Given to Show Goodness

He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:3, ERV)

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:3, NLT)

True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:3, MSG)

 

No matter how many times I have read a particular passage, God has a remarkable way of revealing new truth as I choose to invest time in His word. This morning, though I have read Psalm 23 more times than I can calculate, I don’t think that I ever really thought about the depth of why He restores and leads us where we are meant to go. Though it is written, sometimes it takes reading several different versions of the text to have something really sink in. Today, that is what took place for me. God is good all the time – regardless of circumstances, situations, health, hurt or heartache – He is GOOD. Not only does He renew, restore and guide us out of His love, but He makes His goodness known to us as He does that which is tangible. God gives us the strength and guidance we need to demonstrate His goodness, often at just the point that we are ready to give up. His love, His light, and His life, restore us and grant us the grace we need to keep pressing forward in the direction we have been called. May we recognize the honor due unto the Lord, as He restores our strength when it is lacking, and leads us on the right paths that He has placed before us. May we ever bring honor to His Name.

 

The God of all grace,given-to-show-goodness

Gives strength and renews;

He leads us in love,

Helps carry us through.

His giving of strength,

And guidance to go;

Lead us on right paths,

And His goodness shows.

He’s true to His word,

Grants us life and breath;

May we honor Him,

From now unto death.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You restore our strength and lead us on right paths. Thank You that as You do these things, You demonstrate for us that You are good. Thank You for the reassurance, as we so often need reminders of who You are and how much You love. Forgive us for not following Your guidance or not bringing honor to Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not only listen, but would obey, every word we hear Your still small voice say. Show us how to follow Your paths set before us in Your strength, so that our words and deeds will demonstrate Your goodness to those around us. Help us to love others with Your generous and unfailing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to renew our strength when we are weary, and listen to Your leading to stay on the paths that You have prepared for us so that we may bring honor to Your Name. Amen.

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

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

Living Generously

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. – (Proverbs 11:25, NLT)

 

I love watching God’s economy at work. So often there are people around me who are abundantly generous with their time, encouragement, knowledge and resources, without ever expecting anything in return. They simply give of themselves out of who God has made them to be. The great joy comes in watching how God blesses them, in ways they would not have ever expected or imagined, and refreshes as only He can do. We need not ever worry about being depleted when we give of ourselves out of obedience. In Christ, there will always be enough. He provides abundantly more than we think we ought to ask, and refreshes us so that we can continue to do all that we are called to do. May we choose to be generous with our time, energy, words and resources, as each can be used to refresh and build up those around us.

 

Let us choose to rise,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

With generous hearts;

For God gives to those,

Who step out and start.

He gives what we need,

Our help and supply;

So we can refresh,

All those near our side.

The crazy thing is,

As we choose to give;

The Lord blesses us,

In this life we live.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be generous as You are generous with us. Thank You that You bless and refresh us as we choose to invest in Your economy, by giving our time, resources, and encouragement in all that we do. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to be generous out of our own selfishness or fear, and teach us how to choose to love generously, just as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, O God, as we live and love as You call us to do. 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

Giving Ourselves Away

Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” – (Mark 12:43-44)

Jesus looks at our heart as we give of ourselves. Are we giving out of our excess of time, energy and resources, or are we intentionally setting aside some of ourselves to give away, even if it is costly? It takes faith to give in areas where we do not have an abundance, yet it is often in those very spaces of trust, that we see the mighty hand of God, move in ways we could have never began to imagine. Our willingness creates opportunities to see God’s plan unfold before us. Though God is God, and can move mightily whether we partner with Him or not; we have the incredible blessing of being called to walk beside Him, and partake in His plan as He points us along the path that He has placed before us. Often that road includes giving our time, energy and resources beyond what we would choose to do on our own. That being said, it is in that very space, that we witness the wonders of the work of His mighty hand as He moves in us and through us. May we choose to listen to the Lord’s leading, and freely give of ourselves as He calls us to give.

Give not out of wealth,Listen Learn and Love

but where the Lord calls;

for His ways are best,

for one and for all.

Despite how things seem,

the Lord plans to move;

He does not call us,

to Himself remove.

For His way is blessed,

in that space of trust;

as He moves mountains,

He’s faithful and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You so often call us to give more of ourselves than we would freely choose to give, when we walk in obedience, You move in miraculous ways. Thank You that You are faithful and trustworthy, and that we need not fear that which You call us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of obedience, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to be generous with our time, our talents and our resources. Lead us to love others well, so that they might clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give ourselves away, as You have so generously given unto us. 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

He Comes in Majesty

I am continually in awe of God and how He provides for us, as His children. He knows what we need, far better than we do; and He often answers before we even know what to ask.

 

Just yesterday, when I went out to grab the mail after a busy work day with much yet to be done, including a class that I wasn’t really eager to attend that was to dominate my evening, I found but one lone envelope in the box, and it was not a bill. The name on the return address was known, though not well, yet the contents included blessed and encouraged my heart in such a way, that it was as if God Himself, was using the sender’s hand to write His words to me. Among the kindness and encouragement offered, was the following verse:

 

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty.” – (Deuteronomy 33:26)

 

Not only had the God of heaven made His words tangible to me through the pen of another, but a thoughtful, practical, generous and much appreciated gift was included with words that uplifted my sagging soul on a soggy day. God moves heaven and earth to make His majesty known to us, if we are simply still and take in what is going on around us. When I take inventory of what has transpired over even the past week, I am amazed at how He has provided, protected and surrounded me. There truly is no one like our God, and He moves in majesty to help those who seek Him. May we look to He who rides on the heavens to be our help and our hope, in times of trouble and in times of peace.

 

God there is no one,Approaching the Throne of Grace

who is quite like You;

You come close to us,

and show us the truth.

With great majesty,

You sent unto us;

Your very own Son,

our Savior, Jesus.

Our help and our hope,

from heaven to earth;

our plight understood,

You’ve loved us since birth.

You see what we need,

You’re giving and kind;

we trust our Refuge,

most holy, Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no one like You, God. Thank You that You ride on the heavens to help us and on the clouds in Your majesty. Thank You that You know our need, and You see us and love us so much, that You surround us and supply for us, that which is needed and more. Forgive us for our moments of doubt and fear, where we forget just how big You are in the face of whatever lies before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we take pause in the moment and remember how much greater You are, than anything that may stand before us. Lead us to love with the same generosity that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty and move forward in confidence, knowing that You are our help and our hope forever. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

It is Grace that Saves

In this fast-paced world with its ever growing demands, it is easy to lose perspective. Within almost every avenue we navigate, there are performance expectations attached to each step of the way. At times, the pressure is so great, motivation to perform is entirely fear-based. Thankfully, we serve a God who is nothing like that. Our salvation is a gift that is given to ALL who believe and choose to receive. We do not have to achieve a certain level of holiness to be considered righteous before Him, but rather it is His grace alone that saves us.

 

This point had to be driven home by Peter before the council in Jerusalem, as the Jewish believers were arguing that Gentile believers needed to do certain things to be saved. His response was with words that ought to still resonate with us today: No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. – (Acts 15:11) May we embrace the grace that has set us free from sin and shame, and walk forward in obedience to Him who has called us according to His purpose.

 

Though pressure is great,It is Grace that Saves

to always perform;

in Christ we need not,

let fear be the norm.

We are saved by grace,

gift granted in love;

with no strings attached,

salvation for us.

The strength of His love,

compels us to rise;

to love others well,

and serve with our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are saved by Your loving and generous grace, and not by our ability to follow a series of rules and regulations. Thank You that when we believe and receive new life in You, You grant us Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for trying to earn favor or perform somehow, rather than simply being obedient to all that You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will do all that You ask without hesitation. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in the grace that You so generously have given. 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

Watching for Wisdom

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

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

From Whom Wisdom Flows

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. – (James 1:5, NIV)

 

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

 

Wisdom is goes beyond our own ability to seek understanding through simply studying something. Rather, “wisdom is the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances.” (NIV footnotes) Such wisdom is a gift given generously by God, as we seek Him. God does not think less of us for asking. He sees our heart and knows our need. We are not meant to shoot in the dark as we attempt answers; He is for us, and longs to lead and guide us as we ask Him. May we be quick to seek the Lord where we are lacking, and trust in His unfailing love that He so generously pours out upon us.

 

When the road ahead,From Whom Wisdom Flows

splits, branches apart;

too many choices,

confusing our heart.

Turn and ask the Lord,

from whom wisdom flows;

faithful, He’ll answer,

He wants us to know.

He’ll make our path plain,

and leave it to us;

we must move forward,

have faith in Jesus.

Even when answers,

seem to make no sense;

His ways are higher,

so trust and commence.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are lacking wisdom or discernment, we can come to You, and You are generous to grant us answers without thinking less of us for it. Thank You that You love us where we are, and supply what we need as we seek You. Forgive us for not asking or seeking when we are stuck, and help us to be quick to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You in every decision – great and small. Lead us and guide us in all of our ways. May we love others as You love us, and may many come to find salvation in You, as a result. Be glorified as we seek You for wisdom in all things. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

 

Pouring of Plenty

“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” – (2 Corinthians 9:8, The Message)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth about being generous with what God had given them. He asked them not to give out of obligation, but cheerfully, from a heart that had determined to give, because God had so graciously given unto them. We are meant to give what we determine in our hearts, cheerfully. This is not just of our wealth, but of our time and our talents – the very gifts of God that He has placed in us for His purposes, to bless others for His glory. What is such a divine mystery to me, is that each time we step out in faith and offer our time, talents and/or resources, we seem to be the recipients of His blessing. The joy in knowing His pleasure, is beyond a reward one could measure. Additionally, I find that when I give anyway, my own needs somehow are met, regardless of the seeming lack of time, energy or resources. God has a way of multiplying the miniscule, when we are faithful with what we do have.

 

God pours out His grace,Pouring of Plenty

abundant to us;

when we call on Him,

our Savior, Jesus.

As we choose to give,

from all that is ours;

God uses our gifts,

to reach near and far.

When others are blessed,

we become blessed too;

for we see Him work,

as lives are made new.

Generously give,

as He’s given us;

all unto the Lord,

our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the ultimate gift – Your Son, so that we may have eternal life with You. Thank You that You are generous and kind, never withholding anything from us, as You supply our every need. Forgive us for our reluctance to give – be it of our time, talents or resources. Please show us how we are meant to give unto You, and help us to do so with cheerful hearts. May many be moved toward a relationship with You, as a result of the giving unto which we are called. Help us to love others as You so generously love us. Be glorified through our generosity today. 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

 

 

 

 

Above All – Love

In this day and age, more and more is being deemed permissible and acceptable, despite that only a decade ago, the very same, was viewed with disdain.  It is a strange space to stand – to have morals and convictions that are steadfast, yet live in a society where what is seen as acceptable, is ever changing.  My charge, as one who loves God and longs to serve Him well, is to love people, not judge and condemn them.  I only need look to the scriptures to see how Jesus interacted with those living a life of intentional sin.  He did not condemn them, rather He loved them where they were.  He touched, He healed, He helped, and He showed them that there was another way – a way that would bring life and light, hope and peace, not only for now, but for eternity.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Luke 6:35-36)

In the face of criticism for touching the untouchables, dining with the “unworthy“, healing on a day that had been declared a day off, and for loving with His life, Jesus, who alone is worthy to judge and condemn, spoke the above written words.  If He, who will be our final judge and jury tells us not to judge, then we ought not stand in judgment of one another.  It does not mean that we are to allow ourselves to become entangled in that which we know is wrong, but we are not to point a finger, while we still have four other digits that are aimed back at us.

We are called to forgive, just as He forgives us.  I cannot even begin to count the times that I have asked for His forgiveness, and yet, neither will He.  The same must hold true from me toward others.  I am called to forgive in the same way.  Likewise, I ought to be generous and kind, not withholding goodness and grace from anyone.  For He has given unto me, so I also am to give.

Judge not in the world,Above All Love

for we are not called;

to stand on the throne,

a place self-installed.

No condemnation,

is issued in love;

rather grace given,

from our God above.

When a heart repents,

and asks for His grace;

He takes sin away,

puts love in its place.

How will they know Him,

if in us they see;

our pointing fingers,

rather than mercy?

Let us love so well,

that all long to know;

what is our reason,

so they too may grow.

May goodness and grace,

and God’s love be seen;

so many may come,

to know what Love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love the way that You want us to.  Help us to not judge nor condemn those around us, and please grant us the grace to forgive and extend mercy to all.  Forgive us for judging and condemning things, even if only in our hearts, and help us to approach all with Your mercy and grace, so that many may see Your love in us.  May many who are stuck or are somewhere in the search, come to find the Light in You, as we are faithful to do as You ask of us.  Help us to forgive and give, as if it is unto You.  Be exalted in our obedience to all that You are asking.  Amen.

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

In One Accord

lighted pathThough his friends pleaded,

begged him to not go;

Paul knew he was called,

no pain he’d forgo.

All knew what waited,

in Jerusalem;

they wept at the thought,

of losing their friend.

Paul answered, “Why weep?

You’re breaking my heart.

I’m ready for this,

I will do my part.”

When his friends did see,

he could not be swayed;

they at last gave up,

blessed him on his way.

Imagine knowing,

such trials await;

would we still go forth,

or would we debate?

His boldness a gift.

His spirit, assured;

for all of his trust,

and hope was secured.

All that was in him,

relied on the Lord;

so too his actions,

aligned in accord.

(Responding to Acts 21:10-14)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, Whom You sent to dwell in us as our Counselor and Friend. Thank You that Your words for us are whispered within, through Your Spirit, and are always available for us to hear if we are willing to slow down and silence ourselves before You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted on what we have heard, and help us to overcome the fears that create the barriers preventing us from becoming all that You are calling us to be. Strengthen our hearts and minds, while keeping us truly tender towards others. Let us love as You love – giving generously of ourselves – our time, talents, and resources, shared in love, just as You so lavishly have poured into each of us. May many come to know You, personally, as a result of our outpouring. Amen.

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