Tag Archive: stretch


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

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

 

This is a promise that I am holding close. As the end of the school year continues to draw ever nearer, the number of activities and obligations seems to grow exponentially. Days are long, and do not slow down, from early morning until late evening. God is faithful, and seems to provide enough energy to successfully navigate each new day, and here I sit on the final Saturday before the final three and a half days of the school year. Today is booked from early morning to evening, but it is an adventure with friends that refuels me with strength in the midst of my weariness. Regardless of the sort of stretch that lies ahead, there is One on Whom we can depend for strength and help and rest. May we ever seek the Lord in both times of weariness and strength, and welcome the rest that He alone will provide.

 

O Lord, here I stand,Rest in Weariness

In need of Your rest;

For You, God alone,

Provide for me best.

When weariness comes,

You grant me a way;

To find strength in You,

That is new each day.

And when I’m so tired,

I fear I am done;

Your strength sees me through,

Magnificent One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary and burdened, You provide us rest in You. Thank You for seeing us through and giving us strength when we are worn, and for walking beside us all of our days. Forgive us for trying to gut things out on our own and not turning in trust to You. Teach us to run to You in times of both struggle and strength, as You are our Source on whom we can always depend. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would be encouraged and strengthened by Your love through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

 

Don’t forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. 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

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7)

 

The gifts God gives are abundant and beneficial. That which He deposits within us, by His Holy Spirit, provide all that we need to live a powerful and purposeful life in Christ. Some of the above mentioned gifts are a bit easier to embrace than others. As one who has grown up as an athlete, the self-discipline portion makes sense and translates well to my spiritual life. Creating time each day to spend in God’s word is as natural as knowing the need to run regularly prior to a big race. Life is an ongoing race, so the daily training is essential to successfully navigate each new twist and turn as it comes.

 

Love too, seems to flow freely, as it has been poured abundantly into me. Having a godly and gracious grandmother and mother, who model what it means to love with all that they are, has set the standard for how I am meant to love my own children, and all those whom I encounter. Additionally, I am blessed with a circle of church family and friends that demonstrate the love of Christ, tangibly, to one another and to the community in which we reside.

 

To set aside timidity is to stretch the borders in which this introvert dwells. It is only by His power, that anything of worth can be accomplished, and I have to constantly remind myself that “greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.” It is only through self-discipline and love, that I am able to receive His power and say “yes“, when He asks anything of me that requires me to be bold. Ironically, this occurs daily, as the mere act of pressing the publish button is one of obedience, rather than of a desire to display my devotional life. By His Spirit, we can do abundantly more than we would ever imagine possible. May we go forth in His power, setting aside our fears and embracing His love, as we seek to submit to the Lord and live a disciplined life according to His good and perfect will.

 

For God does not give,Faith in the Fight

a spirit of fear;

but one of power,

as we choose draw near.

His Spirit is love,

and self-discipline;

to show us the way,

and keep us from sin.

Each time we choose love,

and set aside fear;

we show those in need,

how the Lord is near.

Lord, make us each bold,

strong in Your great might;

so we may run well,

and fight the good fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not give us a spirit of timidity, but rather You give us a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Thank You that as we embrace Your Spirit within us, You accomplish amazing things both in us and through us. Thank You that we have the privilege of joining with You on our journey, and that it is Your joy to help us grow. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of love or self-discipline. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be bold in Your power, and consistent in our faithful investment in You and Your created. Lead us to love others as You intend us to love. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our fears and embrace Your power and love through consistent time spent with You. 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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12)

 

Here I am, on the first day of summer break, and I am now compelled to study and stretch my mind to learn and grow more, wherever I can… This morning, this one verse, is packed full of deep and meaningful words. Rather than give an overall generalized application, I wanted to break it down, and look at each set of words, as their meaning is quite significant.

 

First, as God’s chosen people, we who have chosen to follow Christ, are wanted, desired, and considered among the Lord’s elect. This is not because we are worthy, but rather because He is good. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9)

 

Holy and dearly loved, is yet another designation that we are granted through the goodness and grace of God. To be holy, is to be considered to have a spiritually pure quality; this is ours through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf because He dearly loved each of us – His created. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Clothe yourselves, reminds us that we have a choice. We must be intentional to choose to rise each day and seek the Lord to live according to His will and walk in His way. Walking out the door for the day without actual clothes would be a disastrous option, so too is the way of not clothing ourselves in Christ. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Romans 13:14)

 

Compassion is sympathy that springs into action to help alleviate suffering. Rather than simply seeing a need, compassion does something to help. Where there is lack, compassion provides; where there is pain, compassion draws near. Compassion is Christ coming close through the hands, feet, and hearts of His people. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15)

 

Kindness is affection, amiability, benevolence and consideration. It is the one who sits beside the bullied, the broken or the hurting and simply remains present. Kindness extends gentle, encouraging words, even when they are not deserved. “…but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. – (Isaiah 54:8b)

 

Humility is the state of not being proud nor arrogant; being modest; courteously respectful. Humility gives credit where credit is due, even if it detracts praise from oneself. Not one of us is able to do anything that is praiseworthy without the giftings and grace of God. Without Him, we are nothing. All we do that has any worth, is because of Christ within us. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. – (Proverbs 22:4)

 

Gentleness defined, is without roughness or violence; mild and kindly.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1)

 

May we lay hold of our calling, and embrace the gift which He freely gives. Let us clothe ourselves, daily, with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might go forth and better love others as we choose to serve Him.

 

We each have been called,Compassion Crosses the Road

for Christ knows our names;

His love goes beyond,

the truth we proclaim.

No words can express,

how deep and how wide;

the love of the Lord,

when He’s asked inside.

The gifts that He grants,

allow us to bear;

each other in love,

with kindness and care.

Compassion will grow,

humility too;

gentle responses,

will be what we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You consider us Your chosen people; holy and dearly loved. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to go forth in our own strength, or for forgetting to seek You to be properly equipped for all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be completely dependent on You for all that is needed to live the life that You are calling us to lead. Help us to love others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so perfectly modeled for us through Your Son. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves as Your chosen people, and go forth to love well. 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

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

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