Strength that Endures with Joy

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, NLT)

We pray that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy. – (Colossians 1:11, MSG)

 

As I gear up for the final week before Christmas break, I find much comfort in this verse from Colossians. I am reminded again of from Whom my strength comes, and that there is joy as we press on with patience along our journey. My job already requires more patience than I could ever muster on my own, yet God, in His great power, will provide more as it is needed. He will give us strength that goes beyond grit, and His eyes to see the good that comes from seeking His help as we go. May we seek the Lord for His strength and endurance, so that we walk through this season in joy.

 

The God of all strength, Joy to the World

Will give what we need;

His love and His grace,

In joy, they will lead.

So seek the good Lord,

Patience to endure;

He’s ever faithful,

Our hope is secure.

As we go in grace,

And strength He employs;

We’re able to rise,

And go forth with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and grace that supply the endurance and patience that we need to navigate whatever comes our way. Thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer in Your love. Forgive us for not relying on You for what we need, and trying to gut out the trials rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, recognizing that You alone are our true Source. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend patience, grace and kindness in a way that fills hearts with Your joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your strength and embrace the joy that You supply along our journey. Amen.

 

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

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filed with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

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Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. 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

Soothe My Soul

But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and throughout each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. – (Psalm 42:8, NLT)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the true God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

 

God’s faithful love is present, and is poured out upon us daily. At the end of the day, when I slow down and recognize the evidence of His hand that has been everywhere, my soul is soothed by the songs that present prayerful praise to He who has given me life. On great days, we can praise Him for the blessings that have been poured upon us. When days are difficult, we can thank Him for the strength that sustained us, and the glimpses of hope that He gave along the way. No matter what each day holds, His unfailing love awaits. May we receive the love that our Heavenly Lord gives, and give Him praise for all of our days.

 

Each new day that comes,

IMG_3833

©Shannon E. Moreno

You’re faithful to give;

Your unfailing love,

To have as we live.

As each day closes,

May from our hearts flow;

Songs of thanksgiving,

For good that we know.

Each breath that we take,

A gift from above;

Let’s sing songs of praise,

Of Your gracious love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfailing love that You pour upon us. Thank You that as the day closes, our hearts cannot help but hold songs of praise unto You. Thank You that You are the God of our life, and that You give us strength. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should, or giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that Your unfailing love is what we can count on. Show us how to shower those around us in Your love, as we extend kindness and grace in the same way that You give unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive You unfailing love and sing songs of praise unto You for all of our days. 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

Grace Unearned

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. – (Romans 11:6, NLT)

And if He chose them by grace, then it is not what they have done that made them His people. If they could be made His people by what they did, His gift of grace would not really be a gift. – (Romans 11:6, ERV)

Grace is central in God’s action here, and it has nothing to do with deeds prescribed by the law. If it did, grace would not be grace. – (Romans 11:6, VOICE)

 

God’s grace at first glance, seems to be a paradox, as how could He possibly give such undeserved goodness and love to a sinner, such as myself. That is the amazing thing about His grace, He gives to the undeserving, and loves without limits. Each time I am made aware of His goodness and grace, I recognize just how incredible His love is for me, despite all of my flaws and failures. Yes, I love Him and long to serve Him, but I am a work in progress, and am far from having “arrived“. Perhaps that is the point. As we recognize our own shortcomings and see how His goodness is complete, we are ever aware of our need for Him in our lives. May we rise up in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and grace, and give Him thanks for the gifts that we’re given, though we deserve them not.

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness to us. Thank You that it is not given for good works that we do to somehow earn it, but rather You give grace out of the abundance of Your love for us. Thank You that it is free and undeserved, reminding us that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we either take Your grace for granted, or try to somehow earn our way into a good space before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is motivated by our love for You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they too, will long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You freely give, and praise You for who You are. 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

May We Ever Praise

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. – (Psalm 100:4-5, NLT)

 

God is good and His love never fails. He is faithful forever, and deserves all of our thanks and praise. There are days, however, when giving thanks is not necessarily the nearest and dearest thought to our hearts. When sickness strikes and plans change, it can be easy to lose sight of the goodness of God. I am overwhelmingly blessed with both a mother and grandmother that model what it is to give thanks, regardless of circumstance. Thanksgiving has been a favorite gathering time for my mom, my sister and her family, and me and my progeny. This year, my mom has a horrible cold virus and does not have the energy to travel across the mountains and an additional few hundred miles south to my sister’s home. It will be the first Thanksgiving in several years that we have not all been together to give thanks. Rather than mope and feel downcast, (though I am certain she is bummed as are we) my mom has chosen to bless us in spite of her absence. I woke to a sweet message from her, with a note that a gift that will help keep me alert as I drive is on the way. (Oh sweet Starbucks love!) She is choosing to focus on His goodness and demonstrate His faithfulness, and remind each of us, that regardless of circumstance, there is always reason to praise. May we each go forth with thanksgiving, recognizing His goodness and faithfulness, as we share of His unfailing love with each new generation forever.

 

As we all gather,Give Thanks for Faithfulness

Both from far and near;

Let us be thankful,

For how the Lord hears.

Because He is good,

May we ever praise;

Our faithful Father,

For all of our days.

Be not dependent,

On life’s circumstance;

But by His great love,

May our souls choose dance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are able to enter Your presence with thanksgiving and praise. Thank You that You are good and that Your unfailing love continues forever. Thank You that You are faithful to each generation. Thank You for the faithful women in my life that model for me, thankful hearts who give out of the abundance of Your love. Forgive us for not giving You thanks and praise for who You are, and help us to rise up and recognize that our reason for thanks unto You is not circumstantial. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and goodness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our thanks and praise because You are good and Your love lasts forever. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Come with Thanksgiving

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NLT)

 

I love how God knows what we need far better than we do. Yesterday, what I thought I would be doing, turned into something entirely different, yet the difference was a wonderful day filled with laughter and fun with two of my very dearly treasured friends. We spent the day going to our favorite Thai food lunch, shopping for baking supplies, and then ended up back at their house for a baking extravaganza as we were serenaded by Christmas music. There was laughter, singing, terrific tastes, and my heart was full. It is that very sort of space that reminds me of Who gives me reason to sing, and my heart cannot help but give Him thanks for His goodness to me. May we all raise our voices in thanksgiving, to offer praise to Him who gives us reason to sing.

 

Come all, let us sing,come-with-thanksgiving

With joy to the Lord;

For in Him, we’re saved,

As grace is outpoured.

Let our thanksgiving,

Rise unto His ear;

As we sing His praise,

May our hope be clear.

All thanks unto You,

O Lord God of all;

In all things let praise,

Be that which enthralls.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Rock of our salvation. Thank You that we can come to You with thanksgiving, as You are faithful; always. Thank You that You receive our offerings of songs of praise as acceptable before You. Forgive us for not bringing our gratitude before You nearly often enough. Teach us to joyfully sing praise and thanks to You for who You are, as You are always good. Show us how to love others well, so that we might spread joy and love and light with those who may not otherwise have reason to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanksgiving, singing praise unto You. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Fully Trusting Him

The Lord is my strength and my shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – (Psalm 28:7, NLT)

 

God is so good. He gives strength, protection and joy as our hearts are in need, and something within us cannot help but rise up and respond in gratitude. I would love to say that I trust Him with all of my heart. There are days that I do. Sometimes, fear or doubt find a doorway, and keep me from fully trusting Him. In those spaces, it is where I need His help all the more. When He brings such spaces to my attention, I have the opportunity to turn to trust once again. Each time I place the fear or doubt in His hands, He carries it for me. Where fear formerly reigned, new measures of faith are gained. May we trust the Lord anew this day, as He is our strength and our shield – ever present to help. Let the joy in our hearts flow freely as we sing songs of praise for who God is and all that He does.

 

My strength and my shield,Refreshment Through Repentance

Let trust fill my heart;

For You are my help,

Where all joy does start.

May what leaves my lips,

Be songs of sweet praise;

With all gratitude,

For all of my days.

Let the joy within,

Flow by His great grace;

As trust rises up,

In the Lord’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and protection. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that You help us and fill us with Your joy. Forgive us for not trusting completely or not giving proper praise where praise is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You our whole heart all of the time. Show us how to let our very lives sing songs of thanksgiving before You. Help us to love others in such a way, that they too, might come to know the safety and strength that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and protection and to fill us with Your joy. 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

Presenting Needs With Thanks

Yesterday morning in church, we did something that was quite impactful. After our pastor reminded us of the things that God has been speaking about Moving Forward this year, including some of the key things that we need to do in order to do so, he had us take a card that was in the seatback in front of us, and write the things that we need from the Lord, and on the other side, our thanksgiving to God for all that He has done. Once we had completed our card, we took it to a box up front, and then partook in communion. The cards will be burned, as they are our offerings before the Lord.

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

 

The remarkable thing to me, was I knew exactly what need I was to write down to present before Him. If anyone had asked me to verbalize a need, I might not have been able to answer so quickly. There was something about the process that facilitated transparency before God. Just as easily as I had written down the need, my list of thanks for God’s faithfulness freely flowed. To look back over the past year, despite the difficulties, He has been overwhelmingly faithful, every step of the way. Interestingly enough, my heart had been agitated all morning. Though I had prayed and spent intentional time with Him, there was just something that continued to press in that place that prevents peace. The action of identifying the area of my own need, presenting my request to God with thanksgiving, remembering where He had been faithful before, and then spending time thanking Him, brought peace. Though there is no “formula” to find peace, God is faithful to meet us in our place of unrest as we seek Him and place our trust in His goodness and grace. He is enough to overcome the biggest barriers that seem to stand in our way. Our job, is to trust Him to get us where we need to go. Sometimes it is over them, sometimes through them, and other times, He leads us around that which seems impossible to traverse. May we choose prayer over worry, and place our trust in God. Let us tell Him what we need and thank Him for all that He has done. May we recognize His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, as our hearts and minds are protected through living in Christ.

 

Dear heart, don’t worry,Believe Instead of Striving

instead, choose to pray;

tell God what you need,

and thank Him today.

For His peace will come,

through our choice to trust;

not working harder,

just pray, thank Jesus.

Remember the times,

He’s been there before;

for faith shall rise up,

and our hearts trust more.

The God of all peace,

shall guard heart and mind;

for those who choose seek,

forever will find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about anything, but rather we ought to present our requests before You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and are faithful to answer and bring Your perfect peace. Forgive us for our anxiousness that rises up as we choose to try to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would identify our own areas of need, present them before You, remember the times that You have been faithful before, and give You all of our gratitude – for You are so faithful. Show us how to love others with Your love that presents peace, even in places where peace makes no sense. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose trust instead of worry, and allow Your peace to reign in our hearts and minds as we give You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

From Thanksgiving to Advent

With Thanksgiving behind us and the Advent season before us, it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the preparations for Christmas celebrations. However, Advent is an entire season of anticipation, in and of itself. Advent, is “The Arrival.” This is the season in which we celebrate the arrival of our Savior, as He came to us, from Heaven to Earth, making peace within us, possible.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – (Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)

Isaiah foretold Christ’s arrival long before it came to pass. There had been much anticipation of Christ, the coming King, for far too long. No one anticipated a baby being born in a stable, yet He came. He arrived in a most unassuming and approachable way, and went on to establish His kingdom in the hearts of all who call on His Name. His peace is available and present as we seek Him. His peace within us, can be passed on to those around us, if we slow down and are intentional to prioritize people, not calendars, acquisitions, or agendas. May we be filled to overflowing with His peace during this wonderful season of His arrival, and in turn, let us go forth and be utilized as agents of peace to all people.

With hearts full of thanks,Candlelight

in awe we recall;

tender arrival,

sweet baby, so small.

Precious Son given,

so much more than known;

the great Prince of Peace,

His grace to be shown.

Kingdom established,

in the hearts of all;

who earnestly seek,

on the Lord, we call.

He upholds justice,

righteousness is His;

His reign’s forever,

and in Him, we’ll live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for an intentional season of thanks. Thank You for the blessings that You poured out upon us as we offered our praises to You. Thank You that as we usher in a new season of anticipation, we celebrate and remember with awe and wonder, Your arrival. Forgive us for not embracing You and the peace that You alone provide, and for allowing ourselves to get too caught up in the chaos that can come with the season’s festivities. Teach us to trust You more, so that we fix our hearts, eyes and energy on what matters most. Show us how to love people as You love, so that Your peace would flow out of us and bring calm into places of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are in awe of Your arrival, and seek to be agents of Your peace to the people all around us. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

 

Give Thanks for Faithfulness

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

It is because of the Lord’s goodness and faithful, enduring love, that people are capable of loving well too. I am blessed to be placed in a family that loves well, and for this, I give God thanks. Distance separates us, but our hearts are forever bound by a commitment to love, as we recognize the gift that each of us are given in one another. Thanksgiving has become a time that we have been able to travel and gather, despite the miles, and though not a large gathering, it is one where we make the most of our time together. This morning, I cannot help but give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and His faithful love that endures forever – that He makes evident through the blessings of both family and dear friends. May we each acknowledge God for who He is, and give Him thanks as He so richly deserves.

Give thanks to the Lord,Give Thanks for Faithfulness

for He is so good;

love that is faithful,

for always has stood.

No matter what comes,

His love will endure;

the peace of God rests,

makes our hope secure.

A family’s love,

be blood or by choice;

remind us of His,

so let us rejoice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You for the gift of family – be it by blood or by choice. Thank You that when we seek You and gather in Your Name, You place us in families that love us well. Forgive us for not reaching out to others who might not have family surrounding them during this season. Teach us to listen to Your leading and trust that You will show us what we are meant to do. Give us the courage and the grace to love others in a way that helps them to know that they are not alone in this season of celebrating You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we give You thanks for Your goodness and unending love. 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