Tag Archive: focus


Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words; Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT)

Now brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, MSG)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Corinth applies to us today as well. When we choose joy, seek to grow, encourage others, and do what we can to live in harmony and peace with those around us, the love and peace of God seem to be ever-present. Each of the things that Paul mentioned are choices that we are able to make, despite our circumstances. Joy, growth, encouragement, peace, and harmony can be given and gained, even in the midst of personal difficulties. So often, when we choose these, our challenges become less and our strength and resolve become more. This is not to discredit the overwhelming obstacles that at times, lie directly before us; yet it is to remind us that our God is far greater, and when we choose to operate in the things of Him, that which is before us is less that He who is in us. May we choose joy and growth, encouraging one another in love. Let us live in harmony and peace with each other according to His will, and may we be ever aware of the love and peace found in the Lord’s presence, as He is faithful to be present with us for all of our days.

 

Brothers and sisters, Forgiveness is Free

Be joyful always;

Seek to ever grow,

For all of our days.

Encourage others,

Live in harmony;

For as we follow,

God’s peace is released.

He will be present,

To show us the way;

To do what is right,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instruction as to how we ought to live well. Thank You that joy, growth, encouragement, harmony and peace are all choices that we can make, despite our circumstances. Thank You that in You, all are possible, regardless of what we are going through. Forgive us for choosing to fix our focus on what lies before us rather than You who dwells within us and give us strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be joyful, seek to grow, encourage others and live in harmony and peace. Show us how to love others well so that we can do each of these things according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the love and peace that is found in Your presence, so that we may go forth extending peace to all. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbor’s interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

Following this one can be a bit tricky. Even if our mode of operation is to look out for others and prefer one another in love, there are times when we feel that we have been the recipient of someone’s selfishness or lack of humility, and a sense of self-righteousness may rise. Despite being the recipient of less than we choose to extend to others, it is not our charge to hold grudges and walk in unforgiveness. When we do, we become prideful in our own sense of being right. Rather, we are meant to be humble and extend love, even to those who offered us less. With sincerity and genuine care for one another, healing where the relationship was fractured can take place. Without it, there is no way to repair the damage that has been done. May we choose to be humble and kind in all things and at all times, and allow the love of the Lord extended through us to be the very thing that brings restoration where damage has been done.

 

Be humble and kind, Faith and Hope in Action

In all that we do;

Look out for others,

Give grace and love too.

Don’t let selfishness,

Or personal pride;

Be what is leading,

Let Christ be our guide.

For as we extend,

Love to each other;

We rise up in peace,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be humble and selfless, You move mountains that seemed impossible to move. Thank You that when our focus is outward, You do mighty works inward. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride, that makes us think only of ourselves and not of those around us. Show us the places where pride or selfishness have crept in and are keeping us from being who You have called us to be. Help us to love others with humility and selflessness, preferring others before our own agenda to be right. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we choose to be humble and honor others first. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in humility and grace, giving others as You have given unto us. 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

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know that I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I am leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. – (Philippians 3:13, VOICE)

 

We are always a work in progress. Not one of us ever “arrives“. However, we can leave our past in the past, and keep pressing forward to that which God has called us, as He transforms us in the process. Each misstep can be an opportunity to learn and grow, if we allow God to lead, and choose to willingly follow. Often He will use our greatest struggles to later become strengths for His glory. May we set aside all that hinders us, and keep pressing forward toward all that God has in store. He is good, and what lies ahead is far better than anything that lies behind.

 

Brothers and sisters,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Though we’ve far to go;

The place we are in,

Has required growth.

Forget the old life,

The things of the past;

Press on toward the prize,

And all that shall last.

For when we trust God,

And seek what is true;

Our goals have purpose,

As hope is made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we still have a long way to go, we can focus on what lies ahead. Thank You that our hope is held in You and our future is secure when we place our trust in You. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and as we seek You, You show us the way to go. Forgive us for wandering our own way, or for losing focus. Teach us to keep our eyes on the prize, remembering that the end goal is eternity with You. Show us how to love well, all those who cross our paths, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forget about the past and fix our eyes forward on what You have placed before us. 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

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

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

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

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. – (Romans 4:20-22, NLT)

He never doubted that God would do what He promised. He never stopped believing. In fact, he grew stronger in his faith and just praised God. Abraham felt sure that God was able to do what He promised. So that’s why “he was accepted as one who is right with God.” – (Romans 4:20-22, ERV)

 

Abraham’s righteousness before God was not based on his following the letter of the law, but rather by his faith in the Father. God looks at us the very same way that He looked upon Abraham. He is not looking for people who cross their “t’s” and dot their “I’s” just so, but rather He wants people who place their trust in Him and believe that He will do what He says He will do. Our faith is both challenged and grown in the wait between the promise and its fulfillment. Few of us have to hold out for seventy-some years to see God’s promises realized, but how we choose to trust in the interim matters just as much. Thankfully, we have countless examples that have gone before us to show that faith is worth the wait. Additionally, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to encourage our hearts and remind us who He is and how He loves. May we ever trust in our Heavenly Father, as He is faithful to fulfill every promise that He provides.

 

By faith we are seen,hope-overflowing

As right before God;

Our trust in His words,

Triumph over flaws.

For righteous to Him,

Belief that He’ll do;

All He has promised,

That His word is true.

Let go of the law,

And focus on Him;

By faith we’ll do right,

As we enter in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill. Thank You that You count all who trust in You as righteous before You. Forgive us for not believing that You will do what You have promised, and grow in us an unwavering faith that always trusts. Show us how to love others well as we walk forward in the faith that You loving give to us as we seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your words and believe Your promises will be provided. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. – (Proverbs 4:25, NLT)

Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you. – (Proverbs 4:25, VOICE)

Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. (Proverbs 4:25, AMP)

 

It is far better to fix our eyes on what is directly in front of us, than it is to focus on what has been, or on that which is yet to come. We are designed to be fully engaged in each day as it arrives, and we are only able to do that if we are seeking the Lord and trusting Him as we move forward into each new day. The Lord is faithful to show us the ways in which we are meant to move, if we keep our sights set on our Savior. He makes plain the path and lovingly directs our steps, so that we are able to navigate each new thing as it comes. May we keep our eyes up, ever looking to the Lord, so that we may clearly see what lies before us and walk in a way that is upright before Him.

 

Let us lift our heads,Bold in Battle

Each focus our eyes;

Directly forward,

And on Christ, rely.

With the Lord in us,

He helps us to see;

Not just the struggle,

But integrity.

He points us the path,

Where we’re meant to go;

To do right by Him,

Learn, live, love and grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to keep our heads up and our eyes forward so that we do not lose our focus on You and the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for allowing the things of life to distract us or detour us from the way that You have prepared for us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not stray from the direction and calling that You place before us, and help us to fix our eyes securely on You and where You are leading us to go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the good in whatever is directly in front of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our heads up and our eyes fixed forward on You and what You ask us to do. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

 

So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess. – (Hebrews 3:1, VOICE)

 

So, my brothers and sisters, those chosen by God to be His holy people, think about Jesus. He is the one we believe God sent to save us and to be our high priest. – (Hebrews 3:1, ERV)

 

At first glance, it is easy to discount oneself from being considered “holy partners” or “holy people“, lest we remember that it is not through anything on our own, but through the saving grace of Jesus that we choose to embrace that we are called clean and holy before Him. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we are able in Him, to do abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine according to His good and perfect will. May we focus our faith on the amazing grace that God has given, and go forth in confidence that we are called and chosen with a plan and a purpose as God’s very own. Let us set our eyes securely on Christ, and listen to His leading.

 

Don’t ever discount,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The call of the King;

Our yes to Jesus,

The gift that we bring.

As we come to Him,

He forgives, makes clean;

Calls us His people,

Shows what holy means.

Let’s securely fix,

Our hearts and our eyes;

On Jesus who saves,

And makes our hearts wise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our life, we belong to You and are considered partners among those with a heavenly calling. Thank You that as we fix our eyes on Jesus, You show us the way in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your will in all things and at all times, as Your way is always best. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them feel valued and grants a sense of belonging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that we have been given, and turn our attention to You. 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

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, NLT)

Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, ERV)

We should stop looking out for our own interests and instead focus on the people living and breathing around us. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, VOICE)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly things change when my focus shifts from self to others. Even if my situation does not change, my perspective inevitably does. If someone around me needs encouragement and I find ways and words with which to offer encouragement, I discover that I too, am encouraged in the process. Joy and hope accompany each act of extending ourselves to others. May we fix our gaze outward rather than in, so that we may seek to do good for others, just as the Lord has done for us.

 

Do not be concerned,The Power of the Tongue

For your sense of good;

But do for others,

That which Jesus would.

For we’re being called,

To look out, not in;

Encourage, build up,

Love others like kin.

God in His goodness,

Meets us as we give;

Strengthens and equips,

New life as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to look outside of ourselves to seek to do good for others. Thank You that we need not worry about ourselves, as You are far more capable than we are, so it is best for us to focus our attention on loving You and loving people, allowing You to be who You say You are. Forgive us for not trusting You to be big enough to carry our concerns. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place the weight of our worries in Your hands, and look to You to show us how to do what is good for those around us. Help us to have open eyes and willing hearts, so that we may see opportunities to love well and act on them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we focus on loving You and the people that You place all around us. Amen.

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

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

So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. – (Matthew 6:34, TLB)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – (Matthew 6:34, MSG)

 

It is fairly easy to become anxious about what is yet to come when we look too far forward. Rather than fixing our eyes on that which is right before us, we get caught up in the world of “what ifs“. If we are truly trusting God, we begin to focus on that which is in the here and now, living in the moment, rather than getting worked up and worried about that which is yet to come. Yes, God wants us to use wisdom and seek Him for next steps, but we are not meant to be so focused on the future that we forget about today. Each new day God has a plan and a purpose for us. When we live in the here and now, we recognize the remarkable all around us, and are better able to turn in trust to our Provider for what is needed. The Lord holds our future in the palm of His hands. We need not worry about what lies ahead, for the very same God who walks beside us today, will be with us tomorrow, next week, next year and forever. May we let go of worry about tomorrow, and instead live in the fullness of each new day that we are granted.

 

Do not be anxious,hope-overflowing

For the days ahead;

Instead live each day,

As by God, we’re led.

For just as today,

His presence is here;

No matter what comes,

He will remain near.

So choose worry not,

Beyond this new day;

For Christ’s help and hope,

Is promised to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry about tomorrow, as You who carry us through today, will remain with us to be our help and hope through all of our tomorrows as well. Forgive us for fixing our eyes too far forward, rather than living in the moments as You provide them. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let go of worry about what may or may not happen in the days, weeks, and years to come, and instead trust You for each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps ease anxiety and offers peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we let go of worry about the future, and trust You for today and all of the days ahead. 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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