In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

dsc045071369451189.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. 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

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Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Forgiveness Fosters Love

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

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV) 

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE) 

 

Our world desperately is in need of the forgiveness of faults to move forward in the freedom that is found in love. Far too often fingers are pointed without taking an honest look in the mirror. We all fall short and make missteps, and at times our errors end up hurting someone near us. If we are walking in love as God calls us to love, we must choose to forgive and move forward. The more we give grace, the greater our friendships grow. Freedom to be human is a tremendous burden lifted, and as we are able to be transparent with those near to us, we are strengthened in our faith and better bonded as dear friends. May we ever choose to be the ones who forgive faults and foster love, just as Jesus has done for us. 

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

The love we have grows; 

Friendships are strengthened, 

As grace is made known. 

Those who dwell on faults, 

End up in great loss; 

Friendships are ruined, 

Far too great the cost. 

So let us choose love, 

Forgive and give grace; 

Build our bonds closer, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our every interaction and relationship so much, that You give us guidance as to how to navigate best. Thank You that as we forgive, just as You have forgiven us, You bless us with stronger bonds in the relationships You have granted. Forgive us for dwelling on faults rather than forgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Show us how to love and give grace to those around us, ever strengthening the bonds of friendship that You are building among us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Worship in All that We Do

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him – an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way. – (Romans 12:1, ERV)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. – (Romans 12:1, AMP)

 

As someone who thrives on movement, I am acutely aware of the blessing I have been given to have a healthy body that can be challenged and pushed to do extraordinary things. When we use our bodies to fulfill the purposes and callings that have been placed upon our lives, whatever we do can be an act of worship to God. Something that has stuck out to me for many years is the line from Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” -(Eric Liddell) This is an encouragement to me, as I pursue new athletic endeavors, knowing that each one presents opportunity to love as I am called to love, and to utilize what I have been given to its full potential. My hope is that each time I take to the field this season, I will remember the One who gives me strength, and consider every moment an act of worship that will be pleasing unto Him. May we dedicate all that we do unto the Lord, and allow our every deed to be an act of worship to the One who gives us life.

 

I urge you, dear friends, Worship in All that We Do

In all that you do;

To give all to God,

In worship and truth.

All that we offer,

Is pleasing to Him;

From hearts of worship,

Praise flows from within.

Let all that we do,

Be an offering;

Though we can’t repay,

God finds this pleasing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the ability to dedicate ourselves to You in whatever we do. Thank You that it is pleasing to You when we choose to offer that which we do as a sacrifice to You. Forgive us for neglecting to give You praise for that which You make possible. Teach us to recognize Your hand in every detail of our lives, so that we will give You all of the glory for the good that You bring. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that sets us apart by Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate all that we are and all that we do as an act of worship unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

His Love Expressed In Us

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NLT)

 

God loved us so much that He gave without limits and chose to draw near. Because of His sacrifice, we have the capacity to love one another, just as we are loved. With a free will, we have the choice to take the very love that we have been given and give it away, thus ever growing in His likeness, or we can withhold love and deny who and what we have been created to become. As we opt to love others as we are loved by God, His love that lives within us rises up and is reflected in a way that offers the remarkable gifts of mercy and grace that God abundantly gives. May we ever choose to love one another as God loves us, so that He who dwells deep within us might be made clearly known.

 

Because we are loved,Tether Our Hearts

So we should love too;

For God gave us all,

To bless and make new.

Though we’ve never seen,

God with our own eyes;

We’ve received His grace,

Found hope realized.

It’s through this great love,

That others may see;

Who God really is,

And become set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You gave without limits and chose to come close. Thank You that You dwell within every heart that invites You to be Lord. Thank You that as we love one another, Your love lives in us and is fully expressed through us. Forgive us for the times that we withhold love when You are calling us to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be living expressions of Your love to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Outward Pressure Inward Transformation

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world. – (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT)

 

“Outward pressure works inward transformation. Rivals reveal the destiny that God has prepared for us.” – (Without Rival, Lisa Bevere) As my book study continues, not only are there fantastic foundational truths that are being reinforced, but there are these great little nuggets that resonate as relevant reminders that whatever we go through – can all be used to further refine us into whom God is calling us to become. We do not grow and change when we are comfortable. It is in the times of trial that we are forced to rise up and cling to Christ, and discover the true strength that He alone can provide. Though we might not enjoy the trying times, they are the very spaces that show us who He is, and how much more we can have of Him. May we seek the Lord in times of trial and of blessing, and recognize that rivals are real ways for God to reveal more of Himself to us and through us as He works within us.

 

Fear not the trials, God Within Her

That happen our way;

For God uses them,

To show us He’ll stay.

Every rival,

God can use for good;

To grow and refine,

His strength understood.

For outward pressure,

Causes change within;

As we lean on Christ,

Glory’s ushered in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that trials transform us into more of who You are calling us to become. Thank You that though we don’t want to endure trials or rivals of any kind, You use them to grow us and raise us up according to Your plan. Forgive us for wanting to run and hide when trials come. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would seek You and Your strength, to forge forward and face whatever obstacle comes our way, knowing that You will provide whatever we need to continue in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us, so that they too would keep moving towards all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to transform us when the pressure is placed upon us. Amen.

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

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

Let All Praise

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. – (Psalm 103:2, NLT)


Though I always have reason to praise the Lord, I am feeling particularly grateful this morning. When I arrived home last evening, after having been out for several hours (knowing my boys had been gone for several hours too and would not be back until the next day) I discovered the front door of our home was slightly open as I pulled in to park. I remained in the car and called dear friends who live nearby, recognizing that it would be best to not enter my home alone. They advised me to drive to the church parking lot nearby and call 911, as officers are glad to make certain that a home is clear and safe before entry. The call was made, and I simply waited. Both my friends and an officer were heading my way. Each arrived within moments of each other, and we had a small caravan traveling to my home. The officer went in first, checked all of the rooms, and deemed the home clear and safe. My friends made sure that I was okay before heading home themselves.

God protected our home, and protected me and my children. He placed me in a community where I can call and know that help will come, and have friends who willingly set aside their plans to be sure that I am safe. Let our praise ever be present for His goodness and grace.

With all that I am,Asking for Amazing Answers

May I praise His Name;

For He is my help,

The hope I shall claim. 

May I not forget,

All the good He brings;

His peace and safety, 

Our reason to sing. 

O Lord, may my heart,

Give praise unto You;

My security,

And love that is true. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope and that You are the Source of good in our lives. Forgive us for not giving You praise when it is due, and help us to live a lifestyle of gratitude that is presented through praise. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days. 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

I Look Up

I lift up 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)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

 

For me, there is nothing like getting out in nature to regain perspective as to who God is, and how awesome His power and might. All it takes is a glimpse of the crashing waves of the ocean or the mighty peaks that rise before me, to realize how great He is and how small I am. This morning, I have the opportunity to go and reset. In the midst of the madness of Christmas shoppers and chaos all around the city, some dear friends and I are going to escape for a few hours to hike in the snowy woods. Fresh air and the beauty of God’s creation await. I cannot think of a better way to spend my morning on this wonderful Wednesday before Christmas. May you all have an opportunity to find rest and reset amidst the madness, and recognize how great our God is, and from where our help is found.

 

As I lift my eyes,i-look-up

What is it I see?

The glory of God,

Created for me.

The very same hands,

That made earth and sea;

Are ready to help,

All who choose seek Thee.

Our help comes from Him,

The Lord above all;

Who loves us to life,

And lifts when we fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your creation. Thank You that the very same hands that hung the stars in the sky are willing to come close and hold our hearts. Forgive us for not looking to You to be our help, or for neglecting to recognize the majesty of all that You have made. Teach us to see You and Your creation with a holy perspective, so that we would recognize how great and mighty You are. Show us how to love fiercely, so that others too, will be led to look to You as their Source of help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up to You to be our help in all things. Amen.

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

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

Where Strength is Reborn

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

 

After a good, but seemingly extraordinarily long day, I did not realize just how weary I had become. For whatever reason, when I returned home from work, I jumped right into cleaning and laundry mode without really pausing to take a break. From there, I went to my kettlebell training session, and then onto a Christmas gathering with dear friends. Despite the joy in seeing everyone, I felt like I needed to head home to check on one of my sweet sons who had been sick and missed school. Once home, all was well, the boys were resting and content, so I went to my room to lay down for a few minutes. Of course once cozy and warm, the few minutes became many hours. I woke at 2am, and had already slept five hours. Surprisingly, I merely turned off my bedroom light and went back to sleep until a more reasonable hour this morning. Nearly nine hours of sleep later, I am better rested than I have been since summer. God knew what I needed, and rest was granted beyond what I would have sought for myself. The Lord provides where we are lacking, and longs for us to seek Him to find rest. May we remember to seek the Lord in this sacred season, and allow Him to take our burdens as He is the One who will grant us rest.

 

Come all you weary,where-strength-is-reborn

Unto Christ the Lord;

He takes our burdens,

As rest He affords.

The Lord knows our need,

And lovingly gives;

Help to the seeking,

In grace, He forgives.

Bring all your burdens,

You weary and worn;

His rest is ready,

In Him, strength’s reborn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You when we are weary and weighed down, and You will give us rest. Thank You that at times, You provide the rest we don’t even realize we so desperately need. Forgive us for trying to gut things out in our weariness, and help us to seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, as You are our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us well, and where we can help bear the burdens of those around us through practical help and support. May many come to know You as their Savior this season as they see Your heart through the actions and encouragement that You place around them. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and worn, and receive the rest that You so graciously give so that we may go and do likewise. 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

In Hope, Be Still

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a strange space this season, as I face impending endings – with dear friends moving away, a grandmother living out her last days, and then the dealing with that which is in my own heart, as I adapt to the new dynamics in my own life. When I quiet myself before the Lord, I am able to see the hope, even in the sorrow of change. For those moving, God is taking them into a new season, as He also is with those of us remaining here. My grandmother has outlived her spouse, her family members, and all of her closest friends, and for her, she is certain of her destination, so she faithfully waits in hope for her homecoming. For myself, in the stillness of my quiet mornings with God, I am reassured of all that He has for me. His plan and purpose for me has not changed, so I am able to continue to hold fast to the hope that is found in Him alone. May we all slow down and quiet ourselves before the Lord, so that we may hear the still small voice within that reminds us that He is our hope and He has good plans for us.

 

Let all that I am,Anxious for Answers

Wait in stillness here;

For God is my hope,

So I need not fear.

In times of great change,

In seasons of doubt;

Help me trust in You,

To show the way out.

Out where there is hope,

And freedom is found;

Where all of me trusts,

In You, I’ll abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our peace. Thank You that as we wait quietly before You, You reassure us and fill us with Your hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to turn to You. Teach us to quiet ourselves before You in all things and at all times, so that we may hold fast to the hope that is held in You alone. Show us how to love others in a way that gives hope to the hopeless and peace to those who know none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, knowing that all hope is found in You alone. 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