Tag Archive: community


Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

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

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

The moment I called out, You stepped in; You made my life large with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, MSG)

 

Here I sit, yet again, in awe of how the Lord provides His strength when we need it most. Sometimes, the call for help is as simple as a mere thought, and He provides people to rally around us, encourage us, and point us back to the strength we have in Him, simply by being present. I have had multiple occasions in the last few days, where I found myself in overload mode. Between extenuating circumstances beyond my control, commitments to multiple activities in several different directions, and a serious case of sleep deprivation, I was sinking and calling out for help, and He stepped in and armed me with strength. Rest and encouragement led to renewal, and the strength that was needed, was amply supplied. God is good all the time, even when things are not. May we ever pray to Him for what we need, as He encourages us and supplies us with His strength.

 

As soon as I pray,IMG_2415

The Lord hears my cry;

He’s quick to answer,

As I choose abide.

I am encouraged,

granted what I need;

In strength to rise up,

To go where He leads.

Each time I struggle,

Feel I can’t go on;

I call on the Lord,

His grace makes me strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pray to You, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us and give us strength. Thank You that You place us in community that supports and builds us up, as we move forward in faith as You call. Forgive us for fearing our own frailty, as we forget that where we are weakest is the place where You are given the greatest opportunity to demonstrate Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pray to You and seek Your strength in all things and at all times. Show us how to encourage and build up those that You have placed in our lives for such a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You for help, and trust You to answer and provide Your strength. 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

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

David, in his lifetime, experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows as he walked with God. He understood God’s faithfulness, as he had drawn very near, and had run just as far. Through it all, God loved him and drew David back unto Himself. So many of the Psalms demonstrate the depth of David’s understanding of God’s goodness and grace. As David was in trouble or was sick, he cried out to the Lord and trusted Him for help or for healing. Answers did not always come quickly by our standards, just as His answers come in His time still today. I have been watching a dear friend walk through an unusual medical dilemma, and in my own limited understanding, wonder why God didn’t just heal her. However, as I watch her walk out the steps towards resolution and recovery, I see His faithful hand at every turn, and the community that He has placed her in to love and care for her well. Perhaps He is completing a healing that goes far beyond what we can see, and as the doctors work out the physical piece, He is orchestrating the work of His hands for her heart and mind by His abundant and unending love. May we ever call on the Lord to be our Help and our Healer, and trust Him to bring us to a place of restoration.

 

O God we cry out,Shackles No More

To You in our need;

For You are our help,

The place where fear’s freed.

In You, we’re restored,

When broken or weak;

For You hear the cries,

Of all those who seek.

So Father, we come,

And humbly pray;

Bring healing and health,

Where needed today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You and pray to You for help and for healing, and that You hear our prayers and restore us. Thank You that though Your answers come in Your time and Your way, Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is perfect. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our frustration, when we want immediate answers, despite the work that You may be doing in the process as we wait. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, each person we know who is in the midst of the wait, without speaking foolishly, but rather meeting needs and being present in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and thank You for the restoration that You provide. 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

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

I continue to stand in awe as I watch how God orchestrates community. A few years ago, when my world turned upside down, I found myself in the midst of friends who became family. These people encouraged and built up both me and my boys, and we have grown stronger as a result. As life keeps moving forward, and the circle expands, each of us have opportunity to encourage, build up, and support one another as we grow. Though time marches on and life becomes busy, the joy that is found in time spent together, remains. May we lay hold of every opportunity to encourage and build each other up, as we grow in faith and His strength as we walk out His will.

 

Called to encourage,Encourage and Build Up

And build others up;

To grow in our faith,

In strength we lift up.

Choose invest time well,

In community;

It is where your friends,

Become family.

All thanks be to God,

Who knows what we need;

Surrounds us the best,

So we can succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be invested in communities. Thank You that as we encourage and build one another up, we grow stronger in our faith, and friends become family in You. Thank You that You know our need and meet it far better than we ever could. Forgive us for attempting to isolate ourselves or for withdrawing from the places that we have been planted. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would invest well in the people that You have brought into our lives. Show us how to love, encourage and build others up, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we support each other as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.  – James 5:13

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

As I read this passage through several times, I thought about how it applies to my own life. Stepping back, I can see how true this is, not only in my church circle, but at home, at work, and among my groupings of friends. In each arena, God has gathered people with different strengths, gifts and talents, and placed us together with purpose. Where one of us is weak, another is strong. In a space where wisdom or experience are necessary, there is one among us who has been there to build up, encourage or advise. This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. Who we are and what we have to give is far more meaningful and effective when joined together with others. Balance, beauty and strength in our everyday lives the way God intended, become recurring reality, rather than a one-day hope. Yes, there will be days that are messy and feel a bit fractured, but if our pursuit is to seek God and be joined in the body as He intended, the difficult days will be well worth the work. May we ever choose to seek the Lord and be invested in community as we are called.

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us individually with different strengths and functions and purpose. Thank You that You intended each of us to be in community so that our strengths could be utilized together to accomplish Your call and build up one another in You. Thank You that You place us in community when we seek You. Forgive us for not fully investing in the communities we are in, or for withholding the very things that You have birthed in us to share. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would utilize that which You have given us to share for the benefit of the body. Show us how to love all those whom You have placed in the communities we are called to invest in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with one another to become together what we could not be alone. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

 

Though these were Paul’s words to the church of Thessalonica, they are still are relevant and applicable to us today. We are called to continue to encourage and build each other up, so that we may grow stronger in our faith. God created us for community, and it is in that space of community that we find not only the opportunity to encourage and build others up, but we ourselves are encouraged and built up as well. May we rise up and be ready to look for every occasion that we might encourage and build others up.

 

Rise up, be ready,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For we have been called;

To build others up,

Help faith be installed.

As we encourage,

Choose help others grow;

Both sides are strengthened,

As hope is made known.

For you already,

Are choosing love well;

Continue in faith,

In His will, we’ll dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that in doing so, we help one another grow stronger in our faith. Thank You that You supply all that we need to do that which You call us to do. Forgive us for neglecting occasions to encourage or build others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lay hold of every opportunity and choose to love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love well, so that our words and deeds encourage and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build others up, just as You do for us. 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

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. – (Romans 12:15, NLT)

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV)

Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. – (Romans 12:15, MSG)

 

Part of loving well is walking alongside those around us, no matter what state they are in. If a person is happy and has reason to celebrate, we ought to join them in expressing joy. When we encounter the sorrowful, it is not our job to fix them, but rather to sit beside them in the midst of their pain and be present. Remarkably, when happiness is shared, it miraculously feels multiplied; yet when sadness and sorrow is shared by someone who comes and sits in the space alongside the suffering, the weight of the ache is lessened somehow. God intended us to be in community. So much of scripture directs us as to how to be in relationship with one another, and to function as a body of believers. Two are better than one… A three-strand cord is not easily broken… There are countless references reminding us that we are not meant to do this life alone. May we place our trust in He who walks beside us in joy and pain, and go forth with intent to do the same.

 

Choose to celebrateThe Benefit of Broken Barriers

Those with happiness;

Share space of sadness,

With ones in a mess.

For God walks beside,

And ever stays near;

Present in weeping,

And likewise in cheer.

We have been chosen,

As community;

To love as Christ loves,

For His love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be happy with those who are happy, and to weep with those who weep, but You sent Your Son to show us what it looks like to love like that. Thank You Jesus, for showing us how to love without limits, despite what You were going through and the things that surrounded You. Forgive us for making excuses as to why we just cannot get involved when things seem to messy or emotional. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain present with those whom You have placed in our lives, no matter what comes their way. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy with those who are happy, and share tears with those who are down. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. – (Psalm 103:2, NLT)


Though I always have reason to praise the Lord, I am feeling particularly grateful this morning. When I arrived home last evening, after having been out for several hours (knowing my boys had been gone for several hours too and would not be back until the next day) I discovered the front door of our home was slightly open as I pulled in to park. I remained in the car and called dear friends who live nearby, recognizing that it would be best to not enter my home alone. They advised me to drive to the church parking lot nearby and call 911, as officers are glad to make certain that a home is clear and safe before entry. The call was made, and I simply waited. Both my friends and an officer were heading my way. Each arrived within moments of each other, and we had a small caravan traveling to my home. The officer went in first, checked all of the rooms, and deemed the home clear and safe. My friends made sure that I was okay before heading home themselves.

God protected our home, and protected me and my children. He placed me in a community where I can call and know that help will come, and have friends who willingly set aside their plans to be sure that I am safe. Let our praise ever be present for His goodness and grace.

With all that I am,Asking for Amazing Answers

May I praise His Name;

For He is my help,

The hope I shall claim. 

May I not forget,

All the good He brings;

His peace and safety, 

Our reason to sing. 

O Lord, may my heart,

Give praise unto You;

My security,

And love that is true. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope and that You are the Source of good in our lives. Forgive us for not giving You praise when it is due, and help us to live a lifestyle of gratitude that is presented through praise. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days. 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

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, VOICE)

 

This holds true for nearly every area in our lives. We were created to be in community, and not intended to be isolated and alone. Spiritually, when we are invested in relationships with people who share our commitment to our faith, we find encouragement, covering, questions that need to be asked, and company to keep in both celebration and heartache. For our intellect, this also holds tremendous value. When planning, preparing or facing a problem, having another to discuss ideas with makes all the difference in finding a reasonable solution. Likewise this is true for our bodies. It is far easier to remain healthy and choose wisely when we train with others seeking to do the same. When given the option, two are always better than one, as working together increases resolve and return. May we seek to invest in the people placed around us, so that we can help one another succeed in all that we have been called to do.

 

For where there are two,stronger-together

More strength can be found;

Resolve unshaken,

When two hold their ground.

Together the two,

Can accomplish more;

There’s a great return,

As each part outpours.

Work is divided,

And more goals succeed;

Each one better off,

Together complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be in community. Thank You that we are far better off when we work with others than when we go alone. Thank You that You use people in our lives to encourage us and grow us spiritually, mentally and physically. Thank You that You allow us to do the same for others if we are willing to be invested. Forgive us for not reaching out to those around us and isolating ourselves when we are meant to be invested. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step outside of what is “comfortable”, and work together with those whom You bring beside us to get things done. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might be encouraged and built up through our every interaction with them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with others to do that which You have called us to do. 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

%d bloggers like this: