. “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” – (1 Timothy 4:14) In Timothy’s case, he was gifted with the ability to lead. He was granted wisdom and understanding beyond his years, and was called and commissioned to be a leader in a church that was struggling with some strife.

 

The same words that were spoken to Timothy, still apply to us today. “Do not neglect your gift…” In the ERV, it says “Remember to use the gift you have…” Our talents are improved through use, yet lost by neglect. What we have been given has been done for our Father’s glory, and we ought to treat them accordingly. What gifts and abilities has God given you? How can you use them to serve the Lord for His glory? May we utilize the talents that Christ has birthed in each of us, to give glory to our great God.

 

Let each of us use,Gifts Given to Glorify2

gifts given in grace;

meant to encourage,

the whole human race.

If you prophesy,

then in faith, speak out;

if you love to serve,

then do so devout.

If you’re called to teach,

then teach well His word;

if you encourage,

let great words be heard.

If you’re called to give,

do so graciously;

if you’re meant to lead,

do so unto Thee.

If your gift’s mercy,

then let kindness reign;

with great cheerfulness,

let Christ be made plain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in each of us, gifts that are meant to be used for Your glory. Thank You for the numerous examples throughout the Bible and history, of those who have faithfully utilized the gifts that You have placed within them to serve and honor You. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish and utilize that which You have place within us, and teach us how to grow and develop in the gifts that You have given. Show us how we are meant to use our time and talents for Your glory, Lord God. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we exercise the gifts that You have given. Be glorified O God, as we go forth, growing in the gifts that You have given for Your glory. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8


A Pattern for Prayer

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. – (Colossians 1:9-12)

 

In this passage, Paul provides a marvelous model of how we can pray for leaders and missionaries. Even if we do not know the individuals for which we are praying, the basic needs to serve well are the same. Each of us needs to: understand God’s will, gain spiritual wisdom, please and honor God, bear good fruit, grow in the knowledge of God, be filled with His strength, have great endurance and patience, remain full of Christ’s joy, and give thanks always. (NIV footnotes) May our hearts be prompted to pray for those in positions of power and influence, both in the church and out on the mission field.

 

Help me remember,A Pattern for Prayer

to constantly pray;

for all those serving,

faithful in Your way.

May each know Your will,

gain wisdom in You;

to You, be pleasing,

as they bear good fruit.

Let their knowledge grow,

fill them with Your strength;

grant them endurance,

to go the whole length.

Fill them with Your joy,

and deep gratitude;

so many may see,

Your love they exude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of godly leaders. Thank You for Your word and the wisdom You provide. Thank You that even when we do not know how we ought to pray, You provide parameters to guide us. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who will speak to our hearts, if we simply will be still and listen. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in supporting those You have called to lead and to go out to the ends of the earth, both prayerfully and financially. Show us what we are meant to do, individually, and grant us the courage and the faithfulness to do as You ask. Lead us to love others as You so practically and readily love each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You this season. Be glorified Lord God, as we pray for those whom You have called to lead. 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

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Hope is What We Hold

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – (Romans 15:4)

 

Knowing the word of God impacts our perspective on both today and the future. As we grow in understanding of who He is and what He has done in the past, the more confident we become in who God is for us both now and forevermore. Spending time studying His word increases our understanding, which in turn helps us gain a greater trust in Him. With trust, we are able to anticipate the future with hope (looking forward with confidence), for all that He has promised. May we study His word and allow every encouragement to take root in our hearts, so that hope is what we hold.

 

All that was written,The Bread of Life

the words of the past;

recorded to teach,

us lessons that last.

People who endured,

despite trying odds;

they put all their faith,

in Almighty God.

Through hardships and pain,

and journeys so long;

they trusted in Christ,

and He made them strong.

The very same God,

Who supplied the needs;

His Spirit with us,

while Christ intercedes.

Let hope now take hold,

and fill up our hearts;

His promises last,

as grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that we have more access in this generation, than any generation before us. Thank You that Your word is full of examples of people who persevered in faith, endured trials, and ultimately overcame in Your strength. Thank You for the encouragement that You provide, and the promises that are packed throughout each passage. Thank You that You are faithful and unchanging. Forgive us for neglecting the easy access we have available to study Your word, and help us to have a passion to pursue knowing You and Your word more each day. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and allow Your Spirit to instruct our hearts as we dig deeper in Your word. Help us to be transformed into Your likeness as we invest in our relationship with You. May we love others well, just as You so willingly and tenderly love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found in You. Be exalted O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time and energy into knowing You more. Amen.

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

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


The Splendor of His Glory

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. – (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

 

The lawless one is every force of darkness that would try to come against us.  The imagery in this one verse is both powerful and promising.  Imagine with but a breath from our Savior, every knee bowing, and every foe, falling from power?  More than that, the structures that are set in place that seem so certain, destroyed, the moment He comes in His glory.  What a wonderful and powerful God we serve!  It is easy to forget that Christ, who cleared the temple, is also Christ our coming King.  At His Name, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He alone, is Lord.  May we rise up in faith, and embrace the strength of our Savior, as He is our Warrior and the Defender of our souls.

 

The powers that rise,Choose to Follow

and seek to destroy;

have no place to stand,

no strength to employ.

For greater is He,

who dwells within us;

our Savior and Lord,

soon coming Jesus.

It takes but a breath,

from our Savior’s mouth;

and lawlessness ends,

all evil flees south.

When Jesus returns,

in splendor and might;

dark forces destroyed,

there won’t be a fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your power is far greater than we realize.  Thank You that though there are forces working against us, You, who are for us, are far greater!  Thank You that Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth, and that the splendor of His coming will destroy that which fights against us.  Forgive us for making You too small in our own eyes, and help us to see You as the All-Powerful, Almighty, Creator of All, that You truly are.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, depending on You in all things and at all times.  Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we embrace the greatness of who You are.  Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

 


Come Close to Rest

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – (Matthew 12:28-30)

 

The burdens that we take up and try to carry are far too heavy and not meant for our shoulders. Some of these may include: our sin, excessive demands, oppression and persecution, and weariness in the pursuit of paths we were never meant to walk alone. Christ sets us free from the weight of the yoke our shoulders should not bear, and grants us rest in Him. Through our relationship with Jesus, the seemingly meaningless and mundane, can become spiritually productive and purposeful, as Christ comes and provides us with His peace, love, healing and help. He makes our yoke easy and our burdens light, in comparison to the weight of the way we were attempting to walk alone. May we lay hold of the rest Christ provides for our souls as we sincerely seek Him.

 

When life’s burdens,Come Close to Rest

are weighing us down;

we need seek Christ,

where answers are found.

Jesus is kind,

and humble in heart;

He is gentle,

where solutions start.

Rest for weary,

strength when we feel weak;

gone are burdens,

we’re not meant to keep.

His peace given,

healing and help too;

restored purpose,

refreshed and renewed.

Come near, dear ones,

He will grant us rest;

sweet interlude,

Christ’s great faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire for us to carry the weight of the world. Thank You that You ask us to come to You and give You our burdens, and allow You to carry the weight that was never meant for us, and You replace it with that which You equip us to bear. Thank You that You are gentle and humble and have rest ready for our weariness. Forgive us for trying to carry things that we were never meant to bear, and help us to lay down the loads before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may continually come before You and hear clearly what we are meant to carry, and what we are to hand over to You. Lead us to walk in love, unburdened by loads not meant for us. May many come to know You, as they witness the freedom we have found in the ease of Your yoke. Be exalted, Lord God, as we learn from You each new day. 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


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


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


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