Tag Archive: connect


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

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Yesterday was a difficult day. There was nothing in particular that made it so, yet it was just an “off” day. I didn’t feel well, nor rested, my back was bothering me quite a bit, and discouragement had found a foothold in my heart. I did the best I could to press in and press on, despite how I was feeling, but that nagging weight just would not lift. During my planning period at school, a friend and I were going to meet to review some student work. When we greeted one another, she recognized that I was not quite myself, and asked if I wanted to walk and talk instead. I of course said “Yes!“, so off we went.

It is remarkable how much the freedom of simply getting out and moving in the fresh air and sunshine does for my entire countenance. By the time we completed a large loop, I no longer felt weary, but energized, and was prepared to take on my final two classes, which happen to be my most challenging. His peace was restored, and gratitude was at the forefront of my mind.

At times, it takes another to remind us to get out and find the place from which we find our peace. When I move, I feel nearest to Him who is my peace. The air that I breathe, the ground on which I connect with every step – His handiwork.

 

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

 

May His peace be present with every breath that we take today, as we go forth in peace. Let gratitude fill our hearts and minds, as He is our reason for all goodness and grace.

 

No matter our plight,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

His hope is secured;

Peace comes from the Lord,

Where grace is assured.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

We are His body,

Let our praise be known.

When things are askew,

And nothing seems right;

Press into the Lord,

He’s for us, He’ll fight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when things feel like they are all against us. Thank You that we can turn to You in trust, and know that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that all peace comes from You, and because of who You are and how You love, we always have reason to give You thanks. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our gratitude, or lack thereof. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace and give You our gratitude; always. 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

 

 

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35)

Despite the crowds and the chaos that seemed to find and follow Him wherever He would go, Jesus found a way to make time to pray. He established time to connect and communicate with His Father. If Jesus was intentional to create time to connect with God, how much more so should we do the same? In today’s fast-paced world, it is not easy to find a solitary place to pray. We too, must be intentional with our time to make a place in our day for prayer. What I have discovered is that when I consistently make room, I find it is far easier to rise early and be focused than it ought to be, considering the chaos and lack of sleep that occurs some weeks. He is faithful to meet me each morning, as I make the decision to dedicate this solitary time to commune with Him and study His word. I have friends who are faithful to end each day in the same way. Where I would struggle to remain awake, they find themselves energized and encouraged. May we each embrace our own opportunities to seek solitary places to pray. For He is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him.

To seek a safe space,Believe Instead of Striving

where we are alone;

to come before God,

as He’s on His throne.

For in solitude,

our hearts shall be shown;

how great is His grace,

and the depth we’re known.

For as we choose pray,

seeds of faith are sown;

God’s Spirit waters,

and hope will have grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You in solitary places to pray, where distractions are far from us, and You meet us, and speak to our hearts. Thank You that You are faithful and loving, and that You encourage, instruct, redirect, and empower us as we pursue You in prayer. Forgive us for not being intentional to establish time with You. Teach us to trust You more with our time and space, so that we would be willing to do whatever it is You ask to create a time to be with just You. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us. Lead us to love others with a love that embraces hurting hearts and points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek solitary spaces with You to pray, so that we may be equipped to love as You love each day. 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

This morning will not be a typical Sunday morning for me. It will be strange to gather with a different group, for a different purpose; yet ultimately, in my heart, to Him, all glory is given. Normally, I would be gathering with my church family for our Sunday worship service. However, today, I will be running the You Go Girl Half-Marathon with a dear friend, and countless other women who have signed on.

 

People have vastly different reasons for running, yet there is a sense of community and a bond between runners, as we brave the elements, and tackle the miles, together. For some, weight loss or weight maintenance is the only motivation for running. For others, it is to set and achieve goals. Others still, are in it for the endorphins, while some see it as an opportunity to connect with our Creator and with friends. Honestly, there is no better place to pound out frustrations, fears, and failures, than on the pavement. Every step forward is distancing oneself further away from the former, and closer to the future. When I run, I feel His pleasure. I am aware of His presence with every breath, His nearness with each step, and His awesome power as I take in the magnificent views all around me, that He has created.

 

Today as I run, I will be running for those who cannot; for the dear ones who have been called home too soon for my liking, yet can now run freely – unhindered by what burdened them here. Though we are not all runners on the pavement, we are all runners in the race of life. Let us run the race that is set before us with endurance. – (Hebrews 12:1) He equips us for all that He is calling us to do, we simply must start stepping forward. At times, the series of steps are exhausting, yet He remains, and His presence is ALWAYS enough. May we each go forth in His strength, as we run the race He sets before us.

 

Let us run the race,Running With Purpose

laid out by the Lord;

run with endurance,

to know the reward.

For those who persist,

even when it’s tough;

will find that His strength,

is more than enough.

Keep moving forward,

no matter the height;

one step at a time,

His way that is right.

And on that great day,

when our race is run;

a crown we’ll receive,

from the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us to run our own race – whatever that may look like. Thank You that You prepare, strengthen and equip us, so that we are properly trained to take on the race You call us to run. Thank You that You do not ask us to run alone, but rather You remain present beside us, every step of the way. Forgive us for our lack of fortitude when we grow weary and for our fear when we cannot see the end in sight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will lean on You to be our strength in the struggle and our safety in the storm. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know who Your personally, as we faithfully run the race to which we are called. Be glorified, O God, as we run our race with purpose and endurance. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:9

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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

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