Faith is an Action Word

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. – (James 2:26, NLT) 

A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith – faith that does nothing is dead. – (James 2:26, ERV) 

Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse. – (James 2:26, VOICE) 

 

Faith is a verb. It is an action word that requires something of us to exist. Our decisions to step out beyond ourselves and do the things that God calls us to, are those that define and breathe life into faith. Just as we have no life without breath, faith has not formed without follow through. Faith grows as we continue to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Each new step fortifies our faith and makes it tangible. May we move forward in faith, ever trusting in God, who grants all that we need, so that our faith will grow and His faithfulness show, in all that we say and do. 

 

Lord, lead us forward,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To trust and obey; 

So faith may take root, 

You do what You say. 

The things that You ask, 

Require we choose faith; 

A trust that steps out, 

Certain of God’s grace. 

As we choose to trust, 

Allow faith to rise; 

We see You move, Lord, 

Before our own eyes. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not a mere idea nor theory, but rather it is an intentional action as we move forward, trusting that You are who You say You are, and that You will do what You say You will do. Forgive us for the times that our faith has faltered and we have stayed stagnant when You call us to move. Teach us to trust You more, ever leading us to take steps in the direction You call us to move. Show us how to love those around us in a way that inspires faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be people of faith-filled action. Amen.

 

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

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Perfectly Loved

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48, NIV) 

You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. – (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – (Matthew 5:48, CEB) 

 

When I read “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”I cannot fathom doing or being what I ought to become. However, the other two translations grant a bit more clarity as to what is being asked of us. Living generously and graciously toward others, and showing love toward everyone – these are tangibles to work with that are realistic with His help. Being “perfect” is the ongoing pursuit to live a life of love, just as we are loved by God. Though not one of us will get it right 100% of the time, continual pursuit of Him and His help, will lead us to better reflect the Lord through how we live. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may go forth and love completely, as we are completely loved. 

 

When we love fully,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We are doing well; 

To live as we’re asked, 

Of God’s grace, we tell. 

May we choose pursue, 

God’s help in all things; 

So we may reflect, 

The good His love brings. 

Wherever we go, 

Whatever we do; 

Allow His love lead, 

So His light shines through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “perfect” is the purposeful pursuit of loving completely, as we are completely loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek You to lead us and equip us to love like You. Teach us to operate in love in all things, so that Your heart will be evident to all. Show us how to love those around us perfectly, as Your love for us is perfect. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – Psalm 138:3

Gifts to Bless

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gifts He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

God created each of us with a gift that will bless and benefit those around us, if we choose to walk out our days with the purpose for which we were designed. We do not need to go searching to discover what our “gift” is, but rather we ought to serve in the spaces where we have been called, as faithful forward momentum is how we can be faithful stewards of the good God has placed within us. May we ever choose to seek and serve the Lord, utilizing the gifts which we have been granted to love and serve one another.

 

We’ve all been gifted,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

By God’s loving grace;

Spiritual blessings,

To share all our days.

All we’ve been given,

Was done with intent;

So others are blessed,

By God, heaven sent.

Let us choose to use,

These great gifts of grace;

To love others well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with gifts and purpose and a plan. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected the gift or the purpose, or wandered away from the plan that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your way and do Your will, even when we cannot see the “why” or where we are going. Show us how to love those around us well, as we utilize the gifts You have placed within us to bless and love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days utilizing the gifts that You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – Jeremiah 17:7

 

 

True Source of Strength

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, TPT)

 

The beauty and majesty found in creation are tangible reminders of the power and goodness of God. Even as a small child, I remember seeing the first star of the evening and beginning with a wish that would soon transform into a prayer to the very One who hung the stars in the sky. That same heart is still reminded of God’s grace and strength at the sight of the work of His hands. Today is a day that many of us will never forget. I still remember my drive to work as the news came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. Upon arrival, I, with so many others, turned on the TV in my classroom to watch in horror as the footage of the horrific events unfolded. The images will forever be etched in my mind. As I drove home that day, I took in the view of the mountain, and was reminded that the same God who made majestic mountains, could bring beauty from the ashes of so much destruction. Though we may never understand why such tragedies occur this side of heaven, the stories of redemption and beauty and overcoming have risen from the ashes. People who were touched by the tragedy, hold their loved ones a little tighter and do not take a single day for granted. Spouses, siblings and children of those who were lost, have gone on to accomplish great things in honor of their loved ones. May we ever look to the Lord, our Creator, to be our help, as He is the true source of strength.

 

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We must realize;

That God is the One,

Who gives strength to rise.

Rise from the ashes,

When all seemed but lost;

Rise from the rubble,

For He paid the cost.

No matter the darkness,

The Lord is the light;

His love and His grace,

Set wrong things to right.

O Lord, be our strength,

When trials come near;

Grant courage to rise,

In the face of fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created so much beauty that reminds us of Your goodness and strength. Thank You that often, as we see the work of Your hands, our gaze is lifted to You. Forgive us for not looking to You to be the light in every darkness, or for celebrating creation rather than the Creator. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our help, and praise You in all things and at all times, as You alone are our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings light and life, goodness and grace into spaces where there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize where we find help that lasts. Amen.

 

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

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

A Choice of Will

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, TLB)

Fault-finding, blame, grudges and the like, do nothing but keep heaviness in the heart of the holder. Though there are some situations where wisdom will lead us to walk away, it does not mean that we are to hold unforgiveness in our heart. Forgiveness looks different in every situation, but the one thing that is constant is that it is a choice of will, and a decision that has to be made over and over again. There are days that forgiveness comes easily, and we find ourselves in a good space, recognizing that because we have been forgiven much, we too, can forgive much. However, there are times when whispers of previous offenses rise up, and so too does the anger. It is in these moments that we have to choose again to forgive. May we fix our eyes on the Lord who has forgiven us for all that we have done, so that we may go forth and forgive in the same way.

We’ve been forgiven,

The Unforgiving Debtor

For everything;

All our transgressions,

And harm that we bring.

Because of this love,

We’re called to the same;

To forgive others,

Let go, remove blame.

Often the process,

Of choosing release;

Hurt brought by others,

As God’s grace increased.

May we choose to rise,

Forgive in His Name;

Love as we are loved,

Let grace be our aim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Thank You that as we choose again and again to forgive, You refine and change our hearts to be more like Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto hurts or allowed old injury to rise up and renew our anger toward another when we have chosen to forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to forgive again and again, each time a hurt or offense comes our way. Show us how to love and forgive others, just as You love and forgive each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to be our strength and our example for forgiveness so that we may go forth and do the same. Amen.

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

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Using What We’re Given

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10)

 

God has created each one of us with specific giftings that were designed uniquely for us, to serve others. Who we are, is meant to be an extension of God’s grace in various forms. For some, it is through speaking. Through others, serving. No matter if we are aware of how He has gifted us or not, gifts have been given, just the same. As we reach out to love God and love others, glimpses of those gifts become more clear. What does your heart naturally long to do? Is there a particular area where you seem to continue to end up serving or giving of your time? Perhaps that is the very space that God has given you strength and specific gifts and talents. May we go forth this day, utilizing what we have been given to serve others, and to extend God’s grace to all whom we encounter.

 

Whatever the gifts,

that God’s placed in us;

are meant to be used,

to honor Jesus.

To bless and to serve,

with faith giving grace;

to God’s created,

so they seek His face.

May we all reach out,

and share with others;

all we’ve been given,

God’s grace that covers.

If speaking’s the call,

then speak truth in love;

if serving, then serve,

honor God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely designed with gifts and talents that You have placed in us to benefit the body. Thank You that we each have a role to play that honors You and extends Your grace to others. Forgive us for either neglecting to use the gifts that You have placed in us for Your glory, or for thinking that there is nothing in us that is able to serve or honor You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will embrace the gifts that You have placed in us, and rise up and go forth to use that which You have given to glorify You. Lead us to love and serve others through the gifts that You have given, so that many may come to know the grace that You so generously give for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You in the way that You created us to be. 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

Two-Year Trial

When seated on trial

image by David Warkentin

image by David Warkentin

the false witness did fly.

Such slanderous speaking,

their story, falsified.

In power, Paul’s response,

uncovered every lie.

All heard the truth he spoke,

his words they’d not deny.

Felix, who knew the Way,

adjourned ’til later meet.

Paul ordered under guard,

so friends could meet his needs.

Felix came to visit,

with hope of gaining bribe.

Instead, he heard the truth,

required for new life.

When two years had passed by,

Festus succeeded him.

Felix wanted favor,

and left Paul in prison.

(Responding to Acts 24)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of patience and faithful endurance that are presented again and again in Your word.  Here, Paul, who had done nothing wrong, was stuck under guard and in prison for two years.  What is more remarkable still, is despite his seemingly “stuck” space, Paul shared of Your goodness and truth, even with those who were imprisoning him.  Forgive us for whining or wallowing when we have to wait, or when things don’t seem to go our way.  Please teach us to trust and be patient in the process, and protect our hearts and minds from grumbling.  Lead us to live in love in all things and at all times.  May Your light shine brightly through us, whether we are in the darkest night or in the light of day.  Use us Lord, to lead the lost to Your loving arms of grace.  Amen.

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

The Beauty of Belonging

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:  Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” – Revelation 7:9-10

The Wave - Worship Art by Rik Berry

The Wave – Worship Art by Rik Berry

The Holy Spirit revealed to John, that which is yet to come at the end of days.  The verses above give a glimpse of the scene he saw in heaven.  What a wonder to know that as a believer, though I have not done, nor cannot do anything to deserve it, but because I have accepted God’s grace and daily seek His face, I too, will one day be among those in that magnificent multitude!

My challenge today, is that the reading did not end at verse ten.  By the time I reached the end of Chapter nine, I felt ready to weep for all who still need to know Him.  I do not want for anyone to have to endure end times without eternal hope.  The faces of friends and family members who need to know Him, flashed through my head and my heart.  I guess more than anything, my takeaway today, is a call and a reminder to pray for those who still need to know Him.  When there is opportunity, I will present as I am led, but in the meantime, I will pray today, pray tomorrow, and keep praying after that.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty in the promise that people from every nation, tribe and language will be gathered in purpose to praise You.  Thank You that though I am undeserving, I too, may take part in that jubilant celebration one day.  Father, please forgive me for not being more diligent to pray for my family and friends who still need to know You.  Please place people in their path that can clearly communicate Your heart to theirs, so that they too, might find their hope in You.  Lead me to be a light for You before everyone I encounter, through both my word and deed, and may many come to join in the multitude that will unite together to worship You in all of Your majesty, both on earth and in heaven.  Amen.

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