The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Strength to the Weary

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have not might He increases strength. – (Isaiah 40:29, NKJV)

 

So far, this week has felt extraordinarily long, and we are only two days in, out of four. I am not sure whether it is all of the snow and missed days that we have had the last few weeks, or the full moon, or perhaps the onset of gymnastics season that extends my work day by a couple of hours; but whatever it is, these past two days have felt longer than most, leaving me worn out by early into the evening. Incredibly, each morning is new, and fresh resolve and readiness greet me as I wake. Though feeling tired, I have managed to complete the things required of me with the energy needed. His help and strength have been tangibly present, as if left to my own devices, I might have otherwise tapped out. With fresh eyes, I recognize there is only one more wake-up after today, and that is not beyond what He has granted me strength to do. May we seek the Lord for the strength we need, as He is our Source and Supply, ever near to meet us with His power and presence.

 

When tired and weary,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Strength is all but gone;

Reach out to Jesus,

Who will lead us on.

He equips with strength,

His grace, grants power;

To keep moving forth,

His love empowers.

No matter the task,

Whatever the call;

He’s strength when we’re weak,

He’ll lead us through all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength when we feel weak, and You empower us when we feel depleted. Thank You for Your grace and love that get us through our longest days. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, or for tapping out when we are called to keep moving. Teach us to find balance between the strength and rest to which we are called. Show us how to encourage and support those around us in Your loving kindness as they feel depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply the strength we are lacking, so that we may accomplish each day, what You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Step Out of the Boat

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV) 

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, ERV) 

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really You, then have me join You on the water!” “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So, Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, TPT) 

 

Peter’s desire to know the truth about Jesus was tremendous. After just having been caught in treacherous wind and waves, and out of seemingly nowhere, witnessing Jesus walking up to the boat on the water, Peter called out to Jesus and asked to join Him where He was. As a fisherman, Peter knew the danger in the midst of the storm, and the risk of drowning in the depths of the sea. However, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter’s desire to be with Jesus, where He was, despite having to step out of the safety of the boat that actually floated, he called to Jesus and asked to be where He was. Jesus told him to “come”. Incredibly, Peter chose to step out of the security of sitting in the boat and set both feet on the water, trusting that Jesus, who called him, could empower him to do what Jesus was doing. Though we know how the story goes, and that Peter, as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, began to sink; yet Peter is the only one other than Jesus to ever experience walking on water. Both his faith and desire to be where Jesus was, empowered him to do what Jesus was doing. Peter asked, Jesus answered, and Peter stepped out of the boat. What does it take for us to step out of our “boat”? We ask, He answers and we have to choose to take that first few steps. Often, we never set foot out of the boat. Additionally, when we feel ourselves sinking, do we call out to Christ, or dive back in the boat? Jesus is trustworthy and will not let us sink. Just as He did for Peter, He will take our hand and keep us afloat. May we seek the Lord for the ways in which He wants us to draw ever nearer to Him, and be willing to step out of our space of comfort and safety, so that we too, may experience the wonder of walking with Him in ways we never thought possible. 

 

Lord, help us to trust, step out of the boat

Despite what we see; 

Help us move to You, 

Our place of safety. 

May we choose step out, 

Of that which we know; 

With eyes on You, Lord, 

So our faith may grow. 

No matter the wind, 

Nor waves that surround; 

To place trust in You, 

Is hope that is sound. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You answer and are present with us. Thank You that You show Yourself faithful each time we trust and move toward You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our circumstances to cloud our sight line. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, no matter the storms that come our way, and ever press on toward You and where You call us closer to You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the security that is in Your presence, rather than the space they are in right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we step out of what we know to move ever closer to You. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

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

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Demonstrate Gentleness

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, TLB)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

This verse could be the motto of most classrooms across the country. Daily, it would be a reminder to ourselves to be gentle and patient, extending love, especially toward those who challenge our patience the most. I know this is true in most working environments as well. Each of us would benefit from both extending and receiving more kindness and grace, as we choose love over being right and kindness above returning insults, injuries or injustice that we feel has been given to us. People act out of their brokenness, and often when they receive what they know they do not deserve, (patience, gentleness, kindness, love…) it completely shifts their outlook, and their words and actions adjust as well.

 

Be patient, gentle,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

In true humbleness;

Choose to love others,

In kindness, seek bless.

Forgive people’s faults,

As it’s proven true;

We all will fall short,

In need of grace too.

The hardest to love,

Oft need it the most;

In humility,

Choose give grace foremost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us when we were the least loveable. Thank You that You continue to be patient, kind and full of grace. Forgive us for not extending the very things that we have so abundantly been given to those who need it the most. Teach us to trust You more to equip and empower us to respond in humility, patience and love, even when it is the opposite of what we would like to do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them understand their infinite worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to treat those around us with the same incredible loving kindness that You so abundantly give unto us. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

Charged to Choose

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, VOICE)

 

This charge, given by Paul to the church of Corinth in the closing of his second letter, is also for all of us today. As we determine to rejoice despite our circumstances, seek to be at peace with those around us, encourage each other, make amends where there is brokenness, and strive to be united in purpose, God, who is the source of all love and peace, will be present. Though at times it seems impossible to reach such a place of peace with particular people, God is capable of the miraculous and can make a way where there seems to be no way. It is not up to us to change hard hearts, but rather to continue to encourage, love and seek peace as we are called to do. The heart change is in His hands, our part is to love and do what we can to make things right. May we ever seek our Savior to equip us to love, encourage, seek peace, repair what is broken and choose to rejoice; always.

 

Let us choose rejoice,Charged to Choose

In each circumstance;

God goes before us,

He knows in advance.

The Source of all love,

The Bearer of peace;

He creates a way,

As grace is released.

Called to encourage,

And make all things right;

Choose lift others up,

In purpose, unite.

Brothers and sisters,

Be filled with His joy;

His presence remains,

As Love’s given voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to rejoice, restore, encourage, unite and be at peace with the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the love to do these things with those who challenge us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all, and You love each of Your created, fiercely. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, unites, restores, and brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in all things and seek You to empower us to do all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Stand Firm and Love Well

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, VOICE)

Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, TPT)

 

With so many ideas and influences bombarding us day in and day out, it is critical that we guard our hearts and minds, and know with certainty, what we believe. It takes courage and strength to remain strong in our convictions, yet when we remember, above all, to allow love to lead in every part of our being – our life, our words and our actions, there are less often challenges to the faith on which we stand. Because I know what I believe and try to allow love to be my motivation behind all that I say and do, I have had amazing, peaceful and kind conversations with friends that hold opposing viewpoints to my own. We do not need to view the world the same way to choose to love, and love and kindness do not soften the strength of one’s faith. May we listen and be aware of what influences are surrounding us so that we can have courage to stand strong in our faith. Above all, let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that we do.

 

We need to listen,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Choose to be aware;

Know well our beliefs,

And cover with prayer.

In strength, choose to stand,

By faith, for what’s true;

Take courage in Christ,

He’s always with you.

Let love and kindness,

Above all, prevail;

In word, deed and life,

Love shall never fail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and Your Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in what is good and true. Thank You that You not only call us to be strong and courageous in our faith, but You equip and empower us to do so. Thank You that the greatest call we are given is to love You and love people. Forgive us for the things that have not demonstrated love to You or to Your created. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us with our words, deeds and the very life we lead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in our faith and lead lives of love. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Help in His Name

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, NIV)

God’s strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth. – (Psalm 124:8, MSG)

For the same God who made everything, our Creator and our Mighty Maker, He himself is our helper and defender! – (Psalm 124:8, TPT)

 

Today is the day that we will travel to Wenatchee, the place where my Viking and I will wed. Our intent was to leave this morning, so that we would have three full days there to prepare prior to the main event. As it turns out, the process of moving my boys and me out of our old home and into the new, takes far longer than anticipated, and our drive will not begin until late this afternoon. The past two days have been spent tirelessly working to pack and move and move some more. To look at what is yet to be done seems daunting, yet I know that all will be done as we seek Him for strength to press on. The very same God who made everything, is able to equip and empower us to finish all that must be done – both here and in Wenatchee. Though our departure time is going to be later than planned, I am certain that His timing is perfect, and all that needs to be done, will be. May we ever seek our Mighty Maker to be our help and our strength, for He is faithful forever to all who trust in Him.

 

The Name of the Lord,

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Post work party dinner above and an example of things waiting to find a place to be stored… ❤

Our strength and our song;

He helps in our need,

All to carry on.

For great is His Name,

Our God, He is near;

Our help and our hope,

Our lifter of fear.

All strength for today,

And in all to come;

Blessed is the Lord,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, help and hope in all things and at all times. Thank You that nothing is impossible for You. Thank You that You meet us each time we call on Your Name. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and You see every need before it arises. Forgive us for our frustration and concerns when things do not go according to our plans. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to come alongside those around us in love, so that we may strengthen and support those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength and our Help, for You are near. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7