Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. 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

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Grateful for the Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

God’s faithful love far exceeds the trials that we face. He is good all of the time, even when that which we endure is not. Yesterday, I had a health scare that led to a chain of events that had me spending some quality time in our local emergency room for an array of tests. Though I was alone, a sweet friend who is an administrator on staff spotted me in the waiting room and came over, sat down beside me, and just chatted with me for a few minutes. Her kindness was a sort of tangible reassurance that all would be okay. His peace was present as each assessment was run, and when I was done, a dear friend came and picked me up and took me to get lunch and my car, as I had been dropped off by a kind friend from work. His goodness and faithfulness continued to be made known to me as both my best friend and my fiancé had been in communication with me all throughout the day and continued into the evening. I am so grateful for His goodness and His love that lasts forever. May we ever remember that no matter what we face, God is always good and His faithful love will last forever.

 

Through good times and bad, When the Sun Shines In

Give thanks to the Lord;

He remains present,

And grace He affords.

By His faithful love,

Our hope is secure;

He gives us the strength,

To rise, persevere.

Let all that I am,

Make the choice to praise;

Not for what is seen,

But for all His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You meet us in our circumstances and continue to show us Your goodness, even when our situations are a struggle. Forgive us for not giving You thanks for Your nearness and goodness, or for forgetting that no matter how things seem now, they are only temporary compared to the eternity that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Praise Even When

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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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

Our Saving Help

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, NIV) 

But let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, and let those who love Your saving help say again and again: “God is great!” – (Psalm 70:4, CEB) 

Let all those on the hunt for You sing and celebrate. Let all who love Your saving way say over and over, “God is mighty!” – (Psalm 70:4, MSG) 

 

God is our help and our hope, and we have reason to rejoice and be glad regardless of our circumstances because He is always good. It is the great love of the Lord that saves us, as He holds us in the hollow of His hands. The more we seek God, the more we come to know Him, and cannot help but rejoice and be glad for the salvation that He brings. May we ever seek the Lord and rejoice in Him, for He is mighty to save and loves us throughout all of our days. 

 

May each heart that seeks, Love Made Known

Rejoice and be glad; 

For our saving help, 

Is no passing fad. 

Our God is mighty, 

We’re held in His hands; 

As we seek, we find, 

He shows us His plans. 

God saves and He leads, 

As we seek His face; 

He’s faithful to help, 

For He grants us grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear and help us as we seek You. Thank You that we have reason to rejoice and be glad, for You are mighty to save as You love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of need, or for not rejoicing in who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You hold us in Your hands and that You are greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and light where there is need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with gladness and give You praise for Your saving ways that You extend to each of us who seek You. 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

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

All of the commandments can be summed up and obeyed if we choose to do one thing with fidelity. If we love as we are loved by God, we will not do wrong to others and ultimately fulfill the requirements of God’s law. This is far more easily said than done, as love is a choice that we must make, again and again and again. It is easy to give love when love is given to us, but an entirely different challenge when we must choose love in spite of what comes our way. Though there are times that it is seemingly impossible to choose to love, when we seek the Lord and His strength, we find grace and compassion that can only come from Him and are able to love as He loves in the most trying of circumstances. May we ever pursue our Provider in every situation and circumstance, so that we may love without doing wrong to others, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love does not choose hurt, Hands of Grace

Nor try to do harm;

Instead love gives grace,

Is faithful and warm.

As we choose to love,

By grace we achieve;

What God’s laws require,

Good given, received.

So in everything,

Let love be our choice;

For love multiplies,

Reason to rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose love above all else in what we do and say, we are fulfilling that which You require us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your wisdom and strength as to how we are called to love others best in every circumstance. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

How Darkness Disappears

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. – (John 1:4-5, NLT) 

In Him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. – (John 1:4-5, ERV) 

His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched. – (John 1:4-5, VOICE) 

 

The book of John begins with a reminder that Jesus was in the beginning, and the light that He brings cannot be extinguished. When we seek the Lord and His love, the light that He grows within us, cannot be burned out. Darkness disappears with even the smallest of lights. A small flame allows our eyes to see where previously nothing could be seen. The more we see and know, the more the light within us grows. May we ever seek the Lord and the light of His love, so that we may be light in darkness and shine where love is lacking. 

 

In the beginning, The Lord Listens

Was the Word with God; 

He became a man, 

And on the earth trod. 

Into the darkness, 

The Lord brought His light; 

To love us to life, 

And make all things right. 

When we seek the Lord, 

Allow His light in; 

Darkness disappears, 

And true love begins. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to shine light in the darkness and love us to life where we were dead. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces and teach us to trust You to shine in the places where we cannot see through the muck. Show us how to be light in darkness as we love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel the flames of the light that You breathed within us, so that we may go forth and shine bright in Your love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Recognizing and Responding to Good

Mary responded, “Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, NLT)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, ERV)

My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, VOICE)

 

Mary both recognized and responded to the glory of God and the good gifts that He gave. This morning, as I rose long before it was necessary, I find myself in a similar space of gratitude. Though Mary’s circumstances were far different than my own, I share the very same God, and He comes closer still, because of what was done so long ago through the willingness of His faithful. I am regularly in awe of His grace and mercy, and can see how His hand has carried me through the times of trial. He is good, and my whole heart celebrates His loving kindness. May we look to the Lord in awe and praise, for His love and goodness granted all of our days.

 

Let us set our hearts, Believe Instead of Striving

In a poise of praise;

Because the Lord saves,

For all of our days.

The Lord is our help,

May spirits rejoice;

Celebrate our God,

With mind, heart and voice.

Praise for what He’s done,

And who the Lord is;

Our life, love and song,

Why all praise is His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, whom You sent to us to save us. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us, in us and through us. Thank You that we can call You our Savior. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and praise for all that You have done throughout all of our days. Teach us to take time to look around and see the work and wonder of Your hand, help and great love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and points people to Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in all that You have done; for You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Let Our Love Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, ERV)

Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, MSG)

 

To give God thanks and praise is a natural and normal occurrence throughout my days. However, making proclamations verbally is not a normal part of my mode of operation. I tend to be on the quieter side, and go about my day doing what needs to be done. I give credit where credit is due, yet I do not make big announcements nor proclamations about anything. Daily, I write about His faithfulness in my life, and hope that His love is made evident through my actions. This is a verse that I wonder about, as I know we are each designed with different gifts and strengths. Perhaps it is in the quiet conversations between friends, when we reflect on the reason for the season, that our opportunities to share of His greatness and faithfulness in our own lives are the places that we are meant to speak of what He has done. May we ever give thanks to the Lord and call on His Name, and may we share of His goodness and grace when given the opportunity in word or deed.

 

Gracious Giving

All thanks be to God,

He’s faithful and good;

Choose call on His Name,

He’s hope understood.

In word and in deed,

Speak of what He’s done;

Proclaim His greatness,

The Most Holy One.

Oh Lord, let our lives,

Speak of what is true;

Of Your love and grace,

And faithfulness too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and faithful and that we can call on Your Name. Thank You for all that You have done. Forgive us for not sharing of Your faithfulness with those around us, as they too, need to know of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will depend on You for the words and ways to share Your goodness with those around us. Show us how to love others in a way that clearly communicates Your heart for people. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for all of our days, and share of Your goodness and grace with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31