Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. 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

The Hand of Blessing

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, VOICE)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

Though there are disappointments and struggles (as it is a part of human existence), I am acutely aware of God’s bountiful hand of blessing in my life. Through the most trying seasons, He has gone before me and been behind me, and His hand was gently upon me. Never, even on the worst of days, did I feel as if I were on my own. Yesterday, marked one more step towards the fulfillment of this beautiful forward momentum that He has set into place in my life. My fiancé and I received the keys to our new home and were able to go and get started on a bit of yard work, despite having each worked full days, with responsibilities to attend to in the evening. We have been given the gift of time, as we have just the right amount for he and his son to move into our new home after his son’s graduation, time for my boys and me to gradually move things over as we can, and the flexibility in my rental agreement to not move in completely until the day we all depart for Wenatchee for the wedding. May we ever remember Who surrounds us and prepares the way, as He imparts blessings upon us by His love.

 

Before me You go, img_20180531_191403_1463527364648733055004.jpg

In love, make a way;

You follow behind,

Ever near You stay.

Your great hand of love,

It rests upon me;

As You grant blessings,

So abundantly.

Though trials will come,

I need never fear;

For Your love’s greater,

And Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and behind us and You place Your hand of blessing upon us. Thank You that You prepare the way ahead and protect us from the harm of what has past. Forgive us for not recognizing Your presence and Your blessings in our lives. Teach us to have open eyes and open hearts so that we would be ever aware of Your presence and Your hand in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that imparts abundant blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and thank You for Your hand of blessing in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

No More Darkness

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. – (John 12:46, NLT)

I came into this world as a light. I came so that everyone who believes in Me will not stay in darkness. – (John 12:46, ERV)

I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him. – (John 12:46, VOICE)

 

In the Pacific Northwest, we often have a long, dreary season of darkness. Days are grey and rainy, and the hours of available daylight after work are seemingly non-existent. Yesterday, as we sprung our clocks forward to daylight savings time, we were greeted with an unusually warm and sunny day for our area. Days like that remind me that we have the Light who shines forever, and no darkness truly remains when we are in Him. Though days, circumstances, situations and moments may seem dim, there is light and hope and help in Christ. As we place our trust in Him, darkness disappears and light illuminates our path. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, as He is the light of the world; in Him, no darkness remains.

 

Into the darkness,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Our Savior did come;

To bring light and life,

To everyone.

For all who choose trust,

In His precious Name;

Will leave dark behind,

Find true what’s proclaimed.

There is no darkness,

Where His love light shines;

Safe space forever,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came as a light shining in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in You will no longer remain in the dark. Thank You that You are trustworthy and true. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be the light and life and hope when all seems dim. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects You light and love in places that seem overwhelmingly dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our light forever. 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

 

 

Extend the Good

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You are all around me – in front of me and behind me. I feel Your hand on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, ERV)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

The kindness of God never ceases to amaze me. So often, He uses the people He has placed in my life to show me His love in remarkable ways. Yesterday, as the start of the school day was drawing near, I walked into the library and crossed paths with a colleague and friend. She happened to be wearing my shirt for the Seattle Majestics (the semi-pro, full-tackle, women’s football team I made about a month ago), and I smiled and complimented her on her shirt. Her response was very sweet and supportive, and I walked away blessed and encouraged. Not twenty yards out the library door, I encountered another dear co-working friend, wearing the same shirt and a sweet smile. I did a double-take in disbelief, and again was built up with blessing. One of my dearest friends made a cameo in my class, also donning said shirt, as she informed my students of my latest endeavor. Though I was likely several shades of red, it was entertaining to see my kids respond to the idea of their teacher playing football. At the end of the day, we had a staff meeting and there were a total of four fabulous ladies sporting the shirts in support of this new adventure. For me, it was a reminder that I am valued and known, even if I am quiet and often fly under the radar. He sees and He knows, and His hand of blessing is upon me. May we ever remember Who goes before us and stands behind, as the Lord loves to impart blessings upon us.

 

The Lord goes before, img_20171206_163718_0541739637535.jpg

And He stands behind;

He extends blessings,

With our hearts in mind.

He knows and He sees,

The need of each heart;

The hand of His love,

His blessing imparts.

Protects from the past,

And prepares the way;

Strength for tomorrow,

And love all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and stand behind. Thank You that You walk beside us and bless us as we go. Thank You that You place us in communities. Thank You for the incredible gift of the people whom You have placed in mine. Forgive us for not recognizing Your hand of blessing in the good that goes on around us each day. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on the blessings that You bestow upon us, rather than the struggles that we face. Thank You that You are with us through it all. Show us how to support, encourage, walk beside and love those around us in the day-to-day, as that is the community to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your blessings, and extend the good that we have been given to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in 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

A Forward Focus

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Steady Our Restless Souls

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is. – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

 

Our hope is in God and His promises. Because His love does not waiver, our hope is secure and our souls have an anchor by which to stand steadfast. No more does a curtain separate us from the presence of God, but rather we are welcome and invited to come before our Maker, as Christ covers us and makes the way. Let us hold fast to the hope that is real and true, as we trust in the One who is our anchor, and He steadies our restless souls.

 

The hope that is real,

The Anchor for Our Soul

Is steady, secure;

It’s found in the Lord,

Our anchor assured.

When restless our souls,

Let Christ lead us back;

The goodness of God,

That keeps us on track.

For in His presence,

The restless find peace;

Our hope is restored,

And fears are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope in You is real and true, and that You are the anchor that steadies our restless souls. Thank You that there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You, because Jesus made the way for us to draw near. Forgive us for not seeking You to steady our restless souls when the weight of the world makes us weary. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember where our hope dwells, and bring all things before You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may see Your heart and hope through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold our hope in You – the One who is real and true, who steadies our restless souls. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Courage Comes with Presence

This morning, as I reflect on last evening’s outing with dear friends, I am in awe, as God unpacks the parallels between what I experienced, and the truth of His word.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, some sweet friends and I went to a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours, and then headed north into the city to go on a “haunted tour“. I am no fan of the whole haunted house scene; though I do not have a high startle reflex, what goes on internally, is not exactly my favorite. Fear does funny things when we cannot control our surroundings. Anyway, because I love my friends, and they promised to go in front of and behind me as we walked through (holding my hands), I agreed to participate. At first, fear tried to gain a grip, but I soon realized that I could just speak out reality, and it wasn’t such a fearful thing. When an actor would jump out in creepy costume, I looked at them, and then spoke out whatever came to mind. Sometimes it was a bit of sarcasm, such as “classy“, or “lovely” and other times it was merely a “well done, pal“, and we continued on. What I found was that as I utilized my words, the weight of the fear disappeared. In life, the very same holds true. When we speak out the reality of what we are afraid of (confident in the truth that we know), or begin to anticipate that all things do not always go according to plan, we are prepared for that which may try to derail us. Additionally, just as I had those who were ahead of me and behind me, knowing that they would never leave me alone and had my back, God does the very same thing as we navigate our days. No matter how we feel, He goes before us and will never abandon us. Though it may seem a bit odd to find truth in an adventure going through a haunted house with friends, God used the experience to show me in a very tangible way, how weighty His words truly are. May we all gain strength and courage as we walk out our days, knowing that the Lord our God, personally goes ahead of us, and will neither fail us nor abandon us.

 

Be strong, have courage,courage-comes-with-presence

Wherever you go;

God goes before us,

The Bible says so.

He will never leave,

And Love does not fail;

We need not panic,

For God shall prevail.

When God is for us,

There’s no room for fear;

Take courage by faith,

For He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You because You go before us and will not fail us nor abandon us. Thank You that You use ordinary experiences to teach us extraordinary truth. Forgive us for our fearfulness that is fueled by lack of trust. Teach us to trust You more, as You are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants strength and courage, and demonstrates the faithfulness that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in strength and courage, knowing that You will go before us and never leave us. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

The Master Surgeon’s Touch

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

And I will give you a new heart – I will give you new and right desires – and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. – (Ezekiel 36:26, TLB)

 

As I woke and sat down to begin my quiet time, I began to reflect on how guarded I have become with even those who are most dear to me. I know much of it is my automatic response of self-preservation, and has absolutely nothing to do with my people, and everything to do with my circumstances – yet I recognize that it is not the way that God intends for me to be. I am quite visual, so a few scenes flashed through my mind, and my heart was pulled to the pages that remind me of the truth. Though He has already given me His Spirit, and renewed my heart and mind, there are times when we really need our Master Surgeon’s touch in a specific area. God is gentle and kind, and loves us to life, even in the dark and dying places. Where we are fearful or stubborn to hold fast to what we think will keep us safe, He lovingly reminds us that He is far stronger than our circumstances, and will go before us, with us and behind us – so we need not worry about the “what ifs“. May we be quick to trust He who holds our hearts in His hands, and allow Him to give us the new heart He has prepared for us. His heart for us is one of tenderness and love, and seeks to pursue all that He has for us, in His strength.

 

When our hearts grow hard,

and our love is cold;Receive Life

we must trust the Lord,

take His hand to hold.

For He will remove,

the hardness of heart;

and put in its place,

a gentle, kind part.

His Spirit in us,

is tender and kind;

to lead and to guide,

and when we seek, find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us a new tender and loving heart in exchange for our hard, stubborn ones. Thank You that when we seek You, You show us how to live and love according to Your will, not our own. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become hard or walled in by fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain tender-hearted toward You and all whom You call us to love well. Show us how to love as You love, so that others too, will desire a new heart in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to touch the places in our hearts that hold hurts that keep us from loving completely, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13