Examples En Route

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – (Psalm 37:37, NIV)

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. – (Psalm 37:37, NLT)

Keep your eyes on the innocent. Model your life after the blameless. Everyone who loves peace has a future. – (Psalm 37:37, VOICE)

 

So often, when we read the words blameless, upright, or innocent, the standard set before us seems unattainable. However, we must remember that when we have Christ in us, God views us through the lens of Jesus. He is blameless, upright and innocent. Honesty, goodness, and a love for peace become part of our character as we invest in our relationship with Christ. Most of us know people who model this lifestyle well. Honesty and goodness radiate from their very existence, and to be in their presence, is to understand a space of peace. Jesus is our ultimate model of such, and He places people in our lives to show us tangible evidence of the fruit that a heart after Him will bear. May we ever look to the examples set before us, and model our lives after He who was without sin. Let a love of peace propel us forward on the path to which we each have been called.

 

Look to examples,

img_2019-10-31_05-29-196685478210324451010.jpg

A tiny snapshot of those who have been examples of honesty, goodness and peace in my life.

Each placed in our lives;

To show us the way,

To love well and thrive.

Observe the upright,

Honest, innocent;

Their goodness and peace,

Show us God’s intent.

For as we pursue,

Lives lived out this way;

God makes His heart known,

As love is conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what a blameless and upright life look like, and the beauty found in the ultimate future of those who love and pursue peace. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow accomplish these things on our own, rather than seeking You and allowing You to transform our hearts and lives to more closely mirror Yours. Teach us to turn to You to show us what it means to be honest and good, and to love peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys honesty, goodness and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to the examples that You have set before us of those who lived and those who are now living, blameless and upright, ever seeking Your peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

 

 

Trust for Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

God does exactly what He says He will do, when we do our part. That does not mean that we have to perform at a certain level, or achieve a specific status, but rather we must trust Him and rely on Him to be God, in order for there to be room in our hearts and lives for Him to move. Yes, I believe in God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, however, there are times that I know my trust wavers. It is in those moments of troubled trust, that perfect peace escapes me. Sadly, I don’t think the peace is gone, as much as I cannot feel nor find it in my stirred-up state of being. When I slow down and recognize that I am trying to control circumstances that are out of my control, and give the reigns back to the One who is a far better driver than I, it is then that I find the peace that I have needed all along. There is a large learning curve for this for me in my current season. As a wife, still in her first year of a new marriage, the mother of twin seventeen-year-old boys who have always been in my direct care, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an invested member of my church community, a runner, and so on, I have had many moments that I have desperately wanted to be in one place when I was in another, or help, or participate, or orchestrate, and I could not… I know that people, my family and friends, understand and are gracious, however, I find that is not always true within me. It typically takes a very honest and defeated conversation over the phone with my persistently patient husband, to get to the place of accepting what is, letting go of what I cannot control, and placing all back in the rightful hands of God. It is a season, and I am learning to let go and trust big. Peace is far preferred to its absence, so today, I choose again to trust.

Yesterday, mom and I had a good day. It was a strange start, but went well. She was rather tired as the day began, and went back to sleep after breakfast. When she woke, she was really groggy, so her preference was to relax and watch a movie so that she could continue to wake up more gently. Later in the morning, we ventured into town again. This time, after the coffee drive thru, we drove to a store in town so that I could run in and buy a few CDs for my drive home in the afternoon. I offered to bring her in with me, but she was not ready yet. She happily waited in the car while I ran in and quickly selected my music and returned to her. We drove around a bit more, then went to a restaurant in town that she had wanted to go. Again, she had me run in to get food for takeout. By the time we had arrived home, settled in and eaten lunch, she was a bit weary. Mom determined that she would take a bit of a snooze. The rest was short-lived, and when she got up, we decided to work on some of her exercises. She did some hall walking and some stretches, then we relaxed and hung out until Sharon, my honorary sister, (grew up across the street and we literally lived at each other’s homes our entire childhood) came to stay with mom until Megan arrived, so that I could get driving home before dark. Meg arrived safely and on time, and Sharon and mom had a good visit. I made it home in excellent time, and was wrapped up in giant arms the moment I pulled into the driveway. 😊

May we ever trust in the Lord, for He is good, and He is our peace; always.

 

The God of all grace, img_2019-07-06_07-24-202660716920165927309.jpg

Promoter of peace;

Lavishly He loves,

Good that will not cease.

As we trust in Him,

Peace shall abound more;

For fears fall away,

Hope brings us ashore.

God knows what we need,

His heart is to bless;

Keep trusting in Him,

He hears each request.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring peace as we trust in You. Thank You that peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is dependent on our awareness of Your presence. Forgive us for the times that we allow ourselves to get worked up and worried about what is happening around us, rather than allowing You to do the work within us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to be ambassadors of Your perfect peace to those around us as we love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Wisdom from Heaven

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It is whole-hearted and straightforward and sincere. – (James 3:17, TLB)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

The pursuit of Godly wisdom is a lovely and lofty goal. The wisdom that comes from Him is pure, peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, considerate, teachable, easy to please, whole-hearted, straightforward, sincere, ready to help and do good for others, fair, honest, and does not show favoritism as it is filled with love. This is the target that my heart is forever aiming for, yet there are times that my words or deeds miss the mark. Sometimes I default to sarcasm as a coping mechanism, and my response, though not intended to harm, is not necessarily helping anyone either. Additionally, there are times when we get in such a hurry that making the time for a straightforward discussion or a pause to help someone where we know there is a clear need, seems too much to stack atop our already overscheduled day. May we ever seek the wisdom that comes from God, so that we operate in a way that is pure and full of quiet gentleness. Let us be peace-loving and courteous, allowing discussion; be merciful and extend good, as we choose to invest our whole hearts into all that we do, sincerely pursuing to walk in the wisdom of His way.

 

The wisdom of God, Wisdom from Heaven

What I long to seek;

It’s full of mercy,

And lifts when we’re weak.

Ever peace-loving,

And easy to please;

Straight-forward, sincere,

He hears and He sees.

Ready to give help,

Wisdom chooses good;

Without favorites,

Grace is understood.

Make me teachable,

Considerate, kind;

Fair, loving, honest,

With others in mind.

Let my heart be pure,

With wisdom above;

Quiet gentleness,

That blesses with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Godly wisdom is about demonstrating Your goodness in a tangible way. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered far from wisdom to attempt to walk on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the wisdom of Your ways to extend the things which You call us to do. Show us how to love others well so that we are pure, peace-loving, gentle, kind, merciful, sincere, fair, honest, teachable, considerate, full of mercy, ready to do good, full of love and without favorites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek to grow in Your wisdom and walk it out all of our days. Amen.

 

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

The Kiss of Honesty

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Honest Answers

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

At first, I wondered why honesty and intimacy were being compared. However, it took but a moment to realize that without honesty, intimacy cannot exist. We do not hug people that we do not trust, not do we want, allow, nor value a kiss from anyone whom we cannot trust at their word. How we answer, what we say, and the weight of our words matter. When asked, an honest response will be remembered. Trust takes root and grows as honesty is shown. However, the opposite holds true as well. If we are not honest in our answering, trust cannot exist, and relationships will remain fractured. May we choose to answer honestly in all things, allowing truth to establish trust and warmth in all those around us.

 

To answer in truth,The Direction of Discipline

Is to create trust;

Forever needed,

Relational must.

In love and in life,

Wherever we go;

Trust must be built up,

So friendships can grow.

As sweet as a kiss,

Straight answers received;

For the heart’s made known,

And trust is achieved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us first that we can trust You. Thank You that You bring people into our lives that are trustworthy, and that by Your Spirit in us, we can be the same. Forgive us for the times that we have not given straight answers, or have chosen to stay silent when we should have spoken. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give the honest answers that establish trust and intimacy with all those around us. Show us how to love others well, so that they would see You in and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to establish trust through honesty in all of our interactions. 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

Love Breaks Down Barriers

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)

 

I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for us how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.

 

The Lord, He calls us,Hearts of Thanks

To tear down the walls;

That keep us away,

from hurt who fall.

We’re meant to draw near,

To reach out our hands;

To help and to love,

The way God has planned.

May we be aware,

Help our eyes to see;

Where we’re called to go,

And how to meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to love as You love us. Thank You that though we were broken and sinful and needy, You came near and loved us back to life. Forgive us for not extending the same kindness to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that regardless of how things appear, we would offer what we have been given – kindness and grace. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach those whom society has somehow deemed unworthy, and let Your love give worth to all. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Sowers of Peace

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:17-18, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the blessing that comes from right living. – (James 3:17-18, ERV)

Heavenly wisdom centers on purity, peace, gentleness, deference, mercy, and other good fruits untainted by hypocrisy. The seed that flowers into righteousness will always be planted in peace by those who embrace peace. – (James 3:17-18, VOICE)

 

As a peacemaker, it is easy to defer to peace. However, gentleness and willingness to yield to others are not always the motivation, nor is the peace that is sought sincere. At times, it is instead a way to keep things calm, rather than deal with conflict, with wisdom and the intent to help being absent. Our motivation matters. Is our pursuit of peace to please God, or ourselves? We need the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to gain His grace to sincerely seek His peace, which reaps a harvest of righteousness. May we be a people who passionately pursue God’s peace with all others, through His wisdom and grace. Let us be merciful and sincere, as His gentleness leads us to love as He so graciously loves each of us.

 

Let us seek wisdom,Marvelously Made

That is true and pure;

For that from the Lord,

Is steadfast, secure.

For from God alone,

Is how peace is found;

His mercy and grace,

To seekers, abound.

May we choose to plant,

Wherever we go;

Seeds of the Lord’s peace,

So His grace shall show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom from You is pure, peaceful, gentle and pleasing. Thank You that when we seek Your wisdom and peace, we are prepared and equipped to help those around us. Thank You that when we seek Your peace, peace and righteousness are what we find. Forgive us for wanting peace at any price, rather than seeking You and Your wisdom as to how we can be peacemakers in the midst of whatever we are facing. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone can bring calm in our chaos and peace in our storms. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be peacemakers in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your peace and wisdom, sharing the goodness and grace that You alone provide for us to give. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Precious Thoughts

How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumbered the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT)

 

It is easy to forget just how much truth there actually is in this verse. Sadly, if we are not paying attention, we miss knowing even a fraction of how present and aware God is for us. Yesterday afternoon I was blessed to road trip with a dear friend from my youth. We met in Youth With A Mission, and experienced some serious life-changing times together. As she and I drove, our conversation was deep and honest, and God used her to speak affirming words of truth that my heart needed to hear. I was reminded of how much He loves me, as we traveled together, as if no time had passed – despite life and years having marched on. Additionally, His presence has blessed me in our arrival. As I woke this morning, I was greeted with another conversation by another of the gals with whom I am blessed to gather, and I was in awe as I recognized that I had slept nearly double the hours that I had each night prior this week. He thinks about us and stays with us. It truly is overwhelming! May we remember to take pause and listen to the sweet whispers that He is speaking to our hearts, as the Lord is with us and for us; always.

 

How precious, O Lord,

He Sees and Attends to His Created

Are Your thoughts of me;

As You love so well,

Your grace sets me free.

So many the times,

Beyond what I see;

Your presence remains,

Always, You’re with me.

More than I can count,

Like sands of the sea;

So great is Your love,

For all who seek Thee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your precious thoughts for us are far more numerous than we can count or imagine. Thank You that You are with us when we are awake, as we sleep, and when we wake each morning. Thank You that there are reminders all around us. Thank You that You utilize the people that You have placed in our lives to be instruments to speak Your truth to our hearts. Forgive us for not slowing down to listen to Your heart for us, or for doubting, even for a second, the vastness and the depth of Your love for us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to what You are speaking to our hearts. Show us how to love well, all those around us, just as You so relentlessly love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how often and wonderful Your thoughts are of us, and how You are always with us. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

May We Sharpen One Another

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – (Proverbs 27:17)

 

When we keep good company, we are challenged to be the best versions of ourselves. As we actively engage in sharing life together, we are better able to see things with new clarity, refine what may have been askew, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape what was being whispered, into brilliant insights. This can only take place if we are willing to engage in deep discussions where we can be honest and challenge each other, setting our egos aside. When we are able to receive critique of thought without making it about us as a thinker, the friends who engage in such conversations, sharpen one another. May we invest in the relationships that allow us to sharpen one another, so that we may be refined and ready to go forth as the best version of ourselves.

 

Let company kept,Keep Careful Watch

among those who bring;

out the very best,

in everything.

Those who are honest,

no matter the cost;

words spoken in love,

so we won’t be lost.

May we do the same,

as we walk beside;

sharpen each other,

allowing Lord guide.

Invest with wisdom,

seek the Lord, always;

heed His instruction,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that You give us one another to sharpen and refine each other to more clearly reflect Your character. Forgive us for allowing anyone who has intentions that are not good to gain a voice into our lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may clearly hear whom we are to engage in a “sharpening” with, and who we are to simply show kindness, but not allow their voice to penetrate the walls of our heart. Grant us discernment and wisdom, I pray. Lead us to love well, so that we may be Your instruments that help sharpen others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen one another in our mutual pursuit of You. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41