Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. 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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His Peace to Pass On

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know the plans I have in mind for you,” declares the Lord; “They are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, CEB)

 

In my personal life, I have watched as God has brought beauty from ashes and is leading me forward into so much good. My hope is secure and I know He has my future in His hands. However, professionally, it is difficult to see the future and hope that lies before us, considering the direction that education seems to be going. With school shootings and violence on the rise, and fear among students, staff and families elevating at an equally alarming rate, I have to look at the promise presented in God’s word and trust that it is true, even when I cannot see His hand at work. His plans are for peace and not disaster… The same God who set captives free, parted the Red Sea, healed the blind, the broken and raised the dead, can meet us where we are in our current mess and bring peace and hope for the future. May we set our eyes on the One who is our solution and seek His peace to pass on to those around us.

 

The plans of the Lord, Quiet Hope

Are always for good;

To grant future hope,

His grace understood.

He does not plan harm,

Though bad’s in the world;

He has overcome,

Hope He shall instill.

So, look to the Lord,

Where our hope is found;

Seek His direction,

For the path that’s sound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for us that grant us a future and a hope. Thank You that Your plans are for peace, not disaster, despite what we see around us. Forgive us for allowing what we see with human eyes to dictate how much hope we permit our hearts to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to Your promise of plans for peace that give us a future filled with hope. Show us how to love others in a way that extends hope and promotes peace in places where chaos seems to reign. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your plans because You are always good. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Commit to Learn and Grow

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

Opportunity to Overlook Offense

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11

photo by Mark Batterson

When we submit and trust our trials to God, He grants wisdom so that we might extend patience, grace really; for He grants goodness as we overlook offenses.  (Not ignore, rather forgive and release to Him who is best suited to handle the offender)

This very verse has come to life in a new way for me this past week or so.  Last year, I had a student who pushed and pressed, causing me daily to draw deep breaths and depend on Daddy God to do the right thing.  Day in and day out, I was quick to recognize and encourage what he was doing well (when he chose to tune in), and tried with everything that is within me to convince him that he had to show what he knows for his brilliance to be made known.  Most days, it felt futile, yet I continued, convinced that it would somehow connect eventually.  By year’s end, I was just thankful for the close to the year, and ready to recover in the “rest” that comes in the summer months.

Fast forward to the first day of classes this year.  Whom did I see on my class list?  You guessed it, the same young man.  Once again I was reminded to repeat my daily regime of extending patience, regardless of the offense.  The first month of school felt very similar to the previous year, yet I was propelled (clearly by my Provider) to press on.  On a particularly perilous day, I recruited a dear ally to see if she might be able to get through to him with a one-on-one conversation.  At the start of the new week that followed, I encouraged this young man and his classmates to simply “buy in” to all of the activities we were to do throughout the week, and I assured them that they would see the benefit by Friday, as they each take a weekly comprehension test.

Imagine my awe as we walked through the week, no longer trudging, but steadily stepping, as this cherub had decided to be invested.  On Friday, as I graded their tests while they waited, my heart hoped for the results I knew they were capable of earning.  This young man, the very one whom for an entire school year I struggled, was my only student to earn 100% on this test!  My eyes must have shone with threatening mist, as I had the privilege of telling this beloved creation of our Great King, just how very proud of him I am.  Not only did I tell him, but I was honored to call home and brag to his mom about the wonderful week we had, and that her baby boy was my ONLY student to earn 100% on this particular test!

This week, the marvelous momentum has continued, and I am again in awe of how He so generously supplies not only grace and wisdom, but at times, provides proof that persistent obedience pays off!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant wisdom and grace where we need it most, and that at times, we are even blessed with the benefit of beholding before us the bounty that comes from obedience over time.  Forgive me for my moments of frustration, and lead me to continue to learn how I am to live and love like You.  May we all be equipped to overlook offenses and extend Your grace to those in desperate need of the great gifts found in You.  All glory and honor and praise to You! Amen.

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