And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – (John 20:22)
All life and truth is God-breathed. At creation’s beginning, there was no life until God breathed into people, the very breath of life. Here in John, is a foretaste of the breath of Jesus and the power presented when He breathed on mankind. The context of this verse is when the disciples were in the upper room and Jesus appeared before them after He had risen. At this point, His breath was an impartation of His power to do God’s will on earth. Breathing is our reminder of just how near our Savior is to each of us. With each breath, He is present, and His power is available to all who have invited Him to be Lord of their lives. May we go forth this day, breathing deeply, knowing His nearness and operating in the power He has already presented.
was His gift of life;
and bought with great price.
We’re given a choice,
to receive His breath;
the Spirit-filled one,
that saves us from death.
With His sweet Spirit,
too, comes His power;
to rise and obey,
our great Strong Tower.
Allow Him to breathe,
His life into you;
the power and grace,
to live a life true.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us life and breath and our very being. Thank You that when we choose to follow You, You grant us the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and is available with each breath that we take. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same power that raised You from the grave, is alive and dwelling within us who believe. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and move in faith as You are asking. Lead us and guide us in Your love. May we love others in such a way, that they clearly come to see who You are. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified as we go forth today, with every breath we take. 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
Christmas is a remembrance of when Love came near. God, came in flesh, so that all might know the saving grace that is available through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Light unto the world, and the good Shepherd to all whom believe.
In John 10:11, it says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Though few of us have much exposure to present-day shepherds, what I can gather from footnotes and other resources that I have read, is that shepherds treat their sheep as family, and are willing to lay down their own life to keep each of them safe from harm. A shepherd’s love and commitment to care for his flock is not a paid position, but rather one’s chosen duty as he cares for each sheep as if it were his own precious progeny.
Jesus, throughout scripture, is called the Good Shepherd. He is the ultimate example of one who loves us with His very life, and cares for each of us, individually. When we make the decision to follow Him, we become the sheep of His flock – the people of His pasture. The cross was endured on our behalf, so that we are forgiven and freed from all that would lead us away from the security of our Good Shepherd; and His resurrection and the sending of His Holy Spirit, provide us with the ability to hear and obey His voice, as well as the power to hold fast to the promise of our eternal hope. What a treasured song to sing, when His glad tidings we choose to bring.
in flesh, became man;
still fully holy,
for us, came to stand.
The Light of the world,
came down to the earth;
an innocent child,
lowly stable birth.
Announced by angels,
to shepherds in field;
for they knew of love,
Baby became man,
Good Shepherd to all;
who choose to follow,
and answer His call.
For He gave His life,
so our life we’d gain;
the truth to proclaim.
Sing out, fellow sheep,
glad tidings to share;
for His hope is ours,
rejoice in His care.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Good Shepherd. Thank You that You know us and love us, individually. Thank You that You willingly laid down Your life, so that we could have life with You forever. Forgive us for allowing the worries of the world to steal our joy, and help us to rejoice in the promises that are ours forever. Help us to share the great news of who You are, and may many receive the gift of You this Christmas. May we love as You love, so that Your light is evident in all that we say and do. May our actions be announcements of Your goodness and grace. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Night after night I lay in bed, tears coursing silently down my cheeks. Deep pain burned through my heart, which no longer held a steady beat.
Kathump, kathump, kathump…
…when your heart does not beat for several seconds
…is very loud.
I wonder if it’s going to….
tat, tat, tat, tat, tat
Yes it is; I guess this isn’t the end.
It had been a very long and trying month, which came to a most unexpected end.
My mother lay in the morgue, awaiting cremation.
During our ordeal with her heart surgery, followed by complications, the Lord had been closer than I’d ever experienced Him. The Christian radio station I played in my car seemed to have been cued into our situation, for every time I left for the hospital or to return home, the DJ would say something like, “If you’re struggling today, stay tuned. (Pastor’s name) has a message of reassurance and comfort for you.”
Or songs like “Praise You in this Storm” would be playing. I never felt so “buffered” in all my life.
The vision my (“unsaved”) father had the night she had to be taken back to the hospital was the Lord’s way of forewarning us that she would be going Home.
He was wide awake, praying for her (something he didn’t do), and saw my mom standing in a white robe. A large angel came behind her and enfolded her in his wings until all that could be seen was her head.
“Tam, I felt so comforted when I saw that,” he told me later.
I’m glad you feel comforted, I thought. I know what that means.
My dad’s vision was the first of many, many amazing things that happened during that month. I could fill this entire post with them.
But that is not my focus today! Back to my nightly grief sessions…
After weeks of aching, and nightly anxiety attacks (the goofy heartbeat thing), I told the Lord,
“I can’t do this anymore. To stay in the reality that she is gone hurts so bad. Abba, can we decorate my home in heaven?”
(Earlier in the year I’d talked to the Lord about heaven:
“Lord, the idea of sitting on a cloud in a white nightie, strumming a harp for ages to come; or laying at Your feet in worship for years and years…um…I’m sorry, but that sounds incredibly boring. You know me, I can’t sit idle for very long. I love to be making something new, or learning new things, or going to see new places. I guess I lack the ‘worship gene.’ You’re going to have to put that desire in me and do away with my curious, creative self, ’cause if You don’t, I’m going to be a miserable failure in heaven.”
Not long after that, Steve Berger from Grace Chapel in Lieper’s Fort, TN lost his son in a car accident. Suddenly interested in what heaven might be like, he began to study the topic – then preach it from the pulpit. I highly recommend his sermons. These weekly messages were God’s response to my earlier conversation with Him!)
That night, I began by imagining what Mom was doing at that moment. She’d been there for a while. Was she still standing at the entrance, mouth agape at the splendor? In awe of the majesty of God? Was she skipping and dancing and getting reacquainted with my youngest brother who only lived for three days? With the many children she’d lost through miscarriage?
(She had nine miscarriages before me; I was the first to be born live…that makes me a 10. Eat your heart out, Bo Derrik!)
My thoughts turned to my “room” in heaven.
“Lord, I hate to vacuum. Could I have moss instead of carpet…maybe a little creek running through the living room? I love the sound of babbling brooks.
“Plasterboard walls aren’t much fun. They have to be cleaned. How about if You make the walls out of vines – ooh! – with beautiful flowers that change colors from time to time?
(I was on a roll…)
“Windows…hey! We won’t need glass windows because bugs won’t bug us, and there will be no burglars to burgle. I can have openings and fresh air all the time.
“If the rocks would have cried out in praise, that must mean they have that capability – and everything in the universe resonates…emits sound. Awesome! Would You line my yard with trees and bushes that can play the songs I have in my heart for You, but lack the skill to write on paper so others can play along? We could have nightly jam sessions and sing new songs every day!”
My thoughts turned to the concept of forever:
You’ll hear me ask from time to time, “What do you think you’ll be doing a million (billion) years from today?” I don’t know what that might be, but I know this…It’s going to be AMAZING!
Do you ever wonder what you’re being trained for while here on earth? Death isn’t “Game Over,” it’s the doorway into real life. In 2 Corinthians 5, we read that this mortality (what we consider to be real living) will be swallowed up by life! Now, that’s good news!!
“Who wants to go to Epcot Center?” I cheerfully asked two of my sons one morning.
Barely looking up from their schoolwork, one replied, “Uh, no thanks.”
The other said, “Not me.”
“What is Epcot Center?” I asked, a bit confused.
“I dunno. Sounds like a business complex…one of your ‘fun-filled’ field trips for homeschool. No thanks, Mom.”
They had no idea what they were turning down.
They’d never heard of the place, and so hadn’t given it a second thought.
Isn’t this what we can be like when we think of heaven? Having never thought much about it – or worse – believing the lie that it’s the isolation of being perched on a cloud, nighties and harps, singing forever, it’s no wonder we aren’t anxious to get there. (This, by the way, is a more accurate description of hell – isolation, monotony, hopelessness…forever.)
1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” When I read this verse, I hear, “Honey, use your wildest imagination…it will be fun for now, but won’t even come close to all I have waiting for you here!
I become thoroughly Homesick when I imagine what lies ahead (however inaccurate I may be) …
…in my wildest dreams!
(Don’t miss the companion post. You can find it here: Now That’ll Wreck Your Day.)
Visit Lessons by Heart
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.
Many people simply do not believe in the Rapture as it is taught by many, they assume that the only time we will ascend to be with Christ is on our death and resurrection, and yet the Bible clearly states that some that are alive will rise to meet with Jesus on His return. I agree that this meaning of rapture is relativity new, however whatever you call it, if the Bible says that some of those who go to join Christ in the air are still alive, and you believe in the word of the Bible, you must accept that not all will be dead and need to be resurrected on His return.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Order of the Resurrection
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ, all shall be made alive.
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christs’s at His coming.
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.