Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

I tell myself, you can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, CEB)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

Seemingly small things seek to steal our peace and keep our hearts from finding rest if we allow the challenges before us to determine our state of being. God is good and brings blessings in the midst of our challenges, we need only open our eyes and hearts to be aware of His goodness toward us. As we recognize how He is moving on our behalf, despite difficulties we face, we can relax and rest in God. When things are most challenging, we need to remind ourselves to rest in He who grants us peace. May we ever seek the Lord to soothe our souls, for He is always good.

 

Return to your rest, Our Map and Our Guide

O chaotic soul;

For God is our peace,

The One who makes whole.

He is always good,

Grants blessings and peace;

As we turn to Him,

His rest He’ll release.

Blessings He pours out,

Through His loving grace;

So let us seek Him,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our rest comes from You. Thank You that You shower us with Your blessings because You are good. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate whether or not we find rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find rest in You no matter what we are walking through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends peace and rest to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we return to Your rest and give You thanks for Your overwhelming goodness. 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

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Our Thoughts Control Our Life

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

The thoughts we hold in our heart determine the direction that we take in life. If we hold onto negativity or fear or frustration, each step that we take is weighed down by the heaviness we are holding. However, if we guard our hearts and listen and trust in His word of truth, our burdens lessen and we are better able to stay the course to which we have been called. Obstacles will always stand before us, yet if we move forward with our eyes open and our hearts fixed on He who is greater, the challenges will not determine our direction; the path that has already been presented will continue to propel us to progress in the life to which we are being led. May we ever guard our hearts and minds, fixing all securely on our Savior; for in Him, we find safe harbor and a course that has been set for us to successfully navigate with Him.

 

Let us guard our hearts,

dsc04505_15206094506862101700142.jpg

photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Above other things;

For the thoughts we think,

Impact our blessings.

As we are weighed down,

Fixed on weight we bear;

We miss so much good,

That God has to share.

Protect heart and mind,

For good things shall come;

Our path is made plain,

When we seek the Son.

The blessings in life,

All good things that flow;

Are from God to us,

As we seek to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we guard our hearts and place our trust in You, You lead us on a course that is far greater than we could have hoped or imagined. Thank You that though trials and difficulties will come, as we fix our eyes on You, rather than the challenge, You lead us on and carry us through. Forgive us for not guarding our hearts from the heaviness that life can bring. Teach us to trust You more, so that we do not get weighed down by the difficulties and instead rise up in Your strength to press on. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend Your goodness, strength and grace to help others navigate the course to which You are calling them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and fix our eyes on You; for with You, good and noble things light the path to which we are called to walk.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

The Foundation of Wisdom

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. – (Proverbs 9:10, NLT)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, CEB)

 

The sort of fear that comes from respect and reverence for our Redeemer is the very space that results in real understanding as to who God is and how He loves. As we grow in our understanding, wisdom weaves its way into our hearts. To know God, one cannot help but stand in awe and wonder as to who He is and how He loves, in spite of who we are and all that we have done. Growing up, I had a healthy fear of my mom, not because she was scary or unkind, but rather because I wanted to do well and please her, as she did so much for me. It is much the same with God. Though He has the power to determine the number of my days, He is a loving God and the fear that leads to wisdom, is more one of recognizing who He is and how One so incredible could care for individuals among the billions alive on the earth. I want to choose well and be wise because He has chosen me. May we ever seek to know the Lord with proper awe and reverence, so that we may find wisdom to walk in His ways.

 

The fear of the Lord, Refreshment Through Repentance

Is where wisdom’s found;

True knowledge of Him,

Leads to choices, sound.

Real understanding,

From the Holy One;

Is granted by grace,

As we seek the Son.

Help us choose be wise,

With respect and fear;

Trust the Holy One,

For He will draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we fear and revere You, You reveal more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that the more that we know You, the better our understanding becomes to make wise decisions. Forgive us for not giving You the proper praise and awe that is due, and for not seeking to understand more of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever pursue Your will and Your way. Lead us to walk in wisdom according to Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates respect and reverence for You, and inspires good judgment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom with reverent hearts, desiring to do Your will throughout our days. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Trust His Will

But then again, if God is in this, you won’t be able to stop it – unless, of course, you’re ready to fight against God! – (Acts 5:39, VOICE)

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be fighting against God Himself! – (Acts 5:39, ERV)

 

Just as the religious counsel recognized that though they did not like the path the disciples were taking, they really needed to wait and see what was to happen. If it fizzled, it was of human origin, yet if it continued, they would have been opposing God. The same often holds true today. We see friends or family following a path that might not make sense to us, however, they feel it is where the Lord is leading them. Rather than oppose them, we ought to prayerfully support their endeavors, and ask that the Lord continue to show them the way they are meant to go. Our opposition may be in direct violation of God’s will. We are not God, nor can we determine His will for another man’s life. May we be wise with our counsel and encouraging with our words, so that whatever we do, our words and deeds direct those who are seeking unto the Lord.

 

The path of a man,given-to-show-goodness

Is paved by the Lord;

He’ll show us the way,

As He opens doors.

Although to others,

It might not make sense;

We’re meant to follow,

Trust there’s no pretense.

Though we may not see,

Where other’s paths lead;

We need trust God’s will,

It’s how to proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your will for us is good. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that we are all designed differently to walk the road that You have laid out for us, individually. Thank You that You equip and empower us for whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for questioning the call that You have on our lives or the lives of those around us, despite what our human eyes can see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait in trust, knowing that You move in mysterious ways, even when we cannot see how You are moving. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they seek to be obedient to that which they have been called to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

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

Wisdom With Friends

Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble. – (Proverbs 13:20, ERV)

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. – (Proverbs 13:20, MSG)

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)

 

The company we keep matters. Those whom we spend the most time with, have the loudest voice in our lives. Are the words spoken by those around us encouraging and uplifting, ever willing to speak truth in love? Though we cannot control what others say and do, we can choose the people that we make a priority in our lives. Additionally, we can determine the influence that we have on those around us. When we walk in wisdom and truth, we are providing a path to peace. May we seek to spend time with those who are wise, rather than making friends with fools; and may we be friends who walk in wisdom and lift up all who surround us.

 

Help me be a friend,Wisdom With Friends

Who’s wise in my ways;

An encouragement,

To others, always.

A fool for a friend,

Is cause for alarm;

For such company,

Will only bring harm.

So choose well your friends,

Opt walk with the wise;

Growing in wisdom,

Purpose realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us and give us direction as to what is best for us. Thank You that You remind us that the company we keep matters. Thank You that not only do those we choose to spend time with have influence on us, but we do on them as well. Forgive us for either choosing poorly, or for being foolish as friends. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to show us whom we are meant to spend time with, and that all wisdom comes from You. Grant us Your wisdom, so that we may love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we first seek You for all wisdom and listen to You for direction in our friendships, so that above all, You may be praised. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

Let Love Prevail

And do everything with love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NLT)

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, ERV)

Love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, MSG)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians is a call that is still asked of us today. Now, more than ever, we need to operate out of a place that is motivated by love. If love alone were to determine what we do and say, imagine how much gentler and kinder our surroundings would become. This should not merely be something to imagine, rather it needs to be something that we bring to fruition. It begins with a choice. One word. One deed. One intentional action motivated by love, rather than by selfishness. As we operate out of selflessness, and choose to see the needs of others first, the atmosphere of an area begins to change. Kindness is contagious, and love extended, often comes back in a gentle return. May we choose to do everything in love, for His love shall prevail in our lives, our words and our actions, as we seek the Lord to direct our steps.

 

May all that we do,Faith and Hope in Action

Be done with His love;

There’s nothing greater,

To help overcome.

So let love prevail,

In life, word and deed;

Love without stopping,

Help give where there’s need.

In places of hurt,

Still governed by pain;

Gently extend love,

So they’ll rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as we are loved by You. Thank You that You love us without ceasing. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for withholding love or for placing conditions on who, when or where we choose to give love. Teach us to trust You more, as You ask us to love without stopping, just as You love us. Show us how to love those around us with our life, words and actions, so that they may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to let love prevail in our lives, words and deeds. Amen.

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

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

Joyful in Hope

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. – (Psalm 146:5-6, NLT)

 

When we know God and place our hope in He who is faithful forever, there is an undeniable joy that wells up within us; not because everything around us is always amazing, but He who is in us, is trustworthy and proves faithful. In Christ, we have hope and help, regardless of what surrounds us. He who made the heavens and the earth, knows our needs and is willing and able to meet us in our lack and provide the help and the strength that is required to continue moving forward. All that the Lord has promised, He is faithful to fulfill. May we trust in the Lord who keeps His promises forever, and gives us hope to navigate each new day.

 

The Lord, our great God,Aquiring Armor

Maker of all things;

Is our hope and help,

And why our hearts sing.

He keeps each promise,

Today and always;

He’s why joy shall rise,

Even on bad days.

Because He is good,

Forever faithful;

We’re able to trust,

From hearts made joyful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You who created the earth, the sea, and everything in them, are concerned about us, individually. Thank You that You keep Your every promise forever. Thank You for the joy that is found in knowing that You are for us. Forgive us for allowing the weight of that which comes against us or surrounds us to determine our outlook, rather than trust You with all of our days. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, so that we would be aware of the hope and joy that we have in You, regardless of what comes against us. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see Your joy and faithfulness through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You; for You are faithful forever. 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

Above All, Guard Your Heart

More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, CEB)

Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TLB)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

 

We are called to prioritize protecting the place within us that dictates the things that we do. Our mind, heart and affection all influence our decisions, and if we do not guard these things, the life that is meant to flow from us, will fall flat. As we determine to walk in His way and seek to obey, we cannot help but exude His light and life as we go about our day. May we above all else, guard our hearts, so that what flows from us leads to life in Christ.

 

More than anything,Confidence in Christ

Let us choose to guard;

Our hearts and our minds,

From becoming scarred.

For as we seek Him,

He protects our minds;

And everything else,

His power can bind.

So, let His light shine,

In all that we do;

Protect heart and mind,

And to Christ stay true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and Your strength, You give us what we need to protect our mind, heart and affection. Thank You that through protecting these, everything else in our lives is protected too. Forgive us for neglecting to be vigilant in guarding our hearts and minds. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, to show us what is acceptable to allow in, and what we need to avoid. Show us how to love others in such a way, that Your loving kindness freely flows from us so that they may come to understand Your goodness and grace. May many come to a place of choosing to walk with You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to protect our minds, hearts and affections. Amen.

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

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