Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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

Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love you. – (John 13:34, ERV) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. 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

Our Strength and Safety

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV) 

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV) 

O my Strength, to You I sing my praises; for You are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, TLB) 

 

This morning, I wake with nervous excitement, as it will be the first day that we will practice together as an entire team. Veteran players will join us rookies as we take the field today, and the intensity with which we have been working, will surely increase even more. Physically, God has been my strength, and I have felt good, however, remembering all of the plays is a challenge, and my mind often draws a blank when I need to recall. With praise on my heart for the opportunity for the new, I will continue to review that which I need to know and trust the process. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and safety and give praise to God who loves us and on whom we can depend. 

 

O God, You’re my strength, You Make Me Strong

My hope, help and song; 

I bring You my praise, 

Through all the day long. 

You are my safety, 

You bless me with peace; 

In You I can trust, 

As grace You release. 

Help me to rise up, 

In Your strength and grace; 

Protected in power, 

To run well this race. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safety, as You love of best. Thank You for the opportunity for new things, and for strong healthy bodies that can do so much more than we would have thought or imagined. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength, or for avoiding the new that You bring us to out of fear. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need to do the new that we are brought into. Be our strength and safety, Lord. Show us how to love and encourage one another, so that we each might find the strength and courage to rise up and be who You have created us to become. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and safety that You supply and give thanks for Your faithful love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Hope Postponed

Hope postponed grieves the heart… – (Proverbs 13:12a, NLT)

 

I know far too many folks who are in the midst of a season of grief. The hope that they had held, seems to be slipping away. Such enormous grief accompanies the loss of something that was held in hope for so long, that to the one who is grieving, it feels as if the weight will never relent. As one who has walked through that space of postponed hope and overwhelming grief, I can attest to the promise that He hears and provides comfort as He loves us back to life once again. Where hope was buried in the burden of pain, God gave comfort and restored the hope that was all but lost. One breath at a time, one moment, one hour, one day… Each a provision of the hand of the Lord to restore what was lost and broken, as He continually loved. May our prayer mirror that of Psalm 10:17, that states, “Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will hear their cries and comfort them.”

 

When death’s ugly door,Asking for Amazing Answers

Stares you in the face;

There’s nowhere to run,

No place that seems safe.

Yet despite hope lost,

We may rest assured;

When we are in Christ,

Our hope is secured.

No matter the height,

Nor depth that we fall;

In Christ there is hope,

To overcome all.

For He is our Rock,

Redeemer and friend;

Pulls us from the pit,

With us to the end.

Though sorrow may come,

Our hope shall remain;

Forever in Christ,

As we trust His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite how we feel, our hope remains in You. Thank You that in the midst of trials, grief and struggles, You are our anchor that keeps us secure. Thank You that You hear every cry and provide comfort to those who call on You. Forgive us for losing sight of hope in You when our grief is great. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the truth of what is known, rather than what is simply seen. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they would come to know that there is always hope in You who hears every cry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for comfort in our grief, and seek You in our struggles. Be our hope to hold forever, Lord God. Amen.

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

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

Mighty to Save

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over You with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17)

There are days when we just need to be reminded of how God is present, how much He loves us, and that He delights in us and saves us, as He sings over us.  That is some seriously loaded imagery.  First, remembering that God is with me, even when I am unaware. His presence is powerful, and He is able to do abundantly more than I could ever hope or imagine.  He is mighty to save, and He saves us from ourselves, our circumstances, and that which keeps our hearts from holding the truth of who He is and what He has done for each of us.  Just as a parent delights in their precious progeny, so too does the Lord delight in each of us.  His love can calm the most chaotic of hearts and minds, and bring peace to the weariest of souls.  Because we are His, He rejoices over us with singing.  We cannot do enough, nor be enough, but rather it is the Lord’s great love for His created, that propels His perfect love that He passes on to His people.  May we look to Him who is with us, delighting in us, quieting us with His love, and rejoicing over us with singing as He saves us with His might.
                                                                                                                                                                The Lord is with us,butterflies
He’s mighty to save;
He takes great delight,
in making us brave.
He quiets our hearts,
in His love, there’s peace;
as He sings to us,
we find sweet release.
May our hearts hold hope,
as we trust in Him;
for the Lord, He saves,
and starts from within.
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                         Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, that You save us, and that You delight in us.  Thank You that You quiet us with Your love and rejoice over us with Your singing.  Thank You that You alone can settle our storm-ridden souls.  Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are, and not slowing down and simply sitting and soaking in Your sweet presence.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will run to You, be it in times of blessing or chaos; for in You, there is always comfort and calm.  Lead us to love others so that they too may come to know the goodness and grace that is found in You alone.  May many choose to trust in You.  Be glorified O God, as we look to You in all things and at all times; for You are our mighty God who saves.  Amen.
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25
 
 
 

He Leads Us to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NASB)

Shepherds lead, guide and protect their sheep to keep them safe and help them grow strong. The Lord is our Shepherd. He knows what we need, and cares for us accordingly. When we are weary, He brings us to a place of rest, where if we still our soul and seek Him, we become acutely aware of His nearness and provision for us. He restores our brokenness through His kindness, and loves us all the while. If we choose to follow Him, we want not; for He provides what we need, as it is needed. May we look to the Lord and allow Him to lead, as He is our good Shepherd.

When I know He’s near,Rest in His Unfailing Love

I’m safe in His arms;

He leads and protects,

keeps me safe from harm.

He brings me beside,

places I can rest;

He knows what’s needed,

and His ways are best.

My soul is restored,

as I trust in Him;

He loves me to life,

and leads me again.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that in You, we shall not want. Thank You that You bring us to quiet spaces of rest, where You restore our soul, and renew our strength. Thank You that all that we need is provided in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and angst that rises up when life becomes chaotic. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow You to lead, and willingly follow You wherever You call us to go. Show us how to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your leading and rest in the spaces of peace that You draw us into. 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