Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Finish the Work

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it according to your means. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, NIV)

So now finish the work you started. They your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do”. Give from what you have. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, ERV)

So now finish this, so that your eagerness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it, according to your ability. – (2 Corinthians 8:11, AMP)

 

This particular passage in context is talking about collecting for and supporting the Lord’s people in their work, as a church, yet I feel it is a bit of an encouragement and a reminder for me, to stay the course and focus on that which I have started until it is finished. It is extra challenging for me as I return to my classroom to prepare for the new school year, as I get caught up in the tug-o-war between wanting everything to look and feel just so, and needing to be certain that my plans are established and in place to create an environment that is conducive to learning and growing. Add to the mix my desire to try to fit in a summer’s worth of activities and visiting/catching up with friends in a matter of a few weeks, and I am challenged in my finishing of the work. God has given me the time, resources and desire to do the work, it is up to me to follow through. My plan is to dedicate a few hours each day to the task, so that I do not burn out and become overwhelmed, but rather remain eager to accomplish all that has been held in my heart. So far, this strategy has been working, and all of the touch up painting in my classroom is complete. I have purchased the main supplies that I need to start the year, and my next tasks will be ones of organizing and sorting. If I manage to tackle all things in my classroom, then the backroom will follow. I have ideas for that space as well, but it may require more than just me to conquer all that resides in that area. Either way, I am encouraged and challenged to finish what I have begun. He is good and will strengthen me to see all through until it is complete.

As for mom, she is continuing to do the work each day as well. Her day begins with walking and exercises to stretch and strengthen, and carries through as she engages in games and activities to further sharpen and hone her word recall and vocal strength. It is a joy to talk to mom at the day’s end, as I can hear the strength in her voice and the delay that used to be present as she searched for words, is no longer. God’s faithfulness is clearly evident as she continues to navigate this leg of her recovery journey.

 

We each have been called, Weighing the Why

To rise and do good;

The things we begin,

Finish as we should.

For He gives us strength,

And all that we need;

To complete things well,

In Him, we succeed.

So, do not give up,

Instead, persevere;

God will make a way,

As He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to finish the things that we begin. Thank You that the things which we desire to do, You also equip and strengthen us to complete for Your glory. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get too “busy” or distracted to see the things we are called to complete all the way through to the end. Teach us to stay the course, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as the good we do is for the benefit of those whom need the blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work unto You and finish what we start. Amen.

 

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

 

Being confident 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

Justice and Faithfulness

He guards the path of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. – (Proverbs 2:8, NLT)

God protects the paths of those who pursue justice, watching over the lives of those who keep faith with Him. – (Proverbs 2:8, VOICE)

 

As a self-professed “word nerd“, I wanted a bit more context to the word just. According to dictionary.com, just means being guided by truth. For me, this made far more sense, for if we are faithful to God, we will be guided by truth. When we seek Him and His will, He leads, guides and guards us as we go. May we pursue justice in faithful pursuit of God, and allow the Lord to lead as He protects the path on which He calls us to proceed.

 

God protects the path,I Will Go

of those who pursue;

a life lived justly,

as we’re called to do.

He will watch over,

the faithful and true;

those who keep seeking,

to see the Lord’s view.

His heart is for us,

His love never ends;

faithful forever,

for us He contends.

Blessings are poured out,

as we persevere;

hope for forever,

and knowing He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You guard the path of those who faithfully seek You and are guided by Your truth. Thank You that You watch over our lives and protect us as we go. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness. Teach us to persevere, even when things are difficult or seemingly without hope, for our hope is found in You. Show us how to love others as we are guided by truth, so that they too, might see Your love and faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue justice and remain faithful to 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

His Perfect Peace

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. – (1 Corinthians 14:33)

 

Though in context, Paul was speaking to the church in Corinth about order during worship services, the same reality is true for our lives. God does not intend for us to carry on in constant chaos, rather His plan, regardless of mountains we must climb or valleys we are meant to cross, includes order and peace. He is the calm in the storm and light in the darkness. With Christ, order is restored and peace shall reign. No matter what comes, His peace is possible when we choose to rely on Him. May we look to the Lord in all things at all times, and allow His peace to reign as He orders our days.

 

For God’s not a God,His Perfect Peace

of chaos at all;

His plan includes peace,

for us, lest we fall.

No matter what comes,

the Lord shall provide;

the calm in the storm,

with Him by our side.

We need never fear,

but rather, just trust;

for our God of peace,

is the Lord with us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not a God of disorder, but rather You are the God of perfect peace. Thank You that no matter what we face, You are present, and You provide peace, even when it seems there should be none. Thank You that Your plans are good and that You provide order even when all seems to be swirling about us. Forgive us for our fear when chaos seems to reign, and help us to trust You more. Teach us to cling to You, as You restore order and peace in the places where turmoil tries to take over. Lead us to listen and love others as we are called, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek Your order in the storms and Your peace in the perilous places. 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