Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Run for the Prize

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV)

You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! – (1 Corinthians 9:24, ERV)

We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, VOICE)

 

As I considered this verse and how road races work today, there is a real analogy that can be connected. In modern running, if a runner completes the course within the designated time limit (which is usually quite generous) they will receive a finisher’s medal to commemorate the accomplishment of having run their race. The actual race winner does win a prize, but all who finish, do gain something good. Jesus made the way for us to run our own race on the path to which He calls us. For all of us who choose to call on His Name and seek to serve Him (run the race that He has set before us) we will gain our heavenly prize. I am so thankful that we need not be that fastest, the most eloquent of speakers, the holiest or whatever our image of “the most qualified” would be, but rather our prize awaits when we choose to seek and depend on He who gives us direction and strength to run. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, seeking His strength and direction, so that we will run the race set before us well.

 

To run our race well, IMG_3094

It takes choosing trust;

Seek God for the strength,

To do what we must.

He’ll show us the way,

We are meant to go;

And give us the strength,

To stay the right road.

If we keep running,

And listen to Him;

Life everlasting,

Is the prize we win.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for all who seek to run the race to which You are calling, can complete it in Your strength. Thank You that You grant us strength and direction all of our days if we choose to seek You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to run aimlessly on our own. Show us how to trust You to lead and guide us as we go. Teach us to love those around us well, so that we would be a source of encouragement, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction to run our race for our forever prize in Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in You. 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

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 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

He Speaks in the Silence

He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. – (2 Kings 4:33, NLT)

 

Elisha modeled how we are meant to pray. So often, life is jam-packed with distractions that keep us from hearing the voice of the Lord when we come before Him.

“One of the reasons we need a quiet place to pray is because God’s answers are often quiet. We must be still in order to follow His lead.” – (Adventurous Prayer)

It is only in the hearing that we are able to begin doing that which we are called to do. If we don’t listen, how can we learn? If we don’t learn, how can we be led? May we be intentional to find a quiet space in our day where we can spend solo time in prayer, so that we may clearly hear His leading in all things.

 

As we come to pray,Anxious for Answers

Let’s find quiet space;

So we better hear,

His love and His grace.

Though in a whisper,

His answers are clear;

He makes the way known,

If we seek to hear.

Let every heart,

With longing, come seek;

He’s gentle and kind,

Gives strength to the weak.

A new life awaits,

Those who seek shall find;

Ask and He answers,

Gives new hope defined.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire time spent in communication with us, where our focus is entirely on You. Forgive us for not getting ourselves quiet before You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, so that we are still in Your presence, creating opportunity to hear what You have to speak to our hearts. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to be alone before You in silence, so that we may better hear Your heart. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

 

 

Eternity in Our Hearts

Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – (1 John 5:12, ERV)

 

To have the Son of God in our lives is to have eternity held in our heart. For when we welcome the Lord into our lives, He comes and helps us hold a hope for that which is yet to come. All of eternity awaits ahead of us, where there will be no more heartache or suffering nor pain. Peace and joy, light, love and praise, will be constantly present as we bask in the beauty of His presence. I am thankful that we get glimpses even now, as we live out our lives with Him. The rising sun, light reflecting on water, the laughter of a child, a tender smile, the majesty of the mountains – all around us we see the evidence of His hand, and the reason that we ought to let His love lead us in our lives. May we embrace the life that the Lord offers through the gift of His Son, so that all might have life in Him.

 

Wherever we look,IMG_2491

His handprints are clear;

The God way out there,

Is ever so near.

Whomever invites,

The Lord to come lead;

Gains life, love and hope,

And all that they need.

For He is faithful,

And true to His word;

In Him we can trust,

Have faith undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we can have life forever in You. Thank You for light and life, love and hope. Forgive us for taking the amazing grace that You have given us for granted. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would treasure all that You are, and share what we have been given with those around us. Help us to love others well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the life that we have been given through Your Son. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

Steps for the Seekers

The naïve are heirs to foolishness, but the clever are honored with insight. – (Proverbs 14:18, VOICE)

 

This evening will be a unique experience for me. As a teacher, I have attended my school’s 8th grade celebration/graduation numerous times over the past nineteen years, yet tonight will be the first time in that my role is both as a parent and a teacher. My boys are finishing up their final days of middle school. It is bittersweet, as I have loved having them with me each morning and afternoon on the way to and from school, and there is a certain comfort in knowing that your own children are present on the campus on which you teach. That being said, they are ready for more. Neither of them has allowed themselves to get caught up in the foolishness of which some of their peers partake, and consequently, they have gained great insight and earned good grades, preparing them for that which lies ahead. Although I will miss their daily presence, I am excited to see all that awaits them in their high school experience and beyond. May we each embrace every opportunity for growth that is placed before us, so that we would operate in a space of His wisdom, rather that from our own foolishness.

 

Those who are clever,photo (5)

Are rewarded well;

Insight is granted,

In wisdom they’ll dwell.

With feet both planted,

Secure on the ground;

Future before them,

Their path has been found.

It’s about moving,

Where you’re meant to go;

For that is how we,

Each learn and we grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and we are rewarded with wisdom and insight through our seeking. Thank You for all of the young people who have earnestly sought You, as they are preparing for next steps in their lives – so many transitioning from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college or work, and beyond. Thank You that whatever the transition, You are present and leading. Forgive us for forgetting how big You are, and give us the strength to trust You more with the next steps for our progeny. Show us how to continue to lead them well, and help us to love those around us in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and insight in all of our next steps. Amen.

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

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

The Benefit of Belonging

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NLT)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE)

 

When we come into relationship with Christ, we are no longer condemned for our sins. His Spirit grants us life, and frees us from the power that sin had held on our hearts before we knew Him. With Christ, it is not about trying to obey the letter of the law, but rather it is the joy in coming to know His love, grace and forgiveness. As we know Him more, we cannot help but be compelled to honor Him in word, thought and deed. It does not mean that we will be perfect, but we grow in our knowledge of where to turn for forgiveness, grace, strength and help to continue in the direction to which we are called. May we let go of the law that leads to death, and embrace the One who grants us life in Him.

 

Condemnation comes,What is in a Name

When we go alone;

Try being, doing,

Enough on our own.

For there’s no enough,

Compared to God’s grace;

That’s why it’s a gift,

We’re meant to embrace.

When we choose receive,

All that the Lord gives;

His power frees us,

So in Him, we live.

New life He breathes in,

So we are set free;

To live and to love,

For eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation when we belong to You. Thank You that Your Spirit in us gives us life, and has freed us from the power of sin that leads to death. Forgive us for attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than seek You and invest our hearts and minds in things of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace the power that You grant us by Your Spirit within us to overcome the power of sin that leads to death. Show us how to live and love in that liberated space, so that others too, may come to know the freedom that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to lead us and guide us in the ways in which 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

Setting Sight on Unseen

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)

So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see only lasts a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, ERV)

So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, VOICE)

 

Although the struggles we face in the here and now can often feel unending, they are but the blink of an eye, in comparison to all of eternity. Our hope is held not in what we see right now, but rather in the hope we know through Christ. What we have in Christ is eternal, and His promises and goodness do not end. The troubles of this life will all one day pass away, but the love and grace of God will remain. Heaven awaits all who trust in Him, and the sweetness of what our Savior has prepared for us, far surpasses anything that we can even begin to imagine. May we hold fast to the hope that our hearts know but do not yet see, and release that which we cannot control in the here and now. Let every heart focus on the Eternal, rather than that which is fleeting and will soon fade away.

 

Let’s not fix our eyes,Marvelously Made

on what comes today;

but rather look up,

ahead to hope’s stay.

For what we see now,

will soon fade away;

but what is not seen,

will last for always.

The Lord is our hope,

in Him we can trust;

all our tomorrows,

for He’s God with us.

What He has prepared,

far greater than this;

look not to what’s now,

trust in being His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not focus on what is seen, but rather on that which is not. Thank You that our hope is held in the truth that we know in You, not in what we see and experience in the here and now. Thank You that all the trials will one day fade away, and what awaits forever, far outweighs any struggles that we face today. Forgive us for not maintaining an eternal perspective when we face trials of any kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the hope that we know we have forever in You. Lead us to lay down our burdens at Your feet, allowing You to carry the things that we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love one another in such a way, that others too, may see with their hearts, rather than merely what their eyes view in the present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen with our eyes, but rather must be felt with a faithful heart. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Blessings for Patient Endurance

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NLT)

Great blessings belong to those who are tempted and remain faithful! After they have proved their faith, God will give them the reward of eternal life. God promised this to all people who love Him. – (James 1:12, ERV)

 

One thing is certain – we all will go through times of testing and temptation. It is part of the package that comes with being residents of a fallen world. We are called to patiently endure all that we face before us, so that we may receive that which ultimately awaits. The enduring that is asked of us is not something that we are meant to do on our own, but rather through the strength of He who dwells within us. God is faithful to be present in our every need, and will walk beside us and give us the strength that we need to endure all things. May we rise up in faith and trust He who is more than able to see us through every trial and test that lies before us, so that we can patiently endure to the end and receive the crown of life that God has promised to all who choose to love Him.

 

With patience, may we,Far Better to Finish

endure all that comes;

not in our own strength,

but through Christ, the Son.

For when we choose trust,

dependence on Him;

He’s present to help,

see us to the end.

His promise is clear,

as we set pride down;

trust His grace and love,

eternal life’s crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Thank You that we have the hope of eternal life to hold, as it is promised to all who love You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness in the throes of trials and temptations. Help us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and place ourselves in Your hands in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others so that Your hope may be made plain through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we patiently endure all that comes our way, trusting You to be our strength and our hope each new day. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15