It is Well

Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

 

It is well with my soul. These are the words that resonated in my heart and mind this morning as I walked beside my dear friend and her coworker at Chamber’s Bay. Overlooking the Puget Sound as the sun finished rising, with the water glasslike and reflecting the puffs of  pristine white clouds, I was awestruck at the wonder of the world around us. When things are good, we are reminded of the blessings that He pours upon us; when they are difficult, He shows us His faithfulness as He remains near and makes His presence known. His unfailing love is constant, so we may find joy throughout our entire journey, regardless of our circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and draw near each new morning, so that we may know His unfailing love for all of our days.

 

May we look to You,It is Well

Maker of the earth;

Your love unfailing,

Grants us matchless worth.

For as we come know,

How You love us all;

We rise new with joy,

With strength and resolve.

And when the day’s done,

All praise we’ll extol;

Glory to You God,

It’s well with my soul.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You refresh us with Your unfailing love anew every morning, and because of You, we have joy for all of our days. Forgive us for not seeking You or for not recognizing the joy and grace that You impart in us all of our days. Teach us to slow down and take in the view, as You have given us what we need for it to be well with our soul. Show us how to love well, all those around us, especially those in the midst of trials or difficulty and needing help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the unending love that You give. Amen.

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

I have chosen to be loyal to You. I respect Your laws. – Psalm 119:30

Most of All, Love

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. – (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

 

We are called to love one another well; deeply, steadily, unselfishly and as if our life depended on it. Our love is not meant to be dependent on what others do or do not do, but rather because Christ first loved us. If we choose to look through Christ’s filter of love, we are better equipped to forgive and forego the faults of others, just as the Lord has done through His unmerited mercy and grace.

This morning, I am about to enter into the last day of a wonderful women’s retreat with the lovely ladies from my church. It has been a weekend of God utilizing women to make His love and grace tangible, through those whom He has placed around me. Each of these ladies with whom I have had the privilege of conversation, has had a heart that was clearly choosing to love deeply, rather than find faults. Just as we have had the opportunity to care well for one another and to choose to love, so too, do we have the choice to go forth and continue doing likewise in our homes and communities. Imagine what our world would be like if we all chose to love steadily and unselfishly… May we each go forth in love, extending the very same grace that we have been given, to all whom we encounter.

 

Go forth and choose love,Confidence in Christ

Wherever you go;

Steady, unselfish,

So God’s love will show.

When we choose His love,

Our hearts can forgive;

Sin that surrounds us,

Give grace as God gives.

Let us love as if,

Our life does depend;

On reflecting Christ,

So anger finds end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You have not already done for us, and are not willing to equip and empower us to do. Thank You that You love us so fiercely, that we too, can go forth and love others as we are loved. Forgive us for making our love conditional or limited. Teach us to love steadily and unselfishly, trusting You to show us how and to give us strength to do that which You ask. Lead us to love those who need to know Your love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love one another deeply, just as You love each of us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:23

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

Eternity in Our Hearts

Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – (1 John 5:12, ERV)

 

To have the Son of God in our lives is to have eternity held in our heart. For when we welcome the Lord into our lives, He comes and helps us hold a hope for that which is yet to come. All of eternity awaits ahead of us, where there will be no more heartache or suffering nor pain. Peace and joy, light, love and praise, will be constantly present as we bask in the beauty of His presence. I am thankful that we get glimpses even now, as we live out our lives with Him. The rising sun, light reflecting on water, the laughter of a child, a tender smile, the majesty of the mountains – all around us we see the evidence of His hand, and the reason that we ought to let His love lead us in our lives. May we embrace the life that the Lord offers through the gift of His Son, so that all might have life in Him.

 

Wherever we look,IMG_2491

His handprints are clear;

The God way out there,

Is ever so near.

Whomever invites,

The Lord to come lead;

Gains life, love and hope,

And all that they need.

For He is faithful,

And true to His word;

In Him we can trust,

Have faith undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we can have life forever in You. Thank You for light and life, love and hope. Forgive us for taking the amazing grace that You have given us for granted. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would treasure all that You are, and share what we have been given with those around us. Help us to love others well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the life that we have been given through Your Son. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

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

To Reflect His Radiance

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. – (Exodus 34:29)

 

Moses was returning from spending forty days and nights alone in God’s presence. There were no distractions, no agendas; it was just Moses in the Lord’s presence, gaining wisdom and insight as to how God wanted the people to follow Him. God’s radiance was evident on the face of Moses, because he had spent time alone in His presence. Though we may not light up a room reflecting the very glory of God, we should appear different, changed somehow – through the time we spend in prayer, in the Word, and in the intentional presence of our Savior. God out there, is now God with us, so we have all the more opportunity to reflect the radiance of the living Lord. May we invest our hearts and minds in time alone with Christ, so that we too, may reflect His radiance wherever we go.

 

Time alone with God,To Reflect His Radiance

is our space to grow;

gain understanding,

so His truth we’ll know.

As insight is gained,

His love light will show;

a tangible change,

sets our hearts aglow.

So seek time alone,

the Lord shall bestow;

His grace and mercy,

all goodness to sow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that time with You is well spent. Thank You that the more time we spend in Your presence, the more we reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of investment in our relationship with You, or for covering the countenance that You crafted within us to reflect Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that others may see and know that there is a difference in us, through You. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we reflect Your radiance to those around us. 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

Not a Matter of Talk

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” – (I Corinthians 4:20)  Talking about faith is good, but only if it can be backed up with action.  Speaking the “right” words without reflecting God’s redemption, holds no value.  If our words and our actions do not align, neither will hold any weight with those whom we might hope to influence.

In my own life, the people who have best modeled a life of faith, are not always just those who are regular speakers and teachers, but they may also be those who have faithfully and consistently served.  Often, it is those who serve on the sidelines and have spoken countless words of encouragement and wisdom, that have found favor as their gentle approach has given them access to even the most guarded of hearts.

Words matter, but they are not truly given weight until they are fueled by faith.  Faith is made evident by our actions.  When the two align, our life becomes a reflection of our Redeemer.  May His light shine through us, before all.

The kingdom of God,Not a Matter of Talk

is not about talk;

it is how we live,

how we walk the walk.

For by His power,

words turn to being;

our actions align,

His grace is freeing.

He fuels forgiveness,

grants mercy and grace;

empowers, equips,

helps us run our race.

We must keep moving,

with trust to pursue;

listen and follow,

what He asks, we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that more than just words matter to You.  Thank You that our actions and words are meant to align.  Thank You that without You, this is an impossible task, but with You, all things are possible.  Thank You that You fuel our faith and equip us to live the lives to which we are called.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely in You.  Thank You that You are faithful, even when our faith is fickle.  Teach us how to “Preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.” (St. Francis Assisi)  Let our very lives speak volumes for You, as we honor You in everything.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King as we love like You love us.  Be exalted, Lord God.  Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You have done great things. 

Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19