The Comfort We Need

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort that God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV) 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, MSG) 

 

I love how God repeats themes in our lives to help us remember important information. Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend about the difficulty that we are currently enduring at our school. We both recognize that though it is hard, our present struggles will ultimately be used for good somehow. This verse is a reminder of the truth that we are now living in. Though the trouble is still taking place, there is comfort, and I know that we often find ourselves in spaces where we are somehow a comfort to someone else. The pain we experience today, will be utilized with purpose down the road. God does not create the chaos nor pain, but He will take the ugly, the difficult and the deplorable, and bring light and life and hope somehow. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we seek the Lord and His comfort so that we can extend the same comfort to others that God gives to us. 

 

God is our comfort, 

When troubles come near; 

Provider of peace, 

Remover of fear. 

As we are given, 

We’re equipped to give; 

Comfort to others, 

A new perspective. 

Let us ever seek, 

The God of all grace; 

True comfort in need, 

Our safe hiding place. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort us every time that we have trouble so that we can extend comfort to others when they experience the same. Thank You that You are gracious and full of love. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You with our every trouble, knowing that You will supply the comfort we need to navigate through the trials. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort in chaos and peace to their places of pain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the comfort that You provide to us so that we too can provide comfort to others. Amen. 

 

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

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

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All for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His loves who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. – (Romans 8:28, TPT)

 

I don’t know that I can even count the number of times that what I perceived as something awful, (and at the time, perhaps it was) that God, in His infinite goodness and grace, ultimately used it for good. Each time that I have had to walk through the hard or horrible that life brings, as I sought God and relied on Him, He provided what I needed to navigate the season, and later used the experience for something positive. At times the benefit has been personal growth and the discovery of His strength in times of my own weakness, yet still other times, He has turned my experience into a tool by which I am able to honestly speak to others going through similar, as I can share of His faithfulness that brought me through. God is good, and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. When we choose to trust in Him, He leads us through life by the light of His love, even when we are in spaces of darkness. May we ever seek the Lord and His plan, as He is good and is the only One who can bring beauty from our ashes.

 

With all certainty, His Passion for Our Peace

I truly can say;

God works all for good,

When we seek His way.

Though life’s not easy,

And despair may come;

The Lord is faithful,

’til each day is done.

He walks beside us,

And shows us the way;

Grants us renewed strength,

Fresh start for each day.

We can be certain,

He’ll use all for good;

If we choose to trust,

Hope our livelihood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust You, You ultimately work all things for good in our lives. Thank You that even when we cannot see how that is possible, You are moving and making it so. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt. Teach us to trust Your hand in all things, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and builds faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to orchestrate everything in our lives toward something good, as only You can 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

When Loved Ones Die

The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die. – (Psalm 116:15, NLT)

Very dear to the Lord are the lives of His followers. He cares when they face death. – (Psalm 116:15, ERV)

Precious in the eyes of the Eternal are the deaths of those who follow after Him. – (Psalm 116:15, VOICE)

 

I know the Lord cares about our grief when we lose loved ones, in fact, when Lazarus died and Jesus saw his sisters, He wept. His heart is for us, as we were designed by the work of His hands. Though I am certain I have read Psalm 116 many times before, this morning is the first time that this particular verse caught my attention. Perhaps it is because my heart is heavy after the loss of the grandson of my mom’s best friend, yet it certainly is a significant reminder of the Lord’s love and compassion in our seasons of loss. God sees, knows, and cares about those who die and those who are left behind in grief. May we find comfort in knowing that He is waiting with open arms for those who have gone on to be with Him, and that when we know and follow the Lord, we will one day be reunited in heaven.

 

Precious in His sight, When Loved Ones Die

Are those who have died;

God loves them deeply,

Draws each to His side.

Imagine the look,

Of love on His face;

As He welcomes them,

Into His embrace.

So precious are each,

Who’ve entered His rest;

All pain disappears,

In glory, they’re blessed.

And God, by His grace,

Will grant us His peace;

As we grieve the loss,

His comfort released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care deeply about Your loved ones who die, and those who are left behind to mourn. Thank You that You welcome little children into Your open arms and embrace them, and You extend comfort and peace to those who mourn so deeply. Thank You that though grief and healing are a long road, You remain present and are big enough to handle our fears, frustrations and questions. Forgive us for not running into Your waiting arms, as we so often freeze in the weight of our own grief. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You, and trust You to carry us when we do not have the strength to walk another step. Father, please be with the family of Eli as they prepare to remember him well tomorrow. Thank You that You are good, even when life is hard. Show us how to love and support those who are grieving or walking in the weight of loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You the glory for loving us through loss, and for welcoming those who go before us into Your presence. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Encourage Each Other

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today.” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

 

To live life as God intended, we need to be in community. He created the body so that we could mutually encourage each other to walk in His ways and be whom He calls us to be. Also, when we are invested in one another, we are accountable for what we say and do, and tend to be better protected from the snares of sin. May we sow where we are planted, and choose to invest and encourage in those who are in the community in which we dwell. Let us hold one another up, so that none will become entangled by the snares of sin, nor lost to a life they’re not meant to lead.

 

We all have been called, Encourage Each Other

to choose to invest;

in community,

to give and be blessed.

Part of a body,

to walk alongside;

each other in love,

to help do what’s right.

Also to protect,

from the snares of sin;

together there’s strength,

to stand, fight and win.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for community. Thank You that when we invest in each other, You use the relationships that we are in to encourage and protect us from the snares of sin. Forgive us for being too “busy”, or not prioritizing time to be invested daily in the body. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to encourage and lift up those around us each day, and live according to all that You say. Show us how to love all those who are around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and walk beside those in which You have placed within our community. 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

Love Makes No Distinction

He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts through faith. – (Acts 15:9, NLT)

God does not discriminate nor give preferential treatment when it comes to receiving people into His kingdom. All have fallen short, and all must earnestly seek Him to be saved. It is only by His grace that we are saved when we come before Him in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is. In the same way, we must not discount anyone, nor assume that they are too hard to receive the love and grace that God has set in place for us to extend toward them. It is not up to us to determine how it is received, but rather to be obedient to extend His loving kindness to all whom we meet. God will be God, and He will do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine if we do our part and then get out of the way. Let love and faithfulness be our motivation, as we love well and allow God to reign.

To say, “God so loved”,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

where grace was begun;

when God sent for us,

the gift of His Son.

Because Jesus came,

each can become clean;

by faith, seeking God,

trusting the unseen.

This gift is for all,

all people of earth;

cleansing, renewing,

blessed second birth.

Please open our hearts,

help reach out our hands;

so we may love well,

just as You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not make a distinction between us, as You receive ALL who call on Your Name in faith. Thank You that when we trust in You and give our hearts to You, You purify all that is sinful within us, and call us clean before You. Forgive us for thinking ourselves or anyone else is too far gone to be reached by Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow You to be God, as You move in ways that only You can move. Lead us to love all those around us, even if they seem unloveable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wondrous ways that You move in our midst, despite our doubts based on what we see. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Praising through the Storms

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!” – (Psalm 70:4)

David, despite being in the midst of an urgent prayer for help, paused to praise God for who He is. He knew that though his circumstances may have been hard and horrible, God was still good, and His love and salvation are reason for us to rejoice and be glad. As we walk through our days, we can confidently have the same posture of praise, for His salvation is assured to all who earnestly seek Him. Our circumstances do not dictate whether or not we rejoice and are glad in the Lord. Christ is separate from our panic and our pain. He will come along side us and help and guide us, but He is never the cause nor initiator of our struggling spaces. In fact, it is God with us, that provides reason to rejoice in spite of our circumstances, when we choose to trust in Him. May we seek Him with our whole hearts, regardless of our circumstances, and recognize our reasons to rejoice and be glad.

As we stand seeking,No Matter What Comes

we’ll find in our choice;

Christ ever present,

reason to rejoice.

Hope in salvation,

love soon realized;

God be exalted,

wake up, open eyes.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He stands and He waits,

for trust in the task.

We need simply seek,

give to God, let go;

all glory to Him,

where answers are known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of our urgent prayers, we have reason to pause and give You praise. Thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that Your love never fails. Forgive us for coming to You only with requests, without remembering to recognize just how remarkable You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice and be glad in You, despite our circumstances, knowing that You are our help and our salvation. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember to praise You for who You are, even in the midst of our urgent prayers. Amen.

A great song that comes to mind is Praise You in This Storm, by Casting Crowns.  (Click highlighted title to listen.)

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

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

Upheld By His Hand

Change is inevitable. At times, change is a choice that we embrace and make with enthusiasm, yet there are other times that change must occur in response to our present circumstances. During the latter, we seldom are responding with enthusiasm, and often it is instead a space of fear or dread. There is sorrow in such seeking, and a desperate need to know that the Lord is present in the catalyst of change that we feel called to make. Our difficult decisions for change that Christ calls us to, He also strengthens and upholds us as we move forward in faith.

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10)

 

Despite how things appear in the here and now, when Christ calls us to change, it is for our ultimate good. Though there may be a season of mourning, His joy does come again. We need not fear, for His presence is promised. We need not dismay, for we know Who is with us. He will strengthen, help and uphold us with His hand, not our own. It is not up to us to power through, rather we are meant to move in obedience; dependent on Him, each step of the way. May we release every fear to He who is our strength and our help, and trust Him to uphold us in His righteous right hand.

 

Lord help me embrace,Generous Giving

what You call me to;

though changes are hard,

I have help in You.

Even when sorrow,

accompanies change;

help me to trust You,

and call on Your Name.

Lord, help me not fear,

keep me from dismay;

be my strength and hope,

as I choose obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, because You are with us. Thank You that we need not be dismayed, for You are our God. Thank You that You strengthen and help us; and that You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Forgive us for our fearfulness, in spite of Your faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be certain of all that You have promised and walk in obedience accordingly. Lead us to love others fearlessly and relentlessly, even if they are afraid to receive the love that You are providing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we surrender our fears and our fretting, and choose to embrace the strength and help that you provide as You hold us up in Your righteous right hand. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Facing the Giants

God is good and loving, and He always has our very best in mind. When He calls us out of something, or leads us into something new, it is for our benefit, and at times, for our protection. When we fail to trust Him, we may miss out on all that He has for us. Even more than that, there are times when “failing to trust God brings even greater problems than those we originally faced. When we run from God, we inevitably run into problems.” – (NIV footnotes for Numbers 14:34)

 

The Israelites were a prime example of this. Because they failed to trust God, they did not enter into the promised land when it was right there, before them. Instead, they rebelled against God and those He had placed in leadership, and ended up wandering in the desert until they died.

 

From the Israelite perspective, following God into the promised land was a frightening prospect. There were men the size of giants, and their numbers seemed far greater than those of the Israelites. However, the Israelites had been miraculously brought out of captivity, provided for again and again by the mighty hand of God Himself, and yet, they failed to see God’s capacity to carry them over one more hurdle to receive the promise that God had made. Despite the numerous examples that we have throughout the Bible, history, and in our own lives, it is easy to fall prey to the same. If we allow our gaze to fix on that which we face before us, rather than Him who will carry us through, our desire to run begins to outweigh our passion to pursue God’s direction for our lives. May we fix our eyes on He who is more than able to carry us through every circumstance, and trust Him to provide what is needed to get where He calls us to go.

 

Our God is loving,Facing the Giants

and He always has;

the best intentions,

for our promised land.

Yet we have to trust,

and choose to obey;

listen and follow,

and walk in His way.

Even when walking,

seems horrid and hard;

He calls us to trust,

allow Him to guard.

He will not take us,

where He will not go;

His presence promised,

and peace we shall know.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

wherever You say;

and grant us the strength,

to rise and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will not lead us where You are not also willing to be present. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and with us, so that we are never alone or unprotected. Thank You that though trusting You can be frightening at times, failing to do so can mean missing out on all that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have run from You, and teach us to trust You more so that we run to You, and embrace all that You call us to do. Lead us to move in rapid obedience, fixing our eyes on You. Help us to love others with You kindness and grace, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they learn to fix their eyes and hearts on You, the only One who can lead us into the places of promise. Be glorified O God, as we move in obedience, even in the scary spaces. 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

Mourning’s End

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – (Revelation 21:4)

 

God has granted us a hope far greater than the hard that we face on earth. No matter the trials or difficulty we endure, we are assured that one day, all will be different. As the one-year anniversary of the loss of my sweet sister-in-Christ, Aine, has arrived, I am blessed to hold onto the words Christ whispers to us through this verse. She has been in such a space for a year now. I imagine to her, it has felt like the blink of an eye. All of the pain and suffering she endured in her latter days on earth, as the cancer invaded every inch of her being, gone – no more. Her ultimate freedom was found as Christ welcomed her home. For those of us who are still in waiting, we are left to navigate the precarious road between grief and celebration, as we mourn our personal losses, yet rejoice for the faithful who have left us too soon’s gain. I am so grateful for the blessed hope that is held in the hearts of all who know Christ and believe. One day, we too will join the multitude in singing, knowing that the tears, death, mourning, and pain have all passed permanently. May we hold fast to this holy hope in Him.

 

Aine

Remembering Aine…<3

Though tears may fall,

and pain that runs deep;

death soon shall pass,

for our hearts He’ll keep.

Mourning shall end,

as will all our pain;

the old will go,

and His new, remain.

Holy city,

with twelve giant gates;

made of jewels,

our entry awaits.

To enter in,

our name must be known;

receive His grace,

our Foundation Stone.

Trust in the One,

Who loves us to life;

He’ll take the old,

and set each heart right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have hope not just for today, but for all of eternity. Thank You for the promise that there will be a day when there will be no more death, nor mourning, crying or pain, and that You will remove the old order of things to bring the glorious new. Forgive us for our fear and frustration with the pain and sorrow present today, and grant us Your strength to endure, knowing that Your are with us, and that whatever we face today, will not be our battle forever. Teach us to love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone through our love. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to share the hope we’ve found in You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8