Purposed Parts

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

I love when God shows me the reality of His word in action, and then the next morning, directs my heart to the reminder in scripture. Last evening, my Viking and I attended the gallery opening of The Heart Gallery, for a paint and sip event. Neither of us had ever attended such an event, nor has either of us ever really done much painting. Despite having an art degree, painting was never my medium of choice, so I think that the only painting I ever did was a butterfly that I did and gave to my grandma. There had been no instruction on utilizing the various tools nor techniques, so I am sure that I painted much in the same way that I draw; very controlled and precise, not free-flowing nor allowing for the painting to unfold. Back to the verse… Heather, the co-owner and brilliant art instructor at The Heart Gallery, took the group of us in attendance through the process of creating a painting of an evening skyline, including water in the foreground, with the idea of celebrating our Seattle 12th Man status, prior to Monday night’s game. Watching Heather operate in one of her incredible gifts, was an amazing experience. Not only did she encourage and celebrate each individual as we created, but she helped each person paint a piece of work that they were pleased with by the end of the evening.  As each of us wandered the gallery between steps in the process, we were not comparing ourselves to one another, but rather we were celebrating and appreciating each unique interpretation of the task. Each painting was unfolding differently, yet all becoming an expression of art to admire. Painting, much like life, can be planned out, but will never be precise nor look exactly like we intend. However, in the end, there is beauty, none-the-less. May we ever seek to operate in the gifts that God has given us, and pursue growth in the areas where we are being further developed. We are all one body in need of one another’s strengths.

 

We are one body, img_2019-11-09_08-30-273250335102578517637.jpg

Each purposely made;

With gifts meant to share,

Throughout all our days.

Each with unique gifts,

Intended to share;

To bless the body,

Make it known we care.

So, rise up in strength,

Use what God’s given;

Be who you should be,

By grace, forgiven.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the community in which we have been rooted. Thank You that no two gifts look the same. Thank You that each are equally needed to fully function as we are intended. Forgive us for not valuing either what we have been given, or that granted to another. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your eyes, as You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose that blesses and helps the whole. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages each to operate in the gifts that they have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and utilize all that You have given us for the good of the body. Amen.

 

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

 

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. – 1 Timothy 6:18

The Parts Make the Whole

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

This is such a critical message to remember in community – be it in family, friend groups, work or other circles in which we gather. Each of us are created with unique strengths and giftings, intended to utilize them for the encouragement and betterment of those around us. I know this to be true in my family, marriage, and among close friends, and I am extremely grateful for the way that different gifts work together to create a stronger whole. As my colleagues and I spend the week in trainings and meetings to prepare for the upcoming school year, I intend to look for and celebrate the different giftings that each part of our staff brings to the whole of our school community. It is the people that have kept me in the same school for the entire twenty-three years of my teaching career thus far. Superintendents and higher ups have come and gone, yet, there have been core people who have helped keep a familial culture in existence over the years. Those who have come in and embraced the sense of community, have remained and strengthened what was started long ago. When kids begin joining us in a little over a week, it will be our charge to identify the strengths and gifts that each of them brings to our classroom. It is my hope and prayer that we not compare ourselves nor them to each other, but rather see and celebrate each one as is, recognizing the potential in all that is yet to be.

After speaking with mom last evening, I received a bit more clarification about her appointment last week and the hold-up with in-home therapies. Apparently, it is not a need for seeing another specialist, but rather a bit of a fight/search to find in-home therapies that her new insurance will cover. This is extraordinarily frustrating, as a different insurance would have been selected, had we known it would have been so difficult. God is good, and He is faithful to meet mom’s needs, so we are trusting that He will make a way quickly, as a long delay is not beneficial to mom’s ongoing rehabilitation and recovery. On the positive side, she is working hard, making sure to work on her walking multiple times each day. Please join us in praying that all will be worked out and settled this week, so that perhaps as my nephews return to school, mom will be able to begin her therapies back up at home.

 

We each have a role, aristotle_quote_the_whole_is_greater_than_the_sum_of_its_parts_1439598_1807304324820819141384587.png

A part we’re to play;

Gifted and equipped,

God has made the way.

When we choose to live,

To walk out our days;

As He intended,

Our lives bring Him praise.

Part of the body,

Embracing our role;

Encourage others,

To work as a whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with different strengths and gifts, and intended us for community so that we could work together to be strong and whole. Forgive us for comparison, for that is the thief of joy that leads to us thinking either too little or too much of ourselves. Teach us to instead, appreciate all that You create and grow in each of us, and to encourage those around us well. Show us how to love those You place in our lives in a way that celebrates the unique way that You have created each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each person that You have placed in our community to contribute to the whole. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Lord, Grant Me Patience

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Daily, we are granted the opportunity to set the standard contained in this verse into practice. Our charge to be humble, patient, gentle, accepting and loving toward those around us, is meant to be carried out in every component of our lives. For me, it means being intentional in choosing my words carefully, and extending grace and gentleness, even when I would rather unleash my momentary thoughts aloud. It can be especially trying when those around us choose poorly, again and again. Our charge is to patiently persist, whether it is in gentle correction, redirection, or simply taking time to listen to the one in front of us who may be challenging our desire to be kind. Between teaching middle schoolers, raising teens, sharing space with my Viking, and navigating way out in the community, there are plenty of moments where I am afforded a turn to put these things into practice. When I am purposeful to put these things into practice, I am able to walk away from situations and circumstances that were trying with the comfort of knowing that I chose well. However, when my patience is pushed to the point where there is not a nerve left and I respond in a less-than-loving way, I end up feeling awful and discover need to make amends, even when my response was seemingly justified. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us, so that we may walk in tender humility and quiet patience, containing the capacity to demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward those around us, particularly those who try our endurance.

 

Lord, grant me patience, willful obedience

Where patience runs thin;

Help me to choose love,

Again and again.

Show me Your great strength,

So I will be kind;

Humble and gentle,

With Your love in mind.

Help me see others,

As You want me to;

Ever choosing love,

To guide my way through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You don’t already do. Thank You that You are willing to strengthen and equip us to walk in humility, extending patience and gentleness through Your love. Forgive us for the times that our response to those around us has lacked patience, gentleness, humility or love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives mercy and grace, just as we have been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to help us walk in humility, extending patience, gentleness and acceptance in love. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Clothed with His Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV) 

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV) 

You are always and dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT) 

 

When we know God, we are called and chosen to walk in His ways. This past week, I have been intentional to pray for specific students before the school day has even begun. What I have observed this week, has been a shift in a few individuals who were my most difficult. Two eighth grade boys have caused much struggle and strife this semester. For the first time in a long while, they were calm and attempting to actually work on the projects that have been assigned. Each one was given room to enter and settle, allowing them to get set in their space. Once students are set and working, I have sought to be compassionate and gentle in my approach. With one, I gather the materials needed for the day’s project and set them before him, extending my availability to answer questions or provide help if needed. For him, it seemed to make a way to focus and complete work. With the other, I have likewise chosen compassion, and simply asked what project he would like to work to complete each day. He too has been calm and attempting to work, rather than sitting idly by on his phone. Though I was gentle and kind previously, a slight shift in my approach seems to have been met with a shift in them as well. There are still others in that class that are “acting a fool”, but the simple transformation in the two is an example of my prayers heard and answered. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Source and Supply, allowing Him to clothe us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility, keeping us from becoming offended by the actions of others. 

 

Because we are loved, Sowing Seeds of Peace

We also are called; 

To be the Lord’s light, 

For one and for all. 

Called to compassion, 

Equipped to give grace; 

Kindness and patience, 

Granted in our space. 

With a humble heart, 

Let no one’s offense; 

Deter us from love, 

His grace is immense. 

So, be clothed in love, 

That chooses extend; 

The heart of our God, 

On Whom we depend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and equip us to carry out all to which we are called. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot see the change You are making. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as Your love covers all. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are most challenging to love. Grant us Your eyes to see them, and Your heart to extend kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply us with kindness, patience, humility and love for all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12

Clothed With Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12)

 

Here I am, on the first day of summer break, and I am now compelled to study and stretch my mind to learn and grow more, wherever I can… This morning, this one verse, is packed full of deep and meaningful words. Rather than give an overall generalized application, I wanted to break it down, and look at each set of words, as their meaning is quite significant.

 

First, as God’s chosen people, we who have chosen to follow Christ, are wanted, desired, and considered among the Lord’s elect. This is not because we are worthy, but rather because He is good. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9)

 

Holy and dearly loved, is yet another designation that we are granted through the goodness and grace of God. To be holy, is to be considered to have a spiritually pure quality; this is ours through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf because He dearly loved each of us – His created. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Clothe yourselves, reminds us that we have a choice. We must be intentional to choose to rise each day and seek the Lord to live according to His will and walk in His way. Walking out the door for the day without actual clothes would be a disastrous option, so too is the way of not clothing ourselves in Christ. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Romans 13:14)

 

Compassion is sympathy that springs into action to help alleviate suffering. Rather than simply seeing a need, compassion does something to help. Where there is lack, compassion provides; where there is pain, compassion draws near. Compassion is Christ coming close through the hands, feet, and hearts of His people. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15)

 

Kindness is affection, amiability, benevolence and consideration. It is the one who sits beside the bullied, the broken or the hurting and simply remains present. Kindness extends gentle, encouraging words, even when they are not deserved. “…but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. – (Isaiah 54:8b)

 

Humility is the state of not being proud nor arrogant; being modest; courteously respectful. Humility gives credit where credit is due, even if it detracts praise from oneself. Not one of us is able to do anything that is praiseworthy without the giftings and grace of God. Without Him, we are nothing. All we do that has any worth, is because of Christ within us. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. – (Proverbs 22:4)

 

Gentleness defined, is without roughness or violence; mild and kindly.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1)

 

May we lay hold of our calling, and embrace the gift which He freely gives. Let us clothe ourselves, daily, with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might go forth and better love others as we choose to serve Him.

 

We each have been called,Compassion Crosses the Road

for Christ knows our names;

His love goes beyond,

the truth we proclaim.

No words can express,

how deep and how wide;

the love of the Lord,

when He’s asked inside.

The gifts that He grants,

allow us to bear;

each other in love,

with kindness and care.

Compassion will grow,

humility too;

gentle responses,

will be what we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You consider us Your chosen people; holy and dearly loved. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to go forth in our own strength, or for forgetting to seek You to be properly equipped for all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be completely dependent on You for all that is needed to live the life that You are calling us to lead. Help us to love others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so perfectly modeled for us through Your Son. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves as Your chosen people, and go forth to love well. 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

Radical Obedience

Yesterday, as we continued our series, Into the Wild, the title of the day’s message was Radical Obedience.  The message was based on Genesis 17, as God continued to ask Abraham to step out in obedience, in order to walk blamelessly before Him.  As the story unfolds, three key points were conveyed.

1.  Obedience isn’t a suggestion, it is an expectation. God Almighty expects us to live blamelessly in obedience to Him.  We ought to obey because He is worthy.  What He asks of us is not to restrain us, but rather to free us into what will be.  (As He knows the ultimate outcome of all things.)

2.  Obedience requires sacrifice.  There is always a personal cost to do what God asks of us, yet His return, is far greater than any price we may initially invest.  Abraham had to give up comfort and endure pain, yet He entered into a covenant that was sacred between he and God, that was to last for many generations to come.  To be considered God’s chosen people, was well worth the temporary pain.

3.  The outcome of obedience is a change in our hearts, not just in our actions.  (see Hosea 6:6) When we obey for the sake of stuff instead of for our heart, it’s religion.  When we obey to change our heart, it is relationship with our Redeemer.

(three points outlined by Pastor Matt Ramirez @ gcfw.org)

May we seek to obey,Radical Obedience

for the sake of our heart;

to honor our great God,

follow Him from the start.

Allow no sacrifice,

to steer our hearts away;

for whatever the cost,

will be worth it one day.

Our great, Almighty God,

alone worthy, indeed;

let us live without blame,

so His return we’ll see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us into radical obedience unto You.  Thank You that You do not just want part of us, but rather, You want all of us – heart, soul, strength and mind.  Thank You that as we choose to sacrifice our own selfishness, the return in You, is far greater.  Forgive us for our disobedience, or for obeying in hope of getting stuff.  Help our hearts hold You in the proper place, so that our motivation is Your worthiness, and our desire to know and honor You.  May we grow deeper roots in our relationship with You.  Let us live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that You so generously give to all who call on Your Name.  Be glorified through every act of obedience.  Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Know to Show

One of the things that made Paul such a powerful presenter of God’s truth, is that he observed the audience to whom he was speaking, and began his message by making connections to the people, wherever they were at.  In Pisidian Antioch, when Paul and his companions were invited to speak in a synagogue on the Sabbath, Paul honored the hearers’ Jewish heritage by recounting the rich history of God’s chosen people, and the lineage of Jesus.  Once he had firmly established a foundation of common ground, Paul then explained the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  It was only after the connections had been established, that he could come in and share the most important part.  “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” – (Acts 13:38-39) 

What connections can we make today?  Is there need for peace?  We have access to the Prince of Peace.  Is there lack of hope?  Christ is the hope that we hold, when we know Him.  Does fear dominate the day?  He who is in us is greater than that which is in the world.  Whatever the struggle, challenge or need known to mankind, the only true and lasting answer that leads to life, is Christ.  As we place our trust in Him, He provides wisdom and opportunity to share of what He has done for us, personally.  Our story may be the link that leads another into an everlasting life with Christ…

See where we are,Know to Show

listen for His voice;

answer His call,

make His words our choice.

Willing to share,

the change in our life;

let others know,

the blessings in Christ.

May how we live,

show visible proof;

of God with us,

so all may know truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of Your word, and for the countless examples of men and women of faith who have gone before us and modeled how to live a life faithfully following You.  Thank You that this is not something that we are able to do on our own, nor in our own strength, but rather it is only by Your grace, through the power of Your Holy Spirit in us, as we are invested in You and surrounded by a body of believers, that we truly may live out our lives in the manner to which we have been called.  Forgive us for staying silent when we were meant to speak, or for the times that our actions did not align with our beliefs.  Teach us to trust You more, and let our every word and deed speak volumes on Your behalf.  May many come to know You as the Savior of their soul, as we live out our lives in Your love.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1