Tag Archive: participate


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

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This morning, as I reflect on last evening’s outing with dear friends, I am in awe, as God unpacks the parallels between what I experienced, and the truth of His word.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, some sweet friends and I went to a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours, and then headed north into the city to go on a “haunted tour“. I am no fan of the whole haunted house scene; though I do not have a high startle reflex, what goes on internally, is not exactly my favorite. Fear does funny things when we cannot control our surroundings. Anyway, because I love my friends, and they promised to go in front of and behind me as we walked through (holding my hands), I agreed to participate. At first, fear tried to gain a grip, but I soon realized that I could just speak out reality, and it wasn’t such a fearful thing. When an actor would jump out in creepy costume, I looked at them, and then spoke out whatever came to mind. Sometimes it was a bit of sarcasm, such as “classy“, or “lovely” and other times it was merely a “well done, pal“, and we continued on. What I found was that as I utilized my words, the weight of the fear disappeared. In life, the very same holds true. When we speak out the reality of what we are afraid of (confident in the truth that we know), or begin to anticipate that all things do not always go according to plan, we are prepared for that which may try to derail us. Additionally, just as I had those who were ahead of me and behind me, knowing that they would never leave me alone and had my back, God does the very same thing as we navigate our days. No matter how we feel, He goes before us and will never abandon us. Though it may seem a bit odd to find truth in an adventure going through a haunted house with friends, God used the experience to show me in a very tangible way, how weighty His words truly are. May we all gain strength and courage as we walk out our days, knowing that the Lord our God, personally goes ahead of us, and will neither fail us nor abandon us.

 

Be strong, have courage,courage-comes-with-presence

Wherever you go;

God goes before us,

The Bible says so.

He will never leave,

And Love does not fail;

We need not panic,

For God shall prevail.

When God is for us,

There’s no room for fear;

Take courage by faith,

For He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You because You go before us and will not fail us nor abandon us. Thank You that You use ordinary experiences to teach us extraordinary truth. Forgive us for our fearfulness that is fueled by lack of trust. Teach us to trust You more, as You are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants strength and courage, and demonstrates the faithfulness that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in strength and courage, knowing that You will go before us and never leave us. 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

As I reflect upon the completion of my third Ragnar race, I am so grateful to have again had both the opportunity to participate, and the capacity to do so. I know that both are not options for everyone. Time away from family, even for two days, is a sacrifice not all are able to make. Additionally, being willing and able to run three times in less than a day and a half, on little to no sleep and make-shift meals is not something everyone can do. Some have physical limitations, whereas others have barriers that prevent pursuit of such things. Others, think we all are simply a bit off kilter to do what we do in the first place. Whichever the case may be, determined or a bit nutty – I know that His grace carried me when the road seemed extra long, and my legs felt as if they were done running before the race was through.

 

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14)

 

I know that my context is no comparison to the original text, however, I know how very aware I was of God’s grace that covered me, and His love that met me, as sweet songs filled my mind to strengthen and encourage when I grew weary. The love of the Lord is faithful to meet us in all circumstances – even when running on the road in the middle of the night. In fact, I’d venture to say all the more. When we call on Him, He makes His presence known to us, and covers us with His love. May the grace and love of the Lord be poured out upon all, as we seek Him in faith, today and always.

 

The grace of the Lord,

Is poured upon us;

When we choose to seek,

To call on Jesus.

Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Wherever we are,

The Lord meets us there;

Grants us love and grace,

He hears each prayer.

 Ragnar2016.tired

In our space of need,

He’ll faithfully come;

Give strength to weary,

God, the Righteous One.

Ragnar2016.onemiletogo.jpg

Let us give God praise,

For His love and grace;

In Him we’re able,

To finish our race.

Ragnar2016.medals

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace that You pour out abundantly upon us, as well as the faith and love that You have granted us through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, regardless of when or where the seeking takes place. Forgive us for going forth without seeking, or for waiting to seek You until there is a need. Teach us to trust You with everything all of the time, so that we begin our day with conversation with You. Show us how to love others with the same love and grace that You so generously give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to pour out the grace and love that You have given, by faith, so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. – (James 5:11, NIV)

 

These past many months have been all about perseverance. In late April, I sustained a compression fracture in my low back during a Tactical Strength Competition in the first event of three. I did not realize that the pop I felt during my deadlift was so serious, so I completed the competition.

When I went to the doctor on that Monday, I was sent for x-rays immediately. Low and behold, I had broken a bit of my back. Lovely! Not exactly something that fits in my lifestyle, nor my training plan. There was a half-marathon in June, and then Ragnar (a 12-person, 200-mile relay) in July, that I needed to be healthy and strong to participate.

Fast-forward to June, and I became the proud owner of a pricey souvenir t-shirt for a race I was not yet ready to run. Though I have been on a modified training regime since my injury occurred, I simply was not yet ready to run 13.1 miles at once. Allowing that race to go, was my ticket to run Ragnar, and the July race was far more important to me.

Here I am, the day prior to Ragnar, and I am cleared by doctors to run the distance! I ran my first full long run on Monday, and felt good. I was able to complete the mileage equivalent to my longest leg, so I should be good to go. Nerves are certainly present, as is some soreness, but I trust that He will continue to carry me to the finish. Please feel free to pray for safety and health for all of the Ragnar runners as you feel inspired. It is a wonderful, crazy, adventure that I am so grateful to be a part of for the third year in a row!

 

Thousands of runners,

photo (9)

Load up in their vans;

Working together,

The best that we can.

Through heat and the rain,

Through the dark of night;

The runners keep on,

With vests and headlights.

When the sun blazes,

Dear friends, we’ll still run;

’til there is a break,

Van 2 to van 1.

But alas, that rest,

Is very short-lived;

Perhaps for a nap,

Then more grit to give.

Despite the struggle,

Always at the end;

With medals and joy,

“Let’s do this again!”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Thank You for healthy bodies that can run. Thank You for healing and wholeness and restoration. Forgive us for our frustrations with what we can’t do, and help us celebrate and appreciate what we can do. Teach us to be grateful for everything, as every step, every breath, is a gift. Show us how to honor You with all that we do, and help us to love others well in the process. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we honor You in all that we do. 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

 

 

Despite Paul’s influence on the people who were following Christ, he recognized that nothing he did was his goodness given to God, but rather any good that was granted, was in fact God working through him to give grace and peace and truth to those around him. Any good that we can observe, either in us or through us, is God’s gift to us, and all the more reason for us to give Him praise. The following is Paul’s explanation in the Message:

 

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. – (Romans 12:3, MSG)

 

The very idea that we get to participate in anything of God is incredible, in and of itself. Nothing good that we do could ever be done by our own volition, but rather is endowed by our Creator. God empowers those who seek and trust in Him to do His will. It is Christ in us that brings good, rather than good in us being brought before Him. May we rise up and pursue the path He has placed before us, so that we might be instruments of His peace to people everywhere. Let God’s goodness flow through us, so all might come to know Him.

 

When we walk in grace,Gentleness for the Weary

The love of God shows;

Not by our own good,

But through Him who rose.

All that is lovely,

And all that is pure;

Everything righteous,

Is Christ drawing near.

Let us remember,

Our role and our place;

As people of thanks,

And givers of grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and all that You have done for us. Thank You for light and life, hope and help, in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are good all of the time, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You see us and know us, better than we know ourselves. Forgive us for forgetting the role we were created to fill, and help us to trust You enough to walk forward in that which You are calling us into. Show us how to live fearlessly in the light of Your love. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through the things we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our gratitude to You, and allow You to move through us as we get out of the way. Amen.

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

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

As Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem and the people began to shout out praise and adoration for all that they had seen through Him, some of the Pharisees objected strongly, and asked Jesus to rebuke those who were following Him.

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, ESV)

 

When the truth of God need be told, it will come forth – be it naturally or supernaturally. God often uses unlikely places to speak His truth in a way that helps our hearts to hear Him best. For Jonah, it took time in the belly of a big fish to get his attention. For Saul, who became Paul, he was blinded through a heavenly encounter along the road. For another, a talking donkey; still others, pillars of fire, a burning bush, parted seas, plagues, writing on a wall… The list goes on. God comes close and meets us where we are, so that we might turn to Him and seek His face. In our space of seeking, we come to find His nearness, and how faithful He is to listen to our heart’s cry. He walks beside us through the wilderness, and leads us to safe pasture where we find rest. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we ever speak of the wonders that He has done, so that others too, may hear His heart for people.

 

Let’s not be silent,Confidence in Christ

for we’re called to praise;

speak of His goodness,

for all of our days.

For if not from us,

the truth still be told;

the rocks shall cry out,

all praise to behold.

It is our calling,

what we’re charged to do;

to speak of His love,

and how we’re made new.

It is by His grace,

our story to tell;

may we share in faith,

with hope, it is well.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to participate in the sharing of Your story. Thank You that we each have a story of how You have come into our lives and changed our hearts as we have sought after You. Thank You that You love people so much that if we did not speak the truth of who You are, even the rocks would testify on Your behalf. Forgive us for staying silent when we are meant to speak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be courageous and not fear what others might think of us when we share of what You have done for us, personally. Thank You that You have done so much. Show us how to love others so that they may see the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak of Your goodness and grace, and how You love in even the most broken space. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

 

Though many things are permissible, they are not all beneficial to all. What is good to one, may be harmful for another. As we navigate, it is our responsibility to make decisions that will keep the peace among the body of Christ. If we know a sister or brother struggles with something that is a non-issue for us, it is best to not participate in their presence, lest they be tempted to fall back into old patterns. Instead, we are encouraged to choose the things that will build up the body of Christ. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – these are the things that we ought to focus on and put into practice. For what we have learned and received from God will be our peace. May we go forth this day making every effort to do that which leads to peace and builds up those around us, so that each of us may be encouraged to grow stronger in our faith.

 

As much as we can,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

let us strive for peace;

preferring others,

makes our faith increase.

We build others up,

when they’re kept in mind;

removing what tempts,

a way to be kind.

For our common goal,

should be unity;

together in peace,

for eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though many things are permissible, You care about how our choices impact those around us, and give us charge to choose in such a way that we build others up in their faith, rather than tempt them to either judge us or be tempted to do something that is not acceptable for them, individually. Thank You that if we listen, You will give us direction as to how to walk in a way that will bring peace and build up those around us. Forgive us for walking in the freedom we have been given with no consideration for those around us, or for seeing the freedom of others and perceiving that it is the same for us, rather than seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first in all things and at all times, listening for Your heart and direction as to what is beneficial for us, individually and corporately. Show us how to live and love in a way that leads to peace and builds up those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to do that which leads to peace, and do things that help grow one another stronger in our faith. Amen.

 

*(Whatever is true… -Philippians 4:8)

© 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

Throughout the last year, I have been participating in a Pastor’s Intensive Seminary class on the last Saturday of each month. A few months after we began, at the start of 2015, my life took a turn I did not anticipate. My circumstances necessitated my absence from the class in March, and I actually asked my pastor if he thought that I should bow out during this season. He looked at me, smiled, and said,“Nope. You don’t need to worry about what you missed, just jump in where we are the next time we meet.” Being afforded such grace, the class became a space of normality in my otherwise tumultuous world. Each time we gathered, we all were together for the same reason – to dig deeper in the word and know Him more. All else was set aside. It mattered not how we entered in, we were received and worked together to grow. Each of the three instructors was intentional, approachable, and shared the wisdom and insight that God had granted them to pass on.

I always thank my God for you because of the grace that He has given you through Christ Jesus. In Him you have been blessed in every way. You have been blessed in all your speaking and all your knowledge. – (1 Corinthians 1:4-5, ERV)

This verse has such significance in regard to the class. It perfectly expresses the truth about the instructors of our group, and how they willing shared that which God imparted to them.

Today will be our last class, as the decision was made that December is just too chaotic to attempt to coordinate calendars. Rather than our typical power point presentation of what we have learned, our assignment is to share how the class has impacted us. At first, my greatest concern was having to share out loud, however, when I was driving home yesterday, my heart and mind were flooded with the truth.

The greatest impact that the class has had on me, is not so much what was learned, as the space and grace that was given as we learned. As a student, I never missed a day of school from 7th through 12th grade. Also, I don’t ever recall having attended class without my homework complete and ready to go. For this class, I think I only will have attended 70% of our sessions. As for assignments, there was a time when I had done the wrong reading, a time I hadn’t finished the reading, and then many times that I was finishing the assignments in the early hours of the morning on the day that we were to meet. That being said, what I know to be true is that I am not the same person that began the class at the start of 2015. God has stretched, challenged, and refined me in ways I would have never imagined I’d have to go. As a result of the struggle, I know that I am stronger than I was ten months ago. My understanding of His grace and provision have multiplied. His faithfulness astounds me, and I am overwhelmed at the community in which I am securely planted.

I always thank God,The Power of the Tongue

for the gift of you;

the treasure you are,

as you teach us truth.

Blessings He’s given,

in wisdom and speech;

you never withhold,

but rather, you reach.

You reach with your hands,

your heart and your voice;

imparting to us,

the gift of our choice.

May blessings be poured,

upon you with grace;

you fight the good fight,

and run well, your race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those whom You have placed in positions to teach and grow us deeper in our knowledge of You and Your word. Thank You for blessing them with wisdom and grace so that they can clearly communicate Your heart to us, and challenge us to seek You for answers that we long to find. Thank You that we can rest in the comfort of knowing that You are in control for those questions that seem to not have certain answers. Forgive us for not seeking or for making assumptions. Teach us to trust You and to seek You more. Help us to love others well, so that they too would long to know more of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we never stop seeking, listening and learning more of who You are and what You have done for us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

 

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

 

As I sit here at the table, by an enormous window on the twenty-fifth floor of a hotel in the heart of Vancouver, Canada, watching the first hint of morning’s light begin to reveal the beauty of the scene that surrounds me, I cannot help but fix my eyes and heart on just how good God is. I had no idea what to expect when I agreed to attend a teaching conference in July. His goodness and faithfulness have provided the way for me to participate, and I am blessed to be in the company of colleagues whom I call friends.

 

Look to the Lord,Faithful Forever

He always is good;

His love endures,

as nothing else could.

Faithful always,

loving forever;

there is no end,

He’ll leave us, never.

Trust in His word,

it’s faithful and true;

a guide for life,

shows us what to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your love lasts forever. Thank You that Your faithfulness remains. Thank You that You are faithful, not because we deserve it, but because You love us, as Your created. Forgive us for not recognizing Your goodness and love poured out upon us, or for not trusting Your faithfulness. Help us to trust You completely, as You are faithful forever. May many come to know You, as we live and love as You call us to do. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Be exalted, Lord God, as we give thanks for all of the blessings You bestow upon 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

 

Make more room.  On Sunday, we had a guest speaker at church who spoke about how God can take our Plan A, with all of its fears, failures, and foolishness, and turn it into His perfect Plan B; but only when we willingly give both our permission and our participation.  God is gentle and kind, and does not force His will upon us.  Rather, He stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20)   We either open our hearts and our lives completely unto Him, or we miss out on the very best that He has for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That being said, surrender is not a simple thing.  Surrender involves sacrifice.  We must give up our perception of how things ought to be, and allow God to shape and show us what we are to do, and where we are to go.  Often, His directions make little sense, and lead us into the middle of a mess.  What may appear to be a mistake, may very well be the exact place that He has called us, in order to give others glimpses of His grace and point people to His majesty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I stand at the end of 2013, awaiting the arrival of 2014, am I willing to allow God to inconvenience me?  Will I be able to recognize that I perhaps am meant to be in the midst of the messes I find myself in, to shine the light of His glory?  Will I get out of the way, and make room for the miraculous?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             God is not looking for our ability, He is looking for our availability. I do not have to have certain qualifications to serve and honor Him, for He has called me from the moment that I invited Him into my life.  We are chosen to communicate His hope, when we give Him full access, and are willing to participate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Let this be the year,
where room shall be made;Make More Room
space to help others,
salvation prayers prayed.
May we be ready,
to lend hand and voice;
to do what You ask,
make You our first choice.
Let us freely move,
wherever You ask;
even in the mess,
accomplish Your task.
For sharing Your light,
You ask for more room;
so hope may shine forth,
dispelling the gloom.
May we surrender,
our whole lives to You;
may mountains be moved,
as we walk in truth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our Plan A in all of its messiness, and turn it into Your perfect Plan B, when we willingly surrender all that we are unto You, and are choose to step out in faith, participating in the plan that You have prepared for us.  Thank You that You have a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and that when we trust You, and move forward faithfully in You, You meet us where we are and guide us where we are meant to go.  Forgive us for attempting to hold fast to our own plans, or for submitting ourselves without movement.  Teach us to trust You fully, so that we shall surrender, sacrifice, and MOVE.  Give us faith to trust You, even if the place You call us to is in the middle of a mess.  Be our strength and our song.  May we love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You in the coming year.  May we make room for all that You have planned for us in 2014.  Amen.

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

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