Run for the Prize

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV)

You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! – (1 Corinthians 9:24, ERV)

We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, VOICE)

 

As I considered this verse and how road races work today, there is a real analogy that can be connected. In modern running, if a runner completes the course within the designated time limit (which is usually quite generous) they will receive a finisher’s medal to commemorate the accomplishment of having run their race. The actual race winner does win a prize, but all who finish, do gain something good. Jesus made the way for us to run our own race on the path to which He calls us. For all of us who choose to call on His Name and seek to serve Him (run the race that He has set before us) we will gain our heavenly prize. I am so thankful that we need not be that fastest, the most eloquent of speakers, the holiest or whatever our image of “the most qualified” would be, but rather our prize awaits when we choose to seek and depend on He who gives us direction and strength to run. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, seeking His strength and direction, so that we will run the race set before us well.

 

To run our race well, IMG_3094

It takes choosing trust;

Seek God for the strength,

To do what we must.

He’ll show us the way,

We are meant to go;

And give us the strength,

To stay the right road.

If we keep running,

And listen to Him;

Life everlasting,

Is the prize we win.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for all who seek to run the race to which You are calling, can complete it in Your strength. Thank You that You grant us strength and direction all of our days if we choose to seek You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to run aimlessly on our own. Show us how to trust You to lead and guide us as we go. Teach us to love those around us well, so that we would be a source of encouragement, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction to run our race for our forever prize in Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

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Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Hands of Grace

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Lord guide your hearts into God’s pure love and keep you headed straight into the strong sure grip of the Anointed One. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, VOICE)

 

This is a week where love, patience and endurance are needed desperately. Between excitement and uncertainty, students are struggling to stay focused in classes, and remember regular rules and routines. Additionally, two seventeen-year-olds were shot yesterday morning, not far from my school, so the odds that they once attended the school where I teach, are quite high. Regardless of the circumstances that led to the incident, the very thought of two mother’s babies fighting to live, is devastating. Love, patience and endurance are needed by all to finish this week well. The better we understand and receive God’s love for us, the more we are able to extend the same to those around us. May we ever seek the Source of every good gift, so that we may go forth full of patience and endurance, to finish strong as we love as we are loved by God.

 

O Lord, hear my prayer, Hands of Grace

May hearts come to You;

So Your love is known,

Illuminate truth.

Patient endurance,

Granted by God’s love;

Will keep us always,

Help us rise above.

Rise above trials,

Whatever we face;

For we can do all,

In His hands of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us and provide the love, patience and endurance that we need to navigate our days. Thank You that You keep us in Your secure grip of grace. Forgive us for attempting to power through the trials that come our way, rather than seeking You for the strength that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You to lead us according to Your great love. Show us how to love those around us with patience and endurance, so that they may feel Your love and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lean on You to lead our hearts into a full understanding of how to express Your love, patience and endurance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Today I Trust

This morning as I woke, thirteen minutes prior to my alarm, my first thought was, “Today is the day!” At first, a laundry list of last minute details started filing through my mind, but was shortly squashed by the tender reminder: 

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your path.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV) 

 

Trust. Such a simple concept, yet often so difficult to truly do. Today, I will choose trust, as it is in His hands. My bag has been packed for a few days, my boys’ bags are packed and ready for camp, I have their camp mail ready to go out so that they know my thoughts are with them, and I have done all that I know to do to prepare here, so now it is a matter of getting there. At times, our trust gets tried in the details, whereas other times there is something major lying before us and we have no choice but to trust. I imagine there will be plenty of opportunity to trust and trust again, as I go where I’ve never been to do things I’ve never done. I have to trust the Lord to be my strength and to lead me in the way I am meant to go. As a non-medical person going on a medical outreach, my role is all about trusting His leading. So far, He has taken something I enjoy, and turned it into part of my purpose and role for the health fair portion of our outreaches. My part will be to share about fitness, and help people recognize how simple it is for them to get out and get moving. God uses whatever we are willing to give, and I never cease to be amazed and how He does just that. May we choose this day to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and lean not on our own understanding. May we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, and look to Him to direct our path.  

 

Lord, I choose to trust, So Much More

With all of my heart; 

For Your ways are best, 

From finish to start. 

Help me not to lean, 

On what I now know; 

But rather to trust, 

So my faith can grow. 

For Your ways are best, 

Not early or late; 

When I choose You, Lord, 

You make my path straight. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being trustworthy. Thank You that we can trust in You with all of our heart, rather than our own understanding, and as we do, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for worrying when we need to trust. Teach us how to acknowledge You in all things, so that we would recognize how easily You can handle all that seems impossible to us. Show us how to love all those whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all of our heart and acknowledge You in all of our ways. Amen.

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

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

Faithful to Fulfill

Finish what You started in me, God. Your love is eternal – don’t quit on me now. – (Psalm 138:8, MSG)

Lord, I know You will do what You have promised. Lord, Your faithful love will last forever. You are the One who made us, so don’t leave us! – (Psalm 138:8, ERV)

The Eternal will finish what He started in me. Your faithful love, O Eternal One, lasts forever; do not give up on what Your hands have made. – (Psalm 138:8, VOICE)

 

Just as David called on the Lord in faith, trusting that God would fulfill His promises, we too can do the same. Though David went through some trying and troubling seasons, He ultimately knew that His life was in God’s hands. In his fear and frustration in what human eyes could conceive, David chose to trust and called on the Lord. We are called to do likewise. The work that God has begun in us, He will be faithful to complete. His love will never leave us nor forsake us, and we can place all of our trust in Him. May we fight to forge forward in faith, even when we cannot seem to find our footing. God has us in His hands, so we must place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord has a plan,hope-overflowing

For your life and mine;

We must choose to trust,

Place hope in Divine.

For God’s faithful love,

Endures for us still;

He’ll work to complete,

Each promise, fulfill.

The Lord won’t give up,

On what He has made;

Keep seeking His face,

As He makes the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that Your faithful love for us endures forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt when we cannot see clearly the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep moving in the direction to which You have called us. Show us how to love and encourage those around us as they seek to discover who You have created them to be as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to all that You have promised, and continue to move in the direction to which we have been called. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 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

Start to Finish by Faith

The Good News shows how God makes people right with Himself. God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. As the Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live forever.” – (Romans 1:17, ERV)

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” – (Romans 1:17, NLT)

 

We are only made right before God through faith in Christ. It is in that space of trust that we are redeemed and made righteous before Him, and granted life everlasting in the Lord. The Good News is that it is God at work in us, rather than us somehow having to measure up on our own. Our part is to seek Him and trust Him, and allow His Spirit to reign and rule in our lives. As we do, we are transformed more and more into His likeness, and His plans and purposes are accomplished both in us and through us. May we choose to seek and trust the Lord, as He is the One who makes us right in His sight by faith.

 

The Good News of God,No Matter What Comes

Is that we’re made right;

When we seek the Lord,

Redeemed in His sight.

It’s only by faith,

That new life is ours;

All is accomplished,

Trust Him where we are.

Life everlasting,

Is granted to all;

Who choose to seek Him,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us right in Your sight by faith. Thank You that when we seek You and trust in You, You supply what is needed to further fuel our faith. Thank You that You are the Author and Finisher of our faith. Forgive us for not seeking You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are who You say You are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and goodness through our kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our faith in You, trusting You to accomplish all that You promise that You will do in us and through us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Love With All You’ve Got

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

You should love Him, your true God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, VOICE)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all that you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

When we give God all that we’ve got, He meets us where we are. For whatever reason, God seems to show me tangible examples of this through running. This morning, I had a 15k race to run. I have not really been training, and the longest run I’ve gone on in recent months, was just under seven miles. That being said, it was one of those times where it was not about running a certain pace, but rather about running to finish. My friend and I were in the same position, and both determined that we were going to prioritize having fun while we run, rather than achieving a certain pace. As we ran, we discovered that we were able to enjoy the process, and were provided the stamina and strength necessary to run our own race. We both walked away from the event recognizing the parallels to how God shows up when we give things to Him, rather than attempt to force our own agenda. When we love Him and the life that He has given us, He does incredible things in us and through us. May we be ever willing to love the Lord with all that we are, and give Him all that we’ve got!

 

The Lord, He is good,hot-chocolate-run-2017-pic-1

Worthy of our love;

Our heart, soul and strength,

To God up above.

Let all that’s within,

Be given to God;

He takes what we bring,

Though broken and flawed.

So let all we are,

Give love unto Him;

Our strength and our songs,

Both outward and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding us to love You with all that we are, as when we do, we are filled to overflowing with Your goodness anew. Forgive us for not trusting or seeking You with our whole heart, and teach us to trust You more, so that all that we are would seek You – heart and soul; loving You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may come to know the blessing of Your goodness and faithfulness in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are, and seek to do the same with those around us.  Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Seek to Serve

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, NLT)

Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to Him. He said, “Whoever wants to be the most important must make others more important than themselves. They must serve everyone else.” – (Mark 9:35, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not like that of this world. We do not have to claw our way to the top, nor fight others to finish “best“. Instead, Christ calls us to prefer others, to serve others, to place the needs of others before our own selfish desires. In His eyes, we are lifted up when we lift others. The Lord is not interested in how much of an agenda we can accomplish, but rather He wants to see us love others well. May we seek God and give to others as we have so graciously been given.

 

There is no first place,Good Gifts

When focused on self;

But rather through love,

Shown to someone else.

He calls us to serve,

To prefer others;

To love and lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

Lord, teach us to see,

The needs all around;

May we choose love well,

Let Your light be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to prefer others above ourselves, and to serve those around us. Thank You that You equip us to do all that You ask. Forgive us for our selfishness that keeps us looking inward rather than out. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve and love all whom we encounter. Show us how to love and serve as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to love and serve others, rather than seek to serve our own selfishness. 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

Strength We Lack

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Today is the final day before Christmas break. This has been the longest week of the school year thus far. Between a very full moon, the threat of snow, much colder temperatures than usual, and the anticipation of a much needed and long awaited break, both the campus and our classrooms have been engulfed in constant energetic activity. As educators, it takes every ounce of strength we have to attempt to channel that energy into productivity in the classroom. By the time the last bell rings at 2:10, I look back at my disheveled room in awe, and wonder how on earth I managed to navigate another day. In reality, I do know how. My source of strength lies in the Lord, and He meets me in each moment and provides the strength I lack. Despite my weariness, He meets me and restores my strength and joy, granting what is needed to navigate each class period. My love of the Lord grows ever greater, as I recognize His provision and care for me and those around me. May we go forth this day in His strength, ready to finish the week strong, as we trust Him to provide whatever we lack through His loving grace.

 

When weariness comes,Healed Hands Reach Out

And strength is near gone;

The Lord will provide,

Help us carry on.

Let all that we are,

Give Him thanks and praise;

For His loving grace,

Granted all our days.

We love You, O God,

Our strength and our song;

In You there’s enough,

To rise and press on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your grace. Thank You that You meet us where we are and provide the strength that we need to continue in the direction that we are called. We love You Lord for who You are and how You love us so well. Forgive us for not seeking You or giving You the praise that is due Your Name. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in our need and our plenty, asking for what we need and giving You praise for who You are. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged to finish well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for the strength You provide for all of our days. We love You Lord. 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