Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

When We Are Real

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – (Luke 18:14b, NLT)

People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important. – (Luke 18:14b, ERV)

If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to fall flat on your face, but if you’re content to simply be yourself, you will become more than yourself. – (Luke 18:14b, MSG)

 

After having had my first day with some of my sixth graders yesterday, this verse is an excellent affirmation of my approach. I have never taught sixth grade before, as my previous twenty years of teaching have been spent with seventh, eighth and even ninth graders. Rather than pretending to know what I am doing with this age group and that I have it all together, I began by being real with my students, and let them know that I did not know exactly what to expect from sixth grade students, and that I would need their help to figure it out. By establishing my need for their help as we work together towards success this year, and discover together what it will take for each to accomplish their goals, there was a sense of comfort and communication that began to take root. May we be real with one another, wherever we are at, and look for ways to encourage and lift each other up.

 

Let’s come as we are, Chosen With Purpose

Wherever we’re at;

For when we are real,

Character’s intact.

People will respect,

The truth that we speak;

Our need for their help,

Is not seen as weak.

We were created,

For community;

To work together,

To rise and meet needs.

So let us gather,

Join in and give grace;

Provide our support,

For all in this space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be real and come humbly into whatever we are called, You meet us and provide the help we need to accomplish what is asked of us. Thank You that we are not meant to do everything all on our own, as You place us in community and provide help and hope as we are willing to admit our need. Forgive us for the times that we do not humble ourselves and admit our own need for help or for thinking that we somehow have it all together. Teach us to trust You more, as there is ALWAYS more to learn and room to grow in this process of being refined and becoming who You are calling us to be. Show us how to love those around us with humility and grace, so that they may feel safe and valued as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be honest wherever we are at, and trust You to make up for where we lack. 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

Strength that He Brings

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. – (Romans 16:25a, NLT)

Praise God! He is the One who can make you strong in faith. He can use the Good News I teach to make you strong. – (Romans 16:25a, ERV)

May the glory be to God who can strengthen you with my good news and the message that I preach about Jesus Christ. – (Romans 16:25a, CEB)

 

Faith and strength are poured into our lives as we trust in He who is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. As we hear the Good News of God, and all that He has done, faith rises and our hearts are strengthened for whatever stands before us. He knows what we need before the need arises, and is ready to provide if we are willing to press in and be present. Not to say that it is always easy, yet each time we make the choice to turn in trust, it is worth it. God shows us His faithfulness as He gives us strength to keep moving forward, when we fear we cannot go on, and He gives us hope to believe that He is indeed present, and that our circumstances will not always remain as they are in the midst of a trial. May we give all glory to God who makes us strong, and grants us the faith to keep pressing on.

 

When trials and struggles, Living a Legacy Life

In life come our way;

Seek the Lord, our God,

What He has to say.

For God is our strength,

He’s able to do;

Far more than we know,

By grace, see us through.

He’ll give us the faith,

To rise and be strong;

Trust Him and His word,

All of our days long.

Let our voices raise,

As with praise, we sing;

Glory to our God,

For strength that He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to make us strong, just as You promise in Your word. Thank You that You grow our faith and encourage our hearts to know and trust You more. Forgive us for not trusting or for not giving You all the glory that is due. Teach us to depend on You for strength, and to give You all the glory for the faith that rises within us. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed around us. Use us to strengthen and encourage others, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You all glory for the strength You provide, and for the faith that You grow in our hearts. 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

Listen and Abide

Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32, NLT)

If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples; you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. – (John 8:31-32, VOICE)

 

To be a disciple of Christ requires discipline on our part. It is not merely a confession of faith, but a commitment to action. As people who are fully committed to follow Christ, we need to know His voice and His word. The Lord does not leave us guessing as to how we might come to know more of Him, but rather He has provided His Holy Word, which transcends time, cultures and technology. The truth remains, and the lessons we learn through investing in His word, help us learn and understand how to recognize and hear His voice. Freedom is found in knowing the truth. No more are we bound to the lies that lead us to believe that we must stay in our circumstances or remain as we are, for in Christ, we are made new and He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. May we listen for His voice and abide in His word, so that we may know the truth and discover the freedom that is found in Christ alone.

 

For Jesus made known,Aquiring Armor

To all who believed;

The truth and the light,

By which we’re set free.

It is through hearing,

God’s word and His voice;

The truth is made known,

Wisdom to make choice.

As we choose abide,

In this truth we know;

True freedom is found,

And faith greatly grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, You teach us the truth and set us free from all that hinders us from fully following You. Thank You that discipline is what differentiates a follower from a disciple. Thank You that we can choose to invest and You supply the rest. Forgive us for not listening for Your voice or investing in Your word as often as we should, as You are the One to show us the way that is best in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and abide in Your word, allowing us to hear and know what Your will is for us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a way that illuminates the truth and provides freedom from the weight that wears them down. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we listen for Your voice and invest time in Your word, so that we may hear and know the truth. Amen.

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

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

The Word is Alive

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

 

Whether we are in need of words of encouragement or correction, God’s word is real and relevant, and the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts as we invest time in reading His word. So often, I am in awe of how timely the truth of His word applies to whatever is going on in my own life. God sees and knows us, individually. No thought, desire, prayer nor concern, escapes the attention of our Savior. Though at times it is a bit unnerving to know we are known, ultimately, we can trust that the motivation is love, and the purpose is to provide the path to His perfect peace, despite the pain and pandemonium that sometimes surrounds us. May we trust in the truth and continue to seek Him, as we allow His Spirit to speak to our hearts through time spent investing in the word.

 

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

Is power, alive;

It shows us the truth,

So that we might thrive.

Sharper than a sword,

It’s used to divide;

His truth from the lies,

Where our fears reside.

He shines forth His light,

And shows us what’s true;

So that we may rise,

By grace, choose push through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and powerful. Thank You that it shows us where we are walking upright before You, and where we are desperately in need of Your correction and redirection. Forgive us for not seeking and asking, or for neglecting to listen and obey, despite knowing the way in which You are calling us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will invest time in Your word, and listen to Your leading – be it correction or exhortation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points people to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to direct our steps. 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

Faithful Forever

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

 

Though this was God’s promise to the Israelites long ago, His word remains true for us today. When we invite Him to be the Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us for all of our days. He cares for us, saves us, and carries us when we do not have the strength to take another step. Our hope and our help come from Him. May we rise up and rest in our Redeemer, for He is faithful to meet us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go.

 

Oh Lord You are God,Hope in What is Unseen

In whom we can trust;

Faithful forever,

You’re righteous and just.

You lead and guide us,

Where we’re meant to go;

You care and provide,

So our faith will grow.

You save us from all,

That gets in the way;

You love us to life,

With each brand new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God now and forever. Thank You that You are faithful throughout our entire lives. Thank You that You made us, know us, save us, carry us when we are weak, and care for us – always. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are in the midst of our own struggles. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You and Your strength in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful, always. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we would be an extension of Your hands and heart to care for and carry those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust You and go forth as Your ambassadors. Amen.

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

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

 

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Is there any task or chore that you despise? For me, I am not a fan of housework. There are a million things that I would rather do, outdoors, than be stuck inside cleaning. The worst part for me, is when I set my intentions to get after it and get the job done, I might begin strong, but often become distracted by something that I find, and end up not finishing what I began.

It is the same with sin. We know which way is right and determine in our hearts that we will follow what is good before God, and then end up doing the very things we wanted to avoid. Our inability to navigate without sin reminds us of how desperately we are in need of a Savior. His word, His laws – are all for our benefit to identify the right way and to know the way we’re meant to walk. Without His Spirit dwelling within us, there would be no way to consistently follow His commands. By His grace, we are forgiven when we fall, and in His strength, we can choose what is right.

 

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. – (Romans 7:15-16, MSG)

 

Paul was well aware of his own short-comings. He recognized the pull of his own broken humanity to lead him away from that which he knew he was meant to do. It was through his recognition of his own need, that he became dedicated to dependence on Christ. We too are in need of Christ to lead us in the way we are meant to go. Without Him, we continue to do the very things we despise. May we embrace the grace that God gives through the gift of His Son, and allow Him access to lead us on the path we are meant to travel.

 

When I long to go,The Direction of Discipline

The way of the Lord;

Do what He deems right,

I try, but then fold.

For the sinfulness,

That dwells deep within;

Will rise up and rule,

When not seeking Him.

The way God commands,

Is not to bring harm;

But rather to save,

To righteously arm.

By God’s saving grace,

We’re able to do;

What He asks of us,

By His strength, ensue.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our battle with our own sinfulness, You come near and love us to life. Thank You that by Your grace, we are forgiven and set free to do what is right before You. Forgive us for attempting to do things our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue You in all that we do, and walk upright before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and grace, so that they might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, so that we might do that which You are calling us into. Amen.

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

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

Joy for Our Journey

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of their journey. – (Psalm 84:5, MSG)

 

This has been one of the longest weeks of the year. The first few days of the week felt like weeks, rather than days – not because they were bad, but rather because they were so full and long. As the week has come to a close, it is easy to look back and identify the moments that I treasured most as a result of God’s grace and help that was supplied. Monday and Tuesday, I was given the strength I needed to endure the final full days of the school year and all of the activities that included. Additionally, I was dealing with my own sweet boys who were sick at home, all the while. The days were long and the nights were interrupted with boys in need. Wednesday arrived and I was again sustained in ways that I would not have imagined, followed by more sleep in one night than I normally get in two nights. It was glorious! Thursday and Friday were unscheduled without agendas, and I treasured the freedom to ebb and flow as I so chose.

He is my strength, my help and my hope, and when I keep that in proper perspective, I see the blessings He brings as I journey along. May we allow the Lord to be our source of strength, so that we may treasure every step of our journey, no matter where it may lead.

 

True treasure is found,MSH29

As we go along;

Not in our own strength,

But through the Lord’s strong.

For most blessed are we,

Who trust in the Lord;

He grants what we need,

By Him we’re adored.

Embrace the sweet gift,

His strength and His grace;

Joy for our journey,

Hope to light our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the strength that we need as it is needed when we turn to You. Thank You that every step of our journey is a treasure in Your presence. Forgive us for not valuing all that is gained from each step that we take along the path on which You lead us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the difficult with the enjoyable, knowing that You use both to grow us and show us more of You. Lead us to love others in a way that reflects clearly the goodness and grace that You so generously give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust You to be our strength and treasure every step of the journey You have set before 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

Worry’s Weight

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. – (Proverbs 12:25, MSG)

 

The weight of worry can become crippling if we allow it to take root in our heart. Though worry can be explained away as common concern caused by everything around us, our peace does not need to be determined by our circumstances. As we are invested in the community to which we have been called, God graciously utilizes another to offer a cheerful or encouraging word in the midst of one’s worry, completely disarming the weight that’s attempting to drag us down. Let us cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) His word for us is good, and His promises never end. May we be mindful of where worry dwells, and be quick to offer cheerful words to those around us.

 

When worry finds weight,

Small boy with heavy load.

image by Gisle

Let not our hearts hold;

Burdens too heavy,

To remain untold.

We’re called to release,

All that is too much;

To trust in the Lord,

Let Him be enough.

May all of our words,

That we give a voice;

Be cheerful and kind,

A Spirit-led choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not intend for worry to weigh us down. Thank You too, that You place in us Your words for one another that build and lift up. Forgive us for dwelling on the weight of this world, and allowing it to suck us in. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give our every worry unto You, and allow You to show us the hope and help that You have for us. Lead us to love others well, just as You love us. May we offer cheerful words that bring light and life to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You all of our worries and take words of encouragement to share with those around us. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

Let Us Choose Kindness

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

 

We are called to be kind, loving and forgiving, just as Christ is unto us. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. In the same way, He asks that we choose to love others so that they might see Him through us, and come to know that there is so much more available to all who choose to trust in Christ. May we love, forgive and extend kindness, just as each are given unto us, so that others too, might choose to enter into a relationship with our Redeemer for all eternity.

 

In this crazy world,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where anything goes;

Let us choose kindness,

So Christ in us shows.

May we choose to love,

Where others might not;

We’ve been forgiven,

Make known what we’ve got.

As we offer grace,

Though it’s not deserved;

May the truth be known,

In Christ, hope’s preserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and loving to one another, just as You are unto us. Thank You that You forgive us, and in turn grant us the grace to forgive others. Thank You that when we do, Your light shines through us, making the truth known to those who might not yet know You. Forgive us for our lack of kindness and grace toward those around us, and for any lack of forgiveness that we harbor in our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend to others, the very same kindness, love and forgiveness that You give unto us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to be kind and tenderhearted to those whom we encounter, forgiving one another as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5