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

 

Persevering Pursuit

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB)

 

We are ever a work in progress. It is through the deadlines, difficulties and distress, that we mature and grow in patience and perseverance provided by the Lord. Through dependence on Him, our character is strengthened, lacking nothing, so that we may be mature and complete, becoming the person that God calls us to be. Our part is to stick with it; to not grow weary in trusting the Lord. Patience produces the good that God intended in us and through us. May we ever persevere as we press on in all that we are called to do. God provides all that is needed as we lean into Him.

 

Let’s not grow weary,08031810217159514240041247714.jpg

In faithful pursuit;

Real perseverance,

As we trust what’s true.

Patience produces,

Our growth in the Lord;

And He grants us strength,

Each need He’ll reward.

What He has started,

The Lord will see through;

As we follow Him,

His word’s proven true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to persevere. Thank You that each time we press in, You grow and refine us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for our lack of follow through when things grow difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever persevere in pursuing the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further grows us in character, full and complete in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persevere in the power that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – Hebrews 10:36

 

Seek to Do Good and Love

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

 

The human condition becomes quite ugly when individual agendas are pursued, rather than righteousness and love. If we cannot look past ourselves to extend the same love that we have so freely been given, peace is lacking, and satisfaction never arrives. I cannot help but cringe in today’s political climate. With both sides in seeming pursuit of personal agendas, rather than what is truly right, there is no love extended, and it becomes an episode of adults behaving badly. What if each party set aside their differences and looked for solutions that are founded in love, kindness and justice? Integrity would remain intact, and representatives would be respected, regardless of party affiliation. Currently, all I know to do is pray – for both sides. On a personal level, if I am working hard to do good and be faithful to love, I know peace in my pursuit of right living. May we each pursue righteousness and love, personally, and pray for such for those who have been chosen to lead our nation.

 

We each have been called, Ambassadors of Love

To live right and love;

Choose good for others,

As God does for us.

For as we choose well,

A true life is shown;

Honor and respect,

As grace is made known.

Imagine a place,

Where righteousness reigned;

Love motive for all,

Peace could be maintained.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reward righteousness and love with life, goodness and honor. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather as we seek You and pursue a life of loving You and loving people, goodness and love are extended according to what is right. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to withhold good or do anything out of selfish ambition rather than love. Teach us to seek You and follow Your leading, so that love and righteousness will be our mode of operation. Show us how to give good and love well for the good of those around us, and not just ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

Rejoicing Over Rest

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure. – (Psalm 16:9, NIV)

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. – (Psalm 16:9, MSG)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

As I woke with my mind leaning toward rest, with a bonus hour and a half of sleep this morning, I determined to see where I was to go with the thought. Yesterday was an extended day, with the intention of making student-led conferences possible for all families. Though a long day, it was good, and the reward that follows is a short day today, and a three-day weekend, providing plenty of opportunity for real rest. The sort of rest that refreshes my soul may not sound restful, but long runs with my best running buddy, time celebrating my best friend’s birthday, loads of family time, and time with my church family, are all blessings that await me this weekend and make my heart glad. Knowing that rest is coming provides room to remember all of the reasons that I am grateful for the good that God has granted. May we take time to find joy in the little things, the sweet blessings He bestows upon us through the people He has placed in our lives.

 

My heart will find joy,img_2018-11-09_06-09-462423785359695814316.jpg

And my body rest;

Who could ask for more,

As my life is blessed.

Blessed well with people,

To walk along side;

Who listen and love,

In whom I confide.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

Who grants us each rest,

The good things we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your rest that restores our joy and reminds us of what matters most. Forgive us for not seeking You when we are weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need and are the joy within us, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and provides rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for providing the rest we need when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Each Child a Gift

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TLB)

Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TPT)

 

This tends to be one of the longest weeks of the summer each year; the week before school officially begins. For those of us who teach or are involved in the public-school system somehow, this week is spent in meetings, seminars, classes, and retreats to best prepare for the upcoming school year. Some of said academic gatherings are great, and the time flies by. However, others are either repeats of what we have done year in and year out, or they are extraordinarily weighty, and make the day seem far longer than we might hope. The reason that we continue to invest our time, resources, energy and heart into what we do, is the very gist of this verse. Children are a gift, and we recognize the value in each and desire to teach and foster growth in each one who enters our classroom. Perhaps if we can see the struggling as God’s love-gifts and heaven’s rewards, we might approach each child all the more delicately and thoughtfully, as to not offend the Giver. May we look at children as gifts from God, just as we do our own, so that we may love them as we are loved by Him.

 

Each child is a gift,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

From heaven to earth;

A life with a plan,

A purpose since birth.

Our charge and challenge,

Is to help each rise;

Point to discover,

Dreams to realize.

May we foster growth,

And nurture with love;

So each child feels known,

And knows they’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that children are a gift from You. Thank You that they are heaven’s reward here on earth. Forgive us for the times that we have viewed them as anything less than a gift. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength to love through the struggles, and to equip us to help kids grow in safety, security and trust. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path to care for well, so that they may know their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love children as You love us – unconditionally and lavishly. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Wise Words and Hard Work are Worthwhile

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Words spoken wisely result in much good, and working with your hands pays a large reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, VOICE)

 

What we say and what we do have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Hard work and well-chosen words bring blessings, as we reap what we sow. When we give good, good is returned. Kindness begets kindness and hard work wields wages by which we can live. As my family continues to prepare for the upcoming wedding and move, the truth of these words is made evident. Yesterday, I let my boys know that there was yardwork that needed to be done at the new house. Additionally, I let them know how much I appreciated their willingness to jump in and work, and that their efforts would be rewarded at the end, if the job was seen through to completion. Encouragement was extended to each of them as we worked, and neither young man complained, but rather worked steadily and with determination to get their given job done. In a few short hours, the front, back and side yard were vastly improved. My guys were rewarded for the work of their hands, and good things came as I had chosen my words carefully. May we ever be mindful of the words that we speak and choose to work as if unto the Lord.

 

Good things come our way,

From well-chosen words;

For we’re rewarded,

When wisdom is heard.

And likewise we reap,

Whatever we sow;

The work of our hands,

Bring reward, we know.

So, let us in word,

And work that we do;

Do as unto God,

From Love’s point of view.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that our words and our work have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Thank You that You strengthen and empower us to choose our words wisely and to work as unto You as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we speak without thought or slack on the work that we are called to complete. Teach us to trust You and seek You for the strength we need to continue all that to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us with our words and through hard work. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose our words wisely and work as if we are working for You. Amen.

 

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

 

Do your work, and be happy to do it. Work as though it is the Lord you are serving, not just an earthly master. – Ephesians 6:7

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

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

 

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

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

True Blessings Through Obedience

And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – all because you have obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, NLT)

Every nation on the earth will be blessed through your descendants. I will do this because you obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, ERV)

And from your descendants all the people of the earth will discover true blessing. All this because you have obeyed My voice. – (Genesis 22:18, VOICE)

 

This verse is God’s promise to Abraham after his faithful obedience to God. Not only did he leave the land and home that he knew to go where God was calling, but he was willing to give up his only son, the one that was the fulfillment of a very long awaited promise. God saw Abraham’s unwavering obedience, and made a promise to bless his descendants as a result. The very same God who blessed Abraham for being obedient, blesses us when we do the same. When we go where He calls and do what He asks, we see the goodness of God and power of His might as He moves in ways we could not have imagined on our own. Though obedience at times is difficult or simply does not make sense to our human understanding, the true blessings that He pours out on His people as we listen to His leading, make the risk worth the reward. May we choose to listen to the voice of God and walk in the way to which we are being called, so we too may see the blessings of the Lord released all around us.

 

True blessings made known,The Reason for Reverence

Through obedience;

No matter the call,

Nor strange circumstance.

Often He calls us,

To things we can’t see;

So we have to trust,

Just choose to believe.

God in His goodness,

Sees our faithfulness;

For those who obey,

Find that they are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us countless examples in Your word of those who have faithfully obeyed Your call, and as a result, those around them were blessed. Thank You that obedience is not something that we have to do in our own strength alone, but You will equip and empower us if we are willing. Forgive us for our lack of willingness or for the fear that holds us back. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and do as You ask, regardless of what we see or think we know. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely and walk forward in obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21