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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “future

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


Seek to Sow

He replied, “… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – (Matthew 17:20-21)

 

Jesus was responding to the disciples’ questions as to why they could not heal a boy who had been suffering from seizures caused by demon possession. They were not being condemned for their lack of faith, but rather He was showing them how essential faith would be in all that they would be called to do in the future. The seeming mountains that stand in our way cannot be moved in our own strength. However, in Christ, the mountains are mere molehills, and He can accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to allow Him room to be Lord. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and allow Him access to our whole heart so that our small seeds of faith may flourish and grow great in Him.

 

Let not our eyes,Seek to Sow

fix on our trial;

look to the Lord,

all hope to beguile.

The smallest seed,

can grow, multiply;

tended by Christ,

bear fruit, fortify.

All things can be,

established in Christ;

mountains made plain,

needs become sufficed.

He is enough,

for our hearts to trust;

small seeds of faith,

He’ll grow and raise up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to do things in our own strength, nor do You call us to somehow muster mountains of faith on our own. Thank You that You take our small seeds of genuine faith, and You grow them in Your grace. Thank You that You move in spite of us, and that all things are possible in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the mountains, rather than on You, the Maker of mountains. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might see all things as opportunities for You to move, rather than road blocks in our path. May we live and love in the faith You are growing in us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You alone. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to sow the seeds that You are growing in us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

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Renewing Our Minds

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2)

 

God’s plans for us are perfect. His will is for the very best for His children. God gave His Son so that we would have access to His pleasing and perfect will, personally. As we seek Him, and give ourselves as living sacrifices unto His service, we are transformed and our minds are made new.

 

No longer conforming to the pattern of this world goes far beyond no longer partaking in corrupt customs or self-pleasing practices that heap harm on ourselves or others, but instead, it involves making a choice to live to honor and obey the Lord. As we allow the Holy Spirit access to all, our hearts are transformed, and our minds are made new. When He is at work in us, we are more aware of His will for us. May we each be malleable, as we allow Him access to transform us and renew our minds.

 

Conform no longer,Renewing Our Minds

to ways of the world;

grant the Lord access,

a future secured.

If we let Him in,

He’ll transform, make new;

cleanse our hearts and minds,

show us what to do.

Wisdom too granted,

to know the Lord’s will;

so we may honor,

by His Spirit’s fill.

May we too, lay down,

our self-pleasing ways;

and be now transformed,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to no longer conform to the patterns of this world, but rather to be transformed by Your renewing of our minds. Thank You that as we allow You access, You grant us what we need, by Your Spirit in us, to understand what is Your good, pleasing and perfect will. Forgive us for choosing to conform to the ways of the world, or for not listening to the still small voice within. Help us to invest our hearts, minds and time in our relationship with You, so that our hearts are cleansed and our minds are made new. May we live and love according to Your good, pleasing and perfect will, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be exalted, Lord God, as we respond to Your renewing of our minds. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:23

 


Protecting Our Priorities

Priorities and values matter. Despite what society would like us to believe, it is not all about us. Jesus told His disciples, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – (Mark 8:35) This does not mean He wants us to set out to die, but rather to set aside our own selfish ambitions and allow His heart to be heard.

The NIV footnotes for the same verse, explain it this way: “We should be willing to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel, not because our lives are useless, but because nothing – not even life itself – can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us to choose to follow Him, rather than to lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny and to let Him direct us. This makes good sense because, as the Creator, Christ knows better than we do what real life is about. He asks for submission, not self-hatred; He asks us only to lose our self-centered determination to be in charge.”

When our priorities are in place, we realize that we need Christ to be in charge. Without Him, we have nothing. In Him, light and love, wisdom and strength, and all that we need to navigate this life according to His will, are provided. Our choice and our charge is to protect our priority in Him. Is He first in our lives, or is He simply a go-to God when we feel that we need Him?

A hope secure,Protecting Our Priorities

invested in Christ;

chooses to make,

Him first place in life.

Seeks not to save,

temporary things;

gladly gives all,

to honor the King.

Releases reigns,

submits all control;

to One worthy,

our God to extol.

All that is lost,

consider a gain;

eternity -

the promise is plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we freely give our life to You, You give us something far greater in return – a future that is secure forever with You! Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to lay down His life on our behalf, so that we would have a way to come to You. Thank You that You want us to spend time with You. Thank You that You consider us worthy, because of what Jesus has already done on our behalf. Forgive us for not protecting our priorities, for allowing anything or anyone to come before You. Teach us to keep our priorities in order, and help us to depend on You to be our wisdom and strength. Guide us in how we are meant to navigate the hectic lives we lead, so that we may be effective for You, and refreshed and renewed in You. May we live and love as we are loved by You. May many come to know the provision of Your grace and mercy as they understand who You are and how to make You their priority. Direct our days, dear Lord. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21


What if Ninevah had not listened to Jonah?

Source: tumblr.com via Ashley on Pinterest

The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.

Jonah 1

King James Version (KJV)

1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,314428_189607997781575_188738997868475_422680_285128613_n

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion  to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.

No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”

God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!


Thought for the Day

c600x600   New Year


Joy

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11)

The great joy the angel was declaring, was both the first and greatest joy ever known. The gift of God, sending His Son to earth to take on the sins of all, is the provision of joy found in the promise of hope, that is secure in our Savior. “Joy is a sense of well-being and delight that comes from knowing and serving God.” (Pastor Jon MacIntosh)

Joy was further defined by Pastor Jon as follows:

1) Joy is not an emotion. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.

2) Joy is sourced in God Himself. This is why our joy cannot be shaken.

3) Joy is both a present reality and a future hope. Though we know joy now, it is only in part of what will one day be fully known.

We can know joy despite our circumstances, when we are deeply invested in Christ. Joy is rooted in love, tied to obedience, and is a gift of God that is found in the person of God. We may know His joy more fully, as we walk in His will. We discover a deeper joy when our focus extends beyond ourselves, and we pursue the purpose that He has placed before us. (see Psalm 16:11, 19:8, and John 15:9-13)

Go forth in His light,Joy to the World

declaring great joy;

found in a stable,

born an infant boy.

Announced by angels,

proclaimed by a star;

followed by strangers,

who’d come from afar.

The infant, He grew,

into God, the man;

taught of salvation,

lived redemptive plan.

His death on the cross,

our sinfulness bore;

so we might be found,

come, let us adore.

The grave could not keep,

Jesus in the ground;

God’s power at work,

our joy in Him found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of joy. Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on how we feel, nor on that which is going on around us. Thank You that You are our Joy, and in You, we find joy as we come to know and serve You, our Savior. Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix too closely on the troubles of this world, rather than on You, whom all troubles are subject to. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know more completely, the joy that is found in You alone. Help us to love and serve as You are asking, and may many see Your joy in us. May those who do not yet know You, come to know the joy that is found in You alone. Joy to the world, the Savior has come! Amen.

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


Giving Gifts

As we enter this season of gift exchanging, it is easy to allow thoughts of what we are going to give those we love most, to overwhelm us. It is a natural desire to want to bless those who bless us. That being said, what gift can we give to Him who has given us the greatest gifts of all – our very life, and breath, hope, and future?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” – (Ephesians 2:8-9) His gift to us is one that is freely given, that we do not deserve. We cannot earn it, nor can we somehow repay the blessing He has provided. All that we can do is receive what we have been given, and respond with gratitude, praise and joy.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – (Ephesians 2:10) Because we are created, hand-crafted works of art, His intent is that we share ourselves with the world. Not in our own efforts, but by His grace, as He presents opportunities – we ought to be open and willing to share of the great things that He has done in us. The gifts that we give best, are those that He has created in us, that we choose to use as He intended for us all along.

What gift shall I give,Giving Gifts

to my God and King?

For He has made all,

He’s everything.

A heart that is true,

and willing to give;

my time, my talents,

unto Him, I live.

The grace He’s given,

I will too, extend;

for without mercy,

our lives would all end.

I’ll give You my more,

so I become less;

may You be Who’s seen,

so many are blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave, and continue giving, not because we have earned it or deserve it somehow, but rather because You are a gracious and merciful God, who loves us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You, through the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe, to lead, guide and equip us to do Your will. Thank You that we are Your hand-crafted works of art, created with a purpose. Forgive us for disregarding Your power that dwells within us, when we feel that we have nothing to offer. Thank You that in You, we always have You to extend – Your grace, Your love, Your mercy, Your hope. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to hear You clearly, so that we may move confidently as we navigate this Christmas season. May many come to know the greatest gift of all this season, as they choose eternal life in You. Let our light shine brightly before all. Amen.

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


Hope

“Hope is a confident expectation of a favorable outcome.” – (Pastor Jon MacIntosh) In Christ, whom is the Source of ALL hope, we find confidence in knowing that the ultimate outcome is good.  We know Who wins in the end, and we have the blessed assurance that our eternity will be spent in His presence.

It is easy to blur the lines between wishing and hoping.  A wish is really just a want, that is not backed by confident expectation in Christ.  Our hopes, dreams and desires need to align with His, and hope in Him, ought to be “the lens through which we view our future”. (PJM) When we see where He is calling us to go, we move in confident expectation that He will meet us every step of the way, and provide all that is needed to accomplish what He has asked.

In the throes of life’s storms, though I often cannot see the security of the shore, I have hope in Christ, as I know that He is my anchor, steadfast and secure.  He will not allow me to get lost, nor to drift beyond a place where He can safely bring me back to shore.  My hope in Him is not deterred by wind and waves, as my heart is tethered to His.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – (Isaiah 40:31)

In quiet confidence,Hope

let us hope in the Lord.

He is mighty to save,

our strength in one accord.

Expect that He will use,

everything for our good;

even our great struggles,

make His grace understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Hope.  Thank You that in You, we need not fear, regardless of what surrounds us.  Thank You that You are the anchor that keeps us secure through all of life’s storms, and that You are our peace when chaos seems to reign.  Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to hinder our hope, and help us to hold our every hope in You – not in what surrounds us.  Thank You that our ultimate outcome will be far beyond  favorable, as eternity with You, is more than our hearts can currently hold.  Help us to live in love, looking through Your lens of hope, so that others too, may see that true hope is found in You.  May many come to find hope in You during this blessed season of remembering.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

For more verses on HOPE(per sermon notes from yesterday):

Romans 8:24(hope saves
I John 3:3(hope purifies)
Hebrews 6:13(hope anchors us)
I Thessalonians 1:3(hope inspires)
Psalm 62:5(hope comes from God)
2 Thessalonians 2:16(hope is good)
Titus 2:13(hope is blessed)
Hebrews 7:19(hope is better)
I Peter 1:3(hope is living)
I Corinthians 13:13(hope is enduring)
Ephesians 1:8(we are called to hope)

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


Pray Anyway

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” – (Matthew 21:22)

Prayer is the power of God in action; it is not some sort of magical wish upon a star phenomenon. However, in order for prayer to be effective, our heart must be aligned with our Heavenly Father’s. Our requests must be in synch with the principles of God’s kingdom. The more in tune we are with God and His will, the more likely we are to make good and pleasing requests. God does not answer prayers that would hurt people, nor does He do things to go against His own nature or will.

What about the times that prayers seem to go unanswered, or do not turn out as we had hoped? I anticipate this very loaded question may be meandering through your mind, as most of us have heartfelt prayers that we have earnestly prayed, that seemed to go unanswered. How do we reconcile the disappointment, when we trusted and believed that He would answer? What I have learned, and am still learning, is that believing and trusting Him and His character first, must be my priority. His answers do not always come in the package I anticipate. Though I ask for one thing, He may have other plans for my life or the life of another. God, being the Divine Creator of ALL, knows best, and I have to trust that His ways and His plans are far better than my own, even if it means temporary heartache here. I know that He is good. I know that He loves me with an everlasting love. I know that He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, and that He has a hope and a future for me. At times, that has to be enough.

In faith, we must ask,Pray Anyway

trust God and believe;

for it is through Christ,

we now may receive.

All hope comes from Him,

our soon Coming King;

Lover of our souls,

our praises we bring.

May we come to know,

Your faithfulness, God;

as we pray to You,

and on Thy path, trod.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear our prayers. Thank You that You answer that which we ask, as we earnestly seek You and Your will. Thank You that though answers do not always appear in the form that we might hope for, You are forever faithful, and always have our best in mind. Thank You that those who do not receive their healing on earth, are whole and in perfect health in Your presence now. Thank You that Your love for each of Your created, is far greater than our own, and You know what is best, even when we want other than what has been done. Forgive us for our frustrations and doubts, and help us to place our heart in Your hands, trusting You with all things, knowing that You hear us, and love us. May we live each day as love and light to all those around us, and may many come to know the saving grace that is only found in You. Thank You that You are so very good. Amen.

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


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