Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Posts tagged “jesus

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


Because He Loved

Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday, especially among middle schoolers the day prior. While some students were over-the-moon with excitement, others were nearly manic, as they mourned their mate-less state. Most, however, took it upon themselves as an opportunity to binge on copious quantities of confections, and were bouncing off the walls. The pivotal point that so many get hung up on, is what exactly is love, and how do we celebrate it?

 

If our priorities are kept in place, and we opt to spend the day focusing on loving God and loving people well, then it can be a day worth celebrating, rather than one to view with disdain. One of the most powerful examples of Jesus’ love for us is how He endured all things for our sake, so that we could come to know Him.

 

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself!” – (Mark 15:31)

 

Though Jesus could have saved himself, He endured this suffering because of His love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; He could have killed those who mocked Him – but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies… Jesus died on that cross for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid by His death. – (NIV footnotes for Mark 15:31)

 

Because He loved, we too may love.

 

What beautiful love,Good Gifts

would lay down His life;

choose to sacrifice,

despite all our strife?

He came not because,

we deserved His grace;

but because He loves,

the whole human race.

The sinners and saints,

man, woman and child;

He came for us all,

to be reconciled.

Let us each embrace,

this glorious gift;

go forth and love well,

encourage and lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son. Jesus, thank You that You came to set us free from the chains of our sin, and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You endured endless suffering on our behalf, because You loved. Forgive us for not choosing to love You and others as we are called to love, or for focusing inward instead of out. Teach us to trust You more, so that as we reach out in faith, we will recognize the remarkable ways in which You provide return to refill our hearts again. Lead us to love well, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we bring the blessings of Your love to a world in need. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1


The Path of Perseverance

Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25


When We Call

As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. – (Luke 17:12-14)

 

Ten men who were desperate for healing called out to the Healer. Jesus, who heals, recognized their need, but did not heal them in the moment. Instead, He instructed them in what they were to do, and they obeyed. As the men did as Jesus had asked of them, they received their healing. It was not until they were actively moving forward in obedience, that they began to see the purpose in their path to present themselves before the priests.

 

Often the solutions to our struggles require steps on our part as well. It is easy to stay stagnant in the sorrow, when our expectation is that Jesus will come and lift us out of our space of suffering. Often, He instructs us to move. As we take small steps forward in faith, He meets us and moves mountains that seem to stand in our way, providing the miracle necessary to move on. If we seek Him and listen to hear His instruction, He will lead us and guide us in the way through it, over it, or out of it. Regardless of what the “it” is, His presence will remain with us. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we call out to Him for help, and do all that He asks as He replies.

 

When we call on Christ,When We Call

we need to give ear;

ready to listen,

to faithfully hear.

At times the answer,

will require of us;

steps forward in faith,

all trust in Jesus.

As we start to move,

and faith rises up;

His provision comes,

and fills up our cup.

May we be willing,

to trust and obey;

to seek and persist,

to praise and to pray.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and hearing our every prayer. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts higher than our thoughts. Though we do not always understand Your timing, thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we do not see the evidence in the moment. Forgive us for our lack of faith that keeps us stuck and stagnant, and help us to seek You and heed Your every word. Grant us courage to move when You say move. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us, Your created. May many come to know Your perfect love that casts out fear, personally, and trust in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and move in obedience to all that You ask. 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


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


He is the King

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. – (John 18:37)

 

Though Pilate recognized the truth about Jesus, he chose to reject the truth that stood before him for the sake of pleasing the masses. Many find themselves at a similar crossroad at Christmas. They hear the truth of who Christ is, and must decide to either receive and embrace the truth, or to reject the Redeemer before them, for the sake of upholding sin and selfishness. As believers, we must model a life lived for Christ. If His love does not clearly flow through us, what possible appeal will the truth hold for those who know Him not? May we be vessels of His light and love unto the world, and may many come to embrace the truth of who Christ is this Christmas.

 

Though many have heard,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

they have not embraced;

the mercy of Christ,

as sin He erased.

Jesus is much more,

than infant domain;

He’s the Mighty King,

from His throne, He reigns.

May each seeking heart,

hear the truth, made plain;

and receive the Lord,

to come rule and reign.

Let each heart who knows,

go forth and love well;

shining light and life,

may our lives truth tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that regardless of a person’s decision to accept or reject the truth, the truth remains. Thank You that You are the King. Thank You that You came into the world to testify the truth so that all might come to know You. Forgive us for not embracing the truth we know, or for neglecting to stand firm in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we completely rely on You. May we trust the truth, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may be directed to embrace the truth that is found in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we live and love in such a way, that the truth we embrace is evident. 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


Hold Fast to Truth

“If you hold to My teaching you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31b-32)

 

Jesus is the truth that sets us free from the sin and deception that seek to entangle us. When we commit our lives to Christ, and invest our hearts and minds into learning Who He is, we are considered His disciples. However, we must not simply be readers of His word, but also doers of His word. Disciples display faith in action. As freedom is found and truth is made known, our lives should actively reflect His presence in us. May we embrace His teachings so that we know the truth, and walk boldly in the freedom that Christ bestows upon His beloved.

 

Let us each hold fast,His Mighty Power

to God’s Holy Word;

where the truth is found,

and freedom is heard.

When we choose embrace,

the teachings of Christ;

we must also move,

model a changed life.

The truth that we know,

should be evident;

in how we go forth,

in Christ, we’re content.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and seek to know You, we find You. Thank You that You reveal Yourself to us, and set us free from the sin and deception that entangle us. Thank You that equip and empower us to do Your will, as we actively seek You. Forgive us for not investing in our relationship with You, or for not holding fast to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be quick to hold fast to all that You have promised, no matter how things appear. Lead us to be faithful doers and not mere talkers. Help us to love others as You so abundantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this season, as they encounter the truth of who You are, and what You have done for them, individually. Be exalted O God, as we actively reflect Your presence in us. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6


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