Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

Devoted in love, img_20190630_100257_3922772888685512407775.jpg

Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Purposeful Reign

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV) 

Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return until they have watered the ground. Then the ground causes the plants to sprout and grow, and they produce seeds for the farmer and food for the people to eat. In the same way, My words leave My mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen that I want to happen. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, ERV) 

 

It has been a typically torrential week, weather-wise, in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain has poured down daily, and the mountains are gaining significant snow to help us all remember that December is actually here. Though I prefer the sunshine and sweeter, more leisurely days of summer, there are blessings to behold as the rains come down. Yesterday, as my best running buddy and I were braving the elements on a run, we hit a favorite sweet spot that is an actual decline (as everywhere we run in our town is hilly) an old song I love kept going through my head – Send Your Rain”. As the lyrics were on repeat as we ran, I thought about the benefit and beauty that our wet winter weather affords our area. It is lush and green and gorgeous, and there is a view of either the mountains or water, (or both!) nearly everywhere one goes. In the same way, as I immerse myself in His word each morning, what I learn seems to be recalled at the most opportune moments, when I need to be reminded most. God is a God of intention, and He is able to use everything for good. Even the wet, cold days of winter serve a purpose, as they bring bounty as we walk into spring. (The jury is still out on spiders though, just sayin’…) May we ever seek the Lord and His word, recognizing that what He says is true and what He promises, He will do. May we allow Him reign in our hearts. 

 

Each raindrop that falls, fb_img_15445766468148440667160544576070.jpg

Has purposed intent; 

To water the earth, 

This grace, heaven-sent. 

The same with God’s word, 

Each spoken with care; 

To guide and instruct, 

Love, help and prepare. 

Both are sent for growth, 

For their yield is great; 

Each to be absorbed, 

New life, generate. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your rain and Your word. Thank You that both are used to nurture and grow. Thank You that You give us tangible, visible examples in the world around us to grasp that which might not be clearly seen. Forgive us for not absorbing all that we can from Your word, as You generously give us all that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may feel refreshed and grow in the grace that You so lovingly give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your reign in our lives and soak in all that You speak to our hearts. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

 

 

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Really Love Them

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:9-10, MSG)

 

Above all, we are called to love. This love is not romance nor something that we manufacture, but rather it is a choice to prefer others – to seek to serve and honor others rather than ourselves. We are only able to truly love when we receive and embrace the love that Christ has given unto us. It is through the holding tightly to His goodness and grace, that we are able to in turn, extend the same to others. That which is evil, the things of this world that compete for our attention in a way that draws our hearts to disdain rather than delight, are the very things that we are meant to distance ourselves far away from, so that we can cling to that which is good. May we love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other with the love that Christ grants unto us.

 

We cannot pretend,ç€À

To love each other;

We need assurance,

Sisters and brothers.

Choose to hold tightly,

To that which is good;

Christ’s love that honors,

Grants grace understood.

Flee from what’s evil,

Cling close to the Lord;

Choose to love deeply,

So Christ is adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with a love that gives us new life. Thank You that in You, we are restored and made new, granting us the capacity to love others with the very same love that You have given unto us. Forgive us for choosing to neglect those near to us, or for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling to You and flee from all that is not of You, so that we may be refined to love as You call us to love. Show us how to be good friends who love deeply, that prefer one another in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see Your loving kindness through us. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You, and love others with the very same love that You have given to us. 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

 

Unity in the Body

Unity is a necessary component for any group to grow.  In order to be unified, time and energy must be invested and mutual respect extended, or an organization will never truly become united.

As a department, the Language Arts team at my school was able to block out a few hours to meet together for a previously determined purpose.  We always begin with a time of connections, recognizing the importance of opportunity to simply air where each of us are coming from.  This tremendous team has inadvertently tapped into the importance of unity in a body.  Safety and confidentiality have been established (TRUST), and each of us are available to help one another as we are able.  Though we may not have accomplished as much of the task as we had intended, our team walked away from our time together, feeling more united and supported than before.

Paul was encouraging the people in Corinth to do the same, as he wrote the following: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – (I Corinthians 1:10) I don’t think that he meant that they had to agree about inconsequential things, but rather that they were to be united in purpose, and were to follow the ways of Christ, steering clear from the immorality that was widely accepted in society.  I am amazed that the very same appeal, still applies today.  The immorality that is widely accepted runs rampant, yet we are called to stand firm in our faith, staying true to our Father in heaven.  He is our Judge, not our neighbor nor our friends.  Ultimately, our decisions must be made by referring back to His word, and asking Him.

Together as one,Surrendered to See

in purpose and plea;

become the body,

through true unity.

Called to follow Christ,

stay true to His word;

let the Spirit lead,

not just what is heard.

Honor each other,

don’t argue and fight;

prefer each in love,

in purpose unite.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united together as a body in You.  Thank You that we are not meant to live out this life alone, but rather we are meant to walk together, learning and growing, side-by-side, so that we may strengthen and encourage each other.  Forgive us for any attitudes that can cause division among the body, and help us bring unity where it has been lacking.  Teach us how to come together as one in purpose, in You and for You, and may lives be changed on Your behalf.  Let our ability to be united appeal to those who are standing alone, and help all who come near, feel welcomed in.  May we love and welcome others in as You do.  Let lives be changed and hearts be healed.  Amen.

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