Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Love and To Serve

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. – (John 13:14-15, NIV)

I am your Lord and Teacher. But I washed your feet. So you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example for you. So you should serve each other just as I served you. – (John 13:14-15, ERV)

So if your Lord and Teacher washes your feet, then you should wash one another’s feet. I am your example; keep doing what I do. – (John 13:14-15, VOICE)

 

At the time that this particular text was written, washing a person’s feet was a filthy and degrading practice. People traveled by sandaled foot, across dry and dusty terrain. I imagine that by the day’s end, feet were about as filthy as they could get, and washing people’s feet as they returned home was not a coveted position. However, Jesus demonstrated what it is to love and serve one another, as He stooped down and washed the feet of His disciples. His willingness to get into the mess with them and help get them clean, was the perfect example of servant leadership. We are not called to lead nor teach from a position above anyone else; rather, we are called to walk beside others, helping out where things are messy, so that each individual can bring their best foot forward. As an educator, this is a timely reminder. How do I care for my students best, so that they are served and loved in a way that readies them to be led forward to becoming their best selves? May we each go forth in pursuit of ways to “wash the feet” of those around us, so that we may love and serve others, in the same way that we have been loved and cleansed by God.

 

After speaking with mom late yesterday afternoon, the biggest prayer is that her in-home therapies get going. Yesterday was a bit of a rest day, as she hadn’t really felt like doing much of anything. The day prior she had done a significant amount of walking, so I encouraged her that everyone needs an occasional rest day. My brother-in-love and nephew had just returned home from a short get-away, so the conversation was brief, and mom was eager to hear about their adventures. I am blown away by the kindness extended to me by my colleagues who are familial-like friends, as so many have checked in and inquired about mom. Several are praying and extending well-wishes, as they have been since the beginning.

 

With eyes open wide,Ambassadors of Love

It’s not hard to see;

Places to reach out,

Lend hand, meet a need.

We are created,

To love and to serve;

As Jesus loves us,

Not as is deserved.

Lord, help us to love,

Do so, tangibly;

So people feel known,

And hearts are set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love and serve one another. Thank You that You call us to come alongside one another and get in the trenches beside each other. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us for all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have been unwilling to serve in spaces where we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a heart like Yours. Show us how to love people with a servant’s heart, that is willing to step into the muck and help clear a way out. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us, in the way we are called to love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Forward without Fear

But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. – (John 6:20-21, NIV)

But He said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s Me.” When He said this, they were glad to take Him into the boat. And then the boat reached the shore at the place they wanted to go. – (John 6:20-21, ERV)

Jesus (to the disciples): I am the One. Don’t be afraid. They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination. – (John 6:20-21, VOICE)

 

Seriously? Why have I never caught the significance in this passage prior to this morning? Perhaps that is why this whole journey for me is called Revelations in Writing… I guess He shows me what I need to know, when I need to know it most.

Anyway, my giant aha this morning is that in the verses prior to the ones listed above, John (the Apostle), mentions that the disciples were three or four miles out from shore, in a storm. Previously, what had stood out to me, was that Jesus calmed the storm when He stepped into the boat; however, it goes far beyond the sudden stillness. Jesus miraculously moved them from three or four miles out in the middle of the tumultuous lake, to the specific spot on the shore that they had intended to go. For me, this is a tremendous reminder of God’s power to move us miraculously in His timing. Jesus was well aware of where the disciples were rowing on the lake; He knew where they were headed and where they needed to go. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly where my mom is heading next from her current acute care facility; He sees and is fully aware of the work she is doing to propel herself to the next step, and He is with her and able to move her however He sees best, according to His miraculous timing. What He does between now and her projected transition to home date is in His hands. He sees and He knows her needs. The same greeting of “Don’t be afraid”, resonates today, as He is with us, every step of the way.

Mom is gaining new strength and confidence every day, as the “awakening” of her muscles continues. She is still waiting, desperately for it to work its way down to her hand and foot, but her perseverance and commitment to the challenging work is inspiring and full of hope. May we ever rely on the same God who can meet us stranded at sea in the midst of a storm, and in an instant, move us to the safety of the shore.

 

No matter the space,quiet-hope-e1516279596955.jpg

You find yourself in;

Jesus is nearby,

He knows where and when.

The very same God,

Who calmed stormy seas;

Can take us ashore,

Bring peace within me.

God sees all our needs,

And hears ev’ry prayer;

He’s faithful always,

Present to show care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us in new ways through Your word, when we need it most. Thank You that when You walked on water in the midst of a storm, You not only calmed the storm, but You took the disciples from the middle of a space that was far from the safety of the shore, and instantly moved them to the place that they were headed. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust beyond what our eyes can see and our hearts can understand. God, we are trusting and believing for the miraculous. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that we are ever aware of the miracles that are made new every morning that we rise and draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk by faith and not by sight, for You are a faithful and loving God forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

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

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

How God Provides

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. – (Luke 9:17, NIV)

They all ate until they were full. And there was a lot of food left. Twelve baskets were filled with the pieces of food that were not eaten. – (Luke 9:17, ERV)

They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! – (Luke 9:17, NLT)

 

This passage of scripture in Luke is an excellent reminder of how God provides. The disciples presented their need to Jesus, and He took the little that they had and multiplied it miraculously. God works the same way with us today. If we are willing to bring before Him, what we have as we present our need, He multiplies our offering to provide more than enough of whatever is essential to do what needs to be done. I have known His faithful provision in countless ways. His multiplication is not limited to food and finances. God has done the same with faith, hope, love, sleep, strength, peace and more. He hears and knows our need, and is faithful to meet us with more than enough to navigate the course to which we are called. Right now, I am reveling in the remarkable room to rest that He has granted at just the right time. May we ever seek the Lord in our need, knowing that He is able to multiply whatever we bring before Him.

 

The God of all grace,

img_2019-04-06_07-15-265858398548787657530.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Knows and sees our need;

He meets us in love,

His strength to proceed.

Move forward in faith,

Despite what we see;

The Lord is able,

Miraculously.

Where there’s too little,

God can make much more;

Provide what’s needed,

There’s so much in store.

His storehouse is full,

He’s generous to give;

All that is needed,

To completely live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that meets us in our need and multiplies whatever we offer before You. Thank You that this is not limited to food, but rather You utilize the same power with every sort of need we encounter as we pursue in faith, the path You have placed before us. Forgive us for our fear of not having or being enough when we cannot see how the lack can ever possibly be fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always more than enough, and love us in tangible ways. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your grace and abundant provision discernible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all that we have and all that we are before You, trusting that Your Spirit within us will always make a way. Amen.

 

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

 

It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His Name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. – Jeremiah 31:35

See It Through

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. – (Acts 5:39, NIV) 

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be fighting against God himself! – (Acts 5:39, ERV) 

But then again, if God is in this, you won’t be able to stop it – unless, of course, you’re ready to fight against God! – (Acts 5:39, VOICE) 

 

When God calls us to something, He is faithful to see it through. The people and things that seem to create obstacles will not succeed, as long as we depend on the Lord. This is a great reminder, as the disciples had to face the Sanhedrin, which very easily could have been the end of them, however, a wise leader among them spoke truth on their behalf, leading to their release. What seemed an impossible situation in the eyes of mankind, was already taken care of by God. He is faithful to His word, and will see us through, all that we are called to do. May we not allow our circumstances or that which is seen, deter our faith in the outcome of what is asked of us. If God is for us, who can stand against us? 

 

When we choose answer, Numbered Days and Wise Ways

Whatever the call; 

God will empower, 

See us through it all. 

For nothing can stand, 

That tries to deter; 

Our God is greater, 

And true to His word. 

Let us choose stand strong, 

Keep moving with trust; 

God will not fail us, 

He’s faithful and just. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to equip and empower us to do whatever it is that You call us to. Thank You that any who come against what You are working to accomplish in and through us, will find themselves fighting against You. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see how You are moving. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever to Your word and to those who trust in Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and helps move people in the direction to which You are calling. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forge forward in faith in all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

Love Comes Near

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I love you. – (John 13:34, ERV) 

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE) 

 

On the same night that Jesus was betrayed, He shared a last meal together with His disciples. After they had eaten, He spoke the words above to them. Each of the disciples had walked with, learned from, listened to, and had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves how deeply and completely Jesus loved. When He spoke the words, they understood what Jesus was calling them to do. In the same way, we are commanded and called to love. We are not called to set limits and qualifications as to whom and how we love, but rather we are called to love one another deeply and fully, just as Jesus loves each of us. It is not always an easy calling, but it is always worthwhile when we follow through. His love makes way where there seems to be no way and softens even the hardest of hearts. May we rise up and be ready to forge forward in faith and love one another in the same way that He loves each of us. 

 

We have been given, Ambassadors of Love

A command to love; 

To love like Jesus, 

As He so loves us. 

Love that is faithful, 

Trustworthy, sincere; 

That’s freely given, 

And chooses come near. 

Love without limits, 

Nor rules to receive; 

By grace, it’s given, 

Because we believe. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful and generous love for each of us. Thank You that You both call and command us to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You equip and empower us to give the very same love that we have received to all whom we encounter. Forgive us for withholding love in spaces where it is needed most. Teach us to trust You more, as You loved us when we were most unlovable so that we could do the same for others. Show us how to love like You, so that many may come to know the depth and fullness of Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us to overflowing so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by You. 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

Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. 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

Trust His Will

But then again, if God is in this, you won’t be able to stop it – unless, of course, you’re ready to fight against God! – (Acts 5:39, VOICE)

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be fighting against God Himself! – (Acts 5:39, ERV)

 

Just as the religious counsel recognized that though they did not like the path the disciples were taking, they really needed to wait and see what was to happen. If it fizzled, it was of human origin, yet if it continued, they would have been opposing God. The same often holds true today. We see friends or family following a path that might not make sense to us, however, they feel it is where the Lord is leading them. Rather than oppose them, we ought to prayerfully support their endeavors, and ask that the Lord continue to show them the way they are meant to go. Our opposition may be in direct violation of God’s will. We are not God, nor can we determine His will for another man’s life. May we be wise with our counsel and encouraging with our words, so that whatever we do, our words and deeds direct those who are seeking unto the Lord.

 

The path of a man,given-to-show-goodness

Is paved by the Lord;

He’ll show us the way,

As He opens doors.

Although to others,

It might not make sense;

We’re meant to follow,

Trust there’s no pretense.

Though we may not see,

Where other’s paths lead;

We need trust God’s will,

It’s how to proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your will for us is good. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that we are all designed differently to walk the road that You have laid out for us, individually. Thank You that You equip and empower us for whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for questioning the call that You have on our lives or the lives of those around us, despite what our human eyes can see. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait in trust, knowing that You move in mysterious ways, even when we cannot see how You are moving. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they seek to be obedient to that which they have been called to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10