To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. 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

Our Real Reason

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TLB)

 

When we choose to keep praying and give thanks in all things, joy seems to remain, even during our times of struggle. No wonder it is God’s will for us to pray and give thanks in all things, as He longs for His children to remain full of joy, regardless of our surroundings. Our real reason to rejoice is not found in temporary things, but rather it resides in the hope we hold forever. May we choose to keep on praying, no matter what happens, and always be thankful for who God is and how He loves.

 

May our joy be full, Purposeful Prayer

As we choose to pray;

Giving thanks always,

For this is God’s way.

We’re called to seek Him,

No matter what comes;

For he is our help,

‘Til each day is done.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we ever seek;

For each circumstance,

In Him, joy’s complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to rejoice, pray and give thanks, as this is the very way that You desire for us to walk out our days in You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, we always have reason to rejoice in You. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for losing sight of eternity when our present circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more and to view things through Your lens of forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and gratitude and offers hope where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all things according to Your good and perfect will. 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

Be Full of Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TPT)

 

Despite what we go through or the struggles we face, we always have reason to give thanks. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is found in the hope that we know in Christ. As we walk this out tangibly, with His grace, our very lives become a prayer of praise in recognition of God’s goodness for all of our days. This is not to say that our days will be easy or free from trials, but rather as we continue to move in the direction to which we are called, we find faith and trust in knowing where our strength, help and hope come from. God is good, and the more we give Him thanks in all things, the more we discover His joy is present, even when life is difficult. May we never stop praying nor giving praise, for this is the life to which we have been called for all of our days.

 

Never stop praying,Be Full of Joy

Let joy lead the way;

All thanks be to God,

For help, strength and grace.

No matter what comes,

There’s reason to praise;

For God is our hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Despite what we see,

He has a great plan;

His love, unending,

Grace to firmly stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we always have joy deep within us through the hope we have in You. Thank You that as we pray and give You all gratitude, our very life is like a prayer before You as You lead us to walk out Your will. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy, or for looking for answers anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth we know, and would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others and spread the joy that You have given to us, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose joy and make our very lives a prayer as we give You all praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Encourage and Build Up

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

I continue to stand in awe as I watch how God orchestrates community. A few years ago, when my world turned upside down, I found myself in the midst of friends who became family. These people encouraged and built up both me and my boys, and we have grown stronger as a result. As life keeps moving forward, and the circle expands, each of us have opportunity to encourage, build up, and support one another as we grow. Though time marches on and life becomes busy, the joy that is found in time spent together, remains. May we lay hold of every opportunity to encourage and build each other up, as we grow in faith and His strength as we walk out His will.

 

Called to encourage,Encourage and Build Up

And build others up;

To grow in our faith,

In strength we lift up.

Choose invest time well,

In community;

It is where your friends,

Become family.

All thanks be to God,

Who knows what we need;

Surrounds us the best,

So we can succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be invested in communities. Thank You that as we encourage and build one another up, we grow stronger in our faith, and friends become family in You. Thank You that You know our need and meet it far better than we ever could. Forgive us for attempting to isolate ourselves or for withdrawing from the places that we have been planted. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would invest well in the people that You have brought into our lives. Show us how to love, encourage and build others up, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we support each other as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

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

Encourage and Build Up

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

 

Though these were Paul’s words to the church of Thessalonica, they are still are relevant and applicable to us today. We are called to continue to encourage and build each other up, so that we may grow stronger in our faith. God created us for community, and it is in that space of community that we find not only the opportunity to encourage and build others up, but we ourselves are encouraged and built up as well. May we rise up and be ready to look for every occasion that we might encourage and build others up.

 

Rise up, be ready,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For we have been called;

To build others up,

Help faith be installed.

As we encourage,

Choose help others grow;

Both sides are strengthened,

As hope is made known.

For you already,

Are choosing love well;

Continue in faith,

In His will, we’ll dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that in doing so, we help one another grow stronger in our faith. Thank You that You supply all that we need to do that which You call us to do. Forgive us for neglecting occasions to encourage or build others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay hold of every opportunity and choose to love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love well, so that our words and deeds encourage and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build others up, just as You do for us. 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

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Thankful for Belonging

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ERV)

 

As we approach the day that we gather to give thanks with family and friends, it is good to give thought to all of our reasons to give thanks. Though each of us has gone through trials and difficulties, in Christ, there is always reason to give thanks. In Him, we have hope and assurance for what ultimately lies ahead, and we have His promised presence right now. Regardless of difficulties and disappointments, when our hearts lock in on the Lord, gratitude rises up within us. May each of us see the training that has come from our trials, and the goodness and grace found in each place that we have sought our Savior.

 

May we choose give thanks,ç€À

No matter what comes;

For in Christ, there’s hope,

And His work’s not done.

As we trust in God,

His presence is clear;

In trials and peace,

He always is near.

Every trial,

He uses to show;

His strength in weakness,

So our faith might grow.

Let’s rise up dear ones,

And choose to give praise;

In all things, always,

To the Ancient of Days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in all things, we have reason to give You thanks. Thank You that You call us to be people with grateful hearts, as this is one of the things that should set us apart as people who belong to You. Forgive us for not being thankful in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give thanks, even in our times of trial, knowing that You will use the challenge to grow us, and that Your presence is reason enough to give You praise. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models a heart full of thanks, so that we may be a blessing and encouragement to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be thankful in all circumstances, for belonging to You is reason enough to give You praise. 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

Learning to Pray

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” – (Luke 11:1, NKJV)

 

Jesus modeled a life of prayer. His example was to be intentional, to be focused, and to pray often. It was not a matter of making a display of what He was doing, but rather, Jesus would set aside quiet time to go off on His own to pray. He was clearly in constant communication with the Father, as He did the things that He knew the Lord was asking of Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  instructs us as follows: Pray without ceasing. I don’t think this is to mean that we are meant to be on our knees 24/7, (though there is a time for that) but rather that we are quick to communicate our praises and petitions to our Heavenly Father. He wants our hearts, and when we love deeply, we want to communicate with whomever we love, as often as possible. Prayer is how we converse with our Creator. May we learn to pray without ceasing, ever communicating our heart to the one Who gives us love, light and life.

 

Help us learn to pray,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

As we’re called to do;

Ongoing in trust,

As we choose seek You.

May we come to know,

The truth of Your word;

That all that we pray,

By Your heart is heard.

Let us never cease,

To bring unto You;

Our praises and need,

As You’ll lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that not only do You teach us how to pray, but You sent Your Son to model what it is like to live a life in constant communication with You. Thank You that You listen to our every prayer, and long to be in relationship with us. Forgive us for not praying as we ought to pray. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn to pray without ceasing. Help our prayers to become natural conversations that occurs throughout our days, in all things and at all times, not just when we go off to a quiet place. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through the love that we extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray without ceasing, trusting You to be who You say You are. Amen.

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

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

Encouragement Through Community

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

 

I am continually in awe of how God provides what I need, when I need it most. Yesterday was a day overflowing with time together with treasured friends, doing things I enjoy most, and unexpected words of encouragement came my way throughout the day from friends near and far. Despite one unfortunate exchange, my day ended well and my heart was full as I reflected upon the incredible gifts that God has blessed me with through community. We are called to be in community for a purpose. Yes, great things can be accomplished when people come together with a common goal, but I also think that God intends for us to come together so that each part of the whole is made stronger through the encouragement and strengthening of one another. May we each choose to invest well in the community in which we are placed. Let our words be full of encouragement, so that we build each other up, just as Christ does for us.

 

All thanks be to God,photo (4)

As He sees each need;

He loves us to life,

And sets our hearts free.

Free from the burdens,

That wear our hearts down;

Free from the heartache,

That seeks steal our crown.

He places us each,

In community;

It’s in this sweet space,

We find how to be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the communities in which You have planted me. I am in awe of how You use those around me to build up and encourage my heart. Thank You for loving me so well. Forgive me for not acting on every opportunity that You present to encourage or build up another. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would be willing to take risks and be vulnerable, if it is for the benefit of another. Show me how to encourage and build others up in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build each other up in You. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Prayer and Praise Bring Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

 

God has given us His Spirit within us, so that we might be filled with His joy. When we pray to the Lord and trust His word to be true, joy rises up within us, despite what we are going through. It is impossible to be grateful without joy joining in. God designed us for relationship, and we find fulfillment when we are operating in the manner for which we were created. As we pray and give God thanks, His joy fills us and He shows us how to live according to His good and perfect will. May we never stop praying or giving God our gratitude, as He fills us to overflowing with His joy.

Offered Unto You

Seek the Lord and pray,

No matter what comes;

For His joy is ours,

When we trust the Son.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we seek and pray;

Trust in God alone,

And walk in His way.

Give the Lord all thanks,

In bad times and good;

For His grace abounds,

Where hope’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to always be joyful in You. Thank You that we can continually praying to You, and You hear our every prayer. Thank You that living in a space of prayerfulness and gratitude, is the very place that You are calling us to live. Thank You that Your joy fills us, regardless of what surrounds us, when we are investing our hearts in You. Forgive us for not giving our gratitude to You, or for being passé about prayer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prioritize presenting our praise and petitions before You, trusting and thanking You for who You are. Show us how to be a constant source of joy and gratitude as we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as joy in You rises up in us as we pray and give You thanks in all things. Amen.

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

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