Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Bear Good Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard- things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. – (Galatians 5:22-23, MSG)

 

Social media has been a valuable tool for me to stay connected with friends all over the world. I delight in sharing bits of life with those who are too far away to see in person. Sadly, there are those who use it to lash out in anger at anyone who does not share the same opinion on current “hot topics”. When words are exchanged in anger, without seeking the Spirit to be in the center, greater divisions grow between those who formerly considered one another friends. My hope is to be a purveyor of peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, rather than a wrecking ball. May we ever seek the Lord and the fruit that His Spirit within us produces, instead of allowing said fruit to drop off and rot away.

 

God is our compass, To Bear Good Fruit

His love points the way;

To love as He loves,

Let Him in to stay.

Through Him we bear fruit,

That blesses with peace;

Choose give love away,

With reckless release.

Freely and boldly,

Give peace, love and joy;

Patience and kindness,

Gentleness employ.

Let’s choose self-control,

Not seek to be right;

There’s not a winner,

When we aren’t polite.

Let’s seek to listen,

Choose peace and be kind;

More is accomplished,

When hearts are aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grow in us that which is meant to be shared with others. Thank You that the fruit You plant is good. Forgive us for allowing that which has been planted within us to rot and waste away rather than be used to nourish the people whom You place all around us. Teach us how to operate in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us so that Your fruit may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love in a way that bears Your fruit. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

 

Internal Investments Exceed External

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30)

 

How we present ourselves, may or may not be the whole picture. We deceive even ourselves, if we do not look at our lives through the lens of Christ. The external, what is seen, grows weary and worn; yet in Christ, our minds and spirits may be refreshed and renewed, day by day. A woman who recognizes who the Lord is, and invites Him to be seated in His proper position in her life, operates as He is calling her to live. As we choose to allow Christ to reign in our lives, His gifts flow through us, and we bear fruit, as others too, may come to see and know who He is, and what He has done for us all. May we rise up in reverence for the Risen Lord, and invite Him to rule and reign in our every word and deed.

 

Be not deceived,Internal Investments Exceed External

by beauty nor charm;

false illusions,

that unchecked, bring harm.

Beauty, it fades,

and charm is deceit;

fearing the Lord,

is wise, praiseworthy.

Christ is our rock,

on Whom we must stand;

all other things,

are just sinking sand.

Rise up in faith,

in our Holy Lord;

all unto Him,

our shield and our sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though external things are fleeting, that which we invest in You, lasts forever. Thank You that as we grow in our understanding of who You are and how much You love us, You are pleased with our pursuit, and use us to turn and bless others. Forgive us for allowing the external voices to deceive our hearts into believing anything that would tie our value to what is seen on the outside, rather than what You are doing and have already done on the inside. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make our priority the pursuit of You. Help us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we see through deceit and beyond packaging, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love, as we walk in reverence of who You are and the splendor of all whom You have created. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Seek to Sow

He replied, “… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – (Matthew 17:20-21)

 

Jesus was responding to the disciples’ questions as to why they could not heal a boy who had been suffering from seizures caused by demon possession. They were not being condemned for their lack of faith, but rather He was showing them how essential faith would be in all that they would be called to do in the future. The seeming mountains that stand in our way cannot be moved in our own strength. However, in Christ, the mountains are mere molehills, and He can accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to allow Him room to be Lord. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and allow Him access to our whole heart so that our small seeds of faith may flourish and grow great in Him.

 

Let not our eyes,Seek to Sow

fix on our trial;

look to the Lord,

all hope to beguile.

The smallest seed,

can grow, multiply;

tended by Christ,

bear fruit, fortify.

All things can be,

established in Christ;

mountains made plain,

needs become sufficed.

He is enough,

for our hearts to trust;

small seeds of faith,

He’ll grow and raise up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to do things in our own strength, nor do You call us to somehow muster mountains of faith on our own. Thank You that You take our small seeds of genuine faith, and You grow them in Your grace. Thank You that You move in spite of us, and that all things are possible in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the mountains, rather than on You, the Maker of mountains. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might see all things as opportunities for You to move, rather than road blocks in our path. May we live and love in the faith You are growing in us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You alone. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to sow the seeds that You are growing in us. Amen.

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

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

Alive in Him

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive. – (Luke 20:38)

 

There is much hope that is held in this word, as it is a reminder that all who have gone before us who had invested their hearts and lives in the Lord, have not died a spiritual death, but rather they are alive in Christ, living with Him for all of eternity. This brings much comfort, as I find myself caught in glimpses of grief over the loss of my dear friend, Anne. Though she passed a little over a year ago, the end of her life was a battle, and I had the rare privilege of walking beside her for much of it. Over the weekend, I encountered a few situations that hit too close to home, and triggered a heaviness I was not aware I was carrying. Mere moments passed over the last few days, where I would feel a sudden flash of sadness. When I spoke with a friend yesterday, it was only then that I realized what had been tugging at my heart. One particular situation that I chose to walk in, mirrored a portion of the road I walked with Anne. It is no wonder that a bit of sorrow seeped in. Fortunately, sorrow and sadness need not stay long, as Anne was firmly rooted and established in Christ. She is very much alive in Him. I have the blessed assurance that she is Home, and that I will one day join her on the streets of gold. May we each hold fast to the gift of God, that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All are alive,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

who invest in God;

let Christ come rule,

and our praise applaud.

In Him, is life,

after earthly death;

His peace pours out,

as we draw each breath.

Hope for today,

promise for always;

life abundant,

for all of our days.

Be rooted well,

in the Holy Vine;

to bear fruit now,

and embrace Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not the God of the dead, but of the living. Thank You that in You, all are alive. Thank You that our earthly death is not the end, but only the beginning of the fullness of life that You have for us. Thank You that those who have gone before us who loved and invested their hearts in You, are secure in the safety of Your presence forever. Forgive us for our lack of vision for the future, and help us to hold fast to our eternity, as our time on earth is but the blink of an eye in comparison. Help us to make our time here matter, as we love others by loving like You love us. May many come to know the hope of eternal life in You, as we live as You call us to live. Be glorified, O God, as we live out the life You have gifted us. 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

Abide

Abide. What a beautiful, yet at times, elusive word. To remain, continue, stay, or even await, in the context of Christ, is the place my heart hides best. A dear friend has found herself in a space where her only instruction from the Lord is to simply, ABIDE. Since first hearing, I often think about how I am meant to abide as well. My discovery, is that to abide is a daily decision to walk with Him – in His grace, His love and His peace. It does not necessarily come naturally, but rather is rooted in choice after choice after choice.

 

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vines, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. – (John 15:4, NKJV)

 

For anything good to come out of us, we must be firmly rooted and established in Christ. May our lives be so intertwined with His, that we cannot help but bear good fruit that lasts. All glory and honor to Him, now and forevermore.

 

Come all you weary,

for He’ll grant us rest;Darkness into Light

come all you broken,

He’ll repair our mess.

As we choose to come,

be still and abide;

allow Him access,

to darkness we hide.

For His light’s greater,

than our dark despair;

healing and wholeness,

He grants us, right there.

Throw out what hinders,

with hearts open wide;

He’s faithful always,

as we choose abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we abide in You, You abide in us too. Thank You that You are faithful always, and that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that as we abide in You, You grow us and strengthen us, so that we may be utilized to touch lives on Your behalf. Thank You that You take us as we are, and turn our past struggles into stories of Your faithfulness to share. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we face the fire, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your strength to endure. May we live and love in Your strength as we opt to abide in You, and may many lives be changed as they come to know the truth. Be glorified, O God, as we abide. 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

No More Darkness

For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9)

 

Because we are in Christ, our actions ought to reflect our faith. Morally, we are meant to magnify our Maker with our every move. All that we say and do, is either shining His light into darkness, or casting a shadow where light needs to shine. We are called to live as light. May we operate in such a way that His goodness, righteousness and truth are made evident through every move we make.

 

Though once steeped in sin,No More Darkness

living in the dark;

we now know the truth,

flame grew from a spark.

Called to be children,

that live as His light;

to shine in darkness,

show His path that’s right.

Gone are the shadows,

that chained us to sin;

where light is shining,

darkness cannot win.

In goodness go forth,

both righteous and true;

shine on for the Lord

let our lives bear fruit.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rescued us from the darkness that surrounded us in our brokenness, and filled us with Your light. Thank You that You call and equip us to be Your children, who You allow to share Your light with the world. Forgive us for not consistently expressing goodness, righteousness and truth in all that we do, and help us to do just that, in all things and at all times. Let our lives be lived as light unto You. May many come to know salvation in You, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified, O God, as we live as Your children of light. 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

 

 

To Bear Fruit

Early in the morning, as He was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. – (Matthew 21:18-19)

 

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree? He, who was without sin, would not simply act out in anger. Instead, Jesus was showing an illustration to His disciples as to how He viewed religion without substance. Though the fig tree had looked good from a distance, upon closer inspection, it was found to bear no fruit. Similarly, if our lives appear to be aligned just so at first glance, yet have no genuine investment in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot simply settle. How is our heart behind what we do? Are we seeking to serve out of faith, as an act of worship; or are we trying to jump through hoops to be enough? “If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s kingdom.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

Let our lives speak,To Bear Fruit

may we each be found;

bearing good fruit,

with a faith that’s sound.

Our hearts ready,

to seek and to serve;

to give God’s grace,

when it’s undeserved.

May love be shown,

to the lonely, lost;

joy to lowly,

Christ covered the cost.

Peace to chaos,

kindness to the gruff;

goodness to worn,

He’s faithful enough.

Be gentle still,

when violence erupts;

use self-control,

let Christ lift us up.

It’s by our love,

that others might know;

that God is good,

so let His light show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are much more interested in our hearts, than how things appear. Thank You that You want all of us, not just our time or our sense of duty. Thank You that as we whole-heartedly bring You our lives, You cultivate good fruit that helps nourish others. Forgive us for not exposing every branch and root, and help us to allow You to trim away, anything that prevents good fruit from growing in our lives. May we bear fruit that lasts, and may hearts turn toward You as we seek to serve You with our whole heart. Be glorified as we go forth in genuine faith. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

 

Friends of Our Father

illustration by S. Moreno

illustration by S. Moreno

No longer called servants,

instead, we’re called His friends.

He grants to us knowledge,

of how our story ends.

Yes, we have been chosen,

appointed by the Lord;

to go and bear good fruit,

function in one accord.

The Father will give us,

what we ask in His Name;

not for our own power,

but for His righteous reign.

The thing He commands us,

is to love each other;

treat fellow believers,

as sisters and brothers.

By His grace, may it be,

that we’re known for our love;

so the lost may be found,

as our hearts fix above.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name. This is my command: Love each other.” – (John 15:15-17)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You no longer see us as servants, but rather You call us friends. Thank You that You reveal Yourself to us when we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we try to find solutions to our struggles on our own, and help us to always seek You first. Teach us to not only seek You, but to listen and obey whatever it is that You ask. Above all, help us to love one another as You love us. May many come to know You as a result of our obedience. Amen.

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

Cherished in Beauty and Strength

Cherished by Amy Tyler

Cherished by Amy Tyler

Three things I desire,

from the Lord I must seek;

from anywhere else,

the outcome is bleak.

To be a beauty,

from the inside out;

drawing others near,

with heart that’s devout.

Peace, patience and love,

kindness, goodness too;

self-control and joy;

the spiritual fruit.

Next, to be cherished,

to be held so dear;

only our Savior,

forever is near.

For He holds our heart,

and knows us so well;

the hairs on our head,

the dreams we don’t tell…

Strength is another,

that must come from Him;

for when it’s our own,

it will soon grow dim.

Yet His strength endures,

the mightiest storms;

He will empower,

show us His true form.

(Scriptures referenced include: Galatians 5:22-23, Psalm 139:13-16, Psalm 28:8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for wonderful reminders of what matters.  Thank You that You cherish each of us as Your children, and have created us with the capacity to bear the sort of beauty that draws others unto You – that which comes form the inside and produces fruit that lasts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  May we be people who embrace spiritual beauty, rather than that which is fleeting.  Thank You for Your Spirit, who grants us the strength to bear good fruit and to endure every challenge that comes our way.  Forgive us for making comparisons and for our doubts, and please equip us with Your strength that sustains forever.  May we bear fruit that leads those who are looking, into Your loving arms, so they too may come to know the treasure they are to You.  Amen.

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