Tag Archive: challenge


As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. 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

Advertisements

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

At my church, there has been a phrase that has been spoken many times over the years. I always knew that it was Biblically based, but never really thought about the specific reference from which it may have been derived. However, this morning, this seems a fitting verse to align with the statement, “At Grace, no one stands alone.” The statement is a direct affirmation of a commitment to be obedient to share each others burdens so that no one is attempting to carry the weight on their own. Whatever the challenge, it is lessened when another chooses to join in the journey. Often when we help one another, we end up being helped ourselves in the process. There is a discovery of strength and help and grace, as we walk beside another in the strain of their struggle. May we rise up and look to help one another bear the burdens that life brings, so that we are walking in obedience to Christ and recognizing the power that is present as we choose to obey.

 

The Lord is calling, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So that we might see;

Each other’s burdens,

Places where there’s need.

We are meant to share,

The weight of their load;

To help them travel,

Where they’re meant to go.

As we opt rise up,

And help bear the weight;

It’s as God has called,

His peace shall be great.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to share each others burdens so that we have tangible help through You. Thank You that as we walk alongside one another, we are being obedient to what You ask of us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder the weight of our woes alone, or for neglecting to reach out to those that we know are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead us to those we are meant to walk beside, and receive the help from others that You provide. Show us how to love those around us who are bearing heavy burdens, so that we might help lessen their loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we help one another in times of trouble, just as You are present to help each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, NLT)

 

We cannot allow our faith to be shaken by what we see before us. The very same God who brought us through our previous trials and troubles, is present and faithful today. Our part, is to press in and patiently endure the difficulty, as often there are struggles along the way to grow our faith and strengthen our resolve. What God has promised, He will be faithful to fulfill. The challenge for us is to do our part to receive the promise. In my experience, and that which I observe in those around me, I find that there are steps of faith required on our part to get to where God wants us to be to receive that which He has spoken. As we do what we are designed and equipped to do by faith, He meets us and does that which only He can to complete the fulfillment in incredible ways. May we ever keep the courage that we have known in Christ, and continue to have patience in the time between the promise spoken, and when it is fulfilled. Let us be ready and willing to move in faith wherever He calls us to go, so that we may witness the wonder of His mighty work as He brings fulfillment to that which He has promised.

 

Do not lose courage, Keep Confident Trust

Or confident trust;

For God is faithful,

Loving, and He’s just.

As we are patient,

With hope, we endure;

God builds up our faith,

His promise secure.

So keep with His will,

Trust that you’ll receive;

All He has promised,

Be patient, believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill when we continue to walk in the direction to which we are called. Thank You that You develop patient endurance within us in the time between when a promise is spoken and when it is fulfilled. Forgive us for our lack of patience or our wandering our own way in attempt to pursue that which You have spoken. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would only go the direction to which we are called, and that we would stay the course, regardless of what we do or do not see. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they may recognize Your faithfulness through our consistent living in the light of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our confident trust in You as we patiently navigate the time between promises spoken and when they are fulfilled. 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

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

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

Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NLT)

Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, MSG)

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE)

 

Just as this is both necessary and beneficial in our day to day life, it is essential in the ever-changing world of education. Not only are the needs of our students changing, but so too are the standards and the curriculum from year to year. Without self-discipline, I would not make it through a single day. Time in the word each morning instructs my heart and soul with reminders of how to love well, and ongoing instruction and interaction with intelligent, innovative colleagues, continues to challenge and refine my craft in the classroom. It is imperative that my ears be open to students and colleagues alike, and God’s grace carries me through the most difficult of days. May we ever be committed to receive instruction, as we listen carefully to words of knowledge that come our way.

 

Let each heart commit,The Word of God

To listen and learn;

So knowledge is heard,

And hearts may discern.

A disciplined life,

Attentive, informed;

So through wisdom’s gain,

Lives will be transformed.

Commit to listen,

Let God filter all;

Knowledge shall follow,

To this, we are called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit ourselves to learn, and listen carefully to instruction, knowledge finds us by Your grace. Thank You that You call us to be well informed and attentive, so that we are aware of the world around us. Forgive us for isolating ourselves or choosing to stay stagnant, when You are calling us to grow. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be committed to learning and growing as we are called by You. Show us how to best develop a disciplined life according to the plan and purpose that You have for us individually. Help us to love others well, so that they too, may come to understand the depth and breadth of You great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we commit ourselves to disciplined instruction, and have our ears open to the words that come from 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

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. – (Hebrews 6:18, NLT)

These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when He says something, and He cannot lie when He makes an oath. So these two things are a great help to us who have come to God for safety. They encourage us to hold on to the hope that is ours. – (Hebrews 6:18, ERV)

 

People are fallible. It is human nature to err and let others down. Not one of us is without flaw, nor has kept from disappointing another. Though it is rarely our intent, we fall short. However, God does not. Whatever God says, He does. His word is true and it will not change. In Christ, our hope is secure and our future is certain. No, God does not typically give us a play-by-play plan of what is to come, but He does assure us that He will walk beside us, and never leave us, no matter what comes our way. Ultimately, we know that if our hearts trust in Him, we will spend all of eternity in the security of His presence and the light of His love. The challenge lies in our desire to have tangible comfort and security, when we cannot directly see God. So often, when we seek Him first, He will provide people around us to be His hands, heart, and voice to remind us what is true, and to offer comfort where our souls are unsteady. May we ever trust in God, who is our Refuge and where our hope comes from. Let us hold fast to the hope that is promised and will not change, both now and forevermore.

 

Our God has given,Rediscovering Dreams

Both promise and oath;

That He will not change,

Granting our hearts hope.

He is our refuge,

To whom we can run;

The One who is true,

When each day is done.

Let us be assured,

Of the hope we hold;

In God we’re secure,

Forever foretold.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us both Your promise and Your oath, and that these two things are unchangeable because You cannot lie. Thank You that we can run to You as our Refuge in confidence, as we have the assurance of the hope that we know is certain of our eternity with You. Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, and teach us to trust You and Your infinite power and wisdom with all that we are. Help us to run to You in all things, with assurance that You will keep Your promise to be our present help. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your heart best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our refuge, and hold onto the hope that is ours in You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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

Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. – (Luke 6:36, ERV)

Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – (Luke 6:36, MSG)

So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is. – (Luke 6:36, VOICE)

 

We are called to extend to others, the very same love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness that God gives to us. To further clarify for myself, I studied the definitions of each of the previously listed words. Love is benevolent affection, and to me that is a love that gives care, kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return. Mercy is being pardoned when we deserve punishment. Grace is undeserved favor; being freely forgiven. Generosity is the act of liberally giving without expectation of return. Lastly, compassion is a deep sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to help bring relief. Extending love, mercy, generosity, grace, compassion and kindness to my family and friends is relatively easy, however, there are times when it becomes quite a challenge with students, particularly when there is repeated disrespect, and combatant behavior. The verse does not have a qualifier. It does not say give love and mercy the same as Your Father only when it is easy or when those around you are kind, but rather it asks that we give love and mercy as He gives. God does not wait for us to meet a set of certain criteria to love us, but rather He meets us in the middle of our mess and extends compassion, grace, mercy, generosity and love, which lead us to long to do the same. If we do likewise, perhaps the hearts of those who suffer the most and lash out, will be touched and changed for the better. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, so that we may imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way our Father is.

 

Give love and mercy,Healed Hands Reach Out

As given to us;

Be compassionate,

Like our Lord Jesus.

He gave us His grace,

It was not deserved;

Generosity,

That cannot be earned.

Just as He’s given,

We’re called to the same;

Give love and mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You gave. Thank You that You give us love, mercy, grace, generosity and compassion – though we deserve none. Thank You that through Your lavish love, You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not giving love and mercy as You give unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live out our God-created identity as You intended. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace, generosity and compassion that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pattern our lives in love towards others, just as You give unto us. Amen.

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

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

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

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

God, the one and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? – (Psalm 62:5, MSG)

 

Waiting. For some things, this is not so difficult, as I have seen and known the Lord’s faithfulness a thousand times before, so waiting once again, is not a challenge. However, there are areas in my life, despite knowing His character and love for me, that I struggle to wait in hope. Quiet is my nature, but trusting rather than questioning the ultimate outcome when things appear unfavorable, is an ongoing learning process. This has to be a daily decision, to wait quietly before the Lord and place my hope in Him, rather than what I see or do not see in front of me. May we all choose to trust in His timing, and wait on He who is the provider of all of our hope.

 

Let all that I am,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

Wait before the Lord;

Quietly trusting,

His grace to afford.

For He is our hope,

The answer to all;

Whatever the need,

On Him we should call.

No matter how long,

He asks us to wait;

His timing’s perfect,

Not early or late.

Lord help me to wait,

In quiet, choose hope;

You are the answer,

That we need to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that we can trust You in all things and at all times. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of faith. Teach us to wait patiently before You in hope, trusting that You are able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to love others in such a way that we would be beacons of hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, placing all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

%d bloggers like this: