Deeply Planted and Nourished

Ezekiel 47:1-12 New International Version (NIV)

The River From the Temple

47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

 

Today marks the twenty-first day of a twenty-one day time of intentionally seeking the Lord. Together, with many others in my church, we have been following a specific reading plan for each day. Though following a daily devotional reading plan is part of my daily practice, I am in the habit of moving on to another passage or reading further until I find something that stands out, in order to reflect and do my writing. However, today, I felt challenged to sit in my struggle; to find some sort of simplicity in a seemingly complex text. Immediately as I read the passage, it felt as though it were an allegory for me to unpack. The commentary I read pertaining to this passage, pointed to Christ as the temple from whom healing waters flow. His Spirit in us lends itself to touching more and more lives wherever we go, bringing life where it was formerly absent. As we invest our lives in Him, good fruit is produced, and others are nourished. We will not wither if we stay firmly rooted in our Source. My simplistic summary is merely scratching the surface on all the promise this passage holds. For a more in-depth look, here is the link: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ezekiel/47.html May we ever stay rooted and established in Christ, the true Source of living water, so that we may bring life and goodness wherever we go.

 

The Temple on high, Deeply Planted and Nourished

From where healing flows;

The more that we seek,

The greater it grows.

His vast love cleanses,

Brings new life again;

Hope to the hopeless,

Grace comes flooding in.

Where we are flooded,

There is overflow;

So much more to give,

To make His love known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Temple from where healing waters flow. Thank You that Your love floods our hearts, minds and entire beings when we seek and stay firmly planted in You. Forgive us for allowing our roots to grow shallow so that we have little to offer. Teach us to stay deeply planted in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that allow Your goodness, nourishment and healing to flood them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to pursue a life deeply planted and nourished in You. Amen.

 

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

 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:17-18

 

 

Intentional Time to Grow

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word I like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

Psalm 119, in its entirety, is all about the word of God and how it directs our steps. As we follow His word, we find protection and direction, so pausing and on verse 105 seemed appropriate. The more we invest time in prayer and the word of God, the more clearly we understand His heart for those around us. Our mode of operation begins to take on His heart rather than our own, and the lens through which we view the world, becomes shaped by that of our loving heavenly Father. Beyond our view, that which grows within us is transformative as well. The nourishment we taking in produces good fruit that will last. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, are all the sort of fruit that the Spirit grants those who earnestly seek Him. May we be intentional to invest time in the word of God, so that we may have a clearly lit path on which to navigate all of our days.

 

The word of the Lord,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Helps make our path plain;

As we seek His will,

Direction we’ll gain.

He shows us the ways,

That we’re meant to go;

Each time that we ask,

He’ll make sure we know.

By His love and grace,

In us, He will grow;

Traits that bless others,

His love clearly shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and invest intentional time in Your word and Your presence, You grow in us, more of that which reflects Your heart to the world. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish the soil of our hearts. Teach us to prioritize time with You, so that we are ever growing and more clearly reflecting Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love others in ways that make Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional with our time and spend time growing in our understanding of who You are and how You love. 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

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

 

 

Remaining in the Vine

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. – (John 15:4)

If we are in Christ – seeking Him, trusting Him, worshiping Him, and spending time making requests and listening in prayer, His word and our intentional time before Him help us become increasingly aware that He is present, and has come to stay. We can only do the good that He calls us to do, when we are invested in time spent with Him. To know His will, we must know Him. Bearing fruit is a matter of allowing others to see His goodness through the grace that we are able to extend to others, through the love that He has established within us. May we spend time each day seeking Him, so that we may remain in Christ, and go forth bearing good fruit to all whom we encounter.

Oh God, You’re the vine,Becoming Branches

and we must remain;

deep rooted in You,

so good is made plain.

Without Your great grace,

and Your tender love;

we can do nothing,

that points to above.

Help us to bear fruit,

so others may see;

Your goodness and grace,

as truth sets all free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the vine and we are Your branches. Thank You that when we are rooted and established in You, we can bear fruit that brings others to You. Forgive us for resisting the pruning process that is required to make us more fruitful, or for not fully investing ourselves in You, so that we may be deeply rooted in You and the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You with all that we are, and will hear Your voice clearly, each time You speak to our hearts. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remain in You, and bear the fruit that You so graciously grow within us. Amen.

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

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

To Bear Fruit

Early in the morning, as He was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. – (Matthew 21:18-19)

 

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree? He, who was without sin, would not simply act out in anger. Instead, Jesus was showing an illustration to His disciples as to how He viewed religion without substance. Though the fig tree had looked good from a distance, upon closer inspection, it was found to bear no fruit. Similarly, if our lives appear to be aligned just so at first glance, yet have no genuine investment in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot simply settle. How is our heart behind what we do? Are we seeking to serve out of faith, as an act of worship; or are we trying to jump through hoops to be enough? “If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s kingdom.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

Let our lives speak,To Bear Fruit

may we each be found;

bearing good fruit,

with a faith that’s sound.

Our hearts ready,

to seek and to serve;

to give God’s grace,

when it’s undeserved.

May love be shown,

to the lonely, lost;

joy to lowly,

Christ covered the cost.

Peace to chaos,

kindness to the gruff;

goodness to worn,

He’s faithful enough.

Be gentle still,

when violence erupts;

use self-control,

let Christ lift us up.

It’s by our love,

that others might know;

that God is good,

so let His light show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are much more interested in our hearts, than how things appear. Thank You that You want all of us, not just our time or our sense of duty. Thank You that as we whole-heartedly bring You our lives, You cultivate good fruit that helps nourish others. Forgive us for not exposing every branch and root, and help us to allow You to trim away, anything that prevents good fruit from growing in our lives. May we bear fruit that lasts, and may hearts turn toward You as we seek to serve You with our whole heart. Be glorified as we go forth in genuine faith. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

 

Friends of Our Father

illustration by S. Moreno

illustration by S. Moreno

No longer called servants,

instead, we’re called His friends.

He grants to us knowledge,

of how our story ends.

Yes, we have been chosen,

appointed by the Lord;

to go and bear good fruit,

function in one accord.

The Father will give us,

what we ask in His Name;

not for our own power,

but for His righteous reign.

The thing He commands us,

is to love each other;

treat fellow believers,

as sisters and brothers.

By His grace, may it be,

that we’re known for our love;

so the lost may be found,

as our hearts fix above.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name. This is my command: Love each other.” – (John 15:15-17)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You no longer see us as servants, but rather You call us friends. Thank You that You reveal Yourself to us when we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we try to find solutions to our struggles on our own, and help us to always seek You first. Teach us to not only seek You, but to listen and obey whatever it is that You ask. Above all, help us to love one another as You love us. May many come to know You as a result of our obedience. Amen.

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

The Way of Wisdom

The Way of WisdomWho has wisdom among us?

Has understanding that’s seen?

Make it known by a good life,

through humble deeds to esteem.

Wisdom harbors no envy,

nor selfishness in one’s heart;

for where such ugliness dwells,

evil is granted a start.

But wisdom comes from heaven,

it’s pure and loving of peace;

considerate, bows to God,

full of mercy and at ease.

His wisdom is impartial,

it forever is sincere;

produces good fruit always,

demonstrates that He is near.

Peacemakers who sow in peace,

raise harvest of righteousness;

let His love be evident,

so all turn from sinfulness.

(Responding to James 3:13-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true wisdom and understanding come from You. Thank You that not only did You make a way for us to come into relationship with You through the sacrifice of Your Son, but You sent Your Spirit to guide and teach us in Your way that is wise. Forgive us for our envy and selfishness, and teach us to be pure and loving of peace. Grant us the strength to extend mercy, as You have extended it unto us. May we be impartial and sincere, producing good fruit that demonstrates who You are to all who need to know You. Use us as Your instruments, to provide peace in places where there is none. May many come to know You through Your Spirit that dwells within us. Amen.

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

The Gift of Godly Wisdom

photo from Creswell Nazarene

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others.  It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.” (The Message)

God’s wisdom is pure.  Purity is defined as free from contamination and free from blemish.  In other words, God’s wisdom is not tainted by the misguided musings of mankind.

The wisdom from heaven is peace-loving.  God’s intent is that we live free from strife and remain without hostility toward anyone.

Godly wisdom is considerate.  We need only to look to Jesus to see just how we are meant to carefully consider others and to have regard for who they are and where they are coming from.

Submission to God is to show wisdom through compliance to Christ and His call on our lives.

Again, Jesus modeled mercy for all mankind, as He drew near to those considered detestable, and demonstrated His deep love for all.

Good fruit is the evidence granted by God when we rely on His wisdom to walk in His way.

To be impartial is to be just.  We are not to favor one over another, rather we are to love others, just as He has loved us.

Sincerity is seen as we whole-heartedly pursue our Heavenly Father.  It is only through the cleansing of Christ that we might be seen as genuine and pure; free from deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of true wisdom.  Teach us Father, to turn to You for all wisdom, so that we may walk in purity, promote peace, be considerate and merciful toward one another, and that through our submission to You, our Savior, we might be the bearers of good fruit that is sown in sincerity.  Make us wise in Your ways, so that we may serve You all of our days.  Amen.

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