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You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

Hide me and protect me. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:114, ERV)

Yesterday, I was given news that I did not want to hear. It was information that I needed to know, but nonetheless, not what I wanted. My initial reaction was a flash of fury, followed by the recognition that it is beyond the realm of my control. All that I can do is hide my heart in Christ, and trust the truth that what His word says is true. No, this will not be an easy task, but He is my refuge and my shield. Again and again, Christ has shown me that I can trust Him, as I place my hope in Him, rather than what I see. When all that surrounds us wages war, He is our peace. As calm comes, we can trust that He is the reason that we can rest, as we remember the truth of His word. May we run to Him who is our refuge and our shield, and place all of our hope in Him.

You’re my hiding place,Gods protection
refuge in the storm;
comfort in chaos,
a love always warm.
My hope I will place,
in Your word alone;
in Your truth I trust,
despite the unknown.
For You Lord are good,
despite what life yields;
Your presence enough,
our hope and our shield.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and shield, and that we may place all of our hope in Your word. Thank You that You hide us and protect us, and that we can trust all that You say. Forgive us for our fearfulness and uncertainty in the throes of life’s chaos, and teach us to trust You with a faith that does not waiver, no matter what comes. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know of the safety and security found in Your love alone. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope and trust in You and Your word. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29)

One of the things I have loved about growing up in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to the water.  The repetition and rhythm of the waves rolling into the shore, are among my favorite sounds.  When a storm comes through, there is nothing quite so awe inspiring as the power and force with which the waves crash and the seas churn.  When the wind and waves whip at full force, there is no wisdom in nearing the water’s edge.  Yet Christ in us, is in the eye of every storm, and can choose to simply say, “Be still,” and all that is crashing around us, will have to yield to the mighty hand of God.  Even if the storm that is raging around us is not silenced, He will hush all that is hurling to and fro within us.  May we seek He who calms our storms to a whisper, and can causes the waves to hush within our hearts.  Let us be still and know that He is God.

The mighty waves crash,Waves of Wonder

and the seas, they roar;

yet we’re hidden in,

One who says, “No more.”

What’s raging, brought calm,

stillness to the heart;

that’s tossed to and fro,

His peace won’t depart.

So ask for the calm,

yet receive His grace;

know that He will still,

the most needed space.

God of all comfort,

Creator of peace;

Sustainer of life,

Who grants us release.

Take pause in the storms,

and trust in the One;

Who can with a word,

make all stillness come.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still storms to a whisper and that You hush the waves of raging seas – be it externally in what surrounds us, or within the walls of our own hearts.  Thank You that when we seek You and depend on You, You are faithful to meet us where we are at, and You bring Your peace.  Forgive us for fighting the storms rather than relenting and allowing You to navigate us to safety.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times, no matter what storms may appear on our horizon.  Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, can see how You still the storms.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we are still before You in the calm and in the storms, placing our faith in You to lead us to safe harbor.  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

He has sent me to comfort those who are sad, those in Zion who mourn. I will take away the ashes on their head, and I will give them a crown. I will take away their sadness, and I will give them the oil of happiness. I will take away their sorrow, and I will give them celebration clothes. He sent me to name them ‘Good Trees’ and ‘The Lord’s Wonderful Plant.’ – (Isaiah 61:3, ERV)

 

To provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. – (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

 

Though these were the words of Isaiah to the people of Israel, Jesus quoted these words in Luke as He read to the people in the synagogue. When we receive Jesus personally, His Spirit in us fulfills these promises for us. Only Christ can turn our ashes into something beautiful, and replace our mourning and despair with songs of praise. Despite what we go through, when we have Christ in us, we can be seen as righteous and pillars of strength in Him. His splendor is displayed through His Spirit in us. May we allow the Lord to be our comfort, our crown and our reason to celebrate as we go forth on this new day that He has made. Let His Spirit within us, display His splendor, as we operate in His righteousness in all that we say and do.

 

Our comfort in sorrow,The Reason for Reverence

our glory in grief;

the Lord’s our provision,

and place of relief.

He takes all our ashes,

and gives us a crown;

pours the oil of gladness,

when our hearts are down.

As despair overwhelms,

He comes alongside;

gives us garments of praise,

hope from the inside.

His Spirit within us,

will rise and stand tall;

righteous in His splendor,

a witness to all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort those who mourn. Thank You that You bestow beauty for ashes and give hope in place of despair. Thank You that You give gladness and reason to praise. Thank You that Your Spirit within us rises up, and You call us righteous; allowing Your splendor to be seen through us. Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look to You in our sorrow and grief, and will celebrate You in our seasons of joy. Lead us to love others in such a way, that Your righteousness and splendor may be seen through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer, and go forth in all that we have been given. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – (Psalm 103:2-5, NIV)

 

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sicknesses. He saves us from the grave, and He gives us love and compassion. He gives us plenty of good things. He makes us young again, like an eagle that grows new feathers. – (Psalm 103:2-5, ERV)

 

No matter what our present lot in life, we have reason to praise the Lord. If we have given our life to Him, we are forgiven and set free from eternal death and darkness, and have been welcomed into God’s own fold, as He calls us His own sons and daughters. As His children, we have a blessed inheritance of joy and faithfulness forever, as well as the assurance of where all of our eternity will be spent. He renews us when we are weary, He heals us when we are hurting, and He satisfies the deepest longings of our soul. God is so very good, and worthy of all of our praise. May we rise up and remember all of His benefits, giving Him thanks and praise for who He is both now and forevermore.

 

All praise to the Lord,It is Grace that Saves

may we not forget;

how our God forgives,

all Love’s benefits.

He heals diseases,

rescues us from hell;

gives love and kindness,

in Him, it is well.

Restores the broken,

and Soother of pain;

fulfills our longings,

and cleanses our stains.

When we’ve grown weary,

He comes to renew;

with wings like eagles,

we’re equipped to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us, heal us, redeem us, and crown us with Your love and compassion. Thank You that You satisfy our desires with good things, and You renew us so that we can soar. All praise to You! Forgive us for not giving You proper praise and thanks, as no matter our situation or circumstance, we ALWAYS have reason to give You praise. Teach us to trust You more, so that our focus will be on You and Your benefits, rather than the challenges that surround us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that that too can come to know the benefits beheld in knowing You. May many come to trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are in all that we do. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

 

I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. – (Philippians 3:14, ERV)

 

This analogy is such a clear visual for me, as life is not a short race, but rather one that continues throughout our lifetime. There will be stretches that are flat and smooth, where the conditions are cool and ideal for running; however, there will be other seasons where the weather will be scorching and around every turn, is yet another mountain that we must climb to move in the direction in which we are called to run. Fortunately, our race is not run in vain. Our purpose is to encourage others as they run the race to which they have been called, and to demonstrate perseverance, even when we want to quit. God is our strength and our reason to keep running, and our finish line celebration will be beyond worth all of the trials traversed throughout our race. If we can love God, and love others as we move forward along the path to which we have been called, then we are running our own race well. May we rise up ready to run this day well, knowing that whatever we encounter today, is not the end. Our hope is held in where we finish, not where we rest along the way.

 

For we have been called,Running the Long Road

to press on and run;

keep moving with God,

’til our race is done.

The goal’s not about,

some great earthly gain;

but how we obey,

and lift up His Name.

For a day will come,

when our race is through;

imagine hearing,

“Well done, faithful you!”

If we choose to love,

both God and others;

and do as He asks,

lost will discover.

May we be ready,

each day to run well;

help to the hurting,

in hope, may all dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to run our own race. Thank You that it is not a sprint that You call us to rush through, but a race of endurance, perseverance, and trust. Thank You that You sustain us, even when we think that we cannot possibly run another step in life’s race, and that Your presence remains with us, always. Forgive us for allowing our surroundings to intimidate or overwhelm us, rather than keeping our eyes securely fixed on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what lies before us, we will look to You, rather than our circumstances. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may look to You in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run our race with our eyes fixed on You, knowing that our prize is not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with You. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. 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

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7)

 

To give all of our worry, distress and uneasiness of mind to Christ, is easier said than done. It has a way of sneaking into the sinews of our soul, and creating claws, that grab hold and grip tightly so that we find ourselves tense without even realizing why. In Philippians 4:6, we are instructed as to how to cast our cares on Christ, so that we can actually allow Him to care for us. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. In other words, when worry or uneasiness come, pray – tell God about it. We are not meant to carry the burden by ourselves, but rather we are to make our request known before He who is abundantly able to carry the load that we cannot. Yesterday, in my Pastor’s Intensive class, we were covering some deep and difficult material. One of our instructors had a great bit of advice. She said that when we come to a crossroads where we want an answer to be black and white, but there clearly isn’t one for us to find, we are to hit our knees and worship. God is so much greater than our struggles, that our dependence on Him is what matters most. He cares for us and will meet us in our space of need; however, we must choose to trust.

 

To cast far away,

ishareimage.com

ishareimage.com

anxiety’s hold;

place in the Lord’s hand,

whatever unfolds.

For He’s much greater,

than all that may come;

and He cares for us,

as shown through His Son.

Through all of our days,

with much thanksgiving;

present unto God,

the hope lacking things.

Wherever there’s lack,

our God can come fill;

for He’s so much more,

than trials or ills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast all of our anxiety on You, because You care for us, and You do not want us to stay stuck in that space. Thank You that we can come to You, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and present our requests before You. Thank You that You meet us in that space with Your peace and Your comfort and Your care. Forgive us for allowing fear and anxiousness to reign in silence, rather than calling on You out loud, and allowing You into the darkness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will remember that where Your light shines, darkness cannot be found. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know the peace and presence that are found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we cast all of our anxiety on You, and move forward boldly in all that You have called us to become. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10)

 

God has created each one of us with specific giftings that were designed uniquely for us, to serve others. Who we are, is meant to be an extension of God’s grace in various forms. For some, it is through speaking. Through others, serving. No matter if we are aware of how He has gifted us or not, gifts have been given, just the same. As we reach out to love God and love others, glimpses of those gifts become more clear. What does your heart naturally long to do? Is there a particular area where you seem to continue to end up serving or giving of your time? Perhaps that is the very space that God has given you strength and specific gifts and talents. May we go forth this day, utilizing what we have been given to serve others, and to extend God’s grace to all whom we encounter.

 

Whatever the gifts,

that God’s placed in us;

are meant to be used,

to honor Jesus.

To bless and to serve,

with faith giving grace;

to God’s created,

so they seek His face.

May we all reach out,

and share with others;

all we’ve been given,

God’s grace that covers.

If speaking’s the call,

then speak truth in love;

if serving, then serve,

honor God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely designed with gifts and talents that You have placed in us to benefit the body. Thank You that we each have a role to play that honors You and extends Your grace to others. Forgive us for either neglecting to use the gifts that You have placed in us for Your glory, or for thinking that there is nothing in us that is able to serve or honor You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will embrace the gifts that You have placed in us, and rise up and go forth to use that which You have given to glorify You. Lead us to love and serve others through the gifts that You have given, so that many may come to know the grace that You so generously give for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You in the way that You created us to be. 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

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Have you ever been in a scary space of waiting? That place of uncertainty where desperation is beginning to creep in, and as you cry out to Christ, you cannot help but feel afraid? Currently, I am in a holding pattern that could be quite costly if Christ does not move in a mighty way, and quickly. I know He is far greater than my circumstances, but in my humanity, I cannot help but fight the fear. His presence is very real. I have known Christ in a tangible way since I was quite small. His faithfulness has been shown to me over and over again, throughout my entire life, yet I still find that fear creeps in. This morning, I needed this concrete reminder of Who exactly is in charge. The Lord, my God, will take hold of my hand, and He tells me to not be afraid, and that He will help me. This, this is reassurance. No matter what I see, or what I feel, He is in control. My job is to trust. Sometimes, the hardest part is actually extending my hand to reach for His, for fear that His hand will not be ready to take mine. That being said, He is always there waiting. Never will He leave us, nor forsake us. On Him alone, can we depend. may we reach out our right hand, past the point of fear, and allow the Lord to lead us and help us through our every circumstance.

 

In uncertainty,Compassion in Confrontations

when I am afraid;

I’ll reach out to You,

where all fears must fade.

For You take my hand,

and say, “Do not fear;”

and You are my help,

my hope that stays near.

No matter what’s seen,

Your truth shall remain;

You are far greater,

and make my path plain.

Lead me, Lord Jesus,

no matter what comes;

hold fast to my hand,

let Your will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord, my God, who takes hold of my right hand and tells me to not be afraid, because You will help me. Thank You that You are greater than any circumstance that comes our way, and that You are more than enough. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when trials come our way, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to reach out our right hand with an unwavering faith, knowing that You are already there, waiting to take hold of us and lead us on the path that You have prepared for us to go. Show us how to love others with Your love, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take Your hand and walk forward without fear, trusting You to be our help. Amen.

For a song that brings great reminders of His reassurance: Your Promises by Elevation Worship.

© 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

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NIV)

Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, ERV)

 

We are called to kindness and to treat ALL people with proper respect. It is merely a matter of opening one of the many social media site feeds to see that respect for one another is not exactly what rules the roost of our hearts. We do not all have to share the same set of beliefs to treat one another with kindness. The thing that continually has me perplexed, is how slandering the character or choices of a person or people group could ever bring them to believe what is hoped for? When we walk in love, we are imitating what Jesus did. He did not go around screaming at people about how wrong they were in the ways in which they were living, but rather He came close, met the needs that were before Him, and loved. It was by His love, that people came to see and know the truth.

 

Additionally, we are called to love our fellow believers. Though there may be minute differences in how we worship or gather, we are following the same God, and will be spending eternity together. It would benefit us all to choose love now.

 

To fear and respect God, means that we choose to live our lives according to His will, and not our own. If we surrender to Him, our lives will be forever changed, and it will be apparent to all whom we encounter.

 

Though the United States is not an monarchy, we do have a President and governing body that we elect to office. We do not have to agree with every decision that they make, but we are called, biblically, to honor our leaders. It is not our charge to slander anyone, especially those that God has placed in positions of authority over our nation. If we disagree with what is being done, we have the power to pray, to write insightful and respectful letters, and to get involved in local legislation.

 

May we show proper respect to everyone; love well our fellow believers, fear God, and honor our leaders.

 

The Lord has not called,kindness

us to be unkind;

but to show respect,

to all whom we find.

Let’s love each other,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

let His light shine through.

Fear the mighty Lord,

give respect that’s due;

for He is the One,

that’s making us new.

Honor those in charge,

they rule for reason;

all need our support,

not acts of treason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us this verse lived out. Thank You Jesus, that You modeled how to treat all others with proper respect, even when they were not respectful to You. Thank You that You love well, each one of us. Forgive us for omitting any of these things from how we are living, and show us how we can properly respect everyone, love our sisters and brothers in Christ, fear You, and honor our leaders. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have humble hearts that are willing to listen and obey all that You ask of us. Lead us to love and respect ALL people, no matter how they act toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we show proper respect to ALL people, love one another well, fear You, and honor our leaders. Amen.

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

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

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