United Purposeful Paths

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV)

Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, CEB)

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, TPT)

 

Assumption is the path to destruction in spaces where unity is being sought. Instead, we must seek to understand one another to find common ground and purpose, so that we may be united rather than divided – as shared perspectives and values accomplish much. That is not to say that values ought to ever be compromised, but rather they need to be heard to search for common ground to identify a starting point. The more that we come together, the more often we discover our purpose and intent is seeking the same outcome. May we seek the Lord’s wisdom to be united rather than divided, so that we may be restored as a body that lives together in harmony and aligned purpose.

 

Brothers and sisters, United Purposeful Paths

Let us choose pursue;

Purpose united,

So division’s through.

Together in thought,

Let minds be renewed;

New harmony found,

In common values.

Let’s seek understand,

As we are made new;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In grace, living true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live united, not divided. Thank You that You call us to seek common purpose, perspective and values so that we may accomplish much in Your Name. Forgive us for fixating on the little things that are insignificant rather than those that last forever. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would view things through Your lens. Show us how to see people and situations through Your eyes, so that we would be able to hear and understand where common ground can be found. Help us to love others in a way that helps create unity and restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be united in purpose with those whom You have placed on our path. 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

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Where True Strength Resides

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE) 

 

When we are in Christ, He is in us as well. The very same power and strength that dwells in the Lord, is available and alive within us as we turn in trust to Him. Even when we feel completely depleted, His strength knows no end. He calls us to seek Him for the strength that we need, as He is ever ready to supply. Personally, I know how true to His word He is, as this week has been non-stop and demanding, with little time for sleep. As I sit and reflect on the blur that this week has been, I am in awe that it is now Thursday. He upheld me, strengthened me, and at times carried me through to get to today. He is good, and His faithfulness never ends. May we trust in the Lord and His strength, remembering that His mighty power lies within the hearts of all who believe. 

 

Let us not forget, strength-in-waiting

Where true strength resides; 

For it is in Christ, 

As we choose abide. 

All strength and all might, 

The power within; 

He grants unto us, 

As we seek, ask Him. 

So, lean not on self, 

But trust in the One; 

Rely on His strength, 

‘Til each day is done. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your strength, might and power to us as we seek You. Thank You that we do not need to navigate this life on our own. Forgive us for trying to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You to supply that which we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw strength from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength from You so that we may stand firm. 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

Grow the Good

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness towards your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. If all these things in you are growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, ERV)

 

We should never stop striving to grow in the good to which we are called. Every avenue of growth in God grants room to grow further in the next. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love all multiply as we dig deeper in our faith and pursue our Heavenly Father and all that He has for us. As we grow, His goodness shows, and others gain from that which is being developed deeper within our hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in our faith, so that He may increase within us, allowing that which flows from us to be a reflection of Him to the world.

 

Please grow our faith Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

So we may reflect;

All good that’s from You,

Love, honor, respect.

As our faith does grow,

So too, does the good;

Knowledge and wisdom,

Restraint understood.

With perseverance,

We start to reflect;

The heart of Jesus,

Who loves and accepts.

Affection given,

And also returned;

Increases our love,

With practice, we learn.

So, keep on growing,

In faith and in love;

This is effective,

As God’s placed above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek to grow in You, You increase all that is good within us. Thank You that as our faith grows, so too does our goodness, knowledge, self-control, capacity to persevere, our likeness to Your nature, our affection for others, and our ability to love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for not seeking You to grow in us all the good that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would rely on You to grow us more like You. Show us how to navigate our days, growing more into who You are calling us to become. Help us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart so that we may be effective in giving the good that You so lavishly give to each of us.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. 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

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Worship in All that We Do

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him – an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way. – (Romans 12:1, ERV)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. – (Romans 12:1, AMP)

 

As someone who thrives on movement, I am acutely aware of the blessing I have been given to have a healthy body that can be challenged and pushed to do extraordinary things. When we use our bodies to fulfill the purposes and callings that have been placed upon our lives, whatever we do can be an act of worship to God. Something that has stuck out to me for many years is the line from Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” -(Eric Liddell) This is an encouragement to me, as I pursue new athletic endeavors, knowing that each one presents opportunity to love as I am called to love, and to utilize what I have been given to its full potential. My hope is that each time I take to the field this season, I will remember the One who gives me strength, and consider every moment an act of worship that will be pleasing unto Him. May we dedicate all that we do unto the Lord, and allow our every deed to be an act of worship to the One who gives us life.

 

I urge you, dear friends, Worship in All that We Do

In all that you do;

To give all to God,

In worship and truth.

All that we offer,

Is pleasing to Him;

From hearts of worship,

Praise flows from within.

Let all that we do,

Be an offering;

Though we can’t repay,

God finds this pleasing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the ability to dedicate ourselves to You in whatever we do. Thank You that it is pleasing to You when we choose to offer that which we do as a sacrifice to You. Forgive us for neglecting to give You praise for that which You make possible. Teach us to recognize Your hand in every detail of our lives, so that we will give You all of the glory for the good that You bring. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that sets us apart by Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate all that we are and all that we do as an act of worship unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

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

Because Peace is Present

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)

Now brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, MSG)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Corinth applies to us today as well. When we choose joy, seek to grow, encourage others, and do what we can to live in harmony and peace with those around us, the love and peace of God seem to be ever-present. Each of the things that Paul mentioned are choices that we are able to make, despite our circumstances. Joy, growth, encouragement, peace, and harmony can be given and gained, even in the midst of personal difficulties. So often, when we choose these, our challenges become less and our strength and resolve become more. This is not to discredit the overwhelming obstacles that at times, lie directly before us; yet it is to remind us that our God is far greater, and when we choose to operate in the things of Him, that which is before us is less that He who is in us. May we choose joy and growth, encouraging one another in love. Let us live in harmony and peace with each other according to His will, and may we be ever aware of the love and peace found in the Lord’s presence, as He is faithful to be present with us for all of our days.

 

Brothers and sisters, Forgiveness is Free

Be joyful always;

Seek to ever grow,

For all of our days.

Encourage others,

Live in harmony;

For as we follow,

God’s peace is released.

He will be present,

To show us the way;

To do what is right,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instruction as to how we ought to live well. Thank You that joy, growth, encouragement, harmony and peace are all choices that we can make, despite our circumstances. Thank You that in You, all are possible, regardless of what we are going through. Forgive us for choosing to fix our focus on what lies before us rather than You who dwells within us and give us strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be joyful, seek to grow, encourage others and live in harmony and peace. Show us how to love others well so that we can do each of these things according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the love and peace that is found in Your presence, so that we may go forth extending peace to all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

A Forward Focus

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

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)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. 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

Two Ears and One Mouth

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. – (James 1:19, NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up in a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

 

So often, when buttons are pushed and tempers begin to flare, if the choice is made to first listen to understand where the other person is coming from, the initial spark of anger is diffused, and the things we choose to speak when we are ready, are far better received than if we simply spout out whatever comes to mind in the moment. There is a time and place for righteous anger – the sort of disgust that draws us to rise up and pursue possible solutions. However, in the seemingly small things that spark our hot buttons, we must seek the Lord and His heart and help, so that we are willing to listen, rather than speak. We are created with two ears and only one mouth. I imagine God intended that we use our parts accordingly. Our ears should likely be used at least twice as often as our mouths when we interact with others. May we go forth today with ears open, ready to listen with the intent to truly hear, ever keeping control of our tongue and leaving rage behind us.

 

With ears wide open,Be Not Silent

May we choose to hear;

What’s being spoken,

By those who are near.

Choose be slow to speak,

When anger finds way;

Words that are spoken,

Cannot go away.

Instead, in moments,

Slow down and choose trust;

God’s call to listen,

Just as He hears us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Thank You that this is not something that You expect us to do in our own strength, but rather You strengthen and equip us to listen first, so that we may truly hear the heart of those around us. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or for giving way to rage rather than seeking to understand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to listen and slow to speak, ever keeping anger at bay where it belongs. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are willing to listen, slow to speak, and allow You to help keep our anger in check. Amen.

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

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