Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “God

Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

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


Nothing Without Love

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 

God gives gifts to each of us. The intent of these gifts is that we would use them to love and bless others in such a way, that they may see Him through us. Just having the gifts is not enough. Our motivation and purpose must be fueled by love. For if we have not love, we cannot accomplish the purpose that God has set before us. In fact, the greatest command we are given is to: love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. – (Luke 10:27) If we are loving God and others as we utilize the gifts that He has placed in us, the mountains will be moved, and much shall be accomplished in His strength. May we go forth and love well with all that we have been created to be.

 

Despite the great gifts,Nothing Without Love

found in each of us;

if we have not love,

they are meaningless.

For each of the things,

that God has granted;

purposefully placed,

love’s power planted.

May our focus be,

on those who surround;

and how to love well,

so lost may be found.

With all that we are,

heart, soul, strength and mind;

may we love and serve,

the Lord and mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us good gifts, but even more than that – You give us Your unconditional, incomparable, outrageous and lavish love. Thank You that it is Your love that covers and carries us, and gives us worth. Thank You that when we act in love, we honor You. Forgive us for the times that we have been nothing but ugly noise or empty actions, as we did not act in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that everything we do, will be done in love. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your mighty love for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we do all things in Your love. 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


When Faith Intersects

It is incredible to see what God will do when faith intersects. As one in need and another obedient to pour out, both by faith say yes to the Lord, mountains are moved and miracles happen. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. – (Acts 14:8-10)

 

Despite having been inflicted since birth, the man received hope when it was offered. Imagine hearing of a Healer, when all you’d ever known was brokenness… Additionally, Paul, as he shared the great news of Christ, was sensitive to the Spirit, and was aware of the Lord’s leading for that moment in that place. Two men chose to say yes to God, despite the crowd and chaos around them. Each opted for the hope that Christ was offering in that time and space. May we too, find the faith to both hold hope in the seemingly impossible spaces, and obediently reach out, wherever Christ calls us to offer a word, a touch, or a helping hand.

 

God constantly moves,When Faith Intersects

we need be aware;

as we choose by faith,

to offer each prayer.

When we are in need,

He knows what to do;

by faith we must trust,

He will see us through.

In our times of strength,

as He has us move;

may we obey well,

what we’re called to do.

As faith intersects,

hope is on the rise;

He heals the broken,

and opens blind eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our small seeds of faith, and call on us to rise up. Thank You that when we do, miracles happen in our hearts, homes and communities. Thank You too, that You have placed You Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that if we will be still and listen, You will speak to our hearts and show us the ways in which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not heeding the call, or for being too busy to truly listen so that we will clearly hear from You. Teach us to trust You more and to quiet our hearts and minds before You, so that we will not miss all that You have for us. Lead us to love others in a way that helps them find faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we follow in faith for all of our days. Amen.

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

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


Genuine Repentance

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. 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


A Time to Be Still

As a go-getter, it is in my nature to constantly be on the move. I would rather go do something, anything, than sit around and be idle. However, constant motion and activity do not lend themselves well to quiet time and stillness before the Lord. It has taken years to establish routine and discipline that create a time and space that I now crave to quiet myself in the peace of His presence.

 

When Jesus visited Mary and Martha and Martha was busy rushing about, trying to take care of things to be certain that all of the preparations had been made for their guests, Mary simply sat at the Lord’s feet to listen and be in His presence. Martha was frustrated with her sister for not helping, as she was so busy moving, that she did not pause to recognize the remarkable that was right in front of her. Jesus, in His kind and gentle way, reminded her of what really mattered. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – (Luke 10:41-42)

 

The chores, the busywork, the going and doing – they will always be there. Our investment in Christ is eternal. What we choose today impacts our eternity. Yes, God is gracious and merciful and He does not keep a checklist of who has a quiet time and who does not, but He longs for our hearts and our time. Jesus wants to spend time with us and to speak to us. Why wouldn’t we choose to make the Creator of all the priority in each day?

 

A time to be still,A Time to Be Still

quiet in His peace;

faithful investment,

our burdens released.

All that need be done,

will always remain;

we must take the time,

to give Him our shame.

A space to listen,

to hear God’s own heart;

promises spoken,

and wisdom imparts.

Let our hearts give praise,

to Glory Divine;

for He is so good,

our Hope for all time.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You love a heart that seeks to serve You, You more than anything, want our hearts. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us, to speak with us and commune with us. Thank You that You call us Your children. Forgive us for our distractions that keep us so focused on doing, that we neglect the why we do what we do. Help us to slow down and fix our eyes and all of our attention on You, so that we might clearly hear all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love others, just as You so willingly and patiently love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we slow down and seek You in the sweet silence of a time set aside just for You. 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


Blessed are the Invited

As another year comes to a close, I again find myself at the end of Revelation. This morning, the verse that stood out to me is as follows: Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” – (Revelation 19:9) Those of us who love the Lord and walk with Him, are blessed and invited to the ultimate celebration. At the end of days, all who stand firm in faith in our Heavenly Father, will be blessed beyond what we can fathom.

 

Jesus gave us glimpses of what is yet to come throughout His ministry on earth. My Father’s house has many rooms, if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – (John 14:2-3) John further unpacks what awaits in Revelation 21:9 – 22:5. Though much unpleasantness, many trials and tribulations will come to pass between now and then, we have the promised assurance of our final outcome. Our time here is fleeting, yet our time with Christ is eternal. Let us hold fast to the promises of the truth of God’s word as we march forward into 2015.

 

Most blessed are those,IMG_0653
invited to come;
to the wedding feast,
to sup with the Son.
Those who love the Lord,
to the end of days;
steadfast in His truth,
and faithful always.
Not by our own strength,
but trusting in His;
loving as we’re loved,
doing as He says.
The Lord is so good,
and great His reward;
for all who trust Him,
and walk in accord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite what we see around us, the outcome has already been determined and the battle, already won! Thank You that You receive us as we are when we come to You, and You claim us as Your own. Thank You that You are faithful and true, and that You grow us in understanding as we seek to know You more. Thank You that regardless of what this life holds, our eternity will be beyond blessed. Thank You that we have the blessing of Your presence in the here and now, as well as the promises of what is yet to come. Forgive us for losing sight of both. Teach us to trust You more, so that we live each day with an eternal perspective. Lead us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in the coming year. Be glorified Lord God, as we go forth operating in the gifts that You have granted us, living with an eternal perspective. Amen.

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

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5a


Faithful Obedience

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. – (Revelation 14:12)

 

Though times can be trying, we who trust in the Lord are called to patiently endure, remaining faithful to Jesus and obedient to all that God commands. Great is our ultimate reward, for staying true to our trust in Him. Obedience and endurance are not easy tasks, yet when we faithfully submit ourselves to Jesus, He equips and empowers us to do that which He is asking, and supplies patience and strength beyond what we would have on our own.

 

Patient endurance,Faithful Obedience

He asks of the saints;

all those who obey,

stand strong, don’t grow faint.

Those true to the Lord,

in Jesus remain;

faithful in all things,

in our hearts, He reigns.

Trust Him at all times,

forever stay true;

He’s faithful always,

He’s making us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and commit our lives to You, You receive us, and welcome us into the security and safety of Your arms. Thank You that Your Spirit is in us to guide us, teaching us to patiently endure, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Thank You that You give us commandments – clear directions as to what You expect in order for us to remain faithful unto You. Forgive us for violating the bond between us in word, thought or deed. Teach us to trust You more, and keep us far from the sin that seeks to entangle us. Help us to patiently endure in You. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we walk with patient endurance in faithful obedience unto You. 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


Glory to God

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. – (Revelation 4:11, NIV)

 

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You made all things. Everything existed and was made because You wanted it. – (Revelation 4:11, ERV)

 

Worthy is defined as having great merit, character or value; and our Lord God, sets the standard for each. All power is His, and He alone, deserves all glory and honor from us, His created. Additionally, all that was created and brought into existence, was done purposefully; because God wanted it to be so. We are His workmanship, how can we help but praise Him?

 

The Lord created,Glory to God

He spoke and breathed life;

all things that exist,

Love’s true sacrifice.

Though He knew our hearts,

and choices we’d make;

He called us to be,

we’re not a mistake.

At just the right time,

He set forth His plan;

to again restore,

relations with man.

Jesus came for us,

so that we might know;

the depth of His love,

sacrificial show.

Death could not defeat,

the power of God;

He rose and gave life,

let our lives applaud.

May we all rise up,

and offer all praise;

give glory to God,

with all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Lord and God, worthy of all glory and honor and praise! Thank You that all power is Yours, as You created all things intentionally. Thank You that though You knew that we would sin and sever right relationship with You, You breathed life into us anyway. Thank You that You made the way for us to be restored unto You through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame, so that we could enter into a right relationship with You. Forgive us for taking Your grace for granted, or for not giving proper praise unto You, who deserves ALL of our praise. Teach us to trust You more, so that our entire life would be a reflection of our gratitude for Your goodness. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to understand who You are, and what You have done for each of us, individually. Be exalted Lord God, as we glorify You with all of our days. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10


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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