Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

Planned With Purpose

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)

 

When we are in the midst of a season of uncertainty, these words are part of God’s promise that we can cling to. Each of us were created with purpose, and He has plans that include a hope and a future for all who call on His Name. He will never leave us nor forsake us, even in the spaces that seem lost and alone. We can rest assured that God is near, and that He is moving on our behalf, even when it feels as if there is no way forward from where we are standing. The Lord knows our present position and knows where we will end up. The two are not the same. I am so grateful that despite what we see, our hope and future in Christ, is far better than wherever we are dwelling in the here and now. He leads us to places of rest when we are weary, and He equips us to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we are willing to walk by faith, rather than simply by sight. Let our hearts hold fast to the hope that we hold in He who has our future in His hands. His plans are good. He is present and has planted hopes and dreams in our hearts for a purpose.

 

For the Lord, He knows,Be Transformed 1

the plans that are held;

by the Lord Himself,

from whom fear‘s dispelled.

In Him, there’s no harm,

but rather a plan;

to grant us all hope,

for our whole lifespan.

His plan’s to prosper,

to grant us His good;

to lead and guide us,

where hope’s understood.

May we choose the Lord,

in each circumstance;

for He is our strength,

who loved in advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known the plans for our lives since before we were created. Thank You that Your plan for us is good, and it includes hope and a future. Thank You that no matter what we see in the here and now, You are present and You are at work on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what comes our way, we would cling to You and Your promises, trusting that regardless of what we see, our hope is held in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might discover the value they have, and that they were hand-crafted with a plan and a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans, despite what we see in the here and now. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

To Trust Your Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11)

Though I know this verse well, and have had it memorized for years, it somehow sank in anew this morning. I think that when we are walking through trying seasons, it is good to be reminded that God knows His plans for our life, despite how things appear. No matter how difficult things may seem in the here and now, in Him, we have a hope and a future. His plans are to prosper us – to give us good things, not bad; plans for peace, not disaster; for well-being, not despair. We have a future and a hope that is held forever in Him. The part we must not forget, are the verses that follow the promise given in verse eleven.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. – (verses 12-14a)

Let us hold fast to the truth that the Lord has great plans for us. His plans give hope and a future. May we call on Him and pray to Him with our whole hearts, as we will be heard by our loving Lord, who is always available to us.

The plans of the Lord,Our Map and Our Guide

are faithful and true;

they are to prosper,

never to harm you.

A hope and future,

are held in God’s hands;

for all who choose seek,

so great are His plans.

We must choose to call,

come and humbly pray;

the Lord will listen,

grant faithful display.

We’ll seek and we’ll find,

when with our whole heart;

we pursue the Lord,

all hope He’ll impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have plans for us. Thank You that Your plans are good. Thank You that Your plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, that they include a hope and a future in You. Thank You that when we call on You and pray to You, You listen to us. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Forgive us for doubting Your plans for us when all seems to fall apart, or for failing to seek You when we are uncertain about what we are meant to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will pursue You and Your plans for our lives in all things and at all times, despite how things appear. Lead us to love others well, so that we may offer the sort of hope that points people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust Your plans for our future, and seek You with all that we are. 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

What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? Each of us bears a name that has been bestowed upon us by those who have raised us. For many, the name selected either has familial significance, or was chosen based on the actual meaning of the name. There are others, however, whose parents simply selected a name that they were fond of, and went with it.

 

For me, my parents wanted to celebrate our Irish ancestry and selected my first name from a map of Ireland. Interestingly, Shannon means Godly wisdom. Though I am not wise in my own strength, He has given me wisdom and insight at pivotal points in my life, as it has been needed. My middle name, Elizabeth, is after my grandmother, whom I admire most in my family. As we share this middle name, it too, has significant meaning. Elizabeth means, “my God is an oath.” He is a promise that is held in my life, and He provides wisdom as it is needed. Both are beautiful blessings. However, before I was ever born, He knew me and called me His own. The name that matters far more than any other, is the one in which He refers to us as “MINE.” We are His – kept, valued, loved, and planned with a purpose.

 

Listen to me, you islands; hear this you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name. – (Isaiah 49:1)

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

What is in a name,What is in a Name

bestowed unto us?

For before our birth,

were plans of Jesus.

He called us by name,

with purpose in mind;

hand-crafted in love,

carefully designed.

Each one created,

uniquely we’re made;

with significance,

meant to be displayed.

Gifts that He’s given,

intended to share;

so others may know,

His kindness and care.

Rise up in courage,

share all He has done;

for as we go forth,

the battle is won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have chosen and called us by name, even before we were born. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for our lives, and that Your plans are good. Thank You that no matter what our earthly name means, the most significant name that we carry is the one that deems us Your children. Forgive us for questioning our value or purpose, or the value or purpose of others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may recognize Your workmanship in ourselves and others, and celebrate the strengths that You have placed in all of us for Your glory. Lead us to love others well, so that we might walk out our purpose as You intended. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to know and embrace the name by which You call us all – MINE. Amen.

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

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

The Plans of the Lord

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” – (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)

 

Jesus has a plan for each of our lives. His plans are good. Ultimately, His plans are to pull us up out of the muck, and place our feet on solid ground. As we are moved, He grants us hope for today and promise for our forever. Seeing Christ’s faithfulness compels us to call on Him and commune with Him. In doing so, He hears our prayers. With hope rising in our hearts, we come to a place of knowing our own need for Him. He assures us that as we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. More than that, He will bring us back from the places where we have previously been stuck. Captivity is not always a physical imprisonment; as we are so often captive to our own sin and selfishness. Jesus alone sets us free from all that hinders us from moving forward with Him. May we seek You and find You as we seek You with all that we are.

 

The plans of the Lord,His Mighty Power

are hopeful and good;

no intent to harm,

His love understood.

As we call on Him,

He listens and hears;

each of our heart’s cries,

He sees all our tears.

A future He holds,

for all those who seek;

Him with their whole heart,

His blessings released.

Freed from our prisons,

that keep us from Him;

hope in Christ the key,

ushers new life in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have plans to prosper us and not to harm us. thank You that Your plans grant hope and a future with You. Thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Thank You that You set us free from that which keeps us captive. Forgive us for not seeking with our whole heart, or for not calling on You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You completely, so that our first response is to seek You alone. Lead us to live and love in the hope You have provided, and help many come to know the very same hope found in You alone, for themselves. Be exalted, O God, as we seek You and Your plans for our lives. Amen.

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

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