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

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Grateful for the Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

God’s faithful love far exceeds the trials that we face. He is good all of the time, even when that which we endure is not. Yesterday, I had a health scare that led to a chain of events that had me spending some quality time in our local emergency room for an array of tests. Though I was alone, a sweet friend who is an administrator on staff spotted me in the waiting room and came over, sat down beside me, and just chatted with me for a few minutes. Her kindness was a sort of tangible reassurance that all would be okay. His peace was present as each assessment was run, and when I was done, a dear friend came and picked me up and took me to get lunch and my car, as I had been dropped off by a kind friend from work. His goodness and faithfulness continued to be made known to me as both my best friend and my fiancé had been in communication with me all throughout the day and continued into the evening. I am so grateful for His goodness and His love that lasts forever. May we ever remember that no matter what we face, God is always good and His faithful love will last forever.

 

Through good times and bad, When the Sun Shines In

Give thanks to the Lord;

He remains present,

And grace He affords.

By His faithful love,

Our hope is secure;

He gives us the strength,

To rise, persevere.

Let all that I am,

Make the choice to praise;

Not for what is seen,

But for all His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You meet us in our circumstances and continue to show us Your goodness, even when our situations are a struggle. Forgive us for not giving You thanks for Your nearness and goodness, or for forgetting that no matter how things seem now, they are only temporary compared to the eternity that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Nothing Without Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging symbol. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, NLT)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, ERV)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, MSG)

 

Yes, wisdom, knowledge and faith are all good things, but without love, they are nothing. Our first priority ought to be love. We are called to love God and love people. As we do both, we grow in wisdom, knowledge and faith. The choice to love, despite what we are given, opens our understanding, and shows us more of His heart for us. Often, as we make love our priority, God changes both the hearts of the recipients and the perspective of the giver. Love is patient and love is kind, and love always protects. The challenge is when we are caught in between caring for one and protecting many others. God is faithful and just, and I will trust that He will bring light where darkness is trying to reign, and that His love will lead the way. May we make love our priority in all things, so that every word and deed are shaped by His love.

 

Gifted with speaking, Faithful Obedience

Linguistic wisdom;

Is all meaningless,

If not done in love.

Wisdom and insight,

Vast understanding;

Along with great faith,

Less love, lack meaning.

So seek understand,

But let’s choose love first;

For that is how God,

Loves despite our worst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You call us to love. Thank You that love is unpacked for us further as we read on in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Forgive us for turning to wisdom or our own human understanding without love. Teach us to trust You more, so that love would lead us in all things. Show us how to love others as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. 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

How Darkness Disappears

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. – (John 1:4-5, NLT) 

In Him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. – (John 1:4-5, ERV) 

His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched. – (John 1:4-5, VOICE) 

 

The book of John begins with a reminder that Jesus was in the beginning, and the light that He brings cannot be extinguished. When we seek the Lord and His love, the light that He grows within us, cannot be burned out. Darkness disappears with even the smallest of lights. A small flame allows our eyes to see where previously nothing could be seen. The more we see and know, the more the light within us grows. May we ever seek the Lord and the light of His love, so that we may be light in darkness and shine where love is lacking. 

 

In the beginning, The Lord Listens

Was the Word with God; 

He became a man, 

And on the earth trod. 

Into the darkness, 

The Lord brought His light; 

To love us to life, 

And make all things right. 

When we seek the Lord, 

Allow His light in; 

Darkness disappears, 

And true love begins. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to shine light in the darkness and love us to life where we were dead. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces and teach us to trust You to shine in the places where we cannot see through the muck. Show us how to be light in darkness as we love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel the flames of the light that You breathed within us, so that we may go forth and shine bright in Your love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Let Our Love Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, ERV)

Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, MSG)

 

To give God thanks and praise is a natural and normal occurrence throughout my days. However, making proclamations verbally is not a normal part of my mode of operation. I tend to be on the quieter side, and go about my day doing what needs to be done. I give credit where credit is due, yet I do not make big announcements nor proclamations about anything. Daily, I write about His faithfulness in my life, and hope that His love is made evident through my actions. This is a verse that I wonder about, as I know we are each designed with different gifts and strengths. Perhaps it is in the quiet conversations between friends, when we reflect on the reason for the season, that our opportunities to share of His greatness and faithfulness in our own lives are the places that we are meant to speak of what He has done. May we ever give thanks to the Lord and call on His Name, and may we share of His goodness and grace when given the opportunity in word or deed.

 

Gracious Giving

All thanks be to God,

He’s faithful and good;

Choose call on His Name,

He’s hope understood.

In word and in deed,

Speak of what He’s done;

Proclaim His greatness,

The Most Holy One.

Oh Lord, let our lives,

Speak of what is true;

Of Your love and grace,

And faithfulness too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and faithful and that we can call on Your Name. Thank You for all that You have done. Forgive us for not sharing of Your faithfulness with those around us, as they too, need to know of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will depend on You for the words and ways to share Your goodness with those around us. Show us how to love others in a way that clearly communicates Your heart for people. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for all of our days, and share of Your goodness and grace with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Keep Me Close

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a season where so many facets of my life are new and unknown. As I tread into territory that I have never traversed before, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the certainty and security that I know in Christ. Much of the new that lies before me is exciting and holds great promise, yet without God, I would be in a constant state of overload in my own uncertainty as to how I need to navigate each next step as it arrives. In Christ, I can rest assured that He goes before me, remains with me, and will hold me up through each next step of this journey that is unfolding in front of me. My soul will ever cling to Christ, as He is where my hope and strength is found. May we ever stay close to the Lord, as He will uphold us with His mighty hand.

 

My soul clings to You, Healed Hands Reach Out

O Lord God above;

As You take my hand,

Uphold me in love.

As I cling to You,

My strength is assured;

For Your strong right hand,

Holds me up secure.

O Lord, in all things,

Keep me close to You;

No matter what comes,

Your grace sees me through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that no matter how uncertain things seem all around us, our hope in You is secure forever. Forgive us for allowing what we see before us to give fear or anxiety a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You in faith, knowing that You will hold us secure, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and builds others up, especially in the spaces where they feel the most uncertain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and praise You for holding us secure with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

Provided Time

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, MSG)

 

I absolutely believe this to be true for everything, except for grading papers. I loathe having to sit down for long stretches of time, especially on the weekends, to grade tests or papers when I could be out doing just about anything else on earth. However, yesterday, I learned that even so, there is a time and place for grading that is not nearly as painful, and it was provided. My boys were off to work at a collegiate football game until the wee hours of the morning, and my love and his son were heading to his friend’s auto shop up north to work on a car that they were being given, and I had been invited to tag along. After being warned ahead of time that there was little to do, I had determined to bring along tests that needed to be graded, with the hope that I might make a dent in my pile. The warning I had been given was true, as the shop was way out in the middle of nowhere, and there was nothing to keep me from focusing on grading. There was even a chair, a desk space and a portable heater, so I was set up for success from the start. Though I took a few stretch breaks and drove into town to pick up dinner for all of us, by the time we left, I had managed to grade all but three of the ninety tests that had been in my stack! It may seem like a small thing, but for me, it is huge. His provision of a time and place for me to accomplish what I would have otherwise avoided, is a reminder of His concern in even the minute details of our lives. He will provide a right time for everything if we are asking, and will make a way, even if we feel there is no way. May we ever seek the One who is faithful in all things forever.

 

For all things there’s time, Provided Time

A season for all;

God will make a way,

When on Him, we call.

Even in spaces,

That seem there’s no way;

In the Lord’s timing,

He’ll provide pathway.

Trust in His timing,

For God has a plan;

He knows all our needs,

By grace, understands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, there is a time for everything, and that You will make a way where there seems to be no way, as we turn in trust to You. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small and mundane details of our lives. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, even in the seemingly small or insignificant things. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to make Your presence known and help us in our need. Show us how to love others in a way that provides help and hope, even in the things that seem small and insignificant, as often those are the things that matter most to the individual. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as with give You glory for Your faithful provision in all things great and small. 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

Because Peace is Present

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)

Now brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, MSG)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Corinth applies to us today as well. When we choose joy, seek to grow, encourage others, and do what we can to live in harmony and peace with those around us, the love and peace of God seem to be ever-present. Each of the things that Paul mentioned are choices that we are able to make, despite our circumstances. Joy, growth, encouragement, peace, and harmony can be given and gained, even in the midst of personal difficulties. So often, when we choose these, our challenges become less and our strength and resolve become more. This is not to discredit the overwhelming obstacles that at times, lie directly before us; yet it is to remind us that our God is far greater, and when we choose to operate in the things of Him, that which is before us is less that He who is in us. May we choose joy and growth, encouraging one another in love. Let us live in harmony and peace with each other according to His will, and may we be ever aware of the love and peace found in the Lord’s presence, as He is faithful to be present with us for all of our days.

 

Brothers and sisters, Forgiveness is Free

Be joyful always;

Seek to ever grow,

For all of our days.

Encourage others,

Live in harmony;

For as we follow,

God’s peace is released.

He will be present,

To show us the way;

To do what is right,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instruction as to how we ought to live well. Thank You that joy, growth, encouragement, harmony and peace are all choices that we can make, despite our circumstances. Thank You that in You, all are possible, regardless of what we are going through. Forgive us for choosing to fix our focus on what lies before us rather than You who dwells within us and give us strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be joyful, seek to grow, encourage others and live in harmony and peace. Show us how to love others well so that we can do each of these things according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the love and peace that is found in Your presence, so that we may go forth extending peace to all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31