Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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

Give Thanks for the Love that Lasts

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 107:1, NLT)

Say thank you to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. – (Psalm 107:1, TLB)

Oh, thank God – He’s so good! His love never runs out. – (Psalm 107:1, MSG)

Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good and His loyal love lasts forever. – (Psalm 107:1, VOICE)

 

This verse is a two-fold reminder. First, it helps us remember Who is always good and loving, and consequently, it ought to serve as a reminder that people, despite having the best of intentions, are not. In our frail humanity, we are bound to do or say things that hurt others. God, however, in His infinite goodness, never runs out of love for us. If we look to people to be our source of love and light, we will end up disappointed and hurting; yet if we seek the Lord and His unending love, we will not be wounded nor left wondering how He feels about us. May we give thanks to God for His unending love, and ever turn to Him first for love and acceptance.

 

All thanks be to God,Give Thanks for the Love that Lasts

For His love and grace;

It is eternal,

In every way.

Let us ever seek,

The Lord first for love;

As it shall endure,

Our hope from above.

When we come to know,

This love that is good;

We choose trust in Him,

Give grace where we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Forgive us for looking for validation through people, rather than through the eyes and heart of our Creator. Teach us to trust You and Your love for us, so that we would be confident in our value in You, rather than what we think others see. Show us how to love and value others in a way that pleases You and makes people aware of their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your goodness and Your lasting loyal love. 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

Even Greater Things

You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again! – (Psalm 71:21, ERV)

 

Yesterday, I participated in my first Tactical Strength Challenge. A TSC is a three-event competition that tests brut strength on the deadlift, muscular control on the pull up/chin hang, and lastly, muscular endurance with the five-minute kettlebell snatch test. The entire event was an incredible experience, as each competitor, officiant and spectator was positive and encouraging to all others. After months of training, I was hopeful to accomplish personal records in each event, as I felt ready. Sadly, on my third deadlift, I somehow injured my back as I was attempting to pull 300 pounds.  The pain impacted how I did on the bar hang, as I did not do as well as I had hoped. However, my teammates did amazing things, and the excitement of their success was a great encouragement and comfort to me. Somehow, on the final event, His strength was granted and I did PR on my kettlebell snatch test, in spite of how my back was feeling. This morning, as I ice the injury, I am encouraged and comforted through both reading the Psalms and reflecting on all that God has done. He has done great things in me and my teammates, and greater things are yet to come. His comfort is with me, and last evening I was receiving text messages from each of these friends who have become family, offering to help if there was anything that I might need. I love how God uses everything that we do and all that we go through, to encourage us and deepen our circles of community. He is always good. May we invest well in His word and His created, for loving Him and loving people are where all good is found.

 

Do not be troubled,IMG_2174

When things go awry;

For greater shall come,

Continue to try.

Let not a setback,

Turn our hearts away;

Instead seek the Lord,

For His strength each day.

He is our comfort,

No matter what comes;

Don‘t let a struggle,

Mean your story’s done.

Press into the truth,

Where comfort is found;

Rise up and press on,

For His grace abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our comfort, and that You grant us strength and hope. Thank You that regardless of what happens today, You give us new grace and strength for what shall follow. Thank You that You create us for community, and for the blessing of people that You place in our lives. I am overwhelmed by not only the people with whom I train, but by other dear friends that knew what I was doing who checked in to see how it went. Thank You for blessing me with such an amazing circle. Forgive us for doubting You when we feel disappointed or defeated, and teach us to rise up and trust in You. Show us how to lean into You to receive the comfort and grace that You give, that renews our strength and propels us to persevere. Lead us to love others in such a way that we might be a comfort and encouragement to them, just as You are to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our help and our comfort. 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

Appealing for Approval

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

When we try to win the approval of men, we eventually end up disappointed. However, if we are seeking God’s approval, our goal shall be accomplished simply in the seeking. God does not expect us to get it all right, rather He asks that we seek Him whole-heartedly, and live a life in pursuit of Him and His will for our lives. His grace greets us where we fall short, and His love leads us along the path that He has prepared for us. In Christ, even our disappointments can become appointments that are used for His glory. Where we have failed or life has knocked us down, may be the very places that God is preparing us to encourage another in the same position. In Christ, all things can be worked together for the good of those who love Him. May we spend our days seeking the Lord and serving Him, rather than concerning ourselves with capturing the attention or affection of those around us.

 

Seek not approval,Appealing for Approval

the pleasing of men;

the search is fruitless,

and it never ends.

Rather seek the Lord,

with a heart to serve;

His grace abundant,

and love undeserved.

The Lord, He approves,

the moment we seek;

though we come weary,

scarred, broken and weak.

His arms open wide,

He turns lives around;

beauty for ashes,

the lost become found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we are meant to serve You. Thank You that when we seek You, You are pleased, and You love us as we come. Thank You that even our brokenness can become blessings when placed in Your hands, as You often use what we see as ugliness or weakness as opportunity to encourage another in a similar space. Forgive us for trying to please people rather than You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times. Help us to find our identity and value in You alone. Lead us to love others unhindered by our own scars, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve You with all that we are. 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