Weighing the Why

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

I am so thankful that God is gentle as He comes alongside us to remind us of what matters most. This past weekend, I was wrestling with a decision that I thought I had already made. After much prayer and a loving and supportive ear from my Viking, I discovered that I was meant to navigate a different direction than I had determined I would go. Weighing the “why” brought me to a place of peace with the decision that is best for my family. Because I had unconditional support, I had not previously given much consideration to the choice I thought I had already made. It was the gentle prompting in my heart that led me to wrestle with my “why”, and ultimately choose differently.  May we ever seek our Savior to lead and guide us in our every decision, allowing Him room to show us the way that is best for others and not just ourselves.

 

Let each decision, Weighing the Why

Be unto the Lord;

Set aside all pride,

And seek the Adored.

For all that we do,

Impacts more than us;

We need consider,

Others and adjust.

God, help us be wise,

And allow You room;

To show us what’s best,

So Your love may bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in the ways that are best for all. Thank You that You come alongside us and guide us when we determine to go a direction that You do not intend for us to go. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that lead us to make decisions that are less than the very best You have for us. Teach us to hold our plans loosely, so that we are willing to allow You to interrupt and reroute us as we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that considers their best interest in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and grace to lead us in the ways we are meant to go to best love, support and encourage those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4 & 7

Love Extends

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, TLB)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Love extends patience and acceptance in humility and gentleness, always. We are called to love in the same way that Christ loves each of us. The Lord does not limit His love according to who we are or how we measure up, rather He loves generously, patiently, and accepts us each as we come before Him. So often we fall short of truly walking out our days according to His ways, yet He remains gentle and patient with us, as He lovingly redirects our steps. Our charge, is to do the same. I appreciate the phrasing of The Passions Translation so much, as it is phrased in a way that feels veritably relevant in my world of working with middle school students, who at times, tax my patience. We are called to love as Christ loves us. No limits. No exceptions. To do so requires humility, patience, gentleness and generous love. May we seek the Lord, who in His gentle kindness, loves us so well that we are equipped to go and love likewise.

 

Tender and gentle, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Humble and choose kind;

It’s how we’re to love,

All of human kind.

God’s love is lavish,

Full of patience too;

As we seek His heart,

His love is made new.

So, let us go forth,

And love like the Lord;

May all come to know,

How much they’re adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that as we seek You and depend on You, You equip us to love with patience, gentleness and humility. Thank You that Your love can flow through us, if only we are willing. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas or egos have been barriers to bestowing love upon those who needed it most. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love gently and humbly, with patience, even toward those who try our patience the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love in the same way that You so wonderfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  – John 13:34

Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Adorn Our Hearts

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

We are constantly bombarded with images and messages about what is beautiful. If we wear this clothing, or have that hair, or fit a certain body type – then, then we will be considered beautiful. That “beauty” is both fleeting and subjective. Fashion and trends come and go, and external beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, the beauty that lasts and matters most to God, is the sort that is developed and upheld in our hearts. When we seek after Him, and are in step with our Savior, a gracious, and settled spirit emerges from us wherever we go. People are drawn to this sort of beauty that lasts. Our hearts, in which the Lord delights, are what attract others to draw near. Interestingly enough, the most beautiful people I know have hearts after God, and what is on the inside overflows to that which is seen. May we invest in adorning ourselves with the lasting beauty of His goodness and grace, as we go forth in the gentleness and quietness of a spirit that is set secure on our Savior.

 

Let us choose be clothed,Bloom Where We're Planted

In traits of the Lord;

For internal light,

Is beauty adored.

The things of this world,

Are fleeting at best;

For external fades,

When time puts to test.

A gentle spirit,

Quiet and at peace;

Is precious to God,

And shall never cease.

This is true beauty,

That draws others near;

A heart after God,

Walking without fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not so interested in how we adorn the external, but rather how we invest our hearts in You. Thank You that as we seek You and trust You, You create a beauty from within. You place in us a gracious and quiet spirit, that is secure in whom You have created us to be. Forgive us for our insecurities that cause our focus to shift to the external rather than within. Teach us to prioritize our focus on the beauty of our hearts according to Your standards, rather than the external according to the world. Show us how to love those around us with gracious and gentle spirits, so that we would be quick to recognize the beauty in those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to adorn ourselves with beautiful hearts. 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

 

Joy for Our Journey

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of their journey. – (Psalm 84:5, MSG)

 

This has been one of the longest weeks of the year. The first few days of the week felt like weeks, rather than days – not because they were bad, but rather because they were so full and long. As the week has come to a close, it is easy to look back and identify the moments that I treasured most as a result of God’s grace and help that was supplied. Monday and Tuesday, I was given the strength I needed to endure the final full days of the school year and all of the activities that included. Additionally, I was dealing with my own sweet boys who were sick at home, all the while. The days were long and the nights were interrupted with boys in need. Wednesday arrived and I was again sustained in ways that I would not have imagined, followed by more sleep in one night than I normally get in two nights. It was glorious! Thursday and Friday were unscheduled without agendas, and I treasured the freedom to ebb and flow as I so chose.

He is my strength, my help and my hope, and when I keep that in proper perspective, I see the blessings He brings as I journey along. May we allow the Lord to be our source of strength, so that we may treasure every step of our journey, no matter where it may lead.

 

True treasure is found,MSH29

As we go along;

Not in our own strength,

But through the Lord’s strong.

For most blessed are we,

Who trust in the Lord;

He grants what we need,

By Him we’re adored.

Embrace the sweet gift,

His strength and His grace;

Joy for our journey,

Hope to light our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the strength that we need as it is needed when we turn to You. Thank You that every step of our journey is a treasure in Your presence. Forgive us for not valuing all that is gained from each step that we take along the path on which You lead us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the difficult with the enjoyable, knowing that You use both to grow us and show us more of You. Lead us to love others in a way that reflects clearly the goodness and grace that You so generously give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust You to be our strength and treasure every step of the journey You have set before us. Amen.

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

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

Forward in Faith

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. – (Job 17:9, NLT)

 

In the midst of Job’s greatest suffering, he not only defends his innocence, but cries out to God for help. Though forward was not likely the direction he felt compelled to move in the midst of his misery, he continued to trust in the Lord. His hands were clean, and he did become stronger and stronger, with all things ultimately being restored unto him. We are called to do likewise. No matter what comes our way, we are meant to keep moving forward in faith, maintaining clean hearts and hands, so as to allow the Lord to be our strength and watch to see what He does to get us through. May we place our trust in He who is deserving of all of our trust, and keep moving forward in faith.

 

By faith we are called,Bold and Unhindered

To trust in the Lord;

No matter what comes,

May Christ be adored.

For He is our strength,

When we’re in the fight;

He’s our light and hope,

On the darkest night.

Let us choose to seek,

For in Him we find;

The light of the truth,

He opens eyes blind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You to keep moving forward, You strengthen and equip us to do so in You. Thank You that You keep our hands and hearts clean when we are invested in You. Forgive us for not turning to You in the midst of our struggles, or for seeking to solve situations on our own. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You are our Source of strength, hope and help. Show us how to love others with Your strength, so that they might see You through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep moving forward in You, trusting You to be our strength. 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

Put Into Practice

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. – (Philippians 4:9, MSG)

 

I had two incredibly proud mom moments last evening, as I recognized the reality of this verse lived out in the lives of both of my boys. First, the orchestra teacher began to speak of a student who had overcome the struggle of learning his music as he had gone on and memorized nearly every piece they played. His perseverance and positivity were commended as he received one of the most-improved musician awards. After watching my eldest progeny go forward to receive his award, the same instructor began speaking of a young man who worked hard everyday, greeted her with kindness daily, and always offered a helping hand. He too was being recognized for the same such award, with no sense of obligation to reward the second son because he was in the family, rather it was all because of the merit of his character. I was blown away… Both boys had left a mark in a space that they have loved throughout their middle school careers. Each one chose to commit to their craft and care well for those around them in the process, and as a result, were being seen as the upstanding young men that they have become. Both boys were blown away by being seen, and I imagine the moment will be forever marked in their memories.

A take-away from the evening was the reminder of how important it is to let kids know that we see their hard work. Acknowledging them in their struggle to persevere can make all of the difference, and when they have seen a challenge through to completion – celebrate! May we see the success stories all around us in this season of graduations and new beginnings. Let our lives mirror that of our Maker, so that we may put into practice, His ways, allowing our words and deeds to deliver peace in places that need it most.

 

Let all that’s been learned,photo (6)

Received from the Lord;

Be set in practice,

Honor the Adored.

For as we obey,

Operate in peace;

God’s glory and grace,

Are through Him, released.

May His love be known,

By all who draw near;

Together we come,

As He removes fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us, teach us, and speak to us, the things that You want us to learn from You. Thank You that when we put these things into practice, we discover Your peace. Forgive us for not acting on the things that You have shown us, and ending up unsettled, wondering why we can’t find Your peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and find You in every situation and circumstance, no matter how challenging. Thank You that You are far greater than anything we face. Lead us to love others well, especially those who are in a space of transition or on the cusp of new beginnings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put into practice that which we have learned, received or heard from You. 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

Really Love Them

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

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

 

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

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

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

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

 

Joyful, Patient and Faithful

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

These are wise words to live by, as hope is what gives us reason for joy. In Christ, we find patience, even when troubles come, and we are reminded how critical it is to pray without ceasing. As we pray, our hope is renewed and joy rises within us, regardless of what we are facing. Not a happiness about what we are going through, but rather a deep-rooted joy in knowing that the Lord is for us, no matter what comes our way. Despite what we face today, our eternity is secure in Him. That, in and of itself is reason to find joy. May we be joyful in our hope in Christ; patient no matter what we face, and faithful to seek the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

For our joy shall come,Honoring the Temple

Through hope in the Lord;

Despite what we face,

Let Christ be adored.

With patience we seek,

Faithfully, let’s pray;

God shall be our strength,

And hope each new day.

God is always good,

Despite circumstance;

May hope rise again,

He goes in advance.

He’ll lead if we ask,

Found when we pursue;

Granter of all hope,

As He shows us truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy in the hope that we have in You; patience, no matter what we face, and pray to You – always. Thank You that our joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is held in the hope we have in our forever with You. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth when trials come our way. Teach us how to be faithful in prayer, so that we can be patient in affliction and joyful no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may find the joy that comes from hope in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are joyful in the hope we have in You, patient in whatever we face, and faithful to pray – always. Amen.

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

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

Willing to Share

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. – (Psalm 9:1NLT)

All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works. – (Psalm 9:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening was the final gathering of ladies for our six-week study on “Telling Our Stories“. We gathered as a large group, but were seated in small group tables, to provide opportunity for discussion. What I loved hearing throughout our time together, was the common thread of God’s faithfulness through difficulties, and that He was somehow now using those very experiences to lead us to care well for others in similar struggles. The very things that He was so faithful to bring us out of or lead us through, were the same spaces that our hearts were being drawn to love others well. Though we have countless reasons to praise Him with all of our hearts, we tend to gravitate toward that which resonates the most clearly for us, personally. As He provides opportunity for us to share our own stories, even in small ways, it is overwhelming to see how He uses our willingness to share. May we continue to give thanks and praise to Him who grants us all of our days, and may we share of all of the wondrous works that He has done in us and for us, so others too might see the light and life found in Him.

 

May we give our praise,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and thanks to the Lord;

with all of our hearts,

let Christ be adored.

For His great wonders,

the work of His hands;

for how He loves us,

and fulfills His plans.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

that we have to tell;

a story of grace,

how You’ve loved us well.

Grant us the courage,

the time and the space;

to share with others,

Your goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well, no matter where we are or what we are going through. Thank You that You are faithful and full of love and grace. Forgive us for not giving You the praise that You deserve, or for not sharing of the wonders that You have done to make the difference in our own lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You with all of our heart, and be quick to share with others, the wonders of Your mighty works in our own lives. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be Your instruments of grace and peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and share of the mighty things that You have done. Amen.

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

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