A Choice of Will

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, TLB)

Fault-finding, blame, grudges and the like, do nothing but keep heaviness in the heart of the holder. Though there are some situations where wisdom will lead us to walk away, it does not mean that we are to hold unforgiveness in our heart. Forgiveness looks different in every situation, but the one thing that is constant is that it is a choice of will, and a decision that has to be made over and over again. There are days that forgiveness comes easily, and we find ourselves in a good space, recognizing that because we have been forgiven much, we too, can forgive much. However, there are times when whispers of previous offenses rise up, and so too does the anger. It is in these moments that we have to choose again to forgive. May we fix our eyes on the Lord who has forgiven us for all that we have done, so that we may go forth and forgive in the same way.

We’ve been forgiven,

The Unforgiving Debtor

For everything;

All our transgressions,

And harm that we bring.

Because of this love,

We’re called to the same;

To forgive others,

Let go, remove blame.

Often the process,

Of choosing release;

Hurt brought by others,

As God’s grace increased.

May we choose to rise,

Forgive in His Name;

Love as we are loved,

Let grace be our aim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Thank You that as we choose again and again to forgive, You refine and change our hearts to be more like Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto hurts or allowed old injury to rise up and renew our anger toward another when we have chosen to forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to forgive again and again, each time a hurt or offense comes our way. Show us how to love and forgive others, just as You love and forgive each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to be our strength and our example for forgiveness so that we may go forth and do the same. Amen.

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

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9

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Take Delight

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Enjoy the Lord, and He will give what your heart asks. – (Psalm 37:4, CEB)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

 

God is so good. As we seek and serve Him, our desires are shaped by who we are becoming in Him, and He shows us in ways beyond what we could hope or imagine, how He will give us the very things that we are hoping for in His Name. As my fiancé and I are preparing for our wedding in July, we have begun the process of searching for a home that will accommodate he and his son and me and my two boys. It is a challenging task to find a space that meets the needs of three teenage boys, two adults, several vehicles, and the need for space to spread out, as the personalities of each need room of our own. Additionally, we would love a space that has room to welcome others into our home to share a meal, come and visit from out-of-state (as we both have extended family far away), and space to decompress from the hurried pace that is required in both of our jobs. Yesterday, we were shown our dream home. It fulfilled everything on our wish list and more. The price was higher than we had hoped, and we did not think it would be feasible until we went back, sat down, and really analyzed numbers on paper. We both were in awe as we ran the numbers and discovered that as two heads of household merged into one, we would indeed be able to afford the home we desired most without overextending ourselves. God continues to remind me that as I delight in Him, He will bless me with the desires that He has placed in my heart. The hopes and dreams that my heart holds are not simply random thoughts that came out of nowhere, but rather they are things birthed and nurtured within my design, intentionally. May we ever delight in the Lord and seek to serve Him, as He is the One who gives us what our hearts desire most.

Asking for Amazing Answers

Delight in the Lord,

For He is the One;

Who knows our heart’s cry,

As each day is done.

The more that we seek,

The Lord and His will;

Our hopes shall align,

And dreams be fulfilled.

For when He’s our joy,

Desires come from Him;

Blessings are bestowed,

Both outside and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You give us the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You love to bless Your children. Thank You for the incredible ways that You move beyond what we could hope or imagine, and that the hopes and dreams that dwell within us come from You. Forgive us for our doubts or for thinking that anything is impossible for You. Teach us to trust You more, and to place our hopes, dreams and desires in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and courage and joy in the wait between the dream and the fulfillment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You and give all glory to You as You bless us with the very things our hearts are longing for. Amen.

 

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

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

He Grows Us in Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. – (Philippians 1:6, TLB) 

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE) 

 

God is not finished with us yet. When we choose to walk with Him, He refines us from the inside out. Our sin and shame are removed, and He shows us how to walk in His way as He grows His grace within us. None of us ever “arrive”, as we all are a work in progress until our final day when we at last meet Him face-to-face. May we rise up and remember that He who began the good work within us will continue to carry it out to completion. 

 

The good God began, He Grows Us in Grace

Is not finished yet; 

Each works in progress, 

Daybreak to sunset. 

It is a process, 

For our whole life long; 

He grows us in grace, 

And makes our hearts strong. 

Refined from within, 

Sin and shame removed; 

Love lavished on us, 

As goodness is proved. 

Let us choose rise up, 

In love, opt do good; 

Rely on His help, 

To do all we should. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who began a good work in us will continue until it is completed on the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You grow us in Your grace so that we may go forth and love as You love us. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to grow Your grace within us so that we are able to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the same good that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest assured that You will continue to grow Your grace within us as we seek You until we one day see You face-to-face. Amen. 

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Wisdom Guides to Good

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

She (wisdom) will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. – (Proverbs 3:17, NLT)

The ways of wisdom are sweet, always drawing you into the place of wholeness. – (Proverbs 3:17, TPT)

 

The wisdom that we gain from God will guide us to the good He has in store for us. If we seek the Lord and His will, He leads us and imparts to us His wisdom so that we are able to walk in His ways. Though the path He plans is not always the easiest road, there is perpetual purpose as we run the race that He lays out before us. The Lord grants the wisdom needed to navigate well and experience His joy and peace along the journey. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom as we go, as He leads us to His perfect place of wholeness in Him.

 

In God, there’s wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

That will lead the way;

In joy and in peace,

For all of our days.

No matter the road,

That we’re called to trod;

The way ends in good,

If we choose seek God.

The Lord is our Source,

He’ll guide us in peace;

To wholeness in Him,

As grace is released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You for wisdom to know which way to go, You provide us with joy and peace for the journey. Thank You that all of Your ways are good, no matter how we perceive the path that lies before us. Thank You that where You lead, always ends in wholeness in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or mistrust in the process based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, as Your ways are higher than ours, and You work even when we cannot see change taking place. Show us how to love those around us in ways that impart wisdom and promote joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and trust You to lead us for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

Our Strength and Safety

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV) 

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV) 

O my Strength, to You I sing my praises; for You are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, TLB) 

 

This morning, I wake with nervous excitement, as it will be the first day that we will practice together as an entire team. Veteran players will join us rookies as we take the field today, and the intensity with which we have been working, will surely increase even more. Physically, God has been my strength, and I have felt good, however, remembering all of the plays is a challenge, and my mind often draws a blank when I need to recall. With praise on my heart for the opportunity for the new, I will continue to review that which I need to know and trust the process. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and safety and give praise to God who loves us and on whom we can depend. 

 

O God, You’re my strength, You Make Me Strong

My hope, help and song; 

I bring You my praise, 

Through all the day long. 

You are my safety, 

You bless me with peace; 

In You I can trust, 

As grace You release. 

Help me to rise up, 

In Your strength and grace; 

Protected in power, 

To run well this race. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safety, as You love of best. Thank You for the opportunity for new things, and for strong healthy bodies that can do so much more than we would have thought or imagined. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength, or for avoiding the new that You bring us to out of fear. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need to do the new that we are brought into. Be our strength and safety, Lord. Show us how to love and encourage one another, so that we each might find the strength and courage to rise up and be who You have created us to become. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and safety that You supply and give thanks for Your faithful love. 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

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)

Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Matthew 7:7-8, ERV)

 

In this passage, Jesus was reminding His followers to be persistent in their pursuit of God. Just because we don’t see answers right away, does not mean that we are to give up and let go of the very thing we are asking. Often it is a matter of us continuing to seek faithfully, trusting that the One whom we seek, hears and will answer in His perfect timing. God is never late, yet again and again, we grow impatient and quit asking or seeking before He is done developing our resolve to persevere. This is where being rooted in the body is so important. We can come alongside one another and encourage each other to continue in our quest for answers, wisdom and open doors. May we rise up with resolve to keep asking, searching, seeking and knocking, so that we may continue to find direction and answers according to His good and perfect will.

 

We must first choose ask, Asking for Amazing Answers

For answers to come;

Our God is faithful,

The All-Knowing One.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord we shall find;

He’s always ready,

With our hearts in mind.

When we choose to knock,

He opens new doors;

Shows us the new paths,

We’re meant to explore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we ask, You hear our prayers and provide answers. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to open new doors as we knock, and make Yourself known in our pursuit of You. Forgive us for not persevering in our quest to discover more of You – be it answers, wisdom or direction for our lives. Teach us to trust You in the process, so that we will persevere, no matter how long it takes to discover the answers we seek. Show us how to love and come alongside those who are in need of knowing You or Your will, so that we may encourage and lift one another up to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask, seek and knock all of our days, so that we may always pursue the path that follows Your ways. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Releasing the Right to Revenge

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. – (Proverbs 20:22, NLT) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll pay them back for what they did to me!” Wait for the Lord. He will make things right. – (Proverbs 20:22, ERV) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; He’ll settle the score. – (Proverbs 20:22, MSG) 

 

For many, this is a difficult road to walk. Our natural inclination is to give back whatever we are given. When extended kindness, it is easy to return. However, when someone wrongs us or intentionally brings harm, it is almost without conscious thought, that our minds go to returning the hurt. With Christ in us, there is a filter to know that we are not meant to lash out in anger, nor return harm for hurt against us, yet it is a process that requires a decision to place the hurt or harm in His hands, and trust Him to handle the matter. Our part is to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness does not mean foolishly nor blindly forgetting and setting ourselves in a vulnerable or unsafe space, but it does mean letting go of our desire to lash out or get even and allow God (and if necessary, the law) to deal with the wrong-doer. May we release our perceived right for revenge, and give our offenses to God. Let us trust our hearts in His hands, as He knows best how to handle these hurdles. 

 

Speak not of revenge, Shackles No More

For it’s not our role; 

To repay all wrongs, 

Must not be our goal. 

Instead let us wait, 

Place all in God’s hands; 

He will make things right, 

He hears, understands. 

Often His answers, 

Open our blind eyes; 

We grow in His grace, 

As love’s realized. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is not our job to get even for the harm that is done against us, but rather You ask us to place it in Your hands. Thank You that we can trust You, as You are good and just, and You love us more than we can comprehend. Forgive us for seeking to “get even” when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place our perceived harms in Your hands, and allow You to handle whatever has hurt our hearts. Grant us wisdom to know how to seek help if help is required, and give us strength to forgive when forgiveness is far from what is desired. Show us how to love well those who have been wronged, so that they may find Your grace and forgiveness, leaving the need for retribution in Your hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our hurts to You, and allow You to handle making things right when we have been wronged. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Send Your Rain

Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! – (Psalm 72:3, ESV) 

May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. – (Psalm 72:3, NLT) 

Under His reign, may this land of mountains and hills know peace and experience justice for all the people. – (Psalm 72:3, VOICE) 

 

Though I am only beginning to process all that I saw and experienced during my time in Belize, this particular verse stood out to me this morning, as it is my prayer for the people whom I had the joy to meet. During my stay in beautiful Belize, I was up north in the jungle. Our purpose was to hold health education outreaches, to check blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and to help educate people about risks and prevention, as well as some other basic health awareness issues. The thing that left the greatest impact on me, was that in the neighboring village to where we were staying, the greatest need was to have year-round clean water. Each year, during the dry season (May – June), many people from the village of 2,500+ fall ill, especially school children, and have no cure for something that should be entirely preventable. The kind principal of the K-8 school has to be the nurse, custodian, cafeteria provider, and run the school. She informed us that during the dry season, it is common to have to send five students a day to the hospital. Each student sent costs the school $100 out of the operating budget, and the hospital does not hydrate the children, but rather gives a cortisone shot and sends them home, often more ill than when they arrived. Clean running water year-round would eliminate much of the illness, and having a nearby nurse who could administer fluids rather than a useless shot, would likely alleviate much of the remaining ruin that occurs during the despairing time each year. The lack of resources and man-power are the obstacles that stand between the village and the solution. Awareness is certainly a step in the right direction. My prayer is that with the known need, that the floodgates of heaven would open, and He would supply all that is needed. No, there is no simple solution that will transpire overnight, but there are now twelve more people who have been touched by the lives of those living in the village, and who cannot unsee the faces of the sweet children who attend school where we stood. May our hearts be ever open to hear what we are meant to do to touch lives and transform communities as You call us to do. 

 

O Lord, send Your rain, Send Your Rain

Pour out on this place; 

Grant what is needed, 

By Your sovereign grace. 

O Lord, break our hearts, 

For that which breaks Yours; 

Then lead us in love, 

As You open doors. 

Help us to see, Lord, 

As You want us to; 

Give strength and equip, 

So we may go do. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know every need. Thank You that You lead us where You want us to go, and You show us Your heart for people. Thank You that You make us aware of those beyond our borders. Forgive us for neglecting to look for need outside of our own four walls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk through our days with eyes to see as You see, and open hands and hearts, ready to give, love and serve as You ask us to do. Show us how to love well, those within our own reach, as well as those beyond our borders. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be the Provider for those near and far, and to show us what we can do to be Your hands to those in need. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5