Build Each Other Up

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. – (Jude 1:20-21, NLT)

 

Because we have been given new life in Christ and His Spirit dwells within us, we are called to live according to His will and walk in His way. Time invested in our relationship with Christ through prayer and time in His word, and being rooted and established in a body of believers are basic criteria to which we are called. In order to love God and love people, we need to know both and be around each regularly. God places us among a body of believers so that we can build one another up in our faith and fix our eyes where it matters most. Additionally, we tend to stay true to who we are called to be when we are accountable to others. When we are invested, we remain in the safety of God’s love, provided by being in His presence and among those He places around us. May we build each other up in the faith that Christ has grown within us, as we await the eternal life that is yet to come. Let us love each other well, so that we may remain in the safety of God’s protection and plan for our lives now, and for all that is yet to come.

 

Lift one another,IMG_2137

by faith, let us build;

strength in His mercy,

in grace we are filled.

Pray in His power,

awaiting His grace;

complete in His love,

is where we are safe.

Be in the body,

invest in the word;

pray to the Father,

let His truth be heard.

What we invest now,

affects so much more;

Eternal awaits,

as we seek the Lord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to invest in our relationships with You and with each other. Thank You that You provide Your Holy Spirit within us to help us pray and to grant us wisdom and insight to know how to navigate how we are meant to go. Thank You that You are merciful, and that You give us the hope of eternal life. Thank You that we are safe in Your love. Forgive us for not building each other up in our faith. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would speak Your words of truth to each other as You call us to do. Show us how to love others well, so that they would come to know the mercy and safety supplied in the goodness of Your love. May many choose to follow after You with their whole hearts. Be glorified O God, as we build each other up in faith and pray in the power of Your Holy Spirit within 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

 

Encourage Each Other

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today.” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

 

To live life as God intended, we need to be in community. He created the body so that we could mutually encourage each other to walk in His ways and be whom He calls us to be. Also, when we are invested in one another, we are accountable for what we say and do, and tend to be better protected from the snares of sin. May we sow where we are planted, and choose to invest and encourage in those who are in the community in which we dwell. Let us hold one another up, so that none will become entangled by the snares of sin, nor lost to a life they’re not meant to lead.

 

We all have been called, Encourage Each Other

to choose to invest;

in community,

to give and be blessed.

Part of a body,

to walk alongside;

each other in love,

to help do what’s right.

Also to protect,

from the snares of sin;

together there’s strength,

to stand, fight and win.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us for community. Thank You that when we invest in each other, You use the relationships that we are in to encourage and protect us from the snares of sin. Forgive us for being too “busy”, or not prioritizing time to be invested daily in the body. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to encourage and lift up those around us each day, and live according to all that You say. Show us how to love all those who are around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and walk beside those in which You have placed within our community. 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

Run and Don’t Quit

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

In my world, running so often parallels lessons of faith. I can run on my own, yet I discourage more easily and grow weary and want to quit. However, when I run with great people around me, their faithfulness to finish inspires me to run without ceasing, and challenges me to be better than I was before. Often our conversations become a dumping ground for the things that hinder our hearts from moving forward, and set us free to move forward as we were intended to run. As we run together, we look out for one another, warning of dangers on sidewalks, in the roads, and even of crazy drivers coming our way. Our inspiration and encouragement is built in, when we are invested well in a community with a common goal.

Fortunately for me, most of my best running buddies are also dear friends with a shared and committed faith. I have the double blessing of sharing both a similar running philosophy and the same core values that drive our lives. God uses us to speak life into one another, and to encourage each other to keep “running“, even when life is hard. Investing in a faith community is a necessity to run our race well. Great examples give us hope and inspiration to keep moving, even when we want to quit. Additionally, when we are connected, we are accountable to others, and allow them to speak truth, leaving room to remove anything that would slow us down, and the sin that causes us to stumble and fall. May we each find a faith community in which we can fully invest, so that we can run the race before us and never quit, with others beside us to challenge and encourage us along the way.

We need not look far,Run and Do Not Quit

to find faithful few;

for the consistent,

allow love shine through.

Ever they’re seeking,

to honor and serve;

to love as Christ loves,

not as is deserved.

For good company,

helps us each to grow;

to run our race well,

so His light will show.

Invest in others,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

His love makes us new.

When we are equipped,

we’ll run our race well;

strong to the finish,

as truth our lives tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the great people that You have placed around us as examples in our lives. Thank You that You show us what faith means. Thank You that You equip us to run the race that is set before us without quitting, as You bring beside us, others to encourage and challenge us to do as You call us to do. Forgive us for holding the things that slow us down or cause us to stumble. Set us free from sin. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, then trust You to place us in the appropriate community that challenges and cares for us well. Show us how to contribute to the growth and greatness of others. Lead us to love as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run the race You have set before us without quitting; removing all that slows us down and every sin that causes us to stumble. 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

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. 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

 

 

Confession and Community

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – (James 5:16)

 

Christ’s death on the cross took away the barrier that required us to go to a priest to confess. However, there are times when we need audible reassurance that we have indeed been forgiven, or perhaps a person present to keep us accountable so that we do not repeat the offense. Still other times, we must make amends with one whom we have offended with our actions. “In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers.” (NIV footnotes, James 5:16) May we go forth keeping short accounts before God and everyone, so that hearts may be healed and our prayers become powerful and effective.

 

We must confess,

all of our sin;Who Do You See

before the Lord,

know peace within.

At times we need,

help of others;

to grasp the grace,

voiced by brothers.

Our healing comes,

when we’ve come clean;

point of release,

as sin is seen.

Those forgiven,

are called righteous;

their prayers are heard,

power, priceless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made the way for us to come to You directly when we sin. Thank You that we can approach Your throne of grace, no matter what we have done, and know that You love us and will receive us. Thank You too, that You call us to be in community together, and that when we struggle, You provide safe sisters and brothers in You, in whom we can confide to confess and go to for prayer. Thank You that when we are right before You, our prayers by Your Spirit within us, are powerful and effective. Forgive us for bearing burdens that we are not meant to carry, or for not reaching out to those who can help keep us accountable where we may struggle. Help us to invest in relationships that point our hearts heavenward. May we love, encourage and pray for others as You call us to do, and may many come to know the freedom that is only found in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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