Trust Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

Yesterday, as I quickly grabbed the mail between errands and thumbed through it, one envelope captured my curiosity. There was something from the IRS, and I could not figure out for the life of me, why. Upon opening said envelope, my stress level and anxiety shot through the roof. Inside was a letter informing me that there had been an error in my 2016 filing, and that I owe a large sum of money. As I walked into the house, attempting to make sense of what I was reading, I was greeted by two teenage boys who were yelling at one another about who spilled rice on the floor and who had to finish cleaning it up. The noise only added to my anxiousness, and I quickly let them know that I needed them to chill out so that I could process what I was reading. Their arguing continued, and I had to get out of the chaos. I let them know that I was going to the new house to take care of some things and entered the quiet of the car by myself. Once seated, with the key in the ignition, the verse above tumbled about my brain. There was nothing eloquent about my words, but I simply let God know that I needed His help and could not afford this, especially by the date given on the letterhead, and I really don’t understand how they came up with the numbers that they did. As I neared my turn, I saw a familiar vehicle and took a second glance at the driver. It happened to be a sweet friend of mine, so I called out her name. She had just taken her youngest daughter to the park across the street from our new home, had a bit of time and wanted to come take a tour. Gladly, I invited the distraction and showed the two lovely ladies our soon-to-be dwelling. I was encouraged by her kindness and shared with her what had just happened prior to my drive over. She is a prayer warrior, and on the spot, stopped and prayed the things that my heart held but could not yet give words. As they left, I felt far less anxious and more at peace, knowing that God is in control and I have a fiancé who will walk beside me and a community that has my back in prayer. What it did is remind me how grateful I am for the people whom God has placed in my life and that He will lead me in the way in which I am meant to go in all things. May we remember to not worry about anything, and instead, choose to pray and ask God for help, giving Him thanks for the answers that He will and has already provided.

 

Do not be anxious, wp-15296764255929217887386200022319.jpg

About anything;

Instead, choose to pray,

To God, our fears bring.

He’s faithful to hear,

All that we present;

And He’ll show the way,

Answers Heaven sent.

So, trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’s faithful always,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to let go of worry and anxiety and to present our prayers and petitions before You. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us and to provide solutions. Thank You that You answer in ways that we would never dream up on our own, yet they are always what we need, when we need it most. Forgive us for allowing unknowns to dominate our thoughts and cause anxiousness, rather than bring our fears and concerns to You right away. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our every request before You, knowing that You will meet us and never leave us. Show us how to love and walk beside those around us, so that they know Your comfort and Your peace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and give You praise for Your faithfulness always. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

The Kiss of Honesty

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. 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

Loving the Next Generation

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

This verse is a powerful reminder of my purpose; not only with my own children, but in my classroom each day. My role as a classroom teacher goes beyond the curriculum that I am asked to deliver. If I can meet kids where they are, and help them know that they matter, the learning that takes place is far more significant than the reading and writing that is required. I know in my own life, there were people, teachers, youth leaders, my mom, my grandmother, and various other family and friends, who greatly impacted the path on which I chose to travel. Their words often echoed in my mind as I reached crossroads, and aided me in choosing wisely, when I could have decided differently. Each of the voices that spoke to my heart had met me in a way that fit my own need, individually, and made an impact that has lasted a lifetime. We are able and called to do the same. May we love the next generation by meeting them where they are, and pointing them in the direction that they are meant to go.

 

Help us to teach kids, 1506783915220

The ways they’re to go;

Meet each in their need,

So Your path’s made known.

When we’re shown what’s right,

Through love on our way;

We’re drawn to follow,

On the right path stay.

Let us show our kids,

The right way to go;

So when they’re older,

They will always know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when children are started off in the right direction, You are faithful to continue to call them to remain close to You. Thank You that though educators are not in a role to spiritually lead students, we have the ability to meet kids where they are in a way that fits their need, and help them know that they are valued, loved, and capable of great things. Forgive us for not investing enough into pointing kids in the right direction, as each future has eternal value. Teach us to turn to You for wisdom as to how we can love best, each young person that You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we point kids in the right direction, trusting You to keep them close as they grow older. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Word is Alive

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

 

Whether we are in need of words of encouragement or correction, God’s word is real and relevant, and the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts as we invest time in reading His word. So often, I am in awe of how timely the truth of His word applies to whatever is going on in my own life. God sees and knows us, individually. No thought, desire, prayer nor concern, escapes the attention of our Savior. Though at times it is a bit unnerving to know we are known, ultimately, we can trust that the motivation is love, and the purpose is to provide the path to His perfect peace, despite the pain and pandemonium that sometimes surrounds us. May we trust in the truth and continue to seek Him, as we allow His Spirit to speak to our hearts through time spent investing in the word.

 

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

Is power, alive;

It shows us the truth,

So that we might thrive.

Sharper than a sword,

It’s used to divide;

His truth from the lies,

Where our fears reside.

He shines forth His light,

And shows us what’s true;

So that we may rise,

By grace, choose push through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and powerful. Thank You that it shows us where we are walking upright before You, and where we are desperately in need of Your correction and redirection. Forgive us for not seeking and asking, or for neglecting to listen and obey, despite knowing the way in which You are calling us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will invest time in Your word, and listen to Your leading – be it correction or exhortation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points people to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to direct our steps. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Hearing the Heart of Heaven

“O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord!” – (Jeremiah 22:29, NKJV)

 

To know God, we must not only pray to Him, but we have to listen as well. One of the most tangible ways to hear instruction and direction from God, is through spending time in His word. This comes not through the completion of a checklist of passage reading, but rather through an intentional time spent reading and then reflecting upon what we have taken in. I am continually in awe of how the Lord can take a passage that I have read a hundred times prior, and suddenly use it to speak something entirely new into my life in just the right season. His word is alive and active, and He still speaks to those who are willing to listen. May we invest our hearts and minds into time spent with Him, having two-way conversations, so that we might hear the heart of heaven for the here and now.

 

To hear the Lord’s heart,photo (11)

We must choose draw near;

In silence, listen,

So His voice is clear.

He’s faithful to speak,

To those who invest;

Spend time before Him,

He’ll show us what’s best.

Ask and He’ll answer,

Let our hearts be still;

May the word of truth,

Be where we are filled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You still speak to us through Your word. Thank You that when we quiet our hearts before You, You show us the answers that we need to know. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of listening. Teach us to slow down and listen, so that we may hear You clearly. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us, so that many may come to trust in Your truth. Lead hearts to lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You through Your word, and obey all that You ask. Amen.

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

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

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

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

 

 

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

Even Greater Things

You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again! – (Psalm 71:21, ERV)

 

Yesterday, I participated in my first Tactical Strength Challenge. A TSC is a three-event competition that tests brut strength on the deadlift, muscular control on the pull up/chin hang, and lastly, muscular endurance with the five-minute kettlebell snatch test. The entire event was an incredible experience, as each competitor, officiant and spectator was positive and encouraging to all others. After months of training, I was hopeful to accomplish personal records in each event, as I felt ready. Sadly, on my third deadlift, I somehow injured my back as I was attempting to pull 300 pounds.  The pain impacted how I did on the bar hang, as I did not do as well as I had hoped. However, my teammates did amazing things, and the excitement of their success was a great encouragement and comfort to me. Somehow, on the final event, His strength was granted and I did PR on my kettlebell snatch test, in spite of how my back was feeling. This morning, as I ice the injury, I am encouraged and comforted through both reading the Psalms and reflecting on all that God has done. He has done great things in me and my teammates, and greater things are yet to come. His comfort is with me, and last evening I was receiving text messages from each of these friends who have become family, offering to help if there was anything that I might need. I love how God uses everything that we do and all that we go through, to encourage us and deepen our circles of community. He is always good. May we invest well in His word and His created, for loving Him and loving people are where all good is found.

 

Do not be troubled,IMG_2174

When things go awry;

For greater shall come,

Continue to try.

Let not a setback,

Turn our hearts away;

Instead seek the Lord,

For His strength each day.

He is our comfort,

No matter what comes;

Don‘t let a struggle,

Mean your story’s done.

Press into the truth,

Where comfort is found;

Rise up and press on,

For His grace abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our comfort, and that You grant us strength and hope. Thank You that regardless of what happens today, You give us new grace and strength for what shall follow. Thank You that You create us for community, and for the blessing of people that You place in our lives. I am overwhelmed by not only the people with whom I train, but by other dear friends that knew what I was doing who checked in to see how it went. Thank You for blessing me with such an amazing circle. Forgive us for doubting You when we feel disappointed or defeated, and teach us to rise up and trust in You. Show us how to lean into You to receive the comfort and grace that You give, that renews our strength and propels us to persevere. Lead us to love others in such a way that we might be a comfort and encouragement to them, just as You are to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our help and our comfort. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

The Word at Work

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power; it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. – (Hebrews 4:12, TLB)

The truth of God stands. No matter what lies hidden, it is known by God. He sees past all pretenses and pretty cover-ups, and gets straight to the heart of things. Where we need correction, He comes. Where we need direction, He leads. Where we need to be encouraged, He speaks life. In those spaces of weariness where we begin to tire of doing good, He grants strength and reminds us how pleased He is when we do His will. God’s word is alive and active and as we invest our time and attention to spending time reading it, He takes what is before us, and instructs, grows and shows us where we are meant to go. May we spend time earnestly seeking the Lord each day through the washing of His word; and may we be encouraged as He refines and defines us, as our hearts become more and more like His.

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

is alive, at work;

it cuts to the core,

highlights sin that lurks.

It judges our thoughts,

actions and desires;

points out our true heart,

rescues from the fire.

The truth of God stands,

for now and always;

it’s hope we can trust,

for all of our days.

By His word He shows,

how we’re meant to live;

what we should let go,

and grace we’re to give.

His words wash away,

that which needs to go;

and raises in us,

His love we’re to show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Thank You that Your word gets past all of our walls and straights to the heart. Thank You that by Your word and Spirit, You show us our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts through Your eyes. Forgive us for every way within us that does not align with Your heart and the truth of Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to lead and guide us to walk in Your way and live out Your truth. Show us how to love others with the same gracious and selfless love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to show us how it is to shape all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

The Light of His Word

As people understand Your word, it brings light to their lives. Your word makes even simple people wise. – (Psalm 119:130, ERV)

 

The only way that we can come to understand God’s word is to actually invest time reading it. When we do, His Spirit in us, reveals insight and understanding that we did not have before. I am in awe how I can read a passage of scripture that I have read many times before, and it seems that each time it is read, something new is gained through the investment. Even more incredible, is that so often what I learn, applies to what is going on in my life at the time. If I am struggling with difficulty, there is something about the reward of perseverance; if sorrow, the reminder that joy comes in the morning. There is ALWAYS something new to be gained through time in His word, and His wisdom is worth more than anything else that is out there.

 

I love that we don’t have to be biblical scholars to study God’s word. He will reveal Himself to us individually, and personally. He meets us where we are, and shows us more of Himself, each time that we choose invest in Him. Interestingly, the more one invests in the study of His word and time spent with Him, the more it is craved. After making time in God’s word a part of how I begin each day for the past four plus years, I feel really off if something delays my regular routine. Each offering of opportunity to further study the word, is something that I gravitate toward all the more. As new insights come, so do more questions with more to be revealed. I know I will never “arrive”, which makes the pursuit all the more necessary. May we passionately pursue God and His word, as He brings light to our lives and wisdom to our way.

 

Seek understanding,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

through time in the word;

for light for our lives,

is in that space heard.

It is Christ with us,

who shows us the way;

grants wisdom and grace,

to live out each day.

Not just for scholars,

but all who pursue;

the Lord through His word,

shall come to know truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that as we invest time in reading and meditating on what it says, You reveal more and more of who You are, and how You want us to live. Thank You that You grant us wisdom and understanding by Your Spirit in us, and that there are no prerequisites to our studying Your word. Forgive us for thinking that it is too difficult or that we do not know enough, and help us to learn to listen to Your Spirit within us as we study Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will count on Your faithfulness to reveal more and more of who You are and what You have for us, each time we invest time spent with You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too might see the light and grace that You alone give to all who choose to follow You. May many make the decision to be Your disciples. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand Your word, and walk in the wisdom that You grant us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19