Love Always

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

This is the time of year that I find myself shaking my head in frustration and disbelief at times, as students struggle to settle into the routine that has been established and carried out all year long. It requires regular self-reminders that it takes very little to disrupt the balance in a young person’s life, and something as simple as sunshine, can contribute numerous distractions. My charge is to never give up, to hold hope and choose to persevere. How I spend the remaining twenty-six school days with my students matters. My prayer is that my classroom would be a safe space where students know that I believe the best in them, that they would see that failure is not defeat, and that perseverance pays off. May we each choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere in the places where we are called.

 

Love is the answer,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

When all goes awry;

For where there is hope,

There’s reason to try.

Love never gives up,

Because things are tough;

It chooses persist,

Love provides enough.

Love always believes,

The best for others;

It will not relent,

For love’s what matters.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the perfect example of love unto us, as You always protect, always are trustworthy, always give us hope, and always grant us the strength to persevere as we seek You. Thank You that You grant us the strength to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we grow weary in choosing love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to supply us with all that we need to never give up on those around us, no matter how difficult things seem. Show us how to love others in a way that provides safe shelter, shows others that we have their very best in mind, and that we are for them; always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love others as You so completely love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Trust Completely

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Trust in the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5, ERV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5, MSG)

 

Trusting completely without interjecting our own slant on situations is far more challenging than it ought to be. So much of the struggle comes from a space of not wanting to wait for answers or some sort of forward momentum in circumstances that seem stuck.  So often, I tend to try to do something rather than just be still in the seeming quiet where I cannot see that which is or is not being done. What I discover each time that I finally slow down and give things to Him, is that He is my help and the solution. God provides the path through the pain and leads me where I am meant to be. May we ever choose to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding, for as we submit our ways to Him, He will show us where to go.

 

Let us trust the Lord, Compassion in Confrontations

With all of our heart;

Lean not on our own,

It’s no way to start.

For God is faithful,

To make our path straight;

If we choose seek Him,

In quietness, wait.

He will bring answers,

And make the way clear;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You with all that we are and know that You have us completely. Thank You that You lead us and guide us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see beyond the step directly in front of us. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith that takes our eyes off of You and has us attempting to power through things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to navigate every new path we need to take, no matter how the terrain appears. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength, encouragement and peace as they traverse new trails as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding. 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

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Pray for People

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, give thanks for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1, NLT)

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. – (1 Timothy 2:1, MSG)

 

This is exactly the reminder that I needed this morning. I have one class during my day that feels like a battle zone. No matter what I try in my teacher bag of tricks, I cannot come to a consistent calm in that class. Between the attention seekers, the noise makers, and the downright disrespectful, each day it is a struggle to walk in with new hope that it might be better. Some days I pray, but really more for survival than for specific kids. I do like each of the kids individually, yet when combined together, a different dynamic arises, and there is rarely joy in what I am doing. Today, I am going to pray differently. I will be praying for these young ones individually, and with gratitude. My prayer will be for God’s blessing and provision to be poured out upon them. My hope is that as I reset my heart’s focus, there would be a change in me that somehow overflows to them. May we run to our Redeemer in prayer, ever lifting up all people before Him – interceding on their behalf as we give thanks for them.

 

O God, here I am, Pray

Before You in prayer;

Lifting up others,

Who need know Your care.

Father, please help them,

In every way;

Bless them and keep them,

Throughout their whole day.

Provide all they need,

May Your love be shown;

Thank You for each life,

I’m blessed to have known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and pray to You, You hear us and meet us where we are. Lord, I lift up people who are struggling to fit, be it students in a classroom, people in a workplace, or community members in their given community. Thank You for each person that You have given us. Please bless them and provide for their every need – spiritual, emotional and physical. Forgive us for not looking past our own frustrations with the behaviors that people display. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see others through Your eyes so that we may respond in love, even when frustration rises. Show us how to pray for people in a way that matters. Help us to be an extension of Your hands and heart to those around us through the way in which we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for all people and give You thanks for them. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Imitate Who We Appreciate

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. – (Ephesians 5:1, NLT)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. – (Ephesians 5:1, MSG)

 

Imitation is a form of admiration. As small children, we imitated those whom we most appreciated and the traits and strengths most desired to be duplicated. Once a person comes to know Jesus, a more defined set of ideals come into our consciousness. He who loved with His life and lived without sin, is the ultimate example of whom we ought to aspire to imitate. Through seeing and experiencing His love first hand, we learn how to love as we are loved. May we ever seek to imitate God in all that we do, so that our every word and deed is done in love, according to His good and perfect will.

 

In all that we do, Imitate What We Appreciate

Let’s imitate God;

The love that He gives,

To broken and flawed.

It is by His grace,

That we know He’s good;

It’s not what’s deserved,

Yet kindness withstood.

So let us go forth,

And love just like Him;

Imitate His grace,

Again and again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to imitate You as Your children, but You sent Your Son to show us the way and equip us to go forth to do as You do for us. Forgive us for attempting to imitate anyone other than You, as You alone are the only example that is free from all sin and without flaw. Teach us to look to Your example in all that we do, so that we may be tangible examples of Your goodness and love. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might see Your light that burns within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to imitate You in all that we do, so that others may come to know Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

A Forward Focus

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may 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 forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. 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

Forgiving Offenses

Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kindness. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE)

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, NLT)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

 

We, as humans, are fallen and flawed, and fail to be offense-free forever. No matter how hard we try, nor how much grace we give, eventually we will offend and become offended. What we do with our offenses makes all the difference. The feelings that follow are our own, but what we do in response is a matter of our choosing to trust God and forgive, or rely on our own brokenness and lash out. We are called to forgive because we have been forgiven. Kindness has been given time and time again; though we deserved it not. Though others will wrong us, and we will likewise wrong others, may we ever seek the Lord for strength to go forth in forgiveness, so that His heart may be made known through our love. When we offend others, may we also be quick to repent and remedy the relational strain.

 

O Lord let Your light,Faith and Hope in Action

Be made known through us;

As we choose forgive,

Like Your Son, Jesus.

For we all offend,

As we have been wronged;

We must choose let go,

Trust, rise; carry on.

Don’t let us fixate,

On faults of others;

For we all fall short,

But Your love covers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us, and because we are forgiven, we can go and do likewise. Thank You that Your grace covers every fault found within us. Forgive us for not extending the same grace to others when we are offended or hurt by those around us. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You suffered every offense known to man, and You forgave anyway. Help us to forgive and love like You. Show us how to extend Your loving kindness to all those whom we encounter, so that they might gain glimpses of who You are and how deeply You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forgive the faults and offenses of those around us, and operate our lives in the loving kindness that You have granted unto us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

To Know and To Trust

Followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is your strength and shield. – (Psalm 115:11, ERV)

All who fear and know the Eternal, put your trust in Him. He is their helper and defender. – (Psalm 115:11, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder this morning, as God’s help and strength, shield and defense can be far more than physical. For me, as an educator, this is the time of year that I need it most for my heart. For whatever reason, I am feeling it far more this year than ever before. The strength and shield needed are for my heart and mind. There are the few cherubs throughout the day that try my patience and exhaust my resolve. By the end of the day yesterday, I would have tapped out for the week, if it had been an option. That being said, it is not, and today is a new day. I must choose to trust in the Lord to be my strength and my shield, as He will be my help and my defense when troubled teens try my last nerve. My prayer will be to have eyes anew; to see each child through His view. There is always a reason for acting out, and my prayer is for His insight beyond what my eyes can merely observe. May we ever trust in the Lord and His strength, as He is our help and our defense.

 

All who know the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

Choose to trust in Him;

For He is our help,

Our shield from within.

He will be our strength,

When ours is but gone;

And grant us His hope,

To keep keeping on.

Followers of Christ,

Rise up, trust the Lord;

He’s our help and shield,

When we’re less, He’s more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place all of our trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and our shield. Thank You that You are our helper and defender in our time of need, regardless of our circumstance. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small things too. Forgive us for thinking that we have to “gut” things out or somehow “manage” on our own. Teach us to trust in You to be our help and our defense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and help when they feel as if they have none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our help and our hope; always. 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

To Be At Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

 

Yesterday, as we returned to school for the first day that followed the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I spent the day informing my students about the events that unfolded, and then discussing questions that came up in conversation. One particular conversation that stood out to me, was the one about who was responsible for the terrorist attacks. An article that we read mentioned that the al-Qaeda were Islamic extremists. It was a terrific teachable moment, as one student started to make a statement about all people who followed Islam. What I was able to unpack for this kiddo, was that there is a vast difference between people who are living out their lives following their particular faith, and those who are among extremist groups. Though we don’t all believe the same things, the intent of most, is to live well. I was able to convey how despite the tragedy on that fateful day, our nation banded together during that time, as it has never done before or since. In light of the state of unrest in our country today, the very same sort of mindset toward one another is needed. We need to sympathize with one another. It is only when we choose to try to understand each other, that we are able to love each other as brothers and sisters. May we be kind and humble in all things and at all times.

 

Let us be at peace,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wherever we go;

Seek to understand,

Don’t think that we know.

All have a story,

That needs to be told;

Storms they are facing,

A hand we can hold.

When we choose listen,

Our choice to love grows;

For the heart can love,

Only what it knows.

Be kind and humble,

For there we find peace;

When we love as Christ,

Tensions are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You are willing to equip and empower us to do. Thank You that You showed us how to live together in peace and seek to understand one another through Your Son, and through those who have gone before us. Thank You that You give us Your heart to love one another as brothers and sisters, and in You, we can be kind and humble to those whom we encounter. Forgive us for not being aligned with Your will and choosing to walk in our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be of one mind with You. Show us how to love each other as brothers and sisters, so that You may be evident in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand and love well, all those whom we come across each day. 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