Wisdom With Friends

Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble. – (Proverbs 13:20, ERV)

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. – (Proverbs 13:20, MSG)

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)

 

The company we keep matters. Those whom we spend the most time with, have the loudest voice in our lives. Are the words spoken by those around us encouraging and uplifting, ever willing to speak truth in love? Though we cannot control what others say and do, we can choose the people that we make a priority in our lives. Additionally, we can determine the influence that we have on those around us. When we walk in wisdom and truth, we are providing a path to peace. May we seek to spend time with those who are wise, rather than making friends with fools; and may we be friends who walk in wisdom and lift up all who surround us.

 

Help me be a friend,Wisdom With Friends

Who’s wise in my ways;

An encouragement,

To others, always.

A fool for a friend,

Is cause for alarm;

For such company,

Will only bring harm.

So choose well your friends,

Opt walk with the wise;

Growing in wisdom,

Purpose realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us and give us direction as to what is best for us. Thank You that You remind us that the company we keep matters. Thank You that not only do those we choose to spend time with have influence on us, but we do on them as well. Forgive us for either choosing poorly, or for being foolish as friends. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to show us whom we are meant to spend time with, and that all wisdom comes from You. Grant us Your wisdom, so that we may love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we first seek You for all wisdom and listen to You for direction in our friendships, so that above all, You may be praised. 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

Shine With Our Words

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, VOICE)

 

Our growth is largely dependent on the choices that we make. Each time we opt to act according to the will of God in love, His light shines through us. However, when we choose poorly, and do not allow the love of Christ to lead us in what we do, we fall short, and the opportunity for His love and grace to be made known is gone. Every time we choose to speak truth in love, rather than in anger or spite, we grow more in likeness with Christ. Our gentle answer to another’s wrath will often turn the entire situation around. Not only do we grow in grace as we choose to love, despite our own desires to get angry, but the recipient of our loving delivery of truth is exposed to God’s grace in unexpected ways. May we go forth this day, intentionally choosing to speak truth in love, so that we might grow more and more like Christ in every way.

 

Let the light of Christ,unseal-my-lips

Shine bright in our words;

As we speak in love,

The truth we have heard.

For when we choose love,

Instead of disdain;

We grow more like Christ,

And honor His Name.

May all that we say,

Be the truth in love;

So all may find hope,

In the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we seek You and pursue the path that You have placed before us, the more we grow to be like You. Thank You that when we speak the truth in love, not only does the recipient benefit, but we grow as well. Forgive us for speaking out of anger or frustration, rather than slowing down and speaking the truth in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold our tongues and wait to speak until we are able to deliver our words in Your love. Show us how to love well as we speak truth to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love that You have for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love and You grow us ever more in Your likeness as we choose to walk in Your way. 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

Teach Truth

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, NLT)

 

If we do not share the truth of God with the next generation, how will they ever come to know Him? We are called to teach our children what God has done for us, and throughout the ages. It is promised, that if we “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – (Proverbs 22:6) This can only come to pass if we fulfill our end of the deal. Coming into the knowledge of the power and faithfulness of God, compels us to hold fast to the hope that He provides. The same is true for our children. Kids have a remarkable capacity to comprehend the truth from a young age, and will grow in faith and hope if they are taught of the wonders and power of our precious Lord. May we make it a priority to teach the next generation the truth of who God is and how He loves, so that they too, may hold the hope that we already know.

 

The truth that we know,jesus holding hands with child

is meant to be shared;

passed on to our kids,

so they’ll be prepared.

When they understand,

God’s wonderful ways;

they learn to follow,

the Lord all their days.

God promises us,

if we lead them well;

He’ll keep hold of them,

in His grace, they’ll dwell.

Help us teach our kids,

the truth of Your love;

so they too will seek,

You, our Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing that children provide. Thank You that You value the hope and the future of every single child. Thank You that we are called to teach the truth of Your love and faithfulness to the next generation, so that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and one day do the same. Forgive us for our inconsistency. Teach us to be faithful in sharing the truth that we know with those whom You place in our charge. Show us how to love well and to speak truth in a way that is powerful and understandable, so that all may hear what You want to be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You from a young age, and not depart from You. Be exalted O God, as we share of Your power and wonders with the next generation. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Encourage with His Sweet Songs

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. – (Ephesians 5:19, ERV)

Music is a miraculous gift that breaks down even the bulkiest of barriers. Though there is always music in my day while I travel from place to place in my car, it has been largely absent in my regular routine. About a week ago, on my way into Fred Meyer to buy groceries, something made me take pause at the small display outside of the electronics section. There before me, were small blue tooth speakers that were affordably priced. As I pondered the prices and products, the sales associate wandered my direction. He had helpful suggestions, and I decided to go ahead and make a reasonable purchase, as I had no other source to play music out loud in my home for myself, other than my phone.

Since that day, I have utilized this fantastic little speaker to blare worship music while I prepare for my day. It is remarkable how much better equipped I feel when I have been singing along with reckless abandon, and soaking in the sweet sound that floods my space as I ready myself for what lies ahead.

Interestingly enough, the first portion of the verse has also come to fruition over this week as well. A friend and I have been sending one another links back and forth for our favorite or most encouraging worship songs. It has been such a sweet exchange to be reminded of lyrics long forgotten, that speak truth that my heart needed to hear. My hope is that the same has held true for her. May we find ways to encourage one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we go about our day, and may we allow our hearts to sing and make music unto the Lord.

Encourage with songs,

Kari Jobe  - Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

Kari Jobe – Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

as the tunes give rise;

for spirits shall soar,

with truth, come alive.

Sing and make music,

from our hearts to His;

may we choose make known,

how worthy He is.

Share of psalms and hymns,

that speak what is true;

so hurting hearts hear,

Who will make them new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gifts of Your word, music, and the ability to combine the two. Thank You for Your sweet presence that is made tangible when we choose to worship. Forgive us for neglecting the need within us to sing and make music in our hearts unto You, and the call to encourage others with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Thank You for showing me a new way that this can be done, practically. TeachJust Be Held us to trust You more, so that we would set aside the stuff that weighs us down and choose to allow our hearts to soar in song before You. Lead us to love and encourage others with Your words that meet them where they are and speak to their heart in a way that only You can do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other with songs that reflect Your truth, and as we sing and make music in our hearts unto You. 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

A few more favorites:

Casting Crowns – Just Be Held

Amanda Cook & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

Run and Don’t Quit

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

In my world, running so often parallels lessons of faith. I can run on my own, yet I discourage more easily and grow weary and want to quit. However, when I run with great people around me, their faithfulness to finish inspires me to run without ceasing, and challenges me to be better than I was before. Often our conversations become a dumping ground for the things that hinder our hearts from moving forward, and set us free to move forward as we were intended to run. As we run together, we look out for one another, warning of dangers on sidewalks, in the roads, and even of crazy drivers coming our way. Our inspiration and encouragement is built in, when we are invested well in a community with a common goal.

Fortunately for me, most of my best running buddies are also dear friends with a shared and committed faith. I have the double blessing of sharing both a similar running philosophy and the same core values that drive our lives. God uses us to speak life into one another, and to encourage each other to keep “running“, even when life is hard. Investing in a faith community is a necessity to run our race well. Great examples give us hope and inspiration to keep moving, even when we want to quit. Additionally, when we are connected, we are accountable to others, and allow them to speak truth, leaving room to remove anything that would slow us down, and the sin that causes us to stumble and fall. May we each find a faith community in which we can fully invest, so that we can run the race before us and never quit, with others beside us to challenge and encourage us along the way.

We need not look far,Run and Do Not Quit

to find faithful few;

for the consistent,

allow love shine through.

Ever they’re seeking,

to honor and serve;

to love as Christ loves,

not as is deserved.

For good company,

helps us each to grow;

to run our race well,

so His light will show.

Invest in others,

as we’re called to do;

sisters and brothers,

His love makes us new.

When we are equipped,

we’ll run our race well;

strong to the finish,

as truth our lives tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the great people that You have placed around us as examples in our lives. Thank You that You show us what faith means. Thank You that You equip us to run the race that is set before us without quitting, as You bring beside us, others to encourage and challenge us to do as You call us to do. Forgive us for holding the things that slow us down or cause us to stumble. Set us free from sin. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, then trust You to place us in the appropriate community that challenges and cares for us well. Show us how to contribute to the growth and greatness of others. Lead us to love as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run the race You have set before us without quitting; removing all that slows us down and every sin that causes us to stumble. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Be the Hope

The twentieth-century American educator and author Loren Eiseley wrote a short piece titled “The Starfish Story” or “The Starfish Thrower,” which has been told and retold in many versions through the years. In this classic tale, we learn a simple lesson about the difference one person can make. Here’s the gist of the story:

A man walking along an otherwise deserted beach came upon another man throwing into the sea a starfish that had been deposited on the sand by the tide. When the man asked the star thrower his purpose, the thrower explained that the starfish left untended, would be dried by the sun and eventually die. But how, wondered the first man, given that there were thousands of starfish scattered for miles along the the beach. The thrower bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean with all his might. He smiled as he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” – (excerpt from Undaunted, Christine Caine)

 

When we look at the world around us, it is easy to see that there are a multitude of starfish lying on the sand, desperate for someone to come along and extend a hand. At first glance, it may seem too overwhelming to even know where to begin, when there is so much need that surrounds us. We can either choose to turn and walk away, or we can walk toward the need, and pick up one starfish at a time. It may not seem like much in the moment, yet to that one starfish, it is a chance to live.

 

Paul was an ongoing example of a starfish thrower, as he extended hope to all whom he encountered. His circumstances mattered not, for he chose to speak truth and shine the light of Christ wherever his journey took him. When Paul was summoned to appear before King Agrippa, he worried not about his own safety, but rather about sharing the truth that would bring freedom and salvation to all who might hear. Clearly Paul had captured Agrippa’s attention.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – (Acts 26:28-29)

May we rise up and be the change that sees not the multitude and becomes overwhelmed, but rather that we look to each need, individually, and do what we can to offer hope where hope is not.

 

Scattered on the sand,Be the Hope

a vast sea of need;

what am I to do,

to rescue, to feed?

We’re not called to meet,

every need seen;

but to offer hope,

step in, intervene.

Often so simple,

a word or a touch;

an acknowledgement,

can matter so much.

Oh Lord I’m ready,

to offer Your hope;

may Your love and light,

be the safety rope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of “Starfish Throwers” throughout both Your word and history. Thank You that though the need in our world is great, one life touched at a time, can make all the difference. Thank You that You can use us, individually, to offer hope to a hurting world. Forgive us for seeing the need and turning a blind eye because we are overwhelmed or think that we cannot make a difference. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and take each next step of obedience that touches lives as You ask of us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth to be the hope, one life at a time. 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

Forge Forward in Faith

The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

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

A House of Hope

But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. – (Hebrews 3:6)

 

When we invite Christ to be the Lord of our life, His Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us, making our heart His home. He is faithful to remain present, always. In return, we are asked to take courage and hold onto the hope of all that He has promised, and to speak the truth, which we may proudly share with all who are willing to hear. He is faithful, always; so we too, should be the same.

 

This heart is Your home,A House of Hope

may You rule and reign;

develop the good,

remove the disdain.

Help me hold courage,

hope in what is true;

peace in Your promise,

so much more of You.

May from my mouth flow,

abundance of heart;

that You grow in me,

all that You impart.

Lord, be glorified,

from this house of mine;

may darkness be gone,

and Your love light shine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in us when we invite You in. Thank You that You keep watch, and protect us. Thank You that You grant us courage and the capacity to be faithful in the hope we have been given in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of faith, and grow in us all that we are lacking. Teach us to be courageous in You, and may many come to know the hope that is available in You as a result. Let our love be a reflection of Your love for us. Be exalted, O God, as we courageously boast of the hope we hold in You. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

Limited Access

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. – (Colossians 2:8, NIV)

 

Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is not from Christ. It is only human tradition and comes from the powers that influence the world. (Colossians 2:8, ERV)

 

When we are rooted in Christ, His Holy Spirit dwells in us and grants us wisdom to know what is of Him, and what is not. Our charge is to be on guard, with our eyes and ears open, aware of the motives and intentions of those around us as they speak. If we are invested in our relationship with Christ, spending time in His word and intentional to allow Him to speak truth in our lives, we will be sensitive to hear His still small voice that whispers warnings when something being presented is not of Him. The basic principles of the world or the powers that influence the world, are not from God. He calls us to something far greater. What the world offers is temporary, what Christ offers, is eternal. May we each be rooted and established in Christ, so as to not be deceived by anything or anyone that is not of Him.

 

Give no one access,Limited Access

to your heart and mind;

except for the One,

Who’s Holy, Divine.

For anyone else,

will lead us astray;

the ways of the world,

end in death, decay.

When we’re invested,

rooted in the Lord;

He safeguards our hearts,

His wisdom outpoured.

Our eyes learn to see,

what’s false and what’s true;

His Spirit within,

shows us what to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are rooted and established in You, You safeguard our hearts and minds from that which would contend for our attention away from You. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, whom You pour into each of us as we make You Lord of our life. Forgive us for any area where we have given ear to the voice of the world, and help us to hear You clearly as to what is truth. Lead us in Your way, and help us to follow fast, the path that leads to abundant life in You. May our life lived faithfully in love, lead many away from the deceptive ways of the world that lead to death, and unto You, where life everlasting is found. Be glorified, O God, as we are strengthened in faith and trust in 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