Strength and Peace He Gives

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11)

Strength and peace are two commodities that are necessary to survive a day in the life of a middle school teacher. Strength to stand, even when weariness threatens to stop us in our tracks, or keep us from trying new things to better our craft and reach the kids that struggle the most. Peace must be present within us, as there is always chaos around us. There is no way to gather groups of tweens and young teens, and not have a bit of angst, eagerness, a few outbursts, lots of laughter, and the occasional fits of fury. The Lord is gracious, and He grants strength, when it feels as though there is none; and He provides His blessing of peace, even in the most chaotic of circumstances. With Him, there is joy in this job that many of us are called to do. Kids notice a difference when we find strength, despite our exhaustion, and peace regardless of that which goes on around us. May we each embrace the strength and peace that the Lord grants to those who seek Him.

The Lord gives us strength,Calm in the Storm

whenever we call;

He sees all our needs,

and won’t let us fall.

For He longs to bless,

His people with peace;

let anxieties,

to Him be released.

The Lord is faithful,

He is present still;

to help and to hold,

lead us in His will.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to Your people, and that You bless those who call on Your Name with peace. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You – in every situation and circumstance. Thank You for the youth of this generation. Thank You for the hearts that are seeking You. Forgive us for the frustration that we have with anyone we encounter that seems to zap our strength or steal our peace. Teach us to rely on You, so that in those situations, we are sharing Your love and grace, and instead, giving the opportunity to others to experience Your kindness and peace in a tangible way. May many choose to invest their lives in You. Be exalted O God, as we receive the strength and peace that You give, and use them for Your glory. 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

Wait Quietly with Hope

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

To quiet all of me, means to still my body, mind and spirit. This is no easy task. My mind races, my body longs to move, and my spirit is often unsettled in the constant momentum. It requires that I make an intentional choice to be silent before the Lord and simply wait in stillness. Neither natural, nor comfortable, this requires a choice of the will, because my hope is indeed held in God. What I find is that when I do slow down and silence myself before Him, and choose to wait quietly, He is faithful to meet me, and always has something to say to my heart. In the quiet wait, He whispers His words of encouragement, direction, correction and love. Time spent quietly waiting before God, is never for naught. He meets us in these moments, and reminds us why He is our hope and the One whom we can cling to in all things and at all times. May we allow all that we are to wait quietly before God, because our hope is held in Him alone.

O Lord I come,Confidence Comes Through Christ

in quietness;

as I choose wait,

I find my rest.

For all my hope,

is found in You;

O Faithful One,

Your word is true.

When chaos reigns,

and there’s no peace;

Lord please come near,

and grant release.

Encouragement,

when we have none;

all grace You give,

O Holy One.

May we allow,

all that we are;

to wait on You,

Great Morning Star.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come, with all that we are, and wait quietly before You. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us in the moments that we choose to come before You, and our hope is held in You alone. Forgive us for allowing our busyness to keep us from being intentional to wait quietly before You. Teach us to slow down and wait in Your presence, for You alone are our hope and our help. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, placing all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

He Leads Us to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NASB)

Shepherds lead, guide and protect their sheep to keep them safe and help them grow strong. The Lord is our Shepherd. He knows what we need, and cares for us accordingly. When we are weary, He brings us to a place of rest, where if we still our soul and seek Him, we become acutely aware of His nearness and provision for us. He restores our brokenness through His kindness, and loves us all the while. If we choose to follow Him, we want not; for He provides what we need, as it is needed. May we look to the Lord and allow Him to lead, as He is our good Shepherd.

When I know He’s near,Rest in His Unfailing Love

I’m safe in His arms;

He leads and protects,

keeps me safe from harm.

He brings me beside,

places I can rest;

He knows what’s needed,

and His ways are best.

My soul is restored,

as I trust in Him;

He loves me to life,

and leads me again.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that in You, we shall not want. Thank You that You bring us to quiet spaces of rest, where You restore our soul, and renew our strength. Thank You that all that we need is provided in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and angst that rises up when life becomes chaotic. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow You to lead, and willingly follow You wherever You call us to go. Show us how to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your leading and rest in the spaces of peace that You draw us into. 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

Working Out His Will

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13)

 

We are not on our own in the struggles and challenges of life. Christ in us, grants us the guidance to act according to His good and perfect will, if we are only willing to listen. He helps us desire to obey, and then empowers us to do just that. At times it is in the walking out what we know to be His purpose, that our desire grows, as does our trust in Him. The Lord takes our willingness, and turns it into opportunity to influence others for His glory. We must submit to Him to understand His will, so that we may walk it out with our lives. May we recognize God in us, as He is working to strengthen and empower us to act according to His good purpose.

 

It’s God within us,Overcoming Our Unbelief

working out His will;

the grace of Jesus,

ever-present still.

Through Him we may act,

in line with His good;

do what He’s asking,

obey as we should.

When we choose listen,

and to Christ submit;

His purpose fulfilled,

what’s broken is fixed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to submit to You, and allow You to be Lord of our life, You work in us and grant us the will to act according to Your good purpose for our lives. Thank You that it is not something that we can make happen on our own, but rather it is You in us, that grants us both the desire and the ability to do as You ask. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through things in our own strength, or for turning a deaf ear to what You are asking. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek Your will and Your strength, and then walk in obedience to all that You are asking. Lead us to love others well, through the strength and grace that You have given, rather than our own. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we trust You to work in us and through us to carry out Your good plans and purposes for our lives and the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

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

He Comes in Majesty

I am continually in awe of God and how He provides for us, as His children. He knows what we need, far better than we do; and He often answers before we even know what to ask.

 

Just yesterday, when I went out to grab the mail after a busy work day with much yet to be done, including a class that I wasn’t really eager to attend that was to dominate my evening, I found but one lone envelope in the box, and it was not a bill. The name on the return address was known, though not well, yet the contents included blessed and encouraged my heart in such a way, that it was as if God Himself, was using the sender’s hand to write His words to me. Among the kindness and encouragement offered, was the following verse:

 

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty.” – (Deuteronomy 33:26)

 

Not only had the God of heaven made His words tangible to me through the pen of another, but a thoughtful, practical, generous and much appreciated gift was included with words that uplifted my sagging soul on a soggy day. God moves heaven and earth to make His majesty known to us, if we are simply still and take in what is going on around us. When I take inventory of what has transpired over even the past week, I am amazed at how He has provided, protected and surrounded me. There truly is no one like our God, and He moves in majesty to help those who seek Him. May we look to He who rides on the heavens to be our help and our hope, in times of trouble and in times of peace.

 

God there is no one,Approaching the Throne of Grace

who is quite like You;

You come close to us,

and show us the truth.

With great majesty,

You sent unto us;

Your very own Son,

our Savior, Jesus.

Our help and our hope,

from heaven to earth;

our plight understood,

You’ve loved us since birth.

You see what we need,

You’re giving and kind;

we trust our Refuge,

most holy, Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no one like You, God. Thank You that You ride on the heavens to help us and on the clouds in Your majesty. Thank You that You know our need, and You see us and love us so much, that You surround us and supply for us, that which is needed and more. Forgive us for our moments of doubt and fear, where we forget just how big You are in the face of whatever lies before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we take pause in the moment and remember how much greater You are, than anything that may stand before us. Lead us to love with the same generosity that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty and move forward in confidence, knowing that You are our help and our hope forever. 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

Standing Firm in the Storm

Paul, more than most, understood what it was to stand firm, even in the face of a long and raging storm. Several times, he was imprisoned for his faith, yet each time Paul utilized his time in chains as an opportunity to stand firm, and share with others, the foundation of the faith on which he stood. After two years of imprisonment, Festus brought Paul before himself and the accusers from Jerusalem. Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” – (Acts 25:8) As the hearing continued, Paul made it clear that he had no fear of death if he deserved to die; however, knowing that he was innocent, Paul made his appeal to be heard before Caesar as a Roman citizen. After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” – (Acts 25:12)

 

Because Paul knew he was innocent and knew his rights as a Roman citizen, he was able to seek Rome’s protection. Also, Rome was a destination that Paul had hoped to go to preach the gospel, and this appeal would provide the opportunity – prisoner or not. Paul was standing firm in his faith in Christ’s strength, faithfulness, and provision, as he knew that though the path he was taking to get to Rome was not ideal, it was a way for Paul to arrive in Rome sooner than he might have otherwise. He did not bow down in despair as he remained a prisoner, rather he recognized the upcoming opportunity to share the good news with those who had not yet heard.

 

How can we do likewise? How can God use our circumstances to be light in the midst of darkness? When we remain grounded in Christ, regardless of what is going on around us, there is something magnetic that draws others in. Whether it is wonder or awe, people cannot help but draw near to a space of peace in a storm. May we stand firm in our faith, no matter what storm rages around us.

 

When mighty winds blow,Standing Firm in the Storm

and nothing is still;

depend on the Lord,

Who’s present to fill.

He will grant us strength,

when we have run out;

He’ll love us to life,

show us the safe route.

At times He will lead,

us right through the storm;

where we have to trust,

know He’ll keep us warm.

No matter what comes,

the promise remains;

His grace is enough,

to remove each chain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us with Your life. Thank You Jesus, that as You stood secure through the storm of the cross and took our every sin upon Yourself, You conquered death and brought new life to all who choose to believe. Thank You that when we stand firm in You, You see us through our every storm. Thank You that You remain present, and You provide the strength and support that is needed to either ride out the storm, or find a way out. Forgive us for failing to stand firm when storms seem too strong for us to face, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love well all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in You, through every storm that blows our way. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

A Pattern for Prayer

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. – (Colossians 1:9-12)

 

In this passage, Paul provides a marvelous model of how we can pray for leaders and missionaries. Even if we do not know the individuals for which we are praying, the basic needs to serve well are the same. Each of us needs to: understand God’s will, gain spiritual wisdom, please and honor God, bear good fruit, grow in the knowledge of God, be filled with His strength, have great endurance and patience, remain full of Christ’s joy, and give thanks always. (NIV footnotes) May our hearts be prompted to pray for those in positions of power and influence, both in the church and out on the mission field.

 

Help me remember,A Pattern for Prayer

to constantly pray;

for all those serving,

faithful in Your way.

May each know Your will,

gain wisdom in You;

to You, be pleasing,

as they bear good fruit.

Let their knowledge grow,

fill them with Your strength;

grant them endurance,

to go the whole length.

Fill them with Your joy,

and deep gratitude;

so many may see,

Your love they exude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of godly leaders. Thank You for Your word and the wisdom You provide. Thank You that even when we do not know how we ought to pray, You provide parameters to guide us. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who will speak to our hearts, if we simply will be still and listen. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in supporting those You have called to lead and to go out to the ends of the earth, both prayerfully and financially. Show us what we are meant to do, individually, and grant us the courage and the faithfulness to do as You ask. Lead us to love others as You so practically and readily love each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You this season. Be glorified Lord God, as we pray for those whom You have called to lead. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Seeking in Solitude

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

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