Praise Even When

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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. Amen.

 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Strength to Stand

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

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

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. – (Isaiah 40:29, MSG)

He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, TLB)

 

How I am still functioning is clearly by the grace of God. For more than a week now, I have struggled to sleep at night. Though it is spring break, I have gone ahead and gotten out of bed long before the sun has risen, as by the time it reaches three or four o’clock, I figure I have tried long enough and may as well begin my day. Each day, I have had the strength I have needed to navigate what was required of me, and on a few of the days, found there was even time for a nap. He has sustained me with His strength where my own has been lacking. God is faithful to meet us in our weariness and weakness and fill us with His strength and power. May we ever seek Him in full surrender, trusting that He will provide all that we need to rise up and run strong.

 

In full surrender, Be strong and courageous

To You, Lord, I come;

Tired and weary,

My heart is undone.

I lean into You,

For I know Your hands;

Are strong when I’m weak,

You give strength to stand.

Power provided,

When ours is all gone;

Help we can hope in,

For You make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to the weary and increase power in the weak. Thank You that we can always turn to You in trust. Forgive us for attempting to “muscle our way” through things on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our strength when we are weary and power when we are weak. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength and hope and help when they are weary and weak. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer to sustain and strengthen us to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Deep Wells from Shallow Graves

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. 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

Pursue Righteousness

Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, NLT)

Always try to do what is right, to be devoted to God, and to have faith, love, patience, and gentleness. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, ERV)

Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. – (1 Timothy 6:11b, MSG)

 

Though this portion of passage comes from a letter that Paul was writing to Timothy to instruct him in the way in which he was meant to go, it is instruction that applies to all of us. When we pursue righteousness, we are walking towards God and His will for our lives. In doing so, we live a life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness, as these are the very attributes of Christ, Himself. When He dwells in us, what flows from us is seasoned by His goodness and grace. The more we invest in knowing God, the more clearly we reflect His radiance through our words and deeds. May we choose to pursue a righteous life that is invested in knowing and loving the Lord, so that we can go forth and know and love others well.

 

May our hearts pursue,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The Lord God above;

Who grants us all things,

And fills us with love.

For as we invest,

Our hearts come to know;

The depth of His grace,

Draws our hearts to grow.

Grow in His goodness,

As patience is learned;

Let gentleness lead,

As our lives are turned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue You and what You are calling us to do. Thank You that You also equip us to do the very things that You ask of us, rather than expecting us to somehow manage on our own. Forgive us for the times that we have been without faith, have been unkind, quit, and have been harsh. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the way that You are calling us to walk. Show us how to demonstrate faith, love, perseverance and gentleness to those around us, so that they might come to know how deeply they are loved, and see You through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a righteous life in You, and go forth in Your strength with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 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

Be Full of Light

If you are full of light, and there is no part of you that is dark, then you will be all bright, as though you have the light of a lamp shining on you. – (Luke 11:36, ERV)

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. – (Luke 11:36, NIV)

 

In order for us to be full of light, the light of Christ must dwell within us. When we invite Christ to be the Lord of our lives, His Spirit comes and lives in us. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is light and life, and no shadow may remain. For light and darkness cannot coexist. Light chases away all that is dark. Though our human nature contains much darkness, the Lord is light and in Him, all that is dark within us is dispelled. The more we trust Christ in all things, the more clearly His light radiates through us to all who are around us. May we be so filled with the light of Christ that no darkness remains, and may all who come around us see the light of His love through our hearts that are radiating the reality of hope in Him.

 

May we be so full,To Reflect His Radiance

of Your loving light;

that all that is dark,

must flee from our sight.

Far greater are You,

who dwells within us;

for Your light is life,

through Your Son, Jesus.

May all that is dark,

within us dispel;

and Your light remain,

as it shines hope well.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are light and life and hope and help to all who seek Your face. Thank You that in You, there is no darkness. Thank You that when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives, You come and dwell within us, and Your light makes the darkness disappear. Forgive us for the corners that we try to hide, or the shadows we seek to somehow hold. Teach us to trust You more, as Your light is life, and the only hope worth holding. Show us how to go forth and love in the light of Your truth, so that others too, may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your light to chase away every darkness within us, and trust You to shine through us as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

All Things for Good

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

When we love God and choose to follow Him, He takes everything that we experience, and uses it for His good. The Lord has a way of using even our darkest, most difficult days, to bring light and life to those who are walking similar paths. I am always amazed how God can take something so hard and horrible, and turn it into something useful and beneficial, when we are able to walk beside another and offer hope, encouragement, strength and comfort, because no one can speak into difficulty quite so clearly as one who has walked the very same road. May we be willing to accept the Lord’s invitation to live according to His plan, and trust that He will cause ALL THINGS to work together for good.

 

The Lord God is good,Where Life is Safe

in everything;

for all who love Him,

His good He shall bring.

For even darkness,

shall shine with His light;

when God’s hand’s present,

all things used for right.

His purpose prevails,

for He is the Lord;

strength for the weary,

all grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cause ALL THINGS to work together for the good of those who love You and are called according to your purpose. Forgive us for neglecting Your invitation to live according to Your plan, and help us to accept and obey whatever You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise up and be ready for whatever comes our way, trusting that You will lead us each day. Show us how to love others in a way that points their hearts and hope to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together for the greater good that You have planned for us. Amen.

© 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