Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. 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

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Kindness to Cope

Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, NLT)

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – (Psalm 119:76, ERV)

Send Your kind mercy-kiss to comfort me, Your servant, just like You promised You would. – (Psalm 119:76, TPT)

 

Can I be really raw and real right now? Though I know this is true and I trust Him, I am struggling in my current circumstance. Yesterday, I went to what I thought would be a fairly routine check back for my fractured fibula, but as the appointment unfolded, the orthopedist had some concerns about the swelling that was still present in my lower leg. She sent me to ultrasound to have imaging done to be certain there were no blood clots, as occasionally a clot could cause swelling such as mine. As it turned out, her suspicion was confirmed, and I do indeed have a blood clot in my calf. I was promptly whisked from one doctor to the next to the next, until I ultimately ended up in the ER for bloodwork so that they could start me on blood thinners immediately. Now, here is the space of struggle… I know that God, in His great love for me, gave the doctor the wisdom to check for a blood clot. Additionally, each next door I was meant to walk through to work toward solutions, opened rapidly. The difficulty that I am having in all of this is the loss of my mobility due to the fracture, and now knowing that I will be on blood thinners for a season and not allowed to partake in contact sports.  After having trained with my football team since the fall, I am deeply disappointed. Likely, my difficulty sleeping at night is further fueling my frustration. At the end of the day, I know God is good and that He will meet me and comfort me, as His presence is promised forever. May we ever be open to receive the comfort conveyed by our Creator, and trust that His promises are always true.

 

With unfailing love, peace in presence

The Lord, He is near;

To be our comfort,

As each cry He hears.

His presence promised,

His faithful love, true;

Provides what’s needed,

As He walks us through.

Let mercy surround,

In our fear and doubt;

By Your love, lead us,

Your path You’ve laid out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is present to comfort us, just as You promised. Forgive me for allowing my frustration to compete with my gratitude in the good that You do and how You make Your mercy known. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would lay hold of Your unfailing love and find comfort in Your promised presence forever. Show me how to love those around me with love that comforts and remains present through difficulties. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and trust in Your promises that we know are true. 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

Growing Good

Large cypress trees will grow where there were thorn bushes. Myrtle trees will grow where there were weeds. All this will happen to make the Lord known, to be a permanent reminder of His goodness and power. – (Isaiah 55:13, ERV)

In place of the thorn the cypress will grow; in place of the nettle the myrtle will grow. This will attest to the Lord’s stature, an enduring reminder that won’t be removed. – (Isaiah 55:13, CEB)

Prickly thorns and nasty briers will give way to luxurious shade trees, sweet and good. And they’ll remind you of the Eternal One and how God can be trusted absolutely and forever. – (Isaiah 55:13, VOICE)

 

Just as God promised to replace the harsh and harmful places with those that are beneficial and blessed, He does the same in the lives of those who place their trust in Him. It takes little to look back and discover the spaces within our own hearts and lives where God has taken the things that brought harm and redeemed us with His blessings that overflow and offer good to those around us. God is faithful, and each place where we see new growth of good, we have a lasting reminder of His goodness and power – both in us and for us forever. May we seek the Lord and His everlasting love, as He is the One who brings new growth of good where destructive and harmful things once stood.

 

In place of the thorns, How Faith Grows

God will grow new good;

As we see Him move,

His heart’s understood.

This amazing grace,

That makes broken new;

Shows with great power,

That His word is true.

For as bad gives way,

To new, good and sweet;

The Lord is made known,

Our sacred retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that where dead and destructive things once grew, You have brought new that is good and beneficial. Thank You that in every space where You have turned the harmful into good, we have an enduring reminder of Your goodness and power. Forgive us for our frustration and fearfulness of the prickly and nasty spaces – both inside and out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our strength in the pruning process, and our guide to navigate through the new. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be reminders of Your faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes and hearts open to be aware of the good that You are growing in and around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Do Not Withhold Good

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

 

If our eyes are open to truly see, we can perceive plainly that the need for good to be given is everywhere. Too often, it can become overwhelming if we look to see the lack and take it upon ourselves to somehow “fix” things. Instead, we ought to be ever alert to that which we can do to bless those around us. Often, it is a kind and encouraging word, a simple gesture of holding a door or extending a smile that makes all the difference in the direction a day is going for another. Yes, there are far greater needs, but we are called to do what we can do whenever and wherever we are able. When we consider our words and actions are representation of Jesus to the world, how we maneuver matters most. Are we intentional in the words we choose and generous and kind in our actions? May we look to the Lord as our example of how to give good to those who need it and go forth in the light of His lavish love.

 

Do not withhold good, wp-15187855050751138593129.jpg

For we are each called;

To do what we can,

To love one and all.

For those who need help,

Let us choose rise up;

Extend hands of grace,

Choose fill empty cups.

Each time we reach out,

And choose to love well;

We represent God,

Of His grace we tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not withhold good from us. Thank You that You call us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us as we go forth and do good. Forgive us for withholding that which You have freely given and teach us to trust You more so that we will do everything that we can to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to help where help is needed so that Your love is made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we possibly can to help those around us, just as we are helped by You. 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

Real Love

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Real love is that which comes from God. Before we even knew Him, He loved us. His love is so great that He chose to make the way for what had been fractured by our own sinfulness to be restored through the sending of His one and only Son. As we believe and receive the mercy and grace that God grants to all who seek Him, we grow in our own capacity to love as we are loved. May we ever remember the magnitude of His mercy that we have been shown, so that we might go forth and give grace as God has given to us.

 

The love of our God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Abundant in grace;

As He loved us first,

So we’d find our way.

The way to seek God,

Is open, secure;

Through His precious Son,

Our hope is made sure.

Remember the truth,

That God first loved us;

Forgiveness is ours,

When we trust Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real love comes from You, as You loved us so much that You sent Your Son so that our broken relationship with You could be restored. Forgive us for allowing anything or anyone other than You to set the standard for what love truly is meant to be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we allow Your love to surround and shape us into who You are calling us to become. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that many may come to see the truth of Your love. May hearts be stirred and lives be changed forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and go forth to love others likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Shown Good

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NLT)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

 

This is a great reminder, as what is required of us is not dependent on what people do, but rather on who God is. If we love God, we long to serve and honor Him. To honor God is to do what is right by being fair to other people, extending mercy, love and kindness and walk in humility as we obey that to which we are called. Our obedience is not determined by the path of others, but by our own decision to walk with God. Being just does not require us to remain in toxic environments, yet love requires we forgive as we move forward. Often, a decision to extend love and kindness can change the entire setting of a space, from where it began. May we be ever open to hear the heart of God in all circumstances, so that we may extend His loving kindness to others, just as He has done for us.

 

What the Lord requires, Strength in the Sorrow

Is to do what’s right;

Do good and choose love,

Humble in His sight.

All grace and mercy,

That He freely gives;

Are granted in love,

As He chose forgive.

We are called to go,

And do just the same;

Give love and mercy,

Because Jesus came.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and mercy that You freely give to us if we are willing to seek You and receive what You offer. Thank You that You tell us what is good, and show and equip us to do that which You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we walk humbly with You, extending mercy and doing what is right in Your eyes. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what is good. 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

The Gift of Salvation

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NLT)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish. – (Ephesians 2:8, MSG)

 

Salvation is a gift that God freely gives to us, if only we choose to place our trust in Him. We cannot do enough, nor be enough, but rather it is a matter of making the choice to believe that God is who He says He is, and that He is true to His word. There is no prerequisite to have a certain depth of knowledge in biblical studies or theology, instead, we simply need to have a heart that is open and willing to allow God to be God, because we are not. For those who trust in the Lord, let us give thanks for the gracious gift that He has given; for those who are searching – He is always available and at the ready to hear our heart and love us to life.

 

God saves us by grace,

Rejoice Always

Not by what we do;

It’s all about love,

For His word is true.

What the Lord offers,

Is a gift that’s free;

It’s given to all,

Who choose to believe.

Rise up and have faith,

In God You can trust;

For He alone saves,

God’s loving and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You save us by Your grace if only we choose to believe. Thank You that we do not have to do “enough” or be “enough” to somehow earn Your favor, but rather You love us where we are and accept us because we are Your created. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow get ourselves cleaned up or do things a certain way before we can approach You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your grace is greater than all of our shortcomings and failures. Show us how to love without limits, all those whom You place in our charge, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of the gift of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of salvation, and trust You with all that we are. Amen.

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

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

Complete in Love

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:19, ERV)

 

Just as this was Paul’s exhortation and prayer for the church of Ephesus, I pray the same for each of us today. God amazes me with the community that He has placed me in, as I gain glimpses of His love through how I am loved by those around me. Additionally, I find hints of insight into the depth of His love through the love I feel for my children, my family and my beloved circle by whom I am surrounded. The more we know His love, the more we are able to give it away. We do not have to have it all together to be loved by God, He loves us just as we are. When we are willing to receive what He gives, life and power and strength grows within us so that we can go and do likewise. May we ever be open to receive the love that God lavishes upon us, and freely give as we have been given.

 

May we truly know,Complete in Love

The great love of Christ;

In it we are made,

Through His sacrifice.

There’s fullness to know,

Of life and power;

That comes from the Lord,

Our great, strong tower.

No matter what comes,

To Him we can run;

By love we’re made whole,

Praise You, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though Your love is too great to fully understand, we are made complete in the fullness and life and power that comes from You as we trust and depend on You. Thank You that You make Your love known to us in tangible ways through the people that You place in our lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the incredible gifts of Your goodness and grace in the hands and hearts of those around us. Teach us to receive the love that You give so lavishly, so that we would in turn, love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with all that You have for us and we go forth wherever You lead. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Commit to Learn and Grow

Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NLT)

Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, MSG)

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE)

 

Just as this is both necessary and beneficial in our day to day life, it is essential in the ever-changing world of education. Not only are the needs of our students changing, but so too are the standards and the curriculum from year to year. Without self-discipline, I would not make it through a single day. Time in the word each morning instructs my heart and soul with reminders of how to love well, and ongoing instruction and interaction with intelligent, innovative colleagues, continues to challenge and refine my craft in the classroom. It is imperative that my ears be open to students and colleagues alike, and God’s grace carries me through the most difficult of days. May we ever be committed to receive instruction, as we listen carefully to words of knowledge that come our way.

 

Let each heart commit,The Word of God

To listen and learn;

So knowledge is heard,

And hearts may discern.

A disciplined life,

Attentive, informed;

So through wisdom’s gain,

Lives will be transformed.

Commit to listen,

Let God filter all;

Knowledge shall follow,

To this, we are called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit ourselves to learn, and listen carefully to instruction, knowledge finds us by Your grace. Thank You that You call us to be well informed and attentive, so that we are aware of the world around us. Forgive us for isolating ourselves or choosing to stay stagnant, when You are calling us to grow. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be committed to learning and growing as we are called by You. Show us how to best develop a disciplined life according to the plan and purpose that You have for us individually. Help us to love others well, so that they too, may come to understand the depth and breadth of You great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we commit ourselves to disciplined instruction, and have our ears open to the words that come from 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

Two Ears and One Mouth

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. – (James 1:19, NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up in a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

 

So often, when buttons are pushed and tempers begin to flare, if the choice is made to first listen to understand where the other person is coming from, the initial spark of anger is diffused, and the things we choose to speak when we are ready, are far better received than if we simply spout out whatever comes to mind in the moment. There is a time and place for righteous anger – the sort of disgust that draws us to rise up and pursue possible solutions. However, in the seemingly small things that spark our hot buttons, we must seek the Lord and His heart and help, so that we are willing to listen, rather than speak. We are created with two ears and only one mouth. I imagine God intended that we use our parts accordingly. Our ears should likely be used at least twice as often as our mouths when we interact with others. May we go forth today with ears open, ready to listen with the intent to truly hear, ever keeping control of our tongue and leaving rage behind us.

 

With ears wide open,Be Not Silent

May we choose to hear;

What’s being spoken,

By those who are near.

Choose be slow to speak,

When anger finds way;

Words that are spoken,

Cannot go away.

Instead, in moments,

Slow down and choose trust;

God’s call to listen,

Just as He hears us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Thank You that this is not something that You expect us to do in our own strength, but rather You strengthen and equip us to listen first, so that we may truly hear the heart of those around us. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or for giving way to rage rather than seeking to understand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to listen and slow to speak, ever keeping anger at bay where it belongs. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are willing to listen, slow to speak, and allow You to help keep our anger in check. Amen.

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

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