In Sweet Certainty

My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing Your praises with all my heart! – (Psalm 108:1, NLT)

God, I am ready, heart and soul, to sing songs of praise. Wake up, my soul! – (Psalm 108:1, ERV)

My heart, O God, is quiet and confident, all because of You. Now I can sing my song with passionate praises! – (Psalm 108:1, TPT)

 

Praise is the outpouring of gratitude that comes from knowing in our hearts and minds, the Source of our help and hope. The more I know God, the more confident I am in His presence and the hope that I hold in Him. It is from a space of knowing His nearness, that I find my soul full of both peace and praise. May we rest in quiet confidence in the One who holds us in the palm of His hands, and sing praise with grateful hearts for the goodness found in Him.

 

In sweet certainty, Be Full of Joy

My heart and my soul;

Lift praises to You,

Your love makes us whole.

With all of my heart,

I can’t help but sing;

So much gratitude,

For blessings You bring.

You’re my strength and help,

When life seems too tough;

Your love and Your grace,

Are always enough.

In quiet retreat,

I’ll lift praise-filled song;

To offer my thanks,

To Whom I belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You, as You are our strength, our help and our hope. Thank You that because of this, our souls cannot help but sing praise unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have overlooked the goodness in our lives that You have given and focused on the struggles. Teach us to offer praise for who You are and how You love, regardless of our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize their reasons to sing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become confident in who You are and how You love and offer our whole-hearted praises unto You. 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

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Blessing Beyond the Valley

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – (Psalm 84:6a, ERV)

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. – (Psalm 84:6a, TPT)

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! – (Psalm 84:6, TLB)

 

The Valley of Weeping is a space I avoid like the plague. I fight and fend off the opportunity for ocular malfunction as if my life depended on it, until I can fight no more. Eventually, the dam breaks and I must succumb to whatever is weighing heavily on my heart. Incredibly, God meets me where I am, and provides comfort and refreshment in ways that go beyond what I would hope or imagine. My most recent source of sorrow has been wrapped up in the injury to my leg and that which it is preventing me from safely doing. The biggest disappointment came when it was determined that it would be dangerous for me to fly to Utah with my team for the game this weekend against our toughest opponent. It was a double hit, as not only did I want to be present to support my team, but I have dearly loved family that live in the same city that I was looking forward to seeing. God in His loving kindness, has blessed me with a man who treasures me and lovingly holds my heart. When he realized how hard this loss was going to be for me, he stepped in and planned a weekend escape to the coast for us. My heart could not have been held more tenderly. The ocean is my sacred space, and there is no place on earth that I feel more at peace nor am as deeply in awe of our Creator, as when I set foot on the sand and watch the waves crash before me.  God knew what I needed and He blessed me with one who loves me as I was designed to be loved. May we ever hold fast to our hope in the Lord through our valleys, for even in our sorrows and disappointments, He makes way to bless our hearts and bring refreshment to remind us of His nearness and care for us, individually.

 

In valleys of tears, wp-15237115979951399911556.jpg

Do not be afraid;

God sees and He hears,

Beside us, He’ll stay.

Where sorrow once reigned,

Refreshment will come;

His presence remains,

’til each day is done.

The place that was dark,

Shall soon see His light;

His love will set spark,

As blessings delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You walk beside us through our valleys, and You bring blessing and refreshment where there has been sorrow and pain. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the darkness that lies before us, rather than the light that You ignite within. Teach us to trust You more when we are in the valleys, as You are always faithful to remain present. Thank You that You bring blessing and refreshment out of spaces where sorrow once reigned. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses and refreshes and holds up those who feel stuck in valleys. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your refreshment and give You praise for all of our days for Your faithful presence, always. 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

Grateful for the Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

God’s faithful love far exceeds the trials that we face. He is good all of the time, even when that which we endure is not. Yesterday, I had a health scare that led to a chain of events that had me spending some quality time in our local emergency room for an array of tests. Though I was alone, a sweet friend who is an administrator on staff spotted me in the waiting room and came over, sat down beside me, and just chatted with me for a few minutes. Her kindness was a sort of tangible reassurance that all would be okay. His peace was present as each assessment was run, and when I was done, a dear friend came and picked me up and took me to get lunch and my car, as I had been dropped off by a kind friend from work. His goodness and faithfulness continued to be made known to me as both my best friend and my fiancé had been in communication with me all throughout the day and continued into the evening. I am so grateful for His goodness and His love that lasts forever. May we ever remember that no matter what we face, God is always good and His faithful love will last forever.

 

Through good times and bad, When the Sun Shines In

Give thanks to the Lord;

He remains present,

And grace He affords.

By His faithful love,

Our hope is secure;

He gives us the strength,

To rise, persevere.

Let all that I am,

Make the choice to praise;

Not for what is seen,

But for all His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You meet us in our circumstances and continue to show us Your goodness, even when our situations are a struggle. Forgive us for not giving You thanks for Your nearness and goodness, or for forgetting that no matter how things seem now, they are only temporary compared to the eternity that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Rest Enters In

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

 

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. This time of year, it seems as if days are on fast forward, and there is barely time to breathe. Our hope and strength and rest in this space are found in God alone. When we calm down and turn to God, and in absolute stillness are silent before Him, we become acutely aware of His presence and provision, and that He is Lord of all. Though we fall short and fail, He will not. His love endures forever. All that we need, He will provide, if we trust and wait on Him, and listen to His leading. May we each make space to slow down and quietly wait on the Lord, for in Him there is hope and He is where we find true rest.

 

Be silent, my soul, wp-1522150974280316262713.jpg

In quiet, just wait;

For rest’s found in God,

Do not hesitate.

He’s always faithful,

All hope comes from Him;

When we seek, we find,

His rest enters in.

In gentle stillness,

Choose wait on the Lord;

Hope is provided,

Through rest He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and wait quietly before You, we find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You rescue us from our chaos, and that Your love never fails. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek Your face. Please show us Your nearness for all of our days. Help us to grasp the hope that is found in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace into chaos and hope where there has been none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down and quietly wait on You, because You alone are the One in whom we hope. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Provision of Peace and Strength

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE)

 

Emotions are running high, and kids are on edge daily as the winter break whispers of its nearness. The uncertainty of what is coming when so many of our students desperately need routine, is enough to send them in a downward spiral that requires more strength and resolve than one might think is humanly possible to perpetuate for such a length of time. Strength and peace are needed now, more than ever – for students, teachers, and every staff member who interacts with these sweet souls in distress. It is my prayer that God would give strength to the weary, and bless every heart with His perfect peace. May we walk beside one another, shoulder-to-shoulder, encouraging and lifting up, as strength and peace are present wherever people come together with purpose.

 

The Lord is our Source, Provision of Peace and Strength

He makes our hearts strong;

When we’re feeling weak,

He helps lead us on.

Where chaos seems reign,

The Lord brings His peace;

He settles our hearts,

As grace is released.

Let’s rise up, dear ones,

Seek the Lord of all;

He knows all our need,

And won’t let us fall.

Look too for others,

To walk alongside;

Encourage, support,

Let peace and strength rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace, no matter what comes our way. Lord, be with all of those who struggle this time of year, as there is uncertainty or sorrow in the season. Give us grace to extend loving kindness, so that Your heart may be made known. Forgive us for our frustration with behaviors and attitudes that are the manifestation of people’s pain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may see things through Your eyes. Show us how to bring peace to the chaos, and how to love in Your strength in a way that soothes unsettled souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your strength and peace, and go forth and give as we have been given. 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

The Hand that Steadies

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

Much like a small child who has not quite yet learned to walk on their own, who reaches for the strong hand of a loved one to help steady them and hold them up, we too ought to do likewise with the Lord. Though we no longer need the help of a hand to walk, His nearness and His strength are necessary to navigate the obstacles that rise up before us. Just as a toddler has absolute trust in the hand that holds them, we too need to cling to Christ and trust that He has us in His outstretched hands. His arms are far greater than our adversaries and obstacles. As we stay close to Christ, we become acutely aware of His presence and His provision to persevere in all things and at all times. May we have faith like little children, as we trust completely in the nearness and greatness of our God to whom we cling.

 

I cling to You, Lord, the-hand-that-steadies.png

For Your strength is great;

Your hand holds me up,

Hope to celebrate.

His mighty right hand,

Reaches where we are;

Holds our heaviness,

Grants strength to go far.

No matter what comes,

Have hope and believe;

The depth of His love,

Too much to conceive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that we can seek You in all things, and trust You to be our strength, our help and our hope. Forgive us for not coming to You in trust. Teach us to know in our hearts the truth of Your promises for ourselves. Show us how to love others well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and become aware of Your hands holding us secure. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

To Know Your Nearness

Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, NLT)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

 

God does not move away from us, yet the choices we make can create barriers that make seeking Him and hearing His voice more and more difficult. When we understand the greatness of God, and how good He is, it becomes increasingly more important that we call on the Lord often and keep short accounts. As we do, we remove that which hinders our hearts from seeking and hearing God, and remain ever aware of His nearness. Conversely, when we sit in our sin or get so caught up in the hectic pace of life that we neglect to acknowledge our need for God, He begins to feel far away. We are created to commune with our Creator. May we seek the Lord with our whole hearts, as He is always close at hand and ready to hear us.

 

Be not too busy, To Know Your Nearness

To seek the Lord’s face;

For He is waiting,

With mercy and grace.

We must keep seeking,

It’s where faith is found;

God’s ever present,

His love shall abound.

Let us not neglect,

To pray to the Lord;

We need know He’s near,

To find hope restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we call on Your Name, we come to know Your nearness. Forgive us for staying stuck in our own sin, or for allowing the hectic pace of life to keep us from seeking You. Teach us to make You a priority, as knowing Your presence matters most. Help us to seek You in all things, so that we would know Your heart to guide us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your nearness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and find You, as we seek You with all of our heart. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Always…

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

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Close to Those Who Call

The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18, NLT)

The Lord is near to everyone who sincerely calls to Him for help. – (Psalm 145:18, ERV)

God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. – (Psalm 145:18, MSG)

 

God does not force His way into our lives, but rather waits lovingly, to be invited. When we get real with God and honestly call on Him, He hears our cries and comes close to be our help and our hope. The more we know Him, the greater our understanding becomes of our own need. Yes, we need the Lord to strengthen and help us in times of trial and trouble, but we also need His nearness to navigate our every day lives according to His will. May we call on the Lord in truth as we recognize our need for His ongoing nearness.

 

Believe Instead of Striving

The Lord He is close,

To all who choose call;

In transparent truth,

Choose tell the Lord all.

For He will listen,

To all those who pray;

Peace and His presence,

As He shows the way.

So call on the Lord,

In all times and things;

His help is our hope,

As only God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near to all who call on You in truth. Thank You that as we sincerely pray, You hear our cries and come close to help and bring hope. Forgive us for not trusting You enough to cry out to You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in all things and at all times, as we need You, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might see the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You with sincere hearts, and know Your nearness as You are faithful to answer. 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