Run Our Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

 

Running is a great analogy for how we are meant to live life. Encouragement comes from those who have run a similar race before us, and know how to navigate the course well. Just as no runner ever wants to run carrying any unnecessary weight or things that will burden or slow them down, so too, it is meant to be in life with the things that distract and keep us off course from running the race for which we are called to run. To do so, requires perseverance and endurance, as it is not a sprint, but rather a race we are to keep running. In the same way that a runner must stay the course, persevere, and keep running, a life lived well requires faith, perseverance, a dropping of things that distract us from the course that God calls us to, and a conviction to continue, even when it is difficult. Both take training, and require a readiness to keep running. May we learn from all those who have gone before us and run well; may we remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that makes us fall, and may we run our race with endurance, as the true prize is well worth the run.

 

We all know others,

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Ash and I as we are ready to run our 1/2 Marathon today

Who are running well;

Grace and faithfulness,

Their lives clearly tell.

Just as they have done,

May we in faith, go;

Throwing off burdens,

What won’t help us grow.

In faith, keep running,

With His strength and grace;

Press on, persevere,

The Lord sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the example set before us by those who have lived their lives for You well. Thank You that we are only meant to run the race that You set before us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. Forgive us for the sin that weighs us down and distracts us from staying the course. Teach us to keep our eyes on Your and our feet on the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage others as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and grace to rise up and run our race with endurance. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

To Run Our Race Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race hat is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

Release the burdens, img_2019-04-03_04-26-166398438284953483236.jpg

That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. – Isaiah 40:31

 

 

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Blot Out Barriers to Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

Selfishness and pride are both barriers to love. To love others as we are called to love, we have to take a genuine interest in people and care about their lives. As we set aside self and allow our focus to becomeotherly, pride is dispelled and love flows freely. This is not to say that goals are not good, but rather we ought to look to discover how we are best able to help others succeed in their goals as we work toward that which we too are pursuing. May we worry less about what we can attain or achieve on our own, and instead set our sights on how we might love others well.

 

Lord, help us to keep, Blot Out Barriers to Love

Aware of others;

May our hearts know well,

Sisters and brothers.

Remove within us,

Pride and selfishness;

And teach us to love,

With true tenderness.

Show our hearts the way,

To love and invest;

To put others first,

And support them best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that prevent us from investing in the lives of those around us. Teach us how to place others above ourselves in a way that encourages and values people, without losing our own sense of purpose in the process. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside the parts of ourselves that withhold or withdraw, and move forward with open hearts and arms, set to support and serve. Amen.

 

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

 

Bold Grace

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

Shame is a horribly heavy burden, especially when others have helped add weight to that which is constantly carried. Each time I have a conversation with someone who feels as if there is not a place for them to plug into a church, either because of their past or due to their current circumstances, my heart breaks a bit more. If we are truly loving God and loving people, shouldn’t we have open arms to all who choose to wander our way? Yes, there are precautions and wisdom that need be established for safety (we cannot be unwise) but we all have sinned and fallen short, so we are all equally eligible for the grace of God. His mercy and kindness are the very things that remove the burdens that we are not meant to bear. When we love people well, it often is the nudge needed for them to recognize that they are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. May we seek our Savior with open hearts and arms to receive His mercy and grace, so that we may in turn, go forth and extend the same to those around us.

 

Let us boldly go, Bold Grace

To the throne of grace;

Where God in mercy,

Our shame shall erase.

The weight we carry,

In love, He removes;

As His help He brings,

And faithfulness proves.

Choose ever seek God,

Go straight to His throne;

Give as He gives us,

So His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to bear the weight of all of our sin and shame. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy and help whenever we need it. Forgive us for not extending the same mercy and grace to those around us that we have been given by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and without basing our love on what has or has not been done by those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly to Your throne of grace to receive Your mercy and extend the same to others. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

To Know Your Nearness

Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, NLT)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

 

God does not move away from us, yet the choices we make can create barriers that make seeking Him and hearing His voice more and more difficult. When we understand the greatness of God, and how good He is, it becomes increasingly more important that we call on the Lord often and keep short accounts. As we do, we remove that which hinders our hearts from seeking and hearing God, and remain ever aware of His nearness. Conversely, when we sit in our sin or get so caught up in the hectic pace of life that we neglect to acknowledge our need for God, He begins to feel far away. We are created to commune with our Creator. May we seek the Lord with our whole hearts, as He is always close at hand and ready to hear us.

 

Be not too busy, To Know Your Nearness

To seek the Lord’s face;

For He is waiting,

With mercy and grace.

We must keep seeking,

It’s where faith is found;

God’s ever present,

His love shall abound.

Let us not neglect,

To pray to the Lord;

We need know He’s near,

To find hope restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we call on Your Name, we come to know Your nearness. Forgive us for staying stuck in our own sin, or for allowing the hectic pace of life to keep us from seeking You. Teach us to make You a priority, as knowing Your presence matters most. Help us to seek You in all things, so that we would know Your heart to guide us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your nearness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and find You, as we seek You with all of our heart. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Grace Where We Are

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

 

Despite having been captured and taken into the possession of a foreign king, Daniel and his three friends placed their trust in God. Because they were faithful to follow God’s leading, He granted them favor and wisdom above all others who had been brought into captivity by the king of Babylon. Though I have heard the story of Daniel many times, it dawned on me this morning how much trust he must have had in God to do the things he did after having been captured and removed from all that he had ever known. Daniel did not volunteer to go and serve Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the king’s army had surrounded Jerusalem and carried him off to Babylon. It was likely violent and hostile, yet somehow, Daniel had the peace of God upon him, as he earned the favor of those in whose care he was placed. For me, this is a reminder of how much God moves when we are willing to trust Him. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, Daniel was faithful. As a result of Daniel’s obedient trust, God honored and blessed him, despite his location and position. May we ever trust the Lord and be faithful to follow Him, for He can bless us and grow us even in spaces we’d rather not remain.

 

When we choose to trust,Enter With Thanksgiving

Despite what we see;

God will do wonders,

He hears our heart’s plea.

Sometimes His help comes,

Right here where we are;

So we can rise up,

Show His grace, thus far.

When we stay faithful,

His presence is known;

For He’ll move mountains,

So His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You meet us where we are and make Your presence known. Thank You that though You do not always remove us from situations and circumstances that we would like out of, You meet us where we are and provide what we need to thrive in spite of them. Forgive us for our frustration when we feel stuck. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask for Your help and Your hope, and the wisdom to understand if we are meant to remain in a space or season of discomfort or not. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage, strengthen and lift up those who feel stuck. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, no matter what our circumstances or surroundings, as we know You are greater. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

To Live in Peace

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV)

 

Peace comes not through our own quiet confidence that we can somehow come up with the capacity to cope on our own, but rather through knowing the Prince of Peace and listening to His leading. Fear takes flight as we fix our eyes on He who is far greater than anything that could come against us. As we listen to the Lord and trust in His strength, the situations and circumstances that once seemed terrifying and overwhelming, become interesting opportunities to see the hand of God at work in our lives. May we listen to the Lord and His leading, trusting in His strength, so that we live in the perfect peace that He alone provides.

 

Safety and comfort,butterfly vida

Come through listening;

When rooted in Christ,

Peace His presence brings.

Fear is forced to flee,

When the Lord is near;

For God is greater,

Our safety made clear.

So listen to God,

Sending fear to flight;

Peace in His presence,

The gift of clear sight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen to You, we will live in safety and peace, and have nothing to fear. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that will come against us. Forgive us for losing perspective of how much greater You are than that which is in the world. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to You to provide our safety, comfort and peace. Remove our fears and help us to be brave in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace, safety and comfort. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You in all that we do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19