Because He is Good

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1 & 29, NLT)

 

In Psalm 118, the chapter both begins and ends with the very same words. I find that each time I come across repetition in the Word, God is highlighting something for me, and I need to make note of what is written. Yes, I know He is good and that His love is faithful and everlasting, providing reason for me to give praise; however, as I read this in conjunction with the other passage that was a part of today’s reading, it is a reminder that His goodness and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. In Jeremiah 29-30, God’s people were exiled in a foreign land. Despite their situation, God had promised to return them to Jerusalem after an established length of time. The exiles were called to remain faithful to God, and He would stay true to His word. All thanks and praise were due to the Lord, as He blessed and upheld His people, despite their distance from the home they had known. God does this for us today. He is good and faithful, and His love endures always. Because of who He is, He deserves all of our thanks and praise. May we rise up in gratitude for the goodness of our God, and give Him the proper praise He is due.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

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For He’s always good;

His love shall endure,

As always has stood.

No matter what comes,

The Lord shall remain;

Present as our help,

He makes our path plain.

Despite circumstance,

His love light shines through;

Leading and guiding,

So faithful and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that we always have reason to give You thanks and praise. Forgive us for making our gratitude circumstantial, rather than dependent on the truth of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give all glory unto You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love all those around us in such a way, that You are given the thanks and adoration for every word and deed that is well-received. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness and faithful love that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

To Give Thanks

This morning as I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I quickly scrolled through my Facebook feed for fun. What quickly caught my attention, was the reintroduction of the Days of Thankfulness posts for November, as an early rising friend had posted her first proclamation of gratitude. Not only is this a great source of encouragement for others, but it is biblical to choose to give thanks. In fact, to recall a verse to site for this particular post, when I searched “give thanks to the Lord”, twenty-three verses came up. Anytime there is repetition in scripture, it reminds me that it is something that we are really meant to grasp.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Because God is good and His love endures forever, we have reason to give thanks. It matters not what else is going on in or around us, the very fact that our hope is secure and our Lord is near, is enough. There are and will be days that He is all that we have to hold. Remarkably, as our hearts begin to pour out thanks and praise unto Him, something happens within our spirit, and we soften before Him, allowing all the weariness to be washed away. His hope rises within us, and we more readily recognize all of the blessings that He has poured out upon us, even in the midst of pain. God is so very good, and His love for us never ends. May we rise each day and give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and is yet to do.

Oh Lord, let my heart,Presenting Our Praise

hold an attitude;

that is overwhelmed,

with all gratitude.

For You are so good,

and Your love remains;

no matter our sin,

hurt, scars, or our pains.

May all of our thanks,

and praise unto You;

rise up within us,

refresh and renew.

God, You are our hope,

our safe, strong tower;

the love of our life,

our strength and power.

No matter what comes,

may our hearts give praise;

all thanks unto You,

for now and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that all thanks and praise belong to You. Thank You for the recognition and acknowledgement that is displayed this time of year for who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for not always having a thankful heart, particularly in the midst of pain. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that the trials and struggles we experience now are only temporary, whereas You and Your love are FOREVER! That alone is reason for us to be thankful. Lead us to love others in a way that displays our appreciation for who You have created them to be, so that they too, may see You in our expressions of gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You, for You are good and we are so grateful that Your love never ends. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Storms Stilled to a Whisper

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29)

One of the things I have loved about growing up in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to the water.  The repetition and rhythm of the waves rolling into the shore, are among my favorite sounds.  When a storm comes through, there is nothing quite so awe inspiring as the power and force with which the waves crash and the seas churn.  When the wind and waves whip at full force, there is no wisdom in nearing the water’s edge.  Yet Christ in us, is in the eye of every storm, and can choose to simply say, “Be still,” and all that is crashing around us, will have to yield to the mighty hand of God.  Even if the storm that is raging around us is not silenced, He will hush all that is hurling to and fro within us.  May we seek He who calms our storms to a whisper, and can causes the waves to hush within our hearts.  Let us be still and know that He is God.

The mighty waves crash,Waves of Wonder

and the seas, they roar;

yet we’re hidden in,

One who says, “No more.”

What’s raging, brought calm,

stillness to the heart;

that’s tossed to and fro,

His peace won’t depart.

So ask for the calm,

yet receive His grace;

know that He will still,

the most needed space.

God of all comfort,

Creator of peace;

Sustainer of life,

Who grants us release.

Take pause in the storms,

and trust in the One;

Who can with a word,

make all stillness come.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still storms to a whisper and that You hush the waves of raging seas – be it externally in what surrounds us, or within the walls of our own hearts.  Thank You that when we seek You and depend on You, You are faithful to meet us where we are at, and You bring Your peace.  Forgive us for fighting the storms rather than relenting and allowing You to navigate us to safety.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times, no matter what storms may appear on our horizon.  Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, can see how You still the storms.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we are still before You in the calm and in the storms, placing our faith in You to lead us to safe harbor.  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

Blessed are the Forgiven

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” – (Romans 4:7-8)

 

This freedom of being fully forgiven comes only through faith in Christ. It is not something that we can earn nor somehow convince ourselves is true. As we admit our guilt to God and ask for His forgiveness, He comes close and helps our hearts hold fast to the truth that the guilt is gone because Christ has already paid the price. Often our side of the equation takes much repetition, despite our sins being erased the first time we came before the Lord with repentant hearts. The guilt may cause us to repeat the process of returning again and again to our knees in prayer, asking God to assure us of the truth. Thankfully, the Lord is patient and kind, and He loves us so much that He is willing to remind us each time we come before Him, that we are covered and clean, and that His love for us endures forever. For those who have come before Christ and confessed their transgressions with a repentant heart, He has forgiven. Blessed is what we can be called – for our future is secure, as we know where our hope is held both now and forevermore. May we rise up and remember that our guilt is gone and we are considered blessed as we go forth this day.

 

For those who confess,Forgiveness is Free

their sins to the Lord;

are considered blessed,

by God, we’re adored.

Forgiven and free,

no longer with shame;

for our sins are gone,

through hope in His Name.

All that once caused guilt,

has been wiped away;

the Lord won’t look back,

life starts new each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and confess our sins with repentant hearts, You forgive us and never count our sins against us. Thank You that we are considered blessed, because we are forgiven and renewed in You. Forgive us for returning again and again to that which You have already forgiven, or for not confessing things that are weighing on our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will bring all before You as it comes. Lead us to love with goodness and grace, just as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we walk confidently in the freedom that You have granted us through Your forgiveness and grace, so that we may share the blessing with all who need to see Your face. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Bloom Where We’re Planted

Few of us are called to formal full-time ministry positions as an occupation.  However, each one of us are all called to serve and be a witness, wherever we are, regardless of our title or position.  We can show His love to those around us as we teach children, manage households, check groceries, pick up garbage, sell insurance, prepare and serve meals, enforce the law, volunteer and so on.  Our occupation does not limit how God can utilize us for His glory, right where we are, currently.

“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:17)

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:20)

“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” – (I Corinthians 7:24)

When repetition occurs in scripture, I tend to take notice.  Three times Paul said nearly the same thing to the people of Corinth.  Though his words were in the specific context of marriage, I believe it applies to every area of our lives.  God will use us wherever we have been called, right now, not when we obtain a certain status or position.  What He calls us to, He will use us to work through, if we are willing and available to be obedient to whatever He asks of us.  There are days when it seems impossible that He could utilize me to reach another, yet it is in those spots of the strongest struggle, that His strength is shown and progress is made known.  May we trust Him where we are, and be open to opportunities to touch lives as we love as He loves us.

Each of us called,Bloom Where We're Planted

to serve where we are;

no need to wait,

He’s brought us this far.

Not by our strength,

but rather, by His;

trust Him to lead,

He’ll do what He says.

In all we do,

to God, let it be;

we too were bound,

’til He set us free.

Let His love lead,

and His Spirit guide;

with hearts open,

His peace realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to the spaces where we are, even when they don’t always make sense.  Thank You that You are our strength in the struggle and our help and hope.  Thank You that You use us for Your glory, regardless of our lot in life, if we are willing to serve You.  Forgive us for thinking we have to reach a certain position or knowledge base, or for being fearful of mankind.  Teach us to trust You to give us wisdom, words and all that we need, to love and serve, wherever we are called to be.  May we touch lives and transform communities through faithfully serving where we are called, and may all glory and honor be given to You.  Thank You that You love us where we are, yet continue to grow us more deeply in You.  Amen.

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

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

Persist in Prayer

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” – (Luke 18:1)

“To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions.  Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer.  When we live by faith, we are not to give up.  God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reasons.  As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith and hope.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 18:1)

According to dictionary.com, persist means to continue firmly in purpose, especially in spite of opposition.  In my experience, this is how faith is further formed, and hope is given way to rise up.  As we face opposition or difficulty, what we choose to do in response, determines the development of our character.  If Jesus instructs us to pray and not give up, then regardless of how things appear, that is what we are meant to do.  Faith requires action.  First and foremost, our petitions ought to be presented before Him.  However, that is rarely the end, but instead, just the beginning.  As we seek Him earnestly, He often gives instruction as to how we are to move further in faith; the what we are meant to do as we wait.

Never give up,Persist in Prayer

persistently pray;

trusting He hears,

despite seen delay.

He is faithful,

and always, He’s good;

let faith rise up,

our hope, understood.

When He says move,

do all that He asks;

answers await,

we grow in new tasks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful, always.  Thank You that regardless of what is going on around us, You have our heart in Your hands, and You remain present.  Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and that You instruct us to be persistent as we pray.  Forgive us for our lack of fortitude in the fight, and grant us Your strength and endurance in all things and at all times.  Teach us how to be persistent in prayer, without endless repetition or whining.  Thank You that You are a patient and loving Father, Who loves us, and continues to help us grow in character, faith and hope as we seek You.  May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may many come to know You through our love and persistent petitions before You.  Be exalted, Lord.  Amen.

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

Patient Endurance

Any time there is repetition in scripture, I tend to take notice.  This morning, is no exception.  In reading Revelation 10-14, in between the intensity of angels and trumpets, dragon and beast, witnesses and warriors, a woman and child, the Lamb and the ensuing end, to name just a hint at the happenings – one sentence repeats both in Revelation 13:10b, and again, in Revelation 14:12.

“This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” – (13:10b)

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – (14:12)

Patient endurance is the God-given ability to suffer without yielding.  This comes as an impartation granted to the people of God – those who choose to faithfully follow Him.  It does not mean that only the “holier than thou” will endure to the end, but rather those who embrace the grace that He gives, and are intentional to earnestly seek Him.  He is faithful and just, and honors the hearts that call on His Name.

When trials come,

and temptations play;Patient Endurance

call on His Name,

and steadfast you’ll stay.

For He will grant,

all that we shall need;

to in Him endure,

evil’s frenzied feed.

We are each called,

to be faithful, true;

He will remain,

when trials ensue.

Don’t trust in sight,

but instead, in Him;

the world may fade,

His light never dims.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to model patient endurance and faithfulness.  Despite persecution, trouble, trials, and ultimately death on the cross, He patiently endured, never yielding to the temptation to claim His rightful power and authority, for He came to fulfill the purpose You had placed before Him, and He was faithful to endure to the end.  Thank You Jesus, for not only showing us the way, but for sending Your Holy Spirit, so that we are never on our own when we need Your wisdom and strength.  Forgive us for taking lightly the magnitude of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf, so that we might approach Your throne of grace, and enter into an eternal relationship with You.  Help us to live in such a way, that we honor You and all that You have done.  May many come to know Your saving grace as we live our lives in love, just as You have loved us.  We lift up all those who are currently patiently enduring suffering for the sake of Your Name.  Please strengthen and encourage each one, and grant them favor with their captors.  Grant them freedom soon, I pray.  All glory and honor to You.  Amen.

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

Revelation through Repetition

image by Terry L. Brown

image by Terry L. Brown

My personal devotions had me in the first four chapters of the book of Revelation this morning.  Despite the name of my blog, Revelations in Writing, I always feel a bit gun-shy when I come to the book of Revelation.  Perhaps it is because I understand it the least, and the teacher in me really wants to comprehend what I try to convey to others.  That being said, today, what stood out to me anew, is the repetition of “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, ___________________________.”  Multiple times in both chapters two and three, this quote is followed by a promise.  The promises are as follow in the order that they appear in the text:

I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (2:7)

He will not be hurt at all by the second death. (2:11)

I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it. (2:17)

I will give authority over the nations. (2:26)

I will also give him the morning star. (2:28)

I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father. (3:5)

I will write on him the name of my God, and I will also write on him my new name. (3:12)

I will give the right to sit with me on my throne. (3:21)

Though I know not the exact interpretation in Hebrew or Greek for each of these symbols mentioned, I do know that they are promises for me, from a loving and protective God.  He is a God who gives good gifts to His children, and He longs to share all that He has with each of us, if only we would be willing to receive.  God is for us, and He gives us wisdom and insight, protection and perseverance, power and provision, authority and acknowledgement, adoption into His family, a new name, light, life, and lasting love – all for now and into eternity in our heavenly home with Him forever.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal to us the glory and goodness found in You.  Forgive us for fearing what we do not understand, and help us to persevere until the day You reveal all understanding, when we finally see You face-to-face.  Thank You that You are a kind and patient Papa, and that You love to teach Your kids, whose hearts are seeking understanding.  May what we learn burn brightly as light before all men, so that many may come to seek You, Father.  Amen.

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

(*he/him/man/men used to mean people; men and women)