Grateful for the Gifts

We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is a sweet reminder to give thanks for the people whom God has placed in my life, who show me His love in tangible ways. Yesterday, I was at our league championship gymnastics meet from mid-morning until after eight in the evening. My best friend drove all the way to where the meet was located, only to have to turn around and go home, due to the cash-only entry fee. I did not realize that the admission was cash only to let her know, and she, much like myself and so many, does not make it a habit to carry cash. Despite the mishap, I was beyond blessed that the effort had been made, and am extremely grateful for the gift of a friend who loves in such a tangible way. She knows how much coaching and the meet mattered to me, and thus, made the time and extended the effort to be present to support me and the team. When we are loved well, we are further equipped to do the same for others. God, in His great love for us, surrounds us with those whom He intended, who have hearts that are growing in faith and overflowing in love, that bless and challenge us to do the same. May we ever thank God for those He has placed in our lives that grow our faith and love to overflowing.

 

Give thanks to the Lord, wp-15812671362718302110911203159856.jpg

For He’s always good;

He grants us people,

Who love as they should.

They love with their time,

Heart, soul, mind and strength;

Increasing our faith,

Going to great lengths.

May we choose love too,

In ways that make clear;

The heart of the Lord,

And how He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You place in our lives to show us more of Your love and care. Thank You that Your heart for us is made tangible through the kindness and care of those who love well. Thank You that we too, have the opportunity to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You have to offer, so that Your love, kindness and grace, overflow through us. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for the sisters and brothers that we are blessed to know, and help us extend Your love to each of them as You call us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

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

 

 

Staving Off Soreness

Our bodies get sore when we either use muscles we have not used consistently in a while, or utilize them in a new and more challenging way. The resulting soreness reminds us that the muscles exist, and that we ought to perhaps pay more regular attention to the muscle groups that are groaning. Interestingly, our spiritual lives work much the same way. If we rarely exercise our faith, we may find ourselves fearful when setting foot into the new. In prayer, a loss for words is not uncommon, as the posture and position only becomes normal and natural as it is done regularly.

 

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to Him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” – (Luke 9:12-13, NLT)

 

I so appreciate this story of Jesus and the disciples, as He was training the faith muscles of the disciples for later days. Sometimes, the disciples would get it right and find faith in the things that they were being asked to do, yet other times, they would require specific instruction and modeling (true training) in their faith, to learn the lessons that they would need to go forth and do the great things that God was calling them to do down the road. Just as our bodies require consistent physical training to keep from becoming too sore, so too our spirits need ongoing faith-building to be ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The sort of training that we are given for our faith comes through time in the word, worship, fellowship, and prayer. May we be wise with our time and choose to invest well, so that we may be ready for whatever God calls us to do.

 

When muscles are sore,Staving Off Soreness

And we’re out of shape;

We’re meant to persist,

That’s how strength grows great.

Whether in our faith,

Prayer or being;

It requires of us,

Often repeating.

There’s no easy way,

To instantly grow;

Make process habit,

And strength will soon show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use everyday experiences to show us the truth of Your word. Thank You that though physical training is good and important to keep our bodies strong and at the ready, our spiritual training is far more significant as it lasts into eternity. Forgive us for the places where we lack consistency, be it our prayer life, time in the word, or in our faith when facing obstacles that seem larger than life. Teach us to seek You daily for our spiritual training, so that we may be fit for all that You are calling us to do. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place on our path. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be fit to serve You well. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

No Record of Wrongdoings

If You, God, kept records of wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is Your habit, and that’s why You’re worshiped. – (Psalm 130:3-4, MSG)

 

Today, I am so thankful that God is not like us. Imagine if God were only able to forgive over time? Or worse, if God held grudges? Though we may pursue to extend the same forgiveness to others that Christ has given to us, not one of us has arrived. There is always something that weighs on our hearts, or that takes us time to walk through, before we can truly forgive. With God, He chooses to take our sin and remember it no more. Such mercy and grace warrants worship. May we embrace the grace that our loving Father grants to us, and offer all of our praise to Him, as we seek His help to do unto others as He has done for us.

 

The glory of grace,Risk to Reward

Beyond what we see;

For not one could stand,

Without God’s mercy.

Forgiveness given,

Though it’s not deserved;

Reason for worship,

Give praise undeterred.

May we seek the Lord,

for His love and grace;

So we can extend,

The same all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You keep no record of our wrongs when we repent before You. Thank You that You forgive out of Your abundant love. Forgive us for our stubborn hearts that hold grudges and hurt, rather than giving the offenses over to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all of our burdens before You, and allow You to mend the brokenness with Your lavish love. Show us how to keep no record of wrongs, and to extend mercy and grace to all those around us. May many come to find a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your love in our words and deeds. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love without limits and to forgive freely like You. 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

Blessed With Rest

Rest. This is not such a familiar term in my vernacular. I know I need it, yet like a small child that does not want to nap, I avoid rest as much as possible, fearing that if I actually slow down, I may never get back up again.

Normally, when my alarm sounds, I bound out of bed and begin my day with enthusiasm. (As I make my way to the cheerfully waiting coffee maker) This morning, I have no recollection of my alarm even sounding. It must have gone off, for when I awoke two and a half hours later than I normally do, my phone was buried beneath my pillow. Surprisingly, I did not feel panicked nor rushed, rather I felt something I have not felt in years – I actually woke feeling rested. I methodically made my way about the house, waking my boys, preparing each of us to exit in a timely manner, yet not once, did anxiousness enter in. It was all about efficiency and informing each boy about the time limit they had if they still wanted to make the quick stop that had been requested the night prior. Out the door we went at the time I had set before them, each of us ready to take on the day.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28)

Though I do not intend to make this later rising time a habit, God knew what I needed today. Despite challenges that awaited me when I woke, I was much more resilient to face each one, because I was rested rather than run down. He will grant us rest, even at times when we don’t realize how desperately we need it. May we have open eyes and hearts to His calling us close, and allow Christ to grant us comfort and rest, as we give our every burden to He who is more than able to bear them all.

 

Oh Lord, grant us rest,butterfly vida

From burdens that come;

Please carry the weight,

so Your will is done.

When we are weary,

Lord give us Your rest;

For only in You,

can we be refreshed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we grow weary and worn, and at times don’t even recognize the reality of our own exhaustion, thank You that You see and know what we need far better than we do. Thank You that You provide as we abide. Forgive us for not taking time to slow down and simply rest in Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are more aware of when You are calling us to come close and simply be seated in Your presence. Lead us to love others well, just as You so generously pour out upon each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest and find refreshment in You. Amen.

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

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