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

Remember the Wonders

Remember the amazing things He has done. Remember His miracles and His fair decisions. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, ERV)

Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, NIV)

Remember the wondrous works He has done, all His marvelous works, and the justice He declared. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, CEB)

 

It is so good to pause and reflect on the wondrous works that God has done. In a few short years, God has brought me from a space of brokenness and despair to one that is healed and whole and loved more than I ever thought possible. When I was in need, He provided. At times when things seemed unjust, He brought justice. Throughout each new day God has been present and faithful and loving. This morning, I look forward, for in two short days our boys, my Viking and I, will travel to Wenatchee to prepare for our wedding on Saturday. Down to the last detail, God has provided all. From a home that will accommodate two adults and three teenage boys, to the sale of my Viking’s old home, to just the right timing and grace to move our belongings out of our old home and into the new space. Two days remain to finish moving and cleaning our former home and have things moved in so that we are set to be home when we return from the wedding. Though a bit daunting, I know all will be done as I look back and recognize the grace and strength, help and hope that He has given all along. May we ever remember the wonders our God has done, His miracles, and the righteous way He rules.

 

The Lord, He is good, wp-15317456633552085009570804260347.jpg

Throughout all our days;

His wondrous works,

Of kindness and grace.

He’s seen all our needs,

In love, provided;

Restored peacefulness,

Where angst divided.

With all that I am,

For all of my days;

I can’t thank enough,

Nor give enough praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wondrous works and miracles You have done in my life. Thank You that You are just and fair in all of Your ways. Thank You for the incredible ways that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for the times that we have doubts or fail to see all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that faith would rise up every time a challenge comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and demonstrates the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer all of our praise for the incredible gift of Your loving ways. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

 

 

Love that Will Not Fail

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are – high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean – nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us. – (Romans 8:38-39, TLB)

 

There is much reassurance in this passage. No matter what twists and turns our life takes us on, Christ will be present and His love shall remain. When curve balls come our way, it is easy to allow worry to enter in. Even in our space of angst, Christ is near. His love leads us out of our darkness, and into His light, where we can regain a proper perspective – recognizing that He is far greater than anything that comes against us. As we establish our hope in He who is eternal, we begin to realize the significance that our hope truly holds. Though there will be struggles – highs and lows, peaks and valleys – that we must walk through – He will be present, and what awaits us at the end of our journey is far greater than any difficulty that we encounter along the way. May we hold fast to the truth of who God is, and how unfailing and eternal His love is for all who call on His Name.

 

To where can we go,Enter With Thanksgiving

where love cannot find?

No depth is too deep,

nor mountain too high.

Wherever we are,

God will be there too;

His love shall remain,

to light the way through.

No force that may try,

to come against us;

compares to the strength,

found in Christ Jesus.

Nothing on the earth,

above or below;

compares to the love,

that in Christ we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter where we go, or what comes against us, You remain with us, loving us through. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful and powerful Your love is, and help us to depend on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to turn in trust, even when it feels as if our world is caving in on us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see Your strength and hope through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing, eternal love. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Strength and Peace He Gives

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11)

Strength and peace are two commodities that are necessary to survive a day in the life of a middle school teacher. Strength to stand, even when weariness threatens to stop us in our tracks, or keep us from trying new things to better our craft and reach the kids that struggle the most. Peace must be present within us, as there is always chaos around us. There is no way to gather groups of tweens and young teens, and not have a bit of angst, eagerness, a few outbursts, lots of laughter, and the occasional fits of fury. The Lord is gracious, and He grants strength, when it feels as though there is none; and He provides His blessing of peace, even in the most chaotic of circumstances. With Him, there is joy in this job that many of us are called to do. Kids notice a difference when we find strength, despite our exhaustion, and peace regardless of that which goes on around us. May we each embrace the strength and peace that the Lord grants to those who seek Him.

The Lord gives us strength,Calm in the Storm

whenever we call;

He sees all our needs,

and won’t let us fall.

For He longs to bless,

His people with peace;

let anxieties,

to Him be released.

The Lord is faithful,

He is present still;

to help and to hold,

lead us in His will.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to Your people, and that You bless those who call on Your Name with peace. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You – in every situation and circumstance. Thank You for the youth of this generation. Thank You for the hearts that are seeking You. Forgive us for the frustration that we have with anyone we encounter that seems to zap our strength or steal our peace. Teach us to rely on You, so that in those situations, we are sharing Your love and grace, and instead, giving the opportunity to others to experience Your kindness and peace in a tangible way. May many choose to invest their lives in You. Be exalted O God, as we receive the strength and peace that You give, and use them for Your glory. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Understanding Leads to Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

So often, our lack of understanding is what causes unrest among us. When we seek to understand one another in love, we discover His capacity to be kind and humble toward one another, and peace begins to enter in. Each one of us are His created, called to be children of God. If we view every other human as a sibling, our attitude adjusts, and we seek to care for and understand, rather than seeing others as foe to battle or those from whom to run. May we seek to understand one another in love, kindness and humility today, so that we discover how to live together in His place of peace to which we are called.

Seek understanding,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and love each other;

be kind and humble,

sisters and brothers.

For God intended,

we all live in peace;

in Him united,

all angst be released.

Let the Lord’s great love,

lead us in all things;

as we look to Him,

peace His presence brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can all live together in peace. Thank You that by Your grace, we can seek understanding in love, and approach one another with kindness and humility, as sisters and brothers in You. Thank You that this is not something that we are to somehow do on our own, but rather what You call and equip us to do as Your children. Forgive us for not seeking peace, or for making assumptions rather than trying to understand one another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You and Your leading to go forth in kindness and humility, wherever You call us to go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we may grow in our understanding and learn to live together in peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand others in Your love, as sisters and brothers, with kindness and humility. Amen.

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

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

Withholding Wayward Words

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Our words matter. The thoughts that we choose give a voice have the capacity to cut or to heal those who are around us. Typically, because words are of such great worth in my world, I choose quite carefully. However, when pressed and pushed from every direction, I had a moment the other day, where discernment went out the window, and I went off. My words were not life-giving, but rather they were reactive and ugly, without looking at the potential for their lasting impact. Throughout the day, the Holy Spirit showed me where I went wrong, and how I might repent and bring reparation for what should not have been given “voice”. That evening, after the apology and appropriate words for the situation were extended, communication that had been strained, somehow became much more bearable. Words of repentance followed by kind words of encouragement, lifted the weight of ugliness that had been lurking between our exchanges. Since then, our conversations have been kinder and gentler, with more consideration for one another. Healing does happen when wisdom is used through our words. May we choose wisely each word we give voice today, so that what comes from our mouth and heart bring healing, rather than hurt.

 

Reckless words bring pain,Constructive Permission

they cut like a sword;

wounding tender hearts,

when angst is outpoured.

The tongue of the wise,

brings healing and life;

it builds others up,

the ender of strife.

So let us choose well,

the words we give voice;

in wisdom, speak love,

obedient choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are life-giving and that Your word brings healing and wisdom to all who seek to hear and know the truth. Thank You that when we trust in You, Your Holy Spirit will guide us in the words we speak, if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for our reckless words, and please bring healing and restoration to all whom our ill-spoken words have injured. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent before You and listen well, before we ever give voice to what may cause contention. Help us to speak the truth in love, so that others may receive what is said without being wounded, but rather by being encouraged to draw still nearer to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we silence the reckless words waiting to escape, and instead, give voice to the wise words that extend Your healing and Your hope. 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

Risk to Reward

Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13)

 

Eighteen years of crippling pain. Eighteen years of torment that hunched her body over to the point that she could not stand up straight… One moment, on one hope-filled Sabbath, her life was forever changed. Though she was a lowly crippled woman (as viewed through the lens of society at the time), Jesus noticed her. Not only did He notice, but He called her forward, individually. Imagine the internal angst that she must have wrestled with in going forward. Fear of public exposure and ridicule, yet hope of healing by this man about whom she had heard. When she arrived within His reach, Jesus spoke to her and told her she was set free from her infirmity. However, it was what happened next that transformed her body, heart and mind. Jesus touched. He placed His healing hands on what was crippled and bound, and in an instant, she was free! Upright and able to move for the first time in eighteen long years, the woman praised God immediately. Imagine the sight and sound in the middle of the stuffy synagogue, as this dear woman had been set free…

 

What is binding us where we are, and are we willing to obey what He asks in order to be set free? A moment’s risk often reaps an eternal reward. We must listen for His voice and make the choice, to go forward in faith, wherever He calls us to move. He is faithful to meet us if we choose to operate in obedience to that which He asks. May we go forth in faith, trusting Him in all things, ever aware of the miraculous that transpires all around us.

 

The gentle whisper,Risk to Reward

that calls unto us;

says, “Come unto me,”

the voice of Jesus.

As we walk in faith,

miracles are seen;

for Christ is faithful,

as He makes us clean.

Cleansed from the sinful,

freed from the binding;

loved in brokenness,

His hope reminding.

May our response be,

one of endless praise;

let our hearts reply,

with thanks all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us and know us, and call us by name. Thank You that You call us out to help and heal us, and that You come close and touch. Forgive us for the times that our immediate response to You has been anything other than praise, for You are so very good to us. Help us to be ever aware of Your presence and Your promises, so that we may hold fast to Your hope, even on the more difficult days. Teach us to walk with unwavering faith, so that we may love others as You so generously love us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in faith. Amen.

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

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