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

 

 

Seek to Receive

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV) 

 

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. Then we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV) 

So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

There are days that I seem to be more readily available to receive the grace that is desperately needed to navigate than others. I know there is nothing that we can or cannot do to be more or less worthy of receiving His grace and mercy, yet I think our intentionality to approach His throne directly affects the help that we receive; for when we seek, we find. If we do not ask, we are actually attempting to power through on our own. Lately, I have been intentional to pray over the day as I drop my boys off at school. I begin by asking for protection over them – body, heart and mind, and for them to be blessed and a blessing to and by those around them. From there, I begin lifting up my day – my students, my colleagues, lesson plans, classroom environment, and the like. Though I am uncertain as to whether or not there has been a change in students, I feel like there is a shift for me. Perhaps I am simply more aware of the grace I am being granted to get through each day. Whatever the shift, it matters. May we boldly approach Love’s throne for the grace and mercy we need; for He is faithful to meet us and provide the strength and grace to carry us through.

When mercy and grace, 

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Are needed the most; 

Go to the Lord’s throne, 

He’s a loving host. 

With kindness and grace, 

He hears our heart’s cry; 

His love lifts us up, 

He’s ever nearby. 

So, run to the Lord, 

Let Him know the need; 

His grace will cover, 

And His love shall lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace that welcomes us as we come to You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and meet us wherever we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, rather than seeking You for all that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your ongoing faithfulness forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach Your throne for the mercy and grace we need each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of 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 54:8

Boldly Come

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)

 

The second chapter of the book for my book study, Adventurous Prayer, began with the verse above. It is easy to forget that we are invited to come boldly – without hesitation or fear; courageously – to the very presence of God to gain His grace and mercy as we are in need. His invitation is extended, and His promise is eternal. Let us rise up in courage and approach the Lord with our every need, trusting that He is for us and ready to be our help and our hope.

 

May we boldly go,Believe Instead of Striving

To the throne of grace;

As hearts are in need,

Let us seek His face.

For as we choose seek,

We surely shall find;

the mercy and grace,

Of our Lord, Divine.

So ask without fear,

Have courage to pray;

Our God is gracious,

His love lights the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to come boldly before You. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, and that You are our help in times of need. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting in our troubles, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to know how near You are, so that we would come boldly before You, no matter what we are facing. Show us how to love in a way that extends Your mercy and grace to all those around us, so that they too might see Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before You, trusting in Your grace and mercy in our times of need. 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

Embracing the New

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

Whether we have been rooted in Christ for many years, or it is relatively new, life takes us through seasons. Inevitably, there will always come a season where we must struggle through something – be it a trial, a loss, a refining process, or simply a season of something new that creates challenge as we attempt to adapt and navigate as we have been called. Sometimes in the seasons of struggle, we must be reminded that we are no longer who we’ve been, and that He is leading us into something new that is ultimately for our good. May we embrace the truth that we are a new creation in Christ, and trust Him to provide new life in every area where light is difficult to find.

 

In that broken space,Being Made New

where light seems but lost;

help our hearts to trust,

no matter the cost.

Despite what we see,

Your presence is real;

move on our behalf,

in You, hearts shall heal.

Let us each reach out,

in our brokenness;

allowing Your grace,

move in tenderness.

Thank You that this space,

is not where we’ll be;

for we have the hope,

of eternity.

No matter what’s now,

better‘s yet to come;

for Christ shall make new,

brand new day begun.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You that the old sinful and broken self has been washed away, and we are being made new and whole in You. Thank You that despite the seasons that we walk through, You are present, and You use each one to lead us deeper in our walk with You. Forgive us for reverting to that fearful space in seasons that don’t make sense. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk boldly in You, trusting that You will lead us each step of the way – no matter what comes. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too might see the hope found in our new life in You. May many choose to invest their lives in relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the old and embrace the new that You are calling us into. Amen.

A song that really hits home for me regarding this process of embracing the new after walking through an extraordinary difficult season is, Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey. (click highlighted text to listen.)

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Strength and Peace

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace. – (Psalm 29:11, VOICE)

 

When I read a passage of scripture, I often opt to read multiple translations of the text. Often, I find new insight or perhaps a perspective that I had not seen before, as His word further comes to life through time invested. This morning is no exception. What I love about the above verse and the three different translations, is that the truth that is being expressed is the same, yet how it is conveyed seems to take on a variation in purpose. All three are clear in that God gives both strength and peace to those who are His. How that message is expressed, seems to have three different purposes in the three different translations.

The first, “The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” (NIV) is a solid statement of faith. God is, and He does. The second, “May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace.(ERV) feels more like a blessing or a benediction. Lastly, the final translation, “We ask You, Eternal One, to give strength to Your people; Eternal One, bless them with the gift of peace.” (VOICE) very much is presented as a prayer. The words are full of encouragement, whether as a statement, blessing or prayer. God is indeed our source of strength and peace, and He blesses us with both when we seek Him. May we lift our eyes to the Lord and trust in His unfailing love, allowing His strength and peace to be poured out upon us as we go forth.

 

The Lord is our strength,Who Wants to Fight

our blessing of peace;

when all is awry,

He is our release.

Always He’s faithful,

our hope is assured;

our lives in His hands,

where future’s secured.

Let His peace come reign,

as He makes us strong;

let our very lives,

sing out His love song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and You bless us with peace. Thank You that when we belong to You, we can come to You in prayer, we can boldly state the truth, and we can speak Your words over others too. Forgive us for not seeking or resisting what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source of strength and peace, and the place where we find rest and restoration within our hearts and minds. Show us how to live and love so that we may offer strength and peace to people who do not yet know You. May many be drawn into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the blessings of Your strength and peace that You pour out upon us. Amen.

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

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

Come Boldly

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find the grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

 

Today is certainly a day to come boldly before His throne. This is the last school day before we begin spring break, and the weather is again, expected to exceed seventy degrees. The level of crazy among middle schoolers is at an all-time high, and the amount of mercy and grace needed by this weary teacher, is tangible. It has been the longest week that I have had in a very long time, as our gymnastics season just came to an end, and there has been something every evening this week. All of the busy has been good, just a bit exhausting. His grace has covered me in extraordinary ways already, as I have been migraine-free this week, despite a serious lack of sleep. This, in and of itself, is a remarkable gift of grace. Kids are weary as well. Some are eager for the plans that their families have made in the coming week, yet others, are anxious at the uncertainty of where they will be obtaining meals, concerned about how they will be treated, or overwhelmed by the weight of responsibilities that they will be expected to bear. The kindness, mercy and grace that He gives, is the very same gift that needs to be passed on to these kids in their spaces of uncertainty. May we each seek the Lord and His mercy and grace, and then go forth and extend the same to all others who share our space.

 

Let us boldly come,Come Boldly

to His throne of grace;

where mercy’s received,

as we seek His face.

The grace that He gives,

is more than enough;

our help in our need,

strength when times are tough.

And as we depend,

on our great High Priest;

we too offer grace,

as agents of peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of Your Son, we can boldly approach Your throne and receive mercy and grace when we need it most. Thank You that You give us what we need, and are our help and our strength. Forgive us for attempting to power through things on our own, or for not trusting You to be enough to see us through our space of need. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to rely on You to be our strength and supply, so that we too, may go forth and extend Your grace and mercy to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and honor You in our seeking and extending of the truth. 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

Come Boldly

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

 

It is easy for me to get so busy in the routine of my day, that I don’t realize how desperately I am in need of His grace. Often, He has already given it, which is why I am still standing, yet when I take pause and set my sight on Him, I recognize how much I need His grace, mercy and ongoing presence in order to navigate an ordinary day in His way. God is always available. He never leaves; He patiently waits for us to come. Our charge is to seek Him, as God is gracious and full of mercy. His arms are wide open and He is ready to grant us what is needed to faithfully honor Him in all that we do. May we boldly approach the throne of God, ready to receive His mercy and grace, as He loves us through the trials and triumphs of all of our days.

 

With boldness, let’s seek,

the throne of our God;Gentleness for the Weary

for that’s where our hearts,

hear heaven’s applaud.

All thanks for mercy,

gratitude for grace;

that He freely gives,

when we seek His face.

Whatever our need,

He comes where we are;

He holds hands and hearts,

collects tears in jars.

Our great gracious God,

gives hope in our need;

He helps and He loves,

our hungry soul feeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne. Thank You that as we do, You grant us Your grace and mercy to help us when we need it most. Forgive us for trying to navigate our trials on our own, rather than seeking You and Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would boldly and with unwavering faith, come to You with our trials and triumphs, thankful that You are with us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way, so that they may find mercy, grace and hope through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before You in all things and at all times, trusting You to be our help and our hope. 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

Away with Anxiety’s Hold

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7)

 

To give all of our worry, distress and uneasiness of mind to Christ, is easier said than done. It has a way of sneaking into the sinews of our soul, and creating claws, that grab hold and grip tightly so that we find ourselves tense without even realizing why. In Philippians 4:6, we are instructed as to how to cast our cares on Christ, so that we can actually allow Him to care for us. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. In other words, when worry or uneasiness come, pray – tell God about it. We are not meant to carry the burden by ourselves, but rather we are to make our request known before He who is abundantly able to carry the load that we cannot. Yesterday, in my Pastor’s Intensive class, we were covering some deep and difficult material. One of our instructors had a great bit of advice. She said that when we come to a crossroads where we want an answer to be black and white, but there clearly isn’t one for us to find, we are to hit our knees and worship. God is so much greater than our struggles, that our dependence on Him is what matters most. He cares for us and will meet us in our space of need; however, we must choose to trust.

 

To cast far away,

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ishareimage.com

anxiety’s hold;

place in the Lord’s hand,

whatever unfolds.

For He’s much greater,

than all that may come;

and He cares for us,

as shown through His Son.

Through all of our days,

with much thanksgiving;

present unto God,

the hope lacking things.

Wherever there’s lack,

our God can come fill;

for He’s so much more,

than trials or ills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast all of our anxiety on You, because You care for us, and You do not want us to stay stuck in that space. Thank You that we can come to You, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and present our requests before You. Thank You that You meet us in that space with Your peace and Your comfort and Your care. Forgive us for allowing fear and anxiousness to reign in silence, rather than calling on You out loud, and allowing You into the darkness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will remember that where Your light shines, darkness cannot be found. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know the peace and presence that are found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we cast all of our anxiety on You, and move forward boldly in all that You have called us to become. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6