Rooted in What is Real

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! – (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for the final full week of the school year, I must fix my eyes on He who is my Source of peace. If I allow my mind to be ruled by the all that the week requires, I will be exhausted before I begin. It is in this space that I am called to run my race well. To do so, I must be firmly rooted in what is real and lasting, rather than permit my checklist to overwhelm. God gives us the strength that we need, as it is needed, and His perfect peace as we trust in Him. May we dedicate our hearts and minds to You, Lord, so that we may walk in peace and navigate this week very well.

 

May we seek the peace, Rooted in What is Real

That never runs out;

For all who choose trust,

And push aside doubt.

For God, by His grace,

Meets us where we are;

Brings calm in chaos,

And peace to our hearts.

So, let us each choose,

Depend on the Lord;

With heart, soul and mind,

As peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You keep us in perfect peace as we trust in You and fix our thoughts on You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to focus on the chaos and challenges rather than on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our calm in the chaos and our anchor in the storms. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend Your peace to the places of unrest in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate our hearts and minds to You and go forth in Your perfect peace. 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

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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

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Do Right and Build Up

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – (Romans 15:2, NIV)

(We should not do what pleases us) but do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT)

A sweet colleague and friend whom I appreciate and admire, who also happens to be a fellow blogger, published a post yesterday that leads me to the application of the verse that my heart landed upon this morning. The gist of her post, though I am not doing it justice, was that despite the struggles, challenges and obstacles that we are facing daily, her heart, with hope, is to have no bad days. One way that we can contribute to the betterment of the days of others is to look for ways to build them up and to empower them. How can we do things that increase the faith of those around us? If we can find good in each day and extend encouragement to others, we not only grow the faith in others, but in ourselves as well. May we seek to do what is right and pleasing so that others may be built up and press on, even on the hardest days.

Help us look for good,

Ways to choose build up;

To please our neighbors,
Do Right and Build Up

In faith, fill their cup.

As we do what’s right,

And opt extend grace;

Empowered rise up,

As they find fresh faith.

Let’s not grow weary,

In choosing what’s right;

Help and love others,

Let’s fight the good fight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do what is good and pleasing for others to help them grow and be built up in faith. Thank You that as we choose to focus on others, You fill and refresh us in the process. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have nothing to offer in our own space of weariness. Teach us to trust You more, as You fill us and build us up, providing all that we need and more. Show us how to love well the people who You have placed around us, so that we would do what is right and pleasing to build them up and help grow their faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for bringing good unto us when we are depleted, and for growing our faith in You so that we may in turn do the same for those around us. 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

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

I tell myself, you can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, CEB)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

Seemingly small things seek to steal our peace and keep our hearts from finding rest if we allow the challenges before us to determine our state of being. God is good and brings blessings in the midst of our challenges, we need only open our eyes and hearts to be aware of His goodness toward us. As we recognize how He is moving on our behalf, despite difficulties we face, we can relax and rest in God. When things are most challenging, we need to remind ourselves to rest in He who grants us peace. May we ever seek the Lord to soothe our souls, for He is always good.

 

Return to your rest, Our Map and Our Guide

O chaotic soul;

For God is our peace,

The One who makes whole.

He is always good,

Grants blessings and peace;

As we turn to Him,

His rest He’ll release.

Blessings He pours out,

Through His loving grace;

So let us seek Him,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our rest comes from You. Thank You that You shower us with Your blessings because You are good. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate whether or not we find rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find rest in You no matter what we are walking through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends peace and rest to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we return to Your rest and give You thanks for Your overwhelming goodness. 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

Our Thoughts Control Our Life

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

The thoughts we hold in our heart determine the direction that we take in life. If we hold onto negativity or fear or frustration, each step that we take is weighed down by the heaviness we are holding. However, if we guard our hearts and listen and trust in His word of truth, our burdens lessen and we are better able to stay the course to which we have been called. Obstacles will always stand before us, yet if we move forward with our eyes open and our hearts fixed on He who is greater, the challenges will not determine our direction; the path that has already been presented will continue to propel us to progress in the life to which we are being led. May we ever guard our hearts and minds, fixing all securely on our Savior; for in Him, we find safe harbor and a course that has been set for us to successfully navigate with Him.

 

Let us guard our hearts,

dsc04505_15206094506862101700142.jpg

photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Above other things;

For the thoughts we think,

Impact our blessings.

As we are weighed down,

Fixed on weight we bear;

We miss so much good,

That God has to share.

Protect heart and mind,

For good things shall come;

Our path is made plain,

When we seek the Son.

The blessings in life,

All good things that flow;

Are from God to us,

As we seek to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we guard our hearts and place our trust in You, You lead us on a course that is far greater than we could have hoped or imagined. Thank You that though trials and difficulties will come, as we fix our eyes on You, rather than the challenge, You lead us on and carry us through. Forgive us for not guarding our hearts from the heaviness that life can bring. Teach us to trust You more, so that we do not get weighed down by the difficulties and instead rise up in Your strength to press on. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend Your goodness, strength and grace to help others navigate the course to which You are calling them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and fix our eyes on You; for with You, good and noble things light the path to which we are called to walk.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. 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

He Won’t Withhold Good

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. – (Psalm 84:11, NIV)

The Lord God is our protector and glorious king. He blesses us with kindness and honor. The Lord freely gives every good thing to those who do what is right. – (Psalm 84:11, ERV)

For the Eternal God is a sun and shield. The Eternal grants favor and glory; He doesn’t deny any good thing to those who live with integrity. – (Psalm 84:11, VOICE)

 

This verse both comforts and challenges me. I am overwhelmingly aware of God’s provision and protection, as I have experienced both throughout the entirety of my life thus far. However, the next part is more difficult, as I am quite certain of my own shortcomings, and know that my walk is not without blame. That being said, I have to remember that as I seek the Lord and look to live with integrity according to His will, He covers the places where I have fallen short, and God sees Christ, not me. When we are in Christ, we are His, and He freely gives His good to those who earnestly pursue the path He has placed before us. That is not to say that our road will not be without obstacles, but as we travel, we will be aware of His presence and provision as we go. In all things, He is good. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we may live a life of integrity according to His wonderful will.

 

For the Lord our God, He Won't Withhold Good

Protector and King;

He grants us favor,

Through good that He brings.

He will not withhold,

His goodness and grace;

As we do what’s right,

And obey by faith.

Although we fall short,

His grace is enough;

To help us press on,

When our road is rough.

So seek to do right,

And honor our King;

He won’t withhold good,

As our best we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Protector and glorious King. Thank You that You bless us with kindness and honor as we seek to do Your will. Forgive us for not walking in the way that You have called us to walk, or for neglecting to do as You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do as You ask and go where You call, without hesitation or fear. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and honor, so that their eyes might look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of integrity according to Your good and perfect will. 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

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

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

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. 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

Safe in New Seasons

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE)

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

 

Aging is an interesting phenomenon. Each mile mark that I reach, there are new blessings and challenges. Last November, for the first time in my life, I discovered that I needed reading glasses. As I attempted to read a recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin, I discovered that I simply could not see the small print. Since then, I went to the eye doctor and she confirmed what I already knew. Age had finally caught my eyes, and glasses would be needed from here on out. After a lifetime of not wearing them, it is a strange adjustment that I forget most of the time, until I have to sit in front of a computer or read multiple pages of text. That being said, the joys that God has brought in this time in my life, far outweigh such a small thing. His care, concern and covering has stayed constant, and I am endlessly amazed at how He blesses me with His presence and His love. Though I may fight the white hair portion of aging for a while, I will fully embrace His grace and goodness as each new chapter unfolds. May we recognize and remember that God has promised to remain present throughout our lifetime, and He will carry us when we cannot walk on our own.

 

All throughout our lives, Safe in New Seasons

God’s promised to stay;

To be by our side,

To show us the way.

We need never fear,

New seasons of life;

For God is faithful,

Through peace and through strife.

When we have no strength,

The Lord remains strong;

He will lift us up,

Lead us further on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You that You are with us through each new season that we walk through. Thank You that if we grow weary or weak, we need not fear, for You are with us and will carry us on. Forgive us for fearing what is yet to come, and teach us to trust You to continue to carry and save us throughout our lifetime. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages and helps those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to remain present forever, and go forth in the confidence that You will carry us along and keep us in Your care. 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