How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

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Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for the countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

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Power to the Tired

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps the tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. – (Isaiah 40:29, CEB)

 

I am so grateful to know where our strength comes from when we feel as though there is none remaining in us. It has been an incredibly long week, particularly for my fiancé, as he has worked long days with a grueling commute, and then has been driving to his old house to work and make preparations to sell and then on to further make ready the new home that we will all share in a few short weeks. Yesterday evening, he hit the wall, and was done. Exhaustion had taken over, and rest was required. After spending a few hours at the house with him, working on finishing details beyond his already lengthy day, he reached a point where he needed to be done. We left, met the boys, my mom and sister for dinner, gave a tour of our new home, and departed so my Viking and my bonus son could get some rest. This morning, I trust that he will be strengthened and rested and revived. God is faithful to provide what we need as we need it most. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength in our weariness and allow His rest to refresh us from exhaustion.

 

O Lord, I thank You, Power to the Tired

You’re faithful to meet;

Us when we’re weary,

Revive from defeat.

You grant us power,

When we find we’ve none;

You love us to life,

All things, overcome.

Your understanding,

And help in our need;

Grant strength to rise up,

In Your strength, succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You give strength when we are weary and grant us power when we are weak. Thank You that You see us in our need and provide in places we lack. Forgive us for attempting to power through beyond what we are meant to do. Teach us to turn to You for strength in spaces it is lacking, and for renewal when we are worn. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways so that we may help strengthen and encourage in practical ways when they are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the strength and refreshment we need to navigate all that we are called to complete. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41 

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

Live as Lifelong Learners

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. – (Proverbs 4:7, NLT)

The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, ERV)

Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom. Now, whatever else you do, follow through to understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7, VOICE)

 

We should never stop seeking to learn and grow. Not one of us has the capacity to obtain all wisdom and understanding in existence, yet the more we know and understand, the better we are able to love as we are loved. One of the greatest examples of this that I have ever known, was my grandmother. During her 98 years on earth, she never stopped seeking to learn and understand more. She was the wisest person I have known and had deep understanding of so many things. Even the most stubborn of her offspring would give ear to her words, as each knew and understood the wisdom that came with the words that she spoke. May we seek to be lifelong learners, as we pursue wisdom and understanding so that we too may love those around us, as we are loved by the Lord.

 

Let’s choose seek wisdom, Live as Lifelong Learners

May we become wise;

Chase understanding,

So truth’s realized.

Sound judgment follows,

When we choose pursue;

Ever we’re learning,

What we’re meant to do.

So, look for wisdom,

Seek to understand;

Ask for the Lord’s help,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue wisdom and understanding so that we are not left wandering around in ignorance. Thank You that good judgment comes as we develop into lifelong learners. Forgive us for thinking we know enough, or for not seeking to understand further. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually pursue more wisdom and insight for all of our days to love others well and walk in Your ways. Show us how to love others as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live lives as lifelong learners. 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

Nothing Without Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging symbol. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, NLT)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, ERV)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, MSG)

 

Yes, wisdom, knowledge and faith are all good things, but without love, they are nothing. Our first priority ought to be love. We are called to love God and love people. As we do both, we grow in wisdom, knowledge and faith. The choice to love, despite what we are given, opens our understanding, and shows us more of His heart for us. Often, as we make love our priority, God changes both the hearts of the recipients and the perspective of the giver. Love is patient and love is kind, and love always protects. The challenge is when we are caught in between caring for one and protecting many others. God is faithful and just, and I will trust that He will bring light where darkness is trying to reign, and that His love will lead the way. May we make love our priority in all things, so that every word and deed are shaped by His love.

 

Gifted with speaking, Faithful Obedience

Linguistic wisdom;

Is all meaningless,

If not done in love.

Wisdom and insight,

Vast understanding;

Along with great faith,

Less love, lack meaning.

So seek understand,

But let’s choose love first;

For that is how God,

Loves despite our worst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You call us to love. Thank You that love is unpacked for us further as we read on in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Forgive us for turning to wisdom or our own human understanding without love. Teach us to trust You more, so that love would lead us in all things. Show us how to love others as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Trust. Seek. Listen. Proceed.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV)

Trust 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 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything 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 3:5-6, MSG)

 

In this extraordinarily busy season, it is critical for me to remember to trust in the Lord completely, rather than rely on my own understanding of the way that I see things. If I try to figure out everything on my own, and micromanage that which is actually beyond my control, I will end up frustrated and fatigued rather than built up and growing in my faith. God is faithful to show us which way to go with each new step that we need to take. If we listen for His voice and seek His will, our path will be made plain before us. May we trust the Lord with all that we are and seek Him for answers and direction in all things. Wherever we go and whatever we do, He will show us the path by which we are meant to proceed.

 

Lord, teach me to trust, Pardon Brings Peace

In everything;

To seek You always,

The answers You bring.

For Your ways are good,

You’re faithful to lead;

You show us the way,

We’re meant to proceed.

Help me to listen,

For Your guiding voice;

Make plain all my paths,

Show me the right choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You with our hearts and lives completely. Thank You that as we depend on You, rather than our own understanding, You make plain the paths we are meant to take. Forgive us for not seeking or acknowledging You in all things, as we get caught up in our own understanding and proceed accordingly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen for Your direction in all things. Show us how to love others well, as we trust You completely and depend on You to lead and guide us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and depend on You, acknowledging that You are God and we are not, and we need You to direct our steps for all of our days. 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

My Sons, This I Pray

My son(s), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – (Proverbs 2:1-11, NIV)

 

It is difficult to believe that today, sixteen years ago, my life was forever changed for the better. Thoug0119180406679500301.jpgh I knew what it was to love and be loved, I could not fully grasp the human heart’s capacity to love, cherish and protect, until my precious baby boys were born. There has been no greater joy than to watch them grow into the young men that they are becoming. Today’s reading is quite timely, as it is my prayer for them, as they continue to grow in faith and pursue wisdom and walk in His ways. The older this delightful duo becomes, the more I have to let go and trust them to follow and seek and choose wisely. May we all continue the pursuit of understanding the Lord and seeking His wisdom, and may His protection be ever present as we pursue the path He places before us.

 

 

My sons, this I pray, 12141718251901389040.jpg

That you seek to know;

The wisdom of God,

Each day, may it grow.

For where you choose seek,

And ask of the Lord;

He will grant insight,

You’ll not be ignored.

He’s always faithful,

As we trust each day;

Seek Him for answers,

He’ll show you the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my precious progeny. Not only was I blessed with one son, but with two! Thank You for the tender hearts and loving ways that You have instilled in each of them. May they ever pursue the path that You have placed before them. Protect them each and every moment of every day, I pray. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, as You are always faithful to answer when we seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would understand what is just and fair, and follow Your good path. Lead us to love those around us in a way that shines Your light in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom and understanding all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. 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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Hands of Grace

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Lord guide your hearts into God’s pure love and keep you headed straight into the strong sure grip of the Anointed One. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, VOICE)

 

This is a week where love, patience and endurance are needed desperately. Between excitement and uncertainty, students are struggling to stay focused in classes, and remember regular rules and routines. Additionally, two seventeen-year-olds were shot yesterday morning, not far from my school, so the odds that they once attended the school where I teach, are quite high. Regardless of the circumstances that led to the incident, the very thought of two mother’s babies fighting to live, is devastating. Love, patience and endurance are needed by all to finish this week well. The better we understand and receive God’s love for us, the more we are able to extend the same to those around us. May we ever seek the Source of every good gift, so that we may go forth full of patience and endurance, to finish strong as we love as we are loved by God.

 

O Lord, hear my prayer, Hands of Grace

May hearts come to You;

So Your love is known,

Illuminate truth.

Patient endurance,

Granted by God’s love;

Will keep us always,

Help us rise above.

Rise above trials,

Whatever we face;

For we can do all,

In His hands of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and provide the love, patience and endurance that we need to navigate our days. Thank You that You keep us in Your secure grip of grace. Forgive us for attempting to power through the trials that come our way, rather than seeking You for the strength that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You to lead us according to Your great love. Show us how to love those around us with patience and endurance, so that they may feel Your love and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lean on You to lead our hearts into a full understanding of how to express Your love, patience and endurance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19