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

Faith is Expressed Through Love

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith – the kind of faith that works through love. – (Galatians 5:6, ERV)

When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to Him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love. – (Galatians 5:6, TPT)

 

God is not interested in whether or not we follow religious rituals, but rather He wants our hearts. Faith is the expression of our trust in action, made evident by the attestation of our love. As we love consistently and lavishly, God’s heart is made known. May we ever seek our Savior to express our faith through love in action, so that His love may be made evident to all.

 

Lord, help Your children, Love that Grows

Grow faith in our hearts;

Perfected by love,

By grace, set apart.

Lead us each day, Lord,

To love with our lives;

Set faith in action,

Your heart realized.

Our walking in faith,

Makes God’s heart more clear;

As we love like Christ,

People feel Him near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that You have for us all. Thank You that faith is not about religious rituals, but rather it is about relationship. Thank You that our faith grows as we walk forward in love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, or have somehow thought we needed to do certain things to earn love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the love that You freely give, and in turn, love others in the same way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that builds faith and extends grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your abundant love and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Radically Rooted

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, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

Yesterday’s message at church was about living a “radical” life for Christ. Pastor Omar did not just present that term and continue forward, as if everyone had a shared understanding of the word and the way in which he intended its use, but rather he unpacked its Latin origin and the intent of what he was conveying. Radical, from its Latin origin, means to be rooted in. As people who are seeking to follow after Christ and do His will, it is critical that we are rooted in Him, in order to do His will and walk in His way. We are only able to walk forward in a willingness to experience discomfort when we know who we are in Christ, and who He is to us. As we surrender to Christ and continue to allow Him room to challenge and grow us, we begin to bear His fruit that lasts. The fruit that makes a heart after His known, is the very fruit that Galatians 5:22-23 unpacks. May we ever seek to deepen our roots and nurture our relationship with the Father, so that our lives may readily extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control towards all whom we encounter.

When I called to talk to mom yesterday, I was greeted by the voice of my eldest nephew. It was a treat to catch up with him, and know that the family was all enjoying time together with mom. Mom and the family had just returned from church for the second week in a row, and I know that the opportunity to do so, creates a bit more normalcy for her. In the evening, she and my sister and brother-in-love escaped for time out together, and appeared to have had a wonderful time. It is so good to see the smiles and know that mom is finding the courage to get out and go places. She is in great company, and good fruit is being extended between each of them, one to another.

 

Choose to be rooted, Radically Rooted

Established in Christ;

Surrendered to God,

Let Him lead our lives.

As we choose follow,

Willingly obey;

He stretches and grows,

Leads us in His way.

As we are willing,

He grows within us;

Fruit of the Spirit,

That mirror Jesus.

Love, peace and patience,

And gentleness too;

Kindness, faithfulness,

Care in all we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invest our hearts, minds and time into relationship with You, we become rooted and established in a right relationship that bears fruit that lasts. Thank You that the fruit You have for us is good fruit to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside our roots and operated in our own ugliness. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your fruit wherever we go and whatever we are doing. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue a heart after You, and choose to be willing to be uncomfortable so that we can grow. Amen.

 

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

 

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – Psalm 119:64

 

 

Modeled Love

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

To Bear Good Fruit

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, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard- things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. – (Galatians 5:22-23, MSG)

 

Social media has been a valuable tool for me to stay connected with friends all over the world. I delight in sharing bits of life with those who are too far away to see in person. Sadly, there are those who use it to lash out in anger at anyone who does not share the same opinion on current “hot topics”. When words are exchanged in anger, without seeking the Spirit to be in the center, greater divisions grow between those who formerly considered one another friends. My hope is to be a purveyor of peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, rather than a wrecking ball. May we ever seek the Lord and the fruit that His Spirit within us produces, instead of allowing said fruit to drop off and rot away.

 

God is our compass, To Bear Good Fruit

His love points the way;

To love as He loves,

Let Him in to stay.

Through Him we bear fruit,

That blesses with peace;

Choose give love away,

With reckless release.

Freely and boldly,

Give peace, love and joy;

Patience and kindness,

Gentleness employ.

Let’s choose self-control,

Not seek to be right;

There’s not a winner,

When we aren’t polite.

Let’s seek to listen,

Choose peace and be kind;

More is accomplished,

When hearts are aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grow in us that which is meant to be shared with others. Thank You that the fruit You plant is good. Forgive us for allowing that which has been planted within us to rot and waste away rather than be used to nourish the people whom You place all around us. Teach us how to operate in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us so that Your fruit may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love in a way that bears Your fruit. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth 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

 

 

The Appeal of Good Fruit

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

 

It is commonly recognized that we become like those with whom we spend time. If we are intentional to invest time with our Savior, He grows His traits in us through His Spirit who dwells within us. Despite people’s opinions about faith, none can oppose the fruit produced in us by God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, create the makings of humans that are a pleasure to be around. People are drawn to those who exhibit such fruit in their lives. May we ever seek time with our Savior to grow in us such fruit, so that our existence will nourish those around us.

 

Oh Lord, grow in me,

dsc043471775591435.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The fruit of Your love;

That Your Spirit grows,

As You’re sought above.

Help me to show love,

Peace, patience, kindness;

Faithfulness, goodness,

Control, gentleness.

For there is no law,

Against these great things;

As they grow in us,

This fruit we shall bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invest time with You, You grow in us fruit that feeds the hearts of those around us. Please grow in us each of these things, so that we may extend the fullness of Your love to those around us. Forgive us for not seeking You or allowing You to grow and refine us. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your Spirit within us would produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Show us how to extend each of these to those around us, so that they may know Your love in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us to be more like You, so that we may love as You love. 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

Free to Love and Serve

For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do to destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

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

 

We are no longer bound by Levitical law, but rather we have been set free by the sacrifice of Christ, to choose to follow Him. A life in Christ is not about living according to the letter of the laws of rituals, but instead it is all about opting to engage in a life of love. If our priority is choosing to love God and love people, we will use our freedom well and do what is pleasing before God. When we elect to engage in sin, we grieve the heart of God and abuse the freedom that was granted in love. May we ever seek to love the Lord and those He places in our path, and trust Him to help us lead a life that honors Him.

 

Brothers and sisters,Generous Giving

We each have been called;

To live in freedom,

By grace, not by law.

The freedom we have,

Is not meant for sin;

But rather to love,

And let others in.

In our gift to choose,

May we opt to serve;

Love as we are loved,

So hope can be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that it is not freedom to do wrong, but rather to make the choice to follow You and live a life of love because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Forgive us for abusing our freedom and not allowing Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love in all things. Help us to love and serve one another as Jesus loved and served. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve as You have shown us what it is to love and serve. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. 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

The Only Thing That Counts

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – (Galatians 5:6b, NIV)

 

We are called to do two things: Love God, and love people. If we, by faith, choose to pursue a life of doing both, we seek to honor and serve the Lord as an expression of our love to Him. Additionally, the more in tune with God we become, the more naturally we pour out to others, from the overflow of our hearts. As we understand the love and sacrifice that has been given unto us, how much more do we desire to love well, all those who are around us? May we choose to actively pursue a life of faith expressed in love, both toward God, who is love, and to all those who surround us.

 

All of our efforts,the-only-thing-that-counts

To try to be good;

Are wasted, in vain,

Lest love’s understood.

For God does not want,

A list of what’s done;

He wants us to love,

Just as did His Son.

Our faith in the Lord,

Will help us express;

The love that’s in us,

The way that is best.

At the end of days,

What shall count above;

Is our faith in God,

And how we chose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what counts to You is our faith expressing itself through love. Thank You that You do not leave us to muster up enough faith to love well, but rather as we pursue You, You meet us and equip us with faith that expresses itself naturally through loving You and others well. Forgive us for not choosing to love when it is difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love the seemingly unlovable, as they often are those who need Your love made tangible the most. Grant us wisdom to know when to persist and when to walk away. Lead us to be Your heart and voice of love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You with all that we are, and in faith, love You and love people as we have been called. 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

Freedom to Love

For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

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

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

 

When we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we are set free from the bonds of sin. No longer are we enslaved to our sinful selves, but rather we are forgiven and granted the freedom to move forward as Christ is calling us to move. This freedom is not our ticket to do whatever we please, but instead, to seek to do that which pleases the Lord. In Christ, there is nothing that hinders us from loving and serving those around us, and as we do, we are living our lives as God intended. May we rise up in freedom from our former selves, and seek to love and serve all those whom God places on our path.

 

Where we were once trapped,butterflies

Enslaved by our sin;

In Christ we’re set free,

Made right from within.

The freedom we gain,

To love and to serve;

Offering our thanks,

For life undeserved.

As we extend love,

Others may too see;

The goodness of God,

And how love sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have freedom. Thank You that our freedom is not to do whatever we want, but rather we are set free from our former sinful selves, and granted the strength and grace to go forth and love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Forgive us for abusing the freedom that we have been granted, and teach us to trust You more so that we would walk in Your ways and live in the light of Your truth. Show us how to love and serve others, just as You have done for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the freedom that You have granted, and go forth to serve one another in love. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19