Tag Archive: critical


So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, ERV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, MSG)

 

Why a verse about running? Running is in the forefront of my mind. Tomorrow I leave to head north for my fourth Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a twelve-person, 200 mile relay, that begins early Friday morning, and ends sometime on Saturday afternoon as the final team crosses the finish line. Hundreds of teams participate, and there is an incredibly supportive and festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Each member runs three separate legs, varying in length, depending on experience, preference and physical condition. As a repeat Ragnarian and an avid fitness fanatic, I will be running leg eleven, which is one of the longest and most grueling legs, for which I earn a bonus medal. The thing I love about running is that it is a reminder of our spiritual life. If we are consistent in our training, (time in the word, time on the road/gym) we are prepared for obstacles that come our way. Though the uphills and battles may be unpleasant, when we are trained, we are able to fight through them and dig deep and lean into Him. May we ever run our race with purpose, every step we take. Each moment matters, as He has a plan and a purpose for all of His created.

 

Each one of us called,Run With Purpose

With purpose to run;

Towards the call given,

’til our days are done.

We’re meant to stay sharp,

To train, be alert;

Ever at ready,

To do the Lord’s work.

May we choose be fit,

Trained up in His word;

With strength and resolve,

To do as we’ve heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of running. Thank You for the parallels that You show me as I go. Thank You that training is essential in all things, and that is our reminder of how critical it is to spend time with You. Forgive us for attempting to run without purpose, or going out without being equipped with the time we need with You. Teach us to invest our time where it matters most, so that our hearts, minds and bodies are best prepared for whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see and know Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the strength that You give our bodies, and give You praise for the great things that You will do. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? – (Psalm 106:2, NLT)

No one can describe how great the Lord really is. No one can praise Him enough. – (Psalm 106:2, ERV)

 

Keeping proper perspective in the constant chaos that so often accompanies this time of year is critical. Though all of the activities and festivities are fabulous, that which matters most is our intentional pause to remember the reason for the season. There were a myriad of miracles that took place surrounding the arrival of Christ. A virgin birth, a bright star to show the way, numerous angelic visitations, shepherds serenaded and informed by heavenly hosts, wise men traveling from distant lands to bring gifts, and the list continues… God is so much more than a baby in a manger. That baby grew and healed the downtrodden, the outcast, the sinner and the sick, so that all might come to know Him. More than that, He bore the weight of all of our sin so that we could be in relationship with Him forever. There are not enough words, and not enough time to offer Him the praise He is due. The best that we can do is honor Him with our words and deeds, and extend love and life in tangible and practical ways to those around us. May we seek to honor the Lord in all that we do, so that our very lives are an expression of praise unto Him.

 

Who could ever list,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

The glories of God?

For His miracles,

Too vast and too broad.

Who could offer praise,

That would be enough?

The greatness of God,

Whose love covers us.

So let us go forth,

May our lives bring praise;

As we recognize,

The Ancient of Days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your miracles are far too numerous for us to list, and the praise You deserve extends far beyond what we could ever offer. Thank You that You love us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go. Forgive us for not slowing down in the chaos of the season to really fix our eyes and hearts on You. Teach us to intentionally focus our gaze on You in all things and at all times, so that we may recognize Your miraculous in the everyday, and offer You praise through how we walk out our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that glorifies You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty on the move, and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

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

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

It is easy to get caught up in the rigor of daily life, and forget just how critical it is to lift up one another in prayer. When we cover each other, there is power released through our prayers. Protection, courage, passion and perseverance all come by His grace when choose to be intentional in our prayers.

 

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. – (2 Thessalonians 1:11, NLT)

 

That is the very sort of covering that I desire, so that I might live my life worthy of His call. I am well aware that on my own, I cannot accomplish that which I am prompted to do. However, by His strength, I can do all things that He asks of me. Faithful women of prayer have gone before me. My grandmother and my mom are both women whom I know have lifted many words heavenward on my behalf. The grace that I have been given, has largely been prayed in by them and faithful friends. I desire to do the same. May we each have the seed planted deep within our heart, so that we would be people who faithfully and consistently pray for those around us.

 

Power is released,Believe Instead of Striving

When we choose to pray;

The grace to do good,

To walk in His way.

As faith leads us on,

Shows us what to do;

Ask God for the help,

To see His plan through.

May we choose live lives,

Worthy of You, Lord;

Praying by Your grace,

Use all You afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace and the power that is released when people pray. Thank You that You hear every prayer that is lifted before You, and You give what is needed to accomplish that which we are called to do. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in prayer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring before You, every need, concern, praise, and hope – daily. Show us how to pray as You would have us pray. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages each to seek You for strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for the people around us, trusting You to enable each of us to live lives worthy of our call. Amen.

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

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

Valentine’s Day seems to be bittersweet for many people. Those who are single, are reminded of their perceived lack, and those who are paired, often have unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. That being said, there is One who loves without limits, and does not need a special day to deliver. Christ loves us, in spite of ourselves, and His love is patient, kind, hopeful, enduring, and will always win. (1 Cor. 13) Because He loves us so well, He calls us to go and do likewise.

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As followers of Christ, we are not only called, but we are commanded to love. Because we have been loved so well, we are equipped to go and do likewise. The love we have been given to give away, is not all about chocolates and flowers. We are called to serve and honor, encourage and uphold those around us. There may be times that He asks us to bless with a tangible gift, but it is far more critical that we are present and invested, loving with our time, energy and attention. On this day where love is misconstrued, and people have the capacity to feel more alone than ever, may we be present and love well, just as we are loved.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

to choose to love well;

it is a command,

that Jesus did tell.

Not merely spoken,

but He showed the way;

to love with our lives,

to give them away.

Sit with the lonely,

walk beside the lost;

speak life to hopeless,

it is worth the cost.

Just as we are loved,

may we do the same;

so all may come know,

the truth of God’s Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have showed us what it is to love. Thank You that You have not just commanded us to love, but You command us to love with the very same love that You give unto us. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we are simply passing on the goodness that You have given us, when we choose to love. Forgive us for not loving deeply and fully as You have loved us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not be fearful of the possible repercussions of choosing to love like You. Show us how to demonstrate Your love to all whom we encounter, so that Your light may shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love each other fully and deeply, just as we are loved by 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

When Mary had gone to the tomb to see the body of her crucified Christ, she was grieved to tears when she found it empty. In fact, she was so distraught that she did not even recognize Jesus standing before her, until Jesus said to her, “Mary.” – (John 20:16) It was only when Mary at last heard His voice, that she realized that the risen Lord was right in front of her in the flesh.

 

As we spend time in prayer, in worship, and in His word, we learn to recognize His voice as well. Knowing which voice belongs to Christ is critical in walking well with Him. When we hear His heart, we listen and obey all that He is asking, rather than wandering off, following our own every whim. May we learn to listen well with our hearts in love, to the Lord’s ever-present leading.

 

Finding the quiet,Asking for Answers

in life’s busyness;

ready to listen,

to Christ, faithfulness.

Grant us ears to hear,

as You call our name;

may we know it’s You,

all truth be proclaimed.

Teach us to follow,

everything You ask;

equip us in strength,

to fulfill each task.

May we recognize,

Your presence, always;

and share the good news,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to die in our place so that we could be made right before You. Thank You that through the restored relationship in Christ, You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that You speak to us, and call us by name. Thank You that when we spend time with You, we grow to recognize Your voice. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in our relationship with You, or for tuning into the noise that distracts us from hearing You clearly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well, and obey all that You say. May many come into a saving relationship with You this sacred season, as we go forth in obedience to all that You ask. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your voice. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

One of my least favorite parts of being an educator is the process of being observed and evaluated. I know the intent is good, and it is a way to identify strengths and areas to improve, yet, for me, as one who desires to please, and do things well, it is a painful process, regardless of the kindness of the observer. My own microscope of my craft is far more critical than that by which anyone else may utilize. Each day, my responsibility to God, not men, is to do my best for the kids in my care. This morning, I will be observed as I teach. As I was reading my devotions, the following passage may as well have been the only passage on the page, as it served as a neon sign, reminding me of what matters most. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

Though these words were Paul’s to the Galatians in regards to works verses grace, they serve as an excellent reminder for me this morning. It takes courage to remember that my priority is to please God, not men. If I am serving and honoring God by doing the job that He has called me to do to the best of my ability, then that will be enough. It is not about me, but rather Christ in me, that will be evident anyway. May we each go forth this day in courage, allowing His light to shine brightly before all men, seeking God’s approval, not man’s.

 

Seek not approval,Seek Not the Approval of Men

from our fellow man;

but rather seek God,

to do what we can.

Look to honor Christ,

in all that we do;

give glory to God,

and point to the truth.

Let our hearts be set,

on pleasing the Lord;

not allowing truth,

set aside, ignored.

May we all rise up,

as servants of God;

remaining steadfast,

inspired and awed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we need only seek to serve You. Thank You that Your grace is enough. Thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You meet us where we are and do the miraculous through our willing hearts. Forgive us for trying to please men, and help us to fix our eyes on You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may do all things as unto You. May many see our heart for You as light and life and love that they have not known before. Let many be led unto You as we seek to honor You in all that we do. Be glorified, O God, as we serve You with our lives. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

 

In our instant gratification culture that tells us to do whatever “feels” good, it is critical that we take this verse to heart. We need one another to be encouraged to continue to do the next right thing, even when the world is suggesting otherwise. Christ came and modeled a life lived in love. His heart was for everyone who came near. Our charge, as disciples of Christ, is to live likewise. Both Christ in us, and Christ in those around us, spur our spirit to let His love lead, even when it is difficult. May we consider how to encourage one another to show love in our every word and deed.

 

Let us consider,Encourage Each Other

how we may show love;

both to each other,

and to God above.

We must encourage,

lift each other up;

give mercy and grace,

as He fills our cup.

Spur each other on,

to love and good deeds;

give what we’re given,

to all those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us so much more than we deserve. Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace. Thank You that You forgive and receive us, just as we are, and encourage us to love and serve. Forgive us for fixating on our failures, and help us to instead, fix our eyes on You, so that we may consider and recognize how we may encourage each other to best love and serve as You call us to do. Help us to love and encourage well, just as we are loved and encouraged by You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as You call us to do. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

 

Though caring for our bodies is quite important, the care and condition of our hearts is critical.

 

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those make a man unclean.” – (Matthew 16:17-18)

 

The condition of our heart is what matters most to God. He sees where others cannot, and only He can shed light where darkness dwells. As we allow Him to rule and reign in our hearts, minds and entire lives, that which comes out of us, becomes pure and pleasing before Him. If we keep things hidden, or do not allow Christ full access, that which escapes from our mouth reveals the darkness dwelling within. May our every move be motivated by our magnificent Maker.

 

Whatever’s let in,The Mouth Makes Known the Heart

will soon be revealed;

is it light and love,

or darkness, concealed?

For out of our lips,

flows what’s in our heart;

may each word we speak,

shed light where it’s dark.

Words that encourage,

grant hope, offer peace;

go forth when Christ reigns,

and set captives free.

May the words we speak,

come straight from the Lord;

let His light flood in,

as love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that more than the external, You care about our heart condition. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for each of us to have clean hearts before You. Thank You that You provide Your word, Your Holy Spirit, and Your Presence to instruct us, correct us, and cleanse us so that we may be considered clean and worthy before You. Forgive us for the things that we keep hidden in our hearts, and consequently, for the ugliness that comes out of us. Create in us a clean heart, and restore a right spirit within us. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, and may we receive Your forgiveness and grace, and go forth, extending the same to all those whom we encounter. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything that we say and do, so that our entire lives are a reflection of You. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

“Live creatively, friends.  If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself.  You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.  Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed.  Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.  If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” – (Galatians 6:1-3, The Message)

None of us ought ever think ourselves so strong, that we have no need for one another, nor that we are above bearing one another’s burdens.  As a body of believers, we are called to love, encourage, correct, help, and hold up one another, as Christ freely does unto each of us.  We need each other to help encourage and stay the course to which we are called.  If one of us begins wander, a gentle correction, presented in love by a sister or brother, is far more likely to reset proper bearings, than gossip or glares felt from afar.  One welcomes a return to what is right, the other shames the sinner to stay stuck in their straying.

May we reach out,As One

a helping hand;

when there is need,

in our fellow man.

Let us respond,

in love alone;

to help correct,

point back to Your throne.

May we lift up,

the poor, oppressed;

bring what we can,

as we have been blessed.

Let us do life,

in purpose, one;

to honor God,

the glorious One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to live out our walks on our own, but You call us to community – to be a body of believers together.  Thank You that You created us to work together, helping and encouraging one another to grow more deeply in our faith in You.  Forgive us for neglecting needs around us, or for ignoring something spoken for our benefit by another.  Teach us to trust You more, and use us to encourage and build up the body.  May we be humble and loving, patient and kind; wiling to speak and to listen as You instruct us to do.  Let our hearts see others as You see them, and help us to be Your hands and voice to those around us.  May many come to know You as their Savior, as we walk in obedience to all that You ask.  Be glorified in how we live as community.  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

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