Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Be Our Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT) 

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV) 

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG) 

We ask You, Eternal One, to give Your strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE) 

 

In this seemingly crazy, busy season, this is my prayer for us all. Where there is chaos, may His calm come and reign in our hearts. In places where we are unsettled or uncertain of how we will press on, may we find His strength. He is faithful to provide what is needed when we trust in Him. May we call on the Lord to be our strength, and trust in His grace to grant us the gift of His perfect peace. 

 

O Lord, here we stand, Provision of Peace and Strength

Where chaos surrounds; 

We need strength and peace, 

Your presence, be found. 

What joy in knowing, 

That as we choose pray; 

In love, You answer, 

By grace, make a way. 

In chaos, there’s peace, 

As we look to You; 

Strength in our weakness, 

For You lead us through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that as we call on You, You hear our every prayer. Thank You that Your presence provides our hearts the assurance that grants calm, regardless of our circumstances, and strength of heart, when we feel our strength is all but gone. Forgive us for not seeking You for the strength and peace that only You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, no matter what state we are in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and brings peace to places where it has not previously been present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the strength and peace that You plentifully provide as we approach Your throne of grace. 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

Stand in Awe

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NLT)

Far and wide they’ll come to a stop, they’ll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, “Come and worship.” – (Psalm 65:8, MSG)

 

These words ring ever true, as I find myself caught off guard in awe at the beauty that surrounds me so often. Yesterday was a crazy, busy day, that had some unexpected twists and turns that made parts of the day difficult. The evening ended well, and as I drove home, though I have taken in the view countless times, I found myself nearly in tears with gratitude for the good in my life and the beautiful region that I am blessed to call home. I love the mountains and the ocean, and here, I am a short drive away from both. More than that, each morning as I walk with my best friend and her pups, we take in a spectacular view of both the majestic mountains and the Puget Sound, as the sun rises and reflects on the water and reveals the splendor created by His hands. Wherever I go, I seem to stand in awe of the wonder that unfolds before me. I anticipate nothing less, as I prepare to leave for Belize this coming Saturday. May our hearts look and listen to all that He shows us, as His goodness inspires joy and reason to worship for all of our days.

 

To ends of the earth,Stand in Awe

May in awe we stand;

Of all Your wonders,

On sea and on land.

From the sun rises,

To each new sunset;

Let’s look to the One,

Who paid all our debt.

O how He loves us,

This wonder employ;

Stand in awe of God,

And worship with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with such goodness and beauty all around us. Thank You for tangible reminders of Your power and majesty. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself through the people and places that surround us. Forgive us for not slowing down to look and listen to all that You have for us. Teach us to take notice of all of the wonders that You have made. Show us how to love and appreciate the people and places that You have given to us to care for well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your wonders, and worship You with joy. 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

Ragnar Ready

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. – (James 5:11, NIV)

 

These past many months have been all about perseverance. In late April, I sustained a compression fracture in my low back during a Tactical Strength Competition in the first event of three. I did not realize that the pop I felt during my deadlift was so serious, so I completed the competition.

When I went to the doctor on that Monday, I was sent for x-rays immediately. Low and behold, I had broken a bit of my back. Lovely! Not exactly something that fits in my lifestyle, nor my training plan. There was a half-marathon in June, and then Ragnar (a 12-person, 200-mile relay) in July, that I needed to be healthy and strong to participate.

Fast-forward to June, and I became the proud owner of a pricey souvenir t-shirt for a race I was not yet ready to run. Though I have been on a modified training regime since my injury occurred, I simply was not yet ready to run 13.1 miles at once. Allowing that race to go, was my ticket to run Ragnar, and the July race was far more important to me.

Here I am, the day prior to Ragnar, and I am cleared by doctors to run the distance! I ran my first full long run on Monday, and felt good. I was able to complete the mileage equivalent to my longest leg, so I should be good to go. Nerves are certainly present, as is some soreness, but I trust that He will continue to carry me to the finish. Please feel free to pray for safety and health for all of the Ragnar runners as you feel inspired. It is a wonderful, crazy, adventure that I am so grateful to be a part of for the third year in a row!

 

Thousands of runners,

photo (9)

Load up in their vans;

Working together,

The best that we can.

Through heat and the rain,

Through the dark of night;

The runners keep on,

With vests and headlights.

When the sun blazes,

Dear friends, we’ll still run;

’til there is a break,

Van 2 to van 1.

But alas, that rest,

Is very short-lived;

Perhaps for a nap,

Then more grit to give.

Despite the struggle,

Always at the end;

With medals and joy,

“Let’s do this again!”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Thank You for healthy bodies that can run. Thank You for healing and wholeness and restoration. Forgive us for our frustrations with what we can’t do, and help us celebrate and appreciate what we can do. Teach us to be grateful for everything, as every step, every breath, is a gift. Show us how to honor You with all that we do, and help us to love others well in the process. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we honor You in all that we do. 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

 

 

Come Boldly

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find the grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

 

Today is certainly a day to come boldly before His throne. This is the last school day before we begin spring break, and the weather is again, expected to exceed seventy degrees. The level of crazy among middle schoolers is at an all-time high, and the amount of mercy and grace needed by this weary teacher, is tangible. It has been the longest week that I have had in a very long time, as our gymnastics season just came to an end, and there has been something every evening this week. All of the busy has been good, just a bit exhausting. His grace has covered me in extraordinary ways already, as I have been migraine-free this week, despite a serious lack of sleep. This, in and of itself, is a remarkable gift of grace. Kids are weary as well. Some are eager for the plans that their families have made in the coming week, yet others, are anxious at the uncertainty of where they will be obtaining meals, concerned about how they will be treated, or overwhelmed by the weight of responsibilities that they will be expected to bear. The kindness, mercy and grace that He gives, is the very same gift that needs to be passed on to these kids in their spaces of uncertainty. May we each seek the Lord and His mercy and grace, and then go forth and extend the same to all others who share our space.

 

Let us boldly come,Come Boldly

to His throne of grace;

where mercy’s received,

as we seek His face.

The grace that He gives,

is more than enough;

our help in our need,

strength when times are tough.

And as we depend,

on our great High Priest;

we too offer grace,

as agents of peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Your Son, we can boldly approach Your throne and receive mercy and grace when we need it most. Thank You that You give us what we need, and are our help and our strength. Forgive us for attempting to power through things on our own, or for not trusting You to be enough to see us through our space of need. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to rely on You to be our strength and supply, so that we too, may go forth and extend Your grace and mercy to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and honor You in our seeking and extending of the truth. 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

Eternal Treasure

Fear can create all kinds of crazy. Herod, who was the king of the Jews, upon hearing of the birth of Jesus, (whom he also heard was born to be King), sought his whereabouts so he could put a stop to the possibility of losing his throne. When Herod’s spies did not return to inform him of Jesus’ whereabouts, he ordered that all of the baby boys in that region be killed. God told Joseph, (Jesus’ earthly father) in a dream to leave at once, so they did, escaping safely into Egypt. (Read Matthew 2)

Ironically, Jesus had not come to take Herod’s earthly throne, but rather longed to be the ruler of his life. Jesus came to give life, not take it away. Today, people often have the same hesitations about entering a relationship with Christ. They fear that all that is dear to them will be taken away, when in reality, they will be given that which has eternal value – real freedom, peace and joy. In Christ, we have hope for all of eternity, not just passing pleasure for today. Yes, we may be asked to give up temporal “treasures” that can cause us harm, but the benefits and blessings found in our Father’s favor, far outweigh these earthly things.

Freedom is found,He Will

when fear is released;

joy will abound,

as faith is increased.

Let our delight,

be found in the Lord;

treasures so trite,

not ours to afford.

Give all to God,

and soon we shall find;

what is a fraud,

and what is Divine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us the way to live faithfully before You. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who equips and empowers us to do so. Thank You Jesus, for taking our sins to the cross, so that we no longer need to carry them, nor fear the consequence we deserve. Forgive us for our failure to choose wisely, and help us to entirely embrace all that You have given, with all that we are, so that we might give You our whole lives in return. May we live and love as You love us, and may many come to know the true freedom that is found only through faith in You. Let our every treasure be in that which is eternal. Amen.

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