Through the Valleys and Highest Peaks

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This is the truth. Though the things we walk through may not be good, God can bring good out of our experiences. He will take our difficulties and direct our steps, demonstrating to us, just how much strength that He has deposited within our hearts for such a time as this. Things we might have never noticed before, suddenly become significant and beautiful beyond what our human heart can hold.

Yesterday, I was able to plug into my church and run media, experiencing Sunday in a way that felt “normal” for the first time in a month. There is something significant about being present as our worship team warms up and runs through the songs, then witnessing the wonderful unfolding of what God has in store, in two services. The two never unfold exactly alike, and there are always morsels of the message that I can carry with me into the week, that often come back to mind in moments when the message aligns with what lies before me. It is the great unfolding of His plan, as we invest in the truth of His word. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life, but we are promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and He is able to work ALL THINGS toward something good. God truly does bring beauty from ashes when we allow Him in. My own life is a living testament of His faithfulness. So many times, the places of trial or heartache became the greatest sources of strength, victory and grace. God is always good, and I know He is bringing even more beauty to the life He created for my mom.

Mom enjoyed a balance of time with Megan’s family, therapies, rest, and Mark and me even were able to sneak over and surprise her for a hug and quick visit, before trading off with Meg’s fellas. It is a joy to hear the perspective of both Scott and Mark, (Meg and my spouses), as they have had large gaps in between visits with mom, so they see giant leaps in her progress, rather than the day-to-day victories that my sister and I witness. Both of our guys cannot contain their joy as they speak of the change they see in mom. Each has been instrumental in my sister’s and my ability to be with mom every day. If not for them holding down the fort and running the households back home, we would not be able to be here. May we ever remain confident in He who is able to use ALL THINGS for good, and continue to trust in Him for every step of this uncharted journey.

 

Beauty from ashes, 0515190557_hdr3238003239624041706.jpg

Great hope from despair;

Our most holy God,

Hears every prayer.

He’ll never forsake,

Nor leave us alone;

He sees all our needs,

And we each are known.

Trust that He is good,

His plan, purposeful;

Beauty from ashes,

A life meaningful.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You. Thank You that even though the circumstances or struggles are not good, You bring good from the process. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we are too blinded by our own hurt or struggle to see how You are working for our good in the midst of it. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater that anything that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us as we walk through the valleys and climb the highest peaks. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for the beauty You bring from ashes, and watch in anticipation for all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

…To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Being the Body

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

As I read this passage through several times, I thought about how it applies to my own life. Stepping back, I can see how true this is, not only in my church circle, but at home, at work, and among my groupings of friends. In each arena, God has gathered people with different strengths, gifts and talents, and placed us together with purpose. Where one of us is weak, another is strong. In a space where wisdom or experience are necessary, there is one among us who has been there to build up, encourage or advise. This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. Who we are and what we have to give is far more meaningful and effective when joined together with others. Balance, beauty and strength in our everyday lives the way God intended, become recurring reality, rather than a one-day hope. Yes, there will be days that are messy and feel a bit fractured, but if our pursuit is to seek God and be joined in the body as He intended, the difficult days will be well worth the work. May we ever choose to seek the Lord and be invested in community as we are called.

 

We’re each created,Called to be Family 1

With a role in mind;

As God’s given gifts,

To join and align.

For as we gather,

Together as one;

Each part fills a role,

To rise, get things done.

We all have purpose,

That is magnified;

When joined with others,

God’s strength realized.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us individually with different strengths and functions and purpose. Thank You that You intended each of us to be in community so that our strengths could be utilized together to accomplish Your call and build up one another in You. Thank You that You place us in community when we seek You. Forgive us for not fully investing in the communities we are in, or for withholding the very things that You have birthed in us to share. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would utilize that which You have given us to share for the benefit of the body. Show us how to love all those whom You have placed in the communities we are called to invest in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with one another to become together what we could not be alone. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Clothed With Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12)

 

Here I am, on the first day of summer break, and I am now compelled to study and stretch my mind to learn and grow more, wherever I can… This morning, this one verse, is packed full of deep and meaningful words. Rather than give an overall generalized application, I wanted to break it down, and look at each set of words, as their meaning is quite significant.

 

First, as God’s chosen people, we who have chosen to follow Christ, are wanted, desired, and considered among the Lord’s elect. This is not because we are worthy, but rather because He is good. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. – (1 Peter 2:9)

 

Holy and dearly loved, is yet another designation that we are granted through the goodness and grace of God. To be holy, is to be considered to have a spiritually pure quality; this is ours through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf because He dearly loved each of us – His created. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Clothe yourselves, reminds us that we have a choice. We must be intentional to choose to rise each day and seek the Lord to live according to His will and walk in His way. Walking out the door for the day without actual clothes would be a disastrous option, so too is the way of not clothing ourselves in Christ. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Romans 13:14)

 

Compassion is sympathy that springs into action to help alleviate suffering. Rather than simply seeing a need, compassion does something to help. Where there is lack, compassion provides; where there is pain, compassion draws near. Compassion is Christ coming close through the hands, feet, and hearts of His people. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15)

 

Kindness is affection, amiability, benevolence and consideration. It is the one who sits beside the bullied, the broken or the hurting and simply remains present. Kindness extends gentle, encouraging words, even when they are not deserved. “…but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. – (Isaiah 54:8b)

 

Humility is the state of not being proud nor arrogant; being modest; courteously respectful. Humility gives credit where credit is due, even if it detracts praise from oneself. Not one of us is able to do anything that is praiseworthy without the giftings and grace of God. Without Him, we are nothing. All we do that has any worth, is because of Christ within us. Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. – (Proverbs 22:4)

 

Gentleness defined, is without roughness or violence; mild and kindly.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1)

 

May we lay hold of our calling, and embrace the gift which He freely gives. Let us clothe ourselves, daily, with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might go forth and better love others as we choose to serve Him.

 

We each have been called,Compassion Crosses the Road

for Christ knows our names;

His love goes beyond,

the truth we proclaim.

No words can express,

how deep and how wide;

the love of the Lord,

when He’s asked inside.

The gifts that He grants,

allow us to bear;

each other in love,

with kindness and care.

Compassion will grow,

humility too;

gentle responses,

will be what we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our lives, You consider us Your chosen people; holy and dearly loved. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to go forth in our own strength, or for forgetting to seek You to be properly equipped for all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be completely dependent on You for all that is needed to live the life that You are calling us to lead. Help us to love others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, just as You so perfectly modeled for us through Your Son. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we clothe ourselves as Your chosen people, and go forth to love well. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5