In Sweet Certainty

My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing Your praises with all my heart! – (Psalm 108:1, NLT)

God, I am ready, heart and soul, to sing songs of praise. Wake up, my soul! – (Psalm 108:1, ERV)

My heart, O God, is quiet and confident, all because of You. Now I can sing my song with passionate praises! – (Psalm 108:1, TPT)

 

Praise is the outpouring of gratitude that comes from knowing in our hearts and minds, the Source of our help and hope. The more I know God, the more confident I am in His presence and the hope that I hold in Him. It is from a space of knowing His nearness, that I find my soul full of both peace and praise. May we rest in quiet confidence in the One who holds us in the palm of His hands, and sing praise with grateful hearts for the goodness found in Him.

 

In sweet certainty, Be Full of Joy

My heart and my soul;

Lift praises to You,

Your love makes us whole.

With all of my heart,

I can’t help but sing;

So much gratitude,

For blessings You bring.

You’re my strength and help,

When life seems too tough;

Your love and Your grace,

Are always enough.

In quiet retreat,

I’ll lift praise-filled song;

To offer my thanks,

To Whom I belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You, as You are our strength, our help and our hope. Thank You that because of this, our souls cannot help but sing praise unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have overlooked the goodness in our lives that You have given and focused on the struggles. Teach us to offer praise for who You are and how You love, regardless of our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize their reasons to sing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become confident in who You are and how You love and offer our whole-hearted praises unto You. 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

Hands of Grace

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Lord guide your hearts into God’s pure love and keep you headed straight into the strong sure grip of the Anointed One. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, VOICE)

 

This is a week where love, patience and endurance are needed desperately. Between excitement and uncertainty, students are struggling to stay focused in classes, and remember regular rules and routines. Additionally, two seventeen-year-olds were shot yesterday morning, not far from my school, so the odds that they once attended the school where I teach, are quite high. Regardless of the circumstances that led to the incident, the very thought of two mother’s babies fighting to live, is devastating. Love, patience and endurance are needed by all to finish this week well. The better we understand and receive God’s love for us, the more we are able to extend the same to those around us. May we ever seek the Source of every good gift, so that we may go forth full of patience and endurance, to finish strong as we love as we are loved by God.

 

O Lord, hear my prayer, Hands of Grace

May hearts come to You;

So Your love is known,

Illuminate truth.

Patient endurance,

Granted by God’s love;

Will keep us always,

Help us rise above.

Rise above trials,

Whatever we face;

For we can do all,

In His hands of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and provide the love, patience and endurance that we need to navigate our days. Thank You that You keep us in Your secure grip of grace. Forgive us for attempting to power through the trials that come our way, rather than seeking You for the strength that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You to lead us according to Your great love. Show us how to love those around us with patience and endurance, so that they may feel Your love and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lean on You to lead our hearts into a full understanding of how to express Your love, patience and endurance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

The Hope that Upholds

Don’t forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. 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

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 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

Trust for Today

So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. – (Matthew 6:34, TLB)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – (Matthew 6:34, MSG)

 

It is fairly easy to become anxious about what is yet to come when we look too far forward. Rather than fixing our eyes on that which is right before us, we get caught up in the world of “what ifs“. If we are truly trusting God, we begin to focus on that which is in the here and now, living in the moment, rather than getting worked up and worried about that which is yet to come. Yes, God wants us to use wisdom and seek Him for next steps, but we are not meant to be so focused on the future that we forget about today. Each new day God has a plan and a purpose for us. When we live in the here and now, we recognize the remarkable all around us, and are better able to turn in trust to our Provider for what is needed. The Lord holds our future in the palm of His hands. We need not worry about what lies ahead, for the very same God who walks beside us today, will be with us tomorrow, next week, next year and forever. May we let go of worry about tomorrow, and instead live in the fullness of each new day that we are granted.

 

Do not be anxious,hope-overflowing

For the days ahead;

Instead live each day,

As by God, we’re led.

For just as today,

His presence is here;

No matter what comes,

He will remain near.

So choose worry not,

Beyond this new day;

For Christ’s help and hope,

Is promised to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about tomorrow, as You who carry us through today, will remain with us to be our help and hope through all of our tomorrows as well. Forgive us for fixing our eyes too far forward, rather than living in the moments as You provide them. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let go of worry about what may or may not happen in the days, weeks, and years to come, and instead trust You for each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps ease anxiety and offers peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we let go of worry about the future, and trust You for today and all of the days ahead. Amen.

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

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

Learning to Pray

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” – (Luke 11:1, NKJV)

 

Jesus modeled a life of prayer. His example was to be intentional, to be focused, and to pray often. It was not a matter of making a display of what He was doing, but rather, Jesus would set aside quiet time to go off on His own to pray. He was clearly in constant communication with the Father, as He did the things that He knew the Lord was asking of Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  instructs us as follows: Pray without ceasing. I don’t think this is to mean that we are meant to be on our knees 24/7, (though there is a time for that) but rather that we are quick to communicate our praises and petitions to our Heavenly Father. He wants our hearts, and when we love deeply, we want to communicate with whomever we love, as often as possible. Prayer is how we converse with our Creator. May we learn to pray without ceasing, ever communicating our heart to the one Who gives us love, light and life.

 

Help us learn to pray,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

As we’re called to do;

Ongoing in trust,

As we choose seek You.

May we come to know,

The truth of Your word;

That all that we pray,

By Your heart is heard.

Let us never cease,

To bring unto You;

Our praises and need,

As You’ll lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that not only do You teach us how to pray, but You sent Your Son to model what it is like to live a life in constant communication with You. Thank You that You listen to our every prayer, and long to be in relationship with us. Forgive us for not praying as we ought to pray. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn to pray without ceasing. Help our prayers to become natural conversations that occurs throughout our days, in all things and at all times, not just when we go off to a quiet place. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through the love that we extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray without ceasing, trusting You to be who You say You are. Amen.

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

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

Finding Favor

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NLT)

Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth; engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; meditate on them so they are written upon your heart. In this way, you will win the favor of God and others, and they will think well of you. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, VOICE)

 

When we operate our lives according to God’s will, we find the favor of both God and man is upon us. Loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth go far in a world where these attributes are not always easy to find. As we exhibit these things, we are being salt and light; granting glimpses of God to those who do not know Him, in a practical and tangible way. Let us remember with reverence the importance of representing our Redeemer well, as we operate as His ambassadors. May we never let loyalty and kindness leave us, as we allow the Lord to write His truth deep within our heart.

 

The Lord’s loyalty,Enter With Thanksgiving

And kindness to us;

Are ours to pass on,

How we show Jesus.

Let us tie around,

Something near our hearts;

So we don’t forget,

Where grace and love starts.

A reputation,

That is full of good;

To God and people,

Favor understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we enter into relationship with You, You show us loyalty and kindness, and You write them upon our hearts. Thank You that as we choose to operate in the very things that we have been shown, Your favor and the favor of those around us is upon us. Thank You that by choosing to faithfully follow You, we will earn a good reputation. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness, or for our lack of kindness or mercy when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can extend loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom as to how we are to do so in a healthy and safe way, and draw people unto Yourself by the kindness we extend by loving in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we never let loyalty and kindness leave us. May we be ambassadors of Your mercy and truth all of our days. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Mastered by Grace

If we live our lives focused on rules and regulations, rather than on He who formed us and set our very lives in motion, we become trapped in the trying to do enough in accordance to all that is written by man’s own hand. However, if we invest our heart, mind, soul and strength into seeking God and receiving the grace that He freely offers, we cannot help but pursue doing good. It is in that space of God’s grace, that we find freedom to become who He has called us to be, and we are set free from the chains that once held us captive to sin.

 

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. – (Romans 6:14)

 

Christ came as the perfect sacrifice so that we would no longer have to make sacrifices for our every sin. Instead, He was the ultimate offering for all that we have ever done, and shall ever do. Because of His amazing grace, we no longer are mastered by sin, but rather may allow our Maker to be our Master, as His reign is done in grace, and His goodness and love lead hearts to repent and return to Him. May we let go of the law that binds us to sin, and embrace His grace as we invite the Lord to be the Master of our lives.

 

Allow not your sin,Answers As We Ask

to master your life;

for living that way,

will just lead to strife.

In Christ we are not,

stuck under the law;

but rather by grace,

to live life we’re called.

Because it’s a gift,

that Christ freely gave;

we’re drawn to repent,

so we can be saved.

Receive what He gives,

as we are set free;

so others may know,

Whom they see in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we no longer need to be slaves to sin because You sent Your Son to pay the penalty for ALL. Thank You that when we give our hearts and lives to You, we are ruled by Your goodness and grace, and are compelled to do good, rather than required to do enough or be enough to earn Your favor. Forgive us for trying to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen to Your leading and walk obediently wherever You are asking. Lead us to love without limits, and help many to come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve You as You ask us to, as we receive the gift of Your grace that You freely give. Amen.

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

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

Remember the Miracles

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.” – (Psalm 77:11-12)

 

Israel learned over time, that as they encountered obstacles, hardships and struggles, if they focused their attention on the Lord and remembered all that the Lord had done for them already in difficult times before, their focus and faith would fix where it belonged, granting God room to be God. Time and time again, as Israel turned to the Lord and recognized all that He had done, they would see His mighty hand move once more.

 

The same practice ought to prevail in our lives today. When challenges come, do we stare at the struggle standing before us, or do we remember God’s faithfulness the countless times prior, and hold onto HIm as we move forward in faith? So often our “success” in the struggle is simply a matter of to whom we turn. Do we meditate on the Lord and all of His loving kindness, or do we look to the mountains before us that we cannot ever move in our own strength? May we meditate on our Maker, as we remember the miraculous He has done in and through our lives.

 

Look back in your life,Remember the Miracles

to struggles and pain;

who faithfully held,

your heart through the rain?

The places where love,

and light entered in;

were glimpses of God,

Redeemer, and friend.

Where your needs were met,

or hopes were fulfilled;

blessings from the Lord,

His grace was instilled.

Remember His love,

His faithfulness too;

His presence remains,

forever with you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Your word that shows us countless examples of Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You that You are the same God – yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we can look back in our own lives and see Your faithfulness. Forgive us for not remembering the miraculous in times of trial, and help us to fix our eyes on You, and Your ability to do far beyond what we could even begin to imagine. Help us to hear You clearly, so that we may move in obedience as You call us. Lead us to love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know You and Your faithfulness as a result. Be glorified through the grace and goodness we extend to others today. 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