Joy in the Right Words at the Right Time

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! – (Proverbs 15:23, NIV)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

Words are a powerful weapon; forces of good that extend hope and life and encouragement, or they can become spears hurled at the heart – even when the intent is not harm. When our words land well, we find joy in knowing that the intent and application aligned. However, when words fall flat, or far worse, the desire for a rewind option or the ability to withdraw and delete that which was not received as life-giving is huge. This is where it is critical to remember the power of our words, so that we might pause, take a breath, and think clearly before speaking. God is faithful to provide as we abide in Him. Though we are human, as are the recipients of our words, and each are subject to missteps and misinterpretations, when we seek the Lord and trust in Him to guide our heart, there are far more moments of joy in the right words at the right time.

To update on mom, after Friday’s trifecta of therapies, it was determined that she will be phasing into outpatient therapy within the next few weeks. This is a fantastic graduation of sorts, as outpatient facilities have far more tools to work with to propel mom forward on her healing journey. The challenge remaining will be the logistics and working out the details. Thankfully, mom has two great caregivers that alternate days with her while Meg and Scott are at work. Terry and Angela should be able to coordinate and take mom to her appointments as she makes the change to the new. It will be good, but as always, a covering in prayer for new therapists and all of the details, as well as mom’s ongoing healing, are greatly appreciated.

 

A timely answer,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So apt a reply;

Joy to the speaker,

Grace none can deny.

And how sweet the words,

At just the right time;

To bless, encourage,

Show that love is kind.

Our words have power,

To give life, build up;

To love others well,

Seek to fill their cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes when we are trusting in You to respond to those around us. Thank You for the times that our words are received as they are intended. Forgive us for the times that we have used our words flippantly, grossly unaware of the impact they might have on those around us. Teach us to pause and filter our words through Your lens, as Your heart is to bless and extend love. Show us how to love those around us with our words, each time we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the words we are meant to speak. Amen.

 

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

 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Confident Hope

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

God is faithful, even when our faith waivers based on what we see. However, the more we trust in Him in spite of what we think we know, the more we begin to become aware of just how much His blessings flow. We can either be confident in Christ or confident in other things. Sadly, a third option seems to be to be confident and hopeful in nothing. When days are long and things get difficult, I have to remember where my hope truly lies. If I begin to focus on what I see, I start to lose heart, rather than recognize the bountiful blessings that I already hold. Our perspective shifts as we trust the One who holds us in His hands. May we ever trust the Lord and place our confidence in He who is worthy of all of our trust, as He blesses those who truly trust in Him.

 

Let not our eyesight, Be Full of Joy

Determine our trust;

For God is faithful,

Keeps His word to us.

All that the Lord says,

We can trust is true;

With confident hope,

Know He’ll follow through.

For God is not man,

Where hope may fall flat;

In Him we are blessed,

He’s where all good’s at.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we can trust and place all of our hope and confidence. Thank You that as we trust in You, we are blessed as we come to know Your faithfulness for ourselves. Forgive us for placing our hope or trust anywhere other than You, or for losing hope when we cannot see Your hand in our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have confident hope in Your faithfulness, knowing that You are true to Your word and will be faithful to do all that You say You will do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find hope in spaces that feel hopeless. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, and recognize the blessings of Your faithfulness in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

Loved By You

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. – (John 13:34, TLB) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

We are called and commanded to love, just as we are loved by God. His love is often made evident through the kindness of those who surround us. Yesterday, I was the recipient of His love made tangible on several occasions. My day in the classroom begins with my most challenging class, and yesterday was no exception. By the end of the ninety minutes, I would have gladly gone home if I had been given the option. God knew, and He provided support in spaces where it was needed most. Encouraging words from colleagues who are friends that came randomly as I walked across campus, flowers delivered at lunchtime from my fiancée, a brief, yet supportive conversation with my principal, and more messages from dear ones as the day went on. God knows what fills our hearts, and He loves us the way that helps our hearts hear best. We are called to go and do likewise. May we rise up and make the choice to love one another, just as the Lord so lavishly loves each of us. 

 

New command given, img_20180213_164632_6431902058580.jpg

To love others well; 

For as we choose love, 

Doubts and fears dispel. 

The love that God shows, 

Our hearts and our minds; 

Helps us love others, 

Leads us to be kind. 

On this day of love, 

Let us choose anew; 

To love as He loves, 

For His love is true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are commanded to love each other. Thank You that You place people in our lives to make Your love tangible when we need it the most. Thank You that just as we are loved, we are called to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You do. Show us how to love with patience and kindness, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and love as we are loved by You. 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 and To Trust

Followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is your strength and shield. – (Psalm 115:11, ERV)

All who fear and know the Eternal, put your trust in Him. He is their helper and defender. – (Psalm 115:11, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder this morning, as God’s help and strength, shield and defense can be far more than physical. For me, as an educator, this is the time of year that I need it most for my heart. For whatever reason, I am feeling it far more this year than ever before. The strength and shield needed are for my heart and mind. There are the few cherubs throughout the day that try my patience and exhaust my resolve. By the end of the day yesterday, I would have tapped out for the week, if it had been an option. That being said, it is not, and today is a new day. I must choose to trust in the Lord to be my strength and my shield, as He will be my help and my defense when troubled teens try my last nerve. My prayer will be to have eyes anew; to see each child through His view. There is always a reason for acting out, and my prayer is for His insight beyond what my eyes can merely observe. May we ever trust in the Lord and His strength, as He is our help and our defense.

 

All who know the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

Choose to trust in Him;

For He is our help,

Our shield from within.

He will be our strength,

When ours is but gone;

And grant us His hope,

To keep keeping on.

Followers of Christ,

Rise up, trust the Lord;

He’s our help and shield,

When we’re less, He’s more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place all of our trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and our shield. Thank You that You are our helper and defender in our time of need, regardless of our circumstance. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small things too. Forgive us for thinking that we have to “gut” things out or somehow “manage” on our own. Teach us to trust in You to be our help and our defense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and help when they feel as if they have none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our help and our hope; always. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

My Love and My Strength

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

The verse speaks for itself, as David is a dude to whom I can relate. This past week has been one of the busiest weeks of the year thus far. Monday, semester grades were due and it was the first day of gymnastics season. (I am the head coach at my school) Tuesday, after a full day of teaching and coaching, I rushed home to make dinner for my boys, and then was blessed with an evening at a hockey game. Wednesday, I had early morning practice, another full day of teaching, afternoon staff meetings, followed by time with my boys, and then errand running with my dear friend. By the time I had arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, the beginning of a migraine had taken root. Thursday, I woke and was greeted by a pounding headache still, but did not have a “tap out” option in my week, so I had to trust the Lord to provide the strength I needed to teach, participate in team collaboration, function during my mid-year evaluation, coach, and arrive safely home. I was able to get outside for a long walk, followed by a quieter evening at home. Friday found its arrival with the migraine still in place, so another day of trusting and leaning in happened here. Thankfully, I was able to reach my chiropractor and friend, and she ordered her schedule to meet me at the office after practice, to adjust, as misalignment often contributes to the pain. At last, after three days, I had relief. He had done tremendous things for me to sustain, and then provide way for real relief. It is amazing how God demonstrates His strength in our weakness, and further shows us how worthy of love He is, as He loves us so well. May we let our love for the Lord lead us, as we trust Him to be our strength.

 

Lord, how I love You,not-defined-by-a-day

For all that You are;

How You provide strength,

You’re never too far.

When we call on You,

You hear each request;

You grant us the strength,

To navigate best.

I can’t even count,

The most wondrous things;

Each act of Your love,

My reasons to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I love You and am so thankful for who You are and how You love. You are my strength in weakness, and my hope and help, as I need You to navigate my days well. Forgive me for the times that I attempt to power through without seeking You. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would seek You in all things and at all times, and recognize the tremendous things that You do for me each day. Show me how to love well, those around me, so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we love You with our lives, and trust You to be our strength. 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

Stronger Together

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, VOICE)

 

This holds true for nearly every area in our lives. We were created to be in community, and not intended to be isolated and alone. Spiritually, when we are invested in relationships with people who share our commitment to our faith, we find encouragement, covering, questions that need to be asked, and company to keep in both celebration and heartache. For our intellect, this also holds tremendous value. When planning, preparing or facing a problem, having another to discuss ideas with makes all the difference in finding a reasonable solution. Likewise this is true for our bodies. It is far easier to remain healthy and choose wisely when we train with others seeking to do the same. When given the option, two are always better than one, as working together increases resolve and return. May we seek to invest in the people placed around us, so that we can help one another succeed in all that we have been called to do.

 

For where there are two,stronger-together

More strength can be found;

Resolve unshaken,

When two hold their ground.

Together the two,

Can accomplish more;

There’s a great return,

As each part outpours.

Work is divided,

And more goals succeed;

Each one better off,

Together complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be in community. Thank You that we are far better off when we work with others than when we go alone. Thank You that You use people in our lives to encourage us and grow us spiritually, mentally and physically. Thank You that You allow us to do the same for others if we are willing to be invested. Forgive us for not reaching out to those around us and isolating ourselves when we are meant to be invested. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step outside of what is “comfortable”, and work together with those whom You bring beside us to get things done. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might be encouraged and built up through our every interaction with them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with others to do that which You have called us to do. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Ragnar Reflections 2016

As I reflect upon the completion of my third Ragnar race, I am so grateful to have again had both the opportunity to participate, and the capacity to do so. I know that both are not options for everyone. Time away from family, even for two days, is a sacrifice not all are able to make. Additionally, being willing and able to run three times in less than a day and a half, on little to no sleep and make-shift meals is not something everyone can do. Some have physical limitations, whereas others have barriers that prevent pursuit of such things. Others, think we all are simply a bit off kilter to do what we do in the first place. Whichever the case may be, determined or a bit nutty – I know that His grace carried me when the road seemed extra long, and my legs felt as if they were done running before the race was through.

 

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14)

 

I know that my context is no comparison to the original text, however, I know how very aware I was of God’s grace that covered me, and His love that met me, as sweet songs filled my mind to strengthen and encourage when I grew weary. The love of the Lord is faithful to meet us in all circumstances – even when running on the road in the middle of the night. In fact, I’d venture to say all the more. When we call on Him, He makes His presence known to us, and covers us with His love. May the grace and love of the Lord be poured out upon all, as we seek Him in faith, today and always.

 

The grace of the Lord,

Is poured upon us;

When we choose to seek,

To call on Jesus.

Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Wherever we are,

The Lord meets us there;

Grants us love and grace,

He hears each prayer.

 Ragnar2016.tired

In our space of need,

He’ll faithfully come;

Give strength to weary,

God, the Righteous One.

Ragnar2016.onemiletogo.jpg

Let us give God praise,

For His love and grace;

In Him we’re able,

To finish our race.

Ragnar2016.medals

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace that You pour out abundantly upon us, as well as the faith and love that You have granted us through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, regardless of when or where the seeking takes place. Forgive us for going forth without seeking, or for waiting to seek You until there is a need. Teach us to trust You with everything all of the time, so that we begin our day with conversation with You. Show us how to love others with the same love and grace that You so generously give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to pour out the grace and love that You have given, by faith, so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Amen.

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

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

Wait Quietly in Hope

We are at an interesting place of pause between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For my boys and me, our break seems to have been passing us by on fast forward. It was intentional that we traveled over the snow-covered pass to spend a few days with my mom. Here, in this wondrous winter wonderland, there is quiet, calm, and rest. The option of constant motion is available, yet it somehow ends up being a space of resting, game-playing, moving watching and the like. For a few days, we slow down, and it is good.

 

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

For me, my natural rhythm and routine of rising early to spend time in the quiet solitude with Christ, remains. However, I find that there is something about the surrounding silence, that causes me to quiet my heart more often, and have a sort of lean in and listen posture in this space where I am surrounded by such majesty. I cannot help but be in awe at every turn, and remember that my hope is found in He who created all of this. If God can create such beauty out of nothing, He can bring order where there is chaos, hope to despair, freedom where things are bound, and peace to places of unrest. There is nothing that we have to do to earn His favor or convince Him that we need His help. Our charge is to ask, trust, and then wait quietly before Him. If He has a part for us to play in His provision, He will make it clear. May we wait quietly before Him with all that we are, and place all of our hope in God.

 

In sweet silence lies,IMG_1849

God’s grace and presence;

all hope we can trust,

despite circumstance.

The very same God,

Who created all;

loved us with His life,

so we would not fall.

He calls us to come,

to quietly be;

in the sweetest space,

where we find we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we allow all that we are to wait quietly before You, we find all hope is found in You. Thank You that You are our rest and our refuge, our safety and our strength. Thank You that You love us to life, and grant us hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for not slowing down and quieting our hearts before You, as we lose sight of hope in our constant motion. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be intentional in our quieting of our hearts and minds before You, giving You all that we are in uninterrupted spaces. Show us how to embrace the hope that You grant us, so that we may share it with others in how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let all that we are be quiet before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

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

Jesus is… God of the Miraculous

As I continue to unpack all that Jesus is through the reading of the Gospel of Mark, something that clearly stood out in today’s chapters, was that Jesus is the God of the miraculous. There are two specific stories in chapter six alone, that demonstrate the miraculous power of God, presented in Jesus Christ.

 

First, when Jesus and the disciples had sought a solitary place to rest and reflect, they ended up surrounded by a crowd of more than five-thousand. Late in the day, the disciples recognized the people’s need for nourishment. They asked Jesus to send them away so that they could find food, but Jesus had another option in mind. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. – (Mark 6:41-42) Though the disciples did not recognize the miraculous power present in Jesus to provide for all of the people prior to that point, Jesus patiently demonstrated His deity as He delivered nourishment to meet the needs of the people.

 

After all had been fed, Jesus had His disciples get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, so that He could go up on the mountainside to pray. While the disciples were crossing the lake, the wind came up and they were struggling and straining to cross. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, the thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. – (Mark 6:48-50a) Jesus had to tell them that they did not need to be afraid. Rather than continue walking past them, …He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51) Jesus again presented the miraculous power of God, as He walked on water and calmed the storm. He did not just speak for the storm to cease from far away, but Jesus walked to the disciples and climbed into the boat – He met them exactly where they were, and then all became calm.

 

The very same Jesus is alive and active today. The miraculous power of God is present and available to all who earnestly seek Him. Jesus sees and knows our needs, and is ready to sit beside us in our storms. May we seek Him with all that we are, and recognize the miraculous power of God that is present and active all around us.

 

The power of God,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

miraculous One;

united in Christ,

magnificent Son.

Jesus is able,

to love and provide;

to touch and draw near,

to all whom abide.

He sees where we lack,

every need known;

Jesus is able,

miraculous shown.

And when the storms come,

He’ll draw close, be near;

bring calm to our soul,

and cast out all fear.

 

Dear Jesus, thank You that You are God of the miraculous. Thank You that You know our needs before we do, and You are ready and able to provide. Thank You that You come close, and remain present, even when storms rage around us. Forgive us for not turning to You in our times of need, and for not reaching for You in the throes of the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response in all things and at all times, is to cling to You. Help us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your provision and rely on Your presence. Amen.

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

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

In or Out?

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” – (Matthew 12:30)

 

There is no middle of the road with Christ. We cannot linger on the line of indecision and expect our souls to be secure. The word clearly states that we are either actively pursuing Christ, or we are against Him. Inactivity and idleness are equated to the rejection of our Redeemer. Choosing to be separated from God, who alone is good, is not a viable option. There is no room for neutral in an authentic relationship. He asks for all of us, and in return, gives us: forgiveness, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, hope, and the promise of His presence both now and forever. For me, the choice is clear. I am all IN. My life is not my own…

In or Out

Identify with Christ,

Name above all names;

Or reject the Lord Jesus,

Redeemer, the same.

Options are presented, it is

Up to each of us,

To receive or reject, Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t love us just a little, but rather You love us so much that You sent You only Son, so that we might choose life in You. Thank You for making the way for us to come to You, wholeheartedly, and be received as Your own. Forgive our places of indecision, or seasons of settling, thinking that sitting idly by would be okay. Help us to passionately pursue You, daily, so that we may know You more. Lead us to love others as we are loved by You, and grant us Your grace and goodness to give. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as they too, passionately pursue You with their whole being. Be glorified as we choose to be all in each day we draw breath. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7