Light in Loss

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. – (Lamentations 3:20-22, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, in our neighboring city, a police officer’s life was senselessly taken. While the officer was responding to a domestic dispute call, he was shot and killed. My heart aches for the family of the slain officer, and for the families of all those who serve and protect our nation. Each time one of our officers in blue is shot, more fear finds way into the hearts of families who anxiously wait for their loved ones to return home at the conclusion of each shift. Grief cannot help but grip our hearts at the brokenness of humanity. When a hero falls, it is indeed a time to grieve. However, we must still dare to hope. Even in the darkness, light finds way to shine. The faithful love of the Lord does not end, and His mercies never cease. Though there were children holed up in the hiding place with the shooter, other officers were able to safely remove them from the scene. Despite the devastation of the situation, there were innocent lives that were spared that could have been lost. May we remember those who have been lost, yet continue to hold hope in the One who loves without limits and is merciful forever.

 

Let us not forget,light-in-loss

Those who serve us well;

With honor, protect,

As crime they dispel.

For far too often,

Lives of these are lost;

As they seek to serve,

The ultimate cost.

May we remember,

Those who serve in blue;

Let mercy and hope,

Surround and renew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in times of grief, You are our hope. Thank You that Your faithful love never ends and Your mercies continue forever. Forgive us for losing sight of these truths in the throes of devastation and heartache. Teach us to trust in You more, so that we would cling to You regardless of what is happening around us. Show us how to love those around us, particularly officers and families of officers in light of recent events. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things and at all times. 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

 

Remember

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

 

On this day, I cannot help but take pause and remember what occurred fifteen years ago. As I was driving in to work, the information that was conveyed on the radio was surreal. How on earth could a perfectly good airplane crash into a major structure in the heart of Manhattan? The day continued to unfold, as the tragedies grew and the shock and horror that swept our nation was staggering. However, in the midst of the chaos and destruction, there was a rising rally of hope. First responders and volunteers flocked to the center of destruction, and worked tirelessly in hope of finding survivors. People banded together to help the hurting and support rescue efforts. Even in the darkest hours, the hands and heart of God could be seen. In addition to all of the coordinated rescue efforts, there are countless stories of others who were somehow spared that fateful day. Flights that were rerouted, grounded for days and provided for by the people of small towns, individuals who missed flights that were booked on those that crashed, and still others of how rescuers assisted in bringing people to safety in the midst of mayhem. Though we cannot begin to grasp why one life was lost and another was spared, we can hold onto the hope that our help comes from the Lord. He is our strength and our source, and the One on whom we can depend even on the darkest of days. May we seek Him and trust Him in all things and at all times, as we remember that despite circumstances, He is always good.

 

On the darkest days,

The Lord still is light;

He’s present to help,

No matter our plight.

When tragedy strikes,

The Lord is still good;

His hands and His heart,

He makes understood.

So often people,

Are who He will use;

To extend His love,

And share the good news.

News that what’s today,

Is not where it ends;

For hope shall arise,

And new life begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope no matter what comes our way. Thank You that despite the devastation and destruction that took place fifteen years ago today, we can also remember the stories of communities banding together, of brave men and women who willingly placed themselves in harms way to help, and of our nation that came together to support one another and to mourn. Forgive us for not lifting our eyes to You, as You alone our where our help comes from. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others as an extension of Your hands and heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You for help and then reach out to others. 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

Seeing Past a Sordid Past

People should never be discounted for who they appear to be, or what they may have done in the past. God can redeem and raise up the unlikeliest of people to do great things for His purposes.

This morning, my daily reading covered Joshua 2:1-21, which is the story of Rahab and how she helped the Israelite spies that Joshua had sent ahead to Jericho.

“Rahab is a woman in a male-centered world; and she is a prostitute, the kind of person we typically vilify. But if she doesn’t rescue these men – and help them escape with the information they have gained – this first campaign in the land of Canaan will fail, and the larger outcome may be complicated  – or worse.” (VOICE footnotes)

As a result of Rahab’s protection of the spies when the king had sent his guards to find them, she and her family would ultimately be spared. The spies spoke the following to Rahab: “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.” – (Joshua 2:14, NLT)

Not only would her life be spared, but all of her family.

I love that a woman with such a sordid past, was used by God to do something so remarkable. Her act of kindness propelled the movement of an entire population into the promise so long sought after. No one should ever be discounted. We all have a past, yet each one has potential. God can do ANYTHING through a heart that is willing. May we rise up and look at the world around us through a lens that sees possibilities rather than just problems. Great things begin with the seemingly insignificant…

 

Do not choose discount,Finding Freedoms Flight

A colorful past;

For last shall be first,

And first shall be last.

God does not do things,

The way we foresee;

But rather He moves,

To set captives free.

Perceptions at times,

Are the thickest walls;

That limit our sight,

And disrupt His call.

Lord, give us Your eyes,

To see as You do;

Each person with gifts,

That You long to use.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see every single person as someone with potential to do great things according to Your purposes. Thank You that our past does not discount us, nor does our present status. Forgive us for discounting ourselves or others from being useful to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may see ourselves and others through Your lens, not our own. Show us the potential in those around us, and help us to encourage and draw out the good in all. Help us to love others well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for opportunities to move where You are calling, and to encourage those around us as they step out in faith. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Faith First

image by Penny Hoff

image by Penny Hoff

Rejoice in the Lord,

watch for evil men;

safeguard your spirit,

all trust place in Him.

We who choose worship,

in Spirit and truth,

count not credentials –

legalistic noose.

For what God values,

is a faithful heart;

faith fuels action,

and grants us new start.

Righteousness follows,

finds hearts that are true;

not unto the law,

but to His, made new.

Fixed eyes on the Lord,

will grow greatest gain;

wisdom and purpose,

granted by His pain.

By faith, we embrace,

this gift He’s giving;

rise up and press on,

truly start living.

(Responding to Philippians 3:1-9)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we do is not a prerequisite to faith, but rather a result of it.  Thank You that while we were still sinners, You sent Your Son, so that we might be spared.  Forgive us for allowing our confidence to be placed anywhere other than in You, and help us to always seek You, by faith, trusting that You have a purpose and a plan for each part of our path.  Teach us to trust You more, so that fear is far from us.  Please touch those in need of Your healing hand, and hold close, those who need Your comfort.  Use us Father, as Your hands, heart and voice, to touch lives with Your love and encourage hurting hearts.  May many come to know the confidence found in You, as You draw them near.  Amen.

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