Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Tend to This Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So, we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

 

Each one of us who claims Christ as our King, is a temple in which His Spirit dwells. Our charge, as one who tends His temple, is to be mindful of our body and spirit, so as to nourish our very being with what we take in. When we fuel and care for our bodies well and spend time in His word, our thoughts align with His and our bodies are better equipped to do that to which we are called. The decision to be wise with what we opt consume – physically, mentally and emotionally, is an act of reverence to the very One who created us. May we make clean breaks from all that distracts or defiles us so that we may become fit and holy temples for He who dwells within us.

 

Lord, help us be wise, strength-in-waiting

With things that we choose;

For heart, mind and soul,

Your way, let’s pursue.

In You, there is truth,

Love, laughter and light;

Sound mind and body,

True space of delight.

Lord, may this temple,

Be prepared for You;

Help me to tend well,

And walk in Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You created each one of us to be a temple for Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the care of either body, mind or spirit, as all work together for You. Teach us to trust You more, as You lead and provide what we need to be a suitable space for Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models and provides care for mind, body and spirit in each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide the decisions we make about how to best tend the temple You have provided. Amen.

 

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

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

Trusted Safe Space

Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection. – (Proverbs 30:5, NLT)

You can trust this: Every word that God speaks is true. God is a safe place for those who go to Him. – (Proverbs 30:5, ERV)

Every word of God will be put to the test and proven true; He is a defense for those who trust in Him. – (Proverbs 30:5, VOICE)

 

God is our guardian – physically, emotionally and spiritually, if we choose to place our trust in Him. I have known His protection in my life and the lives of my loved ones in truly tangible ways. Guarded hearts, protected bodies, and minds, made safe in His hands – our shield and our shelter are sound when sought in our Savior. May we ever trust in His word, for it is truth, and seek Him to be our safety in our every storm.

 

The word of the Lord, Rest in the Rock

Is truth and is light;

For what the Lord says,

He does and makes right.

God’s our protector,

Our trusted safe space;

Heart, mind and body,

Safe in His embrace.

So ever seek Him,

For He shall prove true;

Protection and hope,

He’s the word of truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is true and that we can trust in You to be our safe space – body, heart and mind. Forgive us for seeking security anywhere other than in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the truth of Your word and the promises of Your protection. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates truth and provides safety in spaces that often feel uncertain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your word and Your protection in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

 

 

From Peace to Health

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, NLT)

A serene heart can add years to one’s life. – (Proverbs 14:30a, VOICE)

Peace of mind makes the body healthy. – (Proverbs 14:30a, ERV)

A sound mind makes for a robust body. – (Proverbs 14:30a, MSG)

 

Our head, heart and body are all intricately interwoven by our Maker. When one is not well, the other two are affected also. It is no wonder that peace is so often mentioned in the Bible, for when our heart is at peace, our mind and body follow.

I have experienced seasons in my own life, where peace was seriously lacking. Though I sought and loved the Lord, my mind and heart were wrestling to grasp His peace in my surroundings. The unrest actually took a terrible toll on my body, and it got to the point that I had to make a change for my health – physically, emotionally and spiritually. When I moved in obedience to that which I had been called – the space that delivered me from the chaos to a place of peace – I suddenly found peace again. Not only was peace restored to my heart and mind, but my body began to be restored as well. With a renewed sense of His peace, it was well with my soul.

This is not to say that I have perfected finding His peace amidst the chaos. However, I have seen and know how faithful our Father is to meet us in the middle of our mess if we are only willing to allow Him entry. As we choose to walk in obedience, the direction to which we are called, His peace permeates our existence, regardless of what surrounds us. May we allow the Lord to be the peace of our hearts and minds, so that we may know the beauty that His presence brings to all things – body, mind and soul.

 

The God of all peace,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

Wants our hearts to know;

That in Him we’ll find,

Calm where chaos flows.

When the Lord’s peace comes,

Our health is restored;

Heart, body and mind,

Come let us adore.

We need choose listen,

And then opt obey;

For His perfect peace,

In love, lights our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find peace. Thank You that when we have peace in our hearts, our bodies and minds know peace too. Thank You that our health and wellness are found in You, not in our surroundings. Thank You that even in times of great chaos, we can have peace in Your presence. Forgive us for our anxiousness that sits idle, rather than reaches out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You and listen to Your direction, as You are faithful to lead us to Your place of peace, regardless of the wreckage around us. Show us how to love those around us who are desperate for Your peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You – the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to permeate our bodies, minds and souls, no matter our circumstances or surroundings. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Sore

When muscles are reactivated that have not been utilized in a while, the morning after tends to be a bit sore. This applies both physically and emotionally. The very tangible and real version of this is the physical for me this morning, as yesterday morning I actually ran up sets of stairs at a local high school stadium. I’d hoped that a short run in the afternoon would help prevent this sort of soreness this morning, but too much time had passed and the muscles were already taxed. I have experienced this emotionally as well. After allowing myself to actually sit and experience, process or be present in whatever I was meant to face, I would discover that the next day I felt the same sort of weariness within my heart.

Our minds, bodies and hearts are meant to be utilized in the unique way that God designed them. For some, that includes strenuous exercise often, whereas with others, it is simply to move each day. However, with our minds and hearts, we are all meant to pursue Him with all that we are, and be willing to allow Him access to all. For me, the access portion is the hardest part, as it requires vulnerability and a willingness to face the difficult. I know for some, the physical is far more taxing; for others, the investing of the mind. Each of us are designed with different strengths, yet we are all called to continue to pursue Christ, even in our areas of weakness.

 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV)

 

Though we will become weary and sore, He calls us to keep moving towards Him. The more we move our hearts, bodies and minds, the stronger they become and the less frequent the episodes of fatigue. The Lord sustains and renews all who hope in Him. May we choose to persevere in our pursuit of Christ, as He answers all who call on His Name.

 

When we do the things,Sore

We’ve not often done;

Weariness invades,

Leaving us undone.

The Lord’s ever near,

Ready to supply;

Strength to the weary,

Hope that helps us fly.

When our feet stumble,

The Lord takes our hand;

Shows us solid ground,

Where it’s safe to land.

Let not the weary,

The fear of the sore;

Keep hearts from pursuit,

Of all of God’s more.

With body and mind,

And with our hearts too;

Let us keep seeking,

The Lord and His truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may become sore, weary and tired when we seek to use that which You’ve given us in ways that we haven’t in a while, You meet us where we are and show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that the more often we utilize that which we have been given, the less often soreness from inactivity seeps in. Forgive us for not utilizing our bodies, minds and hearts in the ways in which You have designed them for us, individually. Teach us to trust You more, allowing You access in all areas, so that we would grow ever closer to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too would see the strength that You provide and the loving kindness You give to all those who choose abide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are unto You, and trust You to lead and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Our Safe Place Forever

So trust in the Lord always, because in the Lord you have a place of safety forever. – (Isaiah 26:4, ERV)

Though our basic human needs are food, water, shelter and clothing, I think that emotionally, we all have a natural need for safety and security within us. Safety is often sought in a variety of spaces, but is never truly found until we trust in the Lord. In Christ, we find the promises of God. There is nothing quite so safe nor secure as the promised hope of eternity with Christ. As we trust in the Lord, our assurance in His nearness increases, and we know that we are safe in Him. May we trust in the Lord always, and be ever aware of our place of safety in Him.

Let’s trust in the Lord,Do Not Dismay

meets us in our need;

He is our safe place,

where all fear must heed.

Secure in His love,

because He is good;

His promises true,

and hope understood.

We need not worry,

nor give way to fear;

for Christ is with us,

always He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You always, and that You are our place of safety forever. Thank You that no matter what comes, we have the promise of our eternity secured in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt when life gets tumultuous and overwhelming, and help us to trust You more, so that we will seek You and rely on You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may come to know the safety and security found in Your love and grace. May many choose to receive the hope held in Your embrace. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our safe place forever, and live our lives accordingly. 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

He’ll Lead On Level Ground

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

As I begin the first day of the second week of school, this is a great way to begin my day. I need His guidance in all that I do, and His Spirit to lead and guide me in the way that is best. This carries over into every area of my life – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and inter-personally. How I go about my day matters. My attitude and approach to all that I do, impacts not only my own children, but more than one-hundred other children each day as well. Add to that all of my colleagues and countless others that I encounter in a day, and how I navigate can have either a positive influence on many, or can be a terrible taste in the mouths of far more than I care to count. It is essential that I am dialed into the Lord and His will, in order to be led in the direction to which I am called. May we each seek the Lord each day as we rise, trusting Him to show us His way, as He leads us over level ground on the path which He has prepared for us.

God, show me Your way,I Will Go

so I may walk well;

following Your lead,

let my life truth tell.

May Your Spirit show,

the path I’m to take;

and Your love light shine,

through choices I make.

May each word I speak,

give glory to You;

and each act be done,

as worship that’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us what You want us to do. Thank You that Your good Spirit leads us over level ground. Thank You that You are our God. Forgive us for not seeking You and attempting to go forth in our own strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things at all times, as You are our Source and Supply. Lead us to love others well, so they too may come to know the grace and goodness that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, and allow Your Spirit to lead us over level ground. 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

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?   Yesterday, as we gathered together for our Sunday service, that was the morning’s topic. The question was not posed in a typical sermon format, but rather our pastor had several different people from our church come forward and share part of their own story. About six months ago, just as we began the new year, we invested together in a series called  Into the Wild. The premise of the series was all about how we are called on a journey, and as we journey it is wild, but we have His promises and His presence as we go. Each person who shared their story, spoke of a portion of the adventure God had been taking them on over the past many months. All had the common thread of His promise and His presence that they held onto, even when the path before them seemed to be unmarked, and the ground unstable. Each one, was evidence of His faithfulness, as they had walked in obedience where they had been called.

 

This morning, I caught a glimpse of the bulletin. There in the top row, sits my smiling face, waiting to tell a story. At first, I kind of complained to the Lord, as I do not have as concrete of a path as some of the stories told yesterday. The gentle nudge did not let up, so I shall attempt to speak of the story He has been writing in me, as I have willingly walked into the wild…

 

By nature, I am an introvert. To those who know me, this is no great surprise, especially if observed in a large group. Also, as a result of both environment and of choice, I had become a very closed individual emotionally, and was unwilling to allow others to see past the smile. “The Wild” for me, has been a journey of learning to be vulnerable with trustworthy individuals. Willingness to share my heart, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes – without reservation, has been both a foreign and freeing phenomenon. Though I have in no way “arrived“, there is a visible change in my willingness to be “real” with those whom I trust, and I find myself opening my heart to more people than I ever thought I would. I know that I am still wandering in this portion of wilderness, yet He is with me, leading me, guiding me, and holding my hand as I travel in trust. Greater things are yet to come, and I look forward to all that He has for me – for all of us.

 

You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. – (Acts 22:15)

 

We are His, and no one can dispute what He has done in our lives, personally. Our story, is ours. He uses what we are willing to offer. May we be His mouthpiece to touch lives and transform communities.

 

What is your story?

What has Jesus done?

The trials you’ve faced,

the battles you’ve won?

Where have you wandered?

Where has your heart been?

Has He brought you through,

time and time again?

Think of the little,

as well as the large;Your Story

He’s ever present,

wherever you are.

Every aspect,

of each of our lives;

matter to Jesus,

that is why He died.

He willingly took,

every stain and scar;

so as we journey,

we’ll know Whose we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us has a story. Thank You that our story is not a quick read, but rather one with many chapters. Thank You that our adventure into the wild does not end when You walk us through a challenging season, but rather, You call us to adventure with You our entire lives. Thank You that You are always present, and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we step out into the unknown. Make us courageous and strong to trust You in all things and at all times. Help us to clearly hear Your voice, so that we know which way we are meant to travel. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as an obedient offering. Be exalted, O God, through the story You are writing on our hearts. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

Expressing Gratitude

“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on Him.” – (Matthew 8:14-15)

 

Peter’s mother-in-law’s response to the miraculous was immediate. She did not delay, but set right away, to serve the Savior, out of her heart of gratitude. She is an excellent example of how we ought to express our gratitude to God, as He too, has so often rescued and healed each one of us. Additionally, we have the promised hope of our heavenly home to hold, as our reason to give thanks. How we love and serve others, is a way that we are able to express our gratitude to God.

 

The touch of His hand,Expressing Gratitude

has made our hearts whole;

let our lives give thanks,

praise to Christ, extol.

May we serve others,

as He has served us;

let our existence,

reflect Lord Jesus.

With hope in our hearts,

and praise on our lips;

may we serve Him well,

as we’ve been equipped.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us as we are, and that Your love brings healing to our hurts – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank You that we can respond immediately to Your touch by stepping up to serve. Forgive us for thinking we have nothing to offer, or for being “too busy” to step out. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, so that we may be ever aware of what You have done, and what we have to hold in hope, so that we cannot help but long to serve out of a heart full of thanks and praise. May many come to know You, as we express our gratitude to You, our great and glorious God. Be glorified in all that we say and do. 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