The Hand of Blessing

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, VOICE)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

Though there are disappointments and struggles (as it is a part of human existence), I am acutely aware of God’s bountiful hand of blessing in my life. Through the most trying seasons, He has gone before me and been behind me, and His hand was gently upon me. Never, even on the worst of days, did I feel as if I were on my own. Yesterday, marked one more step towards the fulfillment of this beautiful forward momentum that He has set into place in my life. My fiancé and I received the keys to our new home and were able to go and get started on a bit of yard work, despite having each worked full days, with responsibilities to attend to in the evening. We have been given the gift of time, as we have just the right amount for he and his son to move into our new home after his son’s graduation, time for my boys and me to gradually move things over as we can, and the flexibility in my rental agreement to not move in completely until the day we all depart for Wenatchee for the wedding. May we ever remember Who surrounds us and prepares the way, as He imparts blessings upon us by His love.

 

Before me You go, img_20180531_191403_1463527364648733055004.jpg

In love, make a way;

You follow behind,

Ever near You stay.

Your great hand of love,

It rests upon me;

As You grant blessings,

So abundantly.

Though trials will come,

I need never fear;

For Your love’s greater,

And Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and behind us and You place Your hand of blessing upon us. Thank You that You prepare the way ahead and protect us from the harm of what has past. Forgive us for not recognizing Your presence and Your blessings in our lives. Teach us to have open eyes and open hearts so that we would be ever aware of Your presence and Your hand in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that imparts abundant blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and thank You for Your hand of blessing in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant You mercy. – Genesis 43:14

The Gift of Peace

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid. – (John 14:27, NLT)

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT)

My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. – (John 14:27, VOICE)

 

True peace, the sort that settles us to the center of our soul, comes from Christ alone. Though we may search for peace in a thousand different places, the only peace that lasts is that which is given by God. His peace calms our chaos, makes fears fall away, and gives our hearts the grace we need to find rest. His hand is evident everywhere we go, if we only open our eyes to see all that He has made. The changing leaves, a smile on the face of a friend, well-timed lyrics in a song, the mountains, ocean, or the still small voice that whispers words of encouragement when we slow down and just rest in His presence – these are just a few of the ways that God conveys His perfect peace to us. May we ever run to our Redeemer, as He is the true Provider of the peace that removes fears and grants the courage we need to continue to move in the direction we are called.

 

Do not be troubled, Safe in New Seasons

Dear heart, do not fear;

For the peace of God,

Comes as we draw near.

The great gift of peace,

Is from God alone;

It settles our hearts,

As His love is known.

Do not be troubled,

By all that is seen;

Instead, call on Christ,

Our great Prince of Peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no peace on the planet that compares to Your perfect peace. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us where we are and settle our hearts and minds with Your peace. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for pursuing peace in places other than Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our Source of peace. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us, as we love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as seek You for peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Don’t Settle for Crumbs

Yesterday evening was the second week of the book study I am participating in with the women of my church as we read through the book, Without Rival, by  Lisa Bevere. My personal take away from the text this week is to not “settle for crumbs” because God is calling us to feed on His faithfulness. Though sermons, podcasts, books, quotes, posts on Facebook and various other sources of uplifting material are good, they are merely crumbs compared to our seeking and finding the presence of God for ourselves.

 

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see; eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His Divine Being. – (Romans 1:19-20, MSG)

 

In other words, God is not difficult to find if we seek Him. It is merely a matter of opening our eyes to the world around us, as His handiwork is evident everywhere. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, so there is no reason not to pursue His presence for ourselves. There is abundantly, exponentially more waiting for us as we choose seek Him on our own. He longs to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves, if only we are willing to pursue His presence. May we each allow the “crumbs” to be a trail that take us into the fantastic feast of our Heavenly Father’s presence, as He is ever waiting for us to draw near, so that we might come to know Him more.

 

Settle not for crumbs,Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

But come forth to feast;

For there is much more,

That God will release.

As we choose to come,

He shows us the more;

A love far greater,

Than we knew before.

Each time we draw near,

He’s faithful to show;

His grace and His love,

Truth we come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have so much more for us than crumbs or leftovers. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself to experience more of You, personally. Thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to know You intimately and individually. Forgive us Jesus, for not seeking You for ourselves, or for settling for less than You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You individually and personally, as You have so much more for us all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to Your goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your presence for ourselves, and feed on the faithfulness that is found in You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Praising through the Storms

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!” – (Psalm 70:4)

David, despite being in the midst of an urgent prayer for help, paused to praise God for who He is. He knew that though his circumstances may have been hard and horrible, God was still good, and His love and salvation are reason for us to rejoice and be glad. As we walk through our days, we can confidently have the same posture of praise, for His salvation is assured to all who earnestly seek Him. Our circumstances do not dictate whether or not we rejoice and are glad in the Lord. Christ is separate from our panic and our pain. He will come along side us and help and guide us, but He is never the cause nor initiator of our struggling spaces. In fact, it is God with us, that provides reason to rejoice in spite of our circumstances, when we choose to trust in Him. May we seek Him with our whole hearts, regardless of our circumstances, and recognize our reasons to rejoice and be glad.

As we stand seeking,No Matter What Comes

we’ll find in our choice;

Christ ever present,

reason to rejoice.

Hope in salvation,

love soon realized;

God be exalted,

wake up, open eyes.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He stands and He waits,

for trust in the task.

We need simply seek,

give to God, let go;

all glory to Him,

where answers are known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of our urgent prayers, we have reason to pause and give You praise. Thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that Your love never fails. Forgive us for coming to You only with requests, without remembering to recognize just how remarkable You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice and be glad in You, despite our circumstances, knowing that You are our help and our salvation. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember to praise You for who You are, even in the midst of our urgent prayers. Amen.

A great song that comes to mind is Praise You in This Storm, by Casting Crowns.  (Click highlighted title to listen.)

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

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

The Way to Hope

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – (Psalm 25:4-5)

 

This morning began at O’dark hundred. For the first time since Tuesday, I woke to an alarm. (And before 4am, mind you…) However, today’s early rising was not required, but rather it was by choice. My dear friend and running buddy had to work today, and if we wanted to get a run in together, it had to be prior to her shift at the hospital.

 

Driving over before the sun had fully risen, in the chill of the early morning air, my heart was filled with gratitude for the gift I’ve been given to have a healthy body that can run. The sound of our steps striking in unison mimicked the rhythmic beat of the hearts that Christ has created within us. Our route, though many times traveled, is one surrounded by lush green growth, and does not become boring to view as we go. Whether in silence or immersed in conversation, His presence is known in the comfort of one another’s company, and so often hope is encouraged where it was lacking, and restored where it may have been lost.  God grants us glorious opportunities to seek Him, and clearly view the path He has placed before us, if only we are willing to open our eyes and hearts to Him.

 

May we go forth this day seeking His ways, allowing Him to teach us His path. Let us hope in Christ all day long.

 

From the light of day,The Way to Hope

to the setting sun;

show us Your ways Lord,

let Your will be done.

For upon the path,

You’ve laid out for me;

are freedom and hope,

the best yet to be.

Lead us on, Lord God,

where we’re called to go;

may we shine Your light,

so Your truth is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us Your paths, and that we find hope in You, always. Thank You for the gifts and the strengths that You give to each of us, and please help us to use them for Your glory. Forgive us for squandering the blessings that You bestow unto us for our benefit and the benefit of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and utilize all that You have given, and stand strong in who You are calling us to become. Lead us to love others in a way that points them unto Your path. May many come to hold their hope in You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your ways, and allow You to show us Your path. Help us to hope in You all of our days. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

The Next Right Thing

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – (Psalm 82:3-4)

 

We are not all charged to do everything, but we are each called to do something. Each of the needs mentioned in the verses above exist both globally and locally. There are orphans, kids in foster care, there are poor, imprisoned, there are those who are in need, and many trapped in the hands of the wicked and unable to set themselves free. We are called to walk through life with our eyes, ears and hearts open. When we do, we are willing to hear the Lord’s call, and answer however He asks. Sometimes, it is in a way that seems small and insignificant to us, yet our willingness to respond will mean the world to the recipient.

 

Welcome Boxes 1A few days ago, I had the joy of working with some ladies from my church to put together welcome boxes for kids being pulled from their homes by CPS and placed in foster care. Some of these kiddos barely have the opportunity to pack even a change of clothes, so these boxes are a special way to offer comfort in the midst of crisis. Each box contains encouraging notes, gifts and toiletries, to remind the child that there are people who do care, despite the chaos that is currently surrounding them. If it weren’t for the obedience and listening ear of one of my friends, none of us would have been aware of the need, nor would we have gathered to do a small thing that we each could do. May we each go forth this day, with eyes, ears and hearts open, ready to hear how the Lord might call us to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, or how we can help rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked.

 

Welcome Boxes 2

To find out more about making Welcome Boxes, please contact: JenniferJoyKeener@gmail.com

Lord help me to walk,

with eyes open wide;

aware of the needs,

that others may hide.

Let me be Your hands,

where I can go serve;

show me how to love,

as the lost deserve.

Help me see the need,

and then show me how;

to do what You ask,

not later, right now.

Each day, may I rise,

ready to go be;

Your heart and Your hands,

to set captives free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Defender and Rescuer. Thank You that You saved us from all of our ugliness and delivered us from the calamity that was to come. Thank You that You call us to be a part of moving beside You in defending those who cannot defend themselves, helping those in need, and rescuing those who are stuck in situations that are too great for them to get out of on their own. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to need, or for standing still as we allow the great need to overwhelm us, rather than simply listen to Your call and how we can do the next right thing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and be ready to do each next thing that You ask of us. Lead us to love with all that we are, just as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do each next right thing. 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

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

The Next Right Thing

image by Ray Cordova Ministries

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.” – Matthew 25:40

Jesus was explaining to His followers that whatever we do for another, it is as if we are doing it unto Him.  How we love and care for one another, matters to God.  In fact, He takes it personally.  He sees, hears and knows all that we do out of our love for Him, and He counts it as if it has been done unto Him.

Though we are saved by grace alone, it is because He loves us and cares for us individually, that we ought to do the same for one another.  As we come to receive His love, we are compelled to convey that same love to one another.  He equips and encourages us to do just that, to love as we are loved.  We have not limitless resources nor time, yet we are refreshed and supplied by the Savior who does.  No, we cannot do or be all things to all people, yet we can choose to do the next right thing.  If we see someone who is hungry, we can give them something to eat.  If we see someone who is cold, we can give something to offer warmth.  If another is lonely, we can offer our company.  If one is hurting, we can lend a helping hand.  The needs around us are far too numerous to count.  All together, they present a daunting, monumental and impossible task; however, if we look at one thing at a time and do what we can, we are choosing to have open eyes, hearts and hands.  Through us, His love will flow, when we are willing to extend our hearts and hands to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live as our example, die for our sins, and rise to be seated beside You as our Intercessor so that Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, might lead and guide us in the way we are meant to go.  Please forgive us for our paralysis when we are overwhelmed and know not what to do to help with the numerous needs around us.  Teach us to trust You and to listen to Your leading so that we may simply do the next right thing, and then repeat, again and again and again.  Lead us to live lives of love, just as You love us.  May our love be lived out loud, so that many may come to know of Your care and concern for each of us individually.  Amen.

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