Born to Stick Together

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed with loyal and loving friends and family, and have the privilege of watching the beautiful bond of brothers as my boys stick together in the face of adversity. This verse is demonstrated to me in a tangible way through my boys. Each time one of them is sick, the other always asks to remain nearby to help care for the other. It has been this way since they were very small. No matter how much they argue or fight, (they are brothers after all) at the end of the day, they are there for each other and love fiercely. God uses those around us who love us well to give us glimpses of how He loves. What we see through others, even those who love us best, is but a minute fraction of the greatness and vastness of His love for each one of us, individually. May we ever seek the Lord and His love, so that we can be the loyal, loving friends and family to those whom God has given unto us, just as He asks.

 

Our God has called us,Born to Stick Together

To be a true friend;

One who is loyal,

Who loves to the end.

We’re also chosen,

To be family;

To help through all things,

In chaos and peace.

May we learn to love,

As we’re called to do;

Through all things, always,

Together in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give us of family and friends. Thank You that through their loyal love and help, we gain deeper insight to who You are and how You love. Forgive us for not being as loving or loyal as we ought to be, or for not remaining present in times of trouble when we are needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and remain where You plant us. Show us how to love in all things and at all times, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the friends and family that You have given us, and trust You to teach and empower us to love as we are loved. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

He Hears the Seeking

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

David, in his lifetime, experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows as he walked with God. He understood God’s faithfulness, as he had drawn very near, and had run just as far. Through it all, God loved him and drew David back unto Himself. So many of the Psalms demonstrate the depth of David’s understanding of God’s goodness and grace. As David was in trouble or was sick, he cried out to the Lord and trusted Him for help or for healing. Answers did not always come quickly by our standards, just as His answers come in His time still today. I have been watching a dear friend walk through an unusual medical dilemma, and in my own limited understanding, wonder why God didn’t just heal her. However, as I watch her walk out the steps towards resolution and recovery, I see His faithful hand at every turn, and the community that He has placed her in to love and care for her well. Perhaps He is completing a healing that goes far beyond what we can see, and as the doctors work out the physical piece, He is orchestrating the work of His hands for her heart and mind by His abundant and unending love. May we ever call on the Lord to be our Help and our Healer, and trust Him to bring us to a place of restoration.

 

O God we cry out,Shackles No More

To You in our need;

For You are our help,

The place where fear’s freed.

In You, we’re restored,

When broken or weak;

For You hear the cries,

Of all those who seek.

So Father, we come,

And humbly pray;

Bring healing and health,

Where needed today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You and pray to You for help and for healing, and that You hear our prayers and restore us. Thank You that though Your answers come in Your time and Your way, Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is perfect. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our frustration, when we want immediate answers, despite the work that You may be doing in the process as we wait. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, each person we know who is in the midst of the wait, without speaking foolishly, but rather meeting needs and being present in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and thank You for the restoration that You provide. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Let It Be Yes

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever we are meant to go. Amen.

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

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

Teach the Way that Fits

Train a child in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, CEB)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

 

This morning, as the change of seasons is in the air, and the sense of a new school year is sneaking into consciousness, this verse strikes a significant spot in my heart. How I teach, how I lead, what I say, and all that I do, matter around kids. Both my own and my students will be watching. They notice when I am patient, and they are aware of when I am not. Do I apologize when I am wrong? If I show students what I expect from them, it leaves an impression that lasts. In my own experience as a student, the teachers that stood out the most, were the ones who were consistent and fair over time, and were able to make me feel heard and known. It is only through our hearing and knowing kids, that we can train them in the ways in which they should go. Our task to give them the tools to navigate the world around them is significant. Though a history lesson or a math lesson in and of itself might not be “the” key that drives their success in the future, perhaps a nugget of wisdom that came from conversation will stick with them, and help them along the way. May we take to heart the task of training children in the way that meets them where they are, and helps move them forward to where they need to go.

 

To train up a child,photo (15)

How they’re meant to go;

Is no easy task,

To help children grow.

We must meet each child,

However they come;

Discover their need,

Help them know they’re loved.

It is more than words,

It’s shown over time;

Intent with purpose,

The way to walk right.

As they discover,

The strength that’s within;

They find their own wings,

Power to begin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for trusting us with the tremendous task of training children. Thank You that You give us Your word, that when children are trained up in the way they are meant to go, that they will not depart from it when they are old. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises. Forgive us for our inconsistencies when interacting with kids. Teach us to be patient and kind, encouraging and ones to model the way in which we are asking kids to go. Show us how to love all kids well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. Help each child to feel valued and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare to teach children however they come, and lead them in the way they are meant to go. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Living Generously

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. – (Proverbs 11:25, NLT)

 

I love watching God’s economy at work. So often there are people around me who are abundantly generous with their time, encouragement, knowledge and resources, without ever expecting anything in return. They simply give of themselves out of who God has made them to be. The great joy comes in watching how God blesses them, in ways they would not have ever expected or imagined, and refreshes as only He can do. We need not ever worry about being depleted when we give of ourselves out of obedience. In Christ, there will always be enough. He provides abundantly more than we think we ought to ask, and refreshes us so that we can continue to do all that we are called to do. May we choose to be generous with our time, energy, words and resources, as each can be used to refresh and build up those around us.

 

Let us choose to rise,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

With generous hearts;

For God gives to those,

Who step out and start.

He gives what we need,

Our help and supply;

So we can refresh,

All those near our side.

The crazy thing is,

As we choose to give;

The Lord blesses us,

In this life we live.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be generous as You are generous with us. Thank You that You bless and refresh us as we choose to invest in Your economy, by giving our time, resources, and encouragement in all that we do. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to be generous out of our own selfishness or fear, and teach us how to choose to love generously, just as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, O God, as we live and love as You call us to do. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Living a Legacy Life

Yesterday, the task to which I charged my students, was for each one to select a “legacy” word for the year. The word that they choose is to be accompanied by a symbol or image that represents that word to them, and each card with word and image will be posted on a designated wall in my classroom. Our discussions throughout the day about what a legacy is, were rich and rewarding. These 7th graders understand the value in passing something down to those who come after them. Additionally, each of them desires to achieve their highest potential, both this year, and in life. The goals and dreams held in the hearts of young people are truly inspiring.

It is good to have something to pass down to your grandchildren. But wealth hidden away by sinners will be given to those who live right. – (Proverbs 13:22)

What we pass on to the next generation and beyond, matters. If we share wisdom and insight that steers them in the right direction, and leads them on the path of righteousness, hope, light and life will lie before them. However, if we shatter dreams and shut down the hopes that kids hold in their hearts, we may be missing out on a promising leader, artist, doctor, inventor, discoverer, or the like. Our wealth is not just monetary. Our time, our heart, our concern, our love, our energy – kids need adults who care to invest in their lives. If a child knows that at least one grown up in their world is for them, they are more confident to move toward their dreams. May we share the wealth that we have, with those who will follow in our footsteps – be it our time, experience, wisdom or resources. Let us make the choice to be a champion for every child.

Living legacy,Living a Legacy Life

is a choice to make;

how to be recalled,

despite our mistakes.

Do we choose rise up,

and try, try again;

or do we choose fold,

give up and give in?

How we choose respond,

matters very much;

young ones are watching,

our words, deeds and such.

We shape their thinking,

of what’s right and wrong;

we model respect,

and how to belong.

Let’s make the right choice,

be a champion;

instead of limits,

kids see dreams begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the privilege and the responsibility of caring for the next generation. Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but rather You equip and empower us with You grace, goodness and love, to care well for all whom we are given charge. Thank You that You intentionally create each individual with gifts and talents that are waiting to be discovered. Forgive us for not seeking to find those hidden treasures in every human, and teach us to see people through Your eyes. Help us to trust You in us as we are placed positions where we are desperately in need of You. Lead us to love and care for kids well, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Show us how to leave a legacy of faithfulness in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You in all that we do, and leave a legacy of loving You and people well. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. 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

*A song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.