How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

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Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for 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 the countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Renewed Hope and Cheer

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, TLB)

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight. – (Psalm 94:19, TPT)

 

Just yesterday, this verse was demonstrated in a tangible way. My fiancé and I had made an offer on a house, and we were eagerly awaiting an answer. Additionally, it was the first day of state testing for my students, and the group I was to test is my most energetic group of sixth graders. I had concerns going in, as they struggle to stay on task during our usual 90-minute block class, despite the break that is given in the middle. For testing, I was scheduled to have these kiddos for a three-hour block until lunch. Between technology difficulties and an extremely rigorous test, we ended up with our same group of test-takers until the end of the school day. All but one of my cherubs had completed the assessment by the conclusion of seventh period, and it was implied that we would go on to eighth period to end the day. For whatever reason, that did not happen, and we ended up in staying together in my shrinking classroom for the final 45-minute period of the day as well. There was a bit of turmoil for all of us, yet after a short time, we all settled in and made the best of the down time. It provided room for each to decompress without academic expectations and I was pleased with the smiles and giggles around the room as kids colored, visited, played games, and some even sat in the sunshine right outside of my classroom door. Additionally, I received a text from my fiancé telling me that our offer had been accepted and we officially had acquired our new home. Comfort, hope and cheer were supplied in the midst of far too many busy thoughts. God is good, and He quiets us when our hearts are in turmoil and grants us renewed hope and cheer. May we ever seek Him when doubts fill our minds, for He is our comfort and conductor of cheer.

 

When my mind races,

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Our new home! ❤

And doubts enter in;

You bring me comfort,

Show me hope again.

Within my turmoil,

You come with Your peace;

Your presence brings calm,

As Your good’s released.

You still busy thoughts,

In love, You draw near;

You delight my heart,

As hope brings great cheer.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when things get hectic or chaotic and begin to cause our hearts to doubt, You bring Your comfort as You quiet our hearts and renew our hope and cheer. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us and steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You provide all that we need no matter what lies before us. Show us how to love well so that we may offer comfort, hope and cheer to those struggling with their own busy thoughts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your faithfulness to meet us in our moments of mayhem and bring Your calm as You renew our hope and cheer. 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

No Fear of Bad News

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, NIV)

They will not be afraid of bad news. They are confident because they trust in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, ERV)

They won’t be frightened at bad news. Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord. – (Psalm 112:7, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I had a check back  appointment about my whole leg situation, I had a very emotional response to the words spoken. The prognosis given was a far longer recovery time than I had originally been told, and he did not pull any punches as he spoke of the gravity of the condition residing in my calf. Though tears did not fall at the time, they were threatening, and I am not a crier. Not sure what to do with my own spinning thoughts, I scooted out of the office as quickly as possible. As I drove home, I saw such a perfect representation of the verse above. On the road before me, there were dark, heavy storm clouds, yet at the base of them, there was light in the form of a rainbow. What it told me in the moment, was that even in the darkness, He promises to be present. Additionally, the song that was playing on the radio was incredibly timely too. Fear is a Liar, by Zach Williams flooded my heart as I took in the truth of what was unfolding before me. Still overwhelmed by everything, the dam burst as I finally processed what had taken place at my appointment, with my fiancé. After a few minutes of actually giving voice to my frustrations and fears, I was comforted and reminded anew that I was held in His hands. God is good even when our circumstances are not. He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. May we be confident in Him no matter what comes, as He is greater than anything that we will ever face.

 

When news comes my way, wp-1523626205021976056124.jpg

That is hard to take;

I’ll choose trust in God,

Light on darkest days.

For we need not fear,

No matter what comes;

Because God’s greater,

And He is not done.

Our heaps of ashes,

One day soon shall be;

Redeemed by His grace,

Turned into beauty.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to fear bad news, as You have us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for being fearful when news is not what we hope it will be and teach us to be steadfast in trusting You. Show us how to love those around us with confidence and grace, so that we may extend love in fearful and needed space. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are steadfast in trusting You and do not fear when bad news comes our way. Amen.

 

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

…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

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

Made for Good

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He has already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

 

To watch God’s masterpieces in action is such a great joy to behold. When I observe those whom I know and care for deeply doing the very things that they were created to do, I cannot help but be filled with joy. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, as I prepared my boys for camp and myself for Belize, traveled to Belize for a week of medical mission work, returned to do laundry and pack myself for the birthday adventure extravaganza for my love, and the boys for their Sea Scouts long cruise. As I sit in a rental home near Red Rock, NV, with the sun shining on the aqua water in the pool outside, I am overwhelmed by the good that I have both witnessed and experienced as those around me have lived and loved as they were created to do. Brand new blessings were poured out in Belize, as my dear friends were faithful to follow where God had led them, and I had the pleasure to join them and see how God had prepared and gone before us. Camp was wonderful for my boys, as they branched out and made new friends, despite their trepidation at not having their best friends along. Now, here in Nevada, some of our dearest friends have joined together to celebrate my Viking, and love so well. He has been overwhelmed by the blessings, and I don’t think I have stopped smiling since we arrived. God is so good, and when we walk forward as who He has created us to be, the things He does are beyond what we could hope or imagine. May we ever pursue our Creator the good that He has hand-crafted us to accomplish.

 

We’re all created, Made for Good

Hand-crafted by God;

Made new with purpose,

With a path to trod.

Created for good,

That’s how we’re designed;

Be true to ourselves,

Let our hearts align.

Rise up with courage,

Go forth in His might;

He has good in store,

Love well and do right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece. Thank You that what You can accomplish in and through us, is not dependent on how we feel. Thank You that when we are willing to go where You call, and do as You ask, good things are accomplished by Your grace. Forgive us for not recognizing the intent with which You made each one of us. Teach us to value those around us and ourselves, as You reveal to us, the masterpiece in us all. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they feel valued and celebrated for who You have created them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for making us new in You so that we can do good things. 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

Out of the Desert

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

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

When the Sun Shines In

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT)

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

 

This has been the longest week that I have walked through in a very long time. Between the loss of my grandmother, the final push of gymnastics season, and the last week of school prior to spring break, I had many doubts in my moments of mourning as to whether or not I would be able to get through the week with my sanity intact. Incredibly, God provided comfort in the quiet moments when my heart felt overwhelmed by loss, and fortified my body and mind with strength to stand, even in the instances when I did not think I could. Little things mean everything to me, and as the week wore on, countless blessings brought hope and cheer to my hurting heart. Yesterday, at the close of the school day, the sun was shining and I was smiling. His grace had gotten me through what at the start of the week, seemed impossible. My day closed with sushi, more sunshine, and company with one who makes my heart feel cherished. As I returned home and began to drift off to sleep, rather than grief, I was overwhelmed with gladness. God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He is the One who removes our doubts, grants comfort in our grief, and renews our hope and cheer.

 

In our space of doubt,When the Sun Shines In

Brought forth by our fear;

The God of all grace,

Will wipe all our tears.

He’ll be our comfort,

For He’s ever near;

Renewing our hope,

Blessings of His cheer.

No matter what comes,

In mourning or doubt;

God will be present,

If we seek Him out.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all comfort and the One who renews our hope. Thank You that when we grieve, You are near to comfort and bless us with Your presence and Your hope. Thank You that You remove our doubts and supply all that we need to continue to do what You have called us to do. Forgive us for entertaining our doubts rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to renew our hope and cheer, and seek Your comfort in times of mourning. Show us how to love those around us so that we may extend Your comfort, hope and cheer to those struggling with doubt and those who are mourning. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our comfort and to renew our hope and cheer, as You are ever near. 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