Be Full of Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TPT)

 

Despite what we go through or the struggles we face, we always have reason to give thanks. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is found in the hope that we know in Christ. As we walk this out tangibly, with His grace, our very lives become a prayer of praise in recognition of God’s goodness for all of our days. This is not to say that our days will be easy or free from trials, but rather as we continue to move in the direction to which we are called, we find faith and trust in knowing where our strength, help and hope come from. God is good, and the more we give Him thanks in all things, the more we discover His joy is present, even when life is difficult. May we never stop praying nor giving praise, for this is the life to which we have been called for all of our days.

 

Never stop praying,Be Full of Joy

Let joy lead the way;

All thanks be to God,

For help, strength and grace.

No matter what comes,

There’s reason to praise;

For God is our hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Despite what we see,

He has a great plan;

His love, unending,

Grace to firmly stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we always have joy deep within us through the hope we have in You. Thank You that as we pray and give You all gratitude, our very life is like a prayer before You as You lead us to walk out Your will. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy, or for looking for answers anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth we know, and would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others and spread the joy that You have given to us, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose joy and make our very lives a prayer as we give You all praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Given Despite What We Deserve

“We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:41-43, NLT)

 

This scene so perfectly depicts the mercy and grace that God is willing to give if we choose Him. Like the criminals hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we all deserve to die for our sin. Not one of us is sinless, and the promised punishment for sin is death. However, while we were yet stuck in our sin, just as those hanging beside Him, Jesus chose to bear the burden for all so that we could come to Him to have life everlasting. All it took for the criminal in his final hours of life, was the recognition and admission of who Jesus was, and how he deserved what he himself was receiving. In asking to be remembered, the criminal was granted the mercy and grace that is given to each of us who choose to do the same. When we come to Christ and call on His Name, admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior who are seeking His forgiveness and grace, He grants us the very same promise of eternal life that was given on that most remarkable day. May we remember the price Christ paid for our sins, and the love that leads us to life everlasting.

 

Criminal status,Shackles No More

All of us with sin;

Each destined to die,

‘less grace enters in.

Because of the cross,

We all can choose claim;

Christ as our Savior,

Find hope in His Name.

For it is by grace,

That we all may come;

Receive His mercy,

O Most Holy One.

So come one and all,

Seek mercy and grace;

Receive forgiveness,

Everlasting place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for willingly taking our sin upon Yourself, so that we could be made righteous before You. Thank You for loving us despite our unworthiness. Forgive us for thinking that we or anyone else has to be qualified somehow to deserve mercy and grace. Teach us to love as You love, so that we would offer mercy and grace to all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You have loved 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

See and Be Glad

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. – (Psalm 69:32, NLT)

The poor in spirit see and are glad – Oh, you God-seekers, take heart! – (Psalm 69:32, MSG)

Those who humbly serve will see and rejoice! All you seekers-after-God will revive your souls! – (Psalm 69:32, VOICE)

 

When we slow down and stop focusing on ourselves, we are able to observe the glory of God at work. As we seek Him, the Lord encourages us with His love and light, filling us with what we need to love and serve according to His plan. Our reasons to rejoice are not always noticed with a quick glance, but rather when our hearts align with He who is greater than all that comes against us. It is in the recognition of God’s greatness, even in the trials, that we are able to take heart and know that His goodness is reason to rejoice. May we look to the Lord in awe and wonder, seeking Him, trusting that He will be our help and encouragement that brings us gladness through His grace.

 

The humble shall see,Purposeful Prayer

The work of God’s hand;

How the Lord will move,

When in faith, we stand.

When we are downcast,

The Lord lifts us up;

Encourages hearts,

And fills empty cups.

All who choose seek Him,

Will see and rejoice;

The move of God’s hand,

As He hears our voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we humble ourselves before You and seek You, we are able to see You at work in us and around us. Thank You that You move on our behalf, and encourage our hearts. Forgive us for not humbly seeking You in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You for all that we need, as You are always at work and giving us reason to rejoice. Show us how to love those around us so that they might be encouraged and built up, no matter what surrounds them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see the work of Your hand all around us, and choose to rejoice. Amen.

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

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

Always with Joy

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NLT)

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! – (Philippians 4:4, CEB)

 

When we are walking with the Lord, there is always a reason to be glad. Our joy is not dependent on our current circumstances, but rather on our hope for what is yet to come. In Christ, we know that no matter what comes our way in the here and now, our future glory will be exceedingly more than we can begin to hope or imagine. Joy comes through the blessed assurance that we are known, cared for and loved. The Lord is our Protector, Redeemer, Father and Friend, and loved us when we were most unlovable. Let every heart rise in recognition of our reason to rejoice, for our Redeemer is faithful, always!

 

May our joy be full,Enter With Thanksgiving

And our hearts rejoice;

Let songs fill the air,

In praise, lift our voice.

For gladness is ours,

Because God is good;

He’s faithful always,

All hope understood.

Be glad and rejoice,

For this is the day;

A gift we’re given,

To live, love and pray.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us reason to rejoice, and You fill our hearts with joy. Thank You that we can be glad in You, no matter what is going on in or around us. Thank You that joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather on our future glory in Your presence. Forgive us for confusing comfort with joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and follow You and Your will in all things and at all times. Show us how to share Your joy with those around us by loving others as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in your joy, ever glad for the good that You have granted unto us all. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Fame and Fortune are Fleeting

So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. – (Psalm 49:16-17, MSG)

 

All that is amassed on Earth is temporary, but the lessons and growth that are gained in our hearts are eternal. It is essential that we keep our hearts right in regard to those who seem to acquire much in the here and now. Of those who have much, much is required. We are called to be good stewards of whatever we are given. Rather than looking to another who seemingly has more in envy, there ought to be a sort of recognition that there is great responsibility with greater resources. Instead of worrying about what others have, we ought to instead look to the Lord and inquire of Him as to how He wants us to best utilize what we have been given. If we have more resources than we need, how are we being called to use them? When we are known beyond our own small circle, how does He want us to best represent Him to others? May we seek the Lord and clearly see resources and recognition through His lens, so that we may honor Him with what is given while it is before us.

 

Do not be impressed,To Reflect His Radiance

With fortune or fame;

For they are fleeting,

Not something to claim.

Whatever’s done here,

Shall die at the grave;

Unless it’s of God,

And sharing His Name.

Seek first to be wise,

To learn to love well;

Value what matters,

So truth our lives tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that fame and fortune are fleeting, but all that is of You, lasts forever. Forgive us for being impressed or envious of those who have more than us, and teach us to see abundance and notoriety through Your lens. Show us how to utilize our resources to love and bless those around us, so that they can more clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worry only about being known by You, and seek to honor You with all that we are given. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Thankful for Love that Endures

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – (Ezra 3:11)

The people during David’s time, had seen the destruction of the former glory of the temple that Solomon had built. Some, had never even known anything except the rubble of the ruins that remained. Finally, fifty years after the destruction, the foundation of a new temple of the Lord had been laid. I imagine there was such power in the recognition of the reality of the promise to rebuild, coming to pass before their very eyes. The people responded with praise and thanksgiving, as they identified His goodness and faithfulness for all time. God had been faithful in the destruction, and continued to remain faithful as they were in the space of rebuilding.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Lord is present with people in the midst of destruction, and remains present throughout the healing and rebuilding process. May our hearts, though at times are heavy from all of the destruction that we see, be encouraged to sing praise and thanks to God because He is good and His love and faithfulness to people remains for all time. Be our foundation, O God, no matter what we see.

Praise and thanksgiving,

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Vandy Massey Watercolor

sing unto the Lord;

for He is so good,

all grace He affords.

When all seems but lost,

in Him we are found;

the Lord shall restore,

what was shaking ground.

With great shouts of praise,

give God the glory;

for He holds the pen,

to write our story.

Though storms enter in,

our course is assured;

when we trust in Christ,

we’ve strength to endure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for the foundation that You lay in the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving proper praise and thanksgiving for who You are, despite what we witness around us. Father, we lift up all of those impacted by the tragedy in France, and ask that You would be their Comfort and their Healer, as they find themselves in a place of ruin, needing You to rebuild. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might extend thanks and praise unto You through all that we say and do. Lead us to love others so that they may come to know Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your goodness and enduring love with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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

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

Hidden and Protected, I Trust

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

Hide me and protect me. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:114, ERV)

Yesterday, I was given news that I did not want to hear. It was information that I needed to know, but nonetheless, not what I wanted. My initial reaction was a flash of fury, followed by the recognition that it is beyond the realm of my control. All that I can do is hide my heart in Christ, and trust the truth that what His word says is true. No, this will not be an easy task, but He is my refuge and my shield. Again and again, Christ has shown me that I can trust Him, as I place my hope in Him, rather than what I see. When all that surrounds us wages war, He is our peace. As calm comes, we can trust that He is the reason that we can rest, as we remember the truth of His word. May we run to Him who is our refuge and our shield, and place all of our hope in Him.

You’re my hiding place,Gods protection
refuge in the storm;
comfort in chaos,
a love always warm.
My hope I will place,
in Your word alone;
in Your truth I trust,
despite the unknown.
For You Lord are good,
despite what life yields;
Your presence enough,
our hope and our shield.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and shield, and that we may place all of our hope in Your word. Thank You that You hide us and protect us, and that we can trust all that You say. Forgive us for our fearfulness and uncertainty in the throes of life’s chaos, and teach us to trust You with a faith that does not waiver, no matter what comes. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know of the safety and security found in Your love alone. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope and trust in You and Your word. 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

Let the Righteous Rejoice

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him! – (Psalm 64:10)

 

In Christ, because of His perfect sacrifice for us on the cross, we are considered righteous, or upright before Him. As we are among the Lord’s righteous, we are able to take refuge in Him, as He is our safety and strong tower. For these things alone, we ought to give Him our praise.

 

To rejoice in the Lord is a choice, despite our circumstances. It is an intentional recognition of the joy that is ours, as we are certain of our present hope of the future glory that is held in the hearts of all who believe.

 

Taking refuge in Him, is running to our Redeemer when anguish, uncertainty, panic or ruin are present before us, and we simply trust in Him. He holds us in the palm of His hands, and is more than able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we go forth this day recognizing that if we are in Christ, we are considered cleansed and upright before Him, therefore, let us give Him all of our thanks and praise!

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord,fortress  image from wikipedia

take refuge in Him;

He’ll not let us fall,

on His side, we win.

To Him we’re upright,

covered and called clean;

no more scarred sinners,

we have been redeemed.

No matter what comes,

for all of our days;

let us give Him thanks,

and all of our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us righteous and upright when we give our lives to You. Thank You that we may run and take refuge in You, always. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise, as You alone deserve all that we have to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may invest all that we are into all that You have for us to become. Lead us to love others as You so intentionally and lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we rejoice and take refuge in You, giving You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

 

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

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

Awe and Reverence

Simon Peter, James and John (the sons of Zebedee), were fishermen. Their livelihood was dependant on their daily catch. One day, after a rough night of catching absolutely nothing, Jesus came along and spoke to the men. He told them to let down their nets in deep water. The fishermen, having spent the entire night trying to no avail, decided to do as Jesus had said, simply because it was He who said it. When they cast their nets, they caught so many fish that their nets began to break and their boats became so full of fish, that they started to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” – (Luke 5:8)

 

Simon Peter was so moved by this miracle, that his response was the recognition of his own sinfulness, in comparison to the greatness of Christ. Though Simon Peter and the others had seen Jesus heal the sick and drive out demons, he could not help but be overwhelmed by the personal attention and care Christ provided for their day to day lives. Jesus cared about their livelihood. He provided in a way that went way beyond what they had ever known, yet was tangible in their terms. God came close and their lives were forever changed. May we recognize the miracles all around us, as Christ came close to dwell within the hearts of all who believe.

 

In the midst of life,Honoring the Temple

Christ comes near to us;

He makes Himself known,

precious Lord Jesus.

Miracles abound,

if we simply look;

He loves and heals hearts,

all our sins He took.

May we too respond,

in reverent praise;

give glory to God,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to reestablish that which was broken between us. Thank You Jesus, that You took all of our sin and shame on the cross, erasing our debt and calling us clean. Thank You that You rose again in power and are seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to lead, guide and direct our steps. Forgive us for any response to You that does not include awe and reverence, as You, O Lord, are worthy of all of our worship and adoration. Help us to grasp a greater understanding of who You are and what You have done for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move securely in the truth. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified O God, as we operate in awe and reverence of who You are and all that You have done for each of us. 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