Praising through the Storms

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!” – (Psalm 70:4)

David, despite being in the midst of an urgent prayer for help, paused to praise God for who He is. He knew that though his circumstances may have been hard and horrible, God was still good, and His love and salvation are reason for us to rejoice and be glad. As we walk through our days, we can confidently have the same posture of praise, for His salvation is assured to all who earnestly seek Him. Our circumstances do not dictate whether or not we rejoice and are glad in the Lord. Christ is separate from our panic and our pain. He will come along side us and help and guide us, but He is never the cause nor initiator of our struggling spaces. In fact, it is God with us, that provides reason to rejoice in spite of our circumstances, when we choose to trust in Him. May we seek Him with our whole hearts, regardless of our circumstances, and recognize our reasons to rejoice and be glad.

As we stand seeking,No Matter What Comes

we’ll find in our choice;

Christ ever present,

reason to rejoice.

Hope in salvation,

love soon realized;

God be exalted,

wake up, open eyes.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He stands and He waits,

for trust in the task.

We need simply seek,

give to God, let go;

all glory to Him,

where answers are known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of our urgent prayers, we have reason to pause and give You praise. Thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that Your love never fails. Forgive us for coming to You only with requests, without remembering to recognize just how remarkable You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice and be glad in You, despite our circumstances, knowing that You are our help and our salvation. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember to praise You for who You are, even in the midst of our urgent prayers. Amen.

A great song that comes to mind is Praise You in This Storm, by Casting Crowns.  (Click highlighted title to listen.)

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

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

Discipline is Discipling

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV)

My son, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be angry when He corrects you.  The Lord corrects the one He loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, ERV)

The word discipline has always held a strange duality in my world.  On one hand, it held this connotation of being in trouble, and that is a very negative association for a people-pleaser; yet on the other hand, as an athlete, discipline  has simply meant adhering to the training and teaching prescribed by coaches who knew far more about my sports than I did.  In athletics, I never had a problem with a coach correcting me, as I knew it was for my benefit as an athlete, and would make me stronger, faster, or more efficient (depending on which sport they were coaching).

As I unpack the word this morning, discipline in this portion of Proverbs has the same connotation as my second example.  Discipline here, actually means to teach and to train.  God wants to teach us and train us in His ways, and He loves us enough to correct and redirect us when we go astray from the path on which He has placed us.  His Holy Spirit will whisper to our heart when we have said or done something that we ought not have done.  That unsettling feeling of regret or remorse is actually our invitation to repentance.  The Lord is so kind and gentle.  He patiently and lovingly waits for us to turn our eyes back to Him, and set our sights on that which matters most – who He is, and who He is calling us to become.  May we embrace the Lord’s discipline as His sons and daughters, understanding that it is because He delights in us, that He disciples us in love.

The Lord loves to teach,

and train those He loves;Compassion in Confrontations

He shows us the way,

to change, overcome.

Just as a parent,

shows a child the way;

to live life upright,

for all of their days.

Embrace the correction,

for He teaches those;

beloved children,

whom He calls His own.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your discipline is part of discipling, and You are teaching and training us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that love alone is Your motivation.  Forgive us for rejecting correction, or for being slow to respond.  Help us to quickly recognize Your voice, correction and direction in our lives, so that we can walk ever closer with You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace all of Your discipling, even when it involves rebuke or redirecting from where we thought we were meant to go.  Lead us to love others with the same generosity that You pour out upon us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we embrace the teaching and training that You extend to each of us, individually.  Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

We Who Overcome

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, NIV)

 

I will let everyone who wins the victory sit with Me on My throne. It was the same with Me. I won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, ERV)

 

To overcome does not mean to be without struggle, but rather it is to press in and persist in spite of the struggle until the battle is finally won. Often, overcoming is a long and arduous battle. Our struggles require an ongoing repeated reliance on our Redeemer. He is our strength to stand strong against temptation and opposition, and He is our Rock whom we can run to, when we require retreat. Victory, is determined in our obedience, not in our strength to stand on our own. We are able to be overcomers and join our Savior on His Heavenly throne, as we choose to allow Him to lead us into our battles, and rely on Him to be our Commander and King.  Each step, each breath, that we choose to allow Him to lead, we find His strength to meet our need.   May our hearts hold fast to Him alone, who leads us to salvation’s throne.

 

Battles will come,IMG_0073

of that we’re assured;

yet strength is found,

through Christ we’re secured.

Victory waits,

for all those who trust;

in the Lord God,

Who’s more than enough.

And on that day,

when we’ve overcome;

our battles fought,

and we see the Son –

“Come close, My child,

you’ve trusted alone;

come sit by Me,

on salvation’s throne.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are overcomers in You. Thank You that in Your strength, we are able to do that which You call us to, and hold fast to the promise of being with You forever in Heaven. Thank You that our hope is not just for the future, but it is for right now as well, as You grant us Your Spirit to dwell in us so that we can be more than conquerors in Your Name. Forgive us for our fear and failures, and help us to recognize how it is You who pick us back up, dust us off, and place us on our feet again. Teach us to persevere, even when the battle before us seems impossible; for nothing is impossible for You. May we live and love as You call us to, and may many lives be led into a relationship where they too, become overcomers in You. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome all that opposes us in Your strength. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

The Benefit of Broken Barriers

Before Jesus, a barrier had been built that kept people from entering into the most holy place of God’s presence. Sin had separated mankind from God, leaving all of humanity deserving death. Jesus made the way for us to return to relationship with the Father, as He willingly laid down His life for ours. He alone was without sin; therefore the only worthy way for mankind to be made right before Him. “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” – (Matthew 27:50-51) Not only had the barrier of our sin been removed, but the barrier in the temple that kept everyone out of the most holy place, was split in two – granting tangible evidence of the spiritual truth.

 

We serve an approachable God. There is no barrier separating us from Him – for the price has been paid and the path has been laid. Our part, is to choose. Though He knocks on the door of our heart, God is gentle, and always waits for an invitation. His arms are extended and open wide, yet we must reach out our hands and heart to His. Any thought that tries to tell us that He could never forgive something that we have done, is a lie directly from the pit of hell. The price has been paid, yet we must be willing to receive what He is offering by faith. May we embrace His astounding grace, and enter into the most holy place, found in His perpetual presence within.

 

Gone is the curtain,The Benefit of Broken Barriers

that kept me from You;

barrier laid low,

for a way that’s new.

By Your sacrifice,

You took on the cross;

all our sin and shame,

so we won’t be lost.

The depth of Your love,

didn’t end on that hill;

You rose, ascended,

Spirit with us still.

Your grace makes us clean,

to You, our hearts praise;

lead us and guide us,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus for coming and willingly laying down Your life for ours. Thank You that You endured suffering and darkness that we cannot even begin to fathom, so that we would no longer be separated from You by our sinfulness. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your grace. Thank You that we can come to You, no matter what, and You will hear our hearts and love us the same. Forgive us for not bringing our brokenness, sin and shame before You, and help us to trust You with even the ugliest of our actions. Thank You that You are loving and trustworthy, and that You receive us as we come. Help us to extend mercy and grace to all whom we encounter, so that they may see You in us. Let Your love in us lead those who are looking, into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted in everything we say and do. Amen.

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

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