Faithful Answers

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Savior. – (Psalm 65:5a, NLT)

God, You answer our prayers and do what is right. You do amazing things to save us. – (Psalm 65:5a, ERV)

You leave us breathless when Your awesome works answer us by putting everything right. – (Psalm 65:5a, VOICE)

Yesterday morning began in a hurried panic. My boys and I were supposed to be up and out the door by 3:30am to get to the airport by 4:00am for departure for their school music tour to San Francisco. My alarm sounded first at 2:45, and I have a vague recollection of glancing at the screen and rapidly pressing the dismiss option, knowing that there would be a second alarm ten minutes later. At 2:55, as the second alarm debuted, I think I thought I hit snooze, but actually pressed dismiss again. Perhaps the combination of not returning home from football practice until close to ten and staying up until nearly midnight helping the boys finish packing, had pushed me to the point of exhaustion. After what felt like a few minutes, I woke, looked at the clock in a daze, read 4:30, and realized in a panic that we were already thirty minutes late! I ran through the house to wake the boys and hustle them out the door, scrambling to get luggage loaded as I called out a quick checklist for the boys. We rushed out the door and I had them at the airport drop off curb by 5:00am. I gave them specific instructions of where to go to check-in their bags and line up for the security check-through, informing them that I would wait in the cell phone lot, just in case, until I heard that they were checked in, through security, and on their way. Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I received a series of anxious calls from both them and their music director. The boys had missed the bag check-in deadline by two minutes and their director was not allowed to permit them to take a later flight by themselves, due to liability issues, so I had to go pick them back up. Though sleep-deprived and frazzled, my mind was in solution-mode. My first go-to was to call mom as I drove to see if she could look up later flights and if she knew anyone who might have a “buddy pass”. Within five minutes of returning home, I had a call into the principal of their school, a call back from mom with a later flight that had two seats available that she went ahead and booked, (as the airline only charged a minimal fee for the flight change), and I determined that I would go straight to the district office to sign some sort of release of liability paperwork to get my boys where they needed to be. We were in and out of the district office in fifteen minutes, and on our way to the airport where the boys were able to make their flight and then reconnect with their group, having only missed a tour of Alcatraz. All throughout, there were some serious prayers being audibly offered. My boys may or may not have thought I was a bit loony as I prayed aloud for each step we took. However, they were witness to doors opening rapidly, and ways being made, when we had been told by their music director that it was impossible. God is faithful to meet us, even in the seemingly small things. He moves mightily on our behalf and shows us His power where we have none. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to answer our prayers with His awesome deeds.

 

Faithful to answer,

img_20180524_183943_171892720904.jpg

The Lord God, He hears;

He opens the way,

As He is so near.

When all seems but lost,

God’s presence remains;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

He makes our path plain.

So, trust in the Lord,

In faith, call on Him;

His love makes wrongs right,

When invited in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to hear us when we call on You. Thank You for the way that You are faithful to answer, in ways that we would not have imagined. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for trying to navigate difficulties on our own rather than seeking You, our Source and Supply. Teach us to trust You more, as You do amazing things as we call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and give You praise for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

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Beyond Routine – There is Rest

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

 

As an individual who thrives on routine, particularly the one by which I begin each day, it has been a strange few days of breaking that which is customary. For forty-eight hours, I have essentially unplugged. I have not begun the last two mornings with my quiet time, coffee and writing, nor have I even had my phone readily nearby. We had a short window of time to travel to my mom’s home on the other side of the mountains, visit with her, my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews, and catch up with friends who came and camped out in mom’s backyard. It was a time of connecting and rest. No schedules, no agenda, yet the little time we had was packed with laughter, fun, and relaxation. In a place where the evidence of His hand is astounding, I found rest in the peaceful space of being surrounded by loved ones in a place that is a sort of sanctuary for my soul. Though it was not my intention, I am quite certain that it was as God intended, as a brand-new school year is set to begin tomorrow with staff, and on Wednesday with students. The spaces in my soul that felt uneasy and a bit anxious about what this new year may hold, seem to have faded away. My hope is restored and my resolve strengthened, as I prepare for what lies ahead. May we ever embrace the rest the Lord offers, remembering that He knows best how to recharge and restore the spaces within us that require His rest.

 

Wherever He leads, Beyond Routine There is Rest

May my heart choose go;

A break from routine,

For what’s best, God knows.

Sometimes there is rest,

When we choose slow down;

Do as the Lord leads,

It’s where peace is found.

As we are recharged,

Our hope is restored;

All thanks be to God,

Whom our hearts adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that sometimes rest is found in the breaking of routine, even when the routine is good. Thank You that people are Your priority, and when we do the same, we are blessed in ways we might not have expected. Thank You that You provide renewed hope in the spaces of rest. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest in You, however You ask us to rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize the remarkable ways that You grant us new hope as we rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides hope and encourages rest in spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as our souls find rest in You and You fill us with Your hope anew. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Praise in Wonder

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them. – (Isaiah 25:1, NLT)

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

 

God deserves all of our honor and praise, for His faithfulness is perfect, and what He says, He does. The Lord is faithful to fulfill all of His promises, and we can trust that He is true to His word. Sometimes, in the hectic pace of life, we lose sight of all that God has done, and become anxious about what lies ahead. It is both good and necessary to slow down and recognize all that God has done to faithfully fulfill His promises to us. For me, I need only look on the faces of my children to remember the wonderful ways in which He fulfills His word. May all that is within us recognize the wonderful things that He has done, giving our honor and praise to He alone who is worthy of our awe and wonder.

 

Let us choose honor,unseal-my-lips

Give praise to His Name;

May all within us,

Of His love, proclaim.

See all the wonder,

The great things He does;

How He keeps His word,

And oh, how He loves.

All that He has planned,

The Lord shall fulfill;

We can always trust,

What He says, He will.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do such wonderful things. Thank You that the things that You planned long ago, You fulfill. Thank You that You are always faithful. Thank You that You are my God and I can honor and praise You. Forgive us for not recognizing the wonderful things that You have done in us, through us and around us. Teach us to take pause and look around, so that we would both remember and recognize all of the places where You have stepped in and shown Your faithfulness to us. Help us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way, so that they might come to see the light of Your love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we exalt You and praise Your Name for who You are and the wonderful things that You have done. Amen.

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

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

Trust for Today

So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. – (Matthew 6:34, TLB)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – (Matthew 6:34, MSG)

 

It is fairly easy to become anxious about what is yet to come when we look too far forward. Rather than fixing our eyes on that which is right before us, we get caught up in the world of “what ifs“. If we are truly trusting God, we begin to focus on that which is in the here and now, living in the moment, rather than getting worked up and worried about that which is yet to come. Yes, God wants us to use wisdom and seek Him for next steps, but we are not meant to be so focused on the future that we forget about today. Each new day God has a plan and a purpose for us. When we live in the here and now, we recognize the remarkable all around us, and are better able to turn in trust to our Provider for what is needed. The Lord holds our future in the palm of His hands. We need not worry about what lies ahead, for the very same God who walks beside us today, will be with us tomorrow, next week, next year and forever. May we let go of worry about tomorrow, and instead live in the fullness of each new day that we are granted.

 

Do not be anxious,hope-overflowing

For the days ahead;

Instead live each day,

As by God, we’re led.

For just as today,

His presence is here;

No matter what comes,

He will remain near.

So choose worry not,

Beyond this new day;

For Christ’s help and hope,

Is promised to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about tomorrow, as You who carry us through today, will remain with us to be our help and hope through all of our tomorrows as well. Forgive us for fixing our eyes too far forward, rather than living in the moments as You provide them. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let go of worry about what may or may not happen in the days, weeks, and years to come, and instead trust You for each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps ease anxiety and offers peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we let go of worry about the future, and trust You for today and all of the days ahead. Amen.

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

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

Meditate on His Mighty Deeds

I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. – (Psalm 77:12, NIV)

I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. – (Psalm 77:12, MSG)

 

Right now, I find myself in a strange sort of holding pattern. God has brought me through a long, stormy season, into a space that feels settled and secure. That being said, there is a sense of unrest in the wait for what is next. Settled is never really settled, but rather a season of preparation for what is yet to come. It does not mean another storm is brewing, but there is an anticipation of change on the horizon. Some of the change to come is known, yet there is much that is not. This is a space where I have a choice to either fret about the future, or look back at the faithfulness of God thus far, and trust Him in all that is yet to come. David, despite the struggle he was dealing with as he wrote Psalm 77, chose to remember the things that the Lord had done already, and look at the love with which God had operated thus far. It is no different for us today. The very same God who was faithful to fulfill His promises to David, is true to His word for us. We can ponder that which He has done, and meditate on His mighty deeds. The Lord is faithful, and we can trust Him to lead us where we are meant to go, and to be present each step that we take. May we remember all that He has accomplished in us, through us and around us, so that we will trust Him for all that lies ahead.

 

I will consider,Refreshment Through Repentance

All that You have done;

For You’ve been faithful,

God, Most Holy One.

When I am anxious,

Or I feel afraid;

I must remember,

To trust You, always.

In every storm,

You have remained near;

My strength and shelter,

Voice of hope made clear.

Help me remember,

O Lord, that You’re near;

In times of waiting,

Help my heart to hear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that we can trust in You. Thank You that when we are afraid or uncertain, we can look back on all that You have done in our lives, and know that You are who You say You are. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look forward in faith, with the memories of Your former faithfulness fueling our fortitude in knowing that You will be faithful for what lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might build up and encourage, just as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder all that You have accomplished, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. 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

Joy in the Struggles

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. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

 

I can’t claim that I rejoice or am actually happy when trials or troubles come my way, but I am finding more and more, that I discover myself less anxious and more dependent upon the Lord when difficulty knocks on my door. Each trial that is successfully traversed, grows my confidence and endurance in He who is my strength. As new mountains are climbed and valleys navigated, I discover strength that I did not know was possible, through Christ. May we each hold fast to the hope that is held in He who is our strength, and trust that He will provide all that we need to overcome trials and troubles as they come our way.

 

Come let us rejoice,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No matter what comes;

Not for the battle,

But in Whom it’s won.

For all that we face,

Will grow within us;

Strength and endurance,

Deep trust in Jesus.

The more that we trust,

The more we shall know;

The grace of the Lord,

Will rise as it grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can rejoice in who You are, and how You provide, when trials and troubles come our way. Thank You that our struggles produce endurance and strength of character within us, growing our hope in all that You have promised. Forgive us for our lack of trust and lack of faith, as we struggle to trust what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, as You alone are our Source and our Strength. Show us how to love others so that they see the hope that is held in You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see the good that comes from our struggles, and trust You to be our hope and our help in the midst of them. 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

Stop Running

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As someone who tends to stick to the merry-go-round emotionally, the highs and lows, twists and turns, have left me exhausted. The reason I never really get off the merry-go-round is because when something is weighty emotionally, I have always been able to pound it out on the pavement or press it out while lifting heavy.

For the last five weeks, I have had no such outlet. Having sustained a compression fracture in my low back, I was quite limited in the activities I was allowed to do. Walking daily and lifting light weights with my arms only, was not doing the job that my previous go-to activities had done. The unresolved emotional weight I was carrying had completely worn me down, and I began to anxiously anticipate my check back appointment with the specialist. I had placed so much hope in being healed enough for him to release me to run, that I could not even consider an alternative.

My appointment on Thursday was not all that I had hoped it would be. Better than it could have been, but not the “skies have parted” sort of report that I was hoping to receive. I was granted permission to run short distances, if I promised to listen to my body, and stop if my back began to hurt at all. Short distances are better than what I had been able to run for the five weeks prior, so I took the news straight-faced and was on my way. He did imply that running in my upcoming race in June was really not going to happen, but I just smiled and let him know I was more concerned about the one that was coming in July…

I happened to meet with a friend to walk after my appointment with the specialist, and she really challenged my thinking. She asked if I had any idea what God might be trying to speak to me during this time, as He uses these things for good, and the injury really didn’t make sense in the first place. As I paused for but a moment, the answer flooded my mind. I had to lose running physically, to recognize that I needed to stop running emotionally. Why, oh why am I so thick-headed that extreme measures are necessary to get my attention?

Thankfully, my story does take a turn for the better. It seems that as soon as I said, “Yes, Lord, I am willing,” the release came. I submitted spaces that I had been holding, and am determined to allow Him access where it has so long been denied.

Yesterday evening was the first opportunity to test running on the road. My long-time running bestie and I met to go for the maiden voyage. Because she is a nurse, I knew I would get away with NOTHING if it hurt. I prayed that it would not, yet had to be ready in my heart to accept waiting longer if it did. We set out on a modified course of one that we have run many times before. Each stride I took, I was acutely aware of what was going on with my body. Muscles that had been dormant for five weeks, reactivated. My heart seemed to skip a beat, as I realized that though I was aware of muscles being activated in my back, there was no pain at the injury site, and I was all clear! We successfully completed a short run, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. I know there is still healing that has to happen, but I am encouraged that a bit of what was lost has been regained.

With every step on this road to recovery, I have had to stop and place my trust in Him. I have been reminded anew of just how true the following verse is for me:

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

May we all take time to give our worries to Him, as He cares for us, individually. His love is greater than any that we have ever known, and He uses every circumstance to draw us closer to Him.

 

In sickness and health,Stop Running

For better or worse;

The Lord’s love is great,

Despite what’s deserved.

If we will take time,

To call on His Name;

The depth of His grace,

Is made for us, plain.

Lord, help us to choose,

To always trust You;

No matter what comes,

For You’ll see us through.

Thank You for the gifts,

That You choose to give;

My hope is in You,

By faith help me live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and give our worries to You, and You love us back to life. Thank You that when we slow down and listen, You speak to us – intentionally and specifically, so that we may grow ever closer to You. Forgive us for running when we are meant to sit still, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be silent before You, so that You can speak to our hearts the things that You desire for us to hear. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see You through our kindness and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You, and go forth in the grace that You give. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Come Boldly

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find the grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

 

Today is certainly a day to come boldly before His throne. This is the last school day before we begin spring break, and the weather is again, expected to exceed seventy degrees. The level of crazy among middle schoolers is at an all-time high, and the amount of mercy and grace needed by this weary teacher, is tangible. It has been the longest week that I have had in a very long time, as our gymnastics season just came to an end, and there has been something every evening this week. All of the busy has been good, just a bit exhausting. His grace has covered me in extraordinary ways already, as I have been migraine-free this week, despite a serious lack of sleep. This, in and of itself, is a remarkable gift of grace. Kids are weary as well. Some are eager for the plans that their families have made in the coming week, yet others, are anxious at the uncertainty of where they will be obtaining meals, concerned about how they will be treated, or overwhelmed by the weight of responsibilities that they will be expected to bear. The kindness, mercy and grace that He gives, is the very same gift that needs to be passed on to these kids in their spaces of uncertainty. May we each seek the Lord and His mercy and grace, and then go forth and extend the same to all others who share our space.

 

Let us boldly come,Come Boldly

to His throne of grace;

where mercy’s received,

as we seek His face.

The grace that He gives,

is more than enough;

our help in our need,

strength when times are tough.

And as we depend,

on our great High Priest;

we too offer grace,

as agents of peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Your Son, we can boldly approach Your throne and receive mercy and grace when we need it most. Thank You that You give us what we need, and are our help and our strength. Forgive us for attempting to power through things on our own, or for not trusting You to be enough to see us through our space of need. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to rely on You to be our strength and supply, so that we too, may go forth and extend Your grace and mercy to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and honor You in our seeking and extending of the truth. 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

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by You. 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

The Gift of Peace

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – (John 14:27, NLT)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV)

 

God sent His Son to us so that we might know what we had never known before. His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, comes and dwells in our hearts when we make our heart His home. His presence – His mercy, grace and love that lead to peace of mind and heart, are the greatest gifts we’ve ever been granted. We’ve done nothing to deserve them, yet He gave anyway. When we choose Him, we have His peace to navigate every situation and circumstance, knowing that He is our strength and our fortress, so we need not be troubled nor afraid. Though in our broken humanity we do become fearful or anxious at times, we have the Source of all peace dwelling within us, and need only slow down to recognize that He is as near as our next breath. May we set aside our troubles and fears, and embrace the most glorious gift of peace that we have been given as we celebrate this treasured Christmas season.

 

A gift we’re given,

for both heart and mind;ç€À

God’s sweet treasured peace,

in Christ we shall find.

There’s no other place,

where such peace is found;

there’s nothing on Earth,

as sweet and as sound.

May peace overflow,

throughout this season;

as we celebrate,

in truth and reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son – our perfect gift of peace of mind and heart. Thank You Jesus, that You give in a way that the world cannot, and that in You, we need not be troubled nor afraid. Forgive us for our fearfulness and angst and for not trusting in You to be our Source of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will know Your peace, no matter what comes our way, and not allow our circumstances to dictate whether or not we have Your peace. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the perfect gift of Your peace, and share it with all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

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