Both For Our Benefit

On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted. – (Ecclesiastes 7:14, MSG)

 

Everyone has good days and bad days. A bad day does not mean a bad life. If Christ is in our hearts and lives, then we are blessed to know Him. On our best days, we are aware of His abundant blessings, as there seems to be an overflow of goodness and grace that we are given. Conversely, on our most difficult days, everything feels like a battle. However, even in the throes of the fight, when the Lord is our light, we have help and hope; the blessed assurance that things will get better, and God’s presence and strength in the meantime. May we embrace His grace on good days and bad, and rest assured that He is with us and will use every experience to refine us further into who we are meant to become.

 

On good days and bad,Answers As We Ask

Let us each embrace;

What we’re meant to learn,

In light of His grace.

He gives help and hope,

When our days are tough;

His strength and His peace,

Are always enough.

When all things go well,

And the blessings flow;

Give thanks to the Lord,

For what He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we experience both good and bad days, so that we can truly appreciate the benefit of each. On the good days, we praise You for the blessings that You pour out upon us, and on the bad, we thank You for Your grace and Your presence that see us through. Forgive us for our grumbling, as no one enjoys the days that are a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You in all things and at all times, with thanks for all that You show us and teach us in every circumstance. Show us how to love others through their best and worst days, so that they may come to a place where they long to give You praise. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we thank You for every experience that we walk through, knowing that You will use each one for our benefit. 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

Unfailing Love Leads

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – (Exodus 15:13)

 

Just as God led the Israelites, whom He had set free from captivity out of Egypt, and ultimately brought them into the Promise Land, He will still do the same for us today. It is the Lord’s unfailing love that leads us, as He is patient and kind, despite our grumbling and lack of faith along the way. Any of us who are in Christ, have been redeemed. He has paid the penalty for our sin, and is leading us away from where we once were, into a new space of freedom in Him. The holy dwelling to which He is leading, is not a temporary stop along our path, but rather is our final destination, which will be our eternal home with Christ forever. May we receive His unfailing love, and allow His strength to guide us to the holy dwelling that He has prepared for us all.

 

It’s unfailing love,Unfailing Love Leads

that leads us all home;

that sets our hearts right,

draws back when we roam.

Those who have sought Christ,

have become redeemed;

considered His own,

in love, He shall lead.

His strength will guide us,

His ways He will tell;

He’ll grow and guide us,

’til heaven we dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us in Your unfailing love. Thank You that You redeem all who call on Your Name. Thank You that by Your strength You guide us to Your heavenly home. Forgive us for our fear and grumbling that lead us to wander aimlessly in the desert, rather that follow the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and obey all that You are asking. Help us to love others as You so patiently love each of us. May many come into a new space of freedom forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we are led by Your unfailing love. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Sow Where We’re Planted

When our circumstances seem dismal, or if our surroundings are a space less than what we’d hoped for, we may very well be exactly where God intended for the purpose of influencing people for His Name’s sake.

In Acts 25, despite having been imprisoned for two years, Paul found himself with an audience of the governor, a king, and some other very influential individuals.  Paul, true to form, made the most of his opportunity, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus before them.

The fall that followed my graduation from university, I took a giant leap of faithful obedience, and joined YWAM. (Youth With A Mission)  After several months of training, my cohorts and I found ourselves in the slums in Bangkok, Thailand.  The air was so thick that it felt as if we could chew it, and the scent in our surroundings was that of stagnant water and garbage, stewed in sweltering heat.  For many of us, this was our first introduction to anything outside of the United States, and there was a bit of culture shock, to say the least.  However, by the grace of God, we got it together, and began to serve the community in the slums where we were staying.  Each morning, we went out to the waterway and dug out as much garbage as we could load into our baskets, and carried it away to the pick up site.  Day in and day out, we faithfully worked, giggling at ourselves, and making the most of our time, despite the dismal circumstances.

Unbeknownst to us, just over the wall, in a palatial home, was a very high ranking government official.  This man had observed what we were doing each day, and he could not understand why we would come and do what we were doing.  He invited a couple of the guys on our team to come to his home to speak with him, and they had the opportunity to share not only our intent to love and serve the people of Thailand, but they shared the gospel as well.  The official was so impressed, that he invited our entire team into his home for appetizers, arranged for a tour bus, and funded a sightseeing adventure for our team that we would not have otherwise had.

Circumstances,Sow Where Planted

do not determine;

effectiveness,

that’s only through Him.

May we all turn,

to trust in each space;

He is working,

rely on His grace.

For He can use,

whatever we bring;

so let our hearts,

extend offering.

Always ready,

the truth to exclaim;

we never know,

who’ll embrace His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and for the gift of life experiences to demonstrate how faith in action really works.  Thank You that You use us, Your children, to touch lives and transform communities, if we are only willing to serve where we are planted.  Forgive us for grumbling if things seem uncomfortable or less than we had hoped for, and help us to keep an eternal perspective, knowing that whatever we experience here is nothing, compared to what You have prepared for us in heaven.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to speak truth in love as You lead, so that hearts may turn to You.  May many come to know of Your glorious grace and the eternal hope that is held in You alone.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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

Miracles in the Desert

Though the Israelites were notorious for their grumbling in the desert, there was a time, early on, when they really got it right.  After the Lord had saved them from the hands of the Egyptians by parting the sea until each of them had safely passed through, and then covered all of the Egyptians with the great wall of water that led to their untimely demise.  After such a mighty display of unbridled power, the Israelites not only feared the Lord, but they placed their trust in Him, and in Moses, whom God had appointed to lead them.

Their response was one of worship, as they say a song unto the Lord.  Among the lines that stand out, is “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” – (Exodus 15:2)  Because they were in the midst of wandering in the desert, recording things in writing was not such a viable option.  However, reciting the remarkable in song, was a wonderful way to give thanks to the Lord, and to pass down the historical happenings of the people, as they celebrated the victory that God had granted.

All of us have seasons of wandering through the desert.  We must choose to either look for and celebrate the miraculous moments, despite the desolation around us; or we are left grumbling, perhaps missing out on the miracles, as our eyes and hearts are averted inward, rather than looking up.  When our hearts are set to worship the One who is with us, be it in the desert or in the lush valley, our awareness of what He is doing, tends to increase.  May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him, and let words of praise be ever-present on our lips.

Our strength and our song,Miracles in the Desert

in famine or feast;

the Lord God on high,

our hope to increase.

Present in dry lands,

He quenches our thirst;

with us in plenty,

as we seek Him first.

Let our hearts hold praise,

regardless of way;

trusting His goodness,

is with us to stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our surroundings.  Thank You that often the most miraculous moments come as we are wandering through the driest deserts.  Forgive us for our grumbling when we are uncomfortable, or have to persevere longer than we think we ought to, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You.  Grant us the ability to keep our eyes up and our hearts on You, so that we do not miss out on the miraculous that You are doing all around us.  May we be available to love as You love us, and please use us to touch hearts and show those who are looking, the way unto You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do, our mighty, miraculous God.  Amen.

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