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

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Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Considerate Peace Keeping

Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, VOICE)

 

Despite how others speak to us, we are called to be humble and kind. It is not our place to tear others down, but rather we are called to build one another up in love. This can be the most challenging when others are attempting to tear us down with their words. Typically, the words selected are those that hit directly in the heart where it hurts the most, so we instinctually want to lash back out. In Christ, we are covered and called to do differently. Though we are not meant to be doormats, we are not intended to retaliate fire where we have been fired upon. Kindness extended where cruelty has come our way, is the water to squelch the fire. There is something diabolically disarming about kind words coming our way when we are angry and about to blow a fuse. The heat that was fueling our rage, suddenly no longer burns as hot, and we are able to regain our right mind and walk the way in which we are called to walk. May we seek the Lord in all things and at all times, and trust in Him to lead us in how we interact with others – even when they are unkind. Let His love lead us so that we may keep the peace, be considerate, and truly humble toward all.

 

Let’s not let our words,The Power of the Tongue

tear another down;

for offering peace,

is how love is found.

Let’s choose to think first,

be considerate;

be humble to all,

one who’s different.

For as we love well,

give kindness to all;

barriers break down,

and need to harm falls.

Despite what we get,

let our choice be love;

for we have been called,

be gentle as doves.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not just ask us to not tear others down with our words, but You sent Your Son to show us how it is done. Thank You that You call us to be keepers of the peace, and You give us direction to be considerate and humble to lead us there. Thank You too, that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us by Your Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Forgive us for any of our words, thoughts or deeds that tear others down, rather than build them up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things – even the smallest reaction or response to others, so that we would keep the peace as we are called to do. Show us how to love others in a way that encourages and builds them up, bringing peace wherever we may go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we build others up and keep the peace, as we walk humbly before You and everyone we meet. Amen.

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

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

The Word at Work

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power; it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. – (Hebrews 4:12, TLB)

The truth of God stands. No matter what lies hidden, it is known by God. He sees past all pretenses and pretty cover-ups, and gets straight to the heart of things. Where we need correction, He comes. Where we need direction, He leads. Where we need to be encouraged, He speaks life. In those spaces of weariness where we begin to tire of doing good, He grants strength and reminds us how pleased He is when we do His will. God’s word is alive and active and as we invest our time and attention to spending time reading it, He takes what is before us, and instructs, grows and shows us where we are meant to go. May we spend time earnestly seeking the Lord each day through the washing of His word; and may we be encouraged as He refines and defines us, as our hearts become more and more like His.

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

is alive, at work;

it cuts to the core,

highlights sin that lurks.

It judges our thoughts,

actions and desires;

points out our true heart,

rescues from the fire.

The truth of God stands,

for now and always;

it’s hope we can trust,

for all of our days.

By His word He shows,

how we’re meant to live;

what we should let go,

and grace we’re to give.

His words wash away,

that which needs to go;

and raises in us,

His love we’re to show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Thank You that Your word gets past all of our walls and straights to the heart. Thank You that by Your word and Spirit, You show us our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts through Your eyes. Forgive us for every way within us that does not align with Your heart and the truth of Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to lead and guide us to walk in Your way and live out Your truth. Show us how to love others with the same gracious and selfless love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to show us how it is to shape all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Praise All of Our Days

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your Name forever. For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave. – (Psalm 86:12-13)

 

Fire has always frightened me to my core, ever since I was a little girl. In fact, when the fire department did a fire safety talk at my elementary school, I would not sleep at night until my parents installed smoke detectors in our home. Right now, we are experiencing an unusually hot and dry summer in Washington State. On the eastern side of the state, in Wenatchee where my Mom resides, their first big fires of the season just hit yesterday. Typically, they are far from where my mom lives, so all that is observed is the constant flying of helicopters to the river to fill giant containers that are then flown over the flames, and poured out to douse them with water. Unfortunately, yesterday evening the fires were crawling closer and closer to where my mother lives. Her neighborhood was on voluntary evacuation, but she and her neighbors decided to stay and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Late into the evening, flames burst forth from the ravine on the far side of her vacant lot. Suddenly her home was surrounded by firefighters and her exit blocked by fire trucks. Even if she had wanted to leave, there was no way out, as the fire was burning too near the only road out. For hours, I watched, waited, and prayed. I imagine she did much of the same.

 

This morning’s Psalm really resonates as to how I feel on behalf of my Mom and the many in her housing development whom are dearly loved friends. His love has been great as He has delivered and protected them from what could have been catastrophic. My heart is overflowing with praise, for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

No matter what comes,

Image from my Mom's driveway...

Image from my Mom’s driveway…

I will give You praise;

for You are my God,

help all of my days.

With all of my heart,

to You, glorify;

forever, always,

hope to testify.

You have delivered,

me from the great depths;

and spared me the grave,

of unrighteousness.

Though we walk through fire,

You lovingly keep;

us in Your safe hands,

as You tend Your sheep.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is so great, that You sent Your Son to deliver us from the depth of an eternal grave. Thank You that You are worthy of our praise, with all of our heart, for all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth when storms rage or fires burn. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will glorify You in every circumstance, as You are worthy of our praise forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our praise until the end of our days. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Present Within

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – (Acts 2:37)

 

On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples who were gathered together, they were empowered as they had never been before. As they went out to address the crowd who had heard them speaking in other languages, Peter told them the truth of Christ. He proclaimed that which had been foretold, and all that had come to pass. Peter was equipped in power to preach the truth to the people, and those who were present, could not help but hear and respond. The truth that had been told helped them to see their own need for the Savior, and compelled them to ask the very question, “What shall we do?” What follows is Peter’s unpacking of the basic necessity of all believers to repent and be baptized, resulting in a multitude being added to the number of new believers that day.

 

That very same power that was present in Peter, is alive and active in all who believe. Christ equips each of us to tell the truth to those around us in such a way, that each have the opportunity to be set free from sin, and come into His Kingdom. We need not be great orators nor Biblical scholars; we need only be willing and available to hear from Him, and choose to open our mouths to speak as He asks. Our own story of salvation and redemption cannot be refuted, as it is our own experience of how God out there, became God right here. May we faithfully go forth, ready to share our story of God’s faithfulness, so that all whom we encounter may have the opportunity to come to know the truth.

 

Faithfully waiting,Present Within

in the upper room;

group of disciples,

unsure what to do.

When suddenly fire,

came like a loud wind;

empowering each,

Christ’s Spirit came in.

All began speaking,

in various tongues;

language not their own,

these daughters and sons.

Those gathered outside,

were shocked and amazed;

in their native tongue,

they heard the Lord praised.

Once Peter explained,

the truth in power;

many chose believe,

in that very hour.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that when we choose to give our life to You, You grace us with Your presence within. Thank You that You are no longer God out there, but You are living in the hearts of all who follow You. Forgive us for neglecting all that You are offering each of us at times, and help us to slow down and listen for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are completely dependent on You in all things and at all times, regardless of our circumstances. May we move in love, responding to that which You so generously pour out upon us. Let our light shine bright before all whom we encounter, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we embrace the gift of Your Holy Spirit within. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28