Tag Archive: difficult


“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

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Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

My son(s), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – (Proverbs 2:1-11, NIV)

 

It is difficult to believe that today, sixteen years ago, my life was forever changed for the better. Thoug0119180406679500301.jpgh I knew what it was to love and be loved, I could not fully grasp the human heart’s capacity to love, cherish and protect, until my precious baby boys were born. There has been no greater joy than to watch them grow into the young men that they are becoming. Today’s reading is quite timely, as it is my prayer for them, as they continue to grow in faith and pursue wisdom and walk in His ways. The older this delightful duo becomes, the more I have to let go and trust them to follow and seek and choose wisely. May we all continue the pursuit of understanding the Lord and seeking His wisdom, and may His protection be ever present as we pursue the path He places before us.

 

 

My sons, this I pray, 12141718251901389040.jpg

That you seek to know;

The wisdom of God,

Each day, may it grow.

For where you choose seek,

And ask of the Lord;

He will grant insight,

You’ll not be ignored.

He’s always faithful,

As we trust each day;

Seek Him for answers,

He’ll show you the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my precious progeny. Not only was I blessed with one son, but with two! Thank You for the tender hearts and loving ways that You have instilled in each of them. May they ever pursue the path that You have placed before them. Protect them each and every moment of every day, I pray. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, as You are always faithful to answer when we seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would understand what is just and fair, and follow Your good path. Lead us to love those around us in a way that shines Your light in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom and understanding all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? – (1 John 4:20, MSG)

 

This is a place where we have to remember that love is not a feeling, but rather it is a decision that we make. For some, the choice to love is easy, as the love that we give is returned. However, for others, the hurt they carry, or the burdens they are bearing, can at times, make some people very difficult to decide to love. An attitude of kindness and grace, extended in the same love that we have been given by God, is a choice that we make in His strength, not our own. Though not one of us gets it perfect all of the time, I find that the more I choose to love, even those whom are the most difficult to love, the more I see the hand of God move in both my heart and that of the one whom I choose to love anyway. Sometimes, we see healing and restoration in remarkable ways, just because of our decision to do the very thing to which we are called. Yet, there are times, that we see little change, and have to hold hope that God is moving, even when we cannot see. May we go forth this day and choose to love others because we love the One who is love.

 

It’s impossible, Love Made Known

To truly love God;

If we’re holding hate,

For our own home squad.

We can’t love unseen,

If our hearts won’t choose;

To love each other,

The ones in plain view.

Love’s not what we feel,

But rather a choice;

God grants us the strength,

As we hear His voice.

So let us choose love,

Give kindness and grace;

The Lord will supply,

What we need each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others, just as we are called to love You. Thank You that You grant us the strength that we need to choose to love those around us if we look to You to be our Source. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love those whom we can see, and yet claimed to love You, whom we cannot. Teach us to love everyone according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to extend kindness and grace to those who need it most, even when it is difficult to choose to do so. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those we see, just as we love You, whom we cannot. 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

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

 

It is amazing how this applies to every area of our lives – the things hoped for, the dreams being pursued, and often in our daily devotion to what needs to be done. I appreciate how The Message phrases the verse best, as it reminds us that in the wait, we are often still very actively engaged in whatever we are working towards, yet we need to remember our Source of strength and hope, light and life. Even when things are difficult, (which most things that are worthwhile do indeed require hard work) we must take heart, dig deep and press on. God will supply the strength that we need as it is needed, we ought only continue in the direction to which we are called, and take courage in knowing Who is both with us and for us. For me, I was reminded again of how this applies in a dream being pursued, as we began to walk through plays at football practice. At first, it seemed a bit mind-boggling and overwhelming, but with persistence and commitment to continue, and trust in He who gives me strength, things began to make sense. Though I know there is much to learn, I can take heart in knowing that the courage and strength I need will be supplied as I continue to trust in the Source.  In all things, may we take heart and press on, trusting the Lord to provide the strength and courage that we need to do all that we are called to do, now and forevermore.

 

Be brave, have courage, Courage to Continue

Choose wait on the Lord;

He’s our source of help,

All grace He affords.

Take heart and don’t quit,

Don’t ever give up;

For God is our strength,

Filler of our cup.

Have faith, He will hear,

Each cry of the heart;

As we ask for help,

His strength He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage, help and hope, no matter what our situation or circumstances. Thank You that You care about the things that matter to our hearts. Thank You that no hope nor dream goes unnoticed by You. Forgive us for thinking that the desires of our heart don’t matter. Teach us to trust You with all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives strength and courage, so others too, take heart and continue to pursue that which pulls upon their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay with You and trust You to answer and be present in all things, as You are our source of all that we need. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TPT)

 

Despite what we go through or the struggles we face, we always have reason to give thanks. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is found in the hope that we know in Christ. As we walk this out tangibly, with His grace, our very lives become a prayer of praise in recognition of God’s goodness for all of our days. This is not to say that our days will be easy or free from trials, but rather as we continue to move in the direction to which we are called, we find faith and trust in knowing where our strength, help and hope come from. God is good, and the more we give Him thanks in all things, the more we discover His joy is present, even when life is difficult. May we never stop praying nor giving praise, for this is the life to which we have been called for all of our days.

 

Never stop praying,Be Full of Joy

Let joy lead the way;

All thanks be to God,

For help, strength and grace.

No matter what comes,

There’s reason to praise;

For God is our hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Despite what we see,

He has a great plan;

His love, unending,

Grace to firmly stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we always have joy deep within us through the hope we have in You. Thank You that as we pray and give You all gratitude, our very life is like a prayer before You as You lead us to walk out Your will. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy, or for looking for answers anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth we know, and would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others and spread the joy that You have given to us, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose joy and make our very lives a prayer as we give You all praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

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