Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. 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

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Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Bold Grace

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

Shame is a horribly heavy burden, especially when others have helped add weight to that which is constantly carried. Each time I have a conversation with someone who feels as if there is not a place for them to plug into a church, either because of their past or due to their current circumstances, my heart breaks a bit more. If we are truly loving God and loving people, shouldn’t we have open arms to all who choose to wander our way? Yes, there are precautions and wisdom that need be established for safety (we cannot be unwise) but we all have sinned and fallen short, so we are all equally eligible for the grace of God. His mercy and kindness are the very things that remove the burdens that we are not meant to bear. When we love people well, it often is the nudge needed for them to recognize that they are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. May we seek our Savior with open hearts and arms to receive His mercy and grace, so that we may in turn, go forth and extend the same to those around us.

 

Let us boldly go, Bold Grace

To the throne of grace;

Where God in mercy,

Our shame shall erase.

The weight we carry,

In love, He removes;

As His help He brings,

And faithfulness proves.

Choose ever seek God,

Go straight to His throne;

Give as He gives us,

So His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to bear the weight of all of our sin and shame. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy and help whenever we need it. Forgive us for not extending the same mercy and grace to those around us that we have been given by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and without basing our love on what has or has not been done by those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly to Your throne of grace to receive Your mercy and extend the same to others. 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

Mercy When We Need it Most

So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT) 

Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help. – (Hebrews 4:16, CEB) 

So, let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE) 

 

I am continually in awe of God’s provision of mercy and grace when we need it most. The last day and a half have been a whirlwind for me. Sadly, on Wednesday night, I sustained an injury to my lower left leg at football practice and struggled to sleep that night because of the pain. His grace was with me, and He provided the strength I needed to get through a day of teaching and maneuvering around campus, be it ever so slowly, until I was able to go get an x-ray. As it turned out, my fibula had been fractured, and my excitement and anticipation for our first game, eight days from now, were dashed. Thankfully, I did not have time for a pity party, as I had a District Championship gymnastics meet that I had to be present and on for, as the head coach of a phenomenal group of girls. Not only was the pain kept under control, but my girls had an incredible meet. We were hopeful for a shot at a win but went in as the second placing team. Beyond His help, there was incredible blessing, as the ladies had the best meet of the season. We ended up with the win, and I was acutely aware of His kindness for me, as I embraced the blessing He provided in spite of the frustration of my own injury. He is good, and His grace and help are present. May we ever go boldly before the throne of grace, as He grants us His mercy and help when we are in need. 

 

Let us choose draw near, wp-1522410516881456130985.jpg

With great confidence; 

For the God of grace, 

Mercy to dispense. 

His help is ready, 

When we are in need; 

In kindness, He helps, 

As we trust, He leads. 

So, boldly choose come, 

Before His great throne; 

Ready to receive, 

For each need is known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace and help when we need it most. Thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne to receive what we need. Forgive us for not seeking in our need, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to pursue You in both our struggles and our blessings, as You are present in all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys Your grace, mercy, kindness and help to those who need it the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before Your throne with thankful hearts, knowing that we are heard and loved beyond what our minds can conceive. Amen. 

 

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

 

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

When We Are Real

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – (Luke 18:14b, NLT)

People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important. – (Luke 18:14b, ERV)

If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to fall flat on your face, but if you’re content to simply be yourself, you will become more than yourself. – (Luke 18:14b, MSG)

 

After having had my first day with some of my sixth graders yesterday, this verse is an excellent affirmation of my approach. I have never taught sixth grade before, as my previous twenty years of teaching have been spent with seventh, eighth and even ninth graders. Rather than pretending to know what I am doing with this age group and that I have it all together, I began by being real with my students, and let them know that I did not know exactly what to expect from sixth grade students, and that I would need their help to figure it out. By establishing my need for their help as we work together towards success this year, and discover together what it will take for each to accomplish their goals, there was a sense of comfort and communication that began to take root. May we be real with one another, wherever we are at, and look for ways to encourage and lift each other up.

 

Let’s come as we are, Chosen With Purpose

Wherever we’re at;

For when we are real,

Character’s intact.

People will respect,

The truth that we speak;

Our need for their help,

Is not seen as weak.

We were created,

For community;

To work together,

To rise and meet needs.

So let us gather,

Join in and give grace;

Provide our support,

For all in this space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be real and come humbly into whatever we are called, You meet us and provide the help we need to accomplish what is asked of us. Thank You that we are not meant to do everything all on our own, as You place us in community and provide help and hope as we are willing to admit our need. Forgive us for the times that we do not humble ourselves and admit our own need for help or for thinking that we somehow have it all together. Teach us to trust You more, as there is ALWAYS more to learn and room to grow in this process of being refined and becoming who You are calling us to be. Show us how to love those around us with humility and grace, so that they may feel safe and valued as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be honest wherever we are at, and trust You to make up for where we lack. 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

Two Unchangeable Things

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. – (Hebrews 6:18, NLT)

These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when He says something, and He cannot lie when He makes an oath. So these two things are a great help to us who have come to God for safety. They encourage us to hold on to the hope that is ours. – (Hebrews 6:18, ERV)

 

People are fallible. It is human nature to err and let others down. Not one of us is without flaw, nor has kept from disappointing another. Though it is rarely our intent, we fall short. However, God does not. Whatever God says, He does. His word is true and it will not change. In Christ, our hope is secure and our future is certain. No, God does not typically give us a play-by-play plan of what is to come, but He does assure us that He will walk beside us, and never leave us, no matter what comes our way. Ultimately, we know that if our hearts trust in Him, we will spend all of eternity in the security of His presence and the light of His love. The challenge lies in our desire to have tangible comfort and security, when we cannot directly see God. So often, when we seek Him first, He will provide people around us to be His hands, heart, and voice to remind us what is true, and to offer comfort where our souls are unsteady. May we ever trust in God, who is our Refuge and where our hope comes from. Let us hold fast to the hope that is promised and will not change, both now and forevermore.

 

Our God has given,Rediscovering Dreams

Both promise and oath;

That He will not change,

Granting our hearts hope.

He is our refuge,

To whom we can run;

The One who is true,

When each day is done.

Let us be assured,

Of the hope we hold;

In God we’re secure,

Forever foretold.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us both Your promise and Your oath, and that these two things are unchangeable because You cannot lie. Thank You that we can run to You as our Refuge in confidence, as we have the assurance of the hope that we know is certain of our eternity with You. Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, and teach us to trust You and Your infinite power and wisdom with all that we are. Help us to run to You in all things, with assurance that You will keep Your promise to be our present help. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your heart best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our refuge, and hold onto the hope that is ours in You. 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

Giving Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (Ephesians 1:2, NLT)

 

Though the words are simple, they are not always easy to receive. For the peace of God goes far beyond silence or stillness, and is a space within our hearts and minds where we find that we are in a state of being free from distractions or anxiousness; untroubled; content – despite what surrounds us. Grace that God gives is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of the Lord. As the seasons change, and life seems to be in a space of reawakening, all of us could use more of God’s grace and peace. As I glance ahead at my calendar for the next several weeks, I am acutely aware of just how near I need the Lord. Much of the busy is good, but when life becomes so scheduled, it does not take much to become overwhelmed and lose sight of His grace. When our sightline becomes askew, the peace of God is far more difficult to find. May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with us as we navigate the new of this next season.

 

May God, our Father,When the Sun Shines In

And Jesus, His Son;

Grant us grace and peace,

So His will be done.

As we know favor,

The love that God gives;

We find that we’re free,

To rise up and live.

Live in the power,

Strength, hope, love and grace;

That God intended,

To run well our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give Your grace and peace to those who seek You. Thank You that Your grace is freely given, and that You love and favor us as Your children because we are Yours. Thank You that You give us Your perfect peace, despite that which surrounds us, when we choose to come before You. Forgive us for spiraling in our spaces of chaos, rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your peace and grace in all things. Show us how to be Your hands and heart to those around us, so that we love in such a way as to offer Your grace and peace to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your grace and peace go forth from our hands and hearts to the world. 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

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 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

Provided to Share

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. 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

Trust in the Face of Fear

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NIV)

 

Both versions of this verse are a great reminder of how we are meant to respond to fear. One is an action statement for the right now, and the other is anticipating an action plan for whatever lies ahead. In each circumstance, our response ought to be to trust the Lord, as He is our help and our hope for today, tomorrow and forever. Despite the faithfulness God has shown before, in our frail humanity, we often lose sight of how great our God is, and focus instead on how overwhelming the obstacle in our path. This is the place where we must slow down, breathe deeply, and remember Who is far greater than anything that lies before us. When the rubber meets the road and fear stares us directly in the face, this, this is the space where we have to choose whether or not we will trust. God is patient, and it seems that even when I choose panic over trust, He waits lovingly until I come to the place where I am ready to turn to Him, and walks beside me and guides me to lead me from a place of fear to one of resolve. God is good and worthy of all of our trust. May we place our trust in Him when we feel fear fighting for a foothold.

 

When I feel afraid,Be strong and courageous

The Lord’s ever near;

If I choose to trust,

He will always hear.

Whatever we face,

God is so much more;

His presence provides,

Love, strength, hope and more.

He goes before us,

And He stands beside;

There’s nothing we face,

That He can’t supply.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can place our trust in You. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust, as You alone supply the strength, courage and grace that we need to overcome every obstacle that lies before us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us from moving forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in faith, believing that You are who You say You are and that You will do what You say You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps alleviate fears and gives strength and courage to persevere in the face of adversity. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You when we are afraid. 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