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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Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love you. – (John 13:34, ERV) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Rest Enters In

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

 

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. This time of year, it seems as if days are on fast forward, and there is barely time to breathe. Our hope and strength and rest in this space are found in God alone. When we calm down and turn to God, and in absolute stillness are silent before Him, we become acutely aware of His presence and provision, and that He is Lord of all. Though we fall short and fail, He will not. His love endures forever. All that we need, He will provide, if we trust and wait on Him, and listen to His leading. May we each make space to slow down and quietly wait on the Lord, for in Him there is hope and He is where we find true rest.

 

Be silent, my soul, wp-1522150974280316262713.jpg

In quiet, just wait;

For rest’s found in God,

Do not hesitate.

He’s always faithful,

All hope comes from Him;

When we seek, we find,

His rest enters in.

In gentle stillness,

Choose wait on the Lord;

Hope is provided,

Through rest He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and wait quietly before You, we find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You rescue us from our chaos, and that Your love never fails. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek Your face. Please show us Your nearness for all of our days. Help us to grasp the hope that is found in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace into chaos and hope where there has been none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down and quietly wait on You, because You alone are the One in whom we hope. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Show Us How to Love

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

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

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

 

As God was preparing the hearts of the Israelites to enter the promised land, one of the things that He made sure that Moses conveyed to the people was the importance of prioritizing the love of God in all things. The promise that follows verse five, explains the blessings that will come if loving God is the priority. Incredibly, the very same promises hold true today, as Jesus repeated the same message and added to it, the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves as well. If love directs and guides the decisions that we make, then we are far more likely to walk in the will of God. Not one of us has mastered loving God and loving people perfectly. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. However, the more we seek to love God and love people well, the more His heart is shown to those who need to see it most. May we ever delight in the Lord with our whole hearts, and pursue a life that loves Him and those around us well.

 

Let the love of God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Be what rules our hearts;

Mind, spirit and strength,

Completely, not part.

For as we choose love,

There’s blessing and grace;

To walk in His way,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose to love,

Both God and others;

With all that we are,

Sisters and brothers.

By the grace of God,

To love is a choice;

He grants strength and grace,

Listen to His voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only created us to love, but You call us to love as well. Thank You that as we choose to do that which we were made to do, we discover the blessings that You bestow by Your grace. Forgive us for not loving You or those around us with all that we are, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love us. Show us how to delight in You and those around us, so that the love You have given may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You with all of our heart, soul and strength, and trust You to help us love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Proof Through Pursuit

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, “We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.” – (Luke 3:8, NLT)

 

Though few would likely utilize the “descendants of Abraham” claim today, many believe that their salvation is secure because they either grew up going to church or have Christian parents. The point that Luke is making is that we must own our faith for ourselves. It is essential that we repent from our former ways and turn to God in trust, believing that He is who He says He is, as we trust Him to be Lord of our lives. There is no automatic “in” because of our bloodlines. It is only by the blood of Jesus that any of us are made clean and acceptable before God. We must believe and receive what He has done on our behalf, and then pursue the path of a life lived in faith following Him. May we each turn in trust to Christ to repent and receive all that He offers to those who earnestly seek Him. It is through our receiving, that we are adopted as sons and daughters of the living God, and granted an inheritance in Him that never ends.

 

Let our lives make clear,Generous Giving

The choice that we’ve made;

To turn from our sins,

And walk in His ways.

There’s no auto in,

For family and friends;

All must make the choice,

On whom they’ll depend.

The only true way,

To know hope’s assured;

Is to trust in Christ,

In Whom we’re secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You desire for us to be in relationship with You individually and personally. Thank You that You made the way for us to turn away from our sin and be forgiven, so that we could enter into a lasting relationship with You. Forgive us for our lack of repentance or for not actively pursuing the deepening of our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts with You, and seek You in all of our ways. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the goodness of Your love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate our dedication to You by living lives in constant pursuit of You and Your ways. 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

Commanded to Love

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

We are not only called to love, but it is something that we are commanded to do if we are followers of Christ. To love deeply and fully as we are loved, requires reliance on our Redeemer. Our very nature is not always loving, but His is. To choose to respond in love is a matter of trusting God, and allowing His heart to work through ours. May this day that is flooded with sentiments of love, be transformed by those who choose to exhibit His love through word and deed to all whom we encounter.

 

We’re not only called,Generous Giving

But it’s a command;

To reach out and love,

Each woman and man.

Without conditions,

He calls us to show;

The very same love,

That we’ve come to know.

May we remember,

The grace He has shown;

So we might love well,

And make His heart known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the ultimate example of love through Your Son, and that You continue to reveal Your heart for us by Your Spirit within us. Thank You for the people that You have placed in our lives who show us what Your love looks like in tangible ways. Forgive us for not always demonstrating Your love for others, despite the desperate need. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would choose to respond in Your love, and act according to Your will, so that Your light and love may be made known. Show us how to love each other deeply and fully, according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You so completely love each of us. 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

Honest Answers

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

At first, I wondered why honesty and intimacy were being compared. However, it took but a moment to realize that without honesty, intimacy cannot exist. We do not hug people that we do not trust, not do we want, allow, nor value a kiss from anyone whom we cannot trust at their word. How we answer, what we say, and the weight of our words matter. When asked, an honest response will be remembered. Trust takes root and grows as honesty is shown. However, the opposite holds true as well. If we are not honest in our answering, trust cannot exist, and relationships will remain fractured. May we choose to answer honestly in all things, allowing truth to establish trust and warmth in all those around us.

 

To answer in truth,The Direction of Discipline

Is to create trust;

Forever needed,

Relational must.

In love and in life,

Wherever we go;

Trust must be built up,

So friendships can grow.

As sweet as a kiss,

Straight answers received;

For the heart’s made known,

And trust is achieved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us first that we can trust You. Thank You that You bring people into our lives that are trustworthy, and that by Your Spirit in us, we can be the same. Forgive us for the times that we have not given straight answers, or have chosen to stay silent when we should have spoken. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give the honest answers that establish trust and intimacy with all those around us. Show us how to love others well, so that they would see You in and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to establish trust through honesty in all of our interactions. 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

Promises Assured

He has given us both His promise and His oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now all those who flee to Him to save them can take new courage when they hear such assurances from God; now they can know without doubt that He will give them salvation He has promised them. – (Hebrews 6:18, TLB)

 

God’s word and His promises are totally trustworthy, for He is truth and does not lie. All who come before the Lord for salvation can take courage, for He saves all who earnestly seek Him. We need not fear nor doubt, for we are assured that when we submit ourselves to Christ, He comes and dwells in us forever. May we take courage in the Lord and His word, for what He says, He will do.

 

The Lord at His word,The Reason for Reverence

we can always trust;

for what He does say,

shall happen, it must.

For God cannot lie,

only truth be told;

thus courage is ours,

as our hand He holds.

Salvation’s assured,

when we seek His face;

choose give Him our heart,

rest in His embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us both Your promise and Your oath, and that we can completely count on all that comes from You. Thank You that when we seek You for salvation, we can take courage, as we have assurance that it is promised in You. Forgive us for not trusting You at Your word, or for not seeking You in the spaces where we need to most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would trust that Your word is true in all things and at all times, and that we would seek You in all. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates Your trustworthiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your promises and operate in courage, knowing that You will do all that You say that You will do. Amen.

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

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

Love Each Other

This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NLT)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

 

We are called to love. Serving, giving, doing, being – all are the results of the choice to love well. When we love others as we are loved by God, we cannot help but give ourselves away. The choice to serve and give and do good unto others, comes much more easily, as we recognize how great the grace and love is that we have been given by God. He equips and empowers us to love others well, as we invest our hearts and lives in Him. The more we know Jesus, the more we long to live as He lived. May we fix our eyes and hearts on our Heavenly Father, as He alone enables us to love one another as we were created by Him to do.

 

Abundantly clear,The Look of Love 2

His charge does not change;

we are called to love,

and honor His Name.

Not in our own strength,

but by His great grace;

He fills us to give,

as we seek His face.

The truth we have heard,

since we came to know;

the love of the Lord,

so we too could show.

Let our love be light,

in places of dark;

as Christ shines through us,

ignite each new spark.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your message to us has always been clear – that You call us to love one another, just as You love each of us. Thank You that You do not expect us to do this in our own strength, but instead, You equip and empower all who seek You to do that which You call us to do. Forgive us for not seeking or not choosing to utilize that which You have given, to love others as we are loved by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not be selective in whom we love, but rather we would love all as You do. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love one another. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Learning to Love as We Are Loved

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG)

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT)

 

We are called to love God and love people with our whole being. If we invest our hearts and lives into loving well, then we are being obedient to that which God has commanded. Every directive that God gives us to walk upon the path that He has placed before us, is rooted and established in love. Every step is intentionally tied to loving God or loving people. The amazing thing is, if we are loving God, we cannot help but love people as well. The more we invest our hearts in Him, the more we begin to see people through His lens of love. Compassion rises within us, and we are drawn to do good. May we each invest all that we are into the pursuit of knowing and loving God, so that we can go forth and love people as we have been called to love.

 

May we choose to love,Bloom Where We're Planted

with all that we are;

through passion and prayer,

seek the Morning Star.

For He is our God,

all love comes from Him;

the more we invest,

the more love comes in.

As our hearts are filled,

we are armed to go;

to love others well,

so God’s truth may show.

May we each be light,

obey God’s commands;

love Him and people,

so peace and truth stand. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that through Your great love, You charge us to do likewise. Thank You that You command us to love You and others with all that we are, but You don’t expect us to do this on our own. Thank You that You empower and equip our hearts to love like You love each of us. Forgive us for not loving well, or for neglecting to invest our hearts in time with You or the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest all of our passion, prayer and intellect into loving You and opening our hearts to hear how You would have us love those around us. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we learn how to love You and love others with all that we are. 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