Tag Archive: relationships


Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

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Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

It is easy to be kind, gentle and sensitive to those who are kind, gentle and sensitive toward us, but what about those who are not? We are called to follow the example set before us by Christ. Jesus showed kindness to those who did not deserve it, was merciful to those who had not shown mercy to others, and forgave, even the very ones who had hung Him on the cross to die. That is some serious grace in a place where wrath and anger, or at least frustration, might be expected. We are called to live by the same standard. When people offend us, we are meant to forgive, even if they do not ask to be forgiven. Our egos are not more important than their souls seeing God’s goodness. No, God does not ask us to be foolish and remain in harmful, dangerous or toxic spaces, however, He does expect us to forgive even the worst of those who have hurt our hearts or ruined relationships. God’s love is greater, and by His grace, we can love and be kind because we have been forgiven too. May we ever seek our Savior who has forgiven much, so that we may go forth and do likewise in love.

 

The Lord God is kind,Faith and Hope in Action

Our sins, He forgives;

And beyond His grace,

He loves as we live.

Because of His love,

We’re called to the same;

Forgive offenses,

Be kind in His Name.

For as we choose love,

Show mercy and grace;

We’re being a light,

To walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us of so much. Thank You that You are kind, tenderhearted and loving toward us, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for the times that we have not forgiven others as we are forgiven by You, or for withholding kindness where we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, just as You are of us. Show us how to walk this out in love with all whom we encounter in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do unto others as You have done so lovingly and generously unto us. 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

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

 

Somehow, I am blessed with friends who have become family and family that I truly consider friends. For the past few days, my boys and I had the pleasure of spending sweet time together with my sister and her family. It was a joy to see the cousins carry on as if no time had passed since the last time we gathered, and for me, time face-to-face with my sister and brother-in-law is always a gift to my heart. Today, some of my most dearly treasured tribe of friends will gather for our first annual “Friendsgiving”. The very idea of gathering all together in gratitude fills my heart to overflowing. Each one of us has endured some serious storms over the past year, yet with our circle surrounding whomever was in the throes of the storm, each of us was able to endure and come through stronger, knowing that we were supported and loved. May we all continue through this sacred season surrounding our people with love and support, and giving thanks for the blessings that the Lord has brought our way.

 

May we be the friends,tribe

Who love through the storm;

A place of safety,

Where hearts become warm.

No matter what comes,

May we remain true;

In love and friendship,

Help each other through.

Let’s be family,

In good times and bad;

Through all circumstance,

Reason to be glad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings of friends and family that You give. Thank You that You use the relationships around us to show us more of Yourself. Thank You that so often, Your heart is made tangible through the encouraging words of the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for not loving the way You call us to love. Teach us to be the kind of friends and family that You have created us to be. Show us how to love and stick together, no matter what comes our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love regardless of circumstances, just as You love us. 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

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, VOICE)

 

This holds true for nearly every area in our lives. We were created to be in community, and not intended to be isolated and alone. Spiritually, when we are invested in relationships with people who share our commitment to our faith, we find encouragement, covering, questions that need to be asked, and company to keep in both celebration and heartache. For our intellect, this also holds tremendous value. When planning, preparing or facing a problem, having another to discuss ideas with makes all the difference in finding a reasonable solution. Likewise this is true for our bodies. It is far easier to remain healthy and choose wisely when we train with others seeking to do the same. When given the option, two are always better than one, as working together increases resolve and return. May we seek to invest in the people placed around us, so that we can help one another succeed in all that we have been called to do.

 

For where there are two,stronger-together

More strength can be found;

Resolve unshaken,

When two hold their ground.

Together the two,

Can accomplish more;

There’s a great return,

As each part outpours.

Work is divided,

And more goals succeed;

Each one better off,

Together complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be in community. Thank You that we are far better off when we work with others than when we go alone. Thank You that You use people in our lives to encourage us and grow us spiritually, mentally and physically. Thank You that You allow us to do the same for others if we are willing to be invested. Forgive us for not reaching out to those around us and isolating ourselves when we are meant to be invested. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step outside of what is “comfortable”, and work together with those whom You bring beside us to get things done. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they might be encouraged and built up through our every interaction with them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with others to do that which You have called us to do. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only a fool insists on quarreling. – (Proverbs 20:3, NLT)

It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights. – (Proverbs 20:3, MSG)

 

The mark of my closest relationships have always shared a common thread. Rather than assuming ill intent of one another and jumping into fight or flight mode, there has been a posture of seeking to understand. When we choose to approach a situation with the hope of gaining understanding, fights are averted and peace is maintained. Though we may not always see eye-to-eye with the person before us, if we approach conversation and communication with the intent to learn and grow, wisdom is gained and peace remains. May we go forth this day with the intent to listen and learn, seeking to understand those around us, so that quarrels are avoided and honor is upheld.

 

The best character,Who is My Neighbor 2

Will choose not to fight;

But rather listen,

To seek what is right.

To avoid quarrels,

With intent to learn;

Is good character,

How respect is earned.

Only the foolish,

Choose keep quarreling;

Honor comes to those,

Who have peace to bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the mark of good character. Thank You that He modeled what it was like to be a peacemaker in tumultuous spaces, simply by loving the unlovable. Thank You too, that You grant us wisdom to know when to stand up and fight, rather than walk away. Forgive us for stepping into unnecessary quarrels that could be easily avoided by seeking to understand one another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You for wisdom and strength to do what You call us to do in each situation. Show us how to love others well, even when they attempt to pick fights. Let Your love in us diffuse even the most hostile of situations. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to avoid unnecessary fights, and represent You well to the world. 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

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all of my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NIV)

 

King Solomon was given wisdom and wealth beyond what anyone else had ever acquired before him. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the futility of amassing people and possessions and giving in to every whim. He discovered all were without meaning, and not one brought true happiness.

The same remains true today. Stuff does not bring pleasure, nor does acting on our every desire. Instead, as we exercise self-control, and seek the Lord and His will for us, we find the joy that He brings in our choosing obedience to Him. There is a fine line in all of this. It seems the best way to know whether we are pursuing something that is meaningless or if it is a blessing that the Lord is willing to give, really depends on our heart condition. When we see things we like and are covetous, our heart is likely not in the right space. However, if there are things that we appreciate, but do not allow to dominate our desires, it is likely a more reasonable space from which to stand.

In my own life, there is a fine line of would I be willing to give it away? If not, I should probably not pursue it in the first place. There is nothing that I should cling to more tightly than Christ. Belongings are far easier to hold open-handed than relationships. The desire to hold tightly to something that I have invested time, energy and my heart into, is not so easily released. I am a work in progress, and know that more than anything, I must set my heart to seeking our Savior. May we delight in our pursuit of the path that the Lord has made plain for us, and choose to hold all else with open hands.

 

To pursue the Lord,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Is the only thing;

That has true meaning,

Grants us life lasting.

Though things may be nice,

Not one can compare;

To our hope in Christ,

For He hears our prayer.

We’re not meant to trust,

In people or things;

But rather in God,

And life that He brings.

There will be blessings,

He gives unto us;

But none can compare,

To our Lord Jesus.

Help our hearts be right,

Ever faithful, true;

As we seek to serve,

May we honor You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we delight in the process of work, its completion is our reward. Forgive us for a focus that is on accomplishments and acquisitions. Teach us to trust You more, so that our energy and attention are placed on things of You. Show us how to hold people and things with open hands, trusting You to keep all in proper perspective. Lead us to love others so that they can clearly see Your hand in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place You first in our every pursuit on this planet. Amen.

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

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

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1)

Rest is a remarkable thing.  Our soul craves it, yet rest does not always come from idleness; sometimes it comes from contact with others – from being surrounded by others who are like-minded in their pursuit of God.  This weekend has been all about connecting with other women, sisters, from my church, as we are on retreat.  Though I have not physically rested much, nor slept anymore than usual, my soul feels rested and new life is being birthed within me again.  Places that were weary and worn, are being restored, as God has used others to speak His truth into my life.  Likewise, He is further equipping and preparing each of us, to go out and do the same for others.  May we each find rest for our soul through our precious Savior, as our salvation comes from Him alone.

Find rest, O my soul,Hearts of Thanks

in the Lord alone;

for there is none like,

Him who makes heart home.

Our sweet salvation,

is promised in Him;

if our heart’s open,

inviting Him in.

For our weary souls,

there is rest to find;

as sisters gather,

with purpose in mind.

With hearts for the Lord,

and for each other;

refreshment is found,

thanks to our Father.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our souls find rest in You.  Thank You that You made the way for salvation for all who place their trust in You.  Thank You that when we are weary and in need of rest, You alone, know what that rest should look like for us, individually.  Thank You for the sweet blessing of community in the body of Christ.  Thank You that You have created us for relationships.  Forgive us for the times that we are weary and we isolate ourselves, rather than seeking You and one another.  Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the One who brings refreshment to the weariest of souls.  Lead us to love and refresh those around us, so that they too, may come to know the salvation that is found in You alone.  May many choose to give their lives to You.  Be glorified O God, as we find rest in You, our Savior and King.  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

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. – (Proverbs 28:26)

 

Though some view the bold individual who soldiers on as a hero, if they are self-reliant – neither asking for nor giving advice, they are living in a way that is contrary to that in which God calls us to live. God surrounds us with His people for a purpose. We are meant to support and protect one another from both foolishness and harm. Yes, ultimately, the Lord is our protection and wisdom, yet as humans, we often need the audible and tangible to really have His will make sense.

 

Just yesterday, I had a task that I was about to “soldier” through. A good run and a clear mind had me in a solid state to enter into what I needed to do. When I paused for a moment and entered into what was before me, I quickly called on a few dear friends to pray. I knew that I needed to be covered and calm, and by allowing them access to the fact that what was before me was more than my heart could handle on its own, God met me in a very real way as I walked through what needed to be done. He is faithful to grant wisdom and safety to all who place their trust in Him. May we allow Him access to all, and place our trust in Christ.

 

Let’s trust not ourselves,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in strength, soldier on;

for that is foolish,

in God, it is wrong.

For those who are wise,

seek wisdom, advice;

surrounded and safe,

mere folly’s demise.

Let’s trust in the Lord,

and those who surround;

the wise and faithful,

may the lost be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You are our safe place and where we find wisdom. Thank You that You did not create us to go forth on our own, but rather You created us for relationships that reveal more of Yourself, and challenge and grow our faith further with You. Forgive us for failing to depend on You and those whom You have placed on our path to help and support us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will call on You for wisdom and safety in all situations, and that we will go forth together with those whom You have placed beside us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, and walk in Your wisdom and safety with those You set beside us. Amen.

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

For the Lord you God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33)

 

If the constant company that we keep is corrupt, then the corners of our character begin to corrode. That is not to say that we cannot spend time with unbelievers, (for how else would they hear) but in order to keep from compromising our character, we must be balanced in the company we keep. Time spent with fellow believers that encourage, challenge and help hold us accountable, is both beneficial and necessary to remain upright before Christ. The Holy Spirit within grants us wisdom as to where and with whom we should walk. We must be sensitive to His leading, and listen to His still small voice. May our hearts be protected from being misled, and our character remain upright before Him.

 

Do not be misled,

for our hearts should know;

whatever we reap,

we will also sow.

If all of our time,Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

is with the corrupt;

our good character,

will surely slip up.

For we cannot help,

but somehow be swayed;

if all of our time,

is walking away.

We have been crafted,

created with care;

for relationships,

that keep us aware.

The Holy Spirit,

and good, Godly friends;

help keep us upright,

stay true to the end.

So let not our lives,

be yoked with corrupt;

may the faithful near,

lift each other up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instructions in Your word to protect us and keep us from falling into the snares that would try to entangle us. Thank You that You show us what we are to do, and what we are not meant to do. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit is available within us to grant us wisdom in the areas where we are uncertain. Forgive us for being misled and thinking that somehow we are immune to the sway of sin. Protect us from the pull that seeks to suck us in, and help us keep accountable before You and with fellow followers of You. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we are more firm in our convictions. Help us to live and love as You love us, and may our choices be an encouragement to those who are searching for You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we depend on You to steer clear of sin’s snares. 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

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