Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Resolve to Love

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, VOICE)

 

In Paul’s first letter to the church of Thessalonica, he admonished them to love one another, and let them know that love for one another and for people everywhere, would be his priority in prayer for all. The very same encouragement and lasting love that Paul had for the body of Christ, ought to be our example that leads us to allow love to direct our steps and choose to pray and lift up one another. A resolution to love, results in God’s love being made known. May we pray and encourage and love one another, just as the Lord loves each one of us.

 

Let love and His grace, The Mirror of the Heart

Lead us each along;

For the Lord is good,

His grace makes us strong.

Strong in the spaces,

Where love can be tough;

Hope in the places,

Where we aren’t enough.

Only by His grace,

Will love in us grow;

So, ever seek Him,

That His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us with an unending love that You plant deep within us so that we too, may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to love. Show us how to choose to love all people at all times, even when it is the last thing we desire to do. Direct our steps so that those around us may know the greatness of Your grace and the endless depth of Your lasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love as we are loved by You, and pray for others to be equipped to do the same. Amen.

 

 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Each One a Part

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)

All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, ERV)

Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TLB)

You are the body of the Anointed One, and each one of you is a unique and vital part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)

 

In this busy season, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that each of us have a purpose for which we were uniquely designed. As we walk out our days doing the things which we are called and created to do, we are being part of the bigger body of Christ, that would not function as it were meant to if we did not do our part. Though our part may seem insignificant, it is vital to the big picture. Just as a person becomes acutely aware of the absence of the use of a finger due to an injury (though a seemingly small part of the body), we too are noticed if we are not present or able to function as we were designed, regardless of the size of the body to which we belong. May we each remember that we are part of the body of Christ, uniquely designed with a purpose and a place that is needed to help the body function as it is intended.

 

The body of Christ, Love Made Known

Is both vast and wide;

Each person crafted,

With purpose inside.

We’re called to go forth,

And live out our days;

Living our purpose,

As this brings God praise.

And as we do this,

We become as one;

The body of Christ,

Familial union.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and create us to be part of Your body. Thank You that You do not expect us to navigate this life on our own, but rather You surround us by people who have different strengths and giftings so that we can be stronger together in You. Thank You that we are designed to do life together. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do things on our own, or that we do not have anything to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our best self to all that we do, and trust that who You have created us to be is exactly the part of the body that we are meant to bring each day to the community where we are planted. Show us how to love well the people who surround us. Help us to encourage and build up the body as You build up and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part for which we have each been uniquely created and called. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Wisdom for Life

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. – (Proverbs 19:20, NLT)

 

Wisdom comes through seeking to understand. Our first and foremost One to go to when we are in need of answers, is God. However, we are also called to be invested in the body of Christ. When we are surrounded by those who honor and serve Him well, we find people who are trustworthy to ask advice, and from whom to invite instruction, as they have the wisdom of experience to share with those who want to hear. May we each choose to be lifelong learners, ever pursuing God’s best for us, so that we may walk in wisdom all the days of our life.

 

Choose to seek advice,mother and child

Instruction from those;

Who have a strong faith,

And wisdom to know.

Of course pursue God,

For all that we seek;

Give ear to the ones,

Who through Christ, choose speak.

To be wise for life,

May we never rest;

As we pursue God,

To know what is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You and ask You whatever we need for wisdom and instruction. Thank You too, that when we need a tangible sounding board, You provide people around us who are able to instruct and advise according to Your will. Forgive us for not seeking advice or instruction. Teach us to trust You and those You hand-picked and placed in purposeful positions in our lives for advice and instruction. Show us how to love those around us according to Your wisdom and grace. May many choose to receive Your salvation today. Be glorified O God, as we seek advice and instruction as a part of our ongoing practice, so that we might be wise for the rest of our lives. Amen.

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

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

Agreeing to Abide

In Paul’s final warnings to the Corinthians at the close of his second letter, he encourages them with the following: Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

 

With these words, Paul was not encouraging the church to ignore nor agree with sin. In fact, he had in just a few verses prior, given specific instructions for how to deal with intentional sin that was continuing among the body of Christ. Once the air has been cleared, and repentance has been sought, each ought to seek to live right with one another, agreeing to abide by the Lord’s standards, which lead to peace. As we adhere to what God has set in place, His love and peace are present, and the joy of the Lord is our strength. May we seek to serve the Lord with our whole heart, and follow Him all of our days. Let His love and peace be present, as He guides us in all of His ways.

 

Let’s keep short accounts,Rest in the Rock

with those in the Lord;

filled with God’s great grace,

and love He affords.

Seek to make things right,

repent when we’re wrong;

forgive those who ask,

His grace makes us strong.

In things of the Lord,

set hearts to agree;

allow the Lord’s peace,

to guide and to lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone fill our hearts with joy, regardless of our circumstance. Thank You that You call us to make things right before You with one another, and lead us to keep short accounts before You and others. Thank You that as we do, Your peace and love is present with us. Forgive us for not seeking peace in spaces of turmoil, and help us to trust You more, so that we will know what we are meant to do, and what we are to wait and allow You to do. Lead 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 keep short accounts with one another, agreeing with each other in the things of You, as we walk forward in Your love and perfect peace. Amen.

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

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

Creating Bonds in the Body

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. 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

To Be the Body

 

Together, we are the body of Christ. Not one of us, on our own, possesses all that is needed to effectively do all that the Lord longs to do through His people. However, when we are united in purpose, collectively, the combination of gifts and grace that have been granted by God, are all that we need to effectively accomplish that which He calls us to do. (see I Corinthians 12:12-24)

 

We are not meant to devalue either our own gifts, nor those of another; nor are we meant to exalt that which has been given to us by God. Instead, He calls us to utilize that which He has given, for His glory – united in purpose. Also, we are meant to be aware of those around us. If one is suffering, we ought to sit beside them, and if another is honored, we are to rejoice with them. (see I Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – (I Corinthians 12:27)

 

May we seek to serve,To Be the Body

with all of our hearts;

utilize the gifts,

that the Lord imparts.

Together as one,

the body of Christ;

each filling our role,

willing sacrifice.

See every gift,

as one from the Lord;

no room for envy,

nor pride to afford.

If someone suffers,

come close and be near;

if one is honored,

stand with them to cheer.

We are His body,

we each play a part;

all of us needed,

hands, feet, mouth and heart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You made each of us unique, with different gifts and talents to use for Your glory. Thank You that despite our differences, we can come together and be united in purpose for You. Thank You that unity does not mean duplicate drones, but rather a beautiful varied collection that can come together to seek and serve You. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have enough to offer, or for thinking that someone around us has something better. Help us to recognize that each gift is a blessing from You, meant to build up the body. May we celebrate the gifts You give, and come along side those who are suffering. Grant us wisdom and grace to best know how to love as You love us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be honored through our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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

 

Fellowship Fuels the Faithful

Fellowship Fuels the FaithfulThough mine eyes have seen Him not,

I know His word to be true.

His heart for us shines through it,

and shows us what we’re to do.

For fellowship is needed,

with the Father and the Son;

we’re equipped by His Spirit,

to come together as one.

Each one is of the body,

together we are complete;

to honor and serve the Lord,

share His love with all in need.

As we obey and go forth,

take His truth to all the world;

our joy shall become complete,

for menacing grip’s unfurled.

All of heaven does rejoice,

when hearts commit to the Lord;

may the body grow as one,

united in one accord.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” – (1 John 1:3-4)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have seen You not, we clearly see evidence of You all around us. Thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, so that we might come to know You through His life, death and resurrection. Thank You Jesus, for coming to make the way for us to find fellowship with You and our Father. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit so that we may be fueled to be in fellowship with You and with fellow followers. Forgive us Father, for not fully investing in our relationships – both with You and with members of the body. Show us how we are meant to function in our own roles in the body, so that many may come to know You, and our joy may be complete. Grow our faith God. Lead us and equip us to follow well, so that we are ever ready to love others with Your love, and may we lead looking hearts to You. All glory and honor unto You. Amen.

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

United in Purpose

image by Tim Dumas

image by Tim Dumas

When we’re united,

in purpose in Christ;

Spirit fellowship,

He in us, will rise.

Comfort in His love,

sweet with compassion;

setting self aside,

serving with passion.

Joy is made complete,

when we work as one;

give for His purpose,

not selfishly done.

Consider others,

offer helping hand;

look not for reward,

hope for fellow man.

Look to the model,

Jesus gave to us;

let His Spirit lead,

all one in purpose.

(Responding to Philippians 2:1-5)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans and purposes for us are not as islands, but as part of a body, united in purpose – so that we might strengthen and encourage one another as we seek and serve You with all that we are.  Forgive us for the areas of need that we have neglected, and help us to hear and obey You well.  Unite us as one in purpose in Your power, so that many may come to know the compassion and care that comes closer still, when we have a personal relationship with You, the Redeemer of our soul.  Unite us in Your purpose, I pray.  Amen.

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

Unity in the Body

image by pscuga.org

image by pscuga.org

Be patient and gentle,

live in humility;

bear each other in love,

to walk in unity.

We are but one body,

in Spirit, united;

all called to the same hope,

the day we decided.

There is only one God,

Who is Father of all;

Creator, Redeemer;

protective Fortress wall.

So make every effort,

be united in peace;

may His grace be poured out,

and His blessings increase.

(Responding to Ephesians 4:1-6)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to take on trials nor triumphs on our own, but You created us for community; meant to be invested in a body of believers so that we might mutually encourage each other in You.  Thank You that You give direction in Your word, and lead us by Your Spirit.  Forgive us for the times that we neglect a known need, and help us to see one another with Your eyes so that we may grow in patience and gentleness, and live in humility, bearing one another in love.  May our peace and unity among the body of believers draw those who know You not, into a safe sanctuary where they can come to know the peace of Your presence and the hope that is held in You alone.  Amen.

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