Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Help to Build

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” – (Romans 15:2, MSG)

 

When we grow in strength and maturity in our walk with the Lord, it is not just for our benefit. We are charged to love God AND love people. To love people is to meet them in their need, and do what we can, as we are able, to help them grow and build them up. If our words and deeds are not life-giving, they are a waste of time and energy. That is not to say that in tough times we do not need a safe outlet, but rather when it is well with our soul, we ought to be light and life to those around us. May we rise up in the strength that we have been given, and seek to serve those in need around us for His glory.

 

When we grow in strength,The Power of the Tongue

And our faith does rise;

Our charge is to serve,

Be hope realized.

For people in need,

Need hope so they’ll grow;

A hand that’s offered,

Is God’s grace that’s shown.

Help us to rise up,

To see those in need;

Offer what we have,

To Him, let us lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that you strengthen and grow us in You when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You do so not just for our benefit, but also for those around us. Forgive us for not helping and building up those for whom we are charged to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve, even when it is inconvenient. Show us how to love others to life through loving and serving, just as You so love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to serve and help those around us, so that they may grow stronger in faith. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

 

Choose to Follow

Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. – (Mark 1:20)

 

This verse is in reference to when Jesus called James and John to come and follow Him. “Although it took time for Jesus’ call and His message to get through, the disciples followed. In the same way, we may question and falter, but we must never stop following.” – (NIV footnotes for Mark 1:16-20) It is our charge to do likewise. Though we may not always understand, and we make mistakes and have questions, our call is to keep following Christ. As we do, our faith will grow and our understanding of His ways and His will shall multiply. He is faithful to meet us where we are, if we are willing to choose to follow Him. Following Christ will not necessarily be convenient, nor easy, but it will always be worthwhile. May we set aside our nets, and simply follow Him.

 

To heed the call,Choose to Follow

forego delay;

set aside all,

and choose obey.

All that He asks,

of us today;

may we stand up,

trust in His way.

Despite unknown,

do anyway;

He shall remain,

now and always.

He is faithful,

and hears us pray;

He will answer,

rest in His stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to follow You, we need not always understand everything, or be without flaw, as long as we continue after You. Thank You that the longer we follow You, the more You reveal Yourself to us. Forgive us for our flawed thinking and understanding about who You are, and how You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may grow in Your grace and gain deeper insight as to who You are, and just how much You love each one of us. May we go forth and love others, as You so generously love each of us. May lives be changed and hearts be healed as Your love is revealed to those who seek You. Be glorified, O God, as we follow You in faith. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Prepare to Worship

After reading Leviticus 10-12, I am again grateful that we are no longer bound to follow the letter of Levitical law, but rather are saved by grace when we believe and receive Jesus as our Savior.  Though we are saved by grace alone, He does give us a command that He expects us to follow.  However, it is not an extensively detailed list, but rather something quite simple to remember – we are called to love God, and love one another.  If we do both of these, we fulfill the law.

Something that did strike me, was that there were extensive preparations made in order to enter into worship.  Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY grateful that I do NOT have to sacrifice an animal for the sake of my sins, nor do I have to go through ceremonial cleansing nor separation from others for being considered unclean, but there is something to be said about preparing our hearts for worship.  We ought not live however we like during the week and then enter into worship on Sunday, as if the week prior has not happened.  There is power as we enter into His presence daily, and a recognition of our need for His grace and His help to do that which He has commanded, as we earnestly seek Him.  It is a far greater experience to enter into a worship service on Sunday when I have been walking with Him all week, than when I have cast Him aside, and only called on Him when it was convenient or out of my own desperation.  He is good all of the time, and He longs to be in constant communion with us.  God is always listening, are we?

Gone are the days,Prepare to Worship

when all is unclean;

separation,

distinction that’s seen.

Now there is grace,

a gift our God gives;

to His presence,

we enter and live.

Don’t take lightly,

His wondrous grace;

one day we’ll stand,

present, face-to-face.

Keep short accounts,

seek Him and confess;

for on that day,

may we hear Him bless.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and full of grace.  Thank You that You sent Your Son so that we would no longer have to attempt to live up to Levitical laws, that were nearly impossible to keep, and that we now have Your Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to lead, guide and empower us to love You and love people as You call us to do.  Forgive us for not properly preparing our hearts for worship, by either completely neglecting our relationship with You, or for setting it aside until we feel like we “need” You.  Teach us to be in constant communion with You – praising You when things are great, asking for help when things are hard, and remaining in communication with You for everything in between.  May our hearts full of hope, love well those around us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King.  Be exalted in all that we say and do, and may we daily, walk in a state of worship unto You.  Amen.

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

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