Trust, for He is Good

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. – (Psalm 13:5-6, NLT)

 

This morning, for whatever reason, I am just plain tired. The good news is that today is not an ordinary school day. It is an early dismissal day for the students, so the energy required on these days is different than on typical school days. Shortened classes go quickly, and after the students leave for the day, the remainder of the afternoon is spent collaborating with colleagues. In a sense, this is a bit of a rescue from my own exhaustion. Just knowing that I need only rise up until 12:40, is an encouragement in and of itself. At just the right time, there is a break in my ordinary routine, and I feel rescued from the weariness that is threatening. God knows what we can take, and provides precious rest in places where it is needed most. His love never fails, and I am so grateful that He cares about the smallest of details. May we ever trust in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rejoice in the salvation that He has provided. Let our hearts sing praise, for He is always good.

 

I trust in Your love,Be Transformed 1

My God and my King;

For You’re always good,

And rescue, You bring.

Salvation from death,

But also You give;

Love, strength, hope and life,

So we truly live.

Let our hearts choose sing,

All praise unto You;

For Your loving grace,

That carries us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that saves. Thank You that You rescue us when we lose our way, and You lead us with Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that You meet us where we are but do not allow us to stay stuck in spaces we do not belong. Forgive us for not seeking You when we feel stuck, and help us to ever trust in Your grace and strength to be our help and our hope at all times. Show us how to rejoice and give praise to You, as to You alone, all praise is due. Help us to love those around us in tangible ways that help them to see how much You care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and sing praise to You forever. 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

Restoring Joy

I will shout for joy as I sing Your praises; my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me. – (Psalm 71:23, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was the best day that I have had with students in a long while. For whatever reason, the air was lighter, kids were set to task, and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my students all day long. Because my heart was full, and joy was restored, my countenance was not shaken when I needed to call to have a student removed from my last class of the day. The other students in the class were doing a terrific job, and I was not going to allow one child’s poor choices steal the joy that had come to rest in the room. God was faithful to hold my heart throughout the day, and the atmosphere in my classroom was exactly what was needed to help carry me to today. This morning, rather than dreading one more day to drudge through (as I was that weary on Wednesday), I am eagerly anticipating today, and have hope for a repeat of positive student engagement, as well as necessary work being accomplished. An added bonus and reason to celebrate is that we are being rescued from all the rain, as sunshine and clear skies are at last in the forecast as well. May we all celebrate the goodness of God, as He has rescued each of us, granting our heart reason for joy.

 

Let each heart sing praise,Gifts Given to Glorify

As joy enters in;

For we’ve been rescued,

Set free from our sin.

Though we’ll have struggles,

On Christ we can call;

He’s our help and hope,

Makes way through it all.

Let shouts of joy,

Rise up, fill the air;

Our Forever Hope,

Is present; aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rescue us. Thank You that You are our strength when we have none, and that You restore joy in spaces where it has been depleted. Thank You that in You, there is always joy. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on our circumstances or allowing what is in front of us to weigh us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our burdens in Your hands, and allow You to carry the weight. Show us how to love well, those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and celebrate who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Our Answer in Times of Trouble

I was in very bad trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me. I was deep in the grave. I cried to You, and You heard my voice. – (Jonah 2:2, ERV)

He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” – (Jonah 2:2, NLT)

 

God is overwhelmingly patient and full of grace. Despite Jonah’s rebellion and refusal to go where God was calling him to go, He met Jonah in the middle of his mess and showed His mercy. Most of us have heard the story. Jonah is called to Ninevah and doesn’t want to go. Instead, he hops a boat the opposite direction for Tarshish to escape dealing with people whom he did not believe deserved God’s grace. Fast-forward to the middle of trip, and a horrendous storm stirs the seas and spins the ship so violently, that the crew believes that God has to be mad at someone onboard. They cast lots and determine that it is Jonah, and throw him overboard. As Jonah is sinking in the sea, he cries out to the Lord for help, and is swallowed by an enormous fish. There, in the middle of the ocean, in the belly of a whale (or comparably large fish), Jonah discovers the grace and mercy of God, and the wrong of running from God and the call He had on his life. Long story short, the great fish spit Jonah out, and he went and did what he had been called to do. God heard his cries and answered his pleas for help. The very same God who rescued Jonah from his own path of destruction, can do the same for you and me. When we call on the Lord and ask for His help, He hears and He answers us. May we ever seek our Savior, as He hears our cries and makes way where there seems to be no way.

 

In calm and in storms,

Wielding Words Wisely

The Lord’s ever near;

If we call on Him,

Our cries, He will hear.

Ever He listens,

As we seek and pray;

He’s willing to make,

Way where seems no way.

So trust in the Lord,

Choose call on His Name;

He hears and He helps,

Our hope to proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our help in times of trouble. Thank You that we can always come to You, no matter what we’ve done, and You will hear us and love us the same. Forgive us for the times that we run the opposite direction of that which You are calling. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You lead, even when it does not make sense, or it is terrifying. Give us Your strength and power to do and be all that You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us fearlessly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call to You in times of trouble, and trust You to be our answer. Amen.

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

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

Share of Shackles No More

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. – (Psalm 107:1-2, NLT)

 

The first portion of the passage is fairly self-explanatory. God deserves our thanks, for He is good and His love lasts forever. As for redemption, that can be a bit trickier to grasp, as we are not living in the same times as when the original text was written. In some parts of the world, redemption, as in the buying back or paying a price for freedom, is still relevant. However, for those of us who have always known freedom, it is a bit more of a learning curve. We must first recognize that we were held captive in our hearts. Our chains tend to be spiritual and emotional, not physical. At times, the unseen can be more difficult to be rid of, because we must first acknowledge that they exist. Chains in the physical are obvious. If a person is shackled, they want to be free. In the same way, if a person is trapped in the tangles of sin, or locked in the lies that they have been told for far too long, ideally, the desire would be for freedom to be found immediately. Invisible chains must first be identified, recognized for the burden that they truly are, and then help must be sought to rid ourselves of the weight.

Thankfully, God is patient and faithful. He is willing to wait for our readiness for His help, and He loves us to life when we call on His Name. When we have been rescued from ruins, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, we ought to let others know what the Lord has done. Our story may be their opportunity to recognize their own unseen chains. May we give the Lord thanks for His faithful love, and tell those around us of all that He has done.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,Shackles No More

For He’s always good;

His love shall endure,

His grace understood.

He sets captives free,

When we call on Him;

Removes the shackles,

That tie us to sin.

He takes all the weight,

Of the burdens worn;

And loves us to life,

Our souls are reborn.

So bring all the chains,

That keep us from free;

And trust in the Lord,

Where all praise should be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You have redeemed us and You call us by name. Thank You that we have a story of how You have set us free from the chains that held us captive to the weight of sin or lies that we were never designed to carry. Thank You for setting us free. Forgive us for keeping our own story silent, when so many might benefit from hearing the truth of Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to share all that You have done in us and for us, as You are such a good and faithful Father. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and speak out of all that You have done. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

The Fallacy of Foolishness

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NLT)

For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tall tale for fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued and made right, it is nothing short of God’s power. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, VOICE)

 

The very idea that someone would come and die on our behalf to take away all of our sin and shame, seems too good to be true. Why would someone who was without sin, take on every sin that ever was and will ever be? Remarkably, the very same God who created each of us, loves us so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to return to a right relationship with Him. Once we discover the powerful presence of Christ in our lives, we can begin to wrap our minds around the magnitude of His sacrifice and the depth of His love for us. In the presence of God, there is peace when storms surround us, hope when circumstances point to despair, and light and life when darkness and death are what seem inevitable. His power and grace provide way where no way seems possible. May we readily receive the message of the cross, for the power of God alone, is what saves.

 

On ruin’s wide road,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

foolish seems the cross;

why would someone die,

for me, take a loss?

The powerful love,

for you and for me;

is why Jesus chose,

to hang on that tree.

His love made the way,

for all to draw near;

to come to know Him,

He makes the path clear.

We must choose believe,

the truth of His word;

embrace and obey,

follow undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made the way for us to come close to You. Thank You that it is by Your power, we are saved. Forgive us for our foolishness that thinks we have to somehow earn Your gift of grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, and would desire with all that we are, to walk in Your ways and live out the truth. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and grace, so that they too may embrace the hope that we now hold. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in the reality of being rescued and made right by Your power alone. Amen.

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

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. – 1 Corinthians 1:25

 

A Place of Radical Grace

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. – (Romans 5:2, NLT)

Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. – (Romans 5:2, The Voice)

 

Faith is so much more than a feeling. It is a confident trust in God and His word, as we hold fast to the hope we have found in Jesus, who has rescued us from our sin and shame, and restored us to a right relationship with Him. We have not earned His mercy and grace, yet it is our faith that frees our hearts to hold fast with confidence, the glory that is yet to come. Joy is ours today, because we have hope for all of eternity. May we each recognize the radical grace that we have been given, and celebrate the hope that we hold in God’s glory that is yet to come.

 

Jesus leads us here,Receive Life

to radical grace;

where He forgives all,

with welcome embrace.

More than the right now,

is hope yet to come;

our future glory,

spent with God and Son.

Consider the joy,

that‘s ours to behold;

this confident hope,

our strength to be bold.

Though we don’t deserve,

all that the Lord gives;

He loves anyway,

in mercy, forgives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the undeserved place of privilege that You bring us to when we place our trust in You by faith. Thank You that as we do, we can confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing Your glory for all eternity. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to earn Your favor, or that Your grace is somehow not enough for us. Help us to embrace the grace that You have freely given, and confidently look forward with joy, to all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that our confidence would not be in what we see, but rather in what we know to be the truth. Show us how to love others with radical grace, so that they too may come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we stand with confidence and joy, as we look forward to Your glory that lies before us. 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

Love Leads to Safety

He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me. – (2 Samuel 22:20, NLT)
God is gracious and He longs to lead us to spaces of security and safety. He rescues us from our chaos and brings order, because He delights in us. It does not always mean that He removes us from the mess we are in, but He does calm the storm within. However, when where we are is a place that is unsafe and unfit for our well-being, He will provide a way out, and lead us to a place of safety. Because we are His children in whom He delights, it is His joy to rescue us and keep us safe. It is never His desire to see us stuck in circumstances that are destructive, and He will lead us to safety if we are willing to listen to His voice. May we open our ears and hearts to all that He has for us, so that we do not remain in the spaces where we were never meant to stay.

When we find ourselves,Compassion in Confrontations

where we should not be;

we have to listen,

for God sets us free.

Christ shows us the way,

where safety is found;

He rescues in love,

from where we are bound.

We are His delight,

which is why He saves;

each of us hand made,

in Him, we’re made brave.

Rise up and be bold,

fear not as He leads;

for His ways are good,

and He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to places of safety, and that You rescue us because You delight in us. Thank You that though we find ourselves in destructive circumstances, You don’t leave us there to suffer in silence. Thank You that You desire to bring us out of such spaces and into the shadow of Your wings. Forgive us for turning a deaf ear to what You are calling us to do, or for being too fearful to move where You are leading us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and follow wherever You call, knowing that You lead us to places of safety and that You give good gifts to Your children in whom You delight. Lead us to love others well, so that they may feel You kindness and grace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us to places of safety because we are Your delight. 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

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

No More Darkness

For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9)

 

Because we are in Christ, our actions ought to reflect our faith. Morally, we are meant to magnify our Maker with our every move. All that we say and do, is either shining His light into darkness, or casting a shadow where light needs to shine. We are called to live as light. May we operate in such a way that His goodness, righteousness and truth are made evident through every move we make.

 

Though once steeped in sin,No More Darkness

living in the dark;

we now know the truth,

flame grew from a spark.

Called to be children,

that live as His light;

to shine in darkness,

show His path that’s right.

Gone are the shadows,

that chained us to sin;

where light is shining,

darkness cannot win.

In goodness go forth,

both righteous and true;

shine on for the Lord

let our lives bear fruit.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rescued us from the darkness that surrounded us in our brokenness, and filled us with Your light. Thank You that You call and equip us to be Your children, who You allow to share Your light with the world. Forgive us for not consistently expressing goodness, righteousness and truth in all that we do, and help us to do just that, in all things and at all times. Let our lives be lived as light unto You. May many come to know salvation in You, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified, O God, as we live as Your children of light. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

 

 

Stepping Out of the Boat

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29)

 

So often, the story of when Jesus walked on water seems to highlight how Peter began to sink as he took his eyes off Christ. However, I find it quite remarkable that Peter was the only one to recognize and respond so radically to the Lord, that he asked Him if he could come to Him. Peter did not want to wait for Jesus to reach the boat, he wanted to be where Jesus was. His exuberance led to an experience that Peter would likely never forget. Not only had he walked on water towards Jesus, but when he allowed his gaze to avert from Jesus to that which was surrounding him and began to sink, Jesus did not let Peter go under. He took his hand and rescued him. Peter’s experience was a powerful demonstration of how important it is to fix our eyes securely on Christ, yet if we discover we have allowed our focus to shift and call out to Him, He will be our help and our hope.

 

When we hear His call, are we willing to get out of the boat? If we fix our eyes on Him, we are able to do surpassingly more that we ever thought possible. On the other hand, if we avert our eyes to the challenges and obstacles that stand in our way, we become overwhelmed and feel defeated; ready to jump back in the boat, despite our distance from the directed destination. When our eyes engage with the obstacles, we can call on Christ to help us refocus. He is our Source of safety, and the One who will lead us where we are meant to go.

 

When wind and waves come,Stepping Out of the Boat

and violent the sea;

Christ calls us by name,

says, “Come unto Me.”

Though scary the step,

from idle in boat;

with eyes fixed on Him,

we will stay afloat.

If we look away,

and start to go down;

His presence is there,

His faithfulness found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and faithful to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You call us to get out of our spaces of security and comfort, and trust You to walk into the new and remarkable that You have for us. Thank You that it is always beyond what we could ever even imagine we could carry out on our own, yet in You, mountains are moved and miracles happen. Forgive us for shifting our gaze from You to that which gets in our way from accomplishing that which You are asking, and help us to continue to call on You to be our Help and our Hope in all things and at all times. May we fix our eyes securely on You, and love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know the security found in You alone, as lives are changed and made new. Be glorified in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – I Peter 2:19