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

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Renewed Hope and Cheer

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, TLB)

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight. – (Psalm 94:19, TPT)

 

Just yesterday, this verse was demonstrated in a tangible way. My fiancé and I had made an offer on a house, and we were eagerly awaiting an answer. Additionally, it was the first day of state testing for my students, and the group I was to test is my most energetic group of sixth graders. I had concerns going in, as they struggle to stay on task during our usual 90-minute block class, despite the break that is given in the middle. For testing, I was scheduled to have these kiddos for a three-hour block until lunch. Between technology difficulties and an extremely rigorous test, we ended up with our same group of test-takers until the end of the school day. All but one of my cherubs had completed the assessment by the conclusion of seventh period, and it was implied that we would go on to eighth period to end the day. For whatever reason, that did not happen, and we ended up in staying together in my shrinking classroom for the final 45-minute period of the day as well. There was a bit of turmoil for all of us, yet after a short time, we all settled in and made the best of the down time. It provided room for each to decompress without academic expectations and I was pleased with the smiles and giggles around the room as kids colored, visited, played games, and some even sat in the sunshine right outside of my classroom door. Additionally, I received a text from my fiancé telling me that our offer had been accepted and we officially had acquired our new home. Comfort, hope and cheer were supplied in the midst of far too many busy thoughts. God is good, and He quiets us when our hearts are in turmoil and grants us renewed hope and cheer. May we ever seek Him when doubts fill our minds, for He is our comfort and conductor of cheer.

 

When my mind races,

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Our new home! ❤

And doubts enter in;

You bring me comfort,

Show me hope again.

Within my turmoil,

You come with Your peace;

Your presence brings calm,

As Your good’s released.

You still busy thoughts,

In love, You draw near;

You delight my heart,

As hope brings great cheer.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when things get hectic or chaotic and begin to cause our hearts to doubt, You bring Your comfort as You quiet our hearts and renew our hope and cheer. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us and steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You provide all that we need no matter what lies before us. Show us how to love well so that we may offer comfort, hope and cheer to those struggling with their own busy thoughts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your faithfulness to meet us in our moments of mayhem and bring Your calm as You renew our hope and cheer. 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

Hope Deferred and Dreams Fulfilled

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. – (Proverbs 13:12, NLT)

Hope that is delayed makes you sad, but a wish that comes true fills you with joy. – (Proverbs 13:12, ERV)

Hope delayed makes the heart sick; longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – (Proverbs 13:12, CEB)

 

Hope is a powerful thing, as it reminds our hearts that things will turn out for the best. When something comes along and interrupts our hope, the heaviness that hangs in our hearts can make us feel sad to the point of sickness. However, just the opposite is true when we delight in a dream fulfilled. The joy that floods our hearts makes hope soar as we witness what we’ve longed for come to fruition. Presently, I am in a paradoxical position. One hope that I was holding was dolefully dashed yesterday, yet daily, I am in the midst of walking out a dream being fulfilled and am experiencing joy and blessings that my heart has not known before. God is good, even so, and we have to recognize that He can use both the hopes dashed and dreams fulfilled to bless and encourage those around us as we walk forward in faith, trusting in His goodness. May we rise up in assurance, holding fast to the One in whom all hope dwells, as He is the fulfiller of dreams and granter of joy.

 

When hope is deferred,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Heaviness does dwell;

For dreams that are dashed,

Make the heart unwell.

Yet, dreams that come true,

Bring life and great joy;

Our longings fulfilled,

New faith to employ.

Both dashed dreams and joy,

Are places for good;

For His love’s made known,

His peace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us when hopes are dashed and when dreams are fulfilled. Thank You that Your grace and love remain with us through it all. Thank You that You can use both to bless and encourage those around us, as our story is an opportunity to demonstrate Your faithfulness. Forgive us for allowing the heaviness of our disappointment in a hope deferred to weigh us down too long. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would grieve our loss and seek comfort in You. Show us how to encourage those in a space of deferred hope, so that they may see fulfillment in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the One who truly fills our hearts with joy as the granter of new life. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You, no matter what comes and goes around us. Amen.

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

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

Blessing Beyond the Valley

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – (Psalm 84:6a, ERV)

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. – (Psalm 84:6a, TPT)

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! – (Psalm 84:6, TLB)

 

The Valley of Weeping is a space I avoid like the plague. I fight and fend off the opportunity for ocular malfunction as if my life depended on it, until I can fight no more. Eventually, the dam breaks and I must succumb to whatever is weighing heavily on my heart. Incredibly, God meets me where I am, and provides comfort and refreshment in ways that go beyond what I would hope or imagine. My most recent source of sorrow has been wrapped up in the injury to my leg and that which it is preventing me from safely doing. The biggest disappointment came when it was determined that it would be dangerous for me to fly to Utah with my team for the game this weekend against our toughest opponent. It was a double hit, as not only did I want to be present to support my team, but I have dearly loved family that live in the same city that I was looking forward to seeing. God in His loving kindness, has blessed me with a man who treasures me and lovingly holds my heart. When he realized how hard this loss was going to be for me, he stepped in and planned a weekend escape to the coast for us. My heart could not have been held more tenderly. The ocean is my sacred space, and there is no place on earth that I feel more at peace nor am as deeply in awe of our Creator, as when I set foot on the sand and watch the waves crash before me.  God knew what I needed and He blessed me with one who loves me as I was designed to be loved. May we ever hold fast to our hope in the Lord through our valleys, for even in our sorrows and disappointments, He makes way to bless our hearts and bring refreshment to remind us of His nearness and care for us, individually.

 

In valleys of tears, wp-15237115979951399911556.jpg

Do not be afraid;

God sees and He hears,

Beside us, He’ll stay.

Where sorrow once reigned,

Refreshment will come;

His presence remains,

’til each day is done.

The place that was dark,

Shall soon see His light;

His love will set spark,

As blessings delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You walk beside us through our valleys, and You bring blessing and refreshment where there has been sorrow and pain. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the darkness that lies before us, rather than the light that You ignite within. Teach us to trust You more when we are in the valleys, as You are always faithful to remain present. Thank You that You bring blessing and refreshment out of spaces where sorrow once reigned. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses and refreshes and holds up those who feel stuck in valleys. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your refreshment and give You praise for all of our days for Your faithful presence, always. Amen.

 

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Love Endures

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NLT)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best in others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

The longer I am a parent, the more abundantly I become aware of our Heavenly Father’s heart for us. Each attribute of love mentioned in these two verses, really resonate from a parental perspective. I delight in truth winning out in the lives of my children. I will never give up, never lose faith, will always be hopeful, and will endure through every circumstance to be present and love my children well. Loving this way is present with those nearest my heart also. God uses the tangible around us to make His heart for us known. The love we have for those closest to us, pales in comparison to that which He has for us. My heart is full to overflowing for those whom He has gifted me, therefore how much more ought my heart hold for He who has given me life and love from the start? May we ever rejoice in the truth as we always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

 

Love does not delight, Love Made Known

In things that go wrong;

But celebrates truth,

Rejoices in song.

Love always protects,

Trusts our hope secure;

Always keeps up faith,

Chooses persevere.

Love is a shelter,

Where we rest assured;

Where hope never ends,

As God’s love endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins out. Thank You that love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance that we will ever face. Thank You that You are with us in all things as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing our perspective of love to become tainted by human understanding, rather than relying on You, the author and creator of love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to protect, trust, hope and persevere in love in a way that believes the best in others and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart to show us how to love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Pray Expectantly

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NLT)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Most mornings, I am up long before the sun has risen. This is a treasured time of solitude in the silent stillness, where I am able to invest time in His word and reflect on God’s goodness. Though I am spending this time intentionally, my prayers are fairly familiar each day, as my main request is to be equipped to love well. The Lord is faithful and kind, and grants far more patience than I would ever have on my own. However, I imagine there is far more that I ought to be asking for. There are dreams and desires that He has planted in my heart that lie dormant and hidden, rather than being placed on the altar with anticipation before Him – hopes of mighty movement in lives, circumstances, and things yet to come, that I need to present before Him and watch expectantly for Him to answer. God is faithful forever, if we only choose to come before Him in trust. May we begin each day presenting our praise and petitions before our faithful Father, and watch expectantly for Him to answer, as He always hears.

 

O Lord as I rise, Approaching the Throne of Grace

I come first to You;

With all that I am,

Trusting Your word’s true.

Listen for my voice,

At the dawn’s first light;

I know You’ll hear me,

In us, You delight.

I’ll offer requests,

And all of my praise;

Watching for answers,

You’re faithful always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You each morning and present our requests to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that we can pray anytime about anything, and You are available and willing to listen. Thank You that You long for us to be in communication with You. Forgive us for neglecting to bring forth the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, as You already know them anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for all things, and wait in expectation, knowing that You are moving on our behalf to bring answers. Guard our hearts from discouragement when answers do not come in the time frame we are hoping to see. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love and pray for those around us in meaningful and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our prayers and praise before You each morning, and wait expectantly for You to answer. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Practice As His Poetry

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

 

This week, I had the pleasure as a parent, of watching my children do some of what they were designed to do, as they each took part in their fall concert. Both boys have always loved music; it is part of their design. Watching my eldest (by one minute) sing with the concert choir, and his twin brother play the viola with the concert orchestra, filled my heart with joy. God has given each of us talents and gifts, dreams and desires – all of which can be used for His good. When we utilize what we’ve been given with gratitude, God receives the glory. As we seek Him and join our hearts with His, good works can come in every avenue of our lives. Encouragement, kindness, gratitude, generosity and love, all demonstrate His heart for people, and provide opportunity for those who may not know Him, to see the light of His goodness and grace through those around them. May we ever remember that we are God’s poetry, His very masterpiece – created to delight those around us by doing good.

 

For we have been made, Practice As His Poetry

To be who we are;

God’s own masterpiece,

To shine like the stars.

We’re meant to do good,

Fulfill what God planned;

Love as God loves us,

By His grace, choose stand.

Stand for the hurting,

Encourage, lift up;

Answer His calling,

In all things, choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose, and that You consider each of us Your poetry – Your masterpiece. Thank You that we have been designed to do good things that You planned for us long ago. Forgive us for not recognizing the masterpiece in others, or for choosing to walk away from the good to which we are called to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see all whom we encounter through Your eyes, and treat them accordingly. Help us to do good works and walk out our purpose in all that we do. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up all whom we encounter, so that Your light might shine bright before everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate who You are by being who You have made us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Show Us How to Love

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NLT)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

You should love Him, your true God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, VOICE)

 

As God was preparing the hearts of the Israelites to enter the promised land, one of the things that He made sure that Moses conveyed to the people was the importance of prioritizing the love of God in all things. The promise that follows verse five, explains the blessings that will come if loving God is the priority. Incredibly, the very same promises hold true today, as Jesus repeated the same message and added to it, the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves as well. If love directs and guides the decisions that we make, then we are far more likely to walk in the will of God. Not one of us has mastered loving God and loving people perfectly. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. However, the more we seek to love God and love people well, the more His heart is shown to those who need to see it most. May we ever delight in the Lord with our whole hearts, and pursue a life that loves Him and those around us well.

 

Let the love of God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Be what rules our hearts;

Mind, spirit and strength,

Completely, not part.

For as we choose love,

There’s blessing and grace;

To walk in His way,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose to love,

Both God and others;

With all that we are,

Sisters and brothers.

By the grace of God,

To love is a choice;

He grants strength and grace,

Listen to His voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only created us to love, but You call us to love as well. Thank You that as we choose to do that which we were made to do, we discover the blessings that You bestow by Your grace. Forgive us for not loving You or those around us with all that we are, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love us. Show us how to delight in You and those around us, so that the love You have given may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You with all of our heart, soul and strength, and trust You to help us love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Right Word at the Right Time

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

The right words at the right time are a gift from God that come when we are sensitive to His leading and choosing to love. There is joy in it for both the speaker and the hearer, and peace in knowing that what has been spoken has been done from a heart that has His very best in mind. So often, God will use those around us to convey that which He wants us to hear. A word of encouragement, correction, exhortation or affirmation – each is well received when it is delivered in love at the time that it is needed most. May we have hearts that are tender and ears that are open, so we are willing to speak what He places in our hearts, and hear that which is spoken for our benefit.

 

May we each find joy, Watching Our Words

In knowing what’s right;

Through words that we speak,

And hear with delight.

For God knows our need,

He longs to lift up;

Grant us words to speak,

That fill others cups.

And in the same way,

God gives unto us;

Words that encourage,

Hope when we’re hopeless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your heart in all that we do, You provide the answers that we seek. Thank You that You give us the right words to speak at the right time when we depend on You for wisdom. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or ignoring words of wisdom spoken unto us. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide the answers that we are seeking, if only we slow down and listen for Your voice. Show us how to love those around us well, and give us the words that encourage and build them up, and point them to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your voice and speak what You place on our hearts so that there may be joy in the answers that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people… – Psalm 85:8