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Praise the Lord, O my soul. (v.1a) The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (v.8) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him. (v.11) Praise the Lord, O my soul. (v.22b) – (Psalm 103)

 

There is no other response that we can give unto God, as He alone deserves all of our praise. Christ demonstrated His love for us when He willingly laid His life down for ours, so that we could have life abundant in Him. His grace and compassion extend to every heart that calls on His Name, and He forgives and loves in such a way, that we cannot fully comprehend the depth and breadth of His love for all of His created. We are called to walk in reverence – holy fear – a deep respect, admiration, awe; an understanding that He alone is God, and we are not. The more we know Him, the more our soul cannot help but praise Him. May we each gain a greater glimpse of just how large the love of our Lord truly is.

 

May my soul praise,Praise the Lord O

the Lord on high;

for all my days,

on Him rely.

Compassionate,

and full of grace;

for us He waits,

to seek His face.

His love abounds,

beyond the sky;

true peace is found,

He hears each cry.

So, praise the Lord,

O weary soul;

in one accord,

He’ll make us whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that Your love is greater than we can grasp, and that the appropriate response from us is simply to praise You for who You are. Thank You that as we grow in understanding of Your love and grace, You strengthen and equip us to go forth as You call us to do. Thank You that even when times are tough, we have reason to praise You, as You remain present; always. Forgive us for our sinfulness and lack of faith, and help us to fully rely on You in all things and at all times. Teach us to walk in Your ways and stand firm in Your truth. May we live and love as You call us to do, and may many come to know You as their Savior and Lord. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified in our praise today. 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

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. – (Isaiah 55:12)

 

As we grow in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot help but praise Him for who He is. He fills our hearts with joy, and covers our countenance with peace, even in the midst of life’s storms. All of creation has been made to praise Him; nothing is excluded. In fact, Jesus spoke these words in Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” He replied, “if they (the people who were wanting to praise Him) keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Let everything that has breath, praise Him!

 

As we go forth,There is Freedom

our hearts filled with joy;

may songs of praise,

be what we employ.

Let His peace lead,

as we choose invest;

our time, our heart,

into His sweet rest.

All around us,

creation shall sing;

of Christ’s great love,

the freedom He brings.

If we speak not,

truth will still be known;

the trees will clap,

cries will come from stone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your majesty, everywhere. Thank You that we have the privilege of partnering with You in sharing of the great things that You have done, and letting others know Who You are in our lives. Thank You that You are forever faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You grant us joy and peace, even in times of trouble, and that You lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for staying silent when we were meant to speak, and grant us the courage to be bold on Your behalf. Make us brave for Your glory. Let our love for You be evident in all that we say and do, and may many be led unto You through our active faith. Be glorified, Lord Jesus, as we seek to praise You on the path You have placed before us. Amen.

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

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

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” – (Isaiah 52:7)

 

God calls the feet of those who bring His good news to others, beautiful. Daily, we have opportunities to proclaim peace on His behalf. As we bear good tidings before others, doors open for us to share the hope of salvation with those who do not yet know their own need for Christ. The Lord reigns, whether individuals recognize Him for who He is or not. It is our charge, as His children, to be the hearts and hands that reach out to those who do not yet know Him. May we each find footing on the path that delivers good news, and come to know His pleasure in our pursuit of proclaiming truth.

 

How beautiful,

upon mountain tops;Beautiful Feet

are feet of those,

who choose not to stop.

Ever moving,

proclaiming His peace;

sharing His good,

pointing to release.

Good tidings brought,

through our God who reigns;

freedom is found,

as truth is proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to be instruments of Your peace as we go forth as Your representatives into the world. Thank You that You do not expect us all to be great orators or preachers, as You utilize us as You have created us. Thank You that You consider it a thing of beauty, any time that we step out in faith to share our faith in love. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and grant us a boldness before all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You for the words and the opportunities, and help us to live and love in such a way, that people cannot help but wonder why we do what we do. May many who do not yet know You, come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we go forth proclaiming peace and share the good news of who You are. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

And the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – (1 Peter 5:10, NIV)

 

Yes, you will suffer for a short time. But after that, God will make everything right. He will make you strong. He will support you and keep you from falling. He is the God who gives all grace. He chose you to share in His glory in Christ. That glory will continue forever. – (1 Peter 5:10, ERV)

 

Struggling and suffering are inevitable parts of dwelling in a broken world. Hurting people hurt people, and often bad things do happen to good people. This does not mean that we have somehow fallen from Christ’s favor, nor does it mean that we are receiving our punishment due; there are times when a struggle is allowed for a season so that we may grow to truly understand His strength and His grace in our lives. Every single time that I have gone through a trial of sorts, Christ has been present. His grace gave me the strength to keep moving forward, even when I wanted to retreat, and His love summoned me to cling to Him – He who is firm and steadfast, always. As I relied less on me and more on Jesus, my footing became more firm, and my resolve, ready and steadfast in He who does not change. His strength and hope restored what I’d feared might be lost, and His grace abounded all the more. He who has promised is faithful to fulfill His every word.

 

Though life becomes hard,Strength in Suffering

there’s suffering, pain;

we have hope in Christ,

His presence remains.

He will restore us,

make us strong, steadfast;

firm, as He’s faithful,

eternally lasts.

We have been chosen,

to share Christ’s glory;

let us stand in strength,

and tell His story.

Receive His great grace,

to us it abounds;

all who were once lost,

but now have been found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all grace. Thank You that even in our suffering, You remain present. Thank You that You are our strength and our firm foundation, and we may remain steadfast in the hope not only for today, but of our eternal glory that awaits in Christ. Forgive us for our lack of awareness of Your presence in the struggle, or for doubting Your faithfulness when suffering seems long. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that our struggles and suffering are only a short time, when compared to all of eternity in Your Holy presence. Let us live with an eternal perspective. May we live and love as if each day could be our last, and may our every word and deed point people straight to You. Let those who are looking be found in You. Be glorified as we trust You in both the blessings and the suffering. 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

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

 

I am so thankful that God does not leave us stagnant and stuck in whatever situation we are in. Our walk with the Lord is a journey. As we traverse this often rocky road, we are not meant to keep our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror, but rather we are to set our sights on what lies before us, assured of Who is with us as we go. Though we may not be able to see what lies just around the bend or over the crest of the mountainous miles ahead, God knows, and His plans for us are good. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and stretches and strengthens us beyond what we ever thought possible. New in Him, though unknown and unseen, is secure in the sense that He will always remain present, and His provision is promised along our path of obedience. A glimpse of the past to recognize and remember His faithfulness is good, but we must be present to lay hold of the new He has for us today. May we perceive the path You have prepared for us, O Lord; and may we move forward with unwavering faith in You.

 

Let go of the past,

image from lessonslearnedinlife.com

image from lessonslearnedinlife.com

the trials gone by;

instead look ahead,

He hears our heart’s cry.

A new thing to come,

it is springing up;

can you perceive it?

He’s filling your cup.

He’s making a way,

where all seemed but dead;

He’s bringing new life,

to both heart and head.

His streams shall soon flow,

where all things were dry;

hope, life and love grow,

on Christ, let’s rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can release the former things, and anticipate the new in You. Thank You that You are continually leading us into the new in You. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and that You provide all that we need. Thank You that You make the impossible possible by Your strength. Forgive us for focusing on the obstacles, or on the former things that have hurt us or held us back, and help us to look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that we can do all things through You who give us strength. May we move forward faithfully in trust, as we love as You love us. Let those who are looking find a forever faith in You. Be glorified as we trust You in each step of the new You are calling us to. 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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

 

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with My right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

 

God’s word assures us again and again that we need not fear, for He is near. Regardless of our circumstance or what comes against us, our hope is assured when we trust in the Lord. He is our Source of strength, so we needn’t worry whether or not we have what it takes to endure. On our own, we certainly do not; yet in Him, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. Christ carries us, when we are no longer able to walk on our own. Often, He supplies tangible support to help us along the way. His hand is evident all around us, even in the midst of our greatest struggles, if we simply pause and ponder all that He is doing. Even when we cannot see the end in sight, we know the ultimate victory is found in Him. Our future is secured, and our crowning conclusion is all of eternity with Christ. Fear is no longer necessary when we have the certainty of eternity with our Creator. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” – (I Corinthians 15:55)

 

We need not fear,Do Not Dismay

nor be dismayed;

for Christ the Lord,

will be our aid.

He’ll be our strength,

when we are weak;

He’ll hold us up,

to our hearts speak.

His strong right hand,

righteous and true;

is God for us,

seeing us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, as You are with us. Thank You that You are our God, and we are Your children. Thank You that You strengthen and help us in our time of need, and that You hold us up with Your mighty right hand. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the midst of the fight, and help us to be ever aware of Your ongoing presence. May we feel Your strength and help as You are holding us up, and may we give You all the glory. Let our lives be lived as an ongoing act of worship before You, celebrating Your goodness and faithfulness to us as Your children. May many come to know You as their Savior and Lord, as we seek to serve You with our whole lives. Let Your love be evident in everything that we say and do. All honor and glory to You, O God, our Father. Amen.

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

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

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

 

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

 

So often, actions speak louder than words. Many people are only ready and willing to hear what we have to say, after they have witnessed consistently faithful behavior over time. As God is made evident through our ongoing outpouring of self, it is then that people become curious and want to know why. Questions are asked and answers are discovered. Opportunities are created where they had never been before. Additionally, when we are consistent in our faithful walk with the Lord, and our actions are an ongoing reflection of such, people know that if a slanderous statement is made – they see it for what it is – a lie. His truth reigns and we are beyond reproach when we commit our lives to serving Him.

 

Choose to do God’s will,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

our actions be true;

abiding in Christ,

as He makes us new.

Doing what is good,

hushes foolish men;

as the Lord desires,

truth shines forth again.

We pour out our hearts,

generously give;

He lets His light shine,

so more loved ones live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and protecting us and our reputation. Thank You that as we do Your will, You allow our actions to speak on our behalf, silencing those who might speak untruth against us. Thank You too, that You utilize our obedience to open opportunities to share with those who do not yet know You. Forgive us for our inactivity when You have called us to action, and help us to step out faithfully – trusting You to be our strength every step of the way. May we make the most of every opportunity You present us with to share of Your goodness and faithfulness, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we do all things in Your love. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – (1 Peter 1:23, NIV)

 

You have been born again. This new life did not come from something that dies. It came from something that cannot die. You were born again through God’s life-giving message that lasts forever. – (1 Peter 1:23, ERV)

 

When we commit our lives to Christ, it is not a fleeting action, nor based on something that may someday fade away. God remains the same yesterday, today and forever, so our hope is assured and His promises secured, for now and forever more. God with us, is His Holy Spirit that comes to dwell in us when we invite Him in, and remains until we are united with the Lord face-to-face on our final day of drawing breath. As we enter His presence in Heaven, we are assured that our space is secured forever. Imagine an eternity of dwelling in the lavish light of His love, with no more worldly woes…

 

The very moment,Imperishable Truth

a heart invites You in;

You grant us new life,

set free from all our sin.

This life we’re given,

lasts for eternity;

for You cannot die,

and You have set us free.

Your word is alive,

it forever endures;

shows us what is truth,

and our future secures.

Help us to hold fast,

to Your truth that remains;

may we spend our days,

glorifying Your Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have new life in You. Thank You that our new life is based on Your word and Your truth, which endure forever. Thank You that our salvation is not only for now, but for all of eternity. Forgive us for not viewing life through an eternal lens, and for allowing the troubles of this life to overwhelm us. Thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that Your presence and Your promises remain forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when we are unaware of Your presence or of how You are moving in the midst of our mess. May we walk forward in faith, trusting You are who You say You are. Let us love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know new life in You for themselves. Be exalted O God, in all that we say and do. 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

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – (James 5:16)

 

Christ’s death on the cross took away the barrier that required us to go to a priest to confess. However, there are times when we need audible reassurance that we have indeed been forgiven, or perhaps a person present to keep us accountable so that we do not repeat the offense. Still other times, we must make amends with one whom we have offended with our actions. “In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers.” (NIV footnotes, James 5:16) May we go forth keeping short accounts before God and everyone, so that hearts may be healed and our prayers become powerful and effective.

 

We must confess,

all of our sin;Who Do You See

before the Lord,

know peace within.

At times we need,

help of others;

to grasp the grace,

voiced by brothers.

Our healing comes,

when we’ve come clean;

point of release,

as sin is seen.

Those forgiven,

are called righteous;

their prayers are heard,

power, priceless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to come to You directly when we sin. Thank You that we can approach Your throne of grace, no matter what we have done, and know that You love us and will receive us. Thank You too, that You call us to be in community together, and that when we struggle, You provide safe sisters and brothers in You, in whom we can confide to confess and go to for prayer. Thank You that when we are right before You, our prayers by Your Spirit within us, are powerful and effective. Forgive us for bearing burdens that we are not meant to carry, or for not reaching out to those who can help keep us accountable where we may struggle. Help us to invest in relationships that point our hearts heavenward. May we love, encourage and pray for others as You call us to do, and may many come to know the freedom that is only found in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!

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