Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Help Ever Near

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to meet us wherever we are, no matter what we are facing. Yesterday, I wrote about my anxiousness over an upcoming oral surgery that I need to have done. Incredibly, it was not at the surgeon’s office that peace was made present, but rather through the sweet and encouraging words of both my sister-in-love and a sweet friend from work. As each mentioned their own experiences or that of another, my mind was eased of the fear that I had been holding. Often God’s nearness is made tangible through those whom He places around us. For me, learning from those who had witnessed or experienced what lies ahead, took the unknown element out that which was the root of my fear. Strength is provided in the safety of His hands when we choose to seek Him. May we ever remember our Source of strength and safety when trouble instills fear into our heart.

 

Space of protection, Pardon Brings Peace

Our Calmer of fear;

When troubles come close,

The Lord will be near.

Choose place in His hands,

All trouble that comes;

He will keep us safe,

Grant strength through His Son.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our hope;

Faithful to meet us,

His grace helps us cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to be near and answer us as we call on You for help. Thank You that You are our strength and our shelter in all things and at all times. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to be Your voice and Your heart to us. Forgive us for our fears when troubles and trials come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength and peace and safety. Show us how to love others well, so that they may come to know the strength and security that are found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our Source of safety and strength, for You are always near. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

The Waste in Worry

Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life? – (Luke 12:25, NLT)

None of you can any time to your life by worrying about it. – (Luke 12:25, ERV)

And besides, what’s the use of worrying? What good does it do? Will it add a single day to your life? Of course not! – (Luke 12:25, TLB)

 

I am not a huge worrier, yet there are some things, based on previous experience, where I struggle to find faith. This month I have to have oral surgery for gum grafting. In my numerous prior experiences with dental visits requiring Novocain, I find reason for dread, as dentists cannot seem to keep my mouth numb throughout an entire procedure. Though I have tried to not even give the upcoming appointment much thought, as I have had plenty of wonderful distractions, it is clearly a point of concern when I wake to disturbing dreams about the process. My prayer is that by voicing my concerns to the surgeon at my consultation, my mind and heart will be put at peace and worry will not enter my thoughts again. Worry steals rest rather than returning remedy for what lies ahead. Instead, I have to place it in His hands and trust. May we release worry and fear into His hands, find peace and comfort in His care.

 

Worry’s a challenge, We Need Not Worry

To choose to release;

Yet holding to it,

No good is increased.

Instead, we need give,

Our concerns to God;

Who’s greater than all,

His grace knows no flaws.

So, bring God all fears,

Place each in His hands;

He meets us with love,

Strength from Him to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry in You. Forgive us for allowing worry to remain in our hearts and minds, as no benefit is brought in through worry. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces where we have known discomfort or pain in the past, as each day and experience is new in You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that worry is released and peace is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our worries in Your capable hands in exchange for the peace found in You alone. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Rest from the Heaviness

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, CEB)

 

It is good to work hard and complete the tasks that lie before us, yet there comes a point when we have to listen to our bodies and choose to slow down and rest. God provides the time and space necessary for us to rest, if we only choose to do so, and He grants us help and hope and relief when all seems too much to slow down. Often the thing that keeps us from resting is a busy mind. When the day is done and we actually lie down to rest, our mind continues to plan, prepare, and ponder ways to accomplish the long list that is yet to be done, further removing the rest that is so desperately needed. Thankfully, true to His word, when we turn our attention to Him, rather than what needs to be done, peace comes and rest enters in. May we ever seek the Lord in our times of weariness, for He is the perfect Provider of the rest our bodies and minds require.

 

Jesus is calling, Rest from the Heaviness

For He says to come;

All who are weary,

Seek the Holy One.

For He grants us rest,

And His perfect peace;

He loves us to life,

Grants heavy relief.

So, let us draw near,

To our God above;

As He grants us rest,

And fills with His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness with our heavy burdens, and You will give us rest. Thank You that Your rest refreshes and provides relief so that we can press on in Your strength. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest, even though it is intended for us all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take time to rest and refresh in You, as You lighten our load and make our burdens bearable. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps shoulder the heavy loads and encourages rest as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and heavy burdened, knowing that You will grant us rest. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

The Force of Faithful Fathers

Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. – (Proverbs 20:15, NLT)

Much gold and many pearls exist, but wise speech is the most precious jewel. – (Proverbs 20:15, CEB)

You may have an abundance of wealth, piles of gold and jewels, but there is something of far greater worth: speaking revelation words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 20:15, TPT)

 

When I think of fathers, be it those on earth or our Heavenly Father, thoughts of wise words come to mind. Fathers are great sources of advice, and good fathers direct the path of their children as they grow. In the places where a human father is absent, falls short, or simply has no answer, God, who is the ultimate Father, always does. No matter where we are or what is going on, we may seek Him for answers in prayer and in His word. Last evening, I had the joy of watching the wisdom of a good father’s words come to fruition. My bonus son-to-be graduated from high school. He is a wonderful young man who has not been the biggest fan of school. His father, who loves him fiercely, with all of his giant, Viking being, passed on many wise words, often, that ultimately led to his son’s successful completion of public education. It is such a sweet space to watch the pride a father has in his son, as it grants a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father views us as His children. Though it often takes His coaxing, pulling, lifting, loving, redirecting, and many wise words conveyed to us, He is proud of us too, as we reach the various milestones set before us. May we ever seek the best Father of all and celebrate and give thanks for the good fathers that God has granted all around us to show us His heart.

 

Great wisdom in words, fb_img_15292164673276799610905781133347.jpg

Are precious in worth;

Far greater than gold,

The way, they unearth.

Just as the wise words,

That good dads choose bring;

Show us where to go,

And how to do things.

May we choose give thanks,

Seek words that are wise;

All praise for fathers,

Who see through love’s eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of good fathers. Thank You that You are the ultimate good Father to us. Thank You that You grant us wise words to live by that lead us on the path You have placed before us. Forgive us for not valuing the wisdom found in the words that You intended for our hearts to hear. Teach us to have ears to listen and hearts to understand. Show us how to love others well, so that we would speak wise words that You place in our mouths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the wisdom of Your Holy Word and learn to value it above things that come and go. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Rooted in What is Real

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! – (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)

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)

 

As I prepare for the final full week of the school year, I must fix my eyes on He who is my Source of peace. If I allow my mind to be ruled by the all that the week requires, I will be exhausted before I begin. It is in this space that I am called to run my race well. To do so, I must be firmly rooted in what is real and lasting, rather than permit my checklist to overwhelm. God gives us the strength that we need, as it is needed, and His perfect peace as we trust in Him. May we dedicate our hearts and minds to You, Lord, so that we may walk in peace and navigate this week very well.

 

May we seek the peace, Rooted in What is Real

That never runs out;

For all who choose trust,

And push aside doubt.

For God, by His grace,

Meets us where we are;

Brings calm in chaos,

And peace to our hearts.

So, let us each choose,

Depend on the Lord;

With heart, soul and mind,

As peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You keep us in perfect peace as we trust in You and fix our thoughts on You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to focus on the chaos and challenges rather than on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our calm in the chaos and our anchor in the storms. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend Your peace to the places of unrest in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate our hearts and minds to You and go forth in Your perfect peace. 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

The Power of Gentleness

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

People will typically meet us in tone and sentiment as we interact with one another. Even when a person is having a rough day, and kindness is far from the forefront of their mind, as kind words and gentleness are extended, the same seem to easily flow in reply. I have found, on many occasions, just how much truth these words hold. When I choose to respond to someone who is angry with gentle, softly spoken words, most often, the heat of their anger is diffused. However, when I respond from a space of my own frustration and meet their anger with my own, the intensity of the flame burns all the hotter and goes from heated to volatile. May we seek the One who always answers us gently with love, so that we may go forth and do the same.

 

May we choose answer, Gods protection

Forever with grace;

For each choice of love,

Is living God’s way.

Those who are angry,

Need answers of peace;

Gentleness given,

Grants fury’s release.

Tenderness given,

Will turn away rage;

For love overcomes,

The toughest of days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your gentleness diffuses our frustration and anger, and in You, we can do the same for others. Forgive us for the times that we have met fury with words that only fueled the fire of frustration rather than diffused. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend tender words that offer hope and help, no matter how we feel. Show us how to love others well in all situations and circumstances so that Your heart may be heard and Your love may be felt. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to extend gentleness and to speak words softly, especially when those around us are heated and in need of Your tenderness. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5