Pursue Purpose

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason He made me His. – (Philippians 3:12, ERV)

I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. – (Philippians 3:12, TPT)

 

We are all a work in progress. The more we pursue God and the path He has prepared for us, the more we become the person that He designed and purposed us to be. It is remarkable to think about. The Creator of all, created each of us, with a plan and a purpose. Uniquely designed to love Him and love people in a way that can be exclusively exhibited through us as we walk out our days seeking to honor Him in all that we say and do. Not one of us has perfected this yet, however, we are an ongoing work in progress, and the longer we pursue Him, the more refined we become in living out love according to His for us. May we ever pursue the path that God has placed before us, and seek Him to be our strength to walk out each day well.

 

Let us choose pursue,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The path of the Lord;

Though none have arrived,

All grace He affords.

As we keep seeking,

Keep running our race;

God’s love will provide,

What we need for each day.

Keep seeking to love,

And walk in His way;

Let His love light shine,

As we extend grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us despite our flaws and failures and call us to pursue the path that You have placed before us, according to how we are each uniquely designed. Forgive us for neglecting to love as we are loved, or for ignoring the way that we know we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out our days living and loving according to Your ways. Show us how to faithfully pursue all that You have for us, so that we may love those around us as only we can do through You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run with passion in the purpose for which You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

He Grows Us in Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. – (Philippians 1:6, TLB) 

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE) 

 

God is not finished with us yet. When we choose to walk with Him, He refines us from the inside out. Our sin and shame are removed, and He shows us how to walk in His way as He grows His grace within us. None of us ever “arrive”, as we all are a work in progress until our final day when we at last meet Him face-to-face. May we rise up and remember that He who began the good work within us will continue to carry it out to completion. 

 

The good God began, He Grows Us in Grace

Is not finished yet; 

Each works in progress, 

Daybreak to sunset. 

It is a process, 

For our whole life long; 

He grows us in grace, 

And makes our hearts strong. 

Refined from within, 

Sin and shame removed; 

Love lavished on us, 

As goodness is proved. 

Let us choose rise up, 

In love, opt do good; 

Rely on His help, 

To do all we should. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who began a good work in us will continue until it is completed on the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You grow us in Your grace so that we may go forth and love as You love us. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to grow Your grace within us so that we are able to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the same good that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest assured that You will continue to grow Your grace within us as we seek You until we one day see You face-to-face. Amen. 

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. 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

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. 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

Character Building Endurance

Endurance shapes our character. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:4, VOICE)

And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. – (Romans 5:4, TLB)

 

I am guessing that this past week has been one of character building, as it has required much patient endurance on my part. Between fending off some sort of sinus infection and attempting to navigate a very busy week well, faith and hope have been the anchor to which I could cling, knowing that God was with me, despite fatigue and fear of falling short. There is yet today, and I will have to continue to trust big for where I lack. Thankfully, history has shown me again and again, that regardless of my condition, God is faithful to meet me. May we each rise up in trust, patiently enduring that which lies before us, knowing that He will walk beside us and remain with us, every step of the way.

 

When we choose endure,Character Building Endurance

To rise in His strength;

Our hearts are refined,

To reach greater lengths.

We learn what it means,

To hold on for good;

All faith in the Lord,

Where hope’s understood.

The more that we trust,

The more that we’re grown;

’til our faith’s secure,

And through us, He’s shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our busiest, most exhausting weeks can be used to shape, refine and grow us in You. Thank You that You grant us the endurance and patience that we need to press on, despite our desire to dismiss ourselves when days demand more than we can do on our own. Forgive us for lacking patience or not pressing into You. Teach us to trust You more, as our hope and faith grow strong and steady in You alone. Show us how to hope and anticipate Your goodness, always. Lead us to love those around us with patient endurance, regardless of their approach toward us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk forward with patient endurance, trusting You to refine our character and strengthen our hope and faith. Amen.

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

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

Stability in the Unsettled

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. – (Isaiah 55:9, NLT)

 

It is really easy to look at what is, and predict what should be. Based on what is seen, all indicators seem to point in a particular direction. However, that is not necessarily the case in God’s economy. His plans are far greater than ours, and the road to arrive at His next destination for us, is nearly never the one we planned to take. There are twists and turns, bumps and obstacles, yet incredible views along the way. What we learn as we journey according to His plan, grows our faith and refines our character. Each new leg that we travel, there is a learning curve for trust in Him. The beauty in being His children is that He is for us, and we know that our final destination is glorious beyond our comprehension. As we go, we need to trust that God has us in His hands, and that His ways are higher than ours. May we move forward in confidence, trusting that the Lord is for us regardless of what we see.

 

No matter what comes,Sense in Storms

We need never fear;

God’s ways are higher,

And He remains near.

Despite what we see,

God is in control;

He knows where we’ve been,

And where we’re to go.

So trust in the Lord,

And all of His ways;

For He lifts us up,

Stays present, always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts, higher than ours. Thank You that You hold us in the palm of Your hands. Forgive us for our lack of faith when what we see is so unsettled. Teach us to trust You in spite of what lies before us, and help us hold fast to the unwavering truth of who You are, and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that we may provide stability and truth in unsettled and shaky surroundings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your ways and Your thoughts, as they are far higher than ours. Amen.

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

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

As Iron Sharpens Iron

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

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

 

I love the imagery of this verse. Being such a visual learner, this paints a clear picture for me, the need and purpose in having close and trusted friends in our lives. In order for iron to sharpen iron, it has to be in close proximity. The same is true with friends. We cannot know one another’s struggles, needs nor triumphs, if we are not near. Second, there is a rubbing or a sort of friction that must occur for the places that have become dull to grow sharp again. It is not so different with people. We have to be willing to allow one another access to the spots in our hearts, minds and lives that have grown dull, so that they may challenge us to move forward or retreat in the spaces that will help bring clarity and sharpness so that we can be all that we have been created to be. We need people to walk beside us who are willing to challenge, encourage, and remain near. May we each be iron that sharpens those around us, and willing to allow others access to do the same for us.

 

That which can sharpen,MSH35

Iron is itself;

The same element,

Is what sharpens well.

It’s in the same way,

That people stay true;

One to another,

Side by side made new.

For our character,

Can best be refined;

By those allowed near,

And with truth aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friendships. Thank You that You use our trusted friendships to sharpen one another to more clearly reflect Your character and heart within us. Forgive us for not allowing others near when we need it most, and teach us to trust You more, as You place people in our lives with purpose. Show us whom we are to trust and allow near, and help us to encourage and sharpen those around us in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen one another to more clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Amen.

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

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

Really Love Them

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:9-10, MSG)

 

Above all, we are called to love. This love is not romance nor something that we manufacture, but rather it is a choice to prefer others – to seek to serve and honor others rather than ourselves. We are only able to truly love when we receive and embrace the love that Christ has given unto us. It is through the holding tightly to His goodness and grace, that we are able to in turn, extend the same to others. That which is evil, the things of this world that compete for our attention in a way that draws our hearts to disdain rather than delight, are the very things that we are meant to distance ourselves far away from, so that we can cling to that which is good. May we love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other with the love that Christ grants unto us.

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with a love that gives us new life. Thank You that in You, we are restored and made new, granting us the capacity to love others with the very same love that You have given unto us. Forgive us for choosing to neglect those near to us, or for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You and flee from all that is not of You, so that we may be refined to love as You call us to love. Show us how to be good friends who love deeply, that prefer one another in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your loving kindness through us. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You, and love others with the very same love that You have given to us. 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

 

Strength in Hope

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

I cannot honestly claim to be happy when troubles come. Patience comes more easily in some scenarios than others. When the rubber meets the road, I know that I can run to our Redeemer, and He provides the strength and stamina that is needed to sustain me through whatever I am facing. His presence provides the hope I hold that the present circumstance will not remain forever, and His goodness and grace grant joy and peace despite the trial before me. God is good, even when our circumstances are not. Every trial that we endure, refines and grows us to more clearly reflect the radiance of our Redeemer. May His patient endurance rise within us as we face what lies before us, and may we hold fast to the hope that is found in the goodness of God alone.

 

In times of trial,Enter With Thanksgiving

Endurance is found;

When we seek the Lord,

His grace does abound.

The strength that we need,

And hope we can hold;

Given through goodness,

Patience shall unfold.

He will make us strong,

Through our suffering;

Our character’s shaped,

When to Him we cling.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we might not be happy with trials or troubles that come our way, we can be grateful for what comes out of them. Thank You that You use our every struggle to establish patience within us, and prove to us the strength that we can find in You. Thank You that our character is refined when we seek You in the struggle, and we learn to further trust and place our hope in You. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting in the throes of the trials. Teach us to trust You more, so that in all things and at all times, we would seek Your wisdom and strength to lead us in the way in which we are meant to go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know the hope that is found in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You, no matter what we are going through. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

May We Sharpen One Another

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – (Proverbs 27:17)

 

When we keep good company, we are challenged to be the best versions of ourselves. As we actively engage in sharing life together, we are better able to see things with new clarity, refine what may have been askew, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape what was being whispered, into brilliant insights. This can only take place if we are willing to engage in deep discussions where we can be honest and challenge each other, setting our egos aside. When we are able to receive critique of thought without making it about us as a thinker, the friends who engage in such conversations, sharpen one another. May we invest in the relationships that allow us to sharpen one another, so that we may be refined and ready to go forth as the best version of ourselves.

 

Let company kept,Keep Careful Watch

among those who bring;

out the very best,

in everything.

Those who are honest,

no matter the cost;

words spoken in love,

so we won’t be lost.

May we do the same,

as we walk beside;

sharpen each other,

allowing Lord guide.

Invest with wisdom,

seek the Lord, always;

heed His instruction,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that You give us one another to sharpen and refine each other to more clearly reflect Your character. Forgive us for allowing anyone who has intentions that are not good to gain a voice into our lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may clearly hear whom we are to engage in a “sharpening” with, and who we are to simply show kindness, but not allow their voice to penetrate the walls of our heart. Grant us discernment and wisdom, I pray. Lead us to love well, so that we may be Your instruments that help sharpen others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen one another in our mutual pursuit of You. Amen.

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

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