The Wonder of Unfailing Love

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 31:21a, NLT)

 

Here I sit this morning, in awe once again, at the wonder of the Lord’s unfailing love for me. He blesses in ways I do not deserve, and holds my heart in His hands. Where hope was growing dim, He has fanned a spark to flame. In spaces where worry was growing a bit weighty, God has provided beyond what I would have asked or imagined. More than that, as my heart heard my own voice speak the truth of all that He has done as I was sharing with a dear friend yesterday, joy and excitement began to rise up and flood my entire being, for all that lies ahead. The Lord has so much more. What we see now is but a glimpse of what is yet to come. Each time we take pause and look around, we become acutely aware of the wonders of His unfailing love, and find reason to give God praise. May we ever praise the Lord for the wonders of His unfailing love that He never ceases to show all who call on His Name.

 

Give praise to the Lord,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For wonders anew;

His unfailing love,

Is faithful and true.

Our God loves to show,

How deep and how wide;

Love for the seeking,

In Him, choose abide.

At times it is more,

Than my heart can hold;

The glory of God,

As His grace unfolds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and lavish us with Your love, not because we deserve it, but rather because we are Yours. Forgive us for not recognizing the wonders of Your love all around us, or not seeking You in our spaces of need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that above all, Your love never fails. Show us how to love with a love like Yours, so others may see the goodness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love, and go forth and do likewise for those around us. 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

Right by Grace

But we know that no one is made right with God by following the law. It is trusting in Jesus Christ that makes a person right with God. So we have put our faith in Jesus Christ, because we wanted to be made right with God. And we are right with Him because we trusted in Christ – not because we followed the law. I can say this because no one can be made right with God by following the law. – (Galatians 2:16, ERV)

 

I am so grateful for God’s grace. Imagine having to abide by a set of rules and regulations to somehow earn our salvation. If that were so, the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf would have been for naught. Sadly, there are those who still believe that they have to do enough, or be enough, to somehow earn God’s favor to gain access to eternity. Instead, Jesus came so that we could come to know and trust Him and be in right relationship with Him, personally, and through our faith move forward to that which we are called. As we know Him, we long to serve Him. It is not a prerequisite, but rather a response to the remarkable redemption that He has granted to all who choose receive what He freely gives. May we go forth in the grace that God grants us, and allow His love to transform us into people who live and love as He has shown us through His Son.

 

Salvation is found,not-defined-by-a-day

Through relationship;

As we receive grace,

We’re cleansed and equipped.

For we cannot earn,

Eternity’s crown;

By following laws,

Ultimate breakdown.

We must trust in Christ,

For He is the One;

Who makes us righteous,

As daughters and sons.

Let us place our faith,

Where all faith is due;

In Jesus our Lord,

Our hope ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not made right before You by following a set of rules and regulations. Thank You that it is through relationship with You, our Redeemer, that we are considered righteous before You – not by anything that we do or do not do, but rather through what You did for us on the cross. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do enough or be enough to somehow be qualified to come to You or serve You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always come as we are and allow You to pick us up, dust us off, and lead us where we are meant to go. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to know the amazing grace that You give to all who call on Your Name in faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our faith in You and trust You to make us right before You. 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

Listen and Abide

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32, NLT)

If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. – (John 8:31-32, VOICE)

 

To be a disciple of Christ requires discipline on our part. It is not merely a confession of faith, but a commitment to action. As people who are fully committed to follow Christ, we need to know His voice and His word. The Lord does not leave us guessing as to how we might come to know more of Him, but rather He has provided His Holy Word, which transcends time, cultures and technology. The truth remains, and the lessons we learn through investing in His word, help us learn and understand how to recognize and hear His voice. Freedom is found in knowing the truth. No more are we bound to the lies that lead us to believe that we must stay in our circumstances or remain as we are, for in Christ, we are made new and He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. May we listen for His voice and abide in His word, so that we may know the truth and discover the freedom that is found in Christ alone.

 

For Jesus made known,Aquiring Armor

To all who believed;

The truth and the light,

By which we’re set free.

It is through hearing,

God’s word and His voice;

The truth is made known,

Wisdom to make choice.

As we choose abide,

In this truth we know;

True freedom is found,

And faith greatly grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, You teach us the truth and set us free from all that hinders us from fully following You. Thank You that discipline is what differentiates a follower from a disciple. Thank You that we can choose to invest and You supply the rest. Forgive us for not listening for Your voice or investing in Your word as often as we should, as You are the One to show us the way that is best in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, allowing us to hear and know what Your will is for us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that illuminates the truth and provides freedom from the weight that wears them down. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen for Your voice and invest time in Your word, so that we may hear and know the truth. Amen.

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

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

Knowing His Nearness

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

 

No matter where we go or what we are facing, we are never alone. When we have invited Christ to be Lord of our lives, He remains present to be our help and our strength. I love that He cares about even the little details. Yesterday, I walked into a situation that I was nervous about; not because it was bad, nor dangerous – just that it was new and unknown, and I was uneasy. He was with me, and postured people appropriately to put my heart at ease. As I left my experience, I found my heart full of gratitude for the grace that I had been given, and the care I had been shown. The Lord is as close as our next breath, and will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful, and I am grateful. May we ever place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord, He is good,Enter With Thanksgiving

He always remains;

My help and my hope,

With strength, He sustains.

I won’t be shaken,

With God by my side;

As He is for me,

In Him, I’ll abide.

Always remember,

In love the Lord reigns;

With our God for us,

No fear can remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, close beside us so that nothing can shake us. Thank You that You are our Defender and our strength. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not forget how much greater You are than anything that may lie before us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see Your faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your nearness, always. 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

To Be of Great Courage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

This is one of my favorite verses, as it is a great reminder to continue to press in and move forward, even if things do not appear to be part of “a path made plain” before me. So often when we are moving in the direction to which we are called, obstacles and opposition come against us. Things that challenge our strength and our courage come at us, causing us to become discouraged and question the direction we are headed. It is essential that we know and trust His will for our lives, and operate in His strength and courage, no matter what comes our way. When trials come, we must choose to trust. As opposition operates against us, we must push back to overcome. Discouragement and fear are not from God, so it is good to remember that those things are not ours to keep. God gives us strength and courage, hope and love – the things we need to keep marching forward in the direction to which we have been called. May we rise up and release fear and discouragement, and lay hold of the strength and courage that God is granting us for every step of every day.

 

Be of great courage,

have strength in the Lord;Bold in Battle

for He’ll be with us,

each step we afford.

We’ve nothing to fear,

with God on our side;

for He’s far greater,

let our hearts abide.

Be not discouraged,

when challenges come;

for our God’s with us,

Great Conquering One.

There’s no depth nor height,

to where we can go;

where God’s not with us,

and His strength shall show.

Be strong and be brave,

do not be afraid;

God will be with you,

each step of each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, in Your great love for us, command us to be strong and courageous – not in our own strength, but in Yours. Thank You that we do not need to be afraid nor discouraged when trials or troubles come, for You remain present with us, no matter what surrounds us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and discouragement that leads us to want to give up or causes us to question the very things that You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stand in the strength and courage that You provide, no matter what we see or feel around us. Show us how to love others with strength and courage too, so that they may see Your presence in us, and desire the same for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we go forth in Your strength and courage to do and become all that You are calling us into. 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

Seek His Spirit to Stand

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Galatians 5:16, NIV)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. – (Galatians 5:16, NLT)

I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. – (Galatians 5:16, CEB)

 

Without the Holy Spirit in us, we do that which we know we ought not do. Our very nature desires to do the things that are in direct conflict of those to which we have been called. Thankfully, Christ came and died for us to take away the sin and shame of our failures of the flesh. More than that, He sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who choose call on His Name to lead and guide us in the way in which we are meant to go. By His Spirit, we can keep from giving in to the desires of the flesh and instead bring honor to Christ through the choices we make with how we conduct ourselves. May we each choose to walk by His Spirit, therefore keeping ourselves away from the selfish desires our flesh longs for, and instead rise up and honor Him in all that we say and do.

 

Within each of us,Refreshment Through Repentance

a battle goes on;

a pull to choose sin,

to walk in the wrong.

Yet by Christ’s Spirit,

we have strength and guide;

to know what is right,

how we’re to abide.

He shows us what’s right,

and grants His power;

to choose right by Him,

no matter the hour.

So seek first the Lord,

and look to His face;

He’ll grant what’s needed,

to walk in His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit to guide our lives so that we are able to withstand the cravings of our sinful nature. Thank You that You lead us and guide us as we choose to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to come before You in all things and at all times, so that we may know Your guidance for every decision that we make. Lead us to love others as You so unreservedly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to the voice of Your Spirit within us to overcome temptation and walk in the way in which we are called. 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

Secure Steps Through Seeking

A person’s steps are made secure by the Lord when they delight in His way. – (Psalm 37:23, CEB)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. – (Psalm 37:23, NLT)

 

God directs and secures our steps when we seek His direction. If our heart is seeking to follow that which He is asking, He will show us where we are meant to go, and what we are to do. The Lord delights in all who set their hearts on pursuing Him. Though there are times that the path we are called to travel seems unstable, He will secure our steps. Christ came so that we could come to know His nearness with every step we take, and learn to trust in His strength rather than our own. May we trust the Lord and delight in His ways, allowing Him to secure our steps.

 

Trust in the seeking,Breaking Free from Barriers

for the Lord is good;

He delights in us,

our heart, understood.

The Lord will direct,

each step that we take;

if we choose listen,

plain our path He’ll make.

Our steps are secure,

as we choose abide;

He delights in all,

who walk by His side.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our steps are made secure when we delight in Your ways. Thank You that You show us the way, when we seek You. Thank You that You care about every detail of our lives, not just the tragedies and triumphs. Forgive us for not seeking You each step of the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be in constant communication with You – about the simple and mundane, and the big and overwhelming. Show us how to love others every step that we take, so that they may see Your heart through ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in Your ways and trust You to secure our every step. 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

Right by Faith

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. – (Romans 3:22, NLT)

God makes people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. He does this for all who believe in Christ. Everyone is the same. – (Romans 3:22, ERV)

 

God made the way for people to be right with Him again when He sent His Son. Jesus came to restore what had been fractured in the garden. As He took all of our sin and shame upon Himself, He covered each of us who chooses to believe by faith, and opened eternity’s door. By faith, we are seen as righteous before God – not for what we have or have not done, but rather because we are His, and we choose to embrace the grace He gives. This glorious grace is not limited to those who have lived a certain way, or abide by a set of predetermined standards to “qualify“. God gives to ALL who seek Him by faith and trust that what He says is true. There is no sinner vs. Saint, but rather, each of us who choose to receive what He offers, have been redeemed by His mercy and grace, and are called His own. May we place our faith in Jesus, and trust in Him; for He is merciful and full of grace, ready to restore what is fractured within us.

 

For God made the way,Being Made New

the way to restore;

all that was broken,

through Him we adore.

When He sent His Son,

He opened the way;

for mercy and grace,

to enter each day.

We need not perform,

nor rise and excel;

He wants us to trust,

that He fends off hell.

It is through our faith,

that we are made right;

our past is the past,

we’re now His delight.

His love runs so deep,

that He chose to give;

His very own Son,

so we all might live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made right before You by placing our faith in Christ. Thank You that this is true for everyone everywhere. Thank You that there are no qualifications of being “good enough” or “doing enough” to somehow earn Your favor. Thank You that it is a matter of trusting You. Forgive us for our lack of faith at times, and help us to completely trust in You. Teach us to place all that we are in Your hands, for You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love others with a love that leads them to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our faith in You, because You are good and loving, and You restore all that is broken within us and make us whole. 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

Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. 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

He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

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