Good and Faithful Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

 

This morning, though I woke easily to my alarm, my heart did not feel prepared to return to my regular routine. So much was packed into the four-day weekend, that no real rest was had and I found myself longing for Christmas break. As the above passage appeared as the verse of the day on my Bible app on my phone, I had a bit of an attitude adjustment. Though I am still very much looking forward to a longer break, I am so grateful for the abundant blessings that He poured out upon me over the past four days. My boys and I were kept safe as we traveled a few hundred miles south to my sister’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving, and had an uneventful drive home. I am grateful for the fantastic family time that we had together, and know how blessed we were to be able to spend time. God’s goodness continued to be poured out upon us as we spent our entire Saturday gathering with dear friends. Sunday was filled with our church family and the typical necessary preparations for the coming week. The Lord’s faithful love was made evident through the hands and hearts of all of those with whom we gathered. My heart is full and I am thankful for God’s goodness that lasts forever. May we slow down and recognize the goodness of God that is all around us, and give thanks to Him whose faithful love endures forever.

 

Let our hearts give thanks,Enter With Thanksgiving

Because God is good;

His love always lasts,

Our hope understood.

When life is busy,

Take pause and slow down;

We need remember,

Where our peace is found.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that endures;

No matter what comes,

In Him, hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love lasts forever. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and remain with us, no matter what lies before us. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for the things that You have done. Teach us to have hearts full of thanks and praise, regardless of what is presented before us. Help us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your goodness and faithfulness remain forever, no matter what we see. Show us how to love others with goodness and faithfulness, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks because You are good and faithful forever. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Precious Thoughts

How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumbered the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT)

 

It is easy to forget just how much truth there actually is in this verse. Sadly, if we are not paying attention, we miss knowing even a fraction of how present and aware God is for us. Yesterday afternoon I was blessed to road trip with a dear friend from my youth. We met in Youth With A Mission, and experienced some serious life-changing times together. As she and I drove, our conversation was deep and honest, and God used her to speak affirming words of truth that my heart needed to hear. I was reminded of how much He loves me, as we traveled together, as if no time had passed – despite life and years having marched on. Additionally, His presence has blessed me in our arrival. As I woke this morning, I was greeted with another conversation by another of the gals with whom I am blessed to gather, and I was in awe as I recognized that I had slept nearly double the hours that I had each night prior this week. He thinks about us and stays with us. It truly is overwhelming! May we remember to take pause and listen to the sweet whispers that He is speaking to our hearts, as the Lord is with us and for us; always.

 

How precious, O Lord,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

Are Your thoughts of me;

As You love so well,

Your grace sets me free.

So many the times,

Beyond what I see;

Your presence remains,

Always, You’re with me.

More than I can count,

Like sands of the sea;

So great is Your love,

For all who seek Thee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your precious thoughts for us are far more numerous than we can count or imagine. Thank You that You are with us when we are awake, as we sleep, and when we wake each morning. Thank You that there are reminders all around us. Thank You that You utilize the people that You have placed in our lives to be instruments to speak Your truth to our hearts. Forgive us for not slowing down to listen to Your heart for us, or for doubting, even for a second, the vastness and the depth of Your love for us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to what You are speaking to our hearts. Show us how to love well, all those around us, just as You so relentlessly love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how often and wonderful Your thoughts are of us, and how You are always with us. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Give Thanks As We Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

In my early twenties, I had the rare opportunity to be a part of Youth With A Mission, and saw firsthand, the carrying out of the great commission in action. We were able to go out to the ends of the earth and tell the world of what He has done. The teams that I was a part of traveled to Thailand, India, China, Bangladesh, Macau and Hong Kong (before it was turned back over to China). Trains, planes, boats, rickshaws, backpacks up mountains, and living among some of the world’s poorest, were part of our daily adventures. It was an exciting time, and as we gave thanks to the Lord and proclaimed His greatness, we could see, firsthand, how we were letting the world know what He had done.

After returning from such an adventurous lifestyle, it took quite a mind shift to recognize that I could still impact the world through giving thanks and proclaiming who God is. What I discovered as I began teaching in the city in which I was raised, is that the population had become very global. Though I was not going out into all of the world, all of the world was coming into my classroom on a daily basis. Seeds of kindness that I began to plant, were God’s to water and grow.

For years I have utilized writing as a personal outlet, rarely allowing anyone else to read what God had written on my heart. A few years ago, a dear friend who I did allow to read my writing from time to time, began to encourage me to consider sharing my writing with a larger circle. Though terrified, I ventured to spread the circle a bit wider. The few became a few more, and blogging was birthed in me. Today, the thrill of seeing the flag of another nation representing a person who has viewed what God is showing me, is overwhelming. God alone is worthy of all of our thanks and praise, for He is great and has done remarkable things! May we go forth this day and let the world know what He has done, as we live a life full of thanks.

All thanks be to God,Give Thanks As We Proclaim

and let us proclaim;

of the Lord’s greatness,

oh most Holy Name.

May all of the earth,

come know what He’s done;

through His love and grace,

He gave us His Son.

Merciful Father,

makes the way for us;

embrace eternal,

through the Lord Jesus.

Lord, You are so good,

You take what we bring;

and accept us each,

as pure offerings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so great and mighty. Thank You that You allow us to be a part of the great commission, wherever we are. Thank You that we can share Your love with the ends of the earth, whether we travel or stay at home. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot make a difference, or for staying silent when we ought to be proclaiming the greatness of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would use our words and deeds to appropriately express our gratitude unto You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in a way that sows seeds of Your goodness and grace deep into their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and proclaim Your greatness wherever we may be. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Remembering to Look Up

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

On this Patriot’s Day, as we remember the terrible tragedy that struck the safety of our own soil, we can also recall a time that our nation banded together as a united front, to help the hurting, care well for the courageous that continued to search for the missing, and sought the strength and security that our Savior alone provided. Our help to make sense of something so senseless, could only come as we chose to cling to Christ.

Time has passed, and the new generation of kids I have in my classroom were not even born yet when 9/11 occurred. Many of them, have no personal connection to the event, as they have not traveled beyond the West Coast, or for some, even outside of our state. They have never known life without scanners and security guards at government buildings and hospitals, nor do many have connections to fire fighters, law enforcement officers, or military personnel. History needs to be shared. Each generations ought to be made aware of what has gone before them, so they gain empathy and compassion for those who serve and protect our nation. Today, this verse is more personal, as I lift my eyes to the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, and trust Him to lead and guide me; to show me how to create connections that are relevant and personal for seventh grade students, to an event that occurred prior to their existence. May we each take time to remember the lost, and the lives of those who continue to live with the holes in their hearts all of these years later. Be our help Lord.

Remember the time,911

when tragedy struck;

nation was silenced,

in shock we were stuck.

The world fell silent,

in horror, we watched;

such acts of terror,

and countless lives lost.

The chaos encased,

in great clouds of dust;

everywhere running,

which sense could they trust?

It did not take long,

for heroes to rise;

to search for missing,

help those still alive.

Even days after,

the tragedy fell;

people were praying,

holding hope as well.

Out of the ashes,

came beauty indeed;

people united,

to rise and meet needs.

Let us remember,

the community;

together triumphs,

with trust, unity.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lift our eyes up to You, You are where our help comes from. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You, even on the darkest of days. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You alone, can turn tragedy into triumph. Forgive us for allowing tragedy, trials, grief, or our own lack of hope in what we cannot see to keep us from looking to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift our eyes to You, no matter what comes our way – for You are our Help and our Hope, always. Lead us to love and encourage others, no matter what circumstance life has them in, and may many find their hope forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our Help and our Hope, always. 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

The Way to Hope

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

 

This morning began at O’dark hundred. For the first time since Tuesday, I woke to an alarm. (And before 4am, mind you…) However, today’s early rising was not required, but rather it was by choice. My dear friend and running buddy had to work today, and if we wanted to get a run in together, it had to be prior to her shift at the hospital.

 

Driving over before the sun had fully risen, in the chill of the early morning air, my heart was filled with gratitude for the gift I’ve been given to have a healthy body that can run. The sound of our steps striking in unison mimicked the rhythmic beat of the hearts that Christ has created within us. Our route, though many times traveled, is one surrounded by lush green growth, and does not become boring to view as we go. Whether in silence or immersed in conversation, His presence is known in the comfort of one another’s company, and so often hope is encouraged where it was lacking, and restored where it may have been lost.  God grants us glorious opportunities to seek Him, and clearly view the path He has placed before us, if only we are willing to open our eyes and hearts to Him.

 

May we go forth this day seeking His ways, allowing Him to teach us His path. Let us hope in Christ all day long.

 

From the light of day,The Way to Hope

to the setting sun;

show us Your ways Lord,

let Your will be done.

For upon the path,

You’ve laid out for me;

are freedom and hope,

the best yet to be.

Lead us on, Lord God,

where we’re called to go;

may we shine Your light,

so Your truth is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us Your paths, and that we find hope in You, always. Thank You for the gifts and the strengths that You give to each of us, and please help us to use them for Your glory. Forgive us for squandering the blessings that You bestow unto us for our benefit and the benefit of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up and utilize all that You have given, and stand strong in who You are calling us to become. Lead us to love others in a way that points them unto Your path. May many come to hold their hope in You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your ways, and allow You to show us Your path. Help us to hope in You all of our days. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

The God of All Comfort

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV)

 

I am always amazed to watch and see how God brings beauty from ashes. From the places of so much pain and brokenness, He can bring strength and wholeness that were never before imagined. Often, it is from the very place of pain where a person has come, that God leads the one whom He has freed, to be one to walk beside another stuck in a similar space. No one can know and understand the heartache and the hurt quite like one who has traveled the very same road. May we each be available and willing to allow the God of all comfort to use all of our ashes to bring forth beauty in the broken.

 

Just as God comforts,Faith and Hope in Action

us when we’re in pain;

so we are too called,

to bless in His Name.

To walk alongside,

those on the same road;

we’ve traveled before,

to show the way home.

Home to perfect peace,

in His strength and grace;

ashes to beauty,

as we seek His face.

May we give comfort,

as God has for us;

and point to the One,

our Healer, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that comfort us every time that we have trouble, and because of Your comfort, we in turn, can comfort others in You. Thank You that You bring beauty from our ashes as we are willing to walk beside others on similar roads and share our stories. Thank You that this is but one of the ways that You work all things together for good for those who love You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of our burdens to begin to break us, and help us to hand them all to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that You may bring Your comfort, strength and endurance to see us through to the place where all of the ugliness has been worn away, and what remains, is something beautiful. Lead us to share of Your faithfulness in love, and may many come to trust in You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your comfort so that we can in turn, go forth and comfort others. 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

Eager Anticipation

Eager anticipation brought a boy to my bedside at 2:28 this morning. Innocently, he asked if it was time yet… After a moment of orientation, I checked the clock and redirected him to return to bed, assuring him that none of the grown-ups would be ready for at least a few more hours. At 5:00 am sharp, in he silently crept again, this time leaning in for a sweet snuggle, hoping to raise the household to life. Gladly, I obliged, as my body is accustomed to early mornings, yet I reminded him that it may not be as simple with those who were still asleep. Fortunately, he and his brother’s energetic enthusiasm was met well, even by those who had been sleeping soundly. Soon the house was a buzz, and the festivities in full swing.

 

As this morning’s reading plan took me through 1 John, I could not help but compare my kiddos’ excitement with the hope that we too should hold in that which is yet to come. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – (1 John 3:2) Just as our boys did not know what the packages contained, they knew that their parents and grandma, who love them well, selected things for them with love. Likewise, as God’s children, though we have not yet seen Him, nor do not fully know Him, we know Jesus through His word and the revelation of His Holy Spirit, and all that we know, is indeed very good! May we go forth this day with the joy and hope of a child, as we embrace the greatest gift ever given – born to us, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

 

With child-like faith,

Gram and the boys

My mom and the boys

on this holy day;

may we each embrace,

Christ’s coming to stay.

Born in a manger,

He quietly came;

the angelic hosts,

to shepherds proclaimed.

The magi too heard,

of the sacred birth;

they traveled so far,

to honor His worth.

They came bearing gifts,

and honored the King;

let us continue,

give our offerings.

May we give honor,

and all of our trust;

beloved Jesus,

the Lord God with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son into the world, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we come to You and place our trust in You, You receive us as Your own. Thank You that You consider us Your children, and that You refine us and make us more like You. Forgive us for failing to seek You or choosing to not listen to Your leading. Help us to trust You more, so that we may clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Lead us to love as You love, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as Your children into the world. Amen.

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

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

What Gift Shall I Give?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)

 

This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.

 

The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Believing for Blessings

Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, weave a wonderful story of trust, integrity and faithfulness. These attributes ultimately led to blessings. Both Naomi and Ruth were widows. Though Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth, Ruth chose to remain with her after their spouses died, rather than return to her own family. Ruth ran a tremendous risk, as the two widows traveled back to Bethlehem, hoping to find food, due to the famine in Moab, where they had been living.

 

The character of Ruth was demonstrated day in and day out, as she willingly went out and did all that Naomi asked of her. She trusted the wisdom of her mother-in-love, and sought the God whom she served. Ruth’s ongoing faithfulness to Naomi became evident to all, and she captured the attention, and ultimately the heart, of Boaz. After further steps of obedience, Ruth became Boaz’s wife, and bore a child. Both she and Naomi became blessed beyond what either had hoped for. Perseverance and faithfulness had provided the opportunity for God to pour out His blessing. (for more, read the book of Ruth)

 

Trust in the heartache,Believing for Blessings

always persevere;

seek the Lord always,

know that He is near.

Stay faithful to God,

hear what elders say;

give ear to wisdom,

trust God and obey.

Step out, be faithful,

trust Him to provide;

be true to the Lord,

for God satisfies.

Know that His blessings,

are not far away;

for we have a hope,

for now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of those who have gone before us, who have so faithfully followed and trusted You. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance and doubts, and help us to hold fast to the unfailing hope we have in You. May we trust You without question, and obey without hesitation. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior as a result. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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