Hope Makes All the Difference

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NLT)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

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)

 

Hope makes all of the difference in our lives. When we know the hope that is held in God, we find joy and peace in our faith, even when our circumstances are less than ideal. God, in His goodness, fills us to overflowing, so that we may demonstrate the hope we hold in Him. Our joy and peace that comes through trust in Him is the very thing that extends hope to those around us. May we seek the Lord, our source of hope, and pray that He infuses the lives of those around us with His joy and peace to grow faith so that hope is overflowing.

 

To our Source of hope, Hope Makes All the Difference

O God I do pray;

That You will infuse,

Lives with Your great grace.

Grace that brings Your peace,

Abundance of joy;

That builds people up,

May Your hope employ.

For as our faith grows,

We learn well to rise;

To hold fast to hope,

Your love realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and seek You to be the source of hope in our lives. Thank You that You hear us and answer with Your joy and peace as You grow our faith. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our source. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in every circumstance – be it in seasons of blessings or struggle, as You are the One who supplies all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and brings joy and peace where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek You to be our hope in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Who Are We?

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, ESV)

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, NLT)

King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that You have brought me to this place in life?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, MSG)

 

David had gone from being a faithful young shepherd boy in his father’s fields, to a good and powerful king, who was blessed and anointed by God. He had to endure many trials in between, yet recognized the faithfulness of God through it all. As he sat before God and prayed, he acknowledged in awe and wonder, how it is that God had granted him such kindness and favor. Though I am not in a seat of public power (nor would I want to be), I am the daughter of the Almighty King. When I look back, even over the last few years, I can ask the very same question that David asked: “Who am I, Lord God, and who is my family that You have brought us this far?” I am in awe at the faithfulness and goodness of God, and how He has provided and blessed and covered my boys and me. He has brought us love and laughter and life in places where such things had grown dim, and has provided all that we have needed and more. Verses like this one are a terrific reminder for us to slow down, take some time, and give thanks for the grace we’ve been given to carry us thus far. May we ever look to the Lord to be our help and hope, and give Him praise for the many blessings throughout our days.

 

O God, who are we, not-defined-by-a-day

That You would show care?

What glorious grace,

You lovingly share.

Lord God, as we seek,

In awe, we are found;

You lead us to life,

Show us to sure ground.

Always You are near,

Through our highs and lows;

Your love surrounds us,

And helps us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see each of us as Your children whom You dearly love. Thank You that though we know we do not deserve it, You give us grace and mercy, and lead us through our trials and bring us to places of blessing. Thank You that no matter where we are on our journey, You are faithful to be present as our Help and our Hope. Forgive us for not seeking You in the seasons we need You the most, or for not giving You glory where glory is due. Teach us to honor and praise You in all seasons and stages of life, as You are the One who gives us strength and hope to persevere and overcome. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others feel blessed and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remain in awe of all that You have done, and ever rely on You for what is yet to come. 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

Comfort in Mourning

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a very heavy day for me. As I made my drive in to work, word of the tragedy that had taken place the previous night in Las Vegas flooded the airwaves. Grief gripped my heart like a vice, as I thought of the families who were suffering both with loss, inexplicable harm to loved ones, and the wait in not knowing if those dear to them were safe or had fallen in harm’s way. Sadly, my grief grew as I learned of the loss of an incredible woman, who had been lovingly invested in her church, community and family, and tragically died shortly after childbirth. It is in these moments, these seasons of sorrow, that I look to the Lord for comfort and some sort of sense to be made out of all of that which seems so senseless. Though I do not think I will ever completely understand why such horrific acts and terrible tragedies occur, I must cling to the promise that God blesses and comforts those who mourn. He is our comfort and our place of peace, even when nothing seems steady nor secure. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our comfort, as He will bless and embrace those who mourn.

 

God brings His blessing,Comfort in Mourning

To all those who mourn;

He’s our safe harbor,

Through all of life’s storms.

He’ll be our comfort,

When flooded with grief;

The One to embrace,

As love grants relief.

When tragedy strikes,

And hope seems but gone;

Bring grief to the Lord,

He’ll carry us on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of sorrow and heartache and so much tragedy, You are present to provide Your comfort. Thank You that Your arms embrace us, even when we cannot bear to lift our eyes from the weight of our sorrow. Thank You that You meet us in our mourning and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for not turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the Provider of comfort and the One who blesses us in the midst of heartache. Show us how to love and comfort those who are grieving, so that they may know Your comfort in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort in our times of mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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

Safe in New Seasons

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE)

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

 

Aging is an interesting phenomenon. Each mile mark that I reach, there are new blessings and challenges. Last November, for the first time in my life, I discovered that I needed reading glasses. As I attempted to read a recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin, I discovered that I simply could not see the small print. Since then, I went to the eye doctor and she confirmed what I already knew. Age had finally caught my eyes, and glasses would be needed from here on out. After a lifetime of not wearing them, it is a strange adjustment that I forget most of the time, until I have to sit in front of a computer or read multiple pages of text. That being said, the joys that God has brought in this time in my life, far outweigh such a small thing. His care, concern and covering has stayed constant, and I am endlessly amazed at how He blesses me with His presence and His love. Though I may fight the white hair portion of aging for a while, I will fully embrace His grace and goodness as each new chapter unfolds. May we recognize and remember that God has promised to remain present throughout our lifetime, and He will carry us when we cannot walk on our own.

 

All throughout our lives, Safe in New Seasons

God’s promised to stay;

To be by our side,

To show us the way.

We need never fear,

New seasons of life;

For God is faithful,

Through peace and through strife.

When we have no strength,

The Lord remains strong;

He will lift us up,

Lead us further on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You that You are with us through each new season that we walk through. Thank You that if we grow weary or weak, we need not fear, for You are with us and will carry us on. Forgive us for fearing what is yet to come, and teach us to trust You to continue to carry and save us throughout our lifetime. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages and helps those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to remain present forever, and go forth in the confidence that You will carry us along and keep us in Your care. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Faithful to Fulfill

Finish what You started in me, God. Your love is eternal – don’t quit on me now. – (Psalm 138:8, MSG)

Lord, I know You will do what You have promised. Lord, Your faithful love will last forever. You are the One who made us, so don’t leave us! – (Psalm 138:8, ERV)

The Eternal will finish what He started in me. Your faithful love, O Eternal One, lasts forever; do not give up on what Your hands have made. – (Psalm 138:8, VOICE)

 

Just as David called on the Lord in faith, trusting that God would fulfill His promises, we too can do the same. Though David went through some trying and troubling seasons, He ultimately knew that His life was in God’s hands. In his fear and frustration in what human eyes could conceive, David chose to trust and called on the Lord. We are called to do likewise. The work that God has begun in us, He will be faithful to complete. His love will never leave us nor forsake us, and we can place all of our trust in Him. May we fight to forge forward in faith, even when we cannot seem to find our footing. God has us in His hands, so we must place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord has a plan,hope-overflowing

For your life and mine;

We must choose to trust,

Place hope in Divine.

For God’s faithful love,

Endures for us still;

He’ll work to complete,

Each promise, fulfill.

The Lord won’t give up,

On what He has made;

Keep seeking His face,

As He makes the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that Your faithful love for us endures forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt when we cannot see clearly the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep moving in the direction to which You have called us. Show us how to love and encourage those around us as they seek to discover who You have created them to be as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to all that You have promised, and continue to move in the direction to which we have been called. 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

Out of the Desert

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

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

Teach the Way that Fits

Train a child in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, CEB)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

 

This morning, as the change of seasons is in the air, and the sense of a new school year is sneaking into consciousness, this verse strikes a significant spot in my heart. How I teach, how I lead, what I say, and all that I do, matter around kids. Both my own and my students will be watching. They notice when I am patient, and they are aware of when I am not. Do I apologize when I am wrong? If I show students what I expect from them, it leaves an impression that lasts. In my own experience as a student, the teachers that stood out the most, were the ones who were consistent and fair over time, and were able to make me feel heard and known. It is only through our hearing and knowing kids, that we can train them in the ways in which they should go. Our task to give them the tools to navigate the world around them is significant. Though a history lesson or a math lesson in and of itself might not be “the” key that drives their success in the future, perhaps a nugget of wisdom that came from conversation will stick with them, and help them along the way. May we take to heart the task of training children in the way that meets them where they are, and helps move them forward to where they need to go.

 

To train up a child,photo (15)

How they’re meant to go;

Is no easy task,

To help children grow.

We must meet each child,

However they come;

Discover their need,

Help them know they’re loved.

It is more than words,

It’s shown over time;

Intent with purpose,

The way to walk right.

As they discover,

The strength that’s within;

They find their own wings,

Power to begin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for trusting us with the tremendous task of training children. Thank You that You give us Your word, that when children are trained up in the way they are meant to go, that they will not depart from it when they are old. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises. Forgive us for our inconsistencies when interacting with kids. Teach us to be patient and kind, encouraging and ones to model the way in which we are asking kids to go. Show us how to love all kids well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. Help each child to feel valued and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare to teach children however they come, and lead them in the way they are meant to go. Amen.

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

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

From Peace to Health

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, NLT)

A serene heart can add years to one’s life. – (Proverbs 14:30a, VOICE)

Peace of mind makes the body healthy. – (Proverbs 14:30a, ERV)

A sound mind makes for a robust body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, MSG)

 

Our head, heart and body are all intricately interwoven by our Maker. When one is not well, the other two are affected also. It is no wonder that peace is so often mentioned in the Bible, for when our heart is at peace, our mind and body follow.

I have experienced seasons in my own life, where peace was seriously lacking. Though I sought and loved the Lord, my mind and heart were wrestling to grasp His peace in my surroundings. The unrest actually took a terrible toll on my body, and it got to the point that I had to make a change for my health – physically, emotionally and spiritually. When I moved in obedience to that which I had been called – the space that delivered me from the chaos to a place of peace – I suddenly found peace again. Not only was peace restored to my heart and mind, but my body began to be restored as well. With a renewed sense of His peace, it was well with my soul.

This is not to say that I have perfected finding His peace amidst the chaos. However, I have seen and know how faithful our Father is to meet us in the middle of our mess if we are only willing to allow Him entry. As we choose to walk in obedience, the direction to which we are called, His peace permeates our existence, regardless of what surrounds us. May we allow the Lord to be the peace of our hearts and minds, so that we may know the beauty that His presence brings to all things – body, mind and soul.

 

The God of all peace,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

Wants our hearts to know;

That in Him we’ll find,

Calm where chaos flows.

When the Lord’s peace comes,

Our health is restored;

Heart, body and mind,

Come let us adore.

We need choose listen,

And then opt obey;

For His perfect peace,

In love, lights our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find peace. Thank You that when we have peace in our hearts, our bodies and minds know peace too. Thank You that our health and wellness are found in You, not in our surroundings. Thank You that even in times of great chaos, we can have peace in Your presence. Forgive us for our anxiousness that sits idle, rather than reaches out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You and listen to Your direction, as You are faithful to lead us to Your place of peace, regardless of the wreckage around us. Show us how to love those around us who are desperate for Your peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You – the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to permeate our bodies, minds and souls, no matter our circumstances or surroundings. 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

Strength in Hope

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)

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)

 

I cannot honestly claim to be happy when troubles come. Patience comes more easily in some scenarios than others. When the rubber meets the road, I know that I can run to our Redeemer, and He provides the strength and stamina that is needed to sustain me through whatever I am facing. His presence provides the hope I hold that the present circumstance will not remain forever, and His goodness and grace grant joy and peace despite the trial before me. God is good, even when our circumstances are not. Every trial that we endure, refines and grows us to more clearly reflect the radiance of our Redeemer. May His patient endurance rise within us as we face what lies before us, and may we hold fast to the hope that is found in the goodness of God alone.

 

In times of trial,Enter With Thanksgiving

Endurance is found;

When we seek the Lord,

His grace does abound.

The strength that we need,

And hope we can hold;

Given through goodness,

Patience shall unfold.

He will make us strong,

Through our suffering;

Our character’s shaped,

When to Him we cling.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we might not be happy with trials or troubles that come our way, we can be grateful for what comes out of them. Thank You that You use our every struggle to establish patience within us, and prove to us the strength that we can find in You. Thank You that our character is refined when we seek You in the struggle, and we learn to further trust and place our hope in You. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting in the throes of the trials. Teach us to trust You more, so that in all things and at all times, we would seek Your wisdom and strength to lead us in the way in which we are meant to go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know the hope that is found in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You, no matter what we are going through. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3