To Run Our Race Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race hat 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)

As for us, we have all these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

Release the burdens, img_2019-04-03_04-26-166398438284953483236.jpg

That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

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

Present With Me

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:8, VOICE)

 

The one thing that we can count on in life, is change. No matter how much we want the world around us to stay the same, there are variables that we cannot control, and change is inevitable. Often the change that we fear the most, challenges us and grows us the most. If we remember who goes before us and is present with us, regardless of what lies ahead, we will not be shaken to the point of no return. Some of the most beautiful transformations take place in dark and uncomfortable spaces. Incredibly, what emerges at the end of the press, is a thing of beauty, strength, and new life. God does this with us too. This new school year that lies before me is full of change. We have new administrators, many new staff members, and I will be in a new teaching position. I am not necessarily fearful, but am a bit reluctant, as I know not what lies ahead in this unknown. What I have to remember is who goes before me, and why I do what I do. May we ever trust the Lord and His presence in the places and spaces that we are called to walk, knowing that He will go before us and never leave us, even in the new and unknown.

 

The Lord is with me, Present With Me

Wherever I go;

He goes before me,

This truth, I do know.

He’ll stay by my side,

No matter what comes;

I need never fear,

All battles, He’s won.

Let us choose rise up,

In faith, move ahead;

Answer all He asks,

Do all He has said.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that we will not be shaken because You will remain beside us. Forgive us for our fears or for the moments we move away from that which we’ve been called to do. Teach us how to trust You and Your presence more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages others to be all that You have made them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth without fear, trusting Your presence every step that we take. 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

Pass It On

We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things He has done. – (Psalm 78:4, MSG)

We will not keep these things secret from their children; rather, we will tell the coming generation all about the praise that is due to the Eternal One. We will tell them all about His strength, power, and wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, VOICE)

 

The challenges and struggles that stand before today’s youth require faith more than ever before. We live in a culture that floods young minds with temptation to be lured a hundred different directions without the constants that they desperately desire. If we do not teach them of the wonders of God and show them hope in a world where hope is so often lost, the future that follows them will be bleak. However, when children are raised to know hope in Him, they rise up into adulthood with a filter that helps them fix their eyes on that which is to take them in the direction they are meant to go, rather than being tugged by too many things. In my own life, hearing of the marvelous things that He had done in the lives of those before me, inspired a great desire to discover all that He had for me as well. May we not keep God’s goodness to ourselves, but ever share of His wonders with our children, so that they too may seek the Lord and His strength in their lives.

 

Keep not to ourselves, IMG_2344

God’s glory and might;

We are meant to share,

Give young ones insight.

Tell of His wonder,

The good He has done;

Speak of the Lord’s strength,

The battles He’s won.

Let’s give our kids hope,

Where often there’s none;

Share His faithfulness,

Our Almighty One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown Your faithfulness to us through the generations before us. Thank You for those who did not stay silent, but rather shared with us the glory of Your majesty and power. Thank You for the privilege to pass along the same to the next generation that follows us. Forgive us for keeping things to ourselves that were meant to be shared, as the coming generation needs to know the wonder of Your majesty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and hear Your heart as to how and what we are meant to share. Show us how to love those who follow after us in a way that gives them hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share of the marvelous things that You have done with those whom You have placed in our charge. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

The Power of Perfect Love

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. – (Romans 8:38, NLT)

 

There is NOTHING more powerful than the love of God. His love covers fears, conquers giants, defeats death, and draws us unto Himself when we feel far away from Him. The more we embrace the grace that He has granted and seek to know Him more, the greater our understanding of just how powerful God’s love is, and how there truly is nothing that can take it away from us. May we extend our hands and hearts to the Lord, and allow His love to wash over all that attempts to separate us from Him. He is good, and His love endures forever.

 

The love of the Lord,given-to-show-goodness

Shall overcome all;

It’s greater than death,

Lifts up when we fall.

There’s no height nor depth,

Nor place we can go;

Where the love of God,

Cannot freely flow.

Far greater is He,

Who calls our hearts home;

Than opposition,

Both seen and unknown.

Worry not today,

Nor for that to come;

God’s love is greater,

The battle’s been won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that NOTHING can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that Your love has defeated death and fuels our faith to forge forward, even in the face of fear. Forgive us for our fears and doubt when trials come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth that You are far greater than anything that may try to come against us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the power of Your limitless love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You give that cannot be removed. 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

Joy in the Struggles

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 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)

 

I can’t claim that I rejoice or am actually happy when trials or troubles come my way, but I am finding more and more, that I discover myself less anxious and more dependent upon the Lord when difficulty knocks on my door. Each trial that is successfully traversed, grows my confidence and endurance in He who is my strength. As new mountains are climbed and valleys navigated, I discover strength that I did not know was possible, through Christ. May we each hold fast to the hope that is held in He who is our strength, and trust that He will provide all that we need to overcome trials and troubles as they come our way.

 

Come let us rejoice,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No matter what comes;

Not for the battle,

But in Whom it’s won.

For all that we face,

Will grow within us;

Strength and endurance,

Deep trust in Jesus.

The more that we trust,

The more we shall know;

The grace of the Lord,

Will rise as it grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can rejoice in who You are, and how You provide, when trials and troubles come our way. Thank You that our struggles produce endurance and strength of character within us, growing our hope in all that You have promised. Forgive us for our lack of trust and lack of faith, as we struggle to trust what we cannot see. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, as You alone are our Source and our Strength. Show us how to love others so that they see the hope that is held in You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see the good that comes from our struggles, and trust You to be our hope and our help in the midst of them. 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

Owning Our Iniquities

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – (1 John 1:9, NLT)

But if we own up to our sins, God shows us that He is faithful and just by forgiving all of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to forgive, if we are willing to come before Him and confess that which we have said, thought or done that does not bring honor to His Name. Every unkind thought, every reckless word uttered, and every decision that we make that is not based on loving God and loving people well – He will forgive, if we will choose to own our offenses before the Lord. Not only does He forgive, but Christ deems us righteous before Him, as we are purified from the pollution of our ruptured relationship. May we choose to confess our sins before Him, and trust in His faithfulness to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, so that we may exercise our existence covered in His goodness and grace.

 

If we will confess,Beside Still Waters

all that we have done;

before Jesus Christ,

the battle is won.

For in His Great Name,

we‘ll be forgiven;

if we go to God,

for our wrong living.

He takes all our sin,

and washes us clean;

impurities gone,

and His love is seen.

When we choose stay near,

in step with the Lord;

light and life made plain,

as grace is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we confess our sins before You, You are faithful and just to forgive us all of our unrighteousness – not because we deserve it, but because You love. Forgive us for not owning our iniquities to confess before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your still small voice and be quick to confess all that we think, say and do that does not give glory to You. Show us how to walk in forgiveness with others, just as we are forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the goodness that comes from a life lived in You. Be glorified O God, as we confess all of our sins before You and walk out our days free and forgiven from all that would keep us from honoring You. Amen.

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

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

Courage to Overcome

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

 

Jesus let His followers know that a life of faithfulness to Him would not be free from trouble, but even in the throws of the most difficult circumstances, they would never be alone. Christ came and defeated death and darkness, so that we may have light and life in Him. No matter what we face in the present, our future holds the hope of eternal glory in His perfect presence. We can take courage no matter what we face, for Christ already came and conquered on our behalf. In Him, we are more than able to endure and overcome what lies before us, and reach that which awaits. His peace is available now, in spite of our circumstances, and His strength is provided as it is needed. May we seek Him and trust Him to be our peace and our strength, so that we may be brave in the face of trouble, knowing that He has already overcome all that we are facing.

 

Jesus has spoken,Bold in Battle

these words unto us;

that we shall find peace,

despite our chaos.

No matter what comes,

Jesus is our place;

where courage is found,

as He pours out grace.

All that we shall face,

He’s already done;

the victory His,

at the cross, He won.

So fear not the world,

and what it may throw;

for when we’re in Christ,

the outcome we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have peace in You, no matter what troubles come our way. Thank You that we can be brave in the face of our trials and struggles, knowing that You have already overcome the world. Thank You that though we may walk through heartache and hard, our present situation is not our final destination. Forgive us for losing an eternal perspective as we go about our days, and help us to see things through Your lens. Teach us to trust You more, even in the hardest spaces. Lead us to love others in a way that provides perspective, strength and courage when they are stuck in the struggle too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we receive Your peace that surpasses all understanding, no matter our circumstances, and fear not in the face of our trials as we remember that You have already overcome all that we are facing. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Believe to Be Victorious

Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – (1 John 5:5, NIV)

It is our faith that has won the victory against the world.  So who wins against the world?  Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. – (1 John 5:5, ERV)

The “world” is anything and everything that would tempt us to live in a way that is contrary to the life that Christ is calling us to live.  We have an adversary who seeks to lead us away from the path which we are called to pursue.  It is only when we believe with our hearts and lives that Jesus is the Son of God, and live our lives accordingly, that we are able to overcome that which attempts to steer us off course.  Temptations that seek to suck us in, can be withstood, when we are armed with the truth and invested in a relationship with the Savior of our soul.  May we believe with all that we are, that Jesus is the Son of God, and live out our lives accordingly, so that we may walk victoriously, as we overcome the world.

To rise, overcome,Offered Unto You

it takes great belief;

in Jesus the Son,

our hope and relief.

No battle is won,

unless we choose cling;

to Christ our Savior,

Overcoming King.

No foe can withstand,

the power of God;

in Him we will win,

as heaven applauds.

So rise up, dear ones,

and trust in the King;

for we’ll overcome,

that’s what the truth brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and place our trust in You, we are able to overcome all that would come against us.  Thank You that every victory is ours through Christ.  Forgive us for making our adversary too big, or making You too small, as You are far greater than anything that would come against us.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be confident in Your mercy, grace, strength and power that You provide in every situation.  Lead us  to love others as You call us to love.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord.  Be glorified O God, as we rise up and overcome the world in Your strength as You call us to keep pressing forward.  Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16