Tag Archive: strengths


For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

As I read this passage through several times, I thought about how it applies to my own life. Stepping back, I can see how true this is, not only in my church circle, but at home, at work, and among my groupings of friends. In each arena, God has gathered people with different strengths, gifts and talents, and placed us together with purpose. Where one of us is weak, another is strong. In a space where wisdom or experience are necessary, there is one among us who has been there to build up, encourage or advise. This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. Who we are and what we have to give is far more meaningful and effective when joined together with others. Balance, beauty and strength in our everyday lives the way God intended, become recurring reality, rather than a one-day hope. Yes, there will be days that are messy and feel a bit fractured, but if our pursuit is to seek God and be joined in the body as He intended, the difficult days will be well worth the work. May we ever choose to seek the Lord and be invested in community as we are called.

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us individually with different strengths and functions and purpose. Thank You that You intended each of us to be in community so that our strengths could be utilized together to accomplish Your call and build up one another in You. Thank You that You place us in community when we seek You. Forgive us for not fully investing in the communities we are in, or for withholding the very things that You have birthed in us to share. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would utilize that which You have given us to share for the benefit of the body. Show us how to love all those whom You have placed in the communities we are called to invest in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with one another to become together what we could not be alone. Amen.

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

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

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

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life. – (Proverbs 4:13, NLT)

Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. – (Proverbs 4:13, AMP)

 

When God instructs us in the ways we are meant to go, we ought to cling tightly to what we have been told, and do our best to obey. His plans and ways lead to light and life, whereas on our own, we tend to run amuck. This can become a grey area for people, as there are the basics that we shall and shall not do as followers of Christ, yet there are other things that are fine for some, yet not a good idea for others. It is in these spaces that it is essential for us to seek the Lord and ask His will for us, individually. Whatever He tells us personally, is what we are meant to do. He does not always ask the same things of us as that of our friends and neighbors. We all have different strengths and challenges, and He knows our need far better than we do. This is the very reason we are meant to seek the Lord and His instruction. His way is best and when we take hold of it and walk it out, His will unfolds before us. May we each seek the Lord and His instruction, and take hold of whatever He asks and guard it for all of our days.

 

Go forth unto God,The Direction of Discipline

And seek all His ways;

Hold His instruction,

For all of our days.

As we choose to seek,

He gladly will show;

What we’re meant to do,

And where we should go.

Guard well the Lord’s words,

For in them is light;

They show us the way,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You instruct us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You remind us to guard well the words that You speak to us, as they are the key to life. Forgive us for neglecting to obey the things that You say, or for not asking when we are uncertain about what we ought to do. Teach us to trust You and Your direction in all things and at all times, as Your way is always the way that is right. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they might turn to seek Your instruction as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively seek and take hold of Your instruction, and guard it with all that we are as we forge forward to faithfully follow all that You ask of us. 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

But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?” – (Hebrews 2:6, NIV)

What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? – (Psalm 8:4, NIV)

 

It is an overwhelming thought to think that the Creator of the Universe would be mindful of us, individually – that He cares for every single person that ever has been, is and will be. Clearly, the very thought of such a personal God has been mind-blowing throughout the ages. Our mere mortal minds cannot hardly begin to grasp the magnitude of our Maker’s love and care for each of us. He deliberately designed each of us with a plan and a purpose, placing gifts and talents within us, that are unique to the DNA designed in our beings. There is no one else on the planet just like YOU. No one else can fulfill the purpose nor share the gifts that God has designed in and through you. Even with twins, who look remarkably similar, the Lord has created each with different talents, strengths and dreams planted within them to uniquely touch the world. May we each embrace the incredible, as God is mindful of each of us, and cares for us individually. Let us walk out our days as we have been designed, for we are the only one God created to answer the specific call placed on our lives.

 

The most holy God,mindful-of-us

Is mindful of you;

Cares personally,

And His love is true.

The very same God,

Who created all;

Will love us to life,

Catch us when we fall.

Let’s trust in His word,

May our hearts align;

As we live our days,

As He has designed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mindful of us and care for us, individually. Thank You that despite You being God of matchless power and might, You still draw near and love even the least of us. Thank You that You designed us each with a plan and a purpose that is unique to us. Forgive us for forgetting that we are each intended to fill a role in Your kingdom, and all matter to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out our days according to Your plan, trusting that which You have placed within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would be encouraged to seek You and to see the deliberate design that You placed within them as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as You have designed, recognizing the care that You have for us all. 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

For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

 

Every one of us has been intentionally designed. Our strengths, our dreams, our attributes, our personality and our determination are all part of the masterpiece constructed by our Maker. Even more, when we submit our lives to Christ, we are made new in Him. All of the weathering and damage that we have done to the Lord’s artwork up to that point, is wiped away – we are made new. As we choose to embrace this space of being a new creation, we are able in Him, to go forth and do the things that He designed us to do, before we had life and breath. May we rise up and go forth in the plans and purposes that we were designed to do, as we embrace His grace that has made us wonderfully new.

 

Before we were born,IMG_2344

We all were designed;

Planned with a purpose,

God’s goodness aligned.

Then there comes a day,

When we have to choose;

To receive the Lord,

So we are made new.

All of the wreckage,

The scars and the dirt;

The Lord wipes away,

And shows us our worth.

There is no measure,

But rather a call;

To love as He loves,

Great purpose for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece – each and every one of us. Thank You that we are created anew in Christ when we choose to follow You. Thank You that as we are invested in You, You equip us to go forth and do the good that we were designed to do. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for our lives and how You so specifically designed each of us. Teach us to have grateful hearts for the new that we have in You, and for Your strength and capacity to do what You designed us to do. Show us how to walk out our purpose, daily. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to serve and honor You as we were designed to do. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, NLT)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

I love that God wants for us to live in complete harmony with one another, being like-minded in Him. That is not to say that we are meant to view the world through the same lens, nor to be in agreement on every minute detail, but rather, that our hearts ought to be set on loving God and loving people. If those two things are our priority, the places where we don’t agree, won’t really matter; as we can set aside our differences and choose to love. May we seek the Lord in all things, allowing Him to grant us the patience and encouragement necessary to persevere in the places where love may be difficult to give. Let His light lead us and His heart guide us, so that we may live in harmony with those whom He has places along our path.

 

For patience does come,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To all who choose ask;

Seek the Lord for strength,

To fulfill His task.

He’s asking of us,

To choose to love first;

Seek to understand,

Don’t assume the worst.

When we walk by faith,

Our hearts shall agree;

Where it matters most,

Granting harmony.

As His will is done,

Our hearts are set free;

To live and to love,

In community.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience and encouragement so that we may live in harmony with one another as You intend for us to do. Thank You that in order to do so, we need not be clones of one another, nor share the same interests or hobbies, but rather our hearts are meant to be for You and one another to be aligned with Your will. Forgive us for thinking that we have to see eye-to-eye on all things to live in harmony with each other. Teach us to celebrate our different strengths, interests and opinions, knowing that at the end of the day, loving You and loving each other is what matters most of all. Show us how to love You and one another with everything within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live in harmony with one another as You intend us to do. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. 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

One of my least favorite parts of being an educator is the process of being observed and evaluated. I know the intent is good, and it is a way to identify strengths and areas to improve, yet, for me, as one who desires to please, and do things well, it is a painful process, regardless of the kindness of the observer. My own microscope of my craft is far more critical than that by which anyone else may utilize. Each day, my responsibility to God, not men, is to do my best for the kids in my care. This morning, I will be observed as I teach. As I was reading my devotions, the following passage may as well have been the only passage on the page, as it served as a neon sign, reminding me of what matters most. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – (Galatians 1:10)

 

Though these words were Paul’s to the Galatians in regards to works verses grace, they serve as an excellent reminder for me this morning. It takes courage to remember that my priority is to please God, not men. If I am serving and honoring God by doing the job that He has called me to do to the best of my ability, then that will be enough. It is not about me, but rather Christ in me, that will be evident anyway. May we each go forth this day in courage, allowing His light to shine brightly before all men, seeking God’s approval, not man’s.

 

Seek not approval,Seek Not the Approval of Men

from our fellow man;

but rather seek God,

to do what we can.

Look to honor Christ,

in all that we do;

give glory to God,

and point to the truth.

Let our hearts be set,

on pleasing the Lord;

not allowing truth,

set aside, ignored.

May we all rise up,

as servants of God;

remaining steadfast,

inspired and awed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not seek the approval of men, but rather we need only seek to serve You. Thank You that Your grace is enough. Thank You that as we come to You and trust in You, You meet us where we are and do the miraculous through our willing hearts. Forgive us for trying to please men, and help us to fix our eyes on You alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may do all things as unto You. May many see our heart for You as light and life and love that they have not known before. Let many be led unto You as we seek to honor You in all that we do. Be glorified, O God, as we serve You with our lives. 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

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

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

 

Good company helps sharpen our character. As we spend time with one another sharing ideas, discussing insight, and challenging each other, God utilizes conversation to shape and refine us. The sharper we are, the more effective we become for His purpose in and through us. We ought not shy away from passionate discussions with safe people, but rather check our egos at the door and allow the Holy Spirit to do the speaking to our hearts and minds. May we all find friendships that help sharpen us further for God’s glory.

 

Iron meets iron,As Iron Sharpens Iron

and sparks, they may fly;

yet through the process,

impurities die.

The strengths, they rise up,

and soon they are seen;

as it is with us,

exchanges between.

We’re called to relate,

one to another;

bound as believers,

sisters and brothers.

May we safely speak,

and truly be heard;

sharpen each other,

speak truth from His word.

Let go of ego,

be set free from pride;

allow God to work,

He’ll refine inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You change us from the inside out to more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Thank You that You utilize each of us with one another, so that we may sharpen each other to be more effective for You. Forgive us for our egos that get in the way, or for our fears that keep us silent. Lead us to safe friendships where we can sharpen each other with the truth and insight You infuse into our hearts. May many come to know the gift of Your saving grace, as we go forth, sharpened by one another. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

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