Saving Strength

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NLT)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

 

Going to Minnesota with my fiancée was an incredible blessing, as I was able to meet so many of his extended family members, hear stories of his life growing up, and see the places that were significant in his formative years. The challenging part of an escape such as that, is the responsibility that waits upon one’s return home. Throughout my entire flight back, I was grading papers that students had spent last week finishing up or rewriting. Upon arriving home, there was little time for much visiting, but rather I had to get right back to grading and entering scores, as semester grades were due by midnight. Though my body had adapted to Minnesota time, I was incredibly enabled to stay alert until the last grade was entered and posted. Today is an equally hectic day, as a new semester begins, it is the first day of gymnastics, and I have football practice this evening. I will trust in Him to be my strength and song, as He provides what I need as it is needed most. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and song, as He is our God and worthy of all of our praise.

 

The Lord is my strength,

Strong Heart

My joy and my song;

He grants victory,

To continue on.

For He is my God,

Whom I’ll ever praise;

For goodness and grace,

He gives all my days.

On days I’m weary,

He’s still faithful true;

He fills me again,

With strength, makes me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my song. Thank You that You give us all that we need to navigate each new day as we depend on You. Thank You that though things seem impossible or overwhelming in our own strength, in You, we can do far more. Forgive us for attempting to power through when things pile up, and teach us to turn to You in trust for strength. Show us how to lovingly walk beside others who are heavy burdened too, so that they may find new strength and hope and joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our song, and praise You for Your faithfulness, always. 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

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We Must Love Those We See

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? – (1 John 4:20, MSG)

 

This is a place where we have to remember that love is not a feeling, but rather it is a decision that we make. For some, the choice to love is easy, as the love that we give is returned. However, for others, the hurt they carry, or the burdens they are bearing, can at times, make some people very difficult to decide to love. An attitude of kindness and grace, extended in the same love that we have been given by God, is a choice that we make in His strength, not our own. Though not one of us gets it perfect all of the time, I find that the more I choose to love, even those whom are the most difficult to love, the more I see the hand of God move in both my heart and that of the one whom I choose to love anyway. Sometimes, we see healing and restoration in remarkable ways, just because of our decision to do the very thing to which we are called. Yet, there are times, that we see little change, and have to hold hope that God is moving, even when we cannot see. May we go forth this day and choose to love others because we love the One who is love.

 

It’s impossible, Love Made Known

To truly love God;

If we’re holding hate,

For our own home squad.

We can’t love unseen,

If our hearts won’t choose;

To love each other,

The ones in plain view.

Love’s not what we feel,

But rather a choice;

God grants us the strength,

As we hear His voice.

So let us choose love,

Give kindness and grace;

The Lord will supply,

What we need each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others, just as we are called to love You. Thank You that You grant us the strength that we need to choose to love those around us if we look to You to be our Source. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love those whom we can see, and yet claimed to love You, whom we cannot. Teach us to love everyone according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to extend kindness and grace to those who need it most, even when it is difficult to choose to do so. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those we see, just as we love You, whom we cannot. 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

To See God

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known. – (John 1:18, NIV)

No one has ever seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made God known. – (John 1:18, CEB)

No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to His heart. Now He has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is! – (John 1:18, TPT)

 

Without Jesus, it is impossible to truly understand God. Jesus came to us in a way that human eyes could see, ears could hear and our hearts could understand. He walked among us so that we could come to know the loving heart of the Father. Each time that Jesus touched the untouchable, healed the hurting and loved the difficult to love, He demonstrated who God is, and showed us God’s heart for His created. When He ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father, He sent His Spirit to dwell within the hearts of everyone who chooses to receive and believe. Today, we gain glimpses of God through the hearts of people who demonstrate His love as He loved. When we are hurting and receive an encouraging word that holds our heart and lifts our spirit, it is glance at the goodness of God being made tangible. May we ever keep our eyes open and our hearts tender, to hear and share His heart with those around us.

 

The greatness of God, The Hope of the World

Far too much to grasp;

As we seek His Son,

He reveals as asked.

Though no eye has seen,

Yet, Jesus’ made known;

The fullness of God,

By grace, we’ve been shown.

And still we can see,

Glimpses of the Lord;

As we look to Him,

His love is outpoured.

Let us choose to seek,

So we come to know;

The greatness of God,

Wherever we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have not seen You, we can know You through the life of Your Son. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit to dwell within us, so that we can see glimpses of You in others, and show Your heart to those around us as we love. Forgive us for not opening our eyes and hearts to the evidence of You that is all around us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to understand, so that we will grow in our understanding of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we open our eyes and hearts to see and take in Your splendor that is all around us. 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

On the Eve of New

This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, NIV)

The Lord is making roads through the sea. He is making a path for His people, and even through rough waters. The Lord says, “So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through the dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, ERV)

The Lord says – who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters… Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I am doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. – (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, CEB)

 

I love that the Lord reminds us to not dwell on the past, and to look and see the new things that He is doing. Rather than calling 2018, change; it is a NEW year. God has new things in store for each of us. Change can be scary, yet there is excitement and anticipation with things that are new. Personally, 2018 holds much in store that is new, and I am eager to walk forward in faith into all that lies ahead. He is good, and I can trust Him in all things and at all times. New does not necessarily mean easy, but growth takes work – just as a seed has to stretch and push to break through the darkness to reach the nourishing light needed to grow further, we must do likewise. May we outstretch arms to heaven, and trust in all of the new that our Heavenly Father holds in His hands for each of us in the upcoming year.

 

On the eve of new, On the Eve of New

May we each embrace;

The hope that new holds,

In light of God’s grace.

For where there was once,

No possible way;

New things now spring up,

As we trust and pray.

Once raging waters,

Part with open road;

Set path before us,

Equipped to now go.

Eyes looking forward,

Trust filling each heart;

Blessings this new year,

Each day a fresh start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make a way through what seems impossible. Thank You that You remind us not to dwell on what has been, but rather to see what You are doing now and anticipate the new that You bring. Forgive us for dwelling on the past or not opening our eyes to Your mighty hand at work all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the new that You have in store for us, knowing that You are good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to see the new that You are doing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anticipate and embrace all the new that You are bringing in the coming year. 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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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

Sent to Succeed

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” – (Judges 6:14, NLT)

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?” – (Judges 6:14, CEB)

 

The story of Gideon reminds us that when God calls us to something, our success will not be based on the strength that we possess, but rather on from whom we have been sent. If God calls us to something, He will also equip us to successfully navigate whatever it is that He has asked of us. Gideon was not a warrior, yet he eventually led a significantly smaller army towards the mighty Midian army, and God provided the way for the Israelites to defeat the Midianites without ever even engaging in combat. What seems impossible in our eyes, is entirely possible to God. May we seek the Lord and His strength, and trust in Him to provide all that is needed to navigate whatever direction He is calling us to go.

 

We need not focus, Walking on His Path

On the strength we lack;

But rather rely,

On Who has our back.

For when we are called,

We’re also supplied;

With all that we need,

To end goal, arrive.

God calls the faithful,

Not mighty, nor strong;

For all He’s sending,

His help shall belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when You send us, You provide whatever we need to get where we are called to go. Forgive us for looking at where we lack within ourselves, instead of seeing the strength and provision that is found in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly go wherever You call, trusting You to provide all that we need to navigate. Show us how to love those around us in a way that instills strength and encouragement where the road has grown challenging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to provide all that we need to go wherever You call and do whatever You ask. 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

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So, loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

 

When we choose love, we are choosing to follow and fulfill that which God requires. If we make love our priority in how we navigate our days, we are walking in obedience to His will. Love is a word that is often overused, yet it is clearly defined in God’s word. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we are told that love does not: envy, boast, dishonor others, delight in evil, keep record of wrongs, it is not self-seeking, and it is not easily angered. On the other hand, love is: patient and kind, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, rejoices with the truth and love never fails. Though some of these come more naturally than others, love is a choice. Each time that we make the choice to love, even when we would rather not, we are walking in obedience to the will of God. May we look to the Lord and His endless love to empower and equip us to go and do likewise with all whom we encounter. Let love be our motivation for all that we say and do, so that we may ever honor You.

 

To love is a choice, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

In Christ, we’re made strong;

To love as He loves,

For love does no wrong.

Patience and kindness,

Choose hope and protect;

Persevere, rejoice,

Won’t envy, reject.

Love won’t keep record,

Of others mistakes;

Will celebrate good,

As Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love, we are walking in obedience to You. Thank You that love does not hurt others, but rather it protects and builds up. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would seek Your wisdom and strength to know how to love in at all times and in every circumstance. Show us how to love those around us in a way that protects and conveys kindness and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love in all things and at all times, so that we may fulfill all that You require. 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

Don’t Let Pride Guide

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbor’s interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

Following this one can be a bit tricky. Even if our mode of operation is to look out for others and prefer one another in love, there are times when we feel that we have been the recipient of someone’s selfishness or lack of humility, and a sense of self-righteousness may rise. Despite being the recipient of less than we choose to extend to others, it is not our charge to hold grudges and walk in unforgiveness. When we do, we become prideful in our own sense of being right. Rather, we are meant to be humble and extend love, even to those who offered us less. With sincerity and genuine care for one another, healing where the relationship was fractured can take place. Without it, there is no way to repair the damage that has been done. May we choose to be humble and kind in all things and at all times, and allow the love of the Lord extended through us to be the very thing that brings restoration where damage has been done.

 

Be humble and kind, Faith and Hope in Action

In all that we do;

Look out for others,

Give grace and love too.

Don’t let selfishness,

Or personal pride;

Be what is leading,

Let Christ be our guide.

For as we extend,

Love to each other;

We rise up in peace,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be humble and selfless, You move mountains that seemed impossible to move. Thank You that when our focus is outward, You do mighty works inward. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride, that makes us think only of ourselves and not of those around us. Show us the places where pride or selfishness have crept in and are keeping us from being who You have called us to be. Help us to love others with humility and selflessness, preferring others before our own agenda to be right. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we choose to be humble and honor others first. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in humility and grace, giving others as You have given unto us. 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

Today I Trust

This morning as I woke, thirteen minutes prior to my alarm, my first thought was, “Today is the day!” At first, a laundry list of last minute details started filing through my mind, but was shortly squashed by the tender reminder: 

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV) 

 

Trust. Such a simple concept, yet often so difficult to truly do. Today, I will choose trust, as it is in His hands. My bag has been packed for a few days, my boys’ bags are packed and ready for camp, I have their camp mail ready to go out so that they know my thoughts are with them, and I have done all that I know to do to prepare here, so now it is a matter of getting there. At times, our trust gets tried in the details, whereas other times there is something major lying before us and we have no choice but to trust. I imagine there will be plenty of opportunity to trust and trust again, as I go where I’ve never been to do things I’ve never done. I have to trust the Lord to be my strength and to lead me in the way I am meant to go. As a non-medical person going on a medical outreach, my role is all about trusting His leading. So far, He has taken something I enjoy, and turned it into part of my purpose and role for the health fair portion of our outreaches. My part will be to share about fitness, and help people recognize how simple it is for them to get out and get moving. God uses whatever we are willing to give, and I never cease to be amazed and how He does just that. May we choose this day to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and lean not on our own understanding. May we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, and look to Him to direct our path.  

 

Lord, I choose to trust, So Much More

With all of my heart; 

For Your ways are best, 

From finish to start. 

Help me not to lean, 

On what I now know; 

But rather to trust, 

So my faith can grow. 

For Your ways are best, 

Not early or late; 

When I choose You, Lord, 

You make my path straight. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being trustworthy. Thank You that we can trust in You with all of our heart, rather than our own understanding, and as we do, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for worrying when we need to trust. Teach us how to acknowledge You in all things, so that we would recognize how easily You can handle all that seems impossible to us. Show us how to love all those whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all of our heart and acknowledge You in all of our ways. Amen.

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

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

So Much More

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. – (Ephesians 3:20, MSG)

 

When we are willing to invest our hearts and lives in the Lord and His plans, He takes us places we would have never imagined we’d go, and does so much more than we ever believed was possible. In my own life, I am in awe of the things He has done and the places He has taken me. Because I have been willing to go places that I have not known, He has shown me things that I never even dreamed that I might be able to one day see. The glorious gift in it all is that the journey is far from over. In a few weeks, I will be traveling with a team to Belize, to serve in whatever capacity He asks of me. Though I am going with a medical team, I am NOT a medically trained (nor equipped) person. As I go, I will be leaving simply with a heart to serve; whatever that looks like. God has given me a strong body and a capable mind. If I am being called to move heavy equipment to set up clinics – great. If my job is to file paperwork to help organize what is being established – I’m in. Whatever He is asking, I am willing. So often when He takes us out of our comfort zone, it is more about the work that He does in us, than what He is going to do through us. It ought to be quite an adventure! No matter what He has in store, I know that He is gentle and kind, and will do more than any of us can even hope or imagine as we prepare to go, even now. May we ever trust in God, who is able, through His mighty power, to work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

 

To God, all glory, So Much More

Who’s able to do;

Infinitely more,

To carry us through.

More than we can dream,

Imagine or ask;

God can accomplish,

Impossible tasks.

He will never force,

Nor push us around;

But by His Spirit,

Gives strength to gain ground.

So rise up in faith,

Follow where He leads;

Watch what He will do,

As His plans succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask or imagine through us by Your power within in, when we trust and follow You. Thank You that it has nothing to do with us or our strength, but rather with our willingness to listen to Your leading and follow where You call us to go. Forgive us for neglecting to do as You ask, or for staying stuck when we are meant to move forward from where we are now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way, and give You room to move in us and through us to accomplish the things that You have in mind. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have intended for our hands and hearts to help, hold or heal. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory for the incredible things You do in us and through us. 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