Encourage and Build Up

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

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

I continue to stand in awe as I watch how God orchestrates community. A few years ago, when my world turned upside down, I found myself in the midst of friends who became family. These people encouraged and built up both me and my boys, and we have grown stronger as a result. As life keeps moving forward, and the circle expands, each of us have opportunity to encourage, build up, and support one another as we grow. Though time marches on and life becomes busy, the joy that is found in time spent together, remains. May we lay hold of every opportunity to encourage and build each other up, as we grow in faith and His strength as we walk out His will.

 

Called to encourage,Encourage and Build Up

And build others up;

To grow in our faith,

In strength we lift up.

Choose invest time well,

In community;

It is where your friends,

Become family.

All thanks be to God,

Who knows what we need;

Surrounds us the best,

So we can succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be invested in communities. Thank You that as we encourage and build one another up, we grow stronger in our faith, and friends become family in You. Thank You that You know our need and meet it far better than we ever could. Forgive us for attempting to isolate ourselves or for withdrawing from the places that we have been planted. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would invest well in the people that You have brought into our lives. Show us how to love, encourage and build others up, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we support each other as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.  – James 5:13

Obey the Impossible

So Moses did as he was told… – (Numbers 20:9a, NLT)

 

Despite the seemingly impossible and at times, absurd, Moses did as the Lord asked. As he did, God moved miraculously to provide for the people. In this particular passage, when Moses struck a rock with his staff, enough fresh water to satisfy all of the people and their livestock in the middle of the desert flowed forth.

There were times that Moses wrestled with obeying the things that God had asked of him, and as a result, he at times, missed out on the fullness of what the Father had for him. The same holds true for us. God does not ask us to do the seemingly impossible or apparently absurd, just to isolate and let us suffer. Rather He calls us to trust so that we might see the mighty move of His hand on our behalf, if only we will trust and allow Him to be God. When we do that which He has called us to do, His provision and purpose present themselves in phenomenal ways. However, when we do not move where we are called, we miss out on what He has prepared. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and then in faith, do as He asks so that we may know the fullness of the Father’s goodness and grace.

 

So often the times,Be Transformed 1

That we’re called to move;

Seem impossible,

Yet His strength shall prove.

In Christ, no mountain,

Shall stand in the way;

When we trust in Him,

There’s strength to obey.

In obedience,

Miracles take place;

God goes before us,

And grants us His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need and more, to walk in obedience to that which we are called. Thank You that You make the impossible, possible in You. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to hold fast to the promises of Your presence and provision to all who place their trust in You alone. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see the hope that is found in You alone through how we care for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and obey all that You say, even when it seems completely impossible. 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

 

The Reality of Rest

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1)

Rest is a remarkable thing.  Our soul craves it, yet rest does not always come from idleness; sometimes it comes from contact with others – from being surrounded by others who are like-minded in their pursuit of God.  This weekend has been all about connecting with other women, sisters, from my church, as we are on retreat.  Though I have not physically rested much, nor slept anymore than usual, my soul feels rested and new life is being birthed within me again.  Places that were weary and worn, are being restored, as God has used others to speak His truth into my life.  Likewise, He is further equipping and preparing each of us, to go out and do the same for others.  May we each find rest for our soul through our precious Savior, as our salvation comes from Him alone.

Find rest, O my soul,Hearts of Thanks

in the Lord alone;

for there is none like,

Him who makes heart home.

Our sweet salvation,

is promised in Him;

if our heart’s open,

inviting Him in.

For our weary souls,

there is rest to find;

as sisters gather,

with purpose in mind.

With hearts for the Lord,

and for each other;

refreshment is found,

thanks to our Father.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our souls find rest in You.  Thank You that You made the way for salvation for all who place their trust in You.  Thank You that when we are weary and in need of rest, You alone, know what that rest should look like for us, individually.  Thank You for the sweet blessing of community in the body of Christ.  Thank You that You have created us for relationships.  Forgive us for the times that we are weary and we isolate ourselves, rather than seeking You and one another.  Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the One who brings refreshment to the weariest of souls.  Lead us to love and refresh those around us, so that they too, may come to know the salvation that is found in You alone.  May many choose to give their lives to You.  Be glorified O God, as we find rest in You, our Savior and King.  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

Beyond Brokenness

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – (Psalm 34:18)

 

God does not promise that we will never become brokenhearted, rather He assures us that He will remain close. Though our spirits may seem crushed for a season, Christ saves us from our sorrow and helps us rise again. In fact, it is often in the midst of heartache that beauty begins to rise from the ashes. I know in my own life, I am constantly in awe of how quickly He can utilize my own experiences of brokenness to encourage someone who is experiencing something similar. When we are willing to share our story, no matter how tattered and torn it may appear, God can use it to build up, challenge, encourage, and touch the lives of others. May we remember how very near our Savior stays, even in our brokenness, and trust Him who saves, when we are crushed in spirit; for His plans are good, and He turns tragedy into triumph when we trust in Him.

 

The Lord remains close,Chosen With Purpose

He is ever near;

to brokenhearted,

and those wracked with fear.

He saves the oppressed,

whose spirits are crushed;

His presence breathes life,

His love is enough.

Even in mire,

when ashes surround;

as we trust in Him,

true beauty is found.

Let the Lord’s light shine,

in darkness and pain;

as we trust in Him,

His hope will remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are close to the brokenhearted and that You save those who are crushed in spirit. Thank You that though we all go through seasons of sorrow and heartache, You are present and You utilize such seasons to refine us and draw us closer to You. Thank You that even in the midst of the ugliest of ashes, You can bring beauty as You give life to others through our willingness to share what You have done and are doing in our own lives. Forgive us for forgetting how very close You are when we are in the midst of our own brokenness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow You room to move, as You stretch and grow us in the painful places where we would rather not be. Lead us to reach out and love well, even when we want to isolate because of our own issues. May many be lead to You, as they see the truth of Your light and love, even in the midst of our own darkness. Be glorified O God, as we walk well with You, even in our brokenness. 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

Run From Ruin

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – (2 Timothy 2:22)

 

In a culture that tells us, “if it feels good, go for it,” those who call on Christ and want to walk in His ways, are to take a different path. We are called to a higher standard. While most are simply pursuing pleasure, our charge is to run after righteousness; to follow that which God has for us, and to turn away from that which He does not. To flee the evil desires of youth, is to keep ourselves out of harm’s way. If we know a place or a group of people that create in us a propensity to sin, then we are to flee and avoid the situation, so that we may remain upright before our Father in Heaven.

 

As we pursue what is right according to Christ, we will grow in faith and love; experiencing His peace, as He purifies our hearts. He does not call us to walk this road alone, but rather to walk beside others too, who are seeking to answer all that He is asking. May we flee from that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord, and pursue passionately, all that He has for us.

 

Flee from all evil,Run From Ruin

pursue righteousness;

call out to Jesus,

to show which way’s best.

As we choose follow,

His path, and not ours;

faith, love and His peace,

find home in our hearts.

Do not walk alone,

but rather invest;

in those seeking,

to follow His best.

For on this rough road,

we best navigate;

when we’re surrounded,

and don’t isolate.

Shoulder to shoulder,

we shall rise above;

the world’s temptations,

as we walk in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we run from that which leads us into temptation and pursue the things of You, You grow our faith, overwhelm us with Your lavish love, and help us to know Your peace – even in places where peace seems impossible. Thank You that You take us as we are, and refine us, creating in us, hearts that are pure and acceptable before You, by the power of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for allowing ourselves entry into toxic situations or scenarios, and grant us wisdom so that we will flee from the spaces that suck us into sin. Thank You that You are merciful and loving, and that You do not allow us to stay in such spaces, but rather You correct and redirect so that we may follow You with all that we are. Thank You that You do not call us to walk this road alone, but rather You created us for relationships. Thank You that we are called to walk beside one another, shoulder to shoulder, to hold one another up, encourage and challenge each other in love. May many come to know the peace that is found in You alone, as they seek to find faith in You. Let our love extended through hearts You have purified, reflect Your radiance to the world. Be glorified, O God. 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

God’s Gift in Grief

It is not good to navigate grief, nor face trials all on our own.  God gives us people to walk beside us and keep watch.  Though our first and foremost resource is our Heavenly Father, He created us to need people too.  In the glory of His goodness, He allows people to be His hands, heart and voice.  Jesus in us, makes Christ tangible to others, when we are faithful friends who do life with one another.

This morning, as I read further in Matthew, something stood out to me in a new way.  “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.” – (Matthew 26:38)  Though Jesus, who was fully God, did not need to have people with Him, He wanted to have friends near Him in His hour of need to keep watch, as He knew what He would soon endure.  If the God of all creation wants to keep friends near when trials come, how much more should we desire the same?  We are relational creatures, created to be in relationship with God and with people.  We must do both to obey the greatest command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, also Mt 22:37, Mk 12:30) 

God’s greatest gift,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in the face of grief;

His heart made known,

friendship’s sweet relief.

For we are called,

to love people well;

as Christ loves us,

our actions do tell.

To walk beside,

through the good and bad;

grants glimpses of,

our Heavenly Dad.

Seek Father first,

and let people in;

we are all made,

for sweet communion.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be relational people.  Thank You that even Jesus, in His hour of need, wanted to have those closest to Him nearby.  Though His priority was time with You, the nearness of friends was also good.  Forgive us for the times that we isolate ourselves, not wanting to bother those who care about us and are a gift from You, and for the times that our priorities are out of order and we do not seek You first.  Help us to know the balance.  Teach us how to seek You first, and to know when to reach out, and when we are meant to sit in Your presence on our own for a time.  Thank You that You love us so well.  May we be a blessing to those around us, as we choose to love as we are loved.  May many come to know You as their Redeemer and Friend.  Be glorified in our love for You and for those around us.  Amen.

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