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

Anticipate God’s Goodness

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. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

A Tangible Display

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display – the Anointed One died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, VOICE)

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. – (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)

 

As we draw ever nearer to Easter, it is good to set our sights on what this season is all about. Each time I take pause and read anything related to what Christ came and did for me, I am in awe of the greatness of His goodness and His grace. Who willingly lays down their life to save another, when the very one being saved is against them? Before we knew Christ, He loved us. Prior to making a choice to invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He laid His down for us. While we were yet sinners, He came and bore the weight of all of our sin and shame so that we could be forgiven and free, and have life everlasting in Him. There is no greater love than He who willingly gave everything so that we could be made right before God and have eternal life. May the power of Christ’s life-raising love fill our hearts and minds, and lead us as we consider the weight of this wonderful week.

 

Stuck in the darkness,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Still shrouded in sin;

Christ came and He gave,

Love made the way in.

Though few might choose die,

For those who are good;

Only Christ the Lord,

In our place, He stood.

He bore such a weight,

Sin and shame of all;

So we could be free,

And on His Name call.

What powerful love,

Such wonder He is;

The truth and the life,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, while we were still sinners, far from You, to give His life for ours. Forgive us for not recognizing the weight of what You did for us so that we could have life everlasting in You. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your mercy and the greatness of Your grace as we walk out this week leading to Easter. Show us how to love those around us with the very same mercy and grace that we have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You have freely given, and go forth in freedom to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

We Are Called Friends

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! – (Romans 5:10, MSG)

I mean that while we were God’s enemies, He made friends with us through His Son’s death. And the fact that we are now God’s friends makes it even more certain that He will save us through His Son’s life. – (Romans 5:10, ERV)

 

The reason I often post a few different versions of a verse, is my way of sharing the process of looking and listening to what He wants my heart to hear on any given day. Sometimes, the words jump off of the page and grab hold of my heart the moment I first read them, however, there are other times that something seems significant and is keeping me stuck on a verse, but it requires repeated reading. Though the main message of Romans 5:10 reminds us that we were saved while we were still sinners because of Christ’s sacrifice, God uses His words that I have read many times, to show me something new, or remind me of truth that my heart needs to hear. This morning, I took pause as I read the portion that says: “now that we’re our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life!” That is a loaded statement. It is rare that I feel that I am at my best, as I am well aware of my own flaws and shortcomings. That being said, whenever I am dialed in on the depth and breadth of the hope I have in Him forever, I recognize how much He has done both in and through me, and know that there is so much more as I choose to faithfully follow Him. May we ever identify the incredible gift that we have been given through the grace of God, and go forth in the hope that we hold in knowing He is with us, for us, and our eternity is secure in Him.

 

What is this great love,IMG_2491

That saw us in sin;

Enemies of God,

Yet still welcomed in?

While stuck at our worst,

He made way to friend;

Greatest sacrifice,

So life would not end.

It is by His death,

And rising again;

We’re forgiven friends,

Life with Christ won’t end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, Your enemies – You called us friends as You gave Your very best so that we could come to have life everlasting in You. Thank You that through Your resurrection, we are also raised to new life by Your mercy and grace, and empowered to walk in Your way, rather than our own. Forgive us for somehow discounting the depth of what You did and thinking that we do not qualify, rather than receiving the gift that You freely give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a proper perspective as to who we are in You. Show us how to walk out our days in the wisdom that we are Your friends, so that we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You freely give, and walk forward in that which You have given us to share. Amen.

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

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

Character Building Endurance

Endurance shapes our character. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:4, VOICE)

And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. – (Romans 5:4, TLB)

 

I am guessing that this past week has been one of character building, as it has required much patient endurance on my part. Between fending off some sort of sinus infection and attempting to navigate a very busy week well, faith and hope have been the anchor to which I could cling, knowing that God was with me, despite fatigue and fear of falling short. There is yet today, and I will have to continue to trust big for where I lack. Thankfully, history has shown me again and again, that regardless of my condition, God is faithful to meet me. May we each rise up in trust, patiently enduring that which lies before us, knowing that He will walk beside us and remain with us, every step of the way.

 

When we choose endure,Character Building Endurance

To rise in His strength;

Our hearts are refined,

To reach greater lengths.

We learn what it means,

To hold on for good;

All faith in the Lord,

Where hope’s understood.

The more that we trust,

The more that we’re grown;

’til our faith’s secure,

And through us, He’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our busiest, most exhausting weeks can be used to shape, refine and grow us in You. Thank You that You grant us the endurance and patience that we need to press on, despite our desire to dismiss ourselves when days demand more than we can do on our own. Forgive us for lacking patience or not pressing into You. Teach us to trust You more, as our hope and faith grow strong and steady in You alone. Show us how to hope and anticipate Your goodness, always. Lead us to love those around us with patient endurance, regardless of their approach toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk forward with patient endurance, trusting You to refine our character and strengthen our hope and faith. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Joy in the Struggles

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. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

 

I can’t claim that I rejoice or am actually happy when trials or troubles come my way, but I am finding more and more, that I discover myself less anxious and more dependent upon the Lord when difficulty knocks on my door. Each trial that is successfully traversed, grows my confidence and endurance in He who is my strength. As new mountains are climbed and valleys navigated, I discover strength that I did not know was possible, through Christ. May we each hold fast to the hope that is held in He who is our strength, and trust that He will provide all that we need to overcome trials and troubles as they come our way.

 

Come let us rejoice,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No matter what comes;

Not for the battle,

But in Whom it’s won.

For all that we face,

Will grow within us;

Strength and endurance,

Deep trust in Jesus.

The more that we trust,

The more we shall know;

The grace of the Lord,

Will rise as it grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can rejoice in who You are, and how You provide, when trials and troubles come our way. Thank You that our struggles produce endurance and strength of character within us, growing our hope in all that You have promised. Forgive us for our lack of trust and lack of faith, as we struggle to trust what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, as You alone are our Source and our Strength. Show us how to love others so that they see the hope that is held in You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see the good that comes from our struggles, and trust You to be our hope and our help in the midst of them. 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

Hope Never Fails

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

 

The Holy Spirit within us grants us hope in our spaces of greatest need. Love from the Lord fills our hearts, and points to the places where hope is held, even when darkness seeks to destroy. It is our charge to look to the Lord when we struggle to hold His hope. He meets us in our moments of need, and floods us with His love. There is a delicate balance between hope for the future, and truly fixing our ultimate hope in Him alone.

Right now, this is a very personal struggle as I wait, not so patiently, for my back to heal from a compression fracture. It has been two very long months, and I am really ready to resume my full activity level with a vengeance. That being said, I must wait and see what the specialist says today after I get a new set of x-rays and he looks at my progress. My hope is that he will say that my back is better and I can return to all activities, but I know that I must really place my hope in the Lord, and trust that He has my very best in mind, and whatever the verdict, I am loved and I am held. God will carry me, regardless of the outcome. If I am cleared, the Lord will grant wisdom as to how I am to resume regular activities. If I am not, He will sustain my sanity, and grant me the grace that is needed to continue to wait for my body to heal.

When we hope in the Lord, we will never be disappointed. His love never fails. Humans fail. God never fails. May we place our trust in Him and allow the Lord to hold our heart and our hope as we go forward into this brand new day.

 

To hope in the Lord,Refreshment Through Repentance

Love that will not fail;

Where people fall short,

The Lord shall prevail.

Let us place our trust,

In He who is love;

Hope that is fulfilled,

By our God above.

Let not the longings,

For things here and now;

Influence our hope,

Of what He’ll allow.

For all that matters,

On our final day;

Is do we trust Him,

Let Him lead the way?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because Your Holy Spirit dwells within us, and floods our hearts with Your love. Thank You that no matter what surrounds us, Your hope is ahead of us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when things seem hopeless through our own eyes. Teach us to trust You more, and to hold fast to an eternal perspective rather than one that is temporary. There is so much more than the here and now. Show us how to love others well, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You and allow Your love to flood our hearts and overflow to those around us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

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

Overcoming Leads to Becoming

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. – (Romans 5:3-5)

 

There is a process of overcoming prior to our becoming all that God intends for us to be. Just as plants need pruning to remove the weight of what is dead to grow to their full height and fruitfulness, so too, do we. Part of our pruning process often involves trials that require perseverance. As we press on and into God, He refines and roots our character firmly in Him. Through the growth process, hope rises, and we become certain of in Whom our hope lies, because God is faithful throughout the process, and His Holy Spirit remains present in us, no matter what comes our way. May we rejoice in the process of overcoming, knowing that through it, we are becoming, all that God intends for us to be. Let hope rise, for His love has been placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Himself.

 

Praise through the pruning,Purposeful Prayer

for when it is done;

remaining is stronger,

so battles are won.

As we persevere,

character refined;

hope is given rise,

God’s glory defined.

He pours out His love,

into seeking hearts;

Holy Spirit’s home,

wherever we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though not one of us enjoys suffering, we can rejoice in how You use our trials to produce perseverance, character and hope within us. Thank You that though we may not see the purpose in the tragedies and trials that we face, we can trust that You will use all things for the good of those who love You. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when we are in the midst of trials, and help us to trust You enough to cling to You, knowing that You will lead us through the overcoming so that we may become more of who You have created us to be. Lead us to love others with the love that You have freely given unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we persevere in the overcoming, and trust You in our becoming, more of who You have created us to be. Let hope rise, as we are acutely aware of the love poured into our hearts by Your Spirit as we go. 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

Persevere to the Promise

God has great plans in store for those who love Him. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9) We cannot even begin to fathom all that the Lord has in store for us, both now and for all of eternity. The more we know God and invest time in His word, the greater the glimpses we gain of what is yet to come.

 

Even through hardships, trials and temptations, when we are in Christ, we have His Spirit with us to comfort and guide us as we press on and persevere. In fact, God uses the hard stuff to stretch and grow us into who He is calling us to be. For that reason alone, we can embrace the trials, trusting that He is using them to make us more like Him. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – (Romans 5:3-5) May we hold fast to the promises of God, trusting that all that we go through is for a purpose. More than that, what awaits us for all of eternity, is beyond anything we may ever endure on earth.

 

Times of great trial,Persevere to the Promise

and tempting shall come;

yet not on our own,

but in Christ, are won.

As we persevere,

our character grows;

as hope rises up,

the Lord’s glory shows.

May we each embrace,

all that comes our way;

the Lord can use all,

as hopeful display.

Let glimpses be gained,

of the hope to come;

as we love the Lord,

may battles be won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have not seen, heard, nor conceived all that You have prepared for us who love You, we can trust that it is very, very good. Thank You that when we choose to place our trust in You, our hope is secure forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the throes of the trials, and please grant us Your strength to persevere. Thank You that as we rely on You, You grow in us character, and through character; hope. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persevere in the push, and hold fast to our hope of heaven with You, forever. Amen.

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

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