Faithful Answers

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Savior. – (Psalm 65:5a, NLT)

God, You answer our prayers and do what is right. You do amazing things to save us. – (Psalm 65:5a, ERV)

You leave us breathless when Your awesome works answer us by putting everything right. – (Psalm 65:5a, VOICE)

Yesterday morning began in a hurried panic. My boys and I were supposed to be up and out the door by 3:30am to get to the airport by 4:00am for departure for their school music tour to San Francisco. My alarm sounded first at 2:45, and I have a vague recollection of glancing at the screen and rapidly pressing the dismiss option, knowing that there would be a second alarm ten minutes later. At 2:55, as the second alarm debuted, I think I thought I hit snooze, but actually pressed dismiss again. Perhaps the combination of not returning home from football practice until close to ten and staying up until nearly midnight helping the boys finish packing, had pushed me to the point of exhaustion. After what felt like a few minutes, I woke, looked at the clock in a daze, read 4:30, and realized in a panic that we were already thirty minutes late! I ran through the house to wake the boys and hustle them out the door, scrambling to get luggage loaded as I called out a quick checklist for the boys. We rushed out the door and I had them at the airport drop off curb by 5:00am. I gave them specific instructions of where to go to check-in their bags and line up for the security check-through, informing them that I would wait in the cell phone lot, just in case, until I heard that they were checked in, through security, and on their way. Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I received a series of anxious calls from both them and their music director. The boys had missed the bag check-in deadline by two minutes and their director was not allowed to permit them to take a later flight by themselves, due to liability issues, so I had to go pick them back up. Though sleep-deprived and frazzled, my mind was in solution-mode. My first go-to was to call mom as I drove to see if she could look up later flights and if she knew anyone who might have a “buddy pass”. Within five minutes of returning home, I had a call into the principal of their school, a call back from mom with a later flight that had two seats available that she went ahead and booked, (as the airline only charged a minimal fee for the flight change), and I determined that I would go straight to the district office to sign some sort of release of liability paperwork to get my boys where they needed to be. We were in and out of the district office in fifteen minutes, and on our way to the airport where the boys were able to make their flight and then reconnect with their group, having only missed a tour of Alcatraz. All throughout, there were some serious prayers being audibly offered. My boys may or may not have thought I was a bit loony as I prayed aloud for each step we took. However, they were witness to doors opening rapidly, and ways being made, when we had been told by their music director that it was impossible. God is faithful to meet us, even in the seemingly small things. He moves mightily on our behalf and shows us His power where we have none. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to answer our prayers with His awesome deeds.

 

Faithful to answer,

img_20180524_183943_171892720904.jpg

The Lord God, He hears;

He opens the way,

As He is so near.

When all seems but lost,

God’s presence remains;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

He makes our path plain.

So, trust in the Lord,

In faith, call on Him;

His love makes wrongs right,

When invited in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to hear us when we call on You. Thank You for the way that You are faithful to answer, in ways that we would not have imagined. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for trying to navigate difficulties on our own rather than seeking You, our Source and Supply. Teach us to trust You more, as You do amazing things as we call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and give You praise for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Trust in the Face of Fear

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NIV)

 

Both versions of this verse are a great reminder of how we are meant to respond to fear. One is an action statement for the right now, and the other is anticipating an action plan for whatever lies ahead. In each circumstance, our response ought to be to trust the Lord, as He is our help and our hope for today, tomorrow and forever. Despite the faithfulness God has shown before, in our frail humanity, we often lose sight of how great our God is, and focus instead on how overwhelming the obstacle in our path. This is the place where we must slow down, breathe deeply, and remember Who is far greater than anything that lies before us. When the rubber meets the road and fear stares us directly in the face, this, this is the space where we have to choose whether or not we will trust. God is patient, and it seems that even when I choose panic over trust, He waits lovingly until I come to the place where I am ready to turn to Him, and walks beside me and guides me to lead me from a place of fear to one of resolve. God is good and worthy of all of our trust. May we place our trust in Him when we feel fear fighting for a foothold.

 

When I feel afraid,Be strong and courageous

The Lord’s ever near;

If I choose to trust,

He will always hear.

Whatever we face,

God is so much more;

His presence provides,

Love, strength, hope and more.

He goes before us,

And He stands beside;

There’s nothing we face,

That He can’t supply.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can place our trust in You. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust, as You alone supply the strength, courage and grace that we need to overcome every obstacle that lies before us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us from moving forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in faith, believing that You are who You say You are and that You will do what You say You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps alleviate fears and gives strength and courage to persevere in the face of adversity. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You when we are afraid. 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

Bearing Burdens

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE)

 

The weight of worries wear us down, and keep us from being and doing all that God intends for us. Though there are things that have valid reason to cause concern, no good can come from our carrying the weight of worry. However, when we lay our burdens and concerns at the foot of the cross, Christ can carry them for us. His shoulders are far stronger than ours, and He holds the solution in His hands. Our charge is to trust Him and His care for us, and allow Him to bear the brunt of the weight. As we give the heaviness to Him, our hearts are better able to grasp the instruction and direction that He has for us, so that we might move toward resolution rather than fear or frustration. May we lay down our worries before the One who cares most, and trust Him to lead us in the direction that He is calling us to go.

 

Bring Him your worries,Worrys Worth1

And lay them all down;

Set them at the feet,

Where truth shall be found.

For the Lord alone,

Is able to bear;

The burdens we bring,

For each one, He cares.

Our hearts are each known,

By Christ, our great King;

Let’s trust in His love,

With burdens we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and trust You with all of our worries and concerns and lay them at Your feet. Thank You that You care for us, and care about what concerns our hearts. Thank You that Your shoulders are far stronger than ours, and that You are equipped and prepared to carry whatever we bring before You; willingly and lovingly. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to bear our burdens alone, or for working ourselves into a place of panic as we attempt to carry things we are not meant to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You right away, when we feel the weight of worry begin to creep in. Show us how to help bear burdens for those around us, as we love and support those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries and cares to You, as You love us and have far more capable hands to carry the load. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

 

 

 

Courage Comes with Presence

This morning, as I reflect on last evening’s outing with dear friends, I am in awe, as God unpacks the parallels between what I experienced, and the truth of His word.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, some sweet friends and I went to a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours, and then headed north into the city to go on a “haunted tour“. I am no fan of the whole haunted house scene; though I do not have a high startle reflex, what goes on internally, is not exactly my favorite. Fear does funny things when we cannot control our surroundings. Anyway, because I love my friends, and they promised to go in front of and behind me as we walked through (holding my hands), I agreed to participate. At first, fear tried to gain a grip, but I soon realized that I could just speak out reality, and it wasn’t such a fearful thing. When an actor would jump out in creepy costume, I looked at them, and then spoke out whatever came to mind. Sometimes it was a bit of sarcasm, such as “classy“, or “lovely” and other times it was merely a “well done, pal“, and we continued on. What I found was that as I utilized my words, the weight of the fear disappeared. In life, the very same holds true. When we speak out the reality of what we are afraid of (confident in the truth that we know), or begin to anticipate that all things do not always go according to plan, we are prepared for that which may try to derail us. Additionally, just as I had those who were ahead of me and behind me, knowing that they would never leave me alone and had my back, God does the very same thing as we navigate our days. No matter how we feel, He goes before us and will never abandon us. Though it may seem a bit odd to find truth in an adventure going through a haunted house with friends, God used the experience to show me in a very tangible way, how weighty His words truly are. May we all gain strength and courage as we walk out our days, knowing that the Lord our God, personally goes ahead of us, and will neither fail us nor abandon us.

 

Be strong, have courage,courage-comes-with-presence

Wherever you go;

God goes before us,

The Bible says so.

He will never leave,

And Love does not fail;

We need not panic,

For God shall prevail.

When God is for us,

There’s no room for fear;

Take courage by faith,

For He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You because You go before us and will not fail us nor abandon us. Thank You that You use ordinary experiences to teach us extraordinary truth. Forgive us for our fearfulness that is fueled by lack of trust. Teach us to trust You more, as You are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants strength and courage, and demonstrates the faithfulness that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in strength and courage, knowing that You will go before us and never leave us. 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

Search for the Why

Today’s reading was found in Numbers 22:21-33. This passage tells the story of Balaam and his donkey as they are on their way to a Moabite town with Moabite officials. Balaam’s journey was not pleasing to the Lord. Three times, an angel of the Lord stood in the path of Balaam on his donkey, and blocked the way. Though Balaam could not see him, the donkey certainly could. In fear, the donkey turned away, held back and finally laid down, refusing to go forward each time the angel appeared. Unfortunately, Balaam could not see the angel, and chose to beat the donkey each time it refused to move forward. Finally, after the third time, God opened the mouth of the donkey and gave it the ability to speak. The donkey asked what it had done to deserve the beatings, and Balaam was concerned only that the donkey had made him appear a fool. What really stood out to me this morning, was the donkey’s reply to Balaam’s rant about being made appear a fool.

 

“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life, have I ever done anything like this before?” – (Numbers 22:30)

 

When those around us do things that are out of character, it is better to ask why, than to get angry or upset at the abrupt change. Most of the time, when people operate outside of their norm, there is a reason. It is almost always in response to something. If it is to hurt, how can we help? If it is to fear, how can we reassure or heed the warning? May we be sensitive to those around us, taking note of attitudes, actions or words that wander from their normal mode of operation. Lord, lead us to be sensitive to Your voice as we listen to those around us, so that we may identify the why when something is awry.

 

When words are like weapons,

Equipped for Desert Seasons

Where never before;

It’s our job to find out,

Discover the sore.

For panic or wounding,

Great heartache or fear;

Each one can be reason,

To ask and draw near.

Let Balaam’s example,

Be warning to us;

Sometimes the uncommon,

Is help from Jesus.

Lord, make our hearts tender,

Ready to give ear;

Help us see through Your eyes,

So all becomes clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us things through Your eyes, and give us Your heart for those around us. Forgive us for getting angry or upset when those around us operate outside of their normal mode of operation. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might patiently and lovingly pursue answers as to why someone is “off” rather than be bothered by it. Help us to love others well, just as You so patiently and extravagantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand when things are awry, rather than respond as the recipients of offense. Amen.

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

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

Go in Courage

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Though these words were from Moses to Joshua and those who were to lead the Israelites into the promised land, they hold true for us today as well. Yesterday, as I chose to go in trust to my MRI, I kept reminding myself that God would be with me, despite the claustrophobic conditions that I would be subjected to for my impending MRI, and that no matter what, His presence would be my comfort. As I arrived, my heart was settled, for I had chosen to trust, regardless of what I was about to face. God had personally gone before me in a way that I could not have even imagined, for as the kind technician led me back to the machine, I was greeted by an open machine with a large window looking outside at blooming trees. Because the imaging was for my back, I was placed in the apparatus feet first, leaving my head quite close to the end, with permission and the ability to turn and look out the window as I wished. What could have been an hour of panic and misery, was almost restful and relaxing. I never once felt ill-at-ease, and could not stop thanking God for His overwhelming kindness in something that might be considered so insignificant to many.  My choice to seek strength and courage in Christ, kept fear and panic in check. He personally went before me, and remained present throughout the entire process. If He cares about something so seemingly insignificant as this, how much more does He care about the big stuff? The unknown is always the most unnerving, and Monday that is exactly where I am headed as I go see the specialist about this injury. As I prepare to go, I will cling to the promises that He has proven true again and again, and trust Him to be my source of strength and courage. God has already gone before me and knows the outcome. No matter what is spoken, He will neither fail me nor abandon me. May we choose courage and strength, keeping panic far from us – for God is the one who will go ahead of us without failing us nor abandoning us; for He is always faithful.

 

Do not give panic,Dispelling Discouragement

A place to take hold;

For the Lord our God,

Gives strength to be bold.

He goes before us,

And prepares the way;

He’ll never leave us,

If we ask He stay.

What we are to face,

Really matters not;

For God is greater,

Each battle, He’s fought.

Choose to trust the Lord,

For in Him, strength’s found;

Rise up and fear not,

His grace shall abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that we need not fear nor panic, for You go before us and will not leave us nor fail us. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we face the unknown. Teach us to trust You more, for You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love others so that they may see Your strength and courage in us, as it is provided by You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be our courage and strength, knowing that You go before us and remain with us in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

Unexpected Rest

As I woke this morning, before hearing an alarm, I knew something was off. I had gone to bed exhausted, so waking before an alarm did not make sense to me. When I checked my watch, it all became quite clear… It was 5:43, and I usually wake at 3:15. A sort of near-panic mode set in. My usual routine was completely thrown off, and I needed to get my boys and myself moving and out the door.

“Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from Me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest.” – (Matthew 11:28-29, ERV)

Sometimes, His rest comes in unexpected ways. I still woke in enough time to get the boys and myself up and out the door in time for school, and we each were granted the rest that our bodies needed – more than I’d realized. Though I disliked the disruption from my morning routine, I can see His hand in the orchestration of rest that I received. Today is going to be another very long day, and He is gentle and kind, and grants what we need, when we need it most. He knew that I would have to cover another teacher’s class during my planning, that I have to lead our collaboration period this afternoon, that there is a gymnastics meet after school, and that I have strength training to get to after that. God was even so kind as to time my mom’s drive through town on her way to my sister’s, so that she can drive my boys home from school, rather than having them stuck attending the gymnastics meet.

There are times rest comes,Confidence Comes Through Christ
unexpected ways;
the Author of souls,
orchestrates our days.
He knows what we need,
despite how we feel;
He provides His help,
as His love’s revealed.
May we choose to rest,
in what the Lord brings;
for His grace provides,
strength for hearts to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the rest that You provide, even in unexpected places. Thank You that You know what we need, far better than we do, and You give good things unto us. Forgive us for fear or panic when Your granting of rest seems to disrupt our routine, and help us to embrace the gift of grace that You are providing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be grateful for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, even when it comes in a package that seems to throw off our “normal”. Show us how to love and help others in such a way, that we might offer Your grace and strength to those in need of rest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the rest that You provide, and give You praise for Your good gifts. Amen.

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

I am sad and tired. Say the word, and make me strong again. – Psalm 119:28, ERV

Nearness Fends Off Fear

You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not fear.” – (Lamentations 3:57)

Why is our default fear or panic, despite the ongoing faithfulness of God? Every time I call on the Lord, He is faithful to answer, and reminds me that I need not fear. His presence is tangible, and His heart for me is made evident. Though His answers are rarely what we expect, and His timing is not our own, the Lord listens to every whisper of our heart, and every prayer raised in faith before Him. Each time fear, anxiousness or panic begins to press in, I have to remember that His words to us are, “Do not fear.” Greater is He that is in us, than anything that is in the world. That includes every struggle, situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, as He knows the outcome before we even face the challenge. Our charge is to call on Him and to trust. He will meet us every moment, and carry us when we are no longer able to keep moving. He is good, and His heart is always for us, no matter how things appear. May we draw near to our faithful Father, as He holds our hands and hearts, and says to us, “Do not fear.”

When we call on Christ,ç€À

He hears every word;

faithful to answer,

as our voice is heard.

From our heart to His,

He’s faithful and kind;

worthy of our trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

He says, “Do not fear,”

for He is enough;

no challenge too great,

nor trial too tough.

Greater is the One,

dwelling within me;

than all that we face,

or ever will be.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call on You, and that You remind us to fear not. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are greater than anything that attempts to come against us. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear when storms rage around us, but rather would cling to You, the anchor of our soul. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too might see the strength and nearness found in You, and recognize that with You, there is no need to fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust Your presence to keep fear far from us. Amen.

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

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

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

Truth that’s Tangible

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

For me, I know in my heart that He is here, close by my side, and that what He says is true. However, there are times that it takes some struggling in my own strength, before I remember that the Lord is with me, and because He is for me, nothing can defeat me. I am so grateful that God is patient and gracious with us, as He so tenderly comes beside us to remind us of His presence in the midst of our panic, and shows us His nearness in the center of our need. Often, He uses people to be His hands, heart and voice to make tangible that which we need to know. May we go forth this day with hearts full of thanks, as we remember that the Lord is with us, close by our sides so that nothing can defeat us.

Lord help me to know,Truth that is Tangible

how near that You are;

so close to my side,

not God from afar.

The Lord God with me,

is strength, hope and grace;

I’ll not be shaken,

with Christ in His place.

He’s always present,

the choice is all mine;

to truly trust Him,

be whom He designed.

I keep my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:8, NIV)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we keep our eyes on You, we remember that You are with us, always. Thank You that You remain close by our side, whether we are aware or not. Thank You that in You, we will not be shaken, nor defeated, as You have already overcome every obstacle we face. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our stubborn independence that seeks solutions on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ALWAYS remember that You are with us – IMMEDIATELY, rather than after a bit of struggling. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we might be Your hands, heart and voice to those who do not yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how very near You are as we keep our eyes on You. May we walk boldly where You lead, knowing that we will not be shaken with You by our side. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3