Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

These Three Things

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)

So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

 

At the end of the day, despite the drama, disappointment, or discouragement that has been present, Love finds a way to fuel our faith and grant us new hope that better is yet to come.  God, in His kindness, demonstrates His love for us in ways that grow our faith and keep hope afloat. There are times that it is difficult to remember that our hope is not to be held in temporary things, but rather our hope resides in that which is eternal. May we ever fix our eyes on He who is love and seek the Lord to grow our faith so that hope will rise, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Love is the fuel, These Three Things

Where faith gets its fill;

And hope rises up,

When we choose, be still.

For these three treasures,

Are gifts that shall last;

Faith, hope and God’s love,

Future, now and past.

In His great kindness,

God grants us these things;

Each strengthen resolve,

To face what life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith, hope and love last forever. Thank You that the greatest of these is love. Thank You that You lavish us with Your love, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for our lack of faith and for losing hope when things seem more than we can bear. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than any obstacle that lies before us, any burden we must bear, and any challenge we must face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends faith, hope and love to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace these treasures You grant us for good that last 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

Trust the Transformation

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

We are bombarded by information, images and messages that compete for control of our hearts and minds. The influences of the world would have us believe that we must have more, do more and be more. God tells us that we are enough in Him. When we slow down and tune our ears and hearts to His voice, the message we receive is far different. The words the Lord speaks give life and hope and help, drawing us closer to Him, where we may find rest in the very presence of our Creator. Yes, there are some things that we have to do for our jobs, families, and so forth, yet in Christ, we find strength and help and hope that there is more than the mundane of “doing time”. He establishes purpose in all that we do and gives us eyes to see small things that we can do each day. May we stay true to who God has created us to be, and allow Him to be the one to transform us more and more into people who are refined and renewed and ready to do His will.

 

Do not change yourselves, not-defined-by-a-day

To be like the world;

Instead, allow God,

Show His path preferred.

For when we allow,

God on the inside;

He shows us what’s good,

And how to abide.

Let us seek the Lord,

Learn His perfect will;

Be ever renewed,

Find rest and be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but rather we can seek You and allow You to transform us to be more like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we learn Your will for us, which is good and pleasing before You. Forgive us for folding to the ways of the world, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your ways and do Your will, even when it does not make sense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing before You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let You transform us into the person that You have created us to become. 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

He Speaks in the Silence

He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. – (2 Kings 4:33, NLT)

 

Elisha modeled how we are meant to pray. So often, life is jam-packed with distractions that keep us from hearing the voice of the Lord when we come before Him.

“One of the reasons we need a quiet place to pray is because God’s answers are often quiet. We must be still in order to follow His lead.” – (Adventurous Prayer)

It is only in the hearing that we are able to begin doing that which we are called to do. If we don’t listen, how can we learn? If we don’t learn, how can we be led? May we be intentional to find a quiet space in our day where we can spend solo time in prayer, so that we may clearly hear His leading in all things.

 

As we come to pray,Anxious for Answers

Let’s find quiet space;

So we better hear,

His love and His grace.

Though in a whisper,

His answers are clear;

He makes the way known,

If we seek to hear.

Let every heart,

With longing, come seek;

He’s gentle and kind,

Gives strength to the weak.

A new life awaits,

Those who seek shall find;

Ask and He answers,

Gives new hope defined.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire time spent in communication with us, where our focus is entirely on You. Forgive us for not getting ourselves quiet before You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, so that we are still in Your presence, creating opportunity to hear what You have to speak to our hearts. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to be alone before You in silence, so that we may better hear Your heart. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

 

 

He Calms the Storms

Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:39, ERV)

He got up, shouted words into the wind, and commanded the waves. “That’s enough! Be still!” And immediately the wind died down to nothing, the waves stopped. – (Mark 4:39, VOICE)

 

Just as Jesus commanded the physical storm to be still as the disciples were attempting to cross to the shore, He will calm the storm in us as we seek to move in the direction to which we are called. It takes but a whisper from His Spirit, and all that is unsettled, suddenly becomes calm. The peace of God can come and comfort us, even when all that is around us is in turmoil or simply does not make sense. His love and comfort, though undeserved, always bring peace to a troubled heart. He who can calm the water and the wind with but a word, can settle the storm within us as well. God is good, and His faithfulness is unending, regardless of what we are experiencing in our own present circumstance. May we seek our Savior who can calm our storms within, and trust Him to bring peace in the places where the waves are overwhelming.

 

Be still my heart Lord,Sense in Storms

from all that’s within;

the wind and the waves,

that I’ve allowed in.

The trembling and fear,

where the unknown dwells;

please speak to it now,

so all shall be still.

It takes but a word,

spoken in Your love;

to settle the storm,

and trust You above.

There’s nothing on Earth,

nor anywhere else;

anyone can run,

to find peace themselves.

Please lead us Lord God,

through storms and in peace;

so we will seek You,

and our faith increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only can You calm the storms that surround us with but a word, but You can calm the storms within us and grant us Your peace. Thank You that there are times that the storms continue to rage on, but You whisper to our hearts and we are granted Your peace in spite of the storm. Forgive us for not seeking You, as You are the way to find rest and hope and peace where there seems to be none. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your peace, even in the eye of the storm. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be Your instruments of peace when they are in the throes of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to calm the storms within us, no matter what we see. 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

 

To Choose to Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God!…” – (Psalm 46:10a, NLT)

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand that I am the True God…” – (Psalm 46:10a, VOICE)

 

Life can get extraordinarily busy. I am no exception. This is by far, my busiest season, as I am on the go from 3:30am to 8:00pm or later most weekdays. The reason for such early rising is to provide myself the opportunity to do just as this verse instructs. Beginning my day in silent stillness before the Lord, offers calm and clarity to take on each new day. It can be easy to get caught up in the busy, and forget Who has equipped us to do the things that we do, and as we make way through the midst of it all, how deeply we are loved by Him. Our reason to be still is to come into a space of understanding of who God is, and how He loves. As we learn and grow, we are compelled to go forth and do likewise – not out of obligation nor selfish ambition, but simply because we are loved we and want to do the same. May we take pause and be still before the Lord, so that we may hear His heart for us, and understand the greatness of our God.

 

We are invited,Hope in What is Unseen

to come before Christ;

in quiet stillness,

where hope’s realized.

As we choose be still,

our hearts come to know;

the greatness of God,

and how His love flows.

True understanding,

place of clarity;

is found in stillness,

solidarity.

Let our hearts be calm,

come into His rest;

know He is the Lord,

and He loves us best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we quiet ourselves before You, we come to understand more of who You are, and how You love. Thank You that You are the True God who knows us and loves us, in spite of ourselves. Forgive us for not slowing down to be still before You, as we miss out on all that You have for us. Teach us to be still and set our hearts on You, as we further discover who You are and how You love. Show us how to demonstrate the love and grace that You give to us and to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and recognize the greatness of You. Amen.

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

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

Identify, Speak and Trust

Yesterday, my pastor continued in a series titled, “Miracles“. The passage from which he brought forth his message, was Mark 4:35-41. This story is quite familiar to many, as it is the story of when Jesus calms the storm. That being said, there were elements within the unpacking, that I had not quite seen in that particular light before.

First, when the disciples were crossing as Jesus had charged them to do, a furious squall came upon them while He slept. The disciples were terrified, yet Jesus was able to sleep. Jesus was able to rest because He was doing what His Father had called Him to do, therefore He was at peace. As for the squall, there is so often a push back from hell when we move in the direction to which God has called us. (For on the other side, was the demoniac waiting to be set free, whose testimony would change the lives of many.)

When the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him if He even cared if they drowned, He rose and commanded the wind and waves to “Quiet! Be still!” Speaking to a storm is no ordinary response. Typically, there is no need to rebuke an object. However, when what was occurring was spiritual in nature, the rebuke was for that which was at the root, to stop. (And not likely in a still small voice)

Just as Jesus commanded for that which rose up against them to “BE STILL!”, we too have the very same power within us, when we find ourselves in a storm. We are best able to weather the storms if we: 1) Identify the storm, 2) Speak to the storm (claim God’s truth), and 3) Trust the outcome to God. – (Pastor Jon McIntosh)

When fear rises up,Sense in Storms

and floods us with lies;

the intent of hell,

is our quick demise.

Yet within our hearts,

the power to speak;

to silence the storms,

and strengthen the weak.

For God did not give,

a spirit of fear;

instead He’s present,

He is ever near.

Every outcome,

He already knows;

so we need not fear,

each time the wind blows.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when the storms of life come all around us, You are already in the boat beside us. Thank You that though things may seem dire, You have set a course before us and will not leave us. Thank You that when resistance comes against us moving in the direction to which we are called, You have already placed Your power within us to stand firm and speak to the storm. Forgive us for allowing fear to reign, when fear is only based on what our eyes perceive, rather that Your truth. Teach us to trust You and the outcome You have for us, rather than what we imagine. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we can offer calm in their storms and hope in their places of panic. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and continue moving in the direction in which we are called. 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

Take Joy in Doing His Will

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – (Psalm 40:8, NIV)

I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart. – (Psalm 40:8, NLT)

The amazing thing about our pursuit of God, is that as we seek Him and His will, He places His Spirit, and thusly His instruction and guidance, within our hearts. Our desire to do His will increases, as we seek to know Him more. When we are walking within the bounds of God’s will for our lives, we find joy in knowing that not only is He with us, but that He is pleased with our obedience. May our desire be to do the will of God, as His law is written on our hearts.

Lord, it’s my desire,Believe Instead of Striving

to choose do Your will;

for Your law’s written,

let my heart be still.

When I am quiet,

Your will is made plain;

for it’s within me,

Your truth shall remain.

May I ever seek,

to walk in Your way;

take joy in doing,

whatever You say.

For You Lord, are good,

and Your way is best;

You bless and keep us,

in You we find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is joy in doing Your will, and that Your instructions are written on the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Thank You that You make our path plain, and that You strengthen and equip us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness that keep us from trusting You and the path that You prepare for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take joy in doing all that You ask, as You lead us and guide us in the way that is best. Help us to love others in such a way, that they too, would long to find the same joy in following You. May many choose to enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we desire to do Your will that You have so lovingly written within our hearts. Amen.

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

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

Near to Those Who Call

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18)

God promises to be present when we call on His Name. He is near, when we feel fear. As we pray and trust in He who made our hearts and hands, He is faithful to come close and make His presence known. Our job is to trust God, more than that which we are facing. As we do, we become acutely aware of how great God is, and how His presence can shrink the appearance of the obstacles before us. Far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world. May we choose to call on Christ in truth and in trust, and be still long enough to become aware of how close He comes in our every moment of need.

In truth we must call,

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

on the Name of God;

for He shall be near,

on each path we trod.

We must trust in Him,

and look to His face;

to become aware,

of His present place.

For each time we ask,

He makes Himself known;

helps us know He’s near,

as His love is shown.

Whatever we face,

shan’t even compare;

to the Lord’s goodness,

once we are aware.

Present in moments,

of fear and despair;

He’s strength and He’s hope,

when we’re unaware.

Let us each rise up,

and call on His Name;

for we can all trust,

promises proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in truth, You are near. Thank You that Your presence is enough to strengthen, sustain, encourage, enlighten, and supply all that we need to navigate through any storm. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we may come to know You. Forgive us for failing to call on You in times of need and in times of thanksgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in truth and in trust in all things and at all times. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light and hope is clearly expressed to those who don’t yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we call on You in truth and are aware of how very near You are. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Storms Stilled to a Whisper

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29)

One of the things I have loved about growing up in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to the water.  The repetition and rhythm of the waves rolling into the shore, are among my favorite sounds.  When a storm comes through, there is nothing quite so awe inspiring as the power and force with which the waves crash and the seas churn.  When the wind and waves whip at full force, there is no wisdom in nearing the water’s edge.  Yet Christ in us, is in the eye of every storm, and can choose to simply say, “Be still,” and all that is crashing around us, will have to yield to the mighty hand of God.  Even if the storm that is raging around us is not silenced, He will hush all that is hurling to and fro within us.  May we seek He who calms our storms to a whisper, and can causes the waves to hush within our hearts.  Let us be still and know that He is God.

The mighty waves crash,Waves of Wonder

and the seas, they roar;

yet we’re hidden in,

One who says, “No more.”

What’s raging, brought calm,

stillness to the heart;

that’s tossed to and fro,

His peace won’t depart.

So ask for the calm,

yet receive His grace;

know that He will still,

the most needed space.

God of all comfort,

Creator of peace;

Sustainer of life,

Who grants us release.

Take pause in the storms,

and trust in the One;

Who can with a word,

make all stillness come.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still storms to a whisper and that You hush the waves of raging seas – be it externally in what surrounds us, or within the walls of our own hearts.  Thank You that when we seek You and depend on You, You are faithful to meet us where we are at, and You bring Your peace.  Forgive us for fighting the storms rather than relenting and allowing You to navigate us to safety.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times, no matter what storms may appear on our horizon.  Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, can see how You still the storms.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we are still before You in the calm and in the storms, placing our faith in You to lead us to safe harbor.  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