Born to Stick Together

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed with loyal and loving friends and family, and have the privilege of watching the beautiful bond of brothers as my boys stick together in the face of adversity. This verse is demonstrated to me in a tangible way through my boys. Each time one of them is sick, the other always asks to remain nearby to help care for the other. It has been this way since they were very small. No matter how much they argue or fight, (they are brothers after all) at the end of the day, they are there for each other and love fiercely. God uses those around us who love us well to give us glimpses of how He loves. What we see through others, even those who love us best, is but a minute fraction of the greatness and vastness of His love for each one of us, individually. May we ever seek the Lord and His love, so that we can be the loyal, loving friends and family to those whom God has given unto us, just as He asks.

 

Our God has called us,Born to Stick Together

To be a true friend;

One who is loyal,

Who loves to the end.

We’re also chosen,

To be family;

To help through all things,

In chaos and peace.

May we learn to love,

As we’re called to do;

Through all things, always,

Together in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give us of family and friends. Thank You that through their loyal love and help, we gain deeper insight to who You are and how You love. Forgive us for not being as loving or loyal as we ought to be, or for not remaining present in times of trouble when we are needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and remain where You plant us. Show us how to love in all things and at all times, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the friends and family that You have given us, and trust You to teach and empower us to love as we are loved. 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

Remembering His Faithfulness

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what your hands have done. – (Psalm 143:5)

David faced some seriously discouraging circumstances. More than once, he had to flee for his very life, despite knowing that God had called him to be king. Despite the dismay at the detours, David chose to direct his heart and mind to the displays of faithfulness that the Lord had demonstrated for the many generations that had gone before him. He knew that God was faithful, and that His word was true. Rather than fixing his eyes on the hardships that he could see, David chose to meditate on all that God had done before, trusting that He would be faithful to continue to keep His promises as He had done so faithfully, for the many generations that had gone before him.

We are called to do the very same thing in the face of adversity. It is our choice to either focus on the problem, or on He who is faithful to hear our every prayer, and be present beside us, every step of the way. When we slow down and remember all the ways in which He has been faithful to us already, it is easier to meditate on the truth of His word, and what He has promised He will do. God is good, and His love endures forever. We need not allow our hearts to be overcome with fret or fear, but rather we ought to meditate on His works and the wonder of all that He has done. May we keep our hearts and minds fixed on Christ and the truth of who He is, so that we always remember what He has done, and where we are ultimately headed.

Remember the times,Break Camp and Move Out

that God has come through;

provided answers,

shown us what to do.

When there was a need,

our God did provide;

unexpectedly,

a whisper replied.

The Lord’s gentle hand,

as someone came near;

His comfort granted,

to our silent tears.

A ray of sunlight,

after raging rain;

hope we can cling to,

He makes our path plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are and have always been faithful. Thank You that You remain the same: yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we can look to the past to remember Your faithfulness throughout the ages, when we are discouraged about today. Thank You that when we look to all that You have done, You restore our hope for both today and forever, as You are unchanging and abounding in love. Forgive us for forgetting to stop and meditate on all of Your works, as when we consider all that You have done, we cannot help but be hopeful. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and take time to consider all that You have done for us, even in the midst of our greatest trials, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we might be an extension of Your hands and heart to those who need Your tangible touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember all that You have done, and go forth in confidence, knowing that Your faithfulness will last forever. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Taking Courage in Trials

As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?

 

The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.

 

When facing giants,Taking Courage in Trials

mountains we must climb;

His nearness constant,

for now and all times.

Our courage is found,

in Christ, the true King;

He supplies power,

and all needed things.

In trial, in loss,

in wholeness, in grace;

circumstances don’t,

determine His place.

For God is on high,

He’s still on His throne;

no matter what comes,

Love will be made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.

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

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

Strengthen Our Hands

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” – (Nehemiah 6:9)

 

What do we do when opposition comes our way as we are doing the work that God has called us to do? Do we cry out for strength, or do we seek escape? Nehemiah encountered intense opposition when he went to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Everywhere he turned, there was someone seeking to stop the work that he had been sent to carry out. Nehemiah was steadfast and secure in his faith, and prayed for strength to persevere, even in the face of adversity. We too, are called to do likewise. Just because we are called to do something, it does not mean the road to completion will be a smooth and straight path. Often, there are obstacles to overcome, and foes to face, as we persevere in faith, despite opposition. Regardless of how things appear, we are to be faithful to what He has called us to do. Christ alone, is the One who supplies the strength that is needed to successfully complete our tasks. May we continually seek Him and His strength, as we faithfully walk forward in obedience to all that He asks.

 

Though rocky the road,Strengthen Our Hands

that Christ takes us on;

we’re never alone,

and He’ll make us strong.

We need to seek Him,

with all that we are;

trust His strength, not ours,

and we will go far.

His way is the best,

no matter how rough;

all can be conquered,

in Christ, we’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though on our own we grow weary and weak, in You, we can do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank You that You are our Source and Supply. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our cries, and You are near. Forgive us for seeing obstacles before us and running the opposite direction or standing stuck, rather than seeking You for strength to persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will see obstacles as opportunities for growth and further dependence upon You. May we stand in awe of the obstacles You have brought us through, and may we share our stories with those who need to hear. Let us love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and their strength, as we seek to serve You well. Be glorified, Lord God, as we prayerfully go forth, depending on Your strength as we go. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

No Separation

Yesterday, as I stood on the outer edge of a sea of people dressed in blue, I was deeply moved with each name that was shouted out for whom that participant would be running to remember. Name after name was called out, signifying a life taken too soon. For every name called, a family no longer had their son or daughter, sister or brother, husband or wife, mom or dad, to come home to and in whom to find comfort. Trouble and hardship had likely been the companion of so many of those wearing blue, yet each stood tall, proudly calling out the name of the loved one whom they were there to remember. As we bowed our heads in silence, followed by a time of corporate prayer, I was in awe of how great His love is for those who seek Him, and how close a community can become in the face of adversity.

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35 & 37)

 

Four separate families who had lost loved ones in the past year, fired the cannon prior to the start of our race. The first shot was to honor the fallen; the next, for those still fighting; the third, for the families; and finally, the last blast, was to signal the beginning of our run. All along the route, there were flags and photos of soldiers who had been killed in the line of duty. Despite the somber scene as we passed the pictures, joy was on the faces of the folks in blue. It appeared that hope has been restored, and that they do indeed, know that they are more than conquerors in Him.

 

No matter what comes,No Separation

what trial we face;

we’re never too far,

to receive God’s grace.

His arms are outstretched,

we need only run;

toward Him, He’s waiting,

gracious Holy One.No Separation 2

When we are in Him,

He’ll use all for good;

the ugly, the raw,

what’s misunderstood.

Hold onto all hope,

for He never fails;

conquerors in Christ,

His love shall prevail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing nor anyone who can separate us from Your love. Thank You that in You, we are more than conquerors. Thank You that though we will face trials and troubles in this life, we need not fear, for You will be with us. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You. Keep our eyes from fixing on the problems and challenges, and instead, help us to focus fully on You. Let us love as You love us, and live as the conquerors You have created us to be. May many come to know the power present in a life invested in You. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. 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