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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “mercy

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

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Position of Privilege

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” – (Luke 11:23-24)

 

Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two, whom He had sent out ahead of Himself to prepare the way in every town that He was intending to go. All of the individuals living in that time and in that place, had the unique privilege and opportunity to be eyewitnesses of Christ. So many people of that day and age took Jesus for granted. They did not really listen nor obey, despite His divinity displayed before their very eyes. We too are in positions of privilege. Though we are not eyewitnesses to Jesus in the flesh, we have access to more than two millennium of church history, countless translations of the Bible, collections of churches and a plethora of pastors in every city, as well as the vast resource available through technology at our fingertips. Additionally, when we come to Christ today, His Spirit dwells in us and speaks to us – leading and guiding us in the ways we are to go. With such great privilege and power that we have been given, so too, do we have a great responsibility. May we choose to carefully follow Christ, and represent Him well to all whom we encounter.

 

Blessed are my eyes,Position of Privilege

for what they have seen;

the touch of God’s hand,

as He washes clean.

He takes the sinful,

the broken and scarred;

and loves us to life,

our great Morning Star.

His glory witnessed,

His power, divine;

the prophets and kings,

longed to grasp what’s mine.

With His sweet presence,

we have so much more;

let’s follow with care,

Christ whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are so blessed to live in this day and age where we have endless access to You. We can read about You, listen to teaching and preaching about You, worship You, and come before You in prayer. Thank You that You place Your Spirit in us when we give our lives to You; and You speak to us, teaching, correcting, leading and loving us as we go about our days. Forgive us for taking our position of privilege for granted, or for neglecting Your accessibility that is all around us. Teach us to utilize our resources to grow more deeply in love with You daily, and help us to share our passion for You with all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we are careful to carry out all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16


Forgiven to Love

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. – (Luke 7:47)

 

Jesus spoke these words in response to Simon, the Pharisee, as he questioned Jesus about allowing a sinful woman to remain at His feet as she washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. In His presence, she had come to repent, and her faith was both seen and acknowledged before all who were present.

 

When we come to recognize just how much we have been forgiven, how can we help but love? The very same grace that has been given to us, begins to flow freely from us, as we embrace the height and depth and breadth of His forgiveness and grace granted to all who believe. May we go forth in love, as we have been forgiven much.

 

The sins of our past,Modeling Our Maker

exposed, in full view;

how will He respond,

what will the Lord do?

As we come in faith,

with repentant hearts;

He forgives and loves,

grants each a new start.

The greater the gift,

of mercy and grace;

the stronger the drive,

to give love away.

His love is mighty,

granted without bounds;

restores the broken,

and lost become found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we are forgiven, we are filled with Your love to overflowing. Thank You that as we recognize the fullness of Your mercy and grace, we cannot help but be compelled to love others. Forgive us for placing limits on love, and help us to love in Your strength as You lead us. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to hear You clearly, and to allow You to direct our every step. May many come to know the magnitude of Your mercy and grace, as they are shown Your love through us today. Be glorified, Lord God, as we love as You love us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19


Receive Life

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, NIV)

 

Great blessings belong to those who have washed their robes. They will have the right to eat the food from the tree of life. They can go through the gates into the city. – (Revelation 22:14, ERV)

 

Our “robes” are washed, when we receive what Christ freely offers. We are cleansed by the sacrifice He made for our sin, when He suffered and died in our place. If we embrace what He lovingly gives, and choose to follow Him all of our days, we will be granted entry into Christ’s eternal presence, and allowed to eat from that which people were previously not permitted. All that is good, right, lovely, holy and true, will be the eternal surroundings of those who have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Imagine a day when God’s glory alone is what lights our surroundings so brilliantly, that there is no longer need for the sun, nor lamps, nor any other source of light. May we receive what Christ has to offer, and allow His healing hands to cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness.

 

Our garments worn,Receive Life

surrounding our heart;

showing what dwells,

in the deepest part.

We all have stains,

wrinkles and some scars;

yet Christ calls us,

to come as we are.

The miracle,

of His great mercy;

and grace for us,

cleanses and makes clean.

Where blemishes,

were once dominant;

His love is seen,

light so radiant.

Not by our works,

but by His great grace;

we must receive,

as we seek His face.

Imagine when,

our days here are done;

the welcoming,

by Father and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, if we seek You with our whole heart. Thank You that You forgive us and cleanse us, washing us clean, as if we had never sinned. Forgive us for either taking Your grace for granted, or for somehow thinking that Your grace is not enough to cover what we have done. Teach us to have a proper perspective of who You are, and what You have done for us. May we love others well, as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the glorious gift of Your forgiveness and grace as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You offer, and walk in the fullness of Your grace. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41


A Champion for Every Child

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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


The Perils and Pitfalls of Pride

This morning, as I read Ezekiel 16, I found myself astounded at the discovery of truth that I had somehow not noticed before. In regard to Sodom, I had always thought that they had been destroyed due to their violence and flagrant sexual sin as a nation. Yet in Ezekiel 16, I found that God destroyed Sodom because the people were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned about the needy people within their own reach. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

 

It is easy to look back at Sodom and compare our sin to theirs. Most of us, on the surface, feel as if we are doing fairly well, as most are not murderers nor adulterers. However, in light of this verse that had previously escaped me, how do we measure up now? Are we proud? Do we have too much? Do we overindulge? Do we care for those in need, as we ought to? Granted, we are not meant to compare our sin to anyone else, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts to correct and direct us in the ways in which we are to go; yet in light of this passage, there is much to ask as we earnestly seek Him. May we place our lives in His hands, and allow His Spirit command, so that we are not proud, nor gluttonous, and that we are concerned about the needs of those within our reach.

 

Oh Lord guard our hearts,Cling to Hope

keep pride far away;

and gluttony too,

in You, may we stay.

Help us see the need,

around us today;

may we be Your hands,

give ourselves away.

Lead us and guide us,

in all of Your ways;

may we remain near,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see all sin the same, and that there is not one of us that is without it. Thank You Jesus, for coming and taking our sin away, as You suffered and died on our behalf. Thank You that death could not defeat You, and that in power, You rose again, so that You could send Your Spirit to dwell in us and remain with us forever. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your ways, if we seek You. Forgive us for our pride, our overindulgence, and our neglect of those in need. Give us Your eyes to see the needs of others and the lens by which to view ourselves. Thank You that Your love compels us to make changes. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King, as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be Your hands and heart to the needs of those around us. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16


An Undivided Heart

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. – (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

 

Though the Israelites had been sent away and scattered, and had become divided from God and each other, the Lord was making a promise to His people. God gave word that He would restore them back to their land once again. Verses nineteen and twenty were further promises to His people that He is faithful.

 

The promises spoken for the Israelites, are still available for us today. When we seek Christ, He will give us an undivided heart and place His spirit within us. He takes our hardened, calloused heart, and exchanges it for one that is soft, tender and vulnerable. His Spirit directs our path as to what we should and should not do, and He calls us His own, and He is our God.

 

A heart undivided,Renewing Our Minds

once as hard as stone;

transformed by Jesus Christ,

through whom love is shown.

He grants us His Spirit,

to dwell in our heart;

so each of us will know,

His path from the start.

He makes us His people,

and He is our God;

He transforms and grows us,

let the earth applaud.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us an undivided heart and a new spirit within us. Thank You that when we seek to find You, You are ready and waiting for us. Thank You that You exchange our hard hearts for ones of flesh that are soft and open to all that You ask. Thank You that Your Spirit within us makes known the paths we’re meant to take, and helps lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that we are Your people and that You are our God. Forgive us for our words and deeds that do not reflect that relationship. Help us to be a rightful representation of You before the world, as we go forth in love, just as You love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as they too, grant You full access to their hearts and lives. Be glorified, Lord God, in all that we say and do. 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


Approaching the Throne of Grace

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16)

 

Approaching the throne of grace is a fancy way of saying that we are meant to pray, to call on Christ, in our times of need. He wants us to come before Him with confidence, trusting that He is merciful and that His grace is enough to cover all that is required to continue on. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, continually interceding on our behalf. He understands our weaknesses and our struggles personally, as He Himself, experienced the same – without sin. His heart is for us, so we can come confidently, trusting that His grace is more than enough.

 

Let us approach,Approaching the Throne of Grace

the throne of His grace;

with confidence,

our hope to embrace.

Mercy awaits,

His grace is enough;

to meet our needs,

when the times are tough.

Pray to the One,

Who hears our heart cries;

our Source of strength,

Love never denies.

Answers may not,

look how we had hoped;

His way is best,

let’s trust His approach.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can approach the throne of Your grace with confidence, because You sent Your Son and made the way for us to receive mercy and find grace in our times of need. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that Your love for us is unending. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things do not align with the way we think they ought to go, and help us to trust You, in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are more than enough. Help us to live and love as You have designed us to do. May many come to know the saving grace available in You, as we walk with confidence as You have called us to do. Be glorified, O God, in every word, deed and prayer presented before You this day. 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 the “No”

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

 

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

 

Abundant grace,Knowing the No

poured out for mankind;

to open hearts,

give sight to the blind.

His Spirit shows,

the way we’re to go;

when it’s a “Yes”,

and where it’s a “No”.

No to the things,

ungodly and wrong;

and yes to those,

that make our walk strong.

All by His grace,

His love, it abounds;

receives the lost,

His power, profound.

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


To Fight the Good Fight

Last summer, much of my free time was spent driving back and forth to Seattle to spend time with my dear friend, Anne, and to take her to various medical appointments. Anne had been bravely battling stage four cancer for nearly nine years. Many of those years had been extremely victorious. However, the unpredictable and ugly disease had spread its corrosive cells throughout her entire body. Though Anne presented a valiant fight, the cancer was finding a foothold that nothing could seem to stop. By summer’s end, she needed a place to stay where she would not be left alone for long stretches of time, but rather where there would continually be a person present in the home. God provided the perfect place – a home with a loving Christian couple and their eldest daughter, who happened to be an in-home care medical person. Additionally, the new location was a mere fifteen minutes from my home, rather than forty.

 

One of the many things that Anne loved about their home, is that they would talk with her and spend time reading the Bible aloud to her, as she requested. There was a verse that came to be very significant to Anne as she became increasingly frail, and barring a miracle, it was apparent that her end was near. This morning as I read through the passages in my daily reading plan, there was a hitch in my heart as I came upon that particular verse. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – (2 Timothy 4:7) Anne, although her days were far shorter than any of us would have liked, she fought the good fight, she never wavered in her faith, and she finished her race strong, even unto her final breath. It is my prayer that I would learn from her example, and that no matter what comes my way, that I would continue to fight the good fight and keep the faith. When my days are done, I want to know that I have finished the race He has set before me, with no regrets.

 

Whatever we do,To Fight the Good Fight

may it give God praise;

with all of our heart,

for all of our days.

To fight the good fight,

means stay in the game;

trust that He is good,

have faith in His Name.

We must run the race,

that He’s called us to;

for He’s qualified,

and equipped to do.

View not the struggle,

nor look to the task;

instead to the Source,

our Strength as we ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us numerous examples of those who have gone before us and have fought the good fight, have finished the race, and have kept the faith. Thank You that this is not something that we are meant to do in our own strength, but rather in Yours. Thank You that You supply all that we need to stand strong and stay in the fight for as long as we are meant to run our race. Forgive us for allowing weariness to let our hearts wander off course, and help faith to rise up as we grow in our understanding of who You are, and just how much You love us. Thank You that Your mercy is new every morning, and that Your grace is enough. May we stand strong in faith in the fight, and run our race as You call us to run. Let Your love be what people see in us, and may many come to know You as their Lord and Savior, as our path points people to You. Be glorified through how we are running our race. 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

 

 

 


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