The Endowment of Early Mornings

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

Lord, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before You. Then I wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, CEB)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Being up in the early hours to usher in the first morning’s light reminds me of the greatness of God and kicks off my day in awe and appreciation of all that lies ahead. We are called to present our requests before God, and He wants all that we are in exchange for all that He is and all that He desires to do in and through us. God sees and He hears everything that we freely offer unto Him. In doing so, we ought to wait in anticipation of all that He will do. The Lord is faithful to meet us each morning and will move mightily in and through us as we present all unto Him. May we rise each morning and lay our gifts – our prayers, our hearts and our offerings to the Lord and trust that He will see and hear and move on our behalf.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

I choose wake and rise;

To draw near to God,

His grace realized.

For each day I come,

And bring Him my best;

He grants me His strength,

And extends His rest.

I cannot but help,

Of Him stand in awe;

For He is faithful,

As near Him I draw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us each morning as we rise and present our all unto You. Thank You that You see and hear and move on our behalf. Thank You that we can wait expectantly, assured that You will answer in Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting when answers take longer than we would anticipate. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, for Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives ear to every word spoken, so that they may gain a glimpse of how You listen to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise each morning and present our all unto You, anticipating the wonderful ways that You move on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day. – Lamentations 3:23

 

 

 

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The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

Wise Words and Hard Work are Worthwhile

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Words spoken wisely result in much good, and working with your hands pays a large reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, VOICE)

 

What we say and what we do have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Hard work and well-chosen words bring blessings, as we reap what we sow. When we give good, good is returned. Kindness begets kindness and hard work wields wages by which we can live. As my family continues to prepare for the upcoming wedding and move, the truth of these words is made evident. Yesterday, I let my boys know that there was yardwork that needed to be done at the new house. Additionally, I let them know how much I appreciated their willingness to jump in and work, and that their efforts would be rewarded at the end, if the job was seen through to completion. Encouragement was extended to each of them as we worked, and neither young man complained, but rather worked steadily and with determination to get their given job done. In a few short hours, the front, back and side yard were vastly improved. My guys were rewarded for the work of their hands, and good things came as I had chosen my words carefully. May we ever be mindful of the words that we speak and choose to work as if unto the Lord.

 

Good things come our way,

From well-chosen words;

For we’re rewarded,

When wisdom is heard.

And likewise we reap,

Whatever we sow;

The work of our hands,

Bring reward, we know.

So, let us in word,

And work that we do;

Do as unto God,

From Love’s point of view.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that our words and our work have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Thank You that You strengthen and empower us to choose our words wisely and to work as unto You as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we speak without thought or slack on the work that we are called to complete. Teach us to trust You and seek You for the strength we need to continue all that to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us with our words and through hard work. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose our words wisely and work as if we are working for You. Amen.

 

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

 

Do your work, and be happy to do it. Work as though it is the Lord you are serving, not just an earthly master. – Ephesians 6:7

Power to the Tired

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps the tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. – (Isaiah 40:29, CEB)

 

I am so grateful to know where our strength comes from when we feel as though there is none remaining in us. It has been an incredibly long week, particularly for my fiancé, as he has worked long days with a grueling commute, and then has been driving to his old house to work and make preparations to sell and then on to further make ready the new home that we will all share in a few short weeks. Yesterday evening, he hit the wall, and was done. Exhaustion had taken over, and rest was required. After spending a few hours at the house with him, working on finishing details beyond his already lengthy day, he reached a point where he needed to be done. We left, met the boys, my mom and sister for dinner, gave a tour of our new home, and departed so my Viking and my bonus son could get some rest. This morning, I trust that he will be strengthened and rested and revived. God is faithful to provide what we need as we need it most. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength in our weariness and allow His rest to refresh us from exhaustion.

 

O Lord, I thank You, Power to the Tired

You’re faithful to meet;

Us when we’re weary,

Revive from defeat.

You grant us power,

When we find we’ve none;

You love us to life,

All things, overcome.

Your understanding,

And help in our need;

Grant strength to rise up,

In Your strength, succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You give strength when we are weary and grant us power when we are weak. Thank You that You see us in our need and provide in places we lack. Forgive us for attempting to power through beyond what we are meant to do. Teach us to turn to You for strength in spaces it is lacking, and for renewal when we are worn. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways so that we may help strengthen and encourage in practical ways when they are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the strength and refreshment we need to navigate all that we are called to complete. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, CEB)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

 

Strength is a peculiar thing. We can work hard to build it up, yet there are variables beyond our control that can take it away in an instant or over time. The strength that is sustained within us, is strength of heart that comes from the Lord. His strength is that which grants us the resolve to keep rising, even when what lies before us is heavy, and often far more than we can bear. Though physical strength is both a blessing and a gift from God, it is the strength within us, that He deposits by His Spirit, that will carry us through all of the days of our lives. May we ever seek to be strengthened by the Lord in His mighty power, so that we are equipped to do all that to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

And His great power;

We can trust in Him,

Our safe Strong Tower.

He strengthens our hearts,

Emboldens our minds;

Grants us the resolve,

Move as we’re designed.

No matter what comes,

He’s faithful to be;

Present with His strength,

To help in our need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong in You and Your mighty power, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though physical strength is a blessing and a gift, it is strength of heart that comes from You that will carry us through the trials that life provides. Forgive us for not seeking You to supply the strength we need and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and minds, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your strength and power that You provide within us as we turn in trust to You. 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

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

A Choice of Will

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, TLB)

Fault-finding, blame, grudges and the like, do nothing but keep heaviness in the heart of the holder. Though there are some situations where wisdom will lead us to walk away, it does not mean that we are to hold unforgiveness in our heart. Forgiveness looks different in every situation, but the one thing that is constant is that it is a choice of will, and a decision that has to be made over and over again. There are days that forgiveness comes easily, and we find ourselves in a good space, recognizing that because we have been forgiven much, we too, can forgive much. However, there are times when whispers of previous offenses rise up, and so too does the anger. It is in these moments that we have to choose again to forgive. May we fix our eyes on the Lord who has forgiven us for all that we have done, so that we may go forth and forgive in the same way.

We’ve been forgiven,

The Unforgiving Debtor

For everything;

All our transgressions,

And harm that we bring.

Because of this love,

We’re called to the same;

To forgive others,

Let go, remove blame.

Often the process,

Of choosing release;

Hurt brought by others,

As God’s grace increased.

May we choose to rise,

Forgive in His Name;

Love as we are loved,

Let grace be our aim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Thank You that as we choose again and again to forgive, You refine and change our hearts to be more like Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto hurts or allowed old injury to rise up and renew our anger toward another when we have chosen to forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to forgive again and again, each time a hurt or offense comes our way. Show us how to love and forgive others, just as You love and forgive each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to be our strength and our example for forgiveness so that we may go forth and do the same. Amen.

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

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9

Do As We Want Done

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and the Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG)

This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you. – (Matthew 7:12, VOICE)

 

When I am angry, frustrated or fed-up, I tend to still speak as calmly and as kindly as possible. Students are often baffled by this phenomenon, as they recognize that their behaviors and choices might warrant a different response. I think that I give what I would like to see returned, and that the truth of God’s word has deep roots that have a way of reeling in my response so that I reply much more gently than I would have done otherwise. This is not to say that I have perfected this method of interacting with others, yet it is a priority to try to choose love, even when what is given is far from it. On most occasions, kindness disarms the heat others are holding when it is extended, despite their own anger that is spewing out. In my own moments of frustration, the times that I have been met with loving kindness, those were the very examples that squelched the flame and left me looking at the real reason my circumstance was upsetting. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness to fill us up, so that we may go forth and give to others what we would like given to us.

 

In all that we do, Do As We Want Done

Let love lead the way;

Choose give to others,

At home, work and play.

For we are all called,

Do as we want done;

How we treat others,

Leads to battles won.

For goodness given,

Squelches anger’s heat;

Love that’s extended,

Brings hatred’s defeat.

So, choose to love well,

Do as we want done;

This is obeying,

Scripture’s rule-of-thumb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You treat us with loving kindness; always. Thank You that You call us to do for others what we would like done unto us. Forgive us for not responding in a way that we would want to receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we give to others what we would like to be given, regardless of what we think they deserve. Thank You that You give us mercy and grace, though we are not deserving. Help us to do the same. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we desire to be loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do unto others what we would want done unto us, in everything and every circumstance. 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

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

Quiet Faithful Work

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NIV)

Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Mind your own business, and earn your own living, as we told you before. If you do these things, then those who are not believers will respect the way you live. And you will not have to depend on others for what you need. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, ERV)

Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. – (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, MSG)

 

When we are peaceful and faithful to do what we are called and designed to do each day, people notice a difference and respect the way we live. We are not called to judge or determine the path another person is meant to take, but rather we are to love them where they are, as they are, and allow God to be God. May we ever pursue a quiet life of loving God and loving people as we go about our days doing the job to which we have been called and equipped to do.

 

Lord, help me to live,

A life led in peace;

Where love is the aim,

And control’s released.

Faith to Listen

Show me how to work,

Each day unto You;

Doing all I can,

To honor the truth.

Let how I choose live,

Gain other’s respect;

So that they desire,

With You to connect.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love for each of us. Thank You that You call us to live a life of peace, working as if unto You. Thank You that as we do, people notice You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not stay calm or choose to do things without considering those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our peace in all that we do, and that You would equip us to work daily, as unto You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they recognize Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work as unto You in peace. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7