Where Good Comes From

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NLT)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

 

All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is worthy of praise, exists because God gives. The trials and troubles that come are not given by God, but rather occur because sin, brokenness, and free will are part of our reality. Even in the midst of our struggles, God is still good, and remains present with us. As the days grow longer, it is a tangible reminder that He is the Father of lights. He times the sun to rise and set, and paints brilliant colors in the process. On dreary days, light still appears, and then darkness returns at day’s end. Just as the coming of a new day is consistent, so too is our God. He doesn’t take time off, nor does He neglect the cries of His people. When we call on Him, He hears. May we ever give praise for every good and perfect gift that comes from God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

Every good gift,Forgiveness is Free

That comes from above;

Is given to us,

In God’s perfect love.

The Father of lights,

Continues to show;

How faithful His love,

So our hearts may know.

He never changes,

His love shall remain;

All good gifts from God,

Our hope to now claim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that You are the Father of lights, and that You do not change nor try to trick us like the light of shifting shadows. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful and consistent You are. Teach us to give You thanks for every good gift, and to seek Your help in times of trouble. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate every good and perfect gift from You, and seek You in all things. 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 We Need Wisdom

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – (James 1:5, NLT)

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)

 

In this day and age, we can access information just about anywhere. However, there is a vast difference between information and wisdom. It requires wisdom, which is the knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with just judgment as to action (dictionary.com), to know what we are meant to do with the information we gather. True wisdom comes from God, as He is good and just and truth. When we seek Him, He is generous to grant us insight and discernment, so that we can do right by Him. As we find ourselves in spaces of needing to know what is right and true, or what exactly we are meant to do, may we seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom each step of the way.

 

Our God is so good,Refreshment Through Repentance

Generous and kind;

Whatever we need,

When we seek, we find.

Knowledge of the truth,

The way we should go;

What’s true and what’s right,

Things God’s wisdom shows.

We need only ask,

And our God supplies;

Without holding back,

Wisdom realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we need wisdom, we need only ask of You, and You generously give. Thank You that You will not make us feel less than for asking, but instead You lovingly give. Forgive us for attempting to act on our own insight, rather than seeking Your wisdom in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and ask You for insight and discernment in all situations and circumstances, as Your wisdom is the way to light and life. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models what is true, right and just. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for the wisdom we need to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. 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

 

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

 

 

Live Life

We had a worship night for women last night at my church. Our women’s pastor brought a simple, yet profound word, as she conveyed real examples from her own life to share what the Lord had placed upon her heart for us. The following is what I gleaned from our time together.

Fear and obstacles that stand before us, are the two greatest factors that hold us back from the fullness of all that God has for us. Typically, we are held back in one of two ways. We either refuse to even get out of the boat, despite seeing Jesus walking toward us upon the water through the wind and waves, or we get out of the boat, begin walking, and then suddenly see the wind and waves surrounding us and begin to sink. Either way, we miss out on the miracles our Maker has for us, as we are called to weather the storms, not simply wait for them to pass.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – (James 1:2, NLT)

 

As we continue to keep walking toward our Savior, despite the wind and the waves – our fears and the obstacles before us – we allow Him opportunity to move mightily in us and through us, and discover joys we would have never known on the journey, because of His great faithfulness to us.

So how the heck do we do this? The words Pastor Wendy heard were simple, yet so significant. Live Life. Live. Continue pressing in and pressing on, in spite of the fears and the obstacles. Do not limit the Lord, nor make Him too small. He can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, and the joy that awaits us is unfathomable. Our charge is to be available and to move forward in all that He calls us into. We are not meant to be stuck in the boat in fear, nor sinking in the waves as terror overtakes us. May we look to the Lord and consider all trials opportunities for His joy, as He will do abundantly more in us and through us as we choose to keep pressing forward.

 

We must make the choice,

To embrace with joy;

All that comes our way,

Choose faith to employ.

From inside the boat,

We never will know;

How great His power,

Nor give room to grow.

Despite what we face,

The waves and the wind;

The Lord is right there,

To lift us again.

He walks right beside,

Each step of our way;

Provides what we need,

Enough for each day.

The challenging part,

Is we’ll never know;

All that lies ahead,

If we will not go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our fears and trials and use them as opportunities to grow us and give us greater joy as You demonstrate Your love and care for us as we choose to keep walking forward in spite of what lies before us. Forgive us for allowing fears or obstacles to paralyze us where we are, and keep us from allowing You access to all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would consider even the trials opportunities for great joy, as You give grace and strength that we have not known before. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize trials and obstacles as opportunities for great joy because of who You are. Amen.

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

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. – Galatians 5:25

 

Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is  so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – (James 1:19-21, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. Anger does not help you live the way God wants. So get rid of everything evil in your lives – every kind of wrong you do. Be humble and accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you. – (James 1:19-21, ERV)

 

If we truly listen before we speak, we are far less likely to misunderstand or be misunderstood. It is from that very space of misunderstanding that people most often get angry. God specifically tells us that this sort of anger does not produce anything good. Frustration from our own folly, leads to moral filth, rather than righteousness. We are called to rid ourselves of such things, so that we may fully accept that which God has taught us, as His word and His ways are the very things that save us. May we rise up and rely on our Redeemer for self-control, as we choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Let us humbly accept the truth that He has planted in our hearts, as that is the very thing that saves.

 

To do the Lord’s will,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Takes much self-control;

Choice to listen first,

And value each soul.

For in our hearing,

We come understand;

Preventing anger,

Just as the Lord planned.

Our sort of anger,

Leads to nowhere good;

Far better to trust,

The Lord as we should.

For in Him there’s grace,

By which we are saved;

So seek the Lord first,

And plain the path’s made.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Thank You that when we choose to listen first, we learn to walk in the righteousness to which You are calling us. Forgive us for our lack of self-control in speaking, and the times when humility was far from us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things at all times, and clearly reflect Your righteousness before others. Show us how to be quick to listen and slow to speak, so that we would love others the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we listen and learn as we are called. Be glorified O God, as we are quick to listen and slow to speak, keeping our anger out of the way of all that You have for us. Amen.

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

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

Blessings for Patient Endurance

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NLT)

Great blessings belong to those who are tempted and remain faithful! After they have proved their faith, God will give them the reward of eternal life. God promised this to all people who love Him. – (James 1:12, ERV)

 

One thing is certain – we all will go through times of testing and temptation. It is part of the package that comes with being residents of a fallen world. We are called to patiently endure all that we face before us, so that we may receive that which ultimately awaits. The enduring that is asked of us is not something that we are meant to do on our own, but rather through the strength of He who dwells within us. God is faithful to be present in our every need, and will walk beside us and give us the strength that we need to endure all things. May we rise up in faith and trust He who is more than able to see us through every trial and test that lies before us, so that we can patiently endure to the end and receive the crown of life that God has promised to all who choose to love Him.

 

With patience, may we,Far Better to Finish

endure all that comes;

not in our own strength,

but through Christ, the Son.

For when we choose trust,

dependence on Him;

He’s present to help,

see us to the end.

His promise is clear,

as we set pride down;

trust His grace and love,

eternal life’s crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Thank You that we have the hope of eternal life to hold, as it is promised to all who love You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness in the throes of trials and temptations. Help us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and place ourselves in Your hands in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others so that Your hope may be made plain through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we patiently endure all that comes our way, trusting You to be our strength and our hope each new day. 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

The Path of Perseverance

Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

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