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,

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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

Keep Me Close

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

I find myself in a season where so many facets of my life are new and unknown. As I tread into territory that I have never traversed before, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the certainty and security that I know in Christ. Much of the new that lies before me is exciting and holds great promise, yet without God, I would be in a constant state of overload in my own uncertainty as to how I need to navigate each next step as it arrives. In Christ, I can rest assured that He goes before me, remains with me, and will hold me up through each next step of this journey that is unfolding in front of me. My soul will ever cling to Christ, as He is where my hope and strength is found. May we ever stay close to the Lord, as He will uphold us with His mighty hand.

 

My soul clings to You, Healed Hands Reach Out

O Lord God above;

As You take my hand,

Uphold me in love.

As I cling to You,

My strength is assured;

For Your strong right hand,

Holds me up secure.

O Lord, in all things,

Keep me close to You;

No matter what comes,

Your grace sees me through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that no matter how uncertain things seem all around us, our hope in You is secure forever. Forgive us for allowing what we see before us to give fear or anxiety a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You in faith, knowing that You will hold us secure, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and builds others up, especially in the spaces where they feel the most uncertain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and praise You for holding us secure with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

Words and Thoughts Matter

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

Our words and thoughts matter to God. The things that come out of our mouths provide evidence of that which lies within our hearts. There are days that feel better than others in this arena. It is a choice to either allow our circumstances to dictate how we respond, or rather, we choose to react in a spirit of love, regardless of what we are given. God is gracious and kind, and He will guard our hearts and make us new, even in the way in which we respond with words, if we are willing to allow Him access. May we ever seek the Lord and meditate on His word, so that our words and thoughts may be pleasing before God.

 

 

May all that I say, Words and Thoughts Matter

And each thought I hold;

Be pleasing to God,

As His love is shown.

For I long to please,

My God, who’s my Rock;

Not just with thinking,

But also with talk.

Let what’s in my heart,

Reflect Your love true;

As You grant Your grace,

Ever make me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that when we choose to fix our minds and hearts on You and Your word, that which comes out of us is a clearer reflection of You and Your love. Forgive us for not investing our hearts and minds in the things of You, or for ignoring Your still small voice that reminds us to silence the thoughts and words that enter in that are not pleasing in Your sight. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would set our hearts and minds on that which builds others up, regardless of what comes our way. Show us how to love others well, so that Your love may be evident in our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our minds and hearts on You, so that our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Encouraged and Granted Strength

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

The moment I called out, You stepped in; You made my life large with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, MSG)

 

Here I sit, yet again, in awe of how the Lord provides His strength when we need it most. Sometimes, the call for help is as simple as a mere thought, and He provides people to rally around us, encourage us, and point us back to the strength we have in Him, simply by being present. I have had multiple occasions in the last few days, where I found myself in overload mode. Between extenuating circumstances beyond my control, commitments to multiple activities in several different directions, and a serious case of sleep deprivation, I was sinking and calling out for help, and He stepped in and armed me with strength. Rest and encouragement led to renewal, and the strength that was needed, was amply supplied. God is good all the time, even when things are not. May we ever pray to Him for what we need, as He encourages us and supplies us with His strength.

 

As soon as I pray,IMG_2415

The Lord hears my cry;

He’s quick to answer,

As I choose abide.

I am encouraged,

granted what I need;

In strength to rise up,

To go where He leads.

Each time I struggle,

Feel I can’t go on;

I call on the Lord,

His grace makes me strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pray to You, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us and give us strength. Thank You that You place us in community that supports and builds us up, as we move forward in faith as You call. Forgive us for fearing our own frailty, as we forget that where we are weakest is the place where You are given the greatest opportunity to demonstrate Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pray to You and seek Your strength in all things and at all times. Show us how to encourage and build up those that You have placed in our lives for such a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You for help, and trust You to answer and provide Your strength. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Trust in His Timing

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

 

God is faithful to meet us when we pray, however, His answers do not always look the way that we hope they might. Sometimes, the Lord answers only with encouragement and strength to keep pressing on for another day, and then the next morning, will do the same again. We are a fast food, instant-gratification society, so waiting for answers from the Lord is difficult. Answers sought online can be “googled” and discovered in mere moments, but those presented before the Lord can take days, weeks, months or even years. His answers come in a gentle whisper, not in a bright pop-up screen. Our hearts must be intently focused on hearing His, or we may miss what He has been speaking all along. Beyond the hearing, often there is an additional step required of us – the actual doing. I cannot think of a single example of my own asking something of the Lord that did not require some sort of step of faith on my part as well. May we pray in faith, trusting that He hears and answers, ready to act in obedience as He encourages us and gives us His strength.

 

Let’s pray to the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

In faith, may we seek;

The Lord for answers,

His love is complete.

The Lord is faithful,

And goes to great length;

He hears our heart’s cry,

Builds up and grants strength.

It may take some time,

To hear the Lord’s heart;

To see the answers,

We’ve sought from the start.

Be patient in prayer,

And trust in His time;

The Lord’s always good,

With the best in mind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and that You answer us. Thank You that though You don’t answer in our timeframe, You encourage us and give us strength as we wait. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and we can ALWAYS trust that You have the very best for us in mind. Forgive us for our lack of patience and persistence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait patiently on You for the answers we seek, and trust You and Your perfect timing in all things. Show us what steps we are meant to take to walk forward toward the answers You have for us. Lead us to love those around us in a way that helps them see Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust Your timing for answers. Amen.

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

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

All We Need is Love

In Chapter eight, of I Corinthians, Paul is addressing the concerns brought before him regarding whether or not people should eat certain things.  This particular passage is pointing to food that has been sacrificed to idols, yet it can be applied to numerous things within our Christian walk that may be permissible for some, yet a stumbling block for others.

Paul’s response was: “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.” – (I Corinthians 8:1-3) The Message words it this way: “The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not?  We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions – but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows all.”

It appears that in these areas of gray, where God has not given specific instructions across the board for all people, it is not a matter of worldly wisdom, but rather of wisdom provided by God, as we seek Him for answers.  He will direct our steps and lead us in what is and is not permissible for us individually, and will heed warning if our freedom in an area may be a stumbling block around another believer.  Our job is to love God and love people.  If we are loving God with all that we are, we will listen to Him, and will seek to safeguard the hearts of those around us, even if it means not participating or partaking in something for a time, to encourage those whom it may hinder.

Knowledge puffs up,Dew and Dandilion

pride leads to a fall;

yet love, builds up,

it overcomes all.

Those who seek God,

find wisdom and grace;

and learn to give,

the Lord proper place.

Answers will come,

if love is our goal;

to reflect Christ,

and actions extol.

Let not freedom,

be what matters most;

but rather, love,

to the Lord, draw close.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true wisdom comes from You.  Thank You that though many things are permissible, not all things are beneficial.  Thank You that You provide guidance to help us know the difference, if we are willing to seek You.  Thank You that Your love made way for us to enter into a personal relationship with You.  Forgive us for our foolish pride, and help us to seek all wisdom from You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we are ever aware of what Your Spirit is whispering to our heart.  May we love with all that we are, and may many lives be touched as a result.  Let hearts be transformed and families filled with faith in You.  Be glorified through all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, … and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15