Choose to Do Good

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NIV)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

We reap what we sow. If our plans are for the good of others, love and faithfulness find way back to us. However, if our intentions are to harm or are unkind in any way, we begin to veer off of the path that God has for us. It is a slippery slope, and one ill-intended word, deed or action, can lead to many more. Thankfully, the same is true of operating in kindness and truth. The more we seek to be pure in all of our ways, the more we recognize the good in walking out our lives according to God’s perfect plan for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in what is good, so that we may operate in kindness and truth for all of our days.

 

The ways of the Lord, To Bear Good Fruit

Are good and with love;

Led by faithfulness,

Graced from God above.

Choosing unkindness,

Is far from God’s way;

Those who plot evil,

Find they’ve gone astray.

Instead, seek the Lord,

And choose to do good;

In kindness and truth,

Do as Jesus would.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and trust in You to lead us to do good, love and faithfulness find way back to us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly in word, thought or deed. Teach us to turn to You for strength to do the right thing; always. Show us how to do all things with kindness in truth for all whom we meet, so that each may come to understand the power of Your love for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in kindness and truth as we walk out each day trusting You. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Heart Change

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. – (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive. – (Joel 2:13, CEB)

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath and puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. – (Joel 2:13, MSG)

 

When we stray from the path that God has placed before us, He wants a heart change that leads us back to where we were meant to go. God is patient and kind, merciful and loving; ready to forgive and redirect our steps when we go astray. Our part is to be tender to His leading, so that our hearts may be changed to more clearly reflect His own. This applies in every area of our lives, as God wants our whole heart, not just a portion. May we seek the Lord with tender hearts, ready to give Him room to move so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

 

God of compassion, Hold My Heart

We bring hearts to You;

Forgive each trespass,

Cleanse and make us new.

In love and kindness,

Lead us in Your way;

Help us extend grace,

And love much the same.

Grant us a clean heart,

That’s ready to serve;

To love as You love,

Mercy undeserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want external displays of remorse, but rather You desire hearts that turn to You, ready to repent and allow You room to cleanse and renew. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to earn our way back to grace when we have gone astray. Teach us to come to You with repentant hearts so that we may receive Your forgiveness and experience a true heart change. Show us how to love those around us a way that extends the very same goodness and grace to spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the forgiveness that You so readily offer when we come to You with a repentant heart. Amen.

 

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

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

The Significance of a Shepherd

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11, NIV)

That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you – news that will make everyone happy. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11, ERV)

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. – (Luke 2:8-11, MSG)

 

It is so interesting that God chose to announce the arrival of the birth of His Son to a group of shepherds who were out in their fields, guarding their flocks at night. The more I pause and ponder, the more fascinated I become with the significant roles and references to shepherds throughout the Bible. David was a shepherd boy who became a great king. Jesus was from the line of David, which is why Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem for the census in the first place. Additionally, there are many references throughout the New Testament where Jesus is referred to as the good shepherd, as He tends to us and watches over us as His flock. Shepherds care for and protect their sheep, and know them each by name. Back then, shepherds had to fight off wild animals and protect the sheep from all harm, as well as tend to the sick and injured among them. Their livelihood was dependent on the well-being of their sheep, and from what I have read, the shepherds that tended their own flocks, did so in much the same way as Jesus did for the people all around Him. The shepherds in the fields that night, though well-trained in fending off predators, had no exposure to a visit from heavenly hosts. It is no wonder that the first words prior to announcing the arrival of Jesus, was “Do not be afraid.” Between shock and awe, the shepherds took in the announcement and acted upon it. With great urgency, they hurried off to see what the heavenly hosts had proclaimed.  Lastly, in the same way that shepherds care for their sheep and that Jesus modeled for us what it is do love and shepherd those around us well, we too are called to be shepherds of God’s flock; watching over them and caring well out of our own eagerness to serve. (see 1 Peter 5:2) May we seek the Lord to have the heart of a shepherd; humble, protective, and willing to go to great lengths to love and care for those who are placed in our reach.

 

Fiercely protective,

With hearts full of love;

We’re called to shepherd,

Like the Lord above.

Watch and extend care,

Throughout night and day;

Listen to God’s lead,

So none go astray.

For God chose the hearts,

Of the faithful ones;

In love, tending flocks,

To announce His Son.

He seeks the faithful,

To shepherd and keep;

All His beloved,

His people; His sheep.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose the faithful and protective ones to be the recipients of the great news of the arrival of Your Son. Thank You that You call each of us to faithfully love and protect those around us in much the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not been as vigilant as we ought to for those who we are called to care for and protect. Teach us to love and protect like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your comfort, protections, peace and presence known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, the Good Shepherd, to direct our steps as we seek to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve. – 1 Peter 5:2

Keeping the Covenant of Love

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

 

God is faithful and loving throughout the ages. Our charge is to love God and do the things He asks of us. He is trustworthy and true to His word, and shows His kindness from one generation to the next. May we be assured that God is the One true God, as He lavishes His unfailing love upon all those who love and obey Him.

 

The Lord is our God,

cropped-dsc043471775591435.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful and kind;

Full of lavish love,

All who seek, shall find.

For those who choose love,

And obedience;

Discover His grace,

That’s beyond immense.

Throughout the ages,

From one to the next;

Those who choose the Lord,

His love shall reflect.

Choose to trust the Lord,

Seek love and obey;

And know faithfulness,

That comes in to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You that as we choose love You and walk in obedience to that which You ask of us, we come to know and understand Your lavish love for us forevermore. Forgive us for the times that we veer astray and do not obey that which You are asking. Teach us to trust You more, and to know that Your way is always best, as You have the outcome in mind. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey, choosing to walk in Your wondrous ways. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

Love Lights the Way

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NLT)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

 

As always, it all boils down to love. If we are loving those around us according to God’s good and perfect will, we will be living in His light and will not lead others astray. True love, God’s love, points people in the right direction and helps others do good according to His will and His ways. For me, the more I am loved well, the more I am compelled to do the same. Love fuels love, and the overflow is light and life and the good that God intended all along. May we ever invest in our time with the Lord, who is love, so that we are filled and equipped to go forth and love those around us in His light.

 

Brothers and sisters;

dsc058193820928712157183979.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Let us choose to love,

For as we invest,

Good shall rise above.

If our choice is love,

For one and for all;

His light will be spread,

Answer to His call.

A love that is pure,

Will point all to good;

As we love like God,

Grace is understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and light into our darkness. Thank You that You call us to be the same to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love, as love leads to the good You intend. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love like You, allowing Your light to illuminate dark places and soften the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in Your love so that we may love others as You love us. Amen.

 

 

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

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

wp-15365818485874977245676892055719.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

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

Called to Forgiveness

Come on now, let’s walk and talk; let’s work this out. Your wrong doings are blood red, but they can turn as white as snow. Your sins are red like crimson, but they can be made clean again like new wool. – (Isaiah 1:18, VOICE)

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as snow.” – (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)

 

God is constantly calling us unto Himself. He woos us when we go astray, and wants to lead us in the way we are meant to go so that we can be restored to right relationship with Him. Our part is to receive what He is offering – His forgiveness, His love, His light and His life, so that we may live free from the weight of our sin and shame. It is not a free pass to bounce back and forth, but it is the grace to restore our place of right standing before God when we mess up or find ourselves in a space we never intended to go. God is good and loves us no matter where we are or what condition our hearts and lives are in. If we call on Him, He will listen to our every cry. May we ever seek the Lord and receive the forgiveness and grace that He offers as we choose to place our trust in Him.

 

Seek walk with the Lord, Hope in Discouragement

For there, you’ll find grace;

Forgiveness of sins,

A right standing place.

All that we’ve done wrong,

Is made white as snow;

When confessed to God,

In His grace, we grow.

Where sins are no more,

We’re suddenly free;

To walk in His way,

His plan clearly seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and confess our sin before You, You forgive us and wash us clean as if we have never sinned. Thank You for the overwhelming power of Your forgiveness and grace, as You make us new in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget how much forgiveness has been extended to us, and are not gracious or merciful to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for forgiveness and for the ability to forgive others. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your mercy and grace, so that they may come to know and understand the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and give the amazing grace that You give to us. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

If we spend our time seeking what is in the world, we will become like that which we seek. We are called to seek the Lord to transform and renew us, so that our hearts and minds will become more like His. As we choose to pursue Christ, we learn what is good and pleasing to Him, and discover His perfect will for our lives. The more we choose Christ, the greater He opens our understanding to that which He wants for us. May we keep our hearts from conforming to the patterns of the world, and whole heartedly pursue the path which God has prepared for us as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Don’t be led astray,Be Transformed 1

by things of the earth;

for God will transform,

grant us a new birth.

He renews our minds,

and shows us His way;

what is good to Him,

to not go astray.

His way is perfect,

and He wants for us;

to know His nearness,

by His love we’re blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You help keep us from conforming to the patterns of this world, as You transform us by the renewing of our minds. Thank You that You show us that which is Your good, pleasing and perfect will, as we choose to ask. Forgive us for not seeking or asking, or for allowing our hearts to get caught up in that which surrounds us, rather than You who is in us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in such a way that we could reach those stuck in the destructive patterns of the world without causing any feelings of condemnation or judgment – only Your love. May many come to know the truth of Your unfailing love. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to transform us by the renewing of our minds as we seek and trust You completely. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Discipline is Discipling

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV)

My son, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be angry when He corrects you.  The Lord corrects the one He loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, ERV)

The word discipline has always held a strange duality in my world.  On one hand, it held this connotation of being in trouble, and that is a very negative association for a people-pleaser; yet on the other hand, as an athlete, discipline  has simply meant adhering to the training and teaching prescribed by coaches who knew far more about my sports than I did.  In athletics, I never had a problem with a coach correcting me, as I knew it was for my benefit as an athlete, and would make me stronger, faster, or more efficient (depending on which sport they were coaching).

As I unpack the word this morning, discipline in this portion of Proverbs has the same connotation as my second example.  Discipline here, actually means to teach and to train.  God wants to teach us and train us in His ways, and He loves us enough to correct and redirect us when we go astray from the path on which He has placed us.  His Holy Spirit will whisper to our heart when we have said or done something that we ought not have done.  That unsettling feeling of regret or remorse is actually our invitation to repentance.  The Lord is so kind and gentle.  He patiently and lovingly waits for us to turn our eyes back to Him, and set our sights on that which matters most – who He is, and who He is calling us to become.  May we embrace the Lord’s discipline as His sons and daughters, understanding that it is because He delights in us, that He disciples us in love.

The Lord loves to teach,

and train those He loves;Compassion in Confrontations

He shows us the way,

to change, overcome.

Just as a parent,

shows a child the way;

to live life upright,

for all of their days.

Embrace the correction,

for He teaches those;

beloved children,

whom He calls His own.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your discipline is part of discipling, and You are teaching and training us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that love alone is Your motivation.  Forgive us for rejecting correction, or for being slow to respond.  Help us to quickly recognize Your voice, correction and direction in our lives, so that we can walk ever closer with You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace all of Your discipling, even when it involves rebuke or redirecting from where we thought we were meant to go.  Lead us to love others with the same generosity that You pour out upon us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we embrace the teaching and training that You extend to each of us, individually.  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