In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Hope Overflowing

I pray that God, the Source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

 

Though this is my prayer for all, it is lifted intentionally for my pastors and their family today, as this will be their final Sunday serving our church family. They are leaving to answer a calling that is clear only in the where, but not particularly certain as to what it will entail. Their hearts to serve and obey have been transparent and exemplars of true servant leaders, as they have been raw and real about the struggle to walk out this new path, as their hearts are so securely planted here. Sorrow, anticipation and uncertainty surround this transition for all. Not one of us is sure of what the “new” will look like, but we all have the assurance that God has not orchestrated this by accident. We have the hope that He has good things in store for each of us, and in Him, we can find joy and peace as we choose trust, despite our despair over our losses. May the God of all hope fill you completely with joy and peace as you trust in Him, and may you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

In uncertainty,hope-overflowing

The sweet Prince of Peace;

Fills us with His hope,

And joy He’ll release.

As we trust in Him,

Confidence shall rise;

And hope overflows,

His Spirit supplies.

Let us place our trust,

Where all grace is found;

And boldly go forth,

As His hope abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust You, You fill us with Your joy and peace, and provide hope in abundance so that it will flow from us by Your Spirit. Thank You for the gift that You have given me and so many through Pastors Jon and Wendy and their family. Please fill them completely with Your joy and peace because they trust in You. May they overflow with confident hope by Your Spirit to all whom they encounter in their new community. Bless them as they are such a blessing to others. Forgive us for not trusting You enough. Teach us to trust as You alone are trustworthy. Fill us with Your joy and peace so that we may pass the same on to those around us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely, and in turn overflow with the confident hope that we receive by the power of Your Holy Spirit. 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

Position of Privilege

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” – (Luke 11:23-24)

 

Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two, whom He had sent out ahead of Himself to prepare the way in every town that He was intending to go. All of the individuals living in that time and in that place, had the unique privilege and opportunity to be eyewitnesses of Christ. So many people of that day and age took Jesus for granted. They did not really listen nor obey, despite His divinity displayed before their very eyes. We too are in positions of privilege. Though we are not eyewitnesses to Jesus in the flesh, we have access to more than two millennium of church history, countless translations of the Bible, collections of churches and a plethora of pastors in every city, as well as the vast resource available through technology at our fingertips. Additionally, when we come to Christ today, His Spirit dwells in us and speaks to us – leading and guiding us in the ways we are to go. With such great privilege and power that we have been given, so too, do we have a great responsibility. May we choose to carefully follow Christ, and represent Him well to all whom we encounter.

 

Blessed are my eyes,Position of Privilege

for what they have seen;

the touch of God’s hand,

as He washes clean.

He takes the sinful,

the broken and scarred;

and loves us to life,

our great Morning Star.

His glory witnessed,

His power, divine;

the prophets and kings,

longed to grasp what’s mine.

With His sweet presence,

we have so much more;

let’s follow with care,

Christ whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are so blessed to live in this day and age where we have endless access to You. We can read about You, listen to teaching and preaching about You, worship You, and come before You in prayer. Thank You that You place Your Spirit in us when we give our lives to You; and You speak to us, teaching, correcting, leading and loving us as we go about our days. Forgive us for taking our position of privilege for granted, or for neglecting Your accessibility that is all around us. Teach us to utilize our resources to grow more deeply in love with You daily, and help us to share our passion for You with all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified as we are careful to carry out all that You call us to do. 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

Lift Up Our Leaders

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” – (Exodus 17:12)

This passage comes from the story in Exodus 17, when the Amalekites came to attack the Israelites.  Whenever Moses’ hands were raised, the Israelites were winning, yet if he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would take the lead.  Though Moses was a strong leader, called by God, he was still subject to human frailty.  He grew weary, as all of us do.  Fortunately, Moses had men who came along side him, and saw the need in their leader, and extended the practical help that was possible for them to supply.

We too, need to lift up our spiritual leaders.  Our pastors shoulder a tremendous responsibility, and readily work around the clock.  Though they may be physically present during office hours, their hours of service extend well beyond the traditional work day.  Medical emergencies, family crisis, and personal problems are just a few of the after hours calls that these selfless servants readily answer.  They too, grow weary, despite their being both called and equipped for the position.  Praying for our pastors is a must.  Offering encouragement and whatever else the Lord may ask, are practical ways in which we too, can lift up the hands of our leaders.  “Let us not grow weary of doing good…” (Galatians 6:9)

For those who serve,Lift Up Our Leaders

give tirelessly;

let us lift up,

support prayerfully.

Reach out our hands,

speak words to exhort;

let gratitude,

be what we report.

Let our hearts hear,

how we might too, bless;

encouragement,

ways to offer rest.

Father, be near,

to the ones You’ve called;

protect them, Lord,

these blessings installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those whom You have called and equipped to lead.  Thank You for their faithfulness to listen to You, so that they may answer all that You ask, and serve You and the body whom You’ve called them to lead.  Please protect them and their families, and bless and refresh them with sweet rest.  Forgive us for not always lifting up our leaders, and help us to do a better job of praying for and encouraging our pastors, as You call us to do.  May we come along side them and lift up their hands when they grow weary, and may we bless and encourage them as You ask us to do.  May many come to know You as we love one another well, and may they recognize a place where people are loved and cared for – from pastor to each person that is present.  Let Your light and love be evident in us, through all that we say and do.  Be glorified, our good and gracious God.  Amen.

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