Purposed Parts

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

I love when God shows me the reality of His word in action, and then the next morning, directs my heart to the reminder in scripture. Last evening, my Viking and I attended the gallery opening of The Heart Gallery, for a paint and sip event. Neither of us had ever attended such an event, nor has either of us ever really done much painting. Despite having an art degree, painting was never my medium of choice, so I think that the only painting I ever did was a butterfly that I did and gave to my grandma. There had been no instruction on utilizing the various tools nor techniques, so I am sure that I painted much in the same way that I draw; very controlled and precise, not free-flowing nor allowing for the painting to unfold. Back to the verse… Heather, the co-owner and brilliant art instructor at The Heart Gallery, took the group of us in attendance through the process of creating a painting of an evening skyline, including water in the foreground, with the idea of celebrating our Seattle 12th Man status, prior to Monday night’s game. Watching Heather operate in one of her incredible gifts, was an amazing experience. Not only did she encourage and celebrate each individual as we created, but she helped each person paint a piece of work that they were pleased with by the end of the evening.  As each of us wandered the gallery between steps in the process, we were not comparing ourselves to one another, but rather we were celebrating and appreciating each unique interpretation of the task. Each painting was unfolding differently, yet all becoming an expression of art to admire. Painting, much like life, can be planned out, but will never be precise nor look exactly like we intend. However, in the end, there is beauty, none-the-less. May we ever seek to operate in the gifts that God has given us, and pursue growth in the areas where we are being further developed. We are all one body in need of one another’s strengths.

 

We are one body, img_2019-11-09_08-30-273250335102578517637.jpg

Each purposely made;

With gifts meant to share,

Throughout all our days.

Each with unique gifts,

Intended to share;

To bless the body,

Make it known we care.

So, rise up in strength,

Use what God’s given;

Be who you should be,

By grace, forgiven.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the community in which we have been rooted. Thank You that no two gifts look the same. Thank You that each are equally needed to fully function as we are intended. Forgive us for not valuing either what we have been given, or that granted to another. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your eyes, as You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose that blesses and helps the whole. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages each to operate in the gifts that they have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and utilize all that You have given us for the good of the body. Amen.

 

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

 

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. – 1 Timothy 6:18

The Parts Make the Whole

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace God gave us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, ERV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – (Romans 12:4-6a, NIV)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – (Romans 12:4-6a, MSG)

 

This is such a critical message to remember in community – be it in family, friend groups, work or other circles in which we gather. Each of us are created with unique strengths and giftings, intended to utilize them for the encouragement and betterment of those around us. I know this to be true in my family, marriage, and among close friends, and I am extremely grateful for the way that different gifts work together to create a stronger whole. As my colleagues and I spend the week in trainings and meetings to prepare for the upcoming school year, I intend to look for and celebrate the different giftings that each part of our staff brings to the whole of our school community. It is the people that have kept me in the same school for the entire twenty-three years of my teaching career thus far. Superintendents and higher ups have come and gone, yet, there have been core people who have helped keep a familial culture in existence over the years. Those who have come in and embraced the sense of community, have remained and strengthened what was started long ago. When kids begin joining us in a little over a week, it will be our charge to identify the strengths and gifts that each of them brings to our classroom. It is my hope and prayer that we not compare ourselves nor them to each other, but rather see and celebrate each one as is, recognizing the potential in all that is yet to be.

After speaking with mom last evening, I received a bit more clarification about her appointment last week and the hold-up with in-home therapies. Apparently, it is not a need for seeing another specialist, but rather a bit of a fight/search to find in-home therapies that her new insurance will cover. This is extraordinarily frustrating, as a different insurance would have been selected, had we known it would have been so difficult. God is good, and He is faithful to meet mom’s needs, so we are trusting that He will make a way quickly, as a long delay is not beneficial to mom’s ongoing rehabilitation and recovery. On the positive side, she is working hard, making sure to work on her walking multiple times each day. Please join us in praying that all will be worked out and settled this week, so that perhaps as my nephews return to school, mom will be able to begin her therapies back up at home.

 

We each have a role, aristotle_quote_the_whole_is_greater_than_the_sum_of_its_parts_1439598_1807304324820819141384587.png

A part we’re to play;

Gifted and equipped,

God has made the way.

When we choose to live,

To walk out our days;

As He intended,

Our lives bring Him praise.

Part of the body,

Embracing our role;

Encourage others,

To work as a whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with different strengths and gifts, and intended us for community so that we could work together to be strong and whole. Forgive us for comparison, for that is the thief of joy that leads to us thinking either too little or too much of ourselves. Teach us to instead, appreciate all that You create and grow in each of us, and to encourage those around us well. Show us how to love those You place in our lives in a way that celebrates the unique way that You have created each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each person that You have placed in our community to contribute to the whole. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

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

Strength and Courage Stand

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, AMP)

This is My command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NLT)

 

My heart leapt within me a little as I read that this was the verse of the day this morning. This particular verse has been especially significant in my life for the last few years as I have navigated a new season. Daily, I am reminded of the words of this verse, yet until this morning, I have not unpacked a few of the words within these two translations. As a self-professed “word nerd”, language fascinates me, and I do what I can to find further significance and meaning from written text. When I heard “dismayed“, I always thought distressed, but when I actually looked up the word, I was surprised to discover that dismayed means: to break down the courage of completely. Additionally, discouraged in my mind, dis – without or not, and courage, and one can figure what I assumed the word meant. “Discouraged” according to dictionary.com, is: to deprive of courage, hope or confidence. Both of these words go much deeper than I had anticipated. God does not want us to allow anything to break down nor deprive us of the courage that He has created within us. He commands us to be courageous – not in our own strength, but in His. We can take courage because He has promised to be with us wherever we go. That alone is reason to be courageous. Greater is He who is in us, than anything that might come against us. May we each rise up in strength and courage as we are commanded, and keep terror and dismay far from us. Take heart dear ones, for the Lord our God is with us!

 

For the Lord commands,Dispelling Discouragement

Take courage, be strong;

Because He’s with us,

All of our life long.

Let nothing find way,

To come and break down;

The courage God gives,

For in Him, strength’s found.

Do not be afraid,

For He’ll never leave;

All hope comes from Him,

By faith, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to be strong and courageous. Thank You that You unpack it for us by explaining that we are not to allow anything to terrify us or break down our courage or take away our hope. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but we can be strong and courageous because You are with us wherever we go, so there is no reason for fear. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we forget how great You are and how small our obstacles are in comparison. Teach us to trust You more, as we struggle with discouragement when giants stand before us. Show us Your heart for those around us, so that we can love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in Your strength and courage, knowing that You are with us wherever we go. 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

The Gift of Presence

I will make My home among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NLT)

My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NIV)

 

Long before the arrival of Christ, God had His plan in place to make things right again so that He could dwell among us. Humanity had become so broken and disconnected from God, that the only way to be restored to a right relationship with Him, was through the sending of His Son. This season marks the celebration of Jesus’ arrival; the beginning of the relationship that restored us to our Redeemer. Without Christ, we would be limited to only drawing as near to God as the outer courts of the temple. However, because Christ came, we can invite Him to be Lord of our lives, and He will come and make His home in us and among us. He no longer is God out there, but He is now the Lord who is always near. May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him who came from heaven to earth to make the way for us to know His nearness, both now and forevermore.

 

From heaven on high,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

He came down to dwell;

So people might know,

The hope His life tells.

As we lift our eyes,

To the Lord above;

He calls us His own,

Showers with His love.

Let us fix our gaze,

This holy season;

On Christ born to us,

Our hope and reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it has always been Your plan to dwell among us. Thank You that despite our sinfulness and brokenness, You made the way to restore a right relationship with You through the sending of Your Son. Forgive us for not fixing our eyes on You and the reason for the season, as we get caught up in the chaos of things that “need” to get done. Help us to slow down and settle in, so that we may meditate on the real meaning and the weight of what You have done for us all. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads hope and points them to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the treasured gift of Your presence this most sacred season. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? Each of us bears a name that has been bestowed upon us by those who have raised us. For many, the name selected either has familial significance, or was chosen based on the actual meaning of the name. There are others, however, whose parents simply selected a name that they were fond of, and went with it.

 

For me, my parents wanted to celebrate our Irish ancestry and selected my first name from a map of Ireland. Interestingly, Shannon means Godly wisdom. Though I am not wise in my own strength, He has given me wisdom and insight at pivotal points in my life, as it has been needed. My middle name, Elizabeth, is after my grandmother, whom I admire most in my family. As we share this middle name, it too, has significant meaning. Elizabeth means, “my God is an oath.” He is a promise that is held in my life, and He provides wisdom as it is needed. Both are beautiful blessings. However, before I was ever born, He knew me and called me His own. The name that matters far more than any other, is the one in which He refers to us as “MINE.” We are His – kept, valued, loved, and planned with a purpose.

 

Listen to me, you islands; hear this you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name. – (Isaiah 49:1)

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

What is in a name,What is in a Name

bestowed unto us?

For before our birth,

were plans of Jesus.

He called us by name,

with purpose in mind;

hand-crafted in love,

carefully designed.

Each one created,

uniquely we’re made;

with significance,

meant to be displayed.

Gifts that He’s given,

intended to share;

so others may know,

His kindness and care.

Rise up in courage,

share all He has done;

for as we go forth,

the battle is won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have chosen and called us by name, even before we were born. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for our lives, and that Your plans are good. Thank You that no matter what our earthly name means, the most significant name that we carry is the one that deems us Your children. Forgive us for questioning our value or purpose, or the value or purpose of others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may recognize Your workmanship in ourselves and others, and celebrate the strengths that You have placed in all of us for Your glory. Lead us to love others well, so that we might walk out our purpose as You intended. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to know and embrace the name by which You call us all – MINE. Amen.

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

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

Marvelously Made

As I further reflect on the truths conveyed in the book study I am participating in, I find myself pondering the point upon which we all struggled. A question for conversation in the Undaunted study guide was phrased in the following way:

“The Bible tells us that God’s works are marvelous. God made you and me. This means we are marvelous! Tell something marvelous about yourself. Why is it so hard, in a day-to-day way, to see ourselves as marvelous in God’s sight and truly valuable?”

Our entire group struggled with the word marvelous, as I think we were all viewing the meaning in the vein of: excellence, greatness, or somehow superb. This morning, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the meaning of the word, as the root of marvelous, is marvel. Indeed, upon further investigation, I discovered that marvelous can mean: such as to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; surprising; extraordinary, or even improbable. To me, these things are a bit easier to share, as they are the things in us that make us wonder in awe because a great and loving God has placed them in us, rather than something that we have somehow achieved in our own strength. What has God placed in you, that makes you marvel in reverent awe of Him?

 

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

 

Marvelously Made

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

In reverent awe,

I wonder at Thee;

for You have chosen,

each part that makes me.

From hair on my head,

to love in my heart;

all of me designed,

a purposeful part.

Before I was born,

a plan was in place;

You knew what I’d love,

and trials I’d face.

You made me with strength,

hand-crafted by You;

with a heart driven,

to ever pursue.

I give all my praise,

to You, Lord above;

in awe I marvel,

at Your wondrous love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us better than we know ourselves. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and You have created in us, all that is needed to accomplish that which You have designed us to do. Forgive us for not marveling at the wonderful ways that You have uniquely hand-crafted each of us, individually, with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to stop and wonder in awe at the work of Your hands, as You so intentionally and beautifully love each of us. Lead us to love others You would love them, and give us Your eyes to marvel at who You have created them to be. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified as we go forth in gratitude in the gifts You have granted. Amen.

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

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

Made to Shine

When Jesus was teaching the disciples the meaning of a parable He had told, Jesus went on to ask them a few questions to reveal to the disciples the importance of their position as they were to go forth to share the truth. He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?” – (Mark 4:21, NIV) Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that if others could not see His light in them, it would be useless.

 

We are created and called to shine before all; not to hole up in our tidy little Christian circles, never to get out of the church’s four walls. He calls us to be a light wherever we are. Are there “bowls” in our hearts that keep us from shining? If so, how might we get out from under them, so that Christ can again shine brightly through us, wherever we go? May we seek Him, keeping short accounts, so that as we go forth, His light in us shines bright before all whom we encounter.

 

He grants us His word,Made to Shine

so that we shall know;

the hope of His truth,

peace that makes us grow.

In our very hearts,

His Spirit resides;

to shine before men,

truth can’t be denied.

Let nothing cover,

what shines from within;

for His light is life,

to all steeped in sin.

Use us Lord, Jesus,

so many will know;

the hope we now hold,

let Your freedom flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and give You our hearts and our lives, You use us to shine brightly before others. Thank You that it is nothing that we do in our own strength, but rather it is Your Spirit dwelling in us that others may see. Forgive us for anything in us that has caused Your light to grow dim in us, and help us to remove the “bowls” so that Your light is clearly seen. Lead us to love generously and shine brightly, just as You so do unto us. May many come to know You as Lord and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as Your light shines through us, unhindered and in plain view. 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