Judge Not

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead. Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. – (Romans 14:13, MSG)

Our culture has become one that is very quick to judge, rather than seeking to understand. We all have been created with a free will. Each person has the choice to make their own decisions and determine their own actions. Our individual charge is to not do things that cause others to stumble or walk away from the path on which they were placed. If we each sought to understand one another, rather than judging, imagine the communities that would be built. I am blessed to be immersed in small communities where there is a seeking to understand. Different views and beliefs are celebrated, not judged. Even in my own home there are varied beliefs, and though at times, debates get heated, at the end of the day, there is love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the best decisions for ourselves, and trust that those around us are more than capable of doing the same. Lord, lead us in love.

Judge not each other,

Seek to understand;

The right path for me,

Is not where all land.

God is creative,

For each, there’s a plan;

Individual,

He’ll guide by His hand.

Don’t deter others,

For each must decide;

The way they will walk,

In whom they’ll abide.

No matter choices,

That others choose make;

Our call is to love,

Help mend each heartbreak.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us not to judge, but rather to love. Thank You that as we ask, You are faithful to show us what we are to do, and what we should not. Forgive us for thinking we have a place determining how others ought to follow where You are leading. Teach us not to judge, but rather to seek to understand and to love. Lead us to love those around us always, no matter how different they seem in how they navigate life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to choose love over judgment, and pursue Your leading to keep from getting others off track. Amen.

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:7

To Be Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

In a culture where arguing and fighting seem to be the norm, how can we work to bring peace? To me, the most logical way is to love. If we are focused on loving those around us, we will truly listen and learn how to love best. When we are intentional to love, it is impossible to fight. I know many people who think differently and view the world differently than me, yet we are able to listen to one another as we allow love to lead. When love leads, peace is found. It is in that space of peace that we are best able to recognize that God has placed us among family and loves us all as His own. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may be peacemakers wherever we go.

The Lord calls us all,

To care like He does;

Be bringers of peace,

And givers of love.

As we choose invest,

By faith, live out love;

We represent well,

Our Father above.

So, let us invest,

In listening well;

Help us all to learn,

Through peace, Your love tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be bringers of peace in places where it is absent. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to listen and love in a way that helps create community. Forgive us for the times that we have opted to argue rather than listen and learn. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that we can be bringers of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be peacemakers as Your sons and daughters. Amen.

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

More Than Anything, Choose Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV) 

Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, CEB) 

Most of all, love each other as if your life depends on it. Love makes up for practically anything. – (1 Peter 4:8, MSG) 

 

We are called to love one another deeply, sincerely, as if our very life depended on it. The forgiveness that comes as a result of genuine love, makes peace possible and creates a culture within us to care well for others. Our capacity to love grows exponentially as we understand and accept the love that God has for us, individually. May we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, so that we may go forth and love deeply, as love makes up for practically anything. 

 

More than anything, Enter With Thanksgiving

We need to choose love; 

From a sincere heart, 

Grace shall rise above. 

Love knows forgiveness, 

So freely, forgives; 

Grants hope to others, 

To rise in grace, live. 

What we are given, 

We often return; 

Let us seek God’s love, 

So perfect love’s learned. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love, as love covers over and forgives a multitude of sin. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You have not already done for us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld forgiveness or love toward another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on Your grace and goodness to fill us and equip us to love at all times, even when it is difficult to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your unending goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to love deeply, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

In Quiet Wait, There is Rest

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. – (Psalm 62:1, ERV)

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, CEB)

 

When life gets hectic and the weight of the world seems to fall upon our shoulders, it is necessary to slow down and find rest in whatever form fuels our souls best. I love the creativity of God and how He provides places and ways for us to recharge as we seek spaces of rest and refreshment in Him. Once a week, during our collaboration period at school, staff members meet to discuss topics that will help improve the culture and climate of our school. Yesterday’s topic, was in part, self-care. Turning to God in trust is the first way that my weary soul finds rest, and that I can carry out “self-care“. Additionally, I am recharged when I spend quality time with the people whom I love. Though I have been fighting a sore throat and dragging this week, there was no hesitation in my decision to keep my plans to join my love, his son, and some great friends of ours at a hockey game last evening. The escape from my normal routine was filled with laughter, cheering and rest. There are few ways in which I would voluntarily sit for three hours, yet with a hockey game on the ice in front of me, no problem. Despite my reduction in sleep last night, (due to the late end of the game) I still bolted out of bed at the first sound of my alarm, and am fully coherent as I begin this new day. As a bonus, this is a short school week, with Friday being an in-service day for which I do not need to complete hours. He is good and rescues us from our weariness in ways that He knows we need most. May we ever wait quietly on God and turn to Him in trust, as He is our rescuer and our salvation.

 

I wait on the Lord, In Quiet Wait There is Rest

So steady and calm;

For I trust in Him,

To keep keeping on.

The Lord is my rest,

My strength when I’m weak;

My hope, salvation,

The answer I seek.

In quiet I’ll wait,

For my God alone;

As He’s where I find,

That my heart is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we wait quietly before You, we find You and know Your help, Your hope and Your rescue. Forgive us for attempting to gut things out in our weariness, rather than turning to You for rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would calm down and rest in Your presence, as You are our Provider of all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and hope and rest that points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and give You praise for Your faithfulness throughout all our days. 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

 

 

Pass It On

We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things He has done. – (Psalm 78:4, MSG)

We will not keep these things secret from their children; rather, we will tell the coming generation all about the praise that is due to the Eternal One. We will tell them all about His strength, power, and wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, VOICE)

 

The challenges and struggles that stand before today’s youth require faith more than ever before. We live in a culture that floods young minds with temptation to be lured a hundred different directions without the constants that they desperately desire. If we do not teach them of the wonders of God and show them hope in a world where hope is so often lost, the future that follows them will be bleak. However, when children are raised to know hope in Him, they rise up into adulthood with a filter that helps them fix their eyes on that which is to take them in the direction they are meant to go, rather than being tugged by too many things. In my own life, hearing of the marvelous things that He had done in the lives of those before me, inspired a great desire to discover all that He had for me as well. May we not keep God’s goodness to ourselves, but ever share of His wonders with our children, so that they too may seek the Lord and His strength in their lives.

 

Keep not to ourselves, IMG_2344

God’s glory and might;

We are meant to share,

Give young ones insight.

Tell of His wonder,

The good He has done;

Speak of the Lord’s strength,

The battles He’s won.

Let’s give our kids hope,

Where often there’s none;

Share His faithfulness,

Our Almighty One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown Your faithfulness to us through the generations before us. Thank You for those who did not stay silent, but rather shared with us the glory of Your majesty and power. Thank You for the privilege to pass along the same to the next generation that follows us. Forgive us for keeping things to ourselves that were meant to be shared, as the coming generation needs to know the wonder of Your majesty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and hear Your heart as to how and what we are meant to share. Show us how to love those who follow after us in a way that gives them hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share of the marvelous things that You have done with those whom You have placed in our charge. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Run From Ruin

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – (2 Timothy 2:22)

 

In a culture that tells us, “if it feels good, go for it,” those who call on Christ and want to walk in His ways, are to take a different path. We are called to a higher standard. While most are simply pursuing pleasure, our charge is to run after righteousness; to follow that which God has for us, and to turn away from that which He does not. To flee the evil desires of youth, is to keep ourselves out of harm’s way. If we know a place or a group of people that create in us a propensity to sin, then we are to flee and avoid the situation, so that we may remain upright before our Father in Heaven.

 

As we pursue what is right according to Christ, we will grow in faith and love; experiencing His peace, as He purifies our hearts. He does not call us to walk this road alone, but rather to walk beside others too, who are seeking to answer all that He is asking. May we flee from that which is evil in the eyes of the Lord, and pursue passionately, all that He has for us.

 

Flee from all evil,Run From Ruin

pursue righteousness;

call out to Jesus,

to show which way’s best.

As we choose follow,

His path, and not ours;

faith, love and His peace,

find home in our hearts.

Do not walk alone,

but rather invest;

in those seeking,

to follow His best.

For on this rough road,

we best navigate;

when we’re surrounded,

and don’t isolate.

Shoulder to shoulder,

we shall rise above;

the world’s temptations,

as we walk in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we run from that which leads us into temptation and pursue the things of You, You grow our faith, overwhelm us with Your lavish love, and help us to know Your peace – even in places where peace seems impossible. Thank You that You take us as we are, and refine us, creating in us, hearts that are pure and acceptable before You, by the power of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for allowing ourselves entry into toxic situations or scenarios, and grant us wisdom so that we will flee from the spaces that suck us into sin. Thank You that You are merciful and loving, and that You do not allow us to stay in such spaces, but rather You correct and redirect so that we may follow You with all that we are. Thank You that You do not call us to walk this road alone, but rather You created us for relationships. Thank You that we are called to walk beside one another, shoulder to shoulder, to hold one another up, encourage and challenge each other in love. May many come to know the peace that is found in You alone, as they seek to find faith in You. Let our love extended through hearts You have purified, reflect Your radiance to the world. Be glorified, O God. 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

Obeying God First

In this increasingly “go with what feels good” culture, it is essential to not only be aware of what God deems right and wrong, but to also be in a close relationship with Him, so that we are able to hear His still small voice as He speaks to us, individually, about what is and is not permissible for us.  There are some things that the Bible clearly defines as right and wrong.  Yet there are other areas, that are a bit muddy.  These are the places where it is paramount to pursue Christ for answers, rather than just going with whatever society says is good.

Acts five conveys the story of Peter and the apostles being arrested and jailed, simply for speaking the truth of what they had witnessed through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  The Sadducees jealousy got the best of them, and they threw the men of faith in prison.  When brought to trial, the high priest asked them why they had gone against what they had been told (to stop teaching in His Name).  “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!” – (Acts 5:29)

Though few of us face the fear of prison for sharing our faith, we do deal with social pressures to stay silent, and to go along with societal norms that directly disregard what God has spoken.  There is a delicate balance in loving others, yet speaking the truth in love.  We cannot go around shouting to people that they “must turn or burn“.  Rather, our charge is to live in such a way, that people are drawn unto us, and begin to ask questions as to why we are the way we are.  God will provide opportunities for truth to be told in His time.  He is tender and kind, and longs to draw people unto Himself.  May we be living examples of His love, and may we choose to obey God first, always.

In tune with You, Lord,Obeying God First

we shall hear the way;

to do as You ask,

to honor, obey.

We must truly seek,

to hear still small voice;

then choose to follow,

obedient choice.

Let not fear of men,

keep us from what’s true;

our final answer,

will be unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have access to mighty examples of those who have faithfully followed You.  Thank You too, that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You provide us all that we need, through Your word, and Your Holy Spirit.  Forgive us for folding to social pressures, or for staying silent when we were meant to speak.  Teach us to hear Your voice clearly, so that we may be Your voice to those who know You not.  Let our lives lived in love, speak volumes to all who are around us.  May many come to know Your goodness and Your grace, as they enter into a personal place of seeking Your face.  Be magnified, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3