Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. 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

Our Real Reason

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

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)

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TLB)

 

When we choose to keep praying and give thanks in all things, joy seems to remain, even during our times of struggle. No wonder it is God’s will for us to pray and give thanks in all things, as He longs for His children to remain full of joy, regardless of our surroundings. Our real reason to rejoice is not found in temporary things, but rather it resides in the hope we hold forever. May we choose to keep on praying, no matter what happens, and always be thankful for who God is and how He loves.

 

May our joy be full, Purposeful Prayer

As we choose to pray;

Giving thanks always,

For this is God’s way.

We’re called to seek Him,

No matter what comes;

For he is our help,

‘Til each day is done.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we ever seek;

For each circumstance,

In Him, joy’s complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to rejoice, pray and give thanks, as this is the very way that You desire for us to walk out our days in You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, we always have reason to rejoice in You. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for losing sight of eternity when our present circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more and to view things through Your lens of forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and gratitude and offers hope where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all things according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

These Three Things

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)

So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

 

At the end of the day, despite the drama, disappointment, or discouragement that has been present, Love finds a way to fuel our faith and grant us new hope that better is yet to come.  God, in His kindness, demonstrates His love for us in ways that grow our faith and keep hope afloat. There are times that it is difficult to remember that our hope is not to be held in temporary things, but rather our hope resides in that which is eternal. May we ever fix our eyes on He who is love and seek the Lord to grow our faith so that hope will rise, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Love is the fuel, These Three Things

Where faith gets its fill;

And hope rises up,

When we choose, be still.

For these three treasures,

Are gifts that shall last;

Faith, hope and God’s love,

Future, now and past.

In His great kindness,

God grants us these things;

Each strengthen resolve,

To face what life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith, hope and love last forever. Thank You that the greatest of these is love. Thank You that You lavish us with Your love, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for our lack of faith and for losing hope when things seem more than we can bear. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than any obstacle that lies before us, any burden we must bear, and any challenge we must face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends faith, hope and love to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace these treasures You grant us for good that last 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

Where True Strength Resides

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE) 

 

When we are in Christ, He is in us as well. The very same power and strength that dwells in the Lord, is available and alive within us as we turn in trust to Him. Even when we feel completely depleted, His strength knows no end. He calls us to seek Him for the strength that we need, as He is ever ready to supply. Personally, I know how true to His word He is, as this week has been non-stop and demanding, with little time for sleep. As I sit and reflect on the blur that this week has been, I am in awe that it is now Thursday. He upheld me, strengthened me, and at times carried me through to get to today. He is good, and His faithfulness never ends. May we trust in the Lord and His strength, remembering that His mighty power lies within the hearts of all who believe. 

 

Let us not forget, strength-in-waiting

Where true strength resides; 

For it is in Christ, 

As we choose abide. 

All strength and all might, 

The power within; 

He grants unto us, 

As we seek, ask Him. 

So, lean not on self, 

But trust in the One; 

Rely on His strength, 

‘Til each day is done. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your strength, might and power to us as we seek You. Thank You that we do not need to navigate this life on our own. Forgive us for trying to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You to supply that which we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw strength from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength from You so that we may stand firm. 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

May We Be Filled

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

When we place our trust in God, His Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us, so His power resides in us. Through that place of trust, we are filled with His joy and peace so that what is from Him, may freely flow. Our very lives become infused with all good that God grants by His grace, so that we may go forth and be beacons of hope by His Holy Spirit. May we choose to trust in Him, who is the Source of all joy and peace, so that we my overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

When we choose to trust,

Gracious Giving

the God of all hope;

He freely shall fill,

us so we can cope.

He’ll fill us with peace,

and abundant joy;

present, His Spirit,

power to employ.

He gives and He gives,

’til hope overflows;

so others may come,

to trust what we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all hope, and that You fill us with joy and peace as we trust in You. Thank You that You give us hope through the power of Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, when we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving enough credit where credit is due, or for not placing all of our trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow Your light and life and love to fill us with all joy and peace and hope to the point of overflowing. Show us how to be vessels that allow the overflow of all that You give to us, to flow freely to all who are around us. Help us to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, so that Your hope may overflow from us by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Praise All of Our Days

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your Name forever. For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave. – (Psalm 86:12-13)

 

Fire has always frightened me to my core, ever since I was a little girl. In fact, when the fire department did a fire safety talk at my elementary school, I would not sleep at night until my parents installed smoke detectors in our home. Right now, we are experiencing an unusually hot and dry summer in Washington State. On the eastern side of the state, in Wenatchee where my Mom resides, their first big fires of the season just hit yesterday. Typically, they are far from where my mom lives, so all that is observed is the constant flying of helicopters to the river to fill giant containers that are then flown over the flames, and poured out to douse them with water. Unfortunately, yesterday evening the fires were crawling closer and closer to where my mother lives. Her neighborhood was on voluntary evacuation, but she and her neighbors decided to stay and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Late into the evening, flames burst forth from the ravine on the far side of her vacant lot. Suddenly her home was surrounded by firefighters and her exit blocked by fire trucks. Even if she had wanted to leave, there was no way out, as the fire was burning too near the only road out. For hours, I watched, waited, and prayed. I imagine she did much of the same.

 

This morning’s Psalm really resonates as to how I feel on behalf of my Mom and the many in her housing development whom are dearly loved friends. His love has been great as He has delivered and protected them from what could have been catastrophic. My heart is overflowing with praise, for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

No matter what comes,

Image from my Mom's driveway...

Image from my Mom’s driveway…

I will give You praise;

for You are my God,

help all of my days.

With all of my heart,

to You, glorify;

forever, always,

hope to testify.

You have delivered,

me from the great depths;

and spared me the grave,

of unrighteousness.

Though we walk through fire,

You lovingly keep;

us in Your safe hands,

as You tend Your sheep.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is so great, that You sent Your Son to deliver us from the depth of an eternal grave. Thank You that You are worthy of our praise, with all of our heart, for all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth when storms rage or fires burn. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will glorify You in every circumstance, as You are worthy of our praise forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our praise until the end of our days. 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 2:28

To Tend His Temple

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

 

When we invite Christ into our lives, His Spirit comes and dwells in us. Where God’s very presence used to be housed in the tabernacle in the Holy of Holies, now resides in all who commit their hearts to follow Him. We are His temple. Just as the Israelites took great care in tending the temple because that was where the Lord dwelled; we too, ought to treat our bodies accordingly. The way in which we care for what we have been given, can determine how long we are able to be effective in serving our Savior. If we take care of our bodies, and treat them as God intended, then we are better able to serve Him for the long haul.

 

Additionally, with Christ living in us, He has already paid the penalty for our sin and shame, so we need not continue in our old ways that are detrimental to our temple. Just as we are to feed and grow our spirit, we ought to also invest in caring for our physical body as well. We are mind, body and spirit, and all are meant to be cared for and treated as those belonging to God. May we each invest wisely in how we care for our minds, bodies and spirits, and bring honor to God accordingly.

 

The temple of God,To Tend His Temple

no longer a place;

but rather He dwells,

in faithful heart space.

We are not our own,

we’re bought at a price;

through Christ’s holy gift,

Love’s great sacrifice.

Because of His love,

let’s honor the Lord;

treat well our temples,

serve Him we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with purpose and a plan. Thank You that You no longer dwell in a building that we cannot even enter, but rather You reside in the hearts of all who place their trust in You. Thank You that You paid the ultimate price so that we could have life in You. Forgive us for not tending the temple that You have given us in a way that You intended, and teach us how we are meant to best care for our bodies. Help us to trust You more, so that we will allow You into all areas of our lives, granting access to shed light on areas that need to change. Give us strength and resolve to make the changes that You bring to our attention, and help us to ever honor You with our bodies, hearts and minds. Help us to love others as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we tend well the temples that You have given unto 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

Operating in Awe

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away. – (Matthew 22:22)

 

As the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus, He responded in wisdom, as He knew the evil intent behind their inquiry. Though the Pharisees and Herodians were rarely rendered speechless, Jesus often left them with nothing to say. The truth could not be countered nor contested, as they knew that Jesus was correct in all that He had spoken.

 

How often are we left in awe? Do we give God room to speak into our lives? His wisdom, grace and goodness for us, ought to open our eyes to the awesome power that is present in God with us. In the heart of every believer, His Holy Spirit resides. So often squabbles would be silenced and storms would settle, if only we would give ear to His word. May our hearts be open and our ears be ready to hear, as Christ whispers His words that leave us awestruck by the glory of His goodness and grace.

 

In awe and wonder,

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton – please click image to see more 🙂

we stand here, amazed;

at the Lord’s wisdom,

given by His grace.

He looks to the heart,

He knows our intent;

His grace as our guide,

leads us to repent.

May we give God room,

to move in power;

let obedience,

move us each hour.

Lord, as we listen,

help us follow through;

choose to walk Your way,

life faithful to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that who You are leaves us in awe. Thank You that when we slow down and make time to listen, You speak to our hearts. Forgive us for not recognizing the awesome power that is present in You (present in us) through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, and help us to stand firm in the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may give You room to move in our hearts and our lives. Let the lost be found as we live in love, listening to Your leading. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in awe of just how great You are. Amen.

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

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

Taking Courage in Trials

As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?

 

The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.

 

When facing giants,Taking Courage in Trials

mountains we must climb;

His nearness constant,

for now and all times.

Our courage is found,

in Christ, the true King;

He supplies power,

and all needed things.

In trial, in loss,

in wholeness, in grace;

circumstances don’t,

determine His place.

For God is on high,

He’s still on His throne;

no matter what comes,

Love will be made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.

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

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

Conferred by Christ

You are those who have stood by Me in My trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – (Luke 22:28-30, NIV)

 

You men have stayed with Me through many struggles. So I give you authority to rule with Me in the kingdom the Father has given Me. You will eat and drink at My table in that kingdom. You will sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. – (Luke 22:28-30, ERV)

 

Jesus offered these words to His disciples at the last supper on the night He was betrayed. Though they had just been arguing about who among them was the greatest, Jesus pointed them to the proper perspective on personal position, and then proceeded to acknowledge all of them as His faithful friends who would be seated at His table in Heaven. Our charge is to serve, rather than concern ourselves with attaining a place of power. Whatever our position, we are called to serve and honor Christ. If we seek to serve, rather than be served, our heavenly rewards far outweigh any earthly acquisitions we might hope for. To know that we will be in Christ’s presence forever, is reason enough to seek Him all the more. May we be faithful to stand firm, and rest assured in the reward that is yet to come in Christ.

 

When we seek the Lord,External Appearance

His power resides;

He dwells within us,

so near, He abides.

Christ’s great faithfulness,

and goodness alone;

ought to compel us,

make our heart His home.

With hearts set to serve,

may we go in peace;

to honor our King,

His glory, release.

When our days are done,

and we stand alone;

may we hear, “Well done,

come child, you are home.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You love us to life. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to love and serve, as You want us to do. Forgive us for being more concerned about our position or acquisitions than about people. Teach us to prioritize as You do. Let Your love lead us to serve others, so that they too, might come to know the truth. May many find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek to serve as You call and equip us to do. 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