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

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The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 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

Stay True the Course

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

 

Any strength that we have to stay the course that we are called to cover, comes from Christ alone. On our own, we become distracted, deflated and defeated when opposition comes our way. With Christ, we are equipped and empowered to overcome any obstacle that arises before us, as He either removes the barriers or shows us how to navigate in spite of them. The Lord goes before us and walks beside us, to strengthen and protect every heart that is pursuing to follow the path He has placed before us. May we choose to trust He who is our Source of all security and strength, as we continue walking in the direction He has called us, knowing that He will keep our way secure.

 

Encircled in strength,I Will Go

He makes my path straight;

As I trust the Lord,

In faith, for Him wait.

For the Lord alone,

Provides what I need;

To stay true the course,

He’s called me to be.

Help me ever trust,

In You, God alone;

My strength and my peace,

Come as You are known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength and keeps our way secure. Thank You that as we place our trust in You, You lead us, guide us and provide what we need to follow the course to which we are called. Forgive us for not moving the direction that You call us to move, or for not seeking Your heart for where we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would desire with all that we are, to know Your way and move according to Your will. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction, as You alone are our Source and security forever. Amen.

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

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

A Clearly Marked Course

A clearly marked course makes all the difference in our ability to navigate where we need to go. Road signs, mile markers, and definitive directions, make reaching one’s destination, doable. The same holds true in how we navigate our lives. We need clear direction from the Lord, to know how He intends for us to run the race that He has placed before us. Our race plan will not unfold before us unless we seek the Lord and His will for our lives. If we just run about aimlessly, we miss the mark on the more that the Lord intends for our lives.

 

I’ll run the course You lay out for me, if You’ll just show me how. – (Psalm 119:32, MSG)

 

May we seek the Lord with willing hearts, ready to run the course He sets before us. Let our eyes see, our ears hear, and our hearts understand His direction with the faith to follow wherever He leads.

 

The Lord, in His love,1 Ragnar 1 Mile to go

Remains ever near;

He’ll show us the path,

If we’ll only hear.

May we choose listen,

Run swift where He leads;

No matter the course,

He’ll meet all our needs.

Choose trust each new day,

As we run His course;

Allow faith rise up,

For Christ is our Source.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek Your direction, You show us the course that You have laid out before us. Thank You that You do not just point to something and say “Go!”, but rather You show us the way and then strengthen, equip us, and walk beside us as we go. Forgive us for our lack of seeking direction as we go. Teach us to trust You in all things – great and small, as You care about them all. Show us how to love others in a way that equips and encourages them to pursue the path that You have planned for them as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your guidance and direction for each new leg of our journey so that we may run in a way that represents You well. 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

To Finish Strong

It is the final day of the 2015-2016 school year. This is a day to celebrate and finish strong. That being said, I am desperately struggling to keep my eyes open. I closed my eyes here at my kitchen table for a moment, and it is now forty minutes later than the last time that I looked at the clock. Weariness has found me, and my body knows that the race is nearly done. How do we finish well when we are worn?

Today, I will turn to trust. I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

He who made the earth and everything in it, and knit me together in my mother’s womb, can surely grant me the grace and strength to rise up and finish today with energy and strength, as this group of kids deserve a proper send off. Perhaps that upright power-nap was the extra sleep that my body needed to properly fuel for this day. Whatever the reason, there is only one today, and I want to live it well. May we each embrace the grace that God freely gives, and love well, all whom He places in our path.

 

When weary and worn,Far Better to Finish

Where shall my heart turn?

To Him who grants strength,

And shows His concern.

He cares for all things,

Each minor detail;

And loves us through all,

As grace is unveiled.

Choose look to the Lord,

Our hope and our Source;

He gives what we need,

While running life’s course.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our exhaustion and weariness we can look to You to be our help, our hope and our strength. Thank You that You refresh us and grant us what we need as it is needed, so that we can run our race well. Forgive us for our desire to quit when we hit the wall. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean into You, seeking Your strength rather than our own, to do what You call us to do. Help us to love well, all those whom are within our reach. Grant extra grace to each student as they part ways for summer – keep them safe, provide for their every need, and help them to know how completely they are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us. 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

Guard Your Heart

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)

 

What we see, hear, think and take in, ultimately determine how we navigate our lives. When we take in garbage, garbage is what comes out of us. However, when we choose to invest wisely in the things that we allow in to take root, then it is those very things that are established and grown within us, and in time, become the things that flow out of us. May we seek the Lord with sincere hearts, allowing Him and His word to be what fills our hearts and minds so that good and noble things can be the outpouring of our lives.

 

Guard your heart above,Generous Giving

All things in this life;

For true protection,

Saves our days from strife.

For where this life leads,

Our hearts will too, go;

So how we invest,

Matters for our growth.

When what we have sought,

Is pure and is good;

Such things flow from us,

Through grace understood.

The course of this life,

Determined by choice;

Trust in the Lord’s good,

May our hearts rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You for help, You provide what we need to guard our hearts and protect what we take in, so that what comes out of us is pleasing to You. Forgive us for allowing garbage in, as we have not been diligent to guard our hearts as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, to watch over our hearts and keep us protected from the things that would take us down a road to ruin. Show us how to love with a sincere and pure heart, so that others can see You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek to honor You. 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

 

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by 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

Seek in Trust

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He want you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

 

When our focus is on God and living for Him, the places where we lack, seem to take care of themselves. Often our perceived need is recognized as a mere want, and our needs that we had not even yet identified are fulfilled through our Great Provider. God gives us all that we need for today, so that we need not worry about tomorrow. Though through human eyes and understanding it may not make sense, all we can do is our part, and trust Him to do what we cannot. No, we cannot sit idly by and wait for the skies to part and manna to fall from heaven, but we can trust Him to meet us where we are lacking, despite our best effort in moving the direction in which we are called. The very same God who fed five thousand with a few fish and loaves of bread, can multiply our little to do so much more. May we seek God in all things and live for Him, trusting that He will provide that which is needed where we are lacking.

 

Go unto the Lord,

first and above all;

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

live right before Him,

and answer His call.

Trust God in all things,

for He is our Source;

our Great Provider,

who will map our course.

He will not call us,

and then let us fall;

we‘re meant to trust Him,

in great things and small.

All that we may need,

our God is enough;

to meet and provide,

who makes smooth the rough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You above all else, and choose to live for You, You provide all that we need. Thank You that despite our own perception, we lack NOTHING in You. Thank You that You meet our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs – regardless of how great or small. Thank You that You care about every detail, and that You know us intimately and individually. Forgive us for our fear and doubt when there appears to be no possible way forward, despite Your call in that direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep taking the steps of faith that You call us to take, in spite of what we see. Show us how to love others in a way that helps provide where they are lacking, and points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your kingdom above all else, living as You call us to live; and may we model lives that trust in Your provision, as You provide all that is needed and more. Amen.

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

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

Setting Our Sails

Sometimes a course change becomes necessary when we feel ill-prepared. Though we may have seen signs of storm clouds or shifting winds, the change of direction still somehow feels overwhelming. In the turn, there is a pause where the wind actually leaves the sails completely, only to allow us to move them so that they may reset and be filled again, allowing the vessel to glide on in a new direction. Though merely a matter of moments, that pause can feel eternal. The emptying, resetting, and readying to be refilled…

 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)

 

What we do in that pause is what matters most. Do we trust in Him, or do we allow the wind to blow us to and fro? As we seek Christ and His will, He will show us the direction that He intends for us to take. His very best for us will always be the way we are led. The best way is not always the easiest way, (as in fact there are almost always obstacles to overcome), but His way is the way that brings us to the place to which we are called, and that is the way that is best. May we trust in the Lord with our whole heart and not depend on what we perceive. Let us seek Him and His will in all that we do, and allow Him to lead us.

 

When sailing along,Setting Our Sails

and the wind has died;

we’ve done all we can,

all things, we have tried.

It is in that space,

where trust is required;

choose to wait in hope,

faith Christ has inspired.

For when all seems lost,

adrift in despair;

His sweet wind shall blow,

to move on from there.

When His wind does come,

we must choose respond;

or we’ll stay in stuck,

rather than sail on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You with all that we are and that we don’t need to try and figure it all out on our own. Thank You that when we listen for Your voice, You will speak to us and show is which direction we are to go. Forgive us for our lack of trust or for running ahead and choosing not to slow down to seek You to hear Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You with all that we are in all that we do. Show us how to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we wait patiently when the wind is shifting, and trust in You to guide us along the course to which we have been called. Amen.

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

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

 

Thankful for Love that Endures

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – (Ezra 3:11)

The people during David’s time, had seen the destruction of the former glory of the temple that Solomon had built. Some, had never even known anything except the rubble of the ruins that remained. Finally, fifty years after the destruction, the foundation of a new temple of the Lord had been laid. I imagine there was such power in the recognition of the reality of the promise to rebuild, coming to pass before their very eyes. The people responded with praise and thanksgiving, as they identified His goodness and faithfulness for all time. God had been faithful in the destruction, and continued to remain faithful as they were in the space of rebuilding.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Lord is present with people in the midst of destruction, and remains present throughout the healing and rebuilding process. May our hearts, though at times are heavy from all of the destruction that we see, be encouraged to sing praise and thanks to God because He is good and His love and faithfulness to people remains for all time. Be our foundation, O God, no matter what we see.

Praise and thanksgiving,

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Vandy Massey Watercolor

sing unto the Lord;

for He is so good,

all grace He affords.

When all seems but lost,

in Him we are found;

the Lord shall restore,

what was shaking ground.

With great shouts of praise,

give God the glory;

for He holds the pen,

to write our story.

Though storms enter in,

our course is assured;

when we trust in Christ,

we’ve strength to endure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for the foundation that You lay in the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving proper praise and thanksgiving for who You are, despite what we witness around us. Father, we lift up all of those impacted by the tragedy in France, and ask that You would be their Comfort and their Healer, as they find themselves in a place of ruin, needing You to rebuild. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might extend thanks and praise unto You through all that we say and do. Lead us to love others so that they may come to know Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your goodness and enduring love with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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

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