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

Advertisements

Do Right and Build Up

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – (Romans 15:2, NIV)

(We should not do what pleases us) but do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT)

A sweet colleague and friend whom I appreciate and admire, who also happens to be a fellow blogger, published a post yesterday that leads me to the application of the verse that my heart landed upon this morning. The gist of her post, though I am not doing it justice, was that despite the struggles, challenges and obstacles that we are facing daily, her heart, with hope, is to have no bad days. One way that we can contribute to the betterment of the days of others is to look for ways to build them up and to empower them. How can we do things that increase the faith of those around us? If we can find good in each day and extend encouragement to others, we not only grow the faith in others, but in ourselves as well. May we seek to do what is right and pleasing so that others may be built up and press on, even on the hardest days.

Help us look for good,

Ways to choose build up;

To please our neighbors,
Do Right and Build Up

In faith, fill their cup.

As we do what’s right,

And opt extend grace;

Empowered rise up,

As they find fresh faith.

Let’s not grow weary,

In choosing what’s right;

Help and love others,

Let’s fight the good fight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do what is good and pleasing for others to help them grow and be built up in faith. Thank You that as we choose to focus on others, You fill and refresh us in the process. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have nothing to offer in our own space of weariness. Teach us to trust You more, as You fill us and build us up, providing all that we need and more. Show us how to love well the people who You have placed around us, so that we would do what is right and pleasing to build them up and help grow their faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for bringing good unto us when we are depleted, and for growing our faith in You so that we may in turn do the same for those around us. 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 71:19

Ambassadors of Love

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. – (1 John 4:12, NLT)

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:12, ERV)

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently, God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

 

When we love God and love people as He has called us to do, though we do not see God with human eyes, our hearts lay hold of who God truly is, as He becomes tangible through the expression of love brought before us. The more we choose to love, the more we are available to be ambassadors to those around us, granting glimpses of His goodness and grace to those longing to feel it for themselves. His love accomplishes its mission among us as we choose to live out a life in His love. May we ever pursue the path that keeps us loving God and loving people as our priority, as it is the place where we experience His love made perfect in us.

 

Though no eye has seen, Ambassadors of Love

Our great Holy God;

He lives in each heart,

That seeks His path trod.

For those who choose love,

As priority;

Have God within them,

His heart plainly seen.

To love each other,

The goal surely met;

God’s mission complete,

In Him, no regrets.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though no human eye has seen the fullness of Your face, our hearts have come to know the glory of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that when we love You and love one another, You live in us and bring Your love to full expression in us. Forgive us for not allowing the fullness of Your love to be expressed through us to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without withholding, and allow Your love to be made complete in us. Show us how to love those around us as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

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)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in You. 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

Releasing the Right to Revenge

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. – (Proverbs 20:22, NLT) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll pay them back for what they did to me!” Wait for the Lord. He will make things right. – (Proverbs 20:22, ERV) 

Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; He’ll settle the score. – (Proverbs 20:22, MSG) 

 

For many, this is a difficult road to walk. Our natural inclination is to give back whatever we are given. When extended kindness, it is easy to return. However, when someone wrongs us or intentionally brings harm, it is almost without conscious thought, that our minds go to returning the hurt. With Christ in us, there is a filter to know that we are not meant to lash out in anger, nor return harm for hurt against us, yet it is a process that requires a decision to place the hurt or harm in His hands, and trust Him to handle the matter. Our part is to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness does not mean foolishly nor blindly forgetting and setting ourselves in a vulnerable or unsafe space, but it does mean letting go of our desire to lash out or get even and allow God (and if necessary, the law) to deal with the wrong-doer. May we release our perceived right for revenge, and give our offenses to God. Let us trust our hearts in His hands, as He knows best how to handle these hurdles. 

 

Speak not of revenge, Shackles No More

For it’s not our role; 

To repay all wrongs, 

Must not be our goal. 

Instead let us wait, 

Place all in God’s hands; 

He will make things right, 

He hears, understands. 

Often His answers, 

Open our blind eyes; 

We grow in His grace, 

As love’s realized. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is not our job to get even for the harm that is done against us, but rather You ask us to place it in Your hands. Thank You that we can trust You, as You are good and just, and You love us more than we can comprehend. Forgive us for seeking to “get even” when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place our perceived harms in Your hands, and allow You to handle whatever has hurt our hearts. Grant us wisdom to know how to seek help if help is required, and give us strength to forgive when forgiveness is far from what is desired. Show us how to love well those who have been wronged, so that they may find Your grace and forgiveness, leaving the need for retribution in Your hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our hurts to You, and allow You to handle making things right when we have been wronged. Amen.

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

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

Run With Purpose

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

A Forward Focus

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

Encouragement Through Community

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

 

I am continually in awe of how God provides what I need, when I need it most. Yesterday was a day overflowing with time together with treasured friends, doing things I enjoy most, and unexpected words of encouragement came my way throughout the day from friends near and far. Despite one unfortunate exchange, my day ended well and my heart was full as I reflected upon the incredible gifts that God has blessed me with through community. We are called to be in community for a purpose. Yes, great things can be accomplished when people come together with a common goal, but I also think that God intends for us to come together so that each part of the whole is made stronger through the encouragement and strengthening of one another. May we each choose to invest well in the community in which we are placed. Let our words be full of encouragement, so that we build each other up, just as Christ does for us.

 

All thanks be to God,photo (4)

As He sees each need;

He loves us to life,

And sets our hearts free.

Free from the burdens,

That wear our hearts down;

Free from the heartache,

That seeks steal our crown.

He places us each,

In community;

It’s in this sweet space,

We find how to be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the communities in which You have planted me. I am in awe of how You use those around me to build up and encourage my heart. Thank You for loving me so well. Forgive me for not acting on every opportunity that You present to encourage or build up another. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would be willing to take risks and be vulnerable, if it is for the benefit of another. Show me how to encourage and build others up in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage and build each other up in You. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

His Love Doesn’t Hurt

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

Our goal ought to be to mirror God’s love to all. In our broken humanity, we fall short – daily. When we are wronged, often our gut instinct is to lash out and respond in the same way; yet love, is to choose to extend kindness to those who deserve it least. Love offers grace to the guilty and mercy to the mean. To love is to contradict the way the world says we ought to respond to anything that comes against us. The more we choose to love, the more natural it becomes. It does not always mean it is easy, but there are never regrets when a loving response is extended, rather than lashing out or firing back – as such things cannot be erased. Sometimes love is extended simply by not responding and exercising self-control, when everything within us desires to meet fire with fire. As we love, God uses our obedience to break down barriers in others, and can do amazing things in hearts and lives. It is no wonder that God calls us to love above all else, for all things flow through His filter of love. May we choose to go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

Love will not choose harm,Purposeful Prayer

despite what it gets;

for love is from God,

it never regrets.

Love fulfills the law,

for God’s love is good;

it mends the broken,

makes grace understood.

Love heals the hurting,

it turns away wrath;

love makes clear the way,

to travel God’s path.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not do wrong to others, but rather it fulfills all that You require of us. Thank You that the love You speak of is Yours, not that which we distort and confuse and fracture. Thank You that You have shown us the perfect example of love through the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Forgive us for not loving as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond in kindness, grace or in silence – according to Your will, rather than our own when we are wronged. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that people may come to know the kindness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You love us. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

A Command to Love

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, NIV)

 

In this passage, Paul was giving Timothy instruction as to how to stand firm in the faith. Paul’s instruction was received well by Timothy because Paul had proven his heart toward him and his fellow believers over time. Love had been made evident over time, and the instructions were delivered from one with a good conscience, sincere faith and a heart that had been made pure by that which Christ had done. We are called to do likewise. It is our charge – His command to us – to love. The only way that we can truly do this is if we love as He has loved us. When we submit ourselves to Christ, He purifies our hearts, cleanses our conscience from any unrighteousness, and grows us in sincere faith. It is from this space of submission, that we are able to fulfill the goal of the greatest command – to love. May we choose to receive that which He has given unto us, and go forth and do the same to all whom we encounter.

 

The greatest command,Purposeful Prayer

that we have been told;

instructs us to love,

all whom we behold.

Not just those we choose,

but all whom come in;

as Christ’s beloved,

treat all as if kin.

From a heart that’s pure,

and conscience that’s clean;

with a sincere faith,

show all what love means.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You do not first demonstrate and then equip us to do. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who came and showed us how to love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. Thank You Jesus, for Your sacrifice so that we could become pure and acceptable before God because of what You have done for us. Forgive us for not recognizing the remarkable work that You did on our behalf on the cross to make us acceptable before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive that which we have been freely given, and would then go forth and do likewise in love. Help us to love others well, as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to obey Your call on our lives to love others well from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. Amen.

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

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