Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. 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

Everything With Love


And do everything with love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NLT)

 

Everything should be done in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, CEB)

 

And whatever you do, do it with kindness and love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TLB)

 

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

 

 

We are called to love. If we love others, our motivation for all that we do – our words, actions and our very lives, will be laden in love. For those who love us well, this is an easy call to answer. However, when we are met with unkindness, abrasiveness or seeming rejection, it is far more difficult to decide to do everything with kindness and love. Incredibly, when we choose love anyway, we often discover that what we perceived was not reality. Sometimes, people are completely guarded due to their own past hurts and are not willing to extend kindness until kindness is demonstrated toward them. Making the first move can create opportunity for love to prevail where it before may have failed. May we ever choose to do everything with love and kindness, just as Christ does so lavishly unto us. Let every word, deed and our very lives be an instrument to make His love tangible to all.

 

Let us choose to love, 

As we’re called to do;

For kindness given,

Can lead to breakthrough.

In places where love,

Has clearly not been;

Can change by small acts,

Persistence will win.

For a life of love,

In word and in deed;

Is hard to reject,

For those who have need.

In everything,

Let love lead the way;

For our love matters,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love because You first loved us. Thank You that You call us to do everything with love. Thank You that as we do, You take our lives of love and reach others in ways that makes Your love tangible. Forgive us for not doing all things with kindness and love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let love prevail in our words, actions and every aspect of our lives. Show us how to do everything in love as we interact with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love in all things. Amen.

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

The One Who is Willing

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. – (Luke 5:12-13, NLT)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy for several reasons. First, the man who was suffering had more faith in the One who stood before him, than fear of the repercussions for being out among people as a leper. Second, he recognized the authority of Christ as he bowed before Him, and asked if He might be willing to heal him. Jesus met the man’s faith and humility with mercy and grace, as He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched the untouchable as He healed him. No one was allowed near lepers, let alone to touch them, so it had likely been a very long time since the man who was suffering had experienced direct human contact. Not only was he extended kindness and listened to as he made his request before Jesus, but he was answered in a way that was meant to help his heart as well as his body. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do. When we come before Him with our requests, He often answers in ways we would not have ever imagined. His goodness and grace are far greater than every need we bring before Him. May we ever seek the Lord, and let Him know our places of need, for He is faithful to answer as we ask.

 

The God of all grace,Healed Hands Reach Out

Says, “Come unto me,”

“Seek Me with your needs,

And I’ll set you free.”

Faithful to answer,

The Lord always hears;

He grants us His strength,

And chases off fears.

For He is willing,

To draw near, to touch;

Let us seek in faith,

And watch Him move much.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to hear our requests and bring Your answers. Thank You that Your answers go beyond what we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You attend to our hearts as well as our physical needs. Forgive us for making You too small, as the very God who created the Universe, has the ability to see and answer our needs where we are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first; always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for solutions in our spaces of need, as You are the One who hears and helps. 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 Answer in Times of Trouble

I was in very bad trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me. I was deep in the grave. I cried to You, and You heard my voice. – (Jonah 2:2, ERV)

He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” – (Jonah 2:2, NLT)

 

God is overwhelmingly patient and full of grace. Despite Jonah’s rebellion and refusal to go where God was calling him to go, He met Jonah in the middle of his mess and showed His mercy. Most of us have heard the story. Jonah is called to Ninevah and doesn’t want to go. Instead, he hops a boat the opposite direction for Tarshish to escape dealing with people whom he did not believe deserved God’s grace. Fast-forward to the middle of trip, and a horrendous storm stirs the seas and spins the ship so violently, that the crew believes that God has to be mad at someone onboard. They cast lots and determine that it is Jonah, and throw him overboard. As Jonah is sinking in the sea, he cries out to the Lord for help, and is swallowed by an enormous fish. There, in the middle of the ocean, in the belly of a whale (or comparably large fish), Jonah discovers the grace and mercy of God, and the wrong of running from God and the call He had on his life. Long story short, the great fish spit Jonah out, and he went and did what he had been called to do. God heard his cries and answered his pleas for help. The very same God who rescued Jonah from his own path of destruction, can do the same for you and me. When we call on the Lord and ask for His help, He hears and He answers us. May we ever seek our Savior, as He hears our cries and makes way where there seems to be no way.

 

In calm and in storms,

Wielding Words Wisely

The Lord’s ever near;

If we call on Him,

Our cries, He will hear.

Ever He listens,

As we seek and pray;

He’s willing to make,

Way where seems no way.

So trust in the Lord,

Choose call on His Name;

He hears and He helps,

Our hope to proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our help in times of trouble. Thank You that we can always come to You, no matter what we’ve done, and You will hear us and love us the same. Forgive us for the times that we run the opposite direction of that which You are calling. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You lead, even when it does not make sense, or it is terrifying. Give us Your strength and power to do and be all that You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us fearlessly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call to You in times of trouble, and trust You to be our answer. Amen.

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

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

Your New Name

You will no longer go by the name “Abram”. Your new name will be “Abraham”, which means “father of a great multitude of nations,” because that is exactly what I will make of you. – (Genesis 17:5, VOICE)

 

God made an incredible promise to Abram, who was very advanced in years and had been hoping for a son for most of His lifetime. Abram, who became Abraham, continued to faithfully follow the Lord and God met him and spoke a promise that He also fulfilled. God not only gave him a child, but He changed his name and his hope was fulfilled far beyond what he could have imagined. Abraham became not only the father of a son, but the father to a “great multitude of nations“. The Lord is willing and waiting to do the same for us. Are we lost? He wants to rename us “found“. Are we hopeless or downcast? God is ready to call us “hope” and “joy” as He will fill us with His love. May we seek the Lord with our whole heart, and listen for His voice as He gives us a new name where we need it most.

 

What is in a Name

More than anything, we are His…

 

What hope do we hold,

That’s yet to be filled?

Are we seeking Christ,

So faith is instilled?

For the Lord, He waits,

In love and in grace;

To grant us new names,

As we seek His face.

No more shall we be,

Downcast or alone;

There is joy in the Lord,

And by Him we’re known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as You changed Abram’s name to Abraham and took him from being childless to becoming the father of many nations, Your love transforms us and grants us new names as well. Thank You that You are forever faithful to those who faithfully follow You. Forgive us for our lack of faith to seek You in our hope that we hide in our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully follow You, regardless of what we see, knowing that You can do far more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to love others in a way that offers hope where it is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You grant us, and listen for the new name by which we are called by You. 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

Pray Because He Hears

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I live. – (Psalm 116:1-2, NLT)

I love the Lord for hearing me, for listening to my prayers. Yes, He paid attention to me, so I will always call to Him whenever I need help. – (Psalm 116:1-2, ERV)

 

God is faithful to hear our prayers. Over and over again, I can tell of the times that He has met me in my moments of need, and given the strength, courage, wisdom, resources or care that I needed most to move forward from my place of deficit. He listens to our every call, and comes close, so that we are made aware of His nearness. Though He may not always answer the way we anticipate, He is always faithful, and forever true. Because His love and faithfulness will not end, neither will my prayers. May we seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He is faithful to listen to our every petition presented before Him.

 

From our place of need,Refreshment Through Repentance

The Lord hears our cry;

We need never ask,

For His word won’t lie.

Each prayer that we lift,

The heart of God hears;

As close as our breath,

He is ever near.

Our help and our hope,

Most merciful God;

He loves us to life,

Despite all our flaws.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer – for mercy, for help and for hope. Thank You that You listen and love us to life. Forgive me for the times that I neglect to present my petitions before You. Teach me to trust You more, as You alone are the One who is my help and my hope in all things and at all times. Show me how to love others in such a way, that I may be Your hands, heart and voice to convey mercy and faithfulness that points straight to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are, and lift our prayers before You. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

Blessings Bestowed in Our Lack

The mercy of our Maker never ceases to amaze me. In the book of Luke, chapter seven, verses eleven through seventeen, we are told the tale of a widow whose only child, a son, had died. At that time, the repercussions of such a tragedy would have gone far beyond the emotional anguish of losing your loved ones. Her source of support and livelihood had just passed, and she would likely have been reduced to a life a begging for food for survival. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. – (Luke 7:13-15)

 

Jesus met her in her place of deepest need, and restored the hope for her future. Not one of our needs are unknown by the Lord. He sees and hears our every prayer. His ways are higher than our ways, and He is able to provide for our greatest deficit. Christ’s solution may look different than we might imagine, but He is faithful to meet us, if we choose to place our trust in Him. May we seek Him in our every storm, and praise Him for His every provision.

 

Compassionate One,Our Map and Our Guide

our Father above;

He hears our heart cry,

and listens in love.

He loves us the best,

has answers in mind;

He provides the way,

to seek and to find.

Christ’s heart is to heal,

to touch and restore;

a life in the Lord,

grants us hope for more.

Trial or triumph,

in hope or despair;

our Lord is faithful,

and ever aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and kind, and that You are for us. Thank You that You see and know our every struggle and trial that we face. Thank You that You are with us and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our lack of faith in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that when the trials come, we will not be shaken. Lead us to live lives that are clearly focused on You, so that we may love as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, so that they too, may know Your safety in the storms, and tenderness in the trials. Use us as Your hands and feet made tangible to those who need to see You.  Be glorified Lord God, as we seek You and trust You in every season. 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