Searched, Known and Loved

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV)

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. – (Psalm 139:1, TLB)

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE)

 

The very One who created us knows everything about us and loves us for who we are. Though we are broken and flawed, He loves. As we seek Him, we find Him. Once we choose to invite Him to be in charge, He will not leave us nor forsake us. There is much comfort and reverence in knowing the overwhelming, never-ending, all-encompassing depth of His love for us in spite of ourselves. May we ever give praise to the Ancient of Days, as He knows us and loves us far better than anyone else ever will.

 

God, our Creator, Searched and Known

Has searched us and knows;

What dwells in our hearts,

When we come and go.

Though dark and broken,

His love still remains;

He brings light and love,

And washes the stains.

So, ever seek God,

He knows our hearts best;

In His love and grace,

We come to know rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have searched us and know us and love us anyway. Thank You that You do not place qualifications on Your love. Forgive us for the things within us that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You access to all. Show us how to allow Your light into the dark spaces and give grace room to move where it is needed most. Help us to love those around us the way that blesses and encourages them and helps them to feel known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for knowing us and loving us as we are, and for refining us to become more of who You are calling us to become. 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

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Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. 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

The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. 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

Words and Thoughts Matter

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

Our words and thoughts matter to God. The things that come out of our mouths provide evidence of that which lies within our hearts. There are days that feel better than others in this arena. It is a choice to either allow our circumstances to dictate how we respond, or rather, we choose to react in a spirit of love, regardless of what we are given. God is gracious and kind, and He will guard our hearts and make us new, even in the way in which we respond with words, if we are willing to allow Him access. May we ever seek the Lord and meditate on His word, so that our words and thoughts may be pleasing before God.

 

 

May all that I say, Words and Thoughts Matter

And each thought I hold;

Be pleasing to God,

As His love is shown.

For I long to please,

My God, who’s my Rock;

Not just with thinking,

But also with talk.

Let what’s in my heart,

Reflect Your love true;

As You grant Your grace,

Ever make me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that when we choose to fix our minds and hearts on You and Your word, that which comes out of us is a clearer reflection of You and Your love. Forgive us for not investing our hearts and minds in the things of You, or for ignoring Your still small voice that reminds us to silence the thoughts and words that enter in that are not pleasing in Your sight. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would set our hearts and minds on that which builds others up, regardless of what comes our way. Show us how to love others well, so that Your love may be evident in our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our minds and hearts on You, so that our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Weighing Words

Fools believe every word they hear, but wise people think carefully about everything. – (Proverbs 14:15, ERV)

The gullible believe anything they are told, but clever people know to question every step. – (Proverbs 14:15, VOICE)

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. – (Proverbs 14:15, NLT)

 

As an educator, I have had to teach middle schoolers to question their sources of information for years. With access to so much at their fingertips, it is imperative that they learn to identify what sort of source is credible, and that which is not. The same holds true in our own lives. What we once trusted as reliable, now has the capacity to be called into question. However, there is one Source that has not, does not, and will not change. No matter what is going on in the world around is, our anchor of truth is found in Christ. When we place our trust and hope in Him, He grants us clarity and wisdom that weighs what is going on in the world, next to the truth of His word. May we listen cautiously to what is being spoken, and carefully consider each step, based on the truth of God’s word, and the voice of His Spirit to our hearts.

 

Do not lack wisdom,Constructive Permission

Nor choose play the fool;

Instead, opt listen,

Weigh against God’s rule.

The wisest choose think,

On everything;

Questioning each step,

Seek God on all things.

Don’t believe all words,

Spoken that we hear;

Consider what’s said,

And to God, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us warning to not believe every word we hear, but rather to weigh what is spoken carefully. Thank You that we are not left to our own devices to simply figure it out, but rather You are beside us, willing to speak truth to our hearts and help us to know the truth. Forgive us for not weighing words that are spoken, or for being quick to believe whatever we hear. Teach us to trust and rely on You first, rather than whatever source of information spews stories our direction. Show us how to filter everything through Your lens. Help us to love others as You so completely and lavishly love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we weigh the words spoken into our lives, and likewise choose our own words well. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

When We Need Wisdom

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – (James 1:5, NLT)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

 

In this day and age, we can access information just about anywhere. However, there is a vast difference between information and wisdom. It requires wisdom, which is the knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with just judgment as to action (dictionary.com), to know what we are meant to do with the information we gather. True wisdom comes from God, as He is good and just and truth. When we seek Him, He is generous to grant us insight and discernment, so that we can do right by Him. As we find ourselves in spaces of needing to know what is right and true, or what exactly we are meant to do, may we seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom each step of the way.

 

Our God is so good,Refreshment Through Repentance

Generous and kind;

Whatever we need,

When we seek, we find.

Knowledge of the truth,

The way we should go;

What’s true and what’s right,

Things God’s wisdom shows.

We need only ask,

And our God supplies;

Without holding back,

Wisdom realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we need wisdom, we need only ask of You, and You generously give. Thank You that You will not make us feel less than for asking, but instead You lovingly give. Forgive us for attempting to act on our own insight, rather than seeking Your wisdom in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and ask You for insight and discernment in all situations and circumstances, as Your wisdom is the way to light and life. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models what is true, right and just. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for the wisdom we need to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. 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

 

As Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I love the imagery of this verse. Being such a visual learner, this paints a clear picture for me, the need and purpose in having close and trusted friends in our lives. In order for iron to sharpen iron, it has to be in close proximity. The same is true with friends. We cannot know one another’s struggles, needs nor triumphs, if we are not near. Second, there is a rubbing or a sort of friction that must occur for the places that have become dull to grow sharp again. It is not so different with people. We have to be willing to allow one another access to the spots in our hearts, minds and lives that have grown dull, so that they may challenge us to move forward or retreat in the spaces that will help bring clarity and sharpness so that we can be all that we have been created to be. We need people to walk beside us who are willing to challenge, encourage, and remain near. May we each be iron that sharpens those around us, and willing to allow others access to do the same for us.

 

That which can sharpen,MSH35

Iron is itself;

The same element,

Is what sharpens well.

It’s in the same way,

That people stay true;

One to another,

Side by side made new.

For our character,

Can best be refined;

By those allowed near,

And with truth aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friendships. Thank You that You use our trusted friendships to sharpen one another to more clearly reflect Your character and heart within us. Forgive us for not allowing others near when we need it most, and teach us to trust You more, as You place people in our lives with purpose. Show us whom we are to trust and allow near, and help us to encourage and sharpen those around us in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen one another to more clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Is there any task or chore that you despise? For me, I am not a fan of housework. There are a million things that I would rather do, outdoors, than be stuck inside cleaning. The worst part for me, is when I set my intentions to get after it and get the job done, I might begin strong, but often become distracted by something that I find, and end up not finishing what I began.

It is the same with sin. We know which way is right and determine in our hearts that we will follow what is good before God, and then end up doing the very things we wanted to avoid. Our inability to navigate without sin reminds us of how desperately we are in need of a Savior. His word, His laws – are all for our benefit to identify the right way and to know the way we’re meant to walk. Without His Spirit dwelling within us, there would be no way to consistently follow His commands. By His grace, we are forgiven when we fall, and in His strength, we can choose what is right.

 

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. – (Romans 7:15-16, MSG)

 

Paul was well aware of his own short-comings. He recognized the pull of his own broken humanity to lead him away from that which he knew he was meant to do. It was through his recognition of his own need, that he became dedicated to dependence on Christ. We too are in need of Christ to lead us in the way we are meant to go. Without Him, we continue to do the very things we despise. May we embrace the grace that God gives through the gift of His Son, and allow Him access to lead us on the path we are meant to travel.

 

When I long to go,The Direction of Discipline

The way of the Lord;

Do what He deems right,

I try, but then fold.

For the sinfulness,

That dwells deep within;

Will rise up and rule,

When not seeking Him.

The way God commands,

Is not to bring harm;

But rather to save,

To righteously arm.

By God’s saving grace,

We’re able to do;

What He asks of us,

By His strength, ensue.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our battle with our own sinfulness, You come near and love us to life. Thank You that by Your grace, we are forgiven and set free to do what is right before You. Forgive us for attempting to do things our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue You in all that we do, and walk upright before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and grace, so that they might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, so that we might do that which You are calling us into. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Sore

When muscles are reactivated that have not been utilized in a while, the morning after tends to be a bit sore. This applies both physically and emotionally. The very tangible and real version of this is the physical for me this morning, as yesterday morning I actually ran up sets of stairs at a local high school stadium. I’d hoped that a short run in the afternoon would help prevent this sort of soreness this morning, but too much time had passed and the muscles were already taxed. I have experienced this emotionally as well. After allowing myself to actually sit and experience, process or be present in whatever I was meant to face, I would discover that the next day I felt the same sort of weariness within my heart.

Our minds, bodies and hearts are meant to be utilized in the unique way that God designed them. For some, that includes strenuous exercise often, whereas with others, it is simply to move each day. However, with our minds and hearts, we are all meant to pursue Him with all that we are, and be willing to allow Him access to all. For me, the access portion is the hardest part, as it requires vulnerability and a willingness to face the difficult. I know for some, the physical is far more taxing; for others, the investing of the mind. Each of us are designed with different strengths, yet we are all called to continue to pursue Christ, even in our areas of weakness.

 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)

 

Though we will become weary and sore, He calls us to keep moving towards Him. The more we move our hearts, bodies and minds, the stronger they become and the less frequent the episodes of fatigue. The Lord sustains and renews all who hope in Him. May we choose to persevere in our pursuit of Christ, as He answers all who call on His Name.

 

When we do the things,Sore

We’ve not often done;

Weariness invades,

Leaving us undone.

The Lord’s ever near,

Ready to supply;

Strength to the weary,

Hope that helps us fly.

When our feet stumble,

The Lord takes our hand;

Shows us solid ground,

Where it’s safe to land.

Let not the weary,

The fear of the sore;

Keep hearts from pursuit,

Of all of God’s more.

With body and mind,

And with our hearts too;

Let us keep seeking,

The Lord and His truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may become sore, weary and tired when we seek to use that which You’ve given us in ways that we haven’t in a while, You meet us where we are and show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that the more often we utilize that which we have been given, the less often soreness from inactivity seeps in. Forgive us for not utilizing our bodies, minds and hearts in the ways in which You have designed them for us, individually. Teach us to trust You more, allowing You access in all areas, so that we would grow ever closer to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too would see the strength that You provide and the loving kindness You give to all those who choose abide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are unto You, and trust You to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19