Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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

Sow Where We’re Planted

When our circumstances seem dismal, or if our surroundings are a space less than what we’d hoped for, we may very well be exactly where God intended for the purpose of influencing people for His Name’s sake.

In Acts 25, despite having been imprisoned for two years, Paul found himself with an audience of the governor, a king, and some other very influential individuals.  Paul, true to form, made the most of his opportunity, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus before them.

The fall that followed my graduation from university, I took a giant leap of faithful obedience, and joined YWAM. (Youth With A Mission)  After several months of training, my cohorts and I found ourselves in the slums in Bangkok, Thailand.  The air was so thick that it felt as if we could chew it, and the scent in our surroundings was that of stagnant water and garbage, stewed in sweltering heat.  For many of us, this was our first introduction to anything outside of the United States, and there was a bit of culture shock, to say the least.  However, by the grace of God, we got it together, and began to serve the community in the slums where we were staying.  Each morning, we went out to the waterway and dug out as much garbage as we could load into our baskets, and carried it away to the pick up site.  Day in and day out, we faithfully worked, giggling at ourselves, and making the most of our time, despite the dismal circumstances.

Unbeknownst to us, just over the wall, in a palatial home, was a very high ranking government official.  This man had observed what we were doing each day, and he could not understand why we would come and do what we were doing.  He invited a couple of the guys on our team to come to his home to speak with him, and they had the opportunity to share not only our intent to love and serve the people of Thailand, but they shared the gospel as well.  The official was so impressed, that he invited our entire team into his home for appetizers, arranged for a tour bus, and funded a sightseeing adventure for our team that we would not have otherwise had.

Circumstances,Sow Where Planted

do not determine;

effectiveness,

that’s only through Him.

May we all turn,

to trust in each space;

He is working,

rely on His grace.

For He can use,

whatever we bring;

so let our hearts,

extend offering.

Always ready,

the truth to exclaim;

we never know,

who’ll embrace His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and for the gift of life experiences to demonstrate how faith in action really works.  Thank You that You use us, Your children, to touch lives and transform communities, if we are only willing to serve where we are planted.  Forgive us for grumbling if things seem uncomfortable or less than we had hoped for, and help us to keep an eternal perspective, knowing that whatever we experience here is nothing, compared to what You have prepared for us in heaven.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to speak truth in love as You lead, so that hearts may turn to You.  May many come to know of Your glorious grace and the eternal hope that is held in You alone.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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

Proper Pursuit

Christianity is not a practice in passivity, but rather is meant to be alive and active – an ongoing series of steps of faith, as we follow in obedience, that which God is asking.  In I Timothy 6:11-12, Paul explains it this way: “But you, man (people) of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Yes, the Holy Spirit will equip and empower us to do that which we are called to do, but we have to take action – place one foot in front of the other (either literally or figuratively) and have an active faith that gives action to what is asked.

I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very young age.  However, I allowed fear to overshadow my faith when I determined my course of study in college.  Rather than pursuing education classes as I knew I ought to, I chose to hide in the art department and major in graphic design, where studio time did not require presentations nor speeches.  Thankfully, God had other plans.  Though it took a three-year tour around Asia with YWAM, where I had to speak in multiple schools to bring me to the place where I was willing to do as He was asking, I did at last pursue the path that He had placed before me, and applied to and was accepted into grad school, where I simultaneously earned my Master’s Degree and Teaching Certificate.  The traveling was not without purpose though, as it was a season of truly learning how to flee from what is evil, to pursue what is righteous and of Him, that which is good, faithful, loving, and gentle, and how to endure.  Perseverance was necessary to faithfully complete both the travels and the additional schooling, and daily, I had to take hold of that to which I had been called.  That season set the standard for my life, and I am grateful for the good that He brought, even through my initial fearfulness.

People of God,Proper Pursuit

pursue what’s right;

flee from evil,

stay strong and fight.

Take hold of faith,

He’s holding you;

let go of fear,

He’ll make us new.

Faith is active,

alive in us;

may it be light,

to show Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good.  Thank You that You instruct us in the way we are meant to go, and You empower us to move as You ask.  Thank You that faith is not passive, but rather is alive and active – moving, growing, and showing Your faithfulness to the world around us.  Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us frozen in our tracks, or for being passive in our faith when You are calling us to action.  Teach us to not only hear You clearly, but to have the courage to act faithfully as You are asking.  May many come to know who You are, as we live in loving obedience to all that You ask.  Let our lives be lived in active faith, ever pursuing You.  Be magnified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Care Over Comfort

An orphanage in India during my YWAM days.<3

An orphanage in India during my YWAM days.<3

Far beyond comfort,

or care for his chains;

Paul’s one heart desire,

the truth to proclaim.

In face of trial,

he stood before kings;

always his message,

the freedom Christ brings.

May we stand in strength,

with courage, speak truth;

share of holy hope,

in all that we do.

Study well His word,

persistent in prayer;

let exaltation,

be raised up with care.

Let every heart,

that calls on His Name;

lay hold of His grace,

and boldly proclaim.

Love to the lost souls,

still searching for peace;

may we each love toward,

the lonely’s release.

(Responding to Acts 26:28-29)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us countless examples through Your word, Your only Son, and through faithful men and women throughout the ages, who have cared more about loving people and showing them Your heart for them, than they did about their own safety and security. Birth in us, that very same passion for people. Forgive us for the times we have been fearful and the times we have turned a deaf ear to Your still small voice because whatever You asked of us was not convenient. Grow us in Your grace, so that our concern is not about convenience, but rather about compassion for Your creation. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. May our care and compassion for those who are hurting, lead each to Your loving and healing arms. Amen.

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