The Hand of Blessing

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, VOICE)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

Though there are disappointments and struggles (as it is a part of human existence), I am acutely aware of God’s bountiful hand of blessing in my life. Through the most trying seasons, He has gone before me and been behind me, and His hand was gently upon me. Never, even on the worst of days, did I feel as if I were on my own. Yesterday, marked one more step towards the fulfillment of this beautiful forward momentum that He has set into place in my life. My fiancé and I received the keys to our new home and were able to go and get started on a bit of yard work, despite having each worked full days, with responsibilities to attend to in the evening. We have been given the gift of time, as we have just the right amount for he and his son to move into our new home after his son’s graduation, time for my boys and me to gradually move things over as we can, and the flexibility in my rental agreement to not move in completely until the day we all depart for Wenatchee for the wedding. May we ever remember Who surrounds us and prepares the way, as He imparts blessings upon us by His love.

 

Before me You go, img_20180531_191403_1463527364648733055004.jpg

In love, make a way;

You follow behind,

Ever near You stay.

Your great hand of love,

It rests upon me;

As You grant blessings,

So abundantly.

Though trials will come,

I need never fear;

For Your love’s greater,

And Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and behind us and You place Your hand of blessing upon us. Thank You that You prepare the way ahead and protect us from the harm of what has past. Forgive us for not recognizing Your presence and Your blessings in our lives. Teach us to have open eyes and open hearts so that we would be ever aware of Your presence and Your hand in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that imparts abundant blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and thank You for Your hand of blessing in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Extend the Good

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You are all around me – in front of me and behind me. I feel Your hand on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, ERV)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

The kindness of God never ceases to amaze me. So often, He uses the people He has placed in my life to show me His love in remarkable ways. Yesterday, as the start of the school day was drawing near, I walked into the library and crossed paths with a colleague and friend. She happened to be wearing my shirt for the Seattle Majestics (the semi-pro, full-tackle, women’s football team I made about a month ago), and I smiled and complimented her on her shirt. Her response was very sweet and supportive, and I walked away blessed and encouraged. Not twenty yards out the library door, I encountered another dear co-working friend, wearing the same shirt and a sweet smile. I did a double-take in disbelief, and again was built up with blessing. One of my dearest friends made a cameo in my class, also donning said shirt, as she informed my students of my latest endeavor. Though I was likely several shades of red, it was entertaining to see my kids respond to the idea of their teacher playing football. At the end of the day, we had a staff meeting and there were a total of four fabulous ladies sporting the shirts in support of this new adventure. For me, it was a reminder that I am valued and known, even if I am quiet and often fly under the radar. He sees and He knows, and His hand of blessing is upon me. May we ever remember Who goes before us and stands behind, as the Lord loves to impart blessings upon us.

 

The Lord goes before, img_20171206_163718_0541739637535.jpg

And He stands behind;

He extends blessings,

With our hearts in mind.

He knows and He sees,

The need of each heart;

The hand of His love,

His blessing imparts.

Protects from the past,

And prepares the way;

Strength for tomorrow,

And love all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and stand behind. Thank You that You walk beside us and bless us as we go. Thank You that You place us in communities. Thank You for the incredible gift of the people whom You have placed in mine. Forgive us for not recognizing Your hand of blessing in the good that goes on around us each day. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on the blessings that You bestow upon us, rather than the struggles that we face. Thank You that You are with us through it all. Show us how to support, encourage, walk beside and love those around us in the day-to-day, as that is the community to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your blessings, and extend the good that we have been given to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Pay Back With Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God had called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, ERV)

 

We are called to respond in the opposite spirit when we are hurt by the words or actions of another. Though this contradicts the very nature within us, when we choose to bless when we want to curse, extend kindness when we’d rather kick, and offer hope where we’d rather return harm, so often the situation turns around and we are blessed by the outcome. Even when we are not, we can go forward knowing that we have walked in obedience with a clear conscience, rather than agonizing over what we should or should not have said or done. The ultimate outcome is in God’s hands, so we need not worry when blessing seems to do nothing to help. A prime place where this practice plays out in my life is in the classroom. When a student behaves poorly and I try to redirect with kindness and calm, identifying their strengths and abilities, often it is enough to get them to snap out of their funk and return to what is appropriate. We all have days where we choose poorly or are less than kind, and the very things that help us to reset and choose better are the blessings that come through the kindness of those around us. May we ever choose to extend blessings, even to those who wrong us, as God has chosen to give abundant blessings unto us.

 

Don’t repay evil, Aquiring Armor

With more of the same;

Firing back insults,

Or pointing out blame.

Instead, give blessings,

To all whom you meet;

This is our calling,

Mission to complete.

As we choose to bless,

We become blessed too;

Because we’ve obeyed,

As we’re called to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and blessings unto us. Thank You that You direct and instruct us to steer clear of retaliating for the harm that people bring our way, and that instead, You arm us with strength to bless those who insult or do wrong against us. Forgive us for the times that we have repaid wrong with wrong, or returned insults instead of extending blessings. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and heed Your instruction as to how we can bless when we feel wronged, and give grace instead of retaliation. Show us how to love sincerely, even those who insult us or irritate us, as each is Your treasured creation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to bless those who bring us pain. Amen.

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

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

His Mission Among Us

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and His love within us grows ever stronger. – (1 John 4:12, TLB)

 

The love of God is made evident in us and through us when we choose to love one another as we are loved by God. The only way this is possible, is if we seek the Lord and depend on Him. With God in us, our capacity to love grows ever stronger. Each day that we recognize and embrace the depth of God’s love for us, the better equipped we become to go and do likewise with one another. Although a baby in the womb has not yet seen its mother, he/she knows her voice and is dependent on her for all things. In the same way, we can hear and trust the Lord, for He is our Provider and Sustainer, and shows us the way to life everlasting in Him. May we ever listen for His voice as we seek Him, and trust the Lord to grow within us, the capacity to love one another as we are loved by Him.

 

Though no human eye,Enter With Thanksgiving

Has yet seen the Lord;

His voice is made clear,

As love is outpoured.

When we choose to love,

Each other like Him;

His love’s made complete,

Accomplished mission.

For God’s own love dwells,

As we make the choice;

To listen and love,

With head, heart and voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are far from perfect, Your love is made perfect within us. Thank You that the very same love You give and grow in us, is what we are empowered to do with one another. Forgive us for not choosing to love as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen for Your voice as to how we can love each other as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us with word and deed, so that their hearts might be drawn ever closer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your perfect love to flow through us, by loving those around us as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Speak Truth in Trust

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head, and the whole body depends on Him. All parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and be stronger in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, ERV)

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the Source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. – (Ephesians 4:15-16, MSG)

 

In order to speak the truth in love, we must be invested in our relationship with Christ. When we know Him, we know His voice, and are equipped to hear His heart for us and those around us. As we invest in community that chooses to do likewise, we draw from one another’s strengths, and grow stronger into who He is calling us to be. The more we are like the Lord, the greater our capacity for loving those around us. May we invest in our relationships with God and the community to which we are called, so that we grow ever stronger in life and in love.

 

We must choose to speak,ç€À

The whole truth in love;

It is how we grow,

Trust in God above.

For He is the head,

On Whom we depend;

All parts joined as one,

Neighbors become friends.

This work together,

Causes us to grow;

Still stronger in love,

Making the truth known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Your truth to us by Your love as we intentionally seek You. Thank You that You equip us and grow us stronger in our capacity to love and work together as we depend on You. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for failing to speak truth in love, when we have the words and the opportunity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise up in strength and courage to do whatever part You are calling us to do. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so gently, yet relentlessly, love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love as You call us to 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

From Peace to Health

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, NLT)

A serene heart can add years to one’s life. – (Proverbs 14:30a, VOICE)

Peace of mind makes the body healthy. – (Proverbs 14:30a, ERV)

A sound mind makes for a robust body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, MSG)

 

Our head, heart and body are all intricately interwoven by our Maker. When one is not well, the other two are affected also. It is no wonder that peace is so often mentioned in the Bible, for when our heart is at peace, our mind and body follow.

I have experienced seasons in my own life, where peace was seriously lacking. Though I sought and loved the Lord, my mind and heart were wrestling to grasp His peace in my surroundings. The unrest actually took a terrible toll on my body, and it got to the point that I had to make a change for my health – physically, emotionally and spiritually. When I moved in obedience to that which I had been called – the space that delivered me from the chaos to a place of peace – I suddenly found peace again. Not only was peace restored to my heart and mind, but my body began to be restored as well. With a renewed sense of His peace, it was well with my soul.

This is not to say that I have perfected finding His peace amidst the chaos. However, I have seen and know how faithful our Father is to meet us in the middle of our mess if we are only willing to allow Him entry. As we choose to walk in obedience, the direction to which we are called, His peace permeates our existence, regardless of what surrounds us. May we allow the Lord to be the peace of our hearts and minds, so that we may know the beauty that His presence brings to all things – body, mind and soul.

 

The God of all peace,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

Wants our hearts to know;

That in Him we’ll find,

Calm where chaos flows.

When the Lord’s peace comes,

Our health is restored;

Heart, body and mind,

Come let us adore.

We need choose listen,

And then opt obey;

For His perfect peace,

In love, lights our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find peace. Thank You that when we have peace in our hearts, our bodies and minds know peace too. Thank You that our health and wellness are found in You, not in our surroundings. Thank You that even in times of great chaos, we can have peace in Your presence. Forgive us for our anxiousness that sits idle, rather than reaches out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You and listen to Your direction, as You are faithful to lead us to Your place of peace, regardless of the wreckage around us. Show us how to love those around us who are desperate for Your peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You – the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to permeate our bodies, minds and souls, no matter our circumstances or surroundings. 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

Worship Anyway

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped. – (Job 1:20, MSG)

When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God. – (Job 1:20, ERV)

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. – (Job 1:20, NLT)

 

A few days ago, I passed the one-month mark with my back injury. Typically, I am extraordinarily active, and I participate in high impact workouts at least six days per week. In order for my compression fracture to heal, I was instructed to do no high impact activities. This has left me with few options, and the lack of adrenaline and endorphins released from merely walking, seem to be taking its toll. I am weary, restless, and fighting the darkness that tries to pull me down. The only thing that has kept me somewhat sane in this state of waiting, is an abundance of walking, encouraging friends, and the turning up of my worship music and singing along with all that I am.

This morning, as I read about Job and all of the horrible loss that he endured, as well as how he responded, I am again reminded of what matters most, and how to best combat the fear and frustration. Worship does wonders. As we remove our focus from ourselves and our own situations, and instead fix our eyes and hearts on Him who deserves all of our attention, something shifts and the unbearable becomes bearable. Our burdens are no longer ours alone, and we see Him who is seated on the throne. God who is worthy of all of our worship, is the only One who can see us through our storms. May we mourn what need be mourned, then, despite our sorrow, set our hearts to worship the One who will carry us until our strength is renewed. Let every heart lift praise to our Prince of Peace.

 

When all’s going wrong,photo (3)

The struggle is new;

There’s one place to turn,

Where Love sees us through.

The Lord is our strength,

No matter our state;

As we choose worship,

His love lifts the weight.

He helps bear burdens,

Too heavy for us;

Shines light in darkness,

Grants peace through Jesus.

Despite the struggle,

God is always good;

Let us choose worship,

His grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and worthy of our worship. Thank You that despite what we have going on in or around us, You are with us and willing to remain present. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our view of You, rather than allow You to shape our view of what is going on in and around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and worship You in all things and at all times. Show us how to worship You in spite of what we see, and lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may see how kind and loving You are to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we mourn what need be mourned, but recognize in all things, that You deserve our worship. 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

His Kindness in Little Things

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

 

God knows what we need, and in His kindness, gives unto us. For whatever reason, I just did not sleep well last night. Normally, when I wake, I get up and get moving. This morning, I opted to lay there for an extra moment or two. Those moments ended up being hours, and my total sleep resulted in a full eight hours. Because I will be driving over a snow-covered mountain pass this afternoon, being rested is certainly a helpful blessing. At first I was a bit dumbstruck about getting out of bed so late, but then realized how kind God had been to me to grant my body the rest it really needed, in order to be alert for my drive. My head, my heart and my now rested body, can give Him praise as I go love toddlers in the nursery at church and then travel over the pass with my family. Let every part of us praise the Lord, for He is kind and cares about even the smallest things.

 

Let my soul give praise,Purposeful Prayer

mind, heart and my soul;

lift praise to the Lord,

His Name, let’s extol.

Help me not forget,

His kindness and love;

all grace that He gives,

our great God above.

Sing out to the One,

with all that we are;

Who remains with us,

the bright Morning Star.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are holy and kind and loving. Thank You that all praise and honor belong to You. Thank You that You see and care about even the little things in our lives, because You love. Forgive us for forgetting how personal and near You are. Teach us to trust all to You, and show us how to place everything in Your hands. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly and practically love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, and never forget Your kindness to us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Worth More

Despite how we feel, or how we are received by others, we are highly valued by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

Jesus was speaking to His disciples to beware of the Pharisees, but not to fear. He pointed out that even the sparrows that were sold for mere coins, were not forgotten by God. God intimately knows each of us. He knit us and formed us in our mother’s womb. For each of us, the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm us – a hope and a future. Though people can cause bodily harm, they cannot steal our soul. When we commit our hearts to Christ, we have the security and assurance of His presence now, and all of eternity in heaven. May we rest assured in the security of being intimately known by our loving Savior, who values each one of us, individually.

 

Intimately known,Sparrow2

and loved just the same;

by the Lord of all,

give praise to His Name.

Let’s not be afraid,

to Him we have worth;

He knew us before,

the day of our birth.

The number of hairs,

on our heads are known;

for Christ truly loves,

and calls us His own.

Let each heart rise up,

and give God all praise;

each day unto Him,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are intimately known by You, and loved anyway. Thank You that in You, we have nothing to fear, as You do not forget any of Your created. Thank You that You value each one of us, not for what we have accomplished, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for our feelings that we are somehow forgotten or not covered and cared for. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might slow down and be still, giving our hearts opportunity to hear and acknowledge all that You are, and just how much You love us. Lead us to love others, as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we rise up in recognition of who You are, and the wonder of Your love for all. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6