Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Home is the Company You Keep

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

 

A sense of mourning has been the overarching theme of my time at home. From the first moment I walked through the door, I began to feel waves of grief. Until yesterday, I could not completely identify the “why”. Yes, some of it is obvious, with the trauma of what has gone on with mom’s stroke, the loss of my grandmother, grieving the loss of closing out much of the end of the school year with my students, and of course, all of the time that I did not get to spend with my husband and children and close friends. However, there was something more that was weighing me down at home. The revelation that I had as I was walking and talking with my best friend last evening, was that being home was not home to me, without my husband here. For me, home is the company you keep, not so much the place where you sleep. Of course, I love my children and time with them, but they are typical teenagers, and spend much time in their own world, being independent young adults. I easily felt at home at mom’s, yet here, with Mark away, I have been unsettled and sorrowful. It is amazing how quickly comfort can come, once the source is identified. I was able to share my struggle with my spouse, and he listened and heard my heart. He also is rerouting his plans, and will be doing a quick turn-around on Friday so that he can be in Wenatchee with me for the weekend, rather than wait another week to spend time with one another.

As for adventures in Wenatchee… Mom and Megan had an “exciting” day yesterday. The morning began in quite the usual way, with breakfast, shower, and so on. However, when the two of them were seated in the living room, just relaxing and watching a movie, they suddenly heard a loud “boom” from mom’s room! Megan quickly ran back to investigate the noise, only to discover a disaster in the bathroom. A pipe had burst and there was about an inch of water on the floor already. She jumped into action immediately, laying down towels to keep the water from reaching the carpeted areas of mom’s room, darted out of the house to find the water main and shut it off, and reached a neighbor with a shop vac and industrial fan, and a dear local friend for a quality plumber recommendation. Additionally, she was able to contact mom’s insurance company. All the while, mom had a physical therapy appointment take place and was able to let Meg know the contact people for insurance, etc. Incredibly, all repairs were complete and the water was back on by evening. Hats off to my quick-thinking, fast-acting, superstar sister!

May we ever seek the Lord when we are struggling, for He is our Comforter and Keeper of peace.

 

Lord be our Comfort, img_2019-06-20_06-48-128110825988295564590.jpg

Wherever we roam;

May we always choose,

Make our heart Your home.

Show us Your kindness,

And grant us Your grace;

When sorrow’s burden,

Tries to overtake.

Thank You for people,

To know and be known;

Oh what a blessings,

To make house a home.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Comforter when sorrows and struggles come our way. Thank You that You make Your heart for us tangible through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the countless gifts that You have given me – my husband, children, mom and sister, dearest friends, colleagues whom are lifelong friends, and more. Thank You that You truly bless us, even in our most difficult seasons. Forgive us for feeling stuck in the struggle, as You refine us in the fire. Teach us to trust You more, as You never let go of our hearts or our hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lifts up and walks alongside through the hurts and brings comfort and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are our caring Comforter in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

We are called to live at peace with all people as much as humanly possible. If we operate as promoters of peace, extending mercy and grace, goodness and love, just as God gives to us, peace is possible far more often than not. Yes, there are always exceptions who will not receive and will continue to cause unrest, but with all that we are in all that we do, we are called to seek His peace. May we ever depend on the Prince of Peace to fill our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and live at peace with everyone around us.

 

Peace is not a place,
Joining Together

But a state of mind;

Granted by the Lord,

For all of mankind.

It’s meant to be shared,

One to another;

From neighbor to friend,

Sister to brother.

Let us do our best,

With all, be at peace;

So God’s grace may flow,

And hope be increased.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your peace when we seek You. Thank You that You equip us to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us. Forgive us for not attempting to live at peace with everyone around us when people become difficult to take. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we are filled again with Your grace and compassion and power to promote peace in places where it seems impossible. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to the unsettled places in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to live at peace with everyone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Tangible Good

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. (Micah 6:8, ERV)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, NLT)

But Hes already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. Its quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

God has shown us what is good and what He requires. How we are meant to live is a tangible demonstration of loving God and loving people. Those who love God and are actively seeking to live it out in their daily lives do what is fair and just, they are compassionate and loyal, and keep the main things the main things. No one has achieved perfection, as we are all a work in progress. God is gracious and merciful, and will pick us up each time we fail and fall, if we ask Him to be our help. Each day we are provided a fresh start to love well. May we seek the Lord and His love as we go forth this day, so that we may be fair, loving, kind, loyal and humble as we walk in the grace that He has granted.

 

Joining Together

The Lord has told us,

What His goodness is;

Fairness and kindness,

Through love that we give.

We’re called to mercy,

And humility;

As we extend love,

His heart can be seen.

Let’s rise up in faith,

Do as God requires;

Love as He loves us,

For goodness inspires.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You explain how and showed us through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning, and Your love for us knows no end. Forgive us for not loving according to what You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do what is good and what You require of us. Show us how to do right, love mercy and walk humbly with You in ways that bless and tangibly demonstrate Your love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and faithfully follow that which You show us do to demonstrate Your lavish love to those around us. 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

Owe Only Love

Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:8, NLT)

You should own nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. – (Romans 13:8, MSG)

 

God calls us to love one another as we have been loved. If we seek to love in the same way that God loves us, it will require a lifetime of loving those around us to carry out that to which we have been called. Love is a rare commodity – for the more we give, the more we discover we are filled and ready to pour out again and again. Every other sort of debt leaves us empty and lacking, yet love fills, restores, and propels us to pour out more. May we allow the only debt that we owe, be that of love to one another.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

To fulfill a debt;

The space where love lacks,

Hope where it’s not yet.

Choose not to borrow,

What can’t be paid back;

Unless it is love,

For God can do that.

Never stop loving,

Each other by grace;

This fulfills the law,

To walk in God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us the ways in which we are meant to live according to Your will. Thank You that the only thing we should owe one another is love. Thank You that as we seek to love one another according to Your will, You fill us and equip us to love as You love. Forgive us for not choosing to love like You, or for running up debts that we cannot repay. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be wise in our ways and follow You all of our days. Show us how to love one another according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we opt to owe nothing to anyone except for love. 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

Learning to Love as We Are Loved

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG)

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT)

 

We are called to love God and love people with our whole being. If we invest our hearts and lives into loving well, then we are being obedient to that which God has commanded. Every directive that God gives us to walk upon the path that He has placed before us, is rooted and established in love. Every step is intentionally tied to loving God or loving people. The amazing thing is, if we are loving God, we cannot help but love people as well. The more we invest our hearts in Him, the more we begin to see people through His lens of love. Compassion rises within us, and we are drawn to do good. May we each invest all that we are into the pursuit of knowing and loving God, so that we can go forth and love people as we have been called to love.

 

May we choose to love,Bloom Where We're Planted

with all that we are;

through passion and prayer,

seek the Morning Star.

For He is our God,

all love comes from Him;

the more we invest,

the more love comes in.

As our hearts are filled,

we are armed to go;

to love others well,

so God’s truth may show.

May we each be light,

obey God’s commands;

love Him and people,

so peace and truth stand. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving, and that through Your great love, You charge us to do likewise. Thank You that You command us to love You and others with all that we are, but You don’t expect us to do this on our own. Thank You that You empower and equip our hearts to love like You love each of us. Forgive us for not loving well, or for neglecting to invest our hearts in time with You or the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest all of our passion, prayer and intellect into loving You and opening our hearts to hear how You would have us love those around us. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we learn how to love You and love others with all that we are. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Teach in Love

The earth is filled with Your love, O Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64)

As I prayerfully prepare to greet my new students for the first time today, this verse seems quite fitting. If I learn His decrees and follow His ways, I can be a part of perpetuating His great love that goes out into all the earth. My charge is to begin with one child at a time. Each student that walks through the door of my classroom needs to know that they are safe, valued, cared for, loved, and that an adult on campus believes in their potential. It is no small task to be a champion for children. We must love those who resist it the most, and encourage the elusive and errant, to help them find their way to the road that leads to their greatest success. This is the most rewarding and challenging job on the planet, and even after eighteen first days of new students, I still feel nervous for this one. I am continually challenged to stretch, grow, and discover new and better practices to accommodate the needs of my students. All it takes is one student responding to that which is extended, to know that it is all worth it. Each of us has a call to follow His decrees and recognize and pour out His love to all the earth. Though it seems to be a monumental task, it is really us beginning with one. Who is one person that we can love as Christ loves us? Our neighbor? Our employer? Our coworkers? In Christ, we have the capacity to do as He did, as we are meant to be His hands and heart to the world. May we go forth this day, following His decrees, and love well, all whom we encounter.

Please teach me O Lord,

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school... :)

Cautious & Adventurous last year on the 1st day of school… 🙂

so I too, teach well;

let me love like You,

as in You, I dwell.

Help my eyes to see,

Your love everywhere;

and lead me to love,

the lost in despair.

May my words bring life,

help all kids to know;

that their life matters,

may I help them grow.

Let safety be known,

as they enter in;

and peace overwhelm,

despite where they’ve been.

May love and laughter,

fill my classroom walls;

as we learn and grow,

discovering calls.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of teaching young people. Thank You that parents send us their very best, and we get to love and care for their kids as if they were our own. Thank You that You teach us and grow us in Your ways and Your love, so that we can love others as You call us. Forgive us for fearing failure, as that is a space where You teach us and grow us all the more. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can be transparent with kids, creating a safe space where we learn from failure and build on success. Above all, lead us to love well, so that students leave at the end of the day, in a better place than when they arrived. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn Your decrees and love as You love us. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Righteousness Through Love

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. – (Proverbs 14:34)

 

Righteousness, to be right before God, requires that we do as the Lord calls us to do. God does not call us to condemn, but rather, He calls us to love. The greatest command is this: to love God and love one another. Our lack of love towards God or each other is a sin, and that will be our downfall. If we have a neighbor in need, and are too busy looking at what is wrong in the world to make right what is before us and within reach, we are not walking in love. May we rise up and reach out to those standing before us, and extend the same love that the Lord has given unto us. It is in His love, that we will be walking in righteousness before Him, lest we stand condemned in our own prideful sin.

 

There’s only one way,Asking for Amazing Answers

to walk righteously;

to love as God loves,

so trapped are set free.

Not one who is stuck,

in the mire of sin;

will want to get out,

if they feel condemned.

We must offer love,

with God’s endless grace;

so those who are lost,

may soon see His face.

Let our lives model,

compassion and love;

so pursuing God,

is sought far above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You exalt those who walk right before You, but condemn those who stay in sin. Father forgive us for our sinfulness and our self-righteousness. Forgive us for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will reach out to the need that is before us, and choose to love as You love us. Lead us to those who are in need, and show us how You would have us love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your loving kindness is made evident before them, again and again. Be glorified O God, as we choose to walk out our days, loving You and loving people, as You have called us to do. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 25:6

Live Life Awake

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:14-16)

 

“Every day, there are situations in our normal routines that require us to be the light of Christ in darkness. Waking up spiritually is not just about participating in life-changing efforts of worldwide importance, such as stopping genocide. It is walking through our lives wide awake. It is rising ready where we are, with what we have. It is seeing people where they are and meeting their need.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

How often is someone standing beside us in the grocery checkout, discouraged and simply in need of a listening ear? Perhaps a neighbor down the street has suffered a loss and needs help finding the strength to prepare a meal? If we live our lives awake and aware of our surroundings, and choose to be ever listening to the still small voice of the Lord, we may find opportunities to extend His hands and heart to a hurting world in ways we would have never imagined possible. Our charge is not to do everything; it is to do something. When we are willing and available to utilize what we’ve been given, lives are touched and hearts are transformed. Nothing we do is in vain, and God works wonders through our faithful acts of obedience. May we rise up from our slumber and allow Christ to shine through us, as we go forth as His hands and heart to the world.

 

Wake up O sleeper,Live Life Awake

the day has now come;

the Lord is calling,

there’s work to be done.

People in darkness,

stuck in their despair;

if we don’t reach out,

then who will go there?

A neighbor, a friend,

someone down the street;

we must be willing,

to love those we meet.

For as we reach out,

the Lord works through us;

touches hurting hearts,

our mighty Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love so much that You sent Your only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You that You make new life possible because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Thank You that You showed us how to live and love, and that You speak to us still, granting us wisdom as to how we are to make the most of every opportunity to reach out and love as You loved us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stagnant in our own four walls, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may live our lives wide awake, open to every opportunity that You would invite us to reach out. Lead us to love like You love, and may many be led unto You. Be glorified as we live our lives fully awake in You. Amen.

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

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