Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Everything With Love


And do everything with love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NLT)

 

Everything should be done in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, CEB)

 

And whatever you do, do it with kindness and love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TLB)

 

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

 

 

We are called to love. If we love others, our motivation for all that we do – our words, actions and our very lives, will be laden in love. For those who love us well, this is an easy call to answer. However, when we are met with unkindness, abrasiveness or seeming rejection, it is far more difficult to decide to do everything with kindness and love. Incredibly, when we choose love anyway, we often discover that what we perceived was not reality. Sometimes, people are completely guarded due to their own past hurts and are not willing to extend kindness until kindness is demonstrated toward them. Making the first move can create opportunity for love to prevail where it before may have failed. May we ever choose to do everything with love and kindness, just as Christ does so lavishly unto us. Let every word, deed and our very lives be an instrument to make His love tangible to all.

 

Let us choose to love, 

As we’re called to do;

For kindness given,

Can lead to breakthrough.

In places where love,

Has clearly not been;

Can change by small acts,

Persistence will win.

For a life of love,

In word and in deed;

Is hard to reject,

For those who have need.

In everything,

Let love lead the way;

For our love matters,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love because You first loved us. Thank You that You call us to do everything with love. Thank You that as we do, You take our lives of love and reach others in ways that makes Your love tangible. Forgive us for not doing all things with kindness and love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would let love prevail in our words, actions and every aspect of our lives. Show us how to do everything in love as we interact with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose kindness and love in all things. Amen.

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

 

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

All for Good

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 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)

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His loves who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. – (Romans 8:28, TPT)

 

I don’t know that I can even count the number of times that what I perceived as something awful, (and at the time, perhaps it was) that God, in His infinite goodness and grace, ultimately used it for good. Each time that I have had to walk through the hard or horrible that life brings, as I sought God and relied on Him, He provided what I needed to navigate the season, and later used the experience for something positive. At times the benefit has been personal growth and the discovery of His strength in times of my own weakness, yet still other times, He has turned my experience into a tool by which I am able to honestly speak to others going through similar, as I can share of His faithfulness that brought me through. God is good, and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. When we choose to trust in Him, He leads us through life by the light of His love, even when we are in spaces of darkness. May we ever seek the Lord and His plan, as He is good and is the only One who can bring beauty from our ashes.

 

With all certainty, His Passion for Our Peace

I truly can say;

God works all for good,

When we seek His way.

Though life’s not easy,

And despair may come;

The Lord is faithful,

’til each day is done.

He walks beside us,

And shows us the way;

Grants us renewed strength,

Fresh start for each day.

We can be certain,

He’ll use all for good;

If we choose to trust,

Hope our livelihood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust You, You ultimately work all things for good in our lives. Thank You that even when we cannot see how that is possible, You are moving and making it so. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt. Teach us to trust Your hand in all things, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and builds faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to orchestrate everything in our lives toward something good, as only You can do. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Value Everyone

Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NLT)

Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers. – (1 Peter 2:17, TPT)

Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. – (1 Peter 2:17, MSG)

 

Considering the climate within our country right now, this is a very timely verse. If we each could recognize the value of one another, regardless of what is perceived, there would be far less tension and more movement toward solutions. The church is not exempt from the struggle. The body of believers is called to love one another. If we all choose to love, then our primary mode of operation should be to seek to understand first. In all things, we are called to live in reverence of God. When we remember Who ultimately is in control, our priorities and perspectives begin to align with His, and love flavors all that we say and do. Finally, we are called to respect the governing body. How do we do this? There are so many conflicting views and opposing opinions, how are we supposed to honor and respect that which seems so unreal? For me, the best way I know to do this is to choose to pray. Pray for wisdom and insight for those who are in positions of leadership. I do not have to agree with who is in position, nor what their position is to pray for them to lead well and make decisions that are best for our city, state, or country. May we ever rise up and recognize the value of every person on this planet that has been placed here by the most holy God. Let us live in reverence of Him as we treat others with dignity and choose to love.

 

For we each are called, Show the Love

look and recognize;

The value of all,

To see through God’s eyes.

Among believers,

We’re meant to love well;

To be family,

God’s story to tell.

To honor rulers,

Let us choose to pray;

For wisdom to lead,

The very best way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to give us the strength and grace to do. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You loved us. Thank You that when we choose to respect and love those around us, You break down barriers and make a way for Your light to shine where darkness once reigned. Thank You too, that You work in ways that we cannot see and can use leaders that we don’t understand to do things for eventual good. Forgive us for not choosing love and respect for others when that is what we are called to do, regardless of what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend Your love and grace to all whom we encounter, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love like You, so that barriers are broken down and Your peace may prevail. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to value everyone and love as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Glimpses of God’s Glory

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” – (John 11:40, NLT)

 

Jesus spoke these words to Martha at the entrance to Lazarus’ tomb, just prior to raising him from the dead. Martha was more concerned with what the tomb might smell like than what the Savior was about to do. She was temporarily trapped in trusting the perceived truth that she could see, rather than the reality held in the power of her precious Savior.

It did not take long for her heart to be set right and her world to be flipped upside down. With but three words spoken, “Lazarus, come out!” Martha’s brother was returned to her as Jesus raised him from the dead, restoring him to life once again.

Though we seldom see Jesus work in the same way as He did in Lazarus, His awesome power is at work all around us. He restores the broken-hearted, heals the sick, provides for those in need, and places the lonely in families. The power of God is not limited to our perception of God. He can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine. We only get to see God’s glory when we choose to believe that He is who He says He is. May we lay hold of the faith that He imparts unto us, and believe big for the things that He has placed in our hearts. Let His glory be seen to the ends of the earth as we listen, love and get out of the way.

 

May we rise in faith,The Reason for Reverence

In trust, hold what’s true;

For the Lord is near,

His wonders anew.

God’s glory prepared,

For our eyes to see;

His grace and power,

As we are set free.

Choose to walk in faith,

To trust and believe;

Let every heart,

Invest and receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we believe and trust in You, we have the privilege of seeing how You move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that You give us glimpses of Your glory in our everyday walks of faith. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fearfulness when all around us seems to be falling apart. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, despite how things appear, as You so often move the most miraculously when things seem to be at their worst. Show us how to love others well, and how to model a belief that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe in who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

 

To Choose to Love

Valentine’s Day seems to be bittersweet for many people. Those who are single, are reminded of their perceived lack, and those who are paired, often have unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. That being said, there is One who loves without limits, and does not need a special day to deliver. Christ loves us, in spite of ourselves, and His love is patient, kind, hopeful, enduring, and will always win. (1 Cor. 13) Because He loves us so well, He calls us to go and do likewise.

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As followers of Christ, we are not only called, but we are commanded to love. Because we have been loved so well, we are equipped to go and do likewise. The love we have been given to give away, is not all about chocolates and flowers. We are called to serve and honor, encourage and uphold those around us. There may be times that He asks us to bless with a tangible gift, but it is far more critical that we are present and invested, loving with our time, energy and attention. On this day where love is misconstrued, and people have the capacity to feel more alone than ever, may we be present and love well, just as we are loved.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

to choose to love well;

it is a command,

that Jesus did tell.

Not merely spoken,

but He showed the way;

to love with our lives,

to give them away.

Sit with the lonely,

walk beside the lost;

speak life to hopeless,

it is worth the cost.

Just as we are loved,

may we do the same;

so all may come know,

the truth of God’s Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have showed us what it is to love. Thank You that You have not just commanded us to love, but You command us to love with the very same love that You give unto us. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we are simply passing on the goodness that You have given us, when we choose to love. Forgive us for not loving deeply and fully as You have loved us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not be fearful of the possible repercussions of choosing to love like You. Show us how to demonstrate Your love to all whom we encounter, so that Your light may shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love each other fully and deeply, just as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Seek in Trust

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He want you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

 

When our focus is on God and living for Him, the places where we lack, seem to take care of themselves. Often our perceived need is recognized as a mere want, and our needs that we had not even yet identified are fulfilled through our Great Provider. God gives us all that we need for today, so that we need not worry about tomorrow. Though through human eyes and understanding it may not make sense, all we can do is our part, and trust Him to do what we cannot. No, we cannot sit idly by and wait for the skies to part and manna to fall from heaven, but we can trust Him to meet us where we are lacking, despite our best effort in moving the direction in which we are called. The very same God who fed five thousand with a few fish and loaves of bread, can multiply our little to do so much more. May we seek God in all things and live for Him, trusting that He will provide that which is needed where we are lacking.

 

Go unto the Lord,

first and above all;

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

live right before Him,

and answer His call.

Trust God in all things,

for He is our Source;

our Great Provider,

who will map our course.

He will not call us,

and then let us fall;

we‘re meant to trust Him,

in great things and small.

All that we may need,

our God is enough;

to meet and provide,

who makes smooth the rough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You above all else, and choose to live for You, You provide all that we need. Thank You that despite our own perception, we lack NOTHING in You. Thank You that You meet our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs – regardless of how great or small. Thank You that You care about every detail, and that You know us intimately and individually. Forgive us for our fear and doubt when there appears to be no possible way forward, despite Your call in that direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep taking the steps of faith that You call us to take, in spite of what we see. Show us how to love others in a way that helps provide where they are lacking, and points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your kingdom above all else, living as You call us to live; and may we model lives that trust in Your provision, as You provide all that is needed and more. Amen.

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

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

Obey Without Delay

Immediate obedience is what the Lord asks of us, but so often, it takes a bit of time to either wrap our heads around what exactly it is that He is asking, or to find the faith to step out and do that which we are being called to do.

 

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and His mother,” the angel said…”because Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, His mother. (Matthew 2:13-14, NLT)

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel…” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and His mother. (Matthew 2:19-21, NLT)

Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for a region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth… (Matthew 2:22b-23a, NLT)

 

Joseph is acknowledged for his obedience to marry Mary, despite what was perceived. He listened to the angel of the Lord, and did what was right in the eyes of God. That being said, I’ve never given much thought to the steps of obedience that he carefully took after the birth of Jesus. I wonder if he had been so eternally changed by his initial visit by an angel, that he was on constant standby to hear the instructions of the Lord, as he was well aware of the significance of his role in raising the Son of God? Joseph was human and he had a free will. He did not have to obey what was asked of him, but he did – and he did so immediately. His decisions had an impact on all of history. God guided him, but Joseph chose to obey.

 

How often are we in such circumstances? Though we are not raising the Son of God, what if we are raising the next leader of a church, a city, an organization or a nation? What we do matters. Our obedience has the capacity to shape not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. We never really know the significance of our decisions, until long after they have been made. May we listen well for His voice, and choose to step out in obedience as soon as we hear what He is asking. Let the Lord be our strength, courage and light, as we move in the direction that He calls us to go.

 

When God speaks to us,

do we choose obey?Break Camp and Move Out

Does our heart move now,

or wait one more day?

What is the impact,

of obedience?

It’s not about us,

nor our convenience.

Our one decision,

could open the way;

for His light to shine,

on the darkest day.

Our obedience,

matters a great deal;

for God uses us,

to show that He’s real.

Let hearts be open,

and ears set to hear;

may we choose obey,

without pause or fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples in Your word of those who boldly and without hesitation, obeyed that which You asked of them. Thank You too, that it is clear why it was necessary for obedience to be immediate. Thank You that You speak to our hearts, and we need simply to listen to know what we are to do and where we are to go. Forgive us for our hesitation and delay to those things that we know You are asking of us. Grow in us a faith that says “Yes and Amen” immediately, to whatever we hear You asking. Show us how to love others in a way that makes Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and then take steps of obedience as soon as we know what we have heard. Amen.

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

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