Seek First the Faithful One

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

See first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. – (Matthew 6:33, VOICE)

Despite how things appear, God is faithful to supply what we need to get through each new day as we seek Him. For months, it feels as if I have been going nonstop. There were small breaks on the weekends, but never a whole day to slow down and rest. Today, I will have an unexpected day off from work, as one of my kiddos needs me to drive him to an appointment out of town, and there is a terrific substitute available to cover. I anticipate the provision of a day today will be more than enough to carry me through tomorrow, as it will be the last day before spring break. Each morning I begin my day seeking God, and lifting up the cares and worries of the day ahead. His faithfulness never fails me and His mercies are new every morning. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace, for He is faithful to provide all that we need.

The Lord is so good,

Ever He is kind;

Faithful to provide,

He has us in mind.

God knows what we need,

And as we choose seek;

He hears and helps us,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

For in our pursuit,

Following the Lord;

He’s our provider,

All grace He affords.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful as we seek You. Thank You that You see and hear and know what we need, and in love, You supply all in just the right time. Forgive us for struggling to trust Your timing, for You always have a purpose and a plan, despite what we see. Teach us to trust Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may tangible see Your provision and faithful love for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day and trust You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Gifts in All

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV)

Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. – (1 Corinthian 12:7, ERV)

Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, VOICE)

 

Currently, my pastor is in the middle of a series called, Naturally Supernatural. In this, he is unpacking the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the most important points that he has made have had to do with the purpose of these gifts. First, the kingdom of God is accessed through the Spirit of God. Without Him, we cannot grow in our understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace to serve the body of Christ. They are intended to build others up, and must be used to demonstrate a heart of love. When wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, miracles, prophecy, languages of men and angels, and the interpretation of such, are utilized as God intended, the movement of God’s power in love, clears the way and brings breakthrough so that His words may be heard and received by hearts moved by the power of God’s amazing love made tangible. Another important point that was made, is that these gifts are distributed by God in His grace, not somehow earned nor manifested in some sort of hierarchy. Each gift is for the purpose of encouraging and building up the body, and not for the elevation of the recipient. Whatever we receive is intended to be utilized to serve and honor God, thus is nothing from us nor in our own wisdom or strength. May we be open to the Lord and the gifts He has for us, and ready to love others well, as we share what we have been given.

 

God births in us all, Gifts in All

Gifts of His power;

To build others up,

In love, empower.

To nourish the growth,

Of faith, hope and love;

As God moves through us,

Power from above.

Wisdom and knowledge,

Faith, healing and more;

Miracles of God,

Grow faith all the more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give to us to access, understand, serve and love more. Thank You that none are earned, but rather You freely give. Forgive us for neglecting to utilize what You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would step out in faith and serve You by loving others well with all that You have placed in us. Show us how to love those around us, specifically and individually, so that they may understand Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love others with all that You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – Romans 12:6a

Do Away With Distractions to Seek

“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, NIV)

“I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when I drink it in God’s kingdom and the wine is new.” – (Matthew 14:25, ERV)

“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, MSG)

 

Jesus spoke these words to the disciples as they were seated and partaking in the last supper, prior to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and then ultimately, His crucifixion. He knew that it was an evening of lasts, and let the others know, accordingly. When Jesus told them that He would be betrayed by one among them, they seemed to grasp that message in disbelief, yet did not demonstrate a reaction (in writing) to the words Jesus spoke about the timing of His death. It would only be after His death, resurrection and ascension that the significance of Jesus’ statements would really register in the minds and hearts of the disciples. From what I can observe, Jesus did not have anything to eat or drink between the last supper and the crucifixion. Based on the burden that He was choosing to bear, I imagine it was intentional, as Jesus went to the garden to seek time with God, to pray for what was yet to come. We know, according to scripture, that part of what He prayed was for the cup He was meant to carry to be taken from Him if it was possible; yet if not, let it be so. I imagine too, that there were petitions made for strength and help, as Jesus had to endure the weight of the world upon His shoulders. God is faithful, always, and it is difficult to envision the how, when we know what Jesus endured. However, after three days down, He rose again and then ultimately ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I imagine that the rise and reward for all eternity made the suffering seem but a brief nightmare, in comparison. That being said, it was a burden that not one of us could have carried. In order to carry the weight, we would have had to be without sin. Only Jesus… All that to say, that when the pressure was overwhelming, Jesus set aside physical needs to go and spend time with the Father. Though it was late and had likely been a long day, He cared not about sleep either, as He was intentional to go and pray. Jesus is our ultimate example of what to do. If we have a need, a decision, a challenge, a burden or the like, we ought to set aside our physical desires for a time, so that we may go and pursue the Lord; for our spiritual needs supersede the physical into eternity. May we seek the Lord in all things, for He is our strength and our supply.

 

Set aside the things, The Mirror of the Heart

That get in the way;

For a time to seek,

Intent to choose pray.

The Lord is faithful,

He hears all we ask;

He’ll show us the way,

To wait or take task.

Do not grow weary,

As we ask and wait;

For God’s not early,

And He’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to seek You with our whole hearts. Thank You that You are faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that Your answers come in Your time and not ours. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see immediate answers, when sometimes the wait is part of the healing process. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be persistent in prayer, and set aside the things that distract us from fixing our eyes on You. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside distractions and seek You with our whole heart. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

 

 

Actions Speak

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s power is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Evidence of God with us is seen not in the things we say, but rather through what we do. Is our mode of operation a life of love, pursuing God’s purpose in our lives, or do we say one thing and do another? The power of the living God is made evident through those who are in constant communion with Christ, seeking the Lord’s leading in all that is said and done. May we ever be intentional to invest our hearts, minds and lives into the word and will of God, so that our lives are tangible proof of His power.

 

To live out a life, The Power of Generosity

That makes the Lord clear;

Our charge to choose trust,

For God will be near.

Not just in speaking,

But choosing to live;

To move in God’s love,

Through good that we give.

The Lord is power,

Grace to in love, move;

As we love out loud,

His goodness we prove.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power that dwells in us when we seek You and pursue Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the goodness of Your love through our actions. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of faith that is rooted and growing in Your goodness to give away. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time, hearts and minds into knowing You more, so that our actions are a reflection of Your heart for the world. 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

An Empowered Life Through Love

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s kingdom is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Our actions have a far greater and longer lasting impact than anything that we say. The charge that we have been given is to love God and love people, according to His good and perfect will. When we choose to live out our faith through all that we do, we are able to make the Lord’s love evident. However, if all that we do is say what we believe, but do not put it into action, the impact is non-existent. In the same way, if we tell those we love that we love them, but do not demonstrate our love through the things that we do, the words have no meaning nor lasting impact. On the other hand, those who serve and honor, uphold and provide, show again and again the power of God in their lives, even if the words are seldom spoken. A favorite quote of mine that aligns well with this verse, is: “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” – (St. Francis AssissiMay our actions provide the powerful proof of God’s love in our lives as we reach out to love, honor and serve those around us.

 

May the love of God,

wp-1521807723600596361595.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be made evident;

Through all that we do,

Kindness, heaven sent.

His love’s best made known,

Through things that we do;

Each act done in love,

Grants God’s light shine through.

So, let us choose show,

God’s love in our lives;

As we act in love,

Helping others thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is not merely spoken to us, but rather it is made evident through actions. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our actions have not aligned with Your will, or our words were empty and without action. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be people empowered by Your love to go forth and do the same. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart in the things that we do. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and give feet to our faith through loving actions. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Power Visible Through Action

As a gymnastics coach and teacher, I continually am reminding kids to let their actions do the talking. Rather than tell me that they are going to work harder or do better, I remind them to show me – for their actions speak volumes more clearly than their words. Those who continue to pursue excellence end up excelling, yet those who simply talk about it and never follow through, end up falling short of their true potential. The same is true for us in our walk with God. No, it is not about doing enough nor being enough, yet our charge is to put our faith into action. His power is made visible through us, yet the opportunity for others to see becomes clear only when we choose to step out of our own four walls and do whatever it is that He is asking.

 

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20)

 

Our faith is meaningless if it is merely talk that is never taken to task. God’s power is made evident through our actions – by how we walk out our life each day. If we talk the talk but do not walk the walk, our words are worthless. Consistent care and concern for others with the heart of Christ over time, is a viable witness to His word. Yes, there is a time to speak, and that too can be an opportunity for Christ’s power to be made evident, yet most often, there is movement required and ongoing steps of faith before words are ever utilized. May we allow our actions to demonstrate Christ’s power, as we rise up and walk out our faith each day.

 

The kingdom of God,Power Visible Through Action

is not about talk;

but of God’s power,

as we walk the walk.

Our words are empty,

if deeds don’t align;

His power is seen,

through faith over time.

May we each rise up,

and walk out each day;

faithful to His call,

let’s trust and obey.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kingdom is not a matter of talk, but rather it is one of power and promise for all who place their trust in You. Thank You that as we trust You, You lead us to live out our lives in the power that You provide. Forgive us for the times when we have known the right answers, but merely discussed them rather than walked them out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move in faith the moment we hear Your call. Lead us to love others in the power that You provide, so that they may see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we walk out our faith with action. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Risking Reputation to Do Right

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. – (Mark 15:43)

 

Just after Jesus had breathed His last breath on the cross, Joseph, a secret follower of Christ, knew he had a decision to make. Either he himself ought to step up and do what he was able to do to give Jesus a proper burial, or Jesus’ body would be left for the Romans to deal with, as no Jew would dare do anything with His body on the Sabbath. By going before Pilate to make his request, Joseph was exposing his faith for all to see. He had clearly come to a point where his desire to do right, outweighed his fear of being found out. Today, Joseph is the only actual name of any of the Sanhedrin that I’ve ever known. His decision to honor Christ, regardless of what it would do to his reputation, made him among those who are greatly admired in the history of our faith. We are called to do likewise. Doing right before God must be our priority, rather than worrying about our reputation before mankind. He calls us to obedience, not notoriety. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. – (Mark 8:38) May we move forward in the light of His grace, walking in obedience to all that He is asking. Let us throw off every hindrance that causes fear of man or risk of ruining a reputation, and rise up to do right. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. – (1 John 2:5a)

 

No matter the risk,May We Love Much

nor the fear of man;

let us do what’s right,

in Christ’s strength we can.

For there is no man,

who can take away;

our eternal hope,

in Christ where we stay.

Men may choose slander,

with words they attack;

yet God is our strength,

we need not look back.

May we choose be bold,

stand firm in the truth;

righteous before God,

embraced and made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the ultimate example of risking reputation and doing right before You. Though He was slandered and accused, He was without sin; choosing to die for each of us who placed accusations upon Him. Thank You for loving us far more than our mere minds can comprehend. Forgive us for worrying more about our reputation than about doing what is right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may choose to do right, regardless of what others think of our decisions. Lead us to love as You so generously love each of us, and may many come to know that the rewards of following You, far outweigh the risks. Be glorified, O God, as we do right, regardless of the risk to our reputations. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Seek the Source

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

image by Catherine Makowsky

“To ‘seek first the kingdom of His righteousness’ means to turn to God first for help, to fill our thoughts with His desires, to take His character for our pattern, and to serve and obey Him in everything.  What is really important to us?  People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for priority.  Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if we don’t actively choose to give Him first place in every area of our lives.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

These are tall orders and tough truths if we are not turning in trust, to Him.  On our own, our priorities quickly become self-centered, rather than God-centered.  When we seek Him first, and trust God to be God and not ourselves, He provides what is needed to walk upright before Him in His strength, not ours.  As He is placed as our priority, He provides that which we lack.  God’s resources are unending – He always is and has enough, no matter where our lack.  He cares deeply, even about our buried and unknown needs.  He provides people to be His hands, voice and heart when we need to hear Him, and He enables us to feel His touch in a tangible way.  He provides peace, even when we are in the pit of peril.  When we are lacking, He is abundantly able to supply.  As we ask, we are heard, and He answers in His perfect time.  He is whom we ought to seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we will find You.  Please forgive us for seeking anything else, before You.  Teach us to trust You to supply all that we need to live and love as You long for us to do.  May our first response – be it in lack or in plenty – be to seek You and honor You, as You alone are our source and supply, and way beyond worthy of all of our worship and praise.  As we learn to seek You first in all things and at all times, may our prioritized pursuit make plain the path that leads straight into Your loving grace to all who are around us.  Thank You that You are our source and supply, who sent Your only Son to suffer and die, so that we would have a way to seek and find the safety that Your loving arms supply.  Amen.

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