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

To Break the Chains

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of a huge community event to raise awareness and support to stop human trafficking in our area. The event was a 5k run/walk, and though my dear friend and I had originally signed up to run, we were recruited to be officials at the start line. It was a powerful experience to see so many from our community come together for the common good. The event that had only around three-hundred participants last year, had grown to nearly a thousand this year. Watching each group, team, family, and individual come up to the corral and prepare to enter the chute, ready to begin their own race with purpose, was a powerful perspective on how God intends us to operate as community.

 

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name. then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me. – (Psalm 142:6-7)

 

Those stuck in the snare of human trafficking are crying out, and in desperate need. They need rescue, and cannot escape on their own. The only way for them to be set free from the prison they have been forced into, is when we rise up and answer what the Lord would ask of us. For some, it is in the seeking. Others have the task of educating and creating awareness of not only the problem, but of how to protect our kids from being lured into the snares of such sickness. Additionally, there are those whom the Lord has gifted with the ability to surround those who have been set free from the prison of such crimes, and care for them so that their minds and hearts may join the physical freedom that they have found. May we each ask of the Lord what we are meant to do, and then walk in obedience to what He is asking.

 

Can you hear the cries,To Break the Chains

of those trapped in chains?

Oh people rise up,

He’s calling our names.

So many are stuck,

enslaved at the hand;

of selfish pursuit,

of the greed of man.

Though they may be strong,

in numbers, we’re more;

for God is our strength,

and He opens doors.

Down with the captors,

and freedom for those;

righteous, come gather,

so goodness is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear the cries of those who are in desperate need; who need rescue from those who pursue and are too strong for us to fight on our own. Thank You that You set people free from the prisons they have become ensnared in, and You gather the righteous around them so that they may come to know the goodness of Your great love. Forgive us for our ignorance to all that goes on around us, or for our apathy in standing idly by. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to do whatever it is that You would ask of us, and allow You room to move in and through us as You see fit. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into the safety of a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know that true security is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your call, and answer all that You ask. Amen.

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

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