Happy with Hiccups

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



Good is such a relative term. What is good to one, is miserable to another. Sometimes, our perspective matters most in determining if times are good. Right now, I am staying at a beautiful facility in the jungle in Belize as a part of a medical mission team. Many of the team members are dear friends, and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the others as well. The hiccup in this humidity is that there has been no water in the main house where I am staying for the past two days, and consequently, I have not had a shower in as many days. Despite feeling a bit slimy, times truly are good and I am happy to be here in this place, at this time, with these people. May we ever recognize the good that comes from God, and lay hold of the joy that He brings.
As the sun rises,  Happy with Hiccups

There is good to see;

We must make the choice,

In Him, find happy. 

For there will be snags,

Small stealers of joy;

But we have the choice,

His grace, to employ. 

For throughout all things,

And during all times;

God is always good,

And His love we’ll find. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible good that You surround us with every day. Thank You for the joy that is ours for the taking, if we choose joy in You. Forgive us for not recognizing the good all around us, or for allowing small things to bear too much weight in our world. Teach us to trust You more so that we would appreciate the good that You grant us, and exude the joy that is ours in You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy and appreciate the good that You have given. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Run for Your Life

Paul, as he was serving his final sentence in prison and awaiting his earthly demise, he knew with confidence that he had done all that he could do to love God and love people with his life. Because his hope was in Christ, he knew what was in store. Though his earthly end was drawing near, his eternity in glory, was about to begin. As He held fast to the truth, he was able to say with confidence: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – (2 Timothy 4:7)

 

Can we with confidence, also claim that we are fighting the good fight, running the race to which we are called, and all the while, keeping the faith? It is a weighty question, and one that can only be answered with a “yes“, if we walk out our days dependent on Christ. Some days it is easier to fight the good fight than others. Just as some days are beyond difficult to get out of the house and run, so too is our faith in action. Yesterday, between the heat and the having to run solo, it nearly kept me from walking out my front door. Deep within me, I knew that if I did not get out and go, I would regret it. It was hot and hilly, and quite frankly, a bit miserable. However, when I was finished, I was so grateful to have gone. Likewise, the weariness and the worries of the world can wear us down and keep us from walking out our front door, or from reaching out where we know we are called to go. That being said, we have a Savior who calls and equips us to run and fight in faith. All that is needed He will provide. May we stand firm in our faith as we run the race to which we are called; and in His power, fight the good fight until our final breath is drawn.

 

Let our lives be led,running up a hill

by the Lord’s great love;

as He fuels our faith,

seek His ways above.

For we have been called,

to run our own race;

to fight the good fight,

stand firm in our faith.

Let our race be run,

in a mighty way;

so that “Well done’s” heard,

on our final day.

Let’s fight the good fight,

and run our race strong;

propelled by the faith,

that pulls us along.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to fight the good fight and run the race that You have set before us, through the faith that You impart to every heart who seeks You. Thank You that the reward that awaits a life lived for You, far outweighs any darkness or suffering that we endure in the here and now. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of eternity, and allowing the here and now to define us. Teach us to fix our eyes on You and what lasts forever, not on that which will one day fade. Lead us to love others intentionally and generously, just as You so love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight the good fight and run our own race through a relentless faith in You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. ❤

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

– Psalm 69:16