Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. 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

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You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Though I am quite sad to have missed practice last night, I know that the rest my body received as a result, has made a difference. This morning as I woke, my throat no longer hurt, and I know that the sleep that was desperately needed, was granted at last. I appreciate how God uses the people whom we trust most, to be the voice of reason. Both my fiancée and best friend worked in cahoots to convince me to stay home and rest. His love surrounds me, and His strength renews me. Gratitude and love flood my heart and mind, as I think of the tremendous things He has done for me. Not only in these small things to get through each day when I am fighting sickness, but throughout my life, as He has been my strength for all of my days. The Lord is good, and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and tell Him of the love we have for Him who provides and guides throughout all of our days.

 

I love You, O Lord,

IMG_3833

For all You have done;

The strength that You give,

The battles You’ve won.

Your grace and Your love,

Make me strong enough;

To rise and press on,

When life seems too tough.

All love and all thanks,

I lift unto You;

As You make me strong,

By Your grace and truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and You do tremendous things for us. Lord we love You and give You all honor and praise. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the way we are meant to go and empower us to do all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our lives and praise You for the strength that You grow in us each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Making Markers to Remember

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will as you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – (Joshua 4:6-7, NLT)

…Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” You will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and those stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever. – (Joshua 4:6-7, VOICE)

 

I love how often in the Old Testament that there are significant stories of God’s faithfulness where the people of God marked their story with stones of remembrance so that the memory of all that God had done will live on for the generations yet to come. I’m not sure when or where that practice was lost, but it makes me take pause to consider yet again, all of the times in my life where I could pile stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The incredible thing about God is that He cares about the small things as well as the giants that cross our paths. One example of His provision and faithfulness for me came yesterday, as I have been dealing with a dead Keurig for the last two weeks. Yes, I know it is a luxury item and I have been abundantly blessed to have one, yet as a very early riser who starts the day with coffee, it has been sadly missed as I’ve had to brew coffee in a make-shift, rustic way. Yesterday, my love spent two hours disassembling the machine to replace the part that seemed to have gone bad. The inner workings of the machine are tiny and difficult to access, yet my Viking mechanic persisted. Once he replaced the part and turned the machine on, it came to life, only to refuse to work the way it was intended. The life of my coffee maker had expired. I had posted my appreciation for his hard work on Facebook, and he later commented about its demise. A sweet friend that I have not seen in quite a while, offered to give me her machine, as she has given up coffee and no longer uses hers. Just like that, something that is not even a need, but rather a want that is appreciated, was provided. Perhaps I need to form a stack of memorial “stones” from k-cups, to remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness, and to share with others, His kindness to me. We all have stories, both big and small, of the wonderful ways that God has provided in our lives. May we ever remember the things that He has done, and consider the stones of remembrance He is building in our lives.

 

Let us make markers, Making Markers to Remember

Of God’s faithfulness;

Ways to remember,

How we have been blessed.

For as we recall,

The good God has done;

Faith grows in others,

Our daughters and sons.

May we each take time,

To tell of His good;

How He’s provided,

Beside us, He stood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You care about even the small details in our lives because You love us where we are. Thank You for the example that was set long ago, as Your people placed stones of remembrance to commemorate Your faithfulness to them. Forgive us for not acknowledging the ways that You meet us and bless us – both big and small, for Your hand is in it all. Teach us to remember and give You praise for all things. Show us how to set stones of remembrance in our hearts so that we would always have words of gratitude to give. Help us to love those around us in a way that creates reason to remember in their lives as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness and tell others of the great things that You have done. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Provided Time

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, MSG)

 

I absolutely believe this to be true for everything, except for grading papers. I loathe having to sit down for long stretches of time, especially on the weekends, to grade tests or papers when I could be out doing just about anything else on earth. However, yesterday, I learned that even so, there is a time and place for grading that is not nearly as painful, and it was provided. My boys were off to work at a collegiate football game until the wee hours of the morning, and my love and his son were heading to his friend’s auto shop up north to work on a car that they were being given, and I had been invited to tag along. After being warned ahead of time that there was little to do, I had determined to bring along tests that needed to be graded, with the hope that I might make a dent in my pile. The warning I had been given was true, as the shop was way out in the middle of nowhere, and there was nothing to keep me from focusing on grading. There was even a chair, a desk space and a portable heater, so I was set up for success from the start. Though I took a few stretch breaks and drove into town to pick up dinner for all of us, by the time we left, I had managed to grade all but three of the ninety tests that had been in my stack! It may seem like a small thing, but for me, it is huge. His provision of a time and place for me to accomplish what I would have otherwise avoided, is a reminder of His concern in even the minute details of our lives. He will provide a right time for everything if we are asking, and will make a way, even if we feel there is no way. May we ever seek the One who is faithful in all things forever.

 

For all things there’s time, Provided Time

A season for all;

God will make a way,

When on Him, we call.

Even in spaces,

That seem there’s no way;

In the Lord’s timing,

He’ll provide pathway.

Trust in His timing,

For God has a plan;

He knows all our needs,

By grace, understands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, there is a time for everything, and that You will make a way where there seems to be no way, as we turn in trust to You. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small and mundane details of our lives. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, even in the seemingly small or insignificant things. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to make Your presence known and help us in our need. Show us how to love others in a way that provides help and hope, even in the things that seem small and insignificant, as often those are the things that matter most to the individual. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as with give You glory for Your faithful provision in all things great and small. 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

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

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

Happy with Hiccups

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



Good is such a relative term. What is good to one, is miserable to another. Sometimes, our perspective matters most in determining if times are good. Right now, I am staying at a beautiful facility in the jungle in Belize as a part of a medical mission team. Many of the team members are dear friends, and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the others as well. The hiccup in this humidity is that there has been no water in the main house where I am staying for the past two days, and consequently, I have not had a shower in as many days. Despite feeling a bit slimy, times truly are good and I am happy to be here in this place, at this time, with these people. May we ever recognize the good that comes from God, and lay hold of the joy that He brings.
As the sun rises,  Happy with Hiccups

There is good to see;

We must make the choice,

In Him, find happy. 

For there will be snags,

Small stealers of joy;

But we have the choice,

His grace, to employ. 

For throughout all things,

And during all times;

God is always good,

And His love we’ll find. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible good that You surround us with every day. Thank You for the joy that is ours for the taking, if we choose joy in You. Forgive us for not recognizing the good all around us, or for allowing small things to bear too much weight in our world. Teach us to trust You more so that we would appreciate the good that You grant us, and exude the joy that is ours in You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy and appreciate the good that You have given. 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

Two Ears and One Mouth

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. – (James 1:19, NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up in a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

 

So often, when buttons are pushed and tempers begin to flare, if the choice is made to first listen to understand where the other person is coming from, the initial spark of anger is diffused, and the things we choose to speak when we are ready, are far better received than if we simply spout out whatever comes to mind in the moment. There is a time and place for righteous anger – the sort of disgust that draws us to rise up and pursue possible solutions. However, in the seemingly small things that spark our hot buttons, we must seek the Lord and His heart and help, so that we are willing to listen, rather than speak. We are created with two ears and only one mouth. I imagine God intended that we use our parts accordingly. Our ears should likely be used at least twice as often as our mouths when we interact with others. May we go forth today with ears open, ready to listen with the intent to truly hear, ever keeping control of our tongue and leaving rage behind us.

 

With ears wide open,Be Not Silent

May we choose to hear;

What’s being spoken,

By those who are near.

Choose be slow to speak,

When anger finds way;

Words that are spoken,

Cannot go away.

Instead, in moments,

Slow down and choose trust;

God’s call to listen,

Just as He hears us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Thank You that this is not something that You expect us to do in our own strength, but rather You strengthen and equip us to listen first, so that we may truly hear the heart of those around us. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or for giving way to rage rather than seeking to understand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to listen and slow to speak, ever keeping anger at bay where it belongs. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are willing to listen, slow to speak, and allow You to help keep our anger in check. Amen.

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

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

Rise Up United

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

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

Even in the Small Things

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. 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