Prioritize Peace

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

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

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)

 

In as much as we can, we ought to be in pursuit of peace with those around us. We are called to strengthen and encourage one another, prioritizing a life of harmony with those whom have been placed in our lives to love. This is not a “peace at any price” sort of scenario, but rather harmony through mutual encouragement and strengthening. Choosing to love in ways that make those around us stronger, rather than participating in that which can lead to dissension, is the sort of peaceful pursuit for which we are aiming. May we make every effort to do the things that lead to peace and mutual edification through His strength within us.

 

Wherever we can, Embracing Grace

May we pursue peace;

Seek strengthen, build up,

Grace provides release.

Release from burdens,

Of judgment and scorn;

Instead, choose to love,

As Christ, the Adored.

Encourage others,

Do not choose tear down;

May peace direct us,

Let His love be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through Your loving example, we are called to pursue peace. Thank You that You modeled how to strengthen and build up those around You. Forgive us for the times that we have brought others down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rely on You to lead us and show us how to build others up in love all around us in a way that brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You through a life of pursued peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Why We Gather

“For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

“Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

“And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – (Matthew 18:20, MSG)

 

This verse is a reminder of why it is so important to gather with other believers. Church is not about religion and rules, it is an opportunity to join together and recognize the presence of God. Yes, God is with us, always, but there is something powerful that transpires when a group of people gathers to seek the heart of God. His presence is made known, and those in the midst of it are strengthened, encouraged and equipped to go out in His power. We were created for relationship. Isolation for too long, causes the heart to grow weary, and faith to become frail. God is faithful and loving no matter what, but He invites us to lay hold of the power of His presence through gathering together with others who seek Him. May we ever pursue opportunities to gather with others who are seeking the Lord, so as to mutually encourage and edify one another as He makes His presence known.

 

Let us seek gather,

Peace Through Understanding

With others, pursue;

The heart of the Lord,

As His word is true.

When people choose join,

Their hearts and their minds;

To seek our Savior,

His presence, they find.

Our God is faithful,

His word ever true;

He makes Himself known,

Collective pursuit.

Let’s seek with intent,

And join together;

For God will be found,

Most gracious treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to join together to seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to make Your presence known, each time we gather to pursue You. Forgive us for thinking that we can handle life on our own, rather than joining with others to seek and find Your faithful presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest in relationships that support and encourage a life lived in pursuit of You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, would want to pursue Your heart with others to experience the power made known as we gather. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather in Your Name, recognizing the power of Your presence that comes when we join together to seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. – Psalm 106:47

Restoring Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough You bring to me. Hold me close to You with a willing spirit that obeys whatever You say. – (Psalm 51:12, TPT)

 

Currently, I am on our Sisterhood Retreat with my church. It is a time for the ladies to gather, connect, worship and grow together. Interestingly, it seems that each time there is intentional gathering to connect, the very words of this verse come to life for those who had been walking in a dry and weary place. We have been created for relationships. God intended that we not walk the path set before us, alone. He is gracious and kind, and provides people to surround and walk beside us, if we are only willing to invest and allow others in. Part of maintaining a passion and a joy in who God has created us to be and our ability to obey what He asks, come from the strength we gain through the blessing of being connected. I have found that this applies in every area of my life, be it at home, work, church, my neighborhood, the community or any other place I find Him leading.  The more invested and connected I am, the more my joy remains, despite the circumstances that come and go. May we ever seek the Lord to restore and uphold the joy of our salvation, and lead us to the connections that encourage and strengthen us as we walk out each day.

 

Oh Lord, may we come, fb_img_15400123159817887031286001252606.jpg

With hearts seeking You;

Restore unto us,

Your joy that is true.

Joy that is lasting,

Despite ups and downs;

A heart that’s certain,

Of Your rightful crown.

Make our hearts willing,

To trust and obey;

Surround us with those,

Seeking do the same.

O Lord, You are good,

All joy’s found in You;

Restore any space,

That need be renewed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself so that we may know the depth of joy found in a hope and future in You. Thank You that You have created us for relationships and You provide us opportunities to invest and deepen them as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not seeking You to restore our joy when it feels lost, or for retreating when You call us to move boldly and invest in those whom You have placed around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be routinely restored as we walk in obedience to all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and spreads joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and uphold the joy we have in our hope in You, and strengthen our relationships as we willingly step out and obey that which You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Thinking of Thanks

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. – (Philippians 1:3, NLT)

I thank God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, ERV)

Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. – (Philippians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This has been a summer overflowing with connections to those dear to me. Near and far, friends and family have celebrated with me, as I have stepped into this beautiful new season of married life. Every message, conversation, card or phone call has brought a flood of memories of the blessing that each have been in my life. The overwhelming theme of this summer is gratitude, as I cannot help but stand in awe of the blessings He has poured out upon us, especially through the gift of people He has placed in our lives. My heart is full, and I am ever giving God thanks for the gift of knowing those whom He has brought into every avenue of my life. May we ever give praise to our Provider for the people whom He places on our path.

 

All thanks be to God, wp-15346046481951630469001601204563.jpg

For the treasure found;

In knowing such love,

Where friendships abound.

For each is a gift,

From God up above;

Granted to us all,

By His lavish love.

Each time I recall,

The treasure of you;

I thank God again,

For His blessings true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are created for relationships. Thank You for the gift of people that You place in our lives. Thank You that You bring people from all walks of life into our world to show us more of Your heart. Forgive us for not giving You glory for all of the good You bring to us through the people You place on our path. Teach us to recognize the gift of those around us, daily, so that we would celebrate them and glorify You. Show us how to love in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for the gift that people are in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You gratitude for the gift of great people whom You have placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. – Psalm 100:4

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

 

 

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

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

Be Kind

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven 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 quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

It is easy to be kind, gentle and sensitive to those who are kind, gentle and sensitive toward us, but what about those who are not? We are called to follow the example set before us by Christ. Jesus showed kindness to those who did not deserve it, was merciful to those who had not shown mercy to others, and forgave, even the very ones who had hung Him on the cross to die. That is some serious grace in a place where wrath and anger, or at least frustration, might be expected. We are called to live by the same standard. When people offend us, we are meant to forgive, even if they do not ask to be forgiven. Our egos are not more important than their souls seeing God’s goodness. No, God does not ask us to be foolish and remain in harmful, dangerous or toxic spaces, however, He does expect us to forgive even the worst of those who have hurt our hearts or ruined relationships. God’s love is greater, and by His grace, we can love and be kind because we have been forgiven too. May we ever seek our Savior who has forgiven much, so that we may go forth and do likewise in love.

 

The Lord God is kind,Faith and Hope in Action

Our sins, He forgives;

And beyond His grace,

He loves as we live.

Because of His love,

We’re called to the same;

Forgive offenses,

Be kind in His Name.

For as we choose love,

Show mercy and grace;

We’re being a light,

To walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us of so much. Thank You that You are kind, tenderhearted and loving toward us, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for the times that we have not forgiven others as we are forgiven by You, or for withholding kindness where we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, just as You are of us. Show us how to walk this out in love with all whom we encounter in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do unto others as You have done so lovingly and generously unto us. 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

Love Prospers Through Forgiveness

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. 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