Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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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Do Not Withhold Good

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

 

If our eyes are open to truly see, we can perceive plainly that the need for good to be given is everywhere. Too often, it can become overwhelming if we look to see the lack and take it upon ourselves to somehow “fix” things. Instead, we ought to be ever alert to that which we can do to bless those around us. Often, it is a kind and encouraging word, a simple gesture of holding a door or extending a smile that makes all the difference in the direction a day is going for another. Yes, there are far greater needs, but we are called to do what we can do whenever and wherever we are able. When we consider our words and actions are representation of Jesus to the world, how we maneuver matters most. Are we intentional in the words we choose and generous and kind in our actions? May we look to the Lord as our example of how to give good to those who need it and go forth in the light of His lavish love.

 

Do not withhold good, wp-15187855050751138593129.jpg

For we are each called;

To do what we can,

To love one and all.

For those who need help,

Let us choose rise up;

Extend hands of grace,

Choose fill empty cups.

Each time we reach out,

And choose to love well;

We represent God,

Of His grace we tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not withhold good from us. Thank You that You call us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us as we go forth and do good. Forgive us for withholding that which You have freely given and teach us to trust You more so that we will do everything that we can to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to help where help is needed so that Your love is made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we possibly can to help those around us, just as we are helped by You. 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

Saving Strength

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NLT)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

 

Going to Minnesota with my fiancée was an incredible blessing, as I was able to meet so many of his extended family members, hear stories of his life growing up, and see the places that were significant in his formative years. The challenging part of an escape such as that, is the responsibility that waits upon one’s return home. Throughout my entire flight back, I was grading papers that students had spent last week finishing up or rewriting. Upon arriving home, there was little time for much visiting, but rather I had to get right back to grading and entering scores, as semester grades were due by midnight. Though my body had adapted to Minnesota time, I was incredibly enabled to stay alert until the last grade was entered and posted. Today is an equally hectic day, as a new semester begins, it is the first day of gymnastics, and I have football practice this evening. I will trust in Him to be my strength and song, as He provides what I need as it is needed most. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and song, as He is our God and worthy of all of our praise.

 

The Lord is my strength,

Strong Heart

My joy and my song;

He grants victory,

To continue on.

For He is my God,

Whom I’ll ever praise;

For goodness and grace,

He gives all my days.

On days I’m weary,

He’s still faithful true;

He fills me again,

With strength, makes me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my song. Thank You that You give us all that we need to navigate each new day as we depend on You. Thank You that though things seem impossible or overwhelming in our own strength, in You, we can do far more. Forgive us for attempting to power through when things pile up, and teach us to turn to You in trust for strength. Show us how to lovingly walk beside others who are heavy burdened too, so that they may find new strength and hope and joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our song, and praise You for Your faithfulness, always. 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

Run With Purpose

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, ERV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, MSG)

 

Why a verse about running? Running is in the forefront of my mind. Tomorrow I leave to head north for my fourth Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a twelve-person, 200 mile relay, that begins early Friday morning, and ends sometime on Saturday afternoon as the final team crosses the finish line. Hundreds of teams participate, and there is an incredibly supportive and festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Each member runs three separate legs, varying in length, depending on experience, preference and physical condition. As a repeat Ragnarian and an avid fitness fanatic, I will be running leg eleven, which is one of the longest and most grueling legs, for which I earn a bonus medal. The thing I love about running is that it is a reminder of our spiritual life. If we are consistent in our training, (time in the word, time on the road/gym) we are prepared for obstacles that come our way. Though the uphills and battles may be unpleasant, when we are trained, we are able to fight through them and dig deep and lean into Him. May we ever run our race with purpose, every step we take. Each moment matters, as He has a plan and a purpose for all of His created.

 

Each one of us called,Run With Purpose

With purpose to run;

Towards the call given,

’til our days are done.

We’re meant to stay sharp,

To train, be alert;

Ever at ready,

To do the Lord’s work.

May we choose be fit,

Trained up in His word;

With strength and resolve,

To do as we’ve heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of running. Thank You for the parallels that You show me as I go. Thank You that training is essential in all things, and that is our reminder of how critical it is to spend time with You. Forgive us for attempting to run without purpose, or going out without being equipped with the time we need with You. Teach us to invest our time where it matters most, so that our hearts, minds and bodies are best prepared for whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see and know Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the strength that You give our bodies, and give You praise for the great things that You will do. 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

Even in the Small Things

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Robed in Righteousness

As followers of Christ, our charge is to always be prepared. “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” – (Revelation 16:15) Upon reading this verse, the first thing that came to mind was another verse in Isaiah that is more specific about what being clothed actually means. I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. – (Isaiah 61:10)

 

The point of the verse in Revelation is that we are to be ever prepared. We must not take our salvation for granted, nor grow weary in our walk with Him. Our delight ought to be in Him, and our response should be full of rejoicing. He has clothed us in salvation and robed us in His righteousness. In Him, we shall not be ashamed. Let our lives be lived ever prepared and always grateful, for He is so very good!

 

May our delight,Intentional Retreat

be found in the Lord;

our souls rejoice,

at grace He affords.

For we are clothed,

in His righteousness;

saved by mercy,

endless faithfulness.

Ever alert,

aware He is near;

always prepared,

protected from fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You will return at an unknown time, we need not fear if we are invested in a relationship with You. Thank You that You clothe us in salvation and robe us with Your righteousness; not because of anything that we have done, but because of what You did for us on the cross. Thank You Jesus, for loving us with Your life. Thank You for conquering death and sending Your Spirit to dwell in us to lead and guide us in the wait. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our inability to listen at times, and help us to trust You more, so that we will give all unto You. Lead us to listen and obey in all things and at all times. May we love others well, just as You love each of us, and may many come to know You personally, as a result. Be exalted O God, as we remember that we are robed in Your righteousness, and operate our lives accordingly. 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

Unto Him

Unto HimHumble ourselves,

under the Lord’s hand;

He’ll lift us up,

at the time He’s planned.

Cast all our cares,

anxiousness to Him;

His care covers,

when all seems grim.

Be self-controlled,

forever alert;

foe of our soul,

wants us to get hurt.

Resist his lies,

stand firm in the faith;

we’re not alone,

in needing His grace.

Our Father, God,

who is full of grace;

calls us to Him,

and fuels our faith.

Though there is pain,

it’s just for a while;

we’ll be restored,

embraced as His child.

(Responding to I Peter 5:6-11)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though there is pain and suffering in this life, it is but a moment when compared to the eternal glory that is yet to come. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to weather life’s storms, and You grant us the grace to keep seeking Your face. Forgive us for allowing the cares of this world to overwhelm us, and please help us to pass all of our burdens to You. May we walk in the weight of Your grace, and may our lives extend the very same goodness and grace we are given, to all whom we encounter. May many come to know You, as we convey the covering You have provided through Christ. Amen.

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

Be Adorned in Armor

image by Share Faith

image by Share Faith

Be strong in the Lord,

and stand in His might;

put on full armor,

be ready to fight.

For our fight’s not seen,

flesh and blood it’s not;

spiritual battle,

all hell’s ugly lot.

On with the armor,

that God does provide;

faithful protection,

to take all in stride.

Fasten the belt of truth,

safe around the waist;

let no lie enter,

nor bring on disgrace.

Breastplate that’s righteous,

secure over heart;

protects emotions,

from hell’s fiery darts.

Feet fitted, ready,

with gospel of peace,

to share with others,

and offer release.

Hold onto the shield,

for by faith we’re strong;

extinguishing flames,

intended for wrong.

Place on the helmet,

of your salvation;

protector of mind,

brings revelation.

Sword of the Spirit,

it’s the word of God;

for by it we’ll know,

where to safely trod.

Be ever alert,

and be quick to pray;

for self and others,

in love, don’t delay.

(Responding to Ephesians 6:10-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our defense against all that comes against us.  Help us to remember that despite what we see around us, the real battle is beyond what we can see, and is raging in the spiritual realm.  Forgive us for forgetting not only that there is an enemy of our soul, but that You are the Savior of all.  Teach us to arm ourselves with Your spiritual armor each day, so that we may go forth equipped to seek and serve You, undeterred.  May our faithful obedience and seeming resilience, supplied by Your strength, lead those who need to know You, into a lasting relationship with You, our Redeemer.  Amen.

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