Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Friends Sharpen Each Other

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. 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

To Know and To Trust

Followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is your strength and shield. – (Psalm 115:11, ERV)

All who fear and know the Eternal, put your trust in Him. He is their helper and defender. – (Psalm 115:11, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder this morning, as God’s help and strength, shield and defense can be far more than physical. For me, as an educator, this is the time of year that I need it most for my heart. For whatever reason, I am feeling it far more this year than ever before. The strength and shield needed are for my heart and mind. There are the few cherubs throughout the day that try my patience and exhaust my resolve. By the end of the day yesterday, I would have tapped out for the week, if it had been an option. That being said, it is not, and today is a new day. I must choose to trust in the Lord to be my strength and my shield, as He will be my help and my defense when troubled teens try my last nerve. My prayer will be to have eyes anew; to see each child through His view. There is always a reason for acting out, and my prayer is for His insight beyond what my eyes can merely observe. May we ever trust in the Lord and His strength, as He is our help and our defense.

 

All who know the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

Choose to trust in Him;

For He is our help,

Our shield from within.

He will be our strength,

When ours is but gone;

And grant us His hope,

To keep keeping on.

Followers of Christ,

Rise up, trust the Lord;

He’s our help and shield,

When we’re less, He’s more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place all of our trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and our shield. Thank You that You are our helper and defender in our time of need, regardless of our circumstance. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small things too. Forgive us for thinking that we have to “gut” things out or somehow “manage” on our own. Teach us to trust in You to be our help and our defense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and help when they feel as if they have none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our help and our hope; always. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Work With All Your Heart

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – (Colossians 3:23-24)

 

Today marks the close of one season, and the beginning of another. This is the final day of the 2013-2014 school year. Though I have various trainings and responsibilities throughout the summer that tie to my position as an educator, my primary concern for the next two months will be to care for my growing boys, and attempt to organize and manage the household far better than I am able during the school year. The people-pleaser in me, finds this task to be a bit daunting. I want to have everything done well now, and begin the summer fun. However, I realize that everything that is worthwhile, takes work. If I press in, and remember that all I am doing is ultimately to honor the Lord, not man, then I will be far better off. He is well-pleased when we seek to serve Him, even in the mundane. He is glorified, as we love and care for our kids, and all those around us. As we commit to serve others, we are ultimately serving Him.  May we each choose to do all things unto Him, with our whole heart.

 

Whatever we do,Work With All Your Heart

let hearts seek to serve;

all unto Jesus,

our praise He deserves.

Each task we tackle,

and job we take on;

may Christ be our strength,

our hope and our song.

When our heart is right,

and we work for Him;

there’s joy in the task,

and peace from within.

Great is our reward,

when our days are done;

to forever dwell,

with the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to work as unto You, not man. Thank You that whether or not we receive earthly rewards, our ultimate reward is found in our eternal hope in You. Thank You that Your salvation is a gift that is given freely as we come and choose to receive it. Thank You that our choice to work as unto You, to serve and honor You, is an outpouring of our gratitude for all that You have given unto us. Forgive us for poor attitudes about work, or for hearts that seek to please people rather than You. Help us to find proper perspective as we recognize that the only reward that really matters is that which we find in You. Let us live, love, work and serve as unto You, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we go about our work, and lifted high as we live each day for You. 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

Mindful of Miracles

Though this morning’s reading includes chapters in Genesis, a Psalm and Luke 19, I find it difficult to get past my own gratitude on this day, as I remember twelve years ago.  Part of what I’m meant to do this year, is to look for the miracles all around me; and twelve years ago, on this very day, a most marvelous miracle occurred.  Our beautiful baby boys were born.  Five weeks ahead of schedule, so their debut was quite unexpected so soon, yet arrive, they did.

Baby Adventurous

Baby Adventurous

The first miracle was that my water broke, despite the time being so early.  As it turned out, there was twin-to-twin transfusion, or as I explain to the boys – Cautious was hogging the goods, and Adventurous was going hungry.  Had I gone full-term, my beautiful, insightful, tender-hearted Adventurous, would not likely have lived.

Baby Cautious

Baby Cautious

Upon their blessed arrival, I barely caught a glimpse of either boy, as they were quickly whisked away to be assessed and cared for.  The second miracle, that despite the myriad of possible complications, each boy only needed oxygen and time to grow.  Wee little lads they were, as Adventurous was 3 lbs 15 oz, and Cautious was not quite as tiny at 5 lbs 5.5 oz.

Spending nearly five weeks in the hospital, turned out to be another miracle in and of itself, as the boys and I were able to room together in Pediatrics after week two.  I was given round-the-clock assistance and training as to how to care for and manage twins, and help in how to best mother my premature babies.

Boys get to go home

Most twins who are born prematurely and on oxygen, don’t go home at the same time.  My prayer from the get go, was that they would.  Yet another miracle, my tiny wonders were weaned from their oxygen within hours of one another!  And, believe it or not, my little firstborn, Adventurous, was the first one weaned.

Despite their small start, today, this delightful duo is anything but small.  Our magnificent miracles are now larger than me, and are projected to pass even their father (who is not a dainty man).  Happy Birthday Boys!  I am so very proud of the young men that you have become!

Miracles are found,Birthday Boys then and now

wherever you are;

just take in the view,

you’ll need not look far.

The eyes of a child,

the touch of a hand;

the warmth of a smile,

all God’s loving plan.

Give thanks to the Lord,

He who gives us all;

Miracle Maker,

He hears every call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracles all around us.  Thank You for the blessings that You provide us through family.  Thank You for allowing me to be the mother of our boys, and for trusting them in my care.  Thank You for the miracles that You continue to provide, as we live life.  Forgive us for our shortcomings in the roles that You have placed us in, and please show us how to live and love as You are calling us to do.  Help us to be ever aware of the miraculous around us, and may our gratitude be evident in all that we say and do.  May we love others as we are loved by You, and may many come to know You as their personal Savior, soon.  Thank You is not nearly enough for all of the ways that You love and bless us so well.  May we honor You in all.  Amen.

“We will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” – Psalm 145:7

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