New Feathers

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run – never winded, never weary. They will walk – never tired, never faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, VOICE)

 

This morning, this verse has extra meaning for me. A few weeks ago, as I was getting mom ready for bed and she was very tired, she randomly said something about her feathers. I looked at her a little funny, and asked about her plumage. We both giggled, and she shook her head and said it was not what she was trying to say. However, looking at the ERV translation, perhaps she knew exactly what she was saying in her exhausted state. As she is healing and new neurological pathways are rebuilding, it is as if she is growing new feathers to fly. Her “feathers” are the key to restored strength to walk and move and reengage in the activities she longs to do once again. God is faithful, and I think He has a great sense of humor. We laugh often, even in the challenges of all of this. Each day I witness new strength and resolve, where new “feathers” are sprouting.

Yesterday was a wonderful day in every way. My Viking is here, and rather than just relax and visit, he worked tirelessly to assure that mom’s sprinkler system was back up and in working order. He trouble-shot and discovered issues we were not even aware existed. Incredibly, had he not, there could have been major issues with the hillside. Additionally, mom’s middle older brother and his wife came for a visit. We all shared dinner together, and a couple of rounds of a family favorite game. It was wonderful to watch the hearts of each of the two siblings soar in the presence of one another. Each one needed the reassurance of the other, to see that the other was okay, and was going to press on and persevere in faith. The two are in town a few more days, so we anticipate another visit or two prior to their return trip home. (I think being surrounded by the love of family encourages feather growth as well.) May we ever trust in the One who is our Source of strength, as He gives us feathers to fly; endurance to run without growing weary and perseverance to walk and not grow faint.

 

Lord, You are our strength, New Feathers

When weariness comes;

You form new feathers,

With each rising sun.

You help us to run,

Without growing tired;

To keep pressing on,

Ever inspired.

You are strength to walk,

When steps seem too much;

You hold out Your hand,

Grant Your loving touch.

Lord, help us rise up,

In the strength You give;

With new-found feathers,

Fly free and choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we become strong again. Thank You that You renew our strength, granting fresh endurance and resolve to rise up and press on to all that You call us to do. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of perseverance when things don’t go the way we think they ought to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You for strength, direction, and peace. Show us how to embrace the new “feathers” You are growing in us so that we may rise up and soar. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and supports others as they press on toward the prize to which You have called them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

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

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

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

Running the Long Road

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

 

I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. – (Philippians 3:14, ERV)

 

This analogy is such a clear visual for me, as life is not a short race, but rather one that continues throughout our lifetime. There will be stretches that are flat and smooth, where the conditions are cool and ideal for running; however, there will be other seasons where the weather will be scorching and around every turn, is yet another mountain that we must climb to move in the direction in which we are called to run. Fortunately, our race is not run in vain. Our purpose is to encourage others as they run the race to which they have been called, and to demonstrate perseverance, even when we want to quit. God is our strength and our reason to keep running, and our finish line celebration will be beyond worth all of the trials traversed throughout our race. If we can love God, and love others as we move forward along the path to which we have been called, then we are running our own race well. May we rise up ready to run this day well, knowing that whatever we encounter today, is not the end. Our hope is held in where we finish, not where we rest along the way.

 

For we have been called,Running the Long Road

to press on and run;

keep moving with God,

’til our race is done.

The goal’s not about,

some great earthly gain;

but how we obey,

and lift up His Name.

For a day will come,

when our race is through;

imagine hearing,

“Well done, faithful you!”

If we choose to love,

both God and others;

and do as He asks,

lost will discover.

May we be ready,

each day to run well;

help to the hurting,

in hope, may all dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to run our own race. Thank You that it is not a sprint that You call us to rush through, but a race of endurance, perseverance, and trust. Thank You that You sustain us, even when we think that we cannot possibly run another step in life’s race, and that Your presence remains with us, always. Forgive us for allowing our surroundings to intimidate or overwhelm us, rather than keeping our eyes securely fixed on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what lies before us, we will look to You, rather than our circumstances. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may look to You in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run our race with our eyes fixed on You, knowing that our prize is not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with You. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Running Our Own Race

Not merely observers,

image by Debbie McDaniel

image by Debbie McDaniel

we are each called to race.

Not in a simple sprint,

but for a lifelong pace.

Train not to win a prize,

of temporary things;

but rather seek His face,

for what eternal brings.

To discipline ourselves,

requires our whole heart,

be engaged with the One,

who knows our end and start.

He asks us to follow,

His personal race plan;

designed by Him for us,

to be bold and to stand.

The prize will never fade,

nor taken back from thee.

We can trust His promises,

into eternity.

(Responding to I Corinthians 9:24-27)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all called to be participants in this “race” called life, and none are meant to be mere observers.  Thank You that You have designed an individual “race plan” for each of us, and our job is to run our own race – not our neighbor’s race.  Thank You that we are each designed with different gifts, talents and strengths that are given by You to be used for Your glory.  Forgive us for taking our eyes off the only prize that matters – our eternity with You.  Teach us to live and love each day as if it were our last, so that each day we are fully engaged and invested in You and in all that we do.  May many come to know You by our love today, so that they too may enter into an eternal race plan.  Amen.

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