In Strength, Choose Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

This is something that we are all called to live out, in every area of our lives. It is both rare and wonderful, when there are public figures who live by this principle in a way that is seen, heard and known. Last night, my husband and I went to a concert that featured my favorite band, Skillet. Their lead vocalist, John Cooper, is completely clear in his convictions as he performs, and is courageous and strong as he shares his music and message in love. After more than twenty-three years as a Christian band that tours with bands that typically are not, and it is evident that they are careful to be on their guard and hold firm to their faith. Each time I have seen them in concert, the other bands touring with them have raved about the kindness extended to them by Skillet. What that speaks to me is that they are living out loud, the very message that they follow in faith. If a rock band can cling to their convictions and love well, why can’t we? May we each be aware of the things that distract us from what is true, and with courage and strength, hold fast to the faith that anchors us secure. And in all that we do, may we let love be our motivation.

 

Help us guard our hearts, img_2019-08-29_06-26-021861362932488398857.jpg

To our faith, hold fast;

Have courage, be strong,

With the love that lasts.

For each time we choose,

In strength, to love well;

We are showing Christ,

His story we tell.

Not with our speaking,

So much as our deeds;

People remember,

Those who met their needs.

Let us choose to love,

In all that we do;

Rely on His grace,

He’ll carry us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You warn us to be careful of that which distracts us from the truth, and You call us to stand firm in Your strength to the truth so that we may do all things in love. Forgive us for the times that we allowed the things around us to pull us off course. Teach us to stay anchored in You. Show us how to love those around us in all things and at all times, just as we are loved relentlessly by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand strong in the truth, ever aware of what surrounds us, and choose to love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Stand firm , and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

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

To Be Equipped

May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever. Amen. – (Hebrews 13:21, NLT) 

 

As our team continues to prepare for Saturday’s departure for Belize, it is my prayer that the words of Hebrews 13:21 would be felt tangibly for each of us. Just as it requires careful and thoughtful preparation and organization to fit all that we need for our time in Belize into one hiking backpack, so too does it require intentional time with our Heavenly Father to prepare our hearts for all that He intends to do in us and through us while we are there. May we each be equipped to do His will as we seek Him with our whole heart. For every good thing that is pleasing to Him, comes from the power of His Spirit at work within us.  

 

Prepare our hearts, Lord, To Be Equipped

Equip us anew; 

To rise up in faith, 

Where You call us to. 

It’s by Your power, 

That we can do good; 

All that is pleasing, 

Your grace understood. 

Shape us and mold us, 

By Your mighty hands; 

To serve with our hearts, 

And fulfill Your plans. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us with all we need to do Your will, if we come to You and depend on You. Thank You that through Your power in us, You produce good things that are pleasing unto You. Forgive us for trying to go our own way, or attempting to do things in our own strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow Your power to produce in us, that which is pleasing to You. Show us how to walk out this journey in a way that demonstrates Your amazing love to the people of Belize and to each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. All glory to You, God, forever and ever. Amen. 

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

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

Wielding Words Wisely

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. – (Proverbs 13:3, NLT)

Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything. – (Proverbs 13:3, MSG)

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. – (Proverbs 13:3, NIV)

 

What we say, matters. Our words have the power to heal or the power to destroy. We must choose wisely, for with our words, we are either offering light and life and hope, or we are breaking down and bringing ruin. This holds true not only for those around us, but for ourselves as well. “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 these lips of mine,The Power of the Tongue

Be laden with life;

Extended to all,

Disarmer of strife.

Help my tongue be tame,

So hope is spoken;

Let love be offered,

To hurt and broken.

Preserve my life Lord,

For all of my days;

May I love like You,

And walk in Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to give light and life and hope to those who are hurting. Thank You that when we seek You and trust in You, You use willing hearts to speak good into those who need to hear it. Forgive us for not controlling our tongues, as our careless words do damage. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the One who will defend us when harsh words are spoken, and You will shine light on untruth. Help us to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Give us Your words to speak in all things and at all times. Show us how to speak light, life and love into those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our lips so that we may give You glory with our every word. Amen.

© 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

He Speaks Peace

I listen carefully to what God The Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. – (Psalm 85:8, NLT)


If we are faithful to seek our Heavenly Father, He speaks, and people know His peace.  However, if we hear His words and do not allow them to take root in our hearts, we end up returning to our foolish ways. May we listen carefully to all that He’s speaking, and in His peace, stay the course to which He calls. Let us keep from returning to our former foolishness. 
With hearts to listen, 

 May we hear His peace;

For God is speaking,

To grant us release. 

Keep our hearts in tune,

Forever in line;

So we don’t return,

To the land of “mine”.

Thank You for Your word,

Holy and divine;

That shows us the way,

Brings peace by design. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak to those who pursue You. Thank You that Your message brings peace. Forgive us for returning to our former foolishness in thought, word or deed. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our help and strength in all things. Show us how to love people in such a way that they may sense Your peace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen carefully to what You are speaking to our hearts. Amen. 

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


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

Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

What we see, hear, think and take in, ultimately determine how we navigate our lives. When we take in garbage, garbage is what comes out of us. However, when we choose to invest wisely in the things that we allow in to take root, then it is those very things that are established and grown within us, and in time, become the things that flow out of us. May we seek the Lord with sincere hearts, allowing Him and His word to be what fills our hearts and minds so that good and noble things can be the outpouring of our lives.

 

Guard your heart above,Generous Giving

All things in this life;

For true protection,

Saves our days from strife.

For where this life leads,

Our hearts will too, go;

So how we invest,

Matters for our growth.

When what we have sought,

Is pure and is good;

Such things flow from us,

Through grace understood.

The course of this life,

Determined by choice;

Trust in the Lord’s good,

May our hearts rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You for help, You provide what we need to guard our hearts and protect what we take in, so that what comes out of us is pleasing to You. Forgive us for allowing garbage in, as we have not been diligent to guard our hearts as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, to watch over our hearts and keep us protected from the things that would take us down a road to ruin. Show us how to love with a sincere and pure heart, so that others can see You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek to honor You. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

 

Careful and Wise Living

Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16)

 

How we choose to live, matters. Our lives affect more than just ourselves. People who do not know Christ, see us, and often form their opinion of who Jesus might be, based on who we are, and how we walk out our faith. Do our words and actions align? We only have one opportunity to make a first impression. What do we want the world to see? If we are living one life on Sunday, and an entirely different life the rest of the week, people may question the why. However, if our words and what we walk out each day of the week align with what we claim to value most, people will notice a difference. Making the most of every opportunity to do good, is a wonderful way for wisdom to be made tangible. People don’t want to hear eloquent words; rather they want to see a life that is truly touched by the love and grace of God. May we go forth this day, in wisdom, being careful to make the most of every opportunity to do good, so that Christ may be made tangible to many.

 

With care, let us live,Glory to God

with wisdom and grace;

making Christ’s love known,

to all in our space.

Not through speaking out,

but rather by how;

we choose to live life,

in the here and now.

Let each chance we have,

to do good, be kind;

be the choice we make,

so seeking shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instructions as to how we ought to live. Thank You too, that You do not simply say “do this” and then expect us to do things on our own. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who equips and empowers us to do all that You call us to do. Forgive us for not making the most of every opportunity that You present before us, and help us to trust You more, so that we will be wise and careful in how we live, and make the most of every opportunity that You bring our way. Lead us to love others just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our heads and hearts to You for wisdom and strength to do as You ask us to do. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

A Promise to Enter Rest

Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. – (Romans 4:1)

Though these words were originally written to the Jewish Christians who were likely in danger of turning back from their promised rest in Christ, due to the difficulty of the present reality that was clouding their perspective, we too, can listen and heed the advice.  For all who call on His Name and trust in Him, the promise of entering Christ’s eternal rest remains.  Though we all fall short, for each of us are sinful and broken, yet in Christ, if we choose to trust Him and persevere in His presence, we can overcome our current circumstances and carry on into the call that He has placed on our lives, and remember that the Lord’s promise is for us, and He shall give us rest.

When we are in Christ,IMG_1181

there is promised rest;

for He knows our needs,

and His ways are best.

No matter what comes,

His promises stand;

our future glory,

secure in His hand.

So let us beware,

to not fall away;

let not life’s troubles,

lead our hearts astray.

Hold fast to the truth,

and let us each run;

He’ll strengthen our hearts,

our great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise us Your rest, both in our present places, and into eternity.  Thank You that in You, we are forgiven and granted the strength to press on and persevere on the path to which You have called us to travel.  Forgive us for our lack of fortitude in the fight, when weariness overwhelms us, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will depend on You in such a way, that we bring everything to You as it comes.  Lead us to love others with the same relentless and selfless love that You give to us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result.  Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and receive the rest that You readily grant us.  Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Compare Not

We are each created and called with a unique purpose.  Not two of us are exactly alike.  Even my twin boys, who have similar interests and look very much the same, are uniquely designed with individual God-given gifts, talents and purposes – just for them; individually.  It is easy at times to look around and catch ourselves making comparisons.  However, that road can lead to either envy or pride, both of which are detrimental to our calling.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. – (Galatians 6:4, NIV)  

                                                                                                                                                            I really appreciate the way in which The Message phrases the same passage, as for me, it makes it all the more clear: Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others. – (Galatians 6:4, The Message)
 
                                                                                                                                                             If we are fully invested in Christ and His word, we will gain a greater understanding of who He is, and who He is calling us to be in the process.  Each step of obedience that we take, more of His plan and purpose for us becomes clear.  May we appreciate the work that Christ is doing in others, yet sink ourselves in that which He is calling us into, for it is when we are walking out our own purpose, that we can truly have an impact for His glory.
                                                                                                                                                             Seek to discover,
His plan for your life;Planned With Purpose
then do not compare,
to avoid much strife.
For God has given,
each a unique plan;
to walk in His will,
to rise up and stand.
Comparisons lead,
to envy or pride;
neither with purpose,
for God’s truth to rise.
So let us sink in,
fix our heart and mind;
on God’s plan for us,
as we love mankind.
 
 Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a unique plan and purpose.  Thank You that You have placed in us, specific gifts and talents that were meant to equip us to do that which You have called us to do.  Thank You that You do not compare us to one another, but rather You look at each of us, individually.  Forgive us for comparing ourselves to each other, and help us to trust You and Your plans for our lives more.  Lead us to go forth in confidence into all that You are calling us to do, and help us to love well, all whom we encounter as we go.  May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord.  Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all that we do.  Amen.
                                                                                                                                                         © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Live Life Awake

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:14-16)

 

“Every day, there are situations in our normal routines that require us to be the light of Christ in darkness. Waking up spiritually is not just about participating in life-changing efforts of worldwide importance, such as stopping genocide. It is walking through our lives wide awake. It is rising ready where we are, with what we have. It is seeing people where they are and meeting their need.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

How often is someone standing beside us in the grocery checkout, discouraged and simply in need of a listening ear? Perhaps a neighbor down the street has suffered a loss and needs help finding the strength to prepare a meal? If we live our lives awake and aware of our surroundings, and choose to be ever listening to the still small voice of the Lord, we may find opportunities to extend His hands and heart to a hurting world in ways we would have never imagined possible. Our charge is not to do everything; it is to do something. When we are willing and available to utilize what we’ve been given, lives are touched and hearts are transformed. Nothing we do is in vain, and God works wonders through our faithful acts of obedience. May we rise up from our slumber and allow Christ to shine through us, as we go forth as His hands and heart to the world.

 

Wake up O sleeper,Live Life Awake

the day has now come;

the Lord is calling,

there’s work to be done.

People in darkness,

stuck in their despair;

if we don’t reach out,

then who will go there?

A neighbor, a friend,

someone down the street;

we must be willing,

to love those we meet.

For as we reach out,

the Lord works through us;

touches hurting hearts,

our mighty Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love so much that You sent Your only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You that You make new life possible because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Thank You that You showed us how to live and love, and that You speak to us still, granting us wisdom as to how we are to make the most of every opportunity to reach out and love as You loved us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stagnant in our own four walls, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may live our lives wide awake, open to every opportunity that You would invite us to reach out. Lead us to love like You love, and may many be led unto You. Be glorified as we live our lives fully awake in 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