The Skies Speak of His Splendor

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Some of the many blessings found in living in the Pacific Northwest, include the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges out in plain sight, the glistening waters of the Puget Sound, and the plentiful places of green found in the woods, as the forests and parks are still abundant in our area. Each time I catch a sunrise making its debut over Mt. Rainier as I drive into work, I am reminded of the incredible work of God’s hands that are all around me. In the evening, as the sun fades in a flame of orange against the purple sky atop the waters of the Sound, and the first stars begin to make their appearance, the tale of God’s glory is being told. Reminders of His goodness and glory are all around us, as is the evidence of His intentional and overwhelming love. May we take the time to recognize the tale of God’s splendor being told and give Him all thanks and praise for the goodness of His love.

 

The heavens declare, Breaking Free from Barriers

The glory of God;

Announcing His work,

Worthy of applaud.

The sun and the moon,

The stars in the sky;

Hand-crafted in love,

As each testify.

They show God’s glory,

The work of His hands;

Hand-crafted in love,

So we’d understand.

All of creation,

And all that draws breath;

Made by the Father,

To bring life from death.

Let’s look all around,

See with heart and eyes;

Beauty created,

Glory recognized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the beauty You have created all around us declares Your glory and the work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking pause to stand in awe of all that You have made, as Your craftsmanship tells the story of Your incredible love and intentional design for each one of us. Teach us to slow down and appreciate the work of Your hands, as the beauty of Your creation is all around us. Show us how to love and encourage those with whom we interact, so that they too, may come to understand the purpose and precision with which they were created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the incredible work of Your hands that is all around us and in each one of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Promise to Save

“For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, NLT)

I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, CEB)

For I am with you to save you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, ESV)

 

When I am with people and my mind is occupied, I am in a reasonably good space, considering I am not allowed to do the very things I long to do the most. However, in the quiet moments, when I am alone, I find fear and anxiety try to find a foothold, as I become acutely aware of my own mortality and the potentially ticking time bomb that is currently calling a vein deep in my calf, home. I know that not one of us knows the number of our days, nor have we been given any sort of guarantee nor shelf life. However, I do know that this verse in Jeremiah is a great reminder this morning, as God is with me, and He will save me from this season in His time. For whatever reason, it is a road that I have to currently walk. I do not know if it is to learn patience, perseverance, or to simply be shown in an even greater capacity, how He remains present through all things. Whatever the reason, I will keep fixing my eyes on the reality that He is with me and that He is present to save. May we set our hearts and minds on the truth and trust in the Lord who is mighty to save.

 

Allow not the fear, Ready to Rescue

To find a way in;

For God is present,

He fights from within.

Ready to rescue,

The Lord’s ever near;

Let anxiousness go,

As He calms all fear.

Rise up in His strength,

Keep moving, be brave;

For God is with us,

He’s mighty to save.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and You save us. Thank You that Your presence preserves and strengthens us as we keep pressing forward. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety over the unknown, as lack of faith fuels these things. Teach us to trust You more, for You have promised to be with us, always. Show us how to hold fast to Your promised presence, so that we will walk boldly into all that You ask of us. Lead us to love others in Your strength, so that we would encourage and support those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and Your promise to save. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

His Peace to Pass On

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know the plans I have in mind for you,” declares the Lord; “They are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, CEB)

 

In my personal life, I have watched as God has brought beauty from ashes and is leading me forward into so much good. My hope is secure and I know He has my future in His hands. However, professionally, it is difficult to see the future and hope that lies before us, considering the direction that education seems to be going. With school shootings and violence on the rise, and fear among students, staff and families elevating at an equally alarming rate, I have to look at the promise presented in God’s word and trust that it is true, even when I cannot see His hand at work. His plans are for peace and not disaster… The same God who set captives free, parted the Red Sea, healed the blind, the broken and raised the dead, can meet us where we are in our current mess and bring peace and hope for the future. May we set our eyes on the One who is our solution and seek His peace to pass on to those around us.

 

The plans of the Lord, Quiet Hope

Are always for good;

To grant future hope,

His grace understood.

He does not plan harm,

Though bad’s in the world;

He has overcome,

Hope He shall instill.

So, look to the Lord,

Where our hope is found;

Seek His direction,

For the path that’s sound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for us that grant us a future and a hope. Thank You that Your plans are for peace, not disaster, despite what we see around us. Forgive us for allowing what we see with human eyes to dictate how much hope we permit our hearts to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to Your promise of plans for peace that give us a future filled with hope. Show us how to love others in a way that extends hope and promotes peace in places where chaos seems to reign. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your plans because You are always good. 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

Made New By Mercy

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, NLT)

He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – (Titus 3:5, ERV)

 

I am so grateful that salvation is based on God’s goodness, not ours. His mercy declares us forgiven and grants us the desire to do His will, not the other way around. It is far too easy to get caught up in the “enough” mindset. Thankfully, in Christ, we are enough. It has nothing to do with what we do or do not do, but rather in Whom we place our trust. May we embrace the grace that God freely gives to all who call on His Name, and receive the new life His Spirit brings so that we may move forward in faith.

 

Because of mercy, Rise Again

In Christ we are free;

We need only come,

Let go, trust in Thee.

Embrace the Lord’s grace,

For He freely gives;

All who seek His face,

Gain new life to live.

It’s not what we do,

But rather our trust;

That shows us His grace,

As He lifts us up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that saves us. Thank You that it is Your mercy, not our works that make us new by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You receive all who earnestly seek Your face. Forgive us for not trusting that Your grace is enough, and somehow thinking that we must earn it. Teach us to trust You completely so that our motivation for all that we do will be to please and honor You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and mercy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and give You praise for Your incredible grace. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Our Strength and Our Rescue

“They will fight against you but not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 1:19, NIV)

“They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken! – (Jeremiah 1:19, NLT)

Eventually, they will all give you trouble, but you will be safe. They will fight you, but they will not win. Remember, I am with you. I promise I will always deliver you. – (Jeremiah 1:19, VOICE)

 

Though these words were spoken by God to Jeremiah in a time of great turmoil, His promise still remains true for all who trust in Him. Trouble and trials will come our way, as it is part of living in a broken world. However, the Lord will be with us and will care for us, and will not allow us to be overcome if we place our trust in Him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so His word remains steadfast and secure. May we seek the Lord and place our trust in Him, knowing that He will be with us and will care for us in all things and at all times.

 

Opposition comes,Seeking Solace in the Storm

Fear not, it will fail;

When we trust in God,

His strength shall prevail.

For the Lord is good,

His promises true;

He will keep us close,

And carry us through.

Let all that draws breath,

Seek God and give praise;

For His faithfulness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and place our trust in You, You take care of us and rescue us from falling in the fight. Thank You that You are our strength and our supply, and that You promise to remain present as You walk us through whatever comes our way. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength and security when struggles come. Teach us to turn and trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with the faithfulness and endurance that You give to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and our rescue in the midst of life’s storms. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Commanded to Love

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NLT)

 

We are not only called to love one another; it is a command. If love were merely a feeling, it would not be something required of us. However, love is a choice. No matter how we feel, we must intentionally choose to love, even when it is difficult – for this is what God declares His disciples (all who faithfully follow Him) are to do. There is no better time than now to choose to love those around us. We do not have to share the same opinions, thought patterns, philosophies, political views, or even the same faith, to choose to love one another. As opinions contrary to our own fly, let us love anyway. When tempers flare, may we return gentleness and kindness in love. May we rise up and remember who has commanded us to love one another, and go forth in faithful obedience.

 

As we all gather,Enter With Thanksgiving

Join with love in mind;

It is our own choice,

To love and be kind.

For God does command,

Love one another;

Without conditions,

Sisters and brothers.

We are His children,

Created indeed;

May we view others,

As loved who have needs.

Despite what we get,

Let’s love anyway;

When we love as Christ,

Our grace shows the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not merely command us to love each other, but You sent Your Son to show us how to love, and to make the way for us to do so. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we can go and choose to love those around us. Forgive us for not choosing love, based on feelings or on what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend love according to Your will. Help us to love those who are difficult to love, so that they may experience Your loving kindness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others because we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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

Planned With Purpose

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)

 

When we are in the midst of a season of uncertainty, these words are part of God’s promise that we can cling to. Each of us were created with purpose, and He has plans that include a hope and a future for all who call on His Name. He will never leave us nor forsake us, even in the spaces that seem lost and alone. We can rest assured that God is near, and that He is moving on our behalf, even when it feels as if there is no way forward from where we are standing. The Lord knows our present position and knows where we will end up. The two are not the same. I am so grateful that despite what we see, our hope and future in Christ, is far better than wherever we are dwelling in the here and now. He leads us to places of rest when we are weary, and He equips us to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we are willing to walk by faith, rather than simply by sight. Let our hearts hold fast to the hope that we hold in He who has our future in His hands. His plans are good. He is present and has planted hopes and dreams in our hearts for a purpose.

 

For the Lord, He knows,Be Transformed 1

the plans that are held;

by the Lord Himself,

from whom fear‘s dispelled.

In Him, there’s no harm,

but rather a plan;

to grant us all hope,

for our whole lifespan.

His plan’s to prosper,

to grant us His good;

to lead and guide us,

where hope’s understood.

May we choose the Lord,

in each circumstance;

for He is our strength,

who loved in advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known the plans for our lives since before we were created. Thank You that Your plan for us is good, and it includes hope and a future. Thank You that no matter what we see in the here and now, You are present and You are at work on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what comes our way, we would cling to You and Your promises, trusting that regardless of what we see, our hope is held in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might discover the value they have, and that they were hand-crafted with a plan and a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans, despite what we see in the here and now. 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

To Trust Your Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11)

Though I know this verse well, and have had it memorized for years, it somehow sank in anew this morning. I think that when we are walking through trying seasons, it is good to be reminded that God knows His plans for our life, despite how things appear. No matter how difficult things may seem in the here and now, in Him, we have a hope and a future. His plans are to prosper us – to give us good things, not bad; plans for peace, not disaster; for well-being, not despair. We have a future and a hope that is held forever in Him. The part we must not forget, are the verses that follow the promise given in verse eleven.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. – (verses 12-14a)

Let us hold fast to the truth that the Lord has great plans for us. His plans give hope and a future. May we call on Him and pray to Him with our whole hearts, as we will be heard by our loving Lord, who is always available to us.

The plans of the Lord,Our Map and Our Guide

are faithful and true;

they are to prosper,

never to harm you.

A hope and future,

are held in God’s hands;

for all who choose seek,

so great are His plans.

We must choose to call,

come and humbly pray;

the Lord will listen,

grant faithful display.

We’ll seek and we’ll find,

when with our whole heart;

we pursue the Lord,

all hope He’ll impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have plans for us. Thank You that Your plans are good. Thank You that Your plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, that they include a hope and a future in You. Thank You that when we call on You and pray to You, You listen to us. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Forgive us for doubting Your plans for us when all seems to fall apart, or for failing to seek You when we are uncertain about what we are meant to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will pursue You and Your plans for our lives in all things and at all times, despite how things appear. Lead us to love others well, so that we may offer the sort of hope that points people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust Your plans for our future, and seek You with all that we are. 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

Priests to Serve

And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” – (Revelation 5:9-10)

 

As John was experiencing his revelation from God, I can only imagine the awe that unfolded as he watched Jesus receive the scroll, and recognize that He alone, was worthy to open it. More than that, what a treasured hope to behold the sight and sound of a choir filling the heavens, all praising God together, as all worshiped as one, from every tribe, language, people and nation. We, as believers, are being gathered unto Him, and being made priests to one day reign with Him. Our songs of praise have much to point out. He gave His life, bought ours with His, is calling us unto Him, is making us priests, and appointing us to reign on earth. May we live our lives from a posture of praise, and seek to honor Him, with all of our days.

 

He gave His life,The Scroll and the Seven Seals

so that we might find;

hope to behold,

and share with mankind.

The Lamb of God,

He’s worthy alone;

to open scrolls,

and sit on the throne.

He purchased men,

from every land;

paid with His life,

hope to understand.

Heaven declares,

together as one;

Christ is our hope,

defeat is now done.

Sing a new song,

all praise to the Lamb;

Who set us free,

with salvation’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all honor and praise, and that You are the One who is able to open the seals on the scrolls. Thank You that there is nothing too difficult for You, so we need not ever fear, for You are always with us. Thank You that You willingly laid down Your life for ours, so that we could have Your Spirit with us now, and dwell with You forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and for all that we say and do that does not bring praise unto You. Teach us to live with the sort of trust that radiates from our very being, so that all those around us cannot help but want to know what is different about us. May we be Your hands and heart to the world. Let those who are looking, be found in You. Be exalted O God, in our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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