Built Up in Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. – (Romans 14:19, CEB)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

As myself and many of my colleagues have returned to school to begin to prepare for the upcoming school year, I love that the climate among my coworkers is such as this. Each time I have run into a colleague, we have taken the time to catch up and listen to one another, as well as delight in each other’s summer adventures. Always, I walk away feeling encouraged and built up, knowing that I am in a place where we support one another both as professionals and as people. While I was painting walls and allowing the lyrics to which I was listening to sink in, it was my prayer that my classroom would be a place of peace where students would build each other up. Perhaps if they witness the continual positive and peaceful exchanges between colleagues, they too, will be encouraged to do likewise. It certainly is my goal to create a place of peace and encouragement within my classroom, and my hope that it goes far beyond my four walls. May we seek the Lord daily, who is the Prince of Peace, to fill us up and equip us to bring encouragement and peace to all of the places that He has planned.

 

Let us choose seek peace, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One to another;

May kindness take lead,

Sisters and brothers.

May we choose build up,

With encouragement;

Pick words that bring life,

Sweet hope’s fulfillment.

For as we bring peace,

It reaches beyond;

Those our choices touch,

From there they respond.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring peace and encouragement to the places we gather. Thank You that these are not things that we must somehow muster the feelings to pass on, but rather they are a way birthed within us as we seek You for help. Forgive us for trying to do this on our own, or for ignoring the very notion of peace in places that seem so unsettled. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and depend on You to bring peace to the places we land, and provide encouraging words to share with those around us. Show us how to love others with Your perfect peace and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace and encouragement so that we may share Your peace and offer encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

 

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

 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  – Isaiah 26:3

 

 

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

 

Confident in Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. – (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

 

Faith is trusting in the unseen and holding hope in that which is not yet fully known. Marriage is an excellent example of faith in action. We may know our spouse-to-be quite well, yet rarely are they fully known as we enter into the very relationship that God has ordained. It takes two people who have confident hope in a lifetime together, as well as the commitment to trust in God and each other for all that lies ahead. When our hope is in God and the good things that He has in store for us, we find assurance in that which is yet to come. Though I know there is no “perfect” nor easy existence with one another, I have confident hope that when two people are pursuing God’s best for themselves and one another, that His grace will be the glue that holds hope steady in each heart. May we ever seek the Lord and have faith in who He is and all that He has in store for those who place their hope in Him.

 

Faith’s the foundation,

img_2018-07-25_07-11-352723375306556626680.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

On which we can stand;

As we seek the Lord,

And all He commands.

For confident hope,

In all that’s unseen;

Exemplifies faith,

And what God’s grace means.

Though we cannot see,

All that lies ahead;

When we trust in God,

Faith rises and spreads.

The Lord is faithful,

In what we can’t see;

Choose confident hope,

Through trust and belief.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have confident hope in that which we cannot yet see, for You are faithful to all who believe. Forgive us for doubting the good that You have in store for us, and help us to hold firmly in faith all that You are and all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, in our relationships with You and one another. Show us how to love confidently and fearlessly, the way that You intended, so that many may be encouraged and find faith where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold confident hope in You and trust in that which is yet to come. Amen.

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

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

To Love and Do Good Works

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, NLT)

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)

 

This verse is made tangible again and again as I consider the countless stories of “pay it forward” that I have heard, experienced, and have had the pleasure in which to participate.  One small act of kindness inspires another, and even the seemingly most minute labors of love can set spark to a wildfire of wonderful deeds.  May we keep our eyes open to opportunities to love well and extend goodness, just as we have received at times when we needed it most.

 

Let us consider, Ambassadors of Love

How we can love well;

Inspire each other,

Of His goodness tell.

May all that we do,

Extend love and grace;

So all may be blessed,

As they run their race.

Each act of kindness,

Each choice to do good;

Motivates others,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love one another and do good works because You first loved us and gave everything for us to have life in You. Forgive us for not looking for ways to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to restore the places that are weary and worn, as You are the One who fills us and equips us to love others and do good works. Show us how to love those around us in a way that motivates, encourages and inspires greater love and good to be passed on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and goodness that You have given us and seek You to equip us with ways to go forth to love and do good works well. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

United Purposeful Paths

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV)

Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, CEB)

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, TPT)

 

Assumption is the path to destruction in spaces where unity is being sought. Instead, we must seek to understand one another to find common ground and purpose, so that we may be united rather than divided – as shared perspectives and values accomplish much. That is not to say that values ought to ever be compromised, but rather they need to be heard to search for common ground to identify a starting point. The more that we come together, the more often we discover our purpose and intent is seeking the same outcome. May we seek the Lord’s wisdom to be united rather than divided, so that we may be restored as a body that lives together in harmony and aligned purpose.

 

Brothers and sisters, United Purposeful Paths

Let us choose pursue;

Purpose united,

So division’s through.

Together in thought,

Let minds be renewed;

New harmony found,

In common values.

Let’s seek understand,

As we are made new;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In grace, living true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live united, not divided. Thank You that You call us to seek common purpose, perspective and values so that we may accomplish much in Your Name. Forgive us for fixating on the little things that are insignificant rather than those that last forever. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would view things through Your lens. Show us how to see people and situations through Your eyes, so that we would be able to hear and understand where common ground can be found. Help us to love others in a way that helps create unity and restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be united in purpose with those whom You have placed on our path. Amen.

 

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

May We Choose Kindness

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

I could not do my job if I did not seek to follow this guiding principle daily. Kids and colleagues alike, need kindness and compassion, forgiveness and grace. Just as I have been forgiven, I must also forgive. If I did not begin each day new, I cannot even begin to imagine the heaviness that would ensue. We all fall short and need kindness extended our way. May we allow God’s grace to direct our steps as we choose to forgive each other, extending compassion, gentleness and kindness to one another, just as He has done unto us.

 

No matter what comes, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Take pause, look and see;

The one who’s upset,

Needs love and mercy.

For when we are kind,

Forgive and give love;

We act as we’re called,

By God up above.

For He forgave us,

All that we have done;

May we choose kindness,

For everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate to us, forgiving us each time we come to You and ask. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to strengthen and equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that we were not gentle or kind, or we lacked compassion or did not forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive others as we are forgiven by You. Show us how to love like You – extending gentleness, kindness and compassion to one another without conditions, especially to those who seem the least deserving. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate and extend forgiveness to one another, just as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41