Tag Archive: joy


Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. – (Psalm 37:34a, NLT)

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NLT)

 

For the past few months, there is a part of me that has been stirring and not able to settle at rest. Though I would pray, and look for answers, I could not figure out what I was meant to do next. A little over a week ago, I had an exchange with someone that at first, felt offensive. Perhaps it was, but really, it matters not, as God used it to propel my heart in a direction that I would never have explored, if not for that brief conversation. What was discovered as a result of the consequential agitation, was a dream that had all but died. Possibility presented itself before me, and I am now pursuing something that I never thought obtainable. Whether it comes to fruition or not, the excitement of imagining and hoping is enough to remind me that God has more than what I see. He is reminding me that He has wired me with gifts and talents, dreams and desires, that He longs to honor just as much as I hold hope to use them for His glory. May we rise up and remember that God has handcrafted each of us with gifts and talents, plans and purpose, and what we see now is not all that there is. Let us hold fast to the hope we have in Him, and be willing to take steps of faith forward as He leads.

 

Be not discouraged,Rediscovering Dreams

By all that you see;

Often there’s movement,

Waiting within reach.

For what seems unkind,

Horrible, unfair;

Could be the movement,

That leads us from there.

Remember to hope,

Not in what is seen;

But rather in God,

Who as we trust, leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope who leads us where we are meant to go. Thank You that despite what we see, You have so much more for each of us. Thank You that You take the seemingly horrible things and use them to propel us in the direction that You intend for us to move. Thank You that You have good things for Your children. Forgive us for our lack of hope and for allowing our dreams to die or lie dormant. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and pursue the path You place before us to utilize the very things that You have created within us to share with those around us. Show us how to love well, everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You and travel along the path You place before us. Amen.

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

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

For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do to destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil the gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

We are no longer bound by Levitical law, but rather we have been set free by the sacrifice of Christ, to choose to follow Him. A life in Christ is not about living according to the letter of the laws of rituals, but instead it is all about opting to engage in a life of love. If our priority is choosing to love God and love people, we will use our freedom well and do what is pleasing before God. When we elect to engage in sin, we grieve the heart of God and abuse the freedom that was granted in love. May we ever seek to love the Lord and those He places in our path, and trust Him to help us lead a life that honors Him.

 

Brothers and sisters,Generous Giving

We each have been called;

To live in freedom,

By grace, not by law.

The freedom we have,

Is not meant for sin;

But rather to love,

And let others in.

In our gift to choose,

May we opt to serve;

Love as we are loved,

So hope can be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that it is not freedom to do wrong, but rather to make the choice to follow You and live a life of love because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Forgive us for abusing our freedom and not allowing Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love in all things. Help us to love and serve one another as Jesus loved and served. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve as You have shown us what it is to love and serve. 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

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:10, MSG)

 

God calls us to love people like family; His family. This sort of love runs deep, and draws others in. It is not selfish nor rude, but rather delights in honoring others above ourselves. When we show love as God loves us, we give a window to the world to the very heart of God. May we love each other in a way that makes us feel close like sisters and brothers, and honor one another more than ourselves. Let our love be light that points people to Christ.

 

Love from the center,Generous Giving

Of who you’ve become;

Let your heart delight,

In all He has done.

Because of His grace,

We can go love well;

With all that we are,

Of hope let us tell.

May we all find joy,

Honoring others;

Let us choose lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

For as we delight,

Love as we’ve been shown;

God’s grace evident,

And He is made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in the very way that You call us to love others. Thank You that You draw near and delight in us. Forgive us for not loving those around us as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love with all that we are, and honor others above ourselves. Show us how to love like You, so that all might see Your love made evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other as we are called to do. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:5-6, ERV)

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT)

 

The things that we say and do matter. In some circles, the only Jesus people have ever seen is that which we display through our words and deeds. If we show love and kindness and wisdom with our words and actions, the grace of God within us will draw others unto Himself. This is not something that just flows out of us at will, but rather is a capacity within us that is nurtured and grown as we seek and spend time with our Savior. The more we know Him, the more we reflect His heart through our words and way of being. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, so that our lives are a clear reflection of His goodness and grace as we respond according to the Lord’s leading.

 

Be wise with actions,choose-love1

Wherever you go;

For our words and deeds,

Are how God’s made known.

Help every word,

Be gracious and kind;

So we always speak,

With Your heart in mind.

If we seek the Lord,

For wisdom and grace;

He’ll help us respond,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will give us wisdom to act according to Your will and use our time wisely, if we seek You for help. Thank You that You do the same for how we speak with others, as You grant us Your grace to extend kindness and wisdom in how we answer everyone. Forgive us for acting according to our own will, rather than Yours, or for attempting to be kind without seeking You and Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Supply in all things. Show us how to love with kindness, wisdom and grace, so that people see You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to act according to Your will wherever we go. Amen.

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

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

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Don’t forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. 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

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

Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, VOICE)

 

Our growth is largely dependent on the choices that we make. Each time we opt to act according to the will of God in love, His light shines through us. However, when we choose poorly, and do not allow the love of Christ to lead us in what we do, we fall short, and the opportunity for His love and grace to be made known is gone. Every time we choose to speak truth in love, rather than in anger or spite, we grow more in likeness with Christ. Our gentle answer to another’s wrath will often turn the entire situation around. Not only do we grow in grace as we choose to love, despite our own desires to get angry, but the recipient of our loving delivery of truth is exposed to God’s grace in unexpected ways. May we go forth this day, intentionally choosing to speak truth in love, so that we might grow more and more like Christ in every way.

 

Let the light of Christ,unseal-my-lips

Shine bright in our words;

As we speak in love,

The truth we have heard.

For when we choose love,

Instead of disdain;

We grow more like Christ,

And honor His Name.

May all that we say,

Be the truth in love;

So all may find hope,

In the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we seek You and pursue the path that You have placed before us, the more we grow to be like You. Thank You that when we speak the truth in love, not only does the recipient benefit, but we grow as well. Forgive us for speaking out of anger or frustration, rather than slowing down and speaking the truth in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold our tongues and wait to speak until we are able to deliver our words in Your love. Show us how to love well as we speak truth to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love that You have for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love and You grow us ever more in Your likeness as we choose to walk in Your way. 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

I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

While driving my Mom back to her home on the eastern side of our state, I was reminded anew that I never grow weary of taking in the view. I am in awe as I see the sight of the snow-capped peaks, the trees that are nearly new again – despite serious devastation due to fire, and it is impossible not to recognize the hand of God in all of the beauty that surrounds along the journey. The very same God that made all that we see, is close and personal, as He protects and provides for us. His hand has been abundantly evident over this past week, as my Mom is recovering from a horrific car accident that could have been far worse. Though her car was a total loss, she sustained only bruises and soreness, which is miraculous, considering the speed at which the other driver was doing when he barreled into her lane on a sharp corner. Our help comes from Him – the very same One who created all; as He helps and protects. May we ever keep our eyes looking up, so that we do not miss all of the mighty works of His hands.

 

As I lift my eyes,Lift My Eyes

Such sights to behold;

Beauty created,

His glory is told.

The very same strength,

That made mountains rise;

Comes alongside us,

Our hope realized.

Let’s lift up our eyes,

In awe, see the view;

As our Creator,

Will be our strength too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and help. Thank You that You, who made the heavens and earth, see each of us where we are and are willing to help us and grant us strength. Forgive us for looking to anything or anyone other than You for strength, as You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You often send people alongside us to encourage and walk with us too. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for the strength we need in all circumstances. Show us how to love well those around us, so that we might strengthen and encourage as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our eyes up to You and seek You for strength and help. Amen.

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

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

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