Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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Wisdom from Heaven

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It is whole-hearted and straightforward and sincere. – (James 3:17, TLB)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

The pursuit of Godly wisdom is a lovely and lofty goal. The wisdom that comes from Him is pure, peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, considerate, teachable, easy to please, whole-hearted, straightforward, sincere, ready to help and do good for others, fair, honest, and does not show favoritism as it is filled with love. This is the target that my heart is forever aiming for, yet there are times that my words or deeds miss the mark. Sometimes I default to sarcasm as a coping mechanism, and my response, though not intended to harm, is not necessarily helping anyone either. Additionally, there are times when we get in such a hurry that making the time for a straightforward discussion or a pause to help someone where we know there is a clear need, seems too much to stack atop our already overscheduled day. May we ever seek the wisdom that comes from God, so that we operate in a way that is pure and full of quiet gentleness. Let us be peace-loving and courteous, allowing discussion; be merciful and extend good, as we choose to invest our whole hearts into all that we do, sincerely pursuing to walk in the wisdom of His way.

 

The wisdom of God, Wisdom from Heaven

What I long to seek;

It’s full of mercy,

And lifts when we’re weak.

Ever peace-loving,

And easy to please;

Straight-forward, sincere,

He hears and He sees.

Ready to give help,

Wisdom chooses good;

Without favorites,

Grace is understood.

Make me teachable,

Considerate, kind;

Fair, loving, honest,

With others in mind.

Let my heart be pure,

With wisdom above;

Quiet gentleness,

That blesses with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Godly wisdom is about demonstrating Your goodness in a tangible way. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered far from wisdom to attempt to walk on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the wisdom of Your ways to extend the things which You call us to do. Show us how to love others well so that we are pure, peace-loving, gentle, kind, merciful, sincere, fair, honest, teachable, considerate, full of mercy, ready to do good, full of love and without favorites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek to grow in Your wisdom and walk it out all of our days. Amen.

 

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Kindness, Help and Love

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. – (Psalm 69:16, NLT) 

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV) 

Oh, Lord God, answer my prayers! I need to see Your tender kindness, Your grace, Your compassion, and Your constant love. – (Psalm 69:16, TPT) 

 

The love of the Lord never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, He provides answers that we don’t even realize our hearts are asking. His help, kindness and love are often made evident through those whom He places in our lives. Yesterday afternoon, I was sore and tired by the time I arrived home from work. Incredibly, my fiancé had arrived to my home before me and greeted me with tender kindness and compassion. God’s unfailing love and care for me was made tangible through the ways in which my Viking tended to me. He walked beside me, stepped behind me if the path was a bit sketchy (to catch me if I were to take a tumble), opened every door, made certain I was seated comfortably in each place we went, and showered me with kindness and compassion. Additionally, I received messages from a friend who is like family and a teammate whom I greatly respect and admire. God sees and He knows what our hearts need the most and in His tender kindness and constant love, He provides. May we ever seek Him for the answers we need, and with open arms, receive the goodness of His faithful love that He provides. 

 

The God of all grace, 

dsc044281720436005.jpg

My Viking ❤ -Photo:Open Door Photography

Through unfailing love; 

Shows His care for us, 

As mercies rise up. 

He provides His help, 

While compassion’s seen; 

As we receive grace, 

We learn what love means. 

He’s faithful to hear, 

Each time that we pray; 

His unfailing love, 

Will make clear a way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You take care of us and that Your mercy knows no end. Thank You for Your great kindness and help when we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles and frustrations. Help us to trust You more, as You hear us and answer, no matter the size of our need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your tender kindness, grace, compassion and constant love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and the wonderful ways that You make Your kindness and compassion tangible through those around us. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Remain in His Love

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16b, NLT) 

God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. – (1 John 4:16b, CEB) 

God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16b, VOICE) 

 

God is the Author and Creator of love, as He is Himself, love. In order for any of us to truly lead a life that exhibits love as we were created to give and receive, we must first know and embrace God’s love for ourselves. When we believe, receive and walk in the light of God’s love, we are able to give out of the abundance of what we have come to know. May we seek, find and faithfully remain in His love, so that we are able to go forth and live the lives of love we have been designed to display. 

 

For God is our Source, Remain in His Love

Where true love comes from; 

As we live in Him, 

Our hearts are restrung. 

He fills us with peace, 

Overwhelms with grace; 

So we may go forth, 

In love all our days. 

Let us choose remain, 

In the love of God; 

So His love in us, 

Is what we pass on. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love and that all who truly live in love are living in You and You in us. Forgive us for the times that we have not exhibited Your faithful love to those around us. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would give the very same goodness and grace that we are given by You, to all those around us. Show us how to love all whom we are called to love according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live faithfully in You so that we may live out our days in light of Your perfect love. Amen. 

 

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Be Our Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT) 

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV) 

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG) 

We ask You, Eternal One, to give Your strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE) 

 

In this seemingly crazy, busy season, this is my prayer for us all. Where there is chaos, may His calm come and reign in our hearts. In places where we are unsettled or uncertain of how we will press on, may we find His strength. He is faithful to provide what is needed when we trust in Him. May we call on the Lord to be our strength, and trust in His grace to grant us the gift of His perfect peace. 

 

O Lord, here we stand, Provision of Peace and Strength

Where chaos surrounds; 

We need strength and peace, 

Your presence, be found. 

What joy in knowing, 

That as we choose pray; 

In love, You answer, 

By grace, make a way. 

In chaos, there’s peace, 

As we look to You; 

Strength in our weakness, 

For You lead us through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that as we call on You, You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your presence provides our hearts the assurance that grants calm, regardless of our circumstances, and strength of heart, when we feel our strength is all but gone. Forgive us for not seeking You for the strength and peace that only You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, no matter what state we are in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and brings peace to places where it has not previously been present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the strength and peace that You plentifully provide as we approach Your throne of grace. Amen. 

 

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

The Wisdom We Seek

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)

But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. – (James 1:5, CEB)

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. – (James 1:5, VOICE)

 

I am so grateful that God does not grow weary of us asking for answers when we are uncertain, as life requires much wisdom to navigate well. There are so many areas of new that come along in our daily lives, that without Him, we would be walking in the dark. However, when God is with us, His Spirit leads and guides us, as we so often know which way we are meant to go, as our hearts and minds know that which aligns with His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and direction where we need His navigation, and trust His heart within us when we already know the way that He is calling us to go.

 

We all need wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

To live this life well;

And as we choose ask,

His way, God shall tell.

He does not withhold,

The wisdom we seek;

But gives lavishly,

He’s faithful to speak.

He speaks to our hearts,

And to us makes known;

The answers we need,

As His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to answer as we ask for wisdom. Thank You that You do not withhold nor keep score, but rather You lavishly give as we ask. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces where we need Your wisdom the most, and teach us to trust You more so that we would turn to You for the wisdom to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is wise and encourages each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom in all things, as You are the answer we need to navigate our days in strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16