To Carry the Sweet Scent

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

 

When we invite Christ to come and dwell within us, He covers us with His goodness and grace. No longer do we wreak of the stench of sin and death, but we are made new, filled with His scent of hope and light, life and love. Our charge is to go forth in His love and love others. As we do, we carry His aroma by association. To those who are in need of hope and ready to receive it, the scent is sweet; yet to those who have set their heart on the sin they are in, the scent we bear is pungent. Incredibly, each one of us had to be drawn to God in our own time, before we recognized how sweet the fragrance of our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to listen and do His will, so that we may carry His sweet scent wherever we go and in all that we say and do.

 

We carry the scent, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Before God above;

Of Jesus, His Son,

Through how we choose love.

For as we love well,

The fragrance of life;

Shared with each other,

Brings an end to strife.

Yet, sometimes the smell,

Is not found so sweet;

Only the ready,

Come forth in receipt.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ brings the sweet scent of life and hope and love to all who are ready to receive Him. Thank You that as we do, we too may bear the favorable fragrance found in You. Forgive us for the times that we have been a bit pungent, as our words or actions did not clearly reflect who You have created us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your beloved scent before all others. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may embrace Your sweet fragrance of life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever transform us, so that we may carry the blessed aroma of Your Son, that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

 

 

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

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 approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Friends Sharpen Each Other

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. 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

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. 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

Sing Thanks and Speak of Wonderful Thing

I sing a song to give You thanks, and I tell about the wonderful things You have done. – (Psalm 26:7, ERV)

There is nothing that uplifts my countenance quite so quickly, as when I begin to sing with no concern for anything that surrounds me, and all of my attention is on Him whom I am singing for. Worship music has a way of reminding my head and my heart of the truth I already know, as thanks and praise bubble to the surface, and I cannot help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for how very good our gracious God is unto us. When I am armed with songs that give thanks to God, what comes out of my mouth tends to more clearly reflect the wonders that He has done in my life. I tend to point to the positive, even in the midst of trials, when my heart is holding thoughts of thankfulness. May we each be armed with songs of thanks in our hearts, so that we go forth speaking of the wonderful things that the Lord has done, regardless of our circumstances.

I sing unto You,

image by Elizabeth Blank

image by Elizabeth Blank

with a heart of praise;

all thanks be to God,

for all of my days.

Lord, help me to tell,

of Your faithfulness;

despite my trials,

or times of distress.

You are always good,

and that’s why I’ll sing;

let thanksgiving reign,

my true offering.

From posture of praise,

may others come know;

the truth of Your love,

through that which we show.

All glory to You,

O wondrous King;

with heart full of thanks,

I will choose to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so faithful and loving unto us. thank You that You do wonderful things for us, in us and through us, though we deserve it not. Thank You that You receive our offerings of thanks and praise as pleasing before You, regardless of our eloquence or tune. Forgive us for not choosing to raise our voice in thanks, despite the wonderful things You have done. Teach us to remember Your faithfulness, even in our toughest trials, so that we would rely on who You are, rather than what we see with our own eyes. Lead us to share our gratitude and wonder with others, so that they too, may come to marvel at who You are and all that You have done. May many come into the wonderful space of Your loving embrace, as they choose to surrender all unto You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of thanks unto You, and tell of all the wonderful things that You have done. Amen.

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

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

For Us and Within Us

Being confindent of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            God’s work for us, was made complete when Jesus went to the cross.  His work in us, began when we first believed, yet is an ongoing process throughout our entire life.  Because His Spirit is in us, we are enabled to grow more into the likeness of Christ every day that we choose to walk with Him.  Despite our seasons of both strength and struggle, God in us, is at work.  The Lord uses all things to grow us for our greater good, and to more clearly reflect He who is in us, unto the world.  May we embrace with confidence the promise that He will finish what He began within us, and will remain present all of the days of our life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Lord who began,Possibilities
a good work in us;
will carry it out,
’til we see Jesus.
No matter what comes,
the Lord will still reign;
our hope is assured,
His presence, remains.
With great confidence,
let’s walk out our days;
for Christ is our strength,
today and always.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident that the good work You began in us will be carried out to completion until we see You face-to-face.  Thank You that no matter how things appear, You are present, and Your hope remains.  Thank You that You are at work, even when we cannot see nor feel what You are doing within us or for us.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we feel stagnant or stuck, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will walk confidently in faith, knowing the truth that You are always at work within us.  Lead us to love others relentlessly, just as You never let up on Your love for us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we go forth with confidence, knowing that You are at work, both for us and within us.  Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Refined to Reflect Radiance

In the midst of tremendous loss, and in the face of his friends who were making false assumptions about why he was suffering, Job stood firm in the truth. He did not know nor understand why he was suffering, but he knew that when it was over, he would once again feel God’s favor upon him. Job’s confidence in God, despite his misery, is clearly defined in the following: But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. – (Job 23:10)

 

No, none of us are without sin, nor could we ever measure up on our own. However, when we are actively pursuing God’s very best for our lives, Christ in us covers and cleanses us from our sin, and allows us to be seen as blameless before Him. Regardless of the struggles or trials we are facing, He is with us, and when we get through them having clung to Christ, we more clearly reflect His heart and His character to those around us. More than that, our hope is not merely for what may become here, but rather for all of eternity. Our future in Christ is secure, and He alone is on whom we can depend forever.

 

Our ways are all known,Refined to Reflect Radiance

each turn that we take;

He sees each triumph,

each choice that we make.

In times of trial,

He knows where we cling;

He remains present,

through our suffering.

When we don’t feel Him,

He still is right there;

present forever,

our answer to prayer.

Through the press and rub,

of trials foretold;

when the testing ends,

we shall be as gold.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us and remain with us, even when times are tough. Thank You that though trials and suffering are never pleasurable, You use them for our ultimate good, by refining us and helping us to more clearly reflect You. Forgive us for not clinging completely to You in the midst of our messes, and help us to seek You with our whole heart in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be confident and secure in Your nearness, regardless of what we feel. Help us to keep the end in sight, knowing that You will see us through. May we love as You love us, and may many who are seeking, come to know You as their Savior and King. Be glorified, O God, as we are refined to reflect Your glory. 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